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Archive for September, 2011

 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”  “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip – John 1:45-46 (NIV)

“Come and see,” said Philip.

That was plain and simple.

He shared his personal encounter with Jesus with a friend.  His friend questioned the validity of Philip’s encounter.  Philip countered with: “Come and see.”

Imagine if we simply invited individuals to come and see.  Think long and hard about the last time that you simply invited an individual to join you for Bible study, prayer meeting, small group discussions or anything else related to church.  We evangelize through many methods and techniques, but at the core and essence of evangelism is the simple invitation for someone to just come on out and see what we are talking about as the church.

You don’t have to share a sermon or a special message.  Just invite an individual to come and see.

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Satisfaction Guarantee

15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. 16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. – Psalm 145:15-16 (NIV)

God offers each believer what he or she needs in this life.  He provides each and every one of us precisely what we need in order to sustain us.  The Lord does not promise us a surplus.  He promises us sufficiency.  He will deliver on all of His promises.

We need to accept the Lord at His promises.  We need to truly rely upon the Lord as our sole provider.  Anything that we do receive still has its genesis with the Lord our God.  Otherwise, we end up leaning on our own understanding.  That’s not faith.  That’s foolishness, far from wisdom.

When the Lord opens His hand, desires are satisfied.  Needs are met when the Lord opens things up.  No feelings or egos are bruised when the Lord our God opens His hand and provides for us.  Let us lean and depend on Him for all that we need and give Him both glory and praise for every blessing He bestows upon us.

 

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Bible Study Time

Study to shew thyself approved unto God,. . . – 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

Your faith needs to be centered around some understanding of who Jesus is.  Yes, you need to know Him by the power of the Holy Spirit.  After all, that is the work of the Holy Spirit to teach us and shares with us about Jesus the Christ.  We are to come to know Jesus as the Christ by the Holy Spirit with faith at hearing the Word of God.

So where does your Bible study time fit into all of this? You study the Bible to strengthen your relationship with the Lord.  Your receive the Word of God and accept it in faith as it washes and cleanses you in salvation, but you grow stronger in the Word after you have been saved as you spend some quality time studying His Word. 

You learn more and more about Jesus when you study the Word.  You learn what Jesus said and did.  You see Jesus in action, coming and going.  Your study of the Word should cause you to walk closer with the Lord due to the fact that the Lord is revealed through His Word and he is confirmed by His Word. 

What does the Holy Spirit use to show us the Lord? Watch as the Spirit confirms who Jesus is according to His Word.  You fall short of keeping up with Jesus when you fall short of fulfilling His commands.  We all do.  We need some real personal time with the Lord and His Word.

Once you have studied the Word of God, go to someone who is strong in His Word and seek some answers for clarity and understanding.  You need to make note of your questions as you study.  Use index cards, notebooks or something else to keep track of your questions related to your personal Bible study time.  Let those notes guide your discussion with your biblical mentor or tutor.

Treat Bible study just like any other type of study.  Use your reference materials; Bible dictionary, concordance, and other study tools.  Take notes.  Write them in whatever style works for you.  Get some answers from a trusted source.  Make it understandable for you.  Share with others.  Keep at it. 

Don’t confuse your devotional reading with Bible study.  Just take it in when you read it.  Take in and chew on it as you study.  When you study, try to observe what is in the text and see how it relates to other concepts or incidents in the Bible.  Take Bible study seriously.

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Learn of Him

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. – Matthew 11:29 (NIV)

The Lord beckons the believer to learn of Him.  He desires us to seek Him out.  He desires us to search Him out in the Scriptures.  He wants us to find rest for our souls as we discover more and more about Him.

Learning about Him should help each and every one of us to live more like Him.  Study His Word.  Find out more about Him.  Read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and discover what He says and what others have said about Him.  Read the epistles by Paul, Peter, John, James and Jude.  Find out how Christians should conduct themselves in the manner of Jesus Christ.

Learn more about Jesus and live more like Jesus. 

Read some Christian material that helps you learn more about Jesus.  Read Watchman Nee, Francis Chan, C.S. Lewis, Max Lucado, Charles Stanley, Martin Luther, and others who have written extensively on Jesus Christ.  Discover more about Jesus Christ.

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Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach.
Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!
– 1 Corinthians 9:16 (NIV)

 

The shame is on us as believers.

Yeah, I know.  You might disagree with me.  You may say that I am on one.  You can even say that I am headed down the wrong road.

You can argue against what I have to say all that you want to, folks.

You cannot argue against God or His Word.

For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.- Acts 4:20 (NIV)

And the gospel must first be published among all nations. – Mark 13:10 (NIV)

And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where. – Luke 9:6 (NIV)

And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.- Acts 8:25 (NIV)

And there they preached the gospel. – Acts 14:7 (NIV)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.- Romans 1:16 (NIV)

For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 1 Corinthians 1:17 (NIV)

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. – 1 Peter 1:25 (NIV)

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Show Me Your Faith

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. – James 2:18 (ESV)

James encouraged the church to demonstrate its faith.  He shared that it had to be more than lip service.  James wanted to see the church actually engaged in service.  He wanted to see them doing “good works.” The church is to serve as an example of good works, especially its leadership.

Look at the activism of the likes of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Adam Clayton Powell and other clergy.  Look at the martyrs of Christianity from the First Century church through today.  Consider the impact of individuals like William Penn and Mother Theresa.  The church has a long-standing history of showing its faith.

I am in the midst of reading Faith and Politics by former Senator John Danforth of Missouri.  Danforth is also an ordained Episcopalian priest.  I give Danforth credit that he never allowed his faith to dictate or dilute his service as a U.S. senator.  However, Danforth admits in Faith and Politics that the line between the two can never be certain or clear.  I love the quote below by Danforth as a means of understanding the fine line of faith and public service.

Most of all, faith brings recognition that our quest never leads us to certainty.  We are always uncertain, always in doubt that our way is God’s way.  That self-doubt makes it possible to be reconciled to one another.  It is a faith that makes the reconciling work of politics possible. – John Danforth

Perhaps, if we consider the Word of God as our guide, we will recognize that true faith requires us to depend on God.  We would definitely have to say so in regards to the political arena as well.  Social change and public policy may not be entirely left up to the Religious Right or the Moral Majority.  We have an agenda that predates any political platform or public policy.  God desires us to become a faithful force that brings about social change through good works based on the Good Book.

When we fully trust God, we will lay our burdens at His feet.  He wants His people living examples of what He has to offer all people.  He wants the church active and engaged.  We serve Him best when we serve others with the spiritual gifts that He has bestowed upon us through His Spirit.

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. – Ephesians 4:11-16 (ESV)

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And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19

You should expect some development on your way to your destiny.  That should be a given.

Jesus offered something unique to His disciples.  He invited them to follow Him, to leave their nets for fishing men and to become “fishers of men.” Jesus had something to offer these fishermen.

Jesus has something to offer every single Christian beyond a divine destination.  Jesus offers each and every one of us some development on the way to our destination.  He wants to make more out of us than we could ever imagine.

Let Jesus work on you.  Let Him develop you on your way to your destination.

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