Monday, April 2, 2018

Devotionals in a New Format

A few folks have asked me if I was going to start writing devotions again. I have to be honest, with my current schedule working with pastors and churches from around the country, I just don't have time to get to them. So, we are going to offer some devotionals in a different way -- Kindle books. You can read Amazon Kindle books with any electronic device: computer, table, Kindle, or smartphone. You will just need to download a free program to use a non-Kindle device to read Kindle books.

The first title in the series is 30 daily readings called Living a Balanced Life. These readings will cover your spiritual being, your relationship, your physical being, and gaining wisdom. Most importantly the last five devotionals focus on developing an action plan so you can make lasting change.

Download this Kindle book for only $2.99 at https://amzn.to/2H5fJZT
And, of course, you can always go back as far as 2009 in the online devotionals for free.

God bless,
Allen White


Monday, February 5, 2018

New King's Witness Study Guide

Hey Folks,

I know it's been a while since you've heard from me. To be honest, I have been so busy working with churches across the country that I have not been able to keep up with the devotionals. If you don't mind, I will keep you informed about things that might interest you from time to time.

You might be interested in the latest release: All In: The King's Witness study guide. This is an updated and revised version from the original I put out about 8 years ago (Could that be right?) It is available on Amazon.com if you are interested. (Click here to get your copy).

This study guide is great for both individual and group use. Groups can use this to learn a simple method of sharing the Gospel with others. It can also be used with new believers.

God bless,

Allen

Sunday, March 12, 2017

My New Book

Hey Folks,

Sorry you haven't heard from me in a while. I just published my first book, Exponential Groups: Unleashing Your Church's Potential with Hendrickson Publishers out of Boston. This is a pastor/church leader kind of a book, so if you are one, buy one. If you're not, then pick one up for your pastor and others. For the whole scoop and where to get a copy: exponentialgroupsbook.com

From Exponential Groups:
“Everyone is already in a group.
“When I saw “group,” something from years of church Bible studies comes to mind. You might protest that there are plenty of people who aren’t in groups like this. But it’s true. Everyone is already in a group, it’s just not the group you have in mind. People are in groups called families, friends, coworkers, neighbors, soccer moms, and many others. If your question is how are these church groups? I want to suggest you change your question to what can these groups do intentionally about their spiritual growth?”
— excerpt from the Introduction
               

Podcasts, Blog Posts, and Interviews about Exponential Groups:

From the Foreword by Chip Ingram:

“Allen offers practical insights and proven steps to start new groups in your church, whether you’ve been at groups for a long time or are just getting started. These are principles from the trenches, not unproven theories. What Allen has done in his own churches and in our church will work for your church as well. This isn’t a cookie cutter strategy that treats every church exactly the same. No two churches are really the same. The variety and flexibility you will discover in this book will help you make a custom fit for your congregation.”
Chip Ingram, Senior Pastor, Venture Church, Los Gatos, CA and Founder and President, Living on the Edge

What Others are Saying about Exponential Groups:

“Wouldn’t it be great to have ALL the people in our churches connected to groups in which they can do life together, learn about God, and encourage each other? The problem is that we might be standing in the way of that happening without even knowing it. If you want to learn how to empower your people to step up and serve, and effectively reach those outside of the church, pick up a copy of Exponential Groups by Allen White. Your people have the power to impact the lives of others for God in the long-term, and you can help them discover it.”
Greg Surratt, Founding Pastor,  Seacoast Church,   Mt. Pleasant, SC, President, ARC and  Author of Ir-Rev-Rend 
“Allen White eats, sleeps and breathes small groups and the strategies that help churches engage and connect their people.  His experience is rich, broad and deep, not only will his stories of success inspire you but his stories of what hasn’t worked will give you confidence in his advice.  If you are serious about groups this book will give you plenty to chew on and encouragement for the journey. “
Rick Rusaw, Lead Pastor, LifeBridge Christian Church, Longmont, CO and Author of The Neighboring Church and The Externally Focused Church

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Partners in Crime

By Allen White

My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.  Colossians 4:10-14

Paul lists quite a cast of characters here in his closing to this letter to the Colossian church. Paul’s ministry was always a team effort. While Paul is the most mentioned in the spread of the Gospel to Asia and Europe, he had many partners along the way. Paul couldn’t do it alone.

Aristarchus met Paul in Ephesus. As a result, Aristarchus and Gaius were arrested (Acts 19:28-30). He became Paul’s traveling companion from Troas to Jerusalem and then Jerusalem to Rome. He shared Paul’s imprisonment in Rome. Aristarchus was truly a ministry partner to the end.

