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Archive for October, 2010

And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light.- Luke 16:8 (NLT)
Manga Messiah

 
I think about the recent terror scare regarding explosives discovered in packages destined for Jewish houses of worship.  It’s sent the world into a new frenzy of terror.  It has TSA and FedEx into a scurry about security along with everyone else from DHL and UPS as well as USPS.
 
Imagine if they weren’t Islamic terrorists.  What it they were evangelical extremists? I am talking about some Bible-thumping, gay-bashing, King James-only, moral flag wavers.  What if that was the case?
 
How quiet is it kept that hate crimes can be committed in the name of Christ just like Allah? How much of an uproar is stirred up when Christians blow up abortion clinics or attack others for their “sins?”  Paul said that we are all like “filthy rags.”
 
Where is the love?
 
The hate is evident.  It is surely visible.
 
Where is the love?
 
The fruit of the Spirit should be pouring out from us.
 
Think about it and be real honest with yourself.
 
What if the tables were turned?
 
Evangelical extremists? Could there be such a thing?
 
This year Halloween falls on a Sunday.  Don’t allow your congregation to fall prey to the subtle idolatry that may slip as “for the kids’ sake” or “just having some good, clean fun.”

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 In the beginning God…- Genesis 1:1 (NASB)
Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings

Trust me! I am being totally honest here.  The rest of this study will not take so long, but I must tread through this slowly.

Genesis starts with an opening phrase that presents God already in existence “in the beginning.” It does not presume Him to be existent.  It states that He was there “in the beginning.”

God was already on the scene “in the beginning.” Elohim was presentHenry M. Morris says that
Elohim, the “Creator” name of God, also speaks of God as “uni-plural.” John opened the first chapter of the Gospel that bears his name by stating that the Word was in the beginning with God and as God, and then restates it again in the second verse of the first chapter.  Therefore, we see that God’s existence from the beginning is necessary to establish the deity of Christ (the Word) for the Gospel of John that was written so that people would believe in Him.

Belief is critical at this point.  There is no middle of the road here.  You either believe that God exists or you do not.  You either believe in a big bang theory or a big “G” (God) theologyThe Bible is not seeking to prove God’s existence.  The Bible affirms our notion of a “higher power” being more than something.  No, it is someone.  It is the OneIt is the true and living God.  It is ElohimIt is the triune God.

From the very beginning, the Bible requires that you believe God to be true or it’s not even worth continuing to read.

*From Eden to Egypt is a series for Life Path Ministries by Rev. Bruce Jackson that chronicles a daily study and reading of the Book of Genesis and The Genesis Record by Henry M. Morris.

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23  Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, 24 for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations? 

Pro. 27:23-24 (ESV)

Tom Peters named it “Management By Walking Around.” It sounds silly.  It seems like it is something that everyone should do.  Unfortunately, most do not do it.  In fact, many do not do it at all.  Peters dubbed it the “technology of the obvious.”

How well do you know the condition of your flock?Is it your ministry team? When was the last time that you saw Sister Fletcher’s husband at church? Was it before he was laid off or not? Think hard.  Can you recall?

Have you kept tabs on Brother Edwards? He used to be one of your most faithful and devout Sunday school teachers.  Have you sent a card? Have you paid a visit? Since when?

Why hasn’t Anne Marie sung a solo lately? Is she back on the streets? Is she back on drugs? Is she hooking again?

How would you know the answers to any of these questions if you have lost touch with your flock?

Develop a means for leading God’s people beyond a set schedule of meetings and appointments.  Carve out time for “pastoral care” that includes home visits as well as lunches and coffee breaks with members and ministry leaders throughout the week. Be sure to reserve some time for drop-in emergencies.  You never know when Ann Marie may come on her own.  It would be a shame if she was turned away because you were too busy or she didn’t have an appointment scheduled.

Know the condition of your flock.
Pay attention to those under your pastoral care and leadership.
Stay in touch with them and love them as if they were your own.

