Archive for the ‘works’ Category

Let God Use You

4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:4-6 (NIV)

God can choose you to use you.  He can sit on high and look down low towards the earth, seeking someone to use to work through to do many mighty works.  He knows all and sees all.  It is all within His power.

…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…

He chooses those who may be unwanted.  He goes about it in His own way, but He does it completely.  He leaves nothing for us to guess about when it comes to what he calls us to do.  We are to have faith and total reliance upon Him throughout the process until it is compete.  He wants us to hold on until He is done.

If we will let Him use us, He will:

  • Work on us
  • Work in us
  • Work through us

Let Him use you as he thoroughly furnishes you to do good works in His name.

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Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. – John 14:12 (ESV)

We have work to do.  We do not need to do this work because Jesus came and did many works.  We have great works to do because Jesus has gone to the Father.  We need to do such works as Jesus Christ.

We continue in the works that He began through His earthly ministry.  How? Just like Peter and the other apostles of Jesus Christ did.  Just as Paul did so.  Just as the early church did so.  We need to continue just as Jesus Christ started.

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:- Philippians 1:6 (KJV)

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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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Where are Your Works

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)

Could we have works without faith?

How about faith without works?

James, the brother of the Lord, wrote that he could show you my faith by my works.  He shares something profound with the believers of his own time as well as something prophetic for those of our times.  He threw out some realism on faith and works.  Of course, the entire epistle is like a tenth round uppercut.  It hits home.

Got faith? Where are your works? Stop talking and theorizing about the depths of your faith.  Do something.  Demonstrate your faith.  Aren’t those the examples that James used? He attacked social inequity and so-called faithful efforts such as prying for the poor rather than clothing and feeding the poor.  Praying for a poor and freezing brother can be done after you have provided for him.  Love your neighbor.  If your love doesn’t extend beyond your lips, what good is it? Is it really love?

Show your works.  Show your faith through your works.   Don’t just speak about it.  Do something about it.

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You are never strong enough that you don’t need help.”Cesar Chavez

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.- John 13:35 (NIV)

I recently sat down with a sister who provides services to the needy within our community to discuss how we can work together further.  She shared from her perspective and I echoed some of her same sentiments.  We agreed on one particular thing, though.  We agreed that the we could no longer operate in a spiritual silo, believing as if God has only called us to serve in this ministry and no one else.  That is what I call and consider a “spiritual silo.”

We have such silos existing in ministry, faith-based social services and outreach.  We claim to believe that God sent His Son to save the world from sin, that we have the truth,  and that we are called to share that truth with a world of unbelievers in His name.  If that is so, we would do like D.L. Moody once said and we all would be missionaries.  That isn’t our calling if we haven’t been called to do it and it may not be our calling alone.  I cannot imagine God allowing all of these congregations, churches, missions and all of these other entities to be open in His name and not have a part or role to play in this whole work of salvation, evangelism and outreach, even good works.

Get out of the mindset of spiritual siloism.  Climb out of that silo and start collaborating and coordinating with some other believers.  God has more to offer than you could imagine.  He can bring us together, humbling us and reminding us how much we need to work together in one accord to truly be in unity in His name.

Don’t know where to get started? Don’t know how?  Start simple by simply asking who does similar or complimentary work for the Lord in your community.  Then, once you have a list of names, pray over those names and seek God’s guidance on who to reach out to and spark a conversation centered around the work.  It’s a start.

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Seal Beach (La Jolla Cove) Art Poster Print - 11x17
Recently, I spent some time away at a training in the La Jolla area of San Diego.  Known for its picturesque beaches and scenery, this area makes one recall thatlife is a great adventure.  You begin to wonder how much of the adventure you have taken advantage of or simply avoided over the years.

Laminated Torrey Pines, La Jolla, California satellite poster photo view map print: 36"x24" glossyThe training refreshed me spiritually and otherwise.  Also, it renewed my vision and focus.  I even made a connection with an old friend who had been just as busy as I have lately.   We committed to getting together and making things happen for the benefit of our communities and the generation coming up after us.

All in all, I would have to say that it was truly time well spent.  I thank God for the opportunity to have been selected from among my peers to gain this training and experience as well as the responsibility to bring back what I have learned to the larger group.
Near La Jolla, California, Alligator Head Formation, ca. 1903 - Exceptional Print of a Vintage Photochrom Image from the Library of Congress Collection

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D. L. Moody: The Greatest Evangelist of the Nineteenth Century
“If we are all Christians, we shall all be missionaries.”- D.L. Moody

Missionaries are on a mission.  They go out and about, spreading the gospel and good works.  Some teach English in foreign lands while teaching the Bible.  Others conduct special projects through urban ministry.  Missionaries do the will of God by doing the works that God called them to do among those who believe and others who are in unbelief.  They serve the Lord by serving people.