Mark, also known as John Mark, was not always on the best of terms with Paul. In fact, in Acts 15:36-40, we see that Paul chose not to travel with Mark because Mark had abandoned them on a previous journey. In this letter, however, it appears that Paul and Mark had reconciled, and that Mark was back on the team.

Jesus called Justus, his Greek name, looked after Paul during his first imprisonment. We really don’t know much else about him.

Epaphras was actually the founder of the Colossian church. He had traveled to Rome to give Paul a report of the work in Colossae. But, during the visit, Epaphras was arrested and found himself imprisoned with Paul.

So, imagine this: a founding pastor goes on a trip and then doesn’t ever return. We find out later that he’s in prison. The church would be in distress. The pastor would be in distress. This was the situation that Epaphrus found himself in.

The Colossian church had to depend on mature believers to guide it along. Epaphrus’ constant role was to wrestle in prayer for them. Yet, look at how the Colossian church prospered. Paul began his letter by saying, “We always thank God…when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints” (Colossians 1:3-4). Christ, indeed, does build His Church (Matthew 16:18).

Dr. Luke is the author of both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. He joined Paul on his second missionary journey and accompanied Paul on the third journey as well.

Demas was in prison with Paul, but Demas’ story does not have a happy ending. According to 2 Timothy 4:10, “Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.” There is no record that Paul and Demas were ever reconciled.

It’s amazing to see all that Paul accomplished despite the fact that He was imprisoned. Some of us can barely function when we’re having a bad day, let alone finding ourselves behind bars. Yet, there is much hope in a passage like this.

Outcomes depend on God. It’s not all up to us. That certainly takes off a lot of pressure. Now, God expects us to be diligent and to work hard, but God is the one who produces the result (1 Corinthians 3:6).

Through a very difficult period of Paul’s life, God provided faithful co-workers and friends to stand by him. They encouraged Paul. They helped to continue the work. They prayed.

God’s work will continue. If our attitude is right and our hearts are open, God will continue to use us despite our situation.

What do you feel like solely depends on you? What do you think would be greatly handicapped if you weren’t involved? How much do you find yourself depending on God? How much do you depend on yourself? Who do you need to accomplish what is in front of you?

To make a tax deductible donation to Galatians 4:19 Ministries: http://joytotheworldfoundation.org/index.php?option=com_crowdfunding&view=details&id=1149-galations-419-ministries&catid=8-operating-projects&Itemid=10



Wednesday, May 18, 2016

God Doesn’t Just Erase Our Problems

By Allen White 


Tychicus is only mentioned about five times in Scripture. He was one of Paul’s companions on the final missionary journey before Paul’s arrest and imprisonment (Acts 20:1-4). Tychicus was given an important mission. He was to deliver the letter to the church, and then deliver a second letter to Philemon along with a runaway slave, Onesimus.

The evil of slavery is hard to reconcile. Maybe it shouldn’t be. Onesimus had fled Colossae and ended up in Rome. Somehow he had met Paul and became a Christian (Philemon 1:10-12).

Now, what we understand from Scripture is that in God’s economy, all believers are equal: Jew and Gentile, male and female, slave and free (Galatians 3:28). Even though Onesimus was now a believer, and even though he was very useful to Paul (Philemon 1:13-14), Onesimus was under obligation to Philemon.

For those who think that becoming a Christian causes all of your problems to go away, they just need to take one look at Onesimus to see that there are no exemptions. His eternity was secure. His temporal situation was still the same.

Paul’s hope was that Philemon would regard Onesimus differently. Now, they were brothers in Christ. (Philemon 1:15-21). The other side is that Onesimus would prove to be more useful to Philemon than he was previously (Philemon 1:11).

Now that we have a little background, let’s read this passage again:

Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.  Colossians 4:7-9

The outstanding feature of both men is that they were faithful. They were faithful to the cause of Christ. They were faithful to Paul.

Faithfulness reflects God’s character (1 Corinthians 1:9). In fact, it may only be possible through God’s work in our lives.

Who would call you faithful? Why might someone doubt your faithfulness? Our faithful God can do this work in our lives as we depend on His faithfulness to us.




To make a tax deductible donation to Galatians 4:19 Ministries: http://joytotheworldfoundation.org/index.php?option=com_crowdfunding&view=details&id=1149-galations-419-ministries&catid=8-operating-projects&Itemid=10


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Before You Add that Jesus Fish…

By Allen White

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5-6

Most servers in restaurants hate working on Sundays. It’s not so much that work interferes with their Sabbath. It’s the customers. You know them. You might be one. Yes, church people.

Church people are pretty obvious. Many are way overdressed to be relaxing on Sunday. This may be where Brookwood Church and similar churches have the advantage, since we don’t have a dress code. But, the after church dining time and the fried chicken orders still give us away.

