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Archive for January, 2012

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

– Titus 2:1-8 (ESV)

Paul shares some sincere instructions with Titus.  He urges Titus to not simply preach the Good News.  He encourages the man of God to teach what accords with sound doctrine.  In doing so, Paul also urges Titus to engage others to teach others by example.  He shares how the church is an intergenerational conglomerate of men and women of various ages who need to show each other and see each other, even their pastor, as a pattern of good works.

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us

Let mentoring serve as part of the foundation of your ministry.  People come into the church all sorts of ways.  They accept Christ at special events or during outreach efforts.  They accept Christ as their Lord and Savior on street corners or during worship services.  People come to Jesus by the work of the Holy Spirit, but they come to understand their new life in Christ through the mentoring and discipleship provided by the church’s leadership and laity.

The Lord instructed His disciples to make disciples.  That was the basis of the Great Commission.  He did not say for them to recruit members or stand in judgment of people.  He said for the church, His body, to make disciples by teaching and admonishing new converts in what He had taught them.  That’s what happened after Pentecost.  The people continued in the doctrine of the apostles.  That means that they accepted and applied the teachings of the apostles into their own daily lives.

Let’s mentor more.  Let’s model more.  Let’s make more disciples.
“We do not consider soul winning to be accomplished by hurriedly inscribing more names upon our church-roll, in order to show a good increase at the end of the year.” – C.H. Spurgeon

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“Accept God’s will in every situation.” – Andrew Murray
Things happen.  If you read it on a bumper sticker, you would probably get another version of what happens.  We just have to come to grips with the reality and fact of the matter.  Things just happen.
Things happen that are out of our control.  Things happen that are caused by our bad decisions.  Things happen because of what do or don’t do, what we say or fail to say.  Things happen.
We have to learn to accept God’s will.  We cannot simply toss around the notion that Satan is out to get us every time that we come across an uneasy situation.  We have to realize that God’s will is perfect.  He allows things to happen, even to us as his children, so that He may get the glory in the outcome.  He is always at work.  He may be working on us before He ever works it out in our favor.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trialsJames 1:2 (NASB)
God is able to work everything out.  He has a plan that is carried out through His will.  Both are perfect.  His will is perfect and so is His plan.  How He works it out will work together for our good and His glory.
 

Read God’s Plans for You by Andrew Murray and discover some of the unique things that God desires you to through your life and your ministry for His glory.

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 “I have given you an example, that ye also should do even as I have done to you.”—John 13:15

We should live like Christ.  We should do just as He showed us how to do.  He gave us an example to live by.  That was the whole WWJD craze.  We had it printed on t-shirts and wristbands, even engraved on Bible covers.

Just do like Jesus.  Be like Jesus.  Take up your cross daily and submit yourself to the Lord for His sake.

Will it be easy? See how Isaiah describes His works and wonders for our salvation.

  Who has believed what he has heard from us?
  And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
  and like a root out of dry ground;
 he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
  and no beauty that we should desire him.
 He was despised and rejected by men;
  a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
 and as one from whom men hide their faces
  he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
 Surely he has borne our griefs
  and carried our sorrows;
 yet we esteemed him stricken,
  smitten by God, and afflicted.
 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
  he was crushed for our iniquities;
 upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
  and with his wounds we are healed.
 All we like sheep have gone astray;
  we have turned—every one—to his own way;
 and the LORD has laid on him
  the iniquity of us all.
 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
  yet he opened not his mouth;
 like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
  and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
  so he opened not his mouth.
 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
  and as for his generation, who considered
 that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
  stricken for the transgression of my people?
 And they made his grave with the wicked
  and with a rich man in his death,
 although he had done no violence,
  and there was no deceit in his mouth.
 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
  he has put him to grief;
 when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
  he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
 the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
 by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
  make many to be accounted righteous,
  and he shall bear their iniquities.
 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
  and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
 because he poured out his soul to death
  and was numbered with the transgressors;
 yet he bore the sin of many,
  and makes intercession for the transgressors.
  
– Isaiah 53 (ESV)

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2 Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth!
   For the LORD has spoken:
“I reared children and brought them up,
   but they have rebelled against me.
3 The ox knows its master,
   the donkey its owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
   my people do not understand.”
– Isaiah 1:1-3 (NIV)

 

The prophet is a messenger from God.  He shares the Lord’s message for the Lord’s people.  He echoes the words of God for His people.  He embodies the message.  He spreads the message.  He pleads with the people to turn back to God and make things right with God.

