"Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit."
Birth of Jesus
18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly. 20 As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “ Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. ” 22 Now all of this took place so that what the Lord had spoken through the prophet would be fulfilled:
( Emmanuel means “ God with us. ” )
24 When Joseph woke up, he did just as an angel from God commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he didn’t have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. Joseph called him Jesus.
People are searching for a church shaped and sustained by Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Faith Development, Risk-Taking Mission and Service, and Extravagant Generosity. These fundamental practices are critical to the success of congregations. Their presence and strength demonstrate congregational health, vitality, and fruitfulness. By repeating and improving these practices, churches fulfill their mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Robert Schnase astutely weaves theological insight, practical advice, and exemplary stories into an inspiring book for pastors and laity alike.
—L. Gregory Jones, Dean and Professor of Theology, Duke Divinity School
Robert Schnase’s words are thoughtful, provocative, and challenging. Any congregation will find encouragement and insight to deepen faithfulness and multiply fruitfulness.
—Lovett H. Weems, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Church Leadership, Wesley Theological Seminary
Stimulating. Challenging. Uniquely helpful. Bishop Schnase gives us powerful language, rich examples, and practical suggestions for fulfilling the mission God gives us.
—Janice Riggle Huie, Bishop of the Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church
Read the Circuit Rider Review of Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations by Kenneth H. Carter, Jr., senior pastor at Providence United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC.
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