Mike’s Movie Ministry

As I work with the teenage boys in my congregation at church, I often think about Mike.

When I was a teen myself, I was deeply attached to the media, and its messages led me to largely reject the faith I’d so recently embraced.  I didn’t go to church much, and wasn’t always kind towards efforts to reach out to me.

The biggest exception was Mike.  Mike was an older, divorced man in my ward at church.  One day, he called and asked if he could take me to a movie.  I thought it was odd, but hey…free movie.

We talked about the ideas in the film afterwards, and he took seriously my shallow, morose interpretation of things, without knocking them down as he easily could have.

Over the next several months, we got together a few more times.   Continue reading

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Idea for sharing the gospel with our less active friends

Like a lot of other people, I’m in the midst of creating a profile for the new mormon.org campaign.  The idea is that most people out there don’t know any Mormons well, and that factor is the single biggest determinant in whether or not someone’s receptive to hearing our message.  Therefore, the Church is sponsoring a mostly one-way social networking site where Latter-day Saints can post profiles and our future friends out there in cyberspace can start getting to know some of us. 

This is a great idea, and it gives me what I hope is also a great idea. 

We should have a similar site to reach out to inactive Church members. 

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The Teachings of the Bishop

I had the idea while I worked with our last bishop to keep a careful track of his teachings, saving my notes from ward conference and fifth Sunday combined lessons, his ward newsletter messages, etc.  It’s actually strange to think how relatively rarely we hear our bishops address us directly.  Sadly, I never got around to it, so now all I have are a few notes and my understanding of major themes from his ministry (emergency preparedness and priesthood leadership in the home, perhaps paramount). 

With a new bishop in place for about a month now, I’ll more diligently keep track of his teachings.  After all, we’re familiar with taking notes on General Conference and even stake conference, but how often do we keep and study notes on whatever our bishops–our primary, immediate leaders–counsel us to do?  We’re used to books about the teachings of prophets and general authorities, but if everybody is ultimately supposed to be a prophet (Numbers 11:29), and if the words of our priesthood leaders represent the Lord’s will to us (D&C 1:38), couldn’t we think of our local leaders in terms of what their collection of teachings to us would be?  (In fact, I used this as a discussion topic in a lesson once–shouldn’t all of us think of what the collection of our teachings would be like, or should be like, and minister accordingly?)

Abraham 1:2

One of my favorite scriptures is Abraham 1:2, which I think lays out a great plan for a life well lived, a life of active holiness.  Here’s the text:

And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.

 

There is an awful lot in there.  Consider the nature of the things Abraham set as his goals: he wanted emotional blessings (happiness and peace and rest), physical blessings (numerous posterity), mental blessings (great knowledge), and spiritual blessings (to be a follower of righteousness and a prince of peace). 

He tells us in this verse that he specifcally worked on these goals with certain activities that were designed to help him accomplish what he wanted, and that those exercises all boiled down to two things: keeping the commandments, and growing in the priesthood by utilizing it to perform ordinances for others (to “administer the blessings of the fathers”).  Continue reading

Disciples Of Jesus Christ Are Ministers

My last post reminded me of some notes I took once on an important lesson in the Book of Mormon; one of its primary themes, really.  Since my last post mentioned our obligation to “minister” to each other, I thought a more specific definition might be in order.  So, according to the Book of Mormon:

 

Disciples of Jesus Christ are ministers—3 Nephi 26:19

 

TO WHOM—“every people” and “every soul”–Alma 29:1-2

          “all men”–2 Nephi 26:27-28

 

WHERE and WHEN–“at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in”–Mosiah 18:9

 

WHY—responsibility—Jacob 1:19

          desire for the welfare of others—Jacob 2:3

          gratitude for salvation–Mosiah 27:29-33

          desire to share gifts with others—Alma 36:24

 

HOW—1 Nephi 15:25—exhort with energy to keep the commandments

          2 Nephi 33:3—pray for them daily

          Jarom 1:10-12—warn, teach, persuade, stir up to repent

          Mosiah 26:38-39—be obedient, teach, admonish each other

          Mosiah 27:33—console people, confirm faith

          Alma 4:19—stir up remembrance of duty, pull down pride, bear testimony

          Alma 48:19-20—serve, preach from scriptures, perform ordinances

          3 Nephi 6:20—teach and testify of the Atonement

          3 Nephi 18:16-21,25—pray for others; invite all to come in

          3 Nephi 23:14—teach doctrine from scriptures

          Moroni 6:4—fellowship, nourish, keep watchful

 

Jesus Christ Teaches Us How To Minister

ensignlp_nfo_o_175One of the great overlooked gems in the Book of Mormon is 3 Nephi 18, in which the Savior both ministers to his disciples and teaches them directly how to minister to others.  It’s a treasure trove of wisdom for all who would follow the Lord’s example in serving others, and more practical and succinct than any other such manual there is.

In verse 16, the Savior declares, “Behold, I am the light; I have set an example for you.”  Especially considering his directive soon thereafter that “the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do” (3 Nephi 27:21), this is clearly an injunction for observant disciples to take notes and “go and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:37).  So we need to pay attention both to what Jesus tells us to do and what he actually does himself, for both are to be guides for our own conduct. 

Verses 15 and 18 have the Savior telling us to pray always to escape the power of the devil.  Such admonitions are hardly rare in scripture.  We do ourselves a grave disservice if we don’t take seriously the warning that unless we inculcate a steady habit of fervent prayer in our lives, we risk straying into behaviors borne of temptations.  There is no hyperbole here: without prayer, we will lose the light within ourselves, and so cannot be in position to share it with others.

Verse 21 extends the primacy of prayer into the next realm: praying with our families.  Once we have prayer instilled as a wellspring of spirituality in our private devotions and in our family worship, we then pray with and for “any man…coming unto you” (3 Nephi 18:22), whom we’re commanded to welcome into our community as we “meet together oft.”  In verse 25 Jesus intensifies the counsel to allow all others into our meetings to pray with us by commanding that we go out and actively invite all in to “feel and see.” 

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