The prophet’s assignment may be for a season or a lifetime.  The prophet may see the people undergo countless tests and trials that can bring him to tears.  Or, he can pronounce the coming of judgment on the horizon.  The prophet might remind or rebuke.  He might offer hope or damnation.  It’s not up to the prophet.  It’s all in the hands of God.

The prophet stands before the people, but He is God’s man.  He calls upon the people to live holy lives dedicated and devoted to God.  He is heard by some, but he surely is hated and despised by many.

Ask Jeremiah.  Check with Isaiah.  See what Ezekiel or Joel would say.  Go to Haggai or Zephaniah.  Each one of these and others will share the challenge of being the prophet of God.  Obviously, there is nothing minor about being a prophet in biblical times or nowadays.

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Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. – Matthew 7:20 (KJV)

The world knows some things about Christians.  The world knows what they hear about Christians.  The world knows what Christians say about themselves and their beliefs.  The world knows when what we say and do fail to match up with one another.

Multiply that by one hundred when it is revealed that you are a Christian in business.

You can run a small business or run a faith-based nonprofit agency.  It doesn’t matter.  The world knows what the world knows.

  • Develop business practices that are in line with and based upon the Scriptures
  • Keep God’s Word as your daily guide; read Proverbs or Psalms daily
  • Evaluate your words and deeds by what the Lord says in His Word

Don’t forget that the world knows you by your fruits.

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It’s Wednesday night.  You can see them coming into the sanctuary.  They have been beaten down and broken down by the business of the day.  The boss didn’t understand.  The kids aren’t listening.  The neighbors don’t care.  You’re the shepherd of the house of God and this worn-out flock.  What do you do?
Offer that lengthy sermon that God laid on your heart late last night? How about that solo that Sister Moore promised to sing once she recovered from tonsillitis? Maybe you can ask Brother Deacon to read the church’s treasury report and just ask for an offering, then send them on their way.
“Short prayers are long enough,” C.H. Spurgeon said.
That sounds right on time.  Inspire them as they sit and listen to you call on God for their sakes.  Lift their spirits with a brief calling upon the Almighty.  Share in prayer.
Don’t drag it out.  Don’t drag it on.  Just say a short prayer.
Lead into it with an anecdote or a summation of what a hectic day may have entailed for some of your congregants.  Start with a story, then say a short prayer.  Send them home lifted up by your prayer and encouraged to know that the man of God is in prayer for them, not just looking for their tithes and offerings or volunteer time.

By the way, that lengthy sermon may have been meant more for you and your own edification than a bunch of busy people who came to church in the middle of week.

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To the only wise God our Saviour, [be] glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. – Jude 1:25

Jude, the brother of James and the Lord Jesus Christ, wrote these final words in his stirring epistle about contending for the faithJude wraps things up by giving glory to God.  He talked about the evil of mankind in the past, even the angels who did not keep their station and did evil, and of the evil that men would still do on earth.  He points them out, so that other believers will recognize them for exactly what they are.  Yet, after all that he says about evil, he takes the two final verses of the epistle to give God glory.

Starting at verse 24, Jude writes an inspiring conclusion to the entire epistle.  It must be inspiring.  We use it as a benediction, closing our worship hour as we echo his words with eloquence.  It stirs our spirits.  We recite the words of Jude that we have committed to memory and we share them with our congregations.  In the words of Matthew Henry, “The apostle concludes this epistle with a solemn ascription of glory to the great God.”

It fits.  The verses seem to have been laid in just the right place.  They seem fitted precisely in the perfect position.  They appear nestled in the best place possible, especially after reading of all of the horrific things done throughout the ages.

We should glorify God if we contend for the faith.  God will get more glory from our adherence to the tenets of our faith rather than the words of our mouths.  We can give God glory through what we do more than what we say.  We can profess Him by what we produce rather than what we proclaim.

Jude shared what he had to say so that others would uphold the faith.  He did not hold back one bit.  He let it fly with both barrels blazing.  When the smoke finally cleared, he gave glory to God.

Put your faith into action.  Give God the glory.

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