Share your spiritual gifts and spread the gospel.

International Bulletin of Missionary ResearchThe Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of FaithThe Autobiography of A MissionaryWorks of Love Are Works of Peace: Mother Teresa and the Missionaraies of CharityChristians and Missionaries in India: Cross-Cultural Communication Since 1500William Carey: Obliged to Go (Christian Heroes: Then & Now)

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>BruceJackson > Blog Entries WritersCafe.org

Even the rap wannabe who will never be and the boy band reject who can o without American Idol and show that America (Don’t) Got to Talent can upload an MP3 and a video clip and be on his way to content gold.  He just has to add some Google Adsense or a few Amazon affiliate links, and then he’s all in there.

Read More at http://www.writerscafe.org/RevBruce/blogs/A-Lost-Art/12734/

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For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.- Luke 6:43-44 (ESV)

Check around you.  Look under your seat or in that junk drawer at home.  You may have some hidden fruit.  I said hidden fruit, not forbidden fruit.  I am speaking of the qualitative impact of your ministry or business on the lives of others.  These are the impacts that may not manifest on quarterly programmatic reports or become highlights or recaps during this year’s financial projections at the annual church business meeting.  They are the qualitative things that make a difference in the lives of the people that you serve.

You are known by your fruit.  Your fruit is evidence of the work that went into that project or that incident.  Your fruit can either be good or bad, but it says more about where it came from (more like “who” than “where”) than of itself.  You may not see it now, but you most probably have some hidden fruit somewhere that is still spreading its seeds around these days.

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25Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: 26And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
 – Acts 11:25-26 (KJV)

The Bible speaks of partnerships.  We are given numerous New Testament examples through Paul and Silas as well as Paul and Barnabas, Peter and John, and the Sons of Thunder, James and John.  However, the Old Testament gives us a few partnerships, too.  Moses and Aaron,  Jonathan and David, and Joshua and Caleb

In fact, the Bible expressly states that Barnabas went out looking for a man who he knew could help this group of new believers along with him.  They connected in a previous period where Barnabas had vouched for the brother in his own style as the Son of Encouragement.  Barnabas contacted Saul in Tarsus.  They both committed to the work, spending an entire year strengthening these “Christians” which is what they completed. Those are some starting blocks for building a partnership in ministry: connect, contact, commit and complete.  You all of these together and with each other in mind.

Partnerships bring about:

  • Blessings: whether it is pray or collateral, you need a partner who will be a blessing to you; you should serve as a blessing to your partner in business or ministry
  • Benefits: your partner may bring something to the table that you do not bring; you surely do not carry the entire weight of the burden alone when you have a partner
  • Bonds:  your partner builds a bond with you over time that strengthens your relationship; you see him as a brother beloved or her as a dear sister; the bond between the two of you is solid

A Bonus View of an OT Partnership:

6Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” – Numbers 14: 6-9 (NIV)

Joshua and Caleb seem to be a partnership that withstood some heavy opposition (Numbers 13, Numbers 14).  Imagine trying to hold on to what God says when the naysayers outnumber you and are convincing those who have authority over you.  Try as you might, both you and your partner can take a stand but neither of you can convince your Moses, the shepherd of your flock, to see what God is doing and can do for you and His people. In fact, it looks like speaking up could lead to your own doom.  Oddly enough, it appears that both Joshua and Caleb got a view of the on-the-job training of Moses and Aaron as they learned from God throughout the wilderness wanderings over those forty years.

In all of it, the people complained and condemned the two young men who had served as spies.  The people condemned them, but the Lord commended them and their belief.  Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.  The Lord spoke of the two being the only two of those spies and that generation over twenty to make it into the promised land.  For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.  Then, the Lord seals it all up with a simple narrative:  Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.

If you are facing opposition, build your partnerships where you can.  Find someone of similar or like faith on your job, in your ministry, at your church or in your network of friends and associates.  Pray to God to show you who He has in mind for you to walk in tandem with.  God doesn’t intend for you to take on every obstacle alone.  See how He is working on your behalf.  See Him at work in the midst of the misery and through the trials and tests.  Start seeking that person now.

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