Monday, April 23, 2018

Day of Service

This Freshly Bru’d is dedicated to our Day of Service (DoS).  These questions were asked of our Local Outreach Pastor, Nat Crawford.

Q1: What do you see as the primary objective of the Day of Service?
The objective of DoS is to show the city that we are #4Lincoln in love and in hope. We want to show the city a picture of Christ’s love through our serving the non-profits and individuals of Lincoln. We want to share hope through the relationships we form in these projects with gospel intentionality.

Q2: When you talk about the church being ‘outward focused’ what does that really mean?
How are we doing as a church in being outward focused? It means as the Church we are to gather and then scatter. We are to come together in the various options to study God’s word, Worship Him, encourage each other, and then go out to the people in our spheres of influence and invest in their lives. By serving them, listening to them, and doing so with prayer to share the gospel when God opens a door.  How are we doing? We are gradually becoming more outward focused. We’re not yet a missional people – people who daily look for everyday outreach moments and capitalize on those God-ordained outreach moments. I think we’ll know we’re “there” when the stories fill the boards, our inboxes, and social media about our time with people who are far from God and the stories of God saving souls and changing lives.

Q3: How many places are we trying to serve in Lincoln?  How many volunteers are needed?
We have more projects and service opportunities this year! We have 25 projects and 401 volunteer slots. As of today, we have 142 spots available.Currently, we have 9 sites with zero or only 1 person signed up. One of these projects is this Saturday, April 21st at Maxey Elementary School.  The others with the greatest needs on April 28th are below:

**Lincoln Parks & Rec: 17 Spots Left**
**Car Wash: 14 Spots Left**
**Lincoln Children’s Zoo: 13 Spots Left**
**Christian Heritage (Afternoon Slot) 12 Spots Left**
**Yard Project: 12 Spots Left**
**Salvation Army: 9 Spots Left**
**Crisis Pregnancy Center: 8 Spots Left**
**Home Improvement Project: 3 spots Left**
**Yard Clean-Up: 3 Spots Available**

Q4: If someone still wanted to volunteer, how could they sign up?
You can sign up for a project at:

Q 5: How are we connecting our service on that day to our local church? Are we inviting people to church or just telling them we love them?  Are we leaving information or just hoping for the best?
Every encounter we have we want to approach with gospel intentionality and a culture of invitation. We are #4Lincoln in Community. We want people to feel welcome to check out First Free. So as you serve at your sights look for God-sized openings to share the stories of God’s faithfulness in your life and offer the opportunity to check us out.

Q 6: Describe the prayer time on Wednesday night April 25th from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. for the Day of Service.
This is a time to come before God in prayer to bless our Day of Service, to provide opportunities to invite them to our church and to engage in meaningful conversation about Jesus. And then we’ll worship God in gratitude for the opportunity to serve Him by serving the city.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Taxes and Friends Day

I got the phone call today I always dread this time of year. ‘Your taxes are ready.’ The reason I dread it is because no matter how much I pay quarterly, I always have the privilege of paying a few thousand more. It’s one of the joys of being self-employed.

Nobody likes to pay taxes, and I've noticed that the resentment of the IRS has increased over their misuse of power. Yet, we don’t have it nearly as bad as people did in Jesus’ day. Back then, the tax collectors could collect more than a person owed and pocket the difference.

Jewish tax collectors were seen as traitors to their own people since they collected from Jews for Rome. Tax collectors were despised. While in Capernaum, Jesus walked over to this despised tax collector named Matthew. Jesus asked Matthew to be one of His followers.  Can you image how appalled the people were?

No one was more shocked than Matthew! He was not welcome in the Synagogue and was despised by his fellow Jews, but contrary to what he knew about himself, Matthew was chosen by Jesus as one of the original apostles.

What followed was a big reception for Jesus at Matthew’s house where he invited other tax collectors and his sinful friends (see Luke 5:27-32). Why would he do this? Well, Matthew was so moved that Christ had called him to be a follower, he wanted his friends to meet Jesus and recognize how this Jesus could change their lives too. So, he invited them all to his party to meet Jesus.

As Christ followers, I know you and I have friends far from God that we want to meet Jesus. One way that we can get them to hear how Jesus transforms people’s lives is to invite them to church. This Sunday is Friends Day. A time when we put a little more emphasis than every other week on inviting friends to church.

We begin a new series called ‘First Free Goes to Broadway.’ We will focus on salvation and redemption through stories found in the creative arts. This would be a great series to invite friends to hear the transforming power of the Gospel message.

When the religious leaders saw what Matthew did, they were appalled. They thought it was ridiculous that this man Jesus, who called Himself a Man of God, would mingle with sinners like that. Jesus responded, ‘It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’

Do you have some friends in need of the Savior? Invite them to join you this Sunday so they can hear how God loves them, how Jesus died for them, then conquered sin and death by being raised from the dead, and how they can be transformed by Him from the inside out.

Pastor Mark "The Bru" Brunott

Monday, April 9, 2018

Smooth Sailing

There’s an African proverb that goes like this: ‘Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.’ Have you ever thought of life that way?

All of us would love things to go our way all the time. But if they did, we would never learn to trust God for we would never have to trust God.

Well, we all know that life isn’t ‘smooth seas’ all the time. Hard times come. In fact, sometimes the waves of hard times capsize us. Relationships are damaged, financial worries plague us, and there are even times that threaten war. We are overwhelmed with fear and worry.

The clouds and the storms really do come.

Jesus reminded His followers, ‘In this world, you will have trouble.’ But the good news is He didn’t stop there! He also said, ‘Take heart, I have overcome the world.’

Yes, trouble is a fact of life. In fact, if you look at your past week, you probably can think of some trouble. Trouble at work, trouble at home, trouble in a relationship, trouble with money, trouble with schedules, trouble with a personality, trouble with a friend, etc.

But Jesus has given us a means of finding victory- the real victory- even in the hard times. And with each hard time as you learn to trust Him, you become more skillful in living your life.

Will you allow Him to provide all you need to face the good times and the bad? Will you allow Him to use the difficult moments of life to develop you with greater skill in living life?

He is willing and able to provide triumph, even when things look the darkest. It is usually through the storms of life that we learn our most valuable lessons. Put your trust in Christ Jesus.

James, the half-brother of Jesus, said it well: ‘The testing of your faith produces perseverance.’

Pastor Mark "The Bru" Brunott