“The true shepherd spirit is an amalgam of many precious graces. He is hot with zeal, but he is not fiery with passion. He is gentle, and yet he rules his class. He is loving, but he does not wink at sin. He has power over the lambs, but he is not domineering or sharp. He has cheerfulness, but not levity; freedom, but not license; solemnity, but not gloom.” Charles H. Spurgeon

 

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The ESV Study Bible
I am captivated every single time I read it.
I crack open my Bible and thumb through cheese-cloth thin pages that crinkle like crisp dollar bills as I pass over the preliminary pages.  I bypass the pages that tell of the inerrant and infallibe of God’s Word handed down from heaven by His Holy Spirit that allowed power to work through divinely-inspired men that led to the Council of Nicea and other gatherings of rulers and rule-makers alike that led to the creation and compilation of the Bible as we know it today. 
That’s when the words hit me.
In the beginning. . .
 
They seem to linger in mid-air somewhere just above my grasp.  They don’t drift or stray.  They just hang there in some solitary space perfectly fit to between understanding and faith.  They are wedged between belief and some alternative instinct that leads me to desire to fully understand something by laying out as much as evidence and facts as possible to arrive at a solution.
In the beginning. . .
 
Was that in the beginning as far as I can remember? Or, are you talking about in the beginning in reference to some time even prior to Moses’ being born in the midst of a cruel regime of Egyptian bondage or Noah even entertained the Lord’s leading of building an ark?
In the beginning. . .
 
No matter how you look at it, “In the beginning” works for Genesis since it means “origin.”  It is the story of creation.  The family line of Adam stems from the beginning. The animal kingdom initiates in the beginning.  Everything comes out of the creation, which marks our very beginning.
Awe seems to sink into my members as I settle in for the ride of a lifetime.  I have restarted with Genesis again as many times before.  As I restart reading God’s Word again, I restart from the same famed verse and very simple prepositional phrase that says so much in three little words.
In the beginning. . .

*From Eden to Egypt is a series for Life Path Ministries by Rev. Bruce Jackson that chronicles a daily study and reading of the Book of Genesis and The Genesis Record by Henry M. Morris.

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“Opportunity exists where you find it.” – John C. Maxwell
Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently

Find your own opportunities.  Don’t wait on someone else.  They won’t knock on your door.  They won’t yell out and beckon you unto them.  You’ll have to search and seek them out.

Some will be obvious.  They’ll be right before your face.  They may be sitting right in your own backyard.  You will simply have to recognize them as opportunities.

Some will be more obscure.  They may appear to be obstacles or challenges.  Yet, you will discover an opportunity to put your talent and skills to work on discovering a solution.

Some will need to be created. When I didn’t find much success in peddling my self-published books through online resources, I decided to turn my lessons learned into resources that drew people into me.  I wrote a blog and published a newsletter where I could get people’s attention and inform them about tidbits of what I had already published and what I was currently working on with my writing.  it does work, but I had to find a way to make the opportunity work out for me.

Find your opportunities today.

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“I shape my own destiny.” – Laurie Beth Jones
Your special events are only as special as you make them.  Sadly, if your approach and attention to your special events resemble your regular routine, then you need to assess your readiness to make it a success.  You make special events a success by making them special.  You make them special by adjusting your approach to them.
  • Preparation: How you prepare will impact how you perform.  If you are lackluster in preparation, don’t expect to tap into some hidden gem of enthusiasm and energy that wasn’t present before it is time to perform.  Go full strength with your preparations.
  • Promotion: You have to talk it up and take it up a notch. You are to talk it up to get others talking about what’s coming.  If you don’t show any enthusiasm about what you are putting on, then you won’t see many people rushing to get there.  Talk it up and take it up.  Introduce something new.  Innovate it.  Put a new spin on an old idea. Let it wow your audience.
  • Presentation: Small budgets don’t have make your events small-scale ventures. Get others to partner and support your efforts.  Look at your vendors for discounts.  Do you always use the same caterers or order from the same local restaurants? Ask for a discount and offer premiere signage.  See where you can cut costs without cutting corners.  Keep your presentation flawless and fantastic.
Remember: You shape your own destiny.

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You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. – James 4:2 (ESV)
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. – James 4:3 (ESV)
Praying with the Psalms: A Year of Daily Prayers and Reflections on the Words of David
Our daily agenda should include prayer.  Our daily routine will simply become mundane with the exception of life-giving prayer.  Daily, we need to take our desires and concerns to Lord in supplication and petition with thanksgiving, seeking Him for all that we need.  Believers need to simply believe in a prayer-hearing God.
God has all that we need.  Do we ask of Him.  God can supply us beyond our own belief.  Do we take our concerns to Him in earnest and ferverent prayer? God is open and available to us.  Do we go to Him with the petitions of our hearts?

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