The most obvious trait of church people is that they are poor tippers. Some are even heavy on the gospel tract, heavy on the complaints, and light on the tip. Ouch! (And, yet they wonder why they have to wait so long for a table…)

Over the years, I have had a number of friends who worked in restaurants. They hated it every Sunday. They would call in sick. They would feign death. They would get arrested on Saturday night, just to avoid encountering church people on Sunday. Okay, maybe they didn’t go that far, but you get the idea.

If we identify ourselves with Christ, then we need to show people what the Christ life is all about. If you are sporting a Jesus fish or a Brookwood tree on the back of your car, how’s your driving? Are you a courteous driver? (Please note: Letting 50 cars turn in front of you while you have traffic backed up for a mile is not courteous to the cars behind you. I’m just sayin’.) And, if you put the ICHTHUS on your business card, how would Jesus do business?

When Paul speaks of outsiders in this verse, he is talking about a hostile environment. Christians were very much the minority in the First Century A.D. The Romans had not embraced Christ at this point. Their interactions with outsiders weren’t just a matter of having a good testimony. Potentially, it was a matter of life and death. Did they act wisely? Did they give a good answer for their faith?

When I was much younger, I was afraid of having spiritual conversations with “outsiders.” I had no problem answering spiritual questions from believers. There was sort of a safety net. They were already “in,” if my answer wasn’t on par, then there was no fear of their eternal peril. But, non-believers were another matter.

If a non-believer asked me something, then I felt like I needed to fully answer their question, present the Romans Road, and close the deal before they could run away. But, what if I didn’t have a good answer? What if some doubt remained after our conversation? What if they passed into eternity and I hadn’t thoroughly prepared them? Panic.

Nowadays, I see things much differently. I understand that no one comes to Jesus unless the Father draws them (John 6:44). In that process, I am one tool in God’s toolbox. I am one link in the chain of conversations and events that will bring them into a relationship with Christ. Outcomes are up to God. They are certainly not up to me. I’m not that powerful (nor do I want to be).

But, even with the pressure off, we have a responsibility to outsiders. How can God use you to show His love to servers who wait on you? Do you offer to pray for your co-workers and neighbors? Do you lend a helping hand when you have the opportunity?


To make a tax deductible donation to Galatians 4:19 Ministries: http://joytotheworldfoundation.org/index.php?option=com_crowdfunding&view=details&id=1149-galations-419-ministries&catid=8-operating-projects&Itemid=10

Monday, May 16, 2016

My Brush with the Law

By Allen White

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Colossians 4:2-4

Paul amazes me. In this passage, he is asking for prayer for an open door. Then, he mentions that he’s actually imprisoned. My first thought is that the open door would be the prison door. But, Paul is more concerned with proclaiming the message clearly. Of course, his crime was proclaiming the message, so maybe he should have sought prayers for obscurity. I don’t know that I would have fared so well.

My picture appeared in the Greenville News a couple of years ago. Three other pedestrians and I were using a newly decommissioned crosswalk downtown. Technically, we were jaywalking. There was no big sign reading “Don’t cross here any more.” They just packed up the crosswalk signs, allowed the strips on the road to fade, and put up a couple of cones. There is a fine line between decommissioning and lack of maintenance. How were we to know? The photographer didn’t take my name, so I suppose that I am currently on the lam. Next time, I will cross at the corner now that I know it’s not a crosswalk. Whew! Glad to get that confession out there.

What I do freely in proclaiming the message of Christ, Paul did hard time for and with a good attitude. Paul’s secret was simply this: devote yourself to prayer. To devote, according to dictionary.com, is to apply oneself entirely to a particular activity. Paul instructed the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). How do you do that?

There are several ways. Some people will set alarms on their computer or phone calendars throughout the day to remind them to stop and pray. Others will establish short prayer times throughout the day. Some, rather than stop to think about something, will stop to pray about something. Rather than thinking, “That person irritates me. I just can’t seem to get my work done when she’s around,” pray this “Lord, I am having a hard time with this person. Help me to deal with them and get my work done.” Ask and you will receive (John 16:24).

My prayer is that Jeanne Brooks, the author of the Greenville News article, doesn’t read these devotionals. She could turn me in. What is the fine for jaywalking in ignorance? Besides I'm from Kansas. I wasn't jaywalking. I was Jayhawking!
  
To make a tax deductible donation to Galatians 4:19 Ministries: http://joytotheworldfoundation.org/index.php?option=com_crowdfunding&view=details&id=1149-galations-419-ministries&catid=8-operating-projects&Itemid=10