Friday, May 26, 2017
Thursday, May 25, 2017
A large portion of the call of God on my life is to enable people to become who God wants them to be. If they don't now Jesus, to make sure they are a child of God. If they do know Jesus, to help them fulfill their destiny and purpose. That is why I do this "thought for the day," my preaching, counseling and mentoring. Paul speaks about the need to desire to be all of this in 1 Timothy 3:1
"This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work."
Paul begins his outline of leadership in the church by using the phrase "desires the position." The word "desire" here means to long for, have a burning desire, great ambition, to achieve something or become something. Paul begins by saying that someone who is called to be a leader must possess a burning desire to be a leader.
One of the saddest and most frustrating things for me is to see is someone with great gifts, talent, ability, intellect, wisdom, love, or whatever exceptional trait they may have, sitting on it rather than using it. Having lots of gifts but being desireless is one of the saddest things I can imagine.
Not only does a desireless person rob themselves of the intimacy and promotion from the Lord, they could have by fulfilling their call, but they also can drag others down with them. Laziness is contagious but so is industry. We are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength yet the desireless person does none of this. They may, for a season, think about getting involved but thinking about getting involved and fulfilling God's passion for your life are two different things.
Without passion, burning desire in your heart, you will never rise above the mediocrity of life. If we only do what we see others doing, then we will never achieve greatness in our jobs, church, relationships, or lives. People will always want to pull down a rising star but God has called all of us to shine, and I believe to outshine the crowd of mediocrity. We need the ambition to do better, seek more, to not settle for anything less than God's best for our lives that affect everything from our jobs to our global impact.
It can feel exhausting to go for God's best. It can be frustrating to want to break out of the pack and be better than mediocre. However, desire is the key to fulfilling our destiny in every avenue of our lives. Jesus challenged us with "to whom much is given much required." Every person of faith has been given so much. The same Spirit that raised Christ lives in us. He can give us drive and passion, but we must want to want it first. If you are missing this "desire," don't wait any longer. Ask the Lord, and He will stir it within you. There are many holes in the church because people refuse to rise above mediocrity, but you can start today on the worship team, children's church, coaching, giving, helping, mentoring, using your construction, cooking, teaching and so many other skills that will also help others rise above it!
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Monday, May 22, 2017
Friday, May 19, 2017
We all know as Christians we must grow in our faith. If we stagnate we are actually going backward. If we are willing and open God will provide opportunities for us to grow in our faith every day, some small and others giant leaps. Jesus did this for the disciples. See if you have challenges like this in your life today.
Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” 6 He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. John 6:5,6
Jesus "saw" the crowd that is to say He assessed the size and makeup of the crowd accurately. Who knew exactly how large, how hungry, and the breakdown of the crowd. He turned specifically, we are told to Philip and asked a question. Jesus always knows the answer before he asks us anything so why did He ask Philip? Philip didn't know where he was in his faith.
Philip, like the other disciples, had seen Jesus heal the sick, cleanse lepers, and even raise the dead. He certainly had a level of faith. All of us have areas in our walk with Christ where we are strong. For us to become all the Lord wants for us we must grow strong even in our areas of insecurity, growing in our understanding of who Christ is in us. We must grow to understand the real power of the Holy Spirit in and through us. Like Philip Jesus will "test" us.
The word used for "test" means to prove, put through the fire, purify. It is best pictured as the way a blacksmith would test the metal of a sword for impurities. A sword may look strong but once it is placed in a fire the impurities are revealed. They can then be removed otherwise the impurities would have remained and sword while looking strong would easily have been broken.
God purposefully brings us into situations where we must be proven. He knows what we are made of, the impurities we have in us. He will walk us through faith growing situations to reveal to us our impurities so we might grow through them. He then turns a weakness into a strength.
Be thankful today for the growing and stretching situations you find yourself in. God will always be faithful to you and part of that is to help you "prove" the person you are and the person you will become!
Thursday, May 18, 2017
It is not always easy to present the Gospel. We are all supposed to do it but fear of failure, rejection stifle our attempts. Paul had a really bad experience but found a way to turn it all around.
"And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." 1 Corinthians 2:1, 2
Paul had just come off of his famous Mars hill discourse (Acts 17:16-34). He had talked to the Athenians about the "unknown God". By every sense of the word, it was brilliant. It was the perfect blend of contextualization, theology, and proper exegesis (a lot of fancy words to say any theologian or trained missionary would have been proud). The problem was it didn't work! Acts 17:32 "And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” Verse 34 tells us there was a small group from the massive crowd that did believe. So what happened?
Athens was a city full of supernatural power, demonic, but still, supernatural. In one temple prophets prophecied to every person who entered. In another, healings took place on a regular basis. The city was full of temples and supernatural occurrences were a common thing in Athens. The supernatural to the Athenians validated the truth that was being spoken. Paul had reverted to relying on his own strength of theology and had forgotten the key to this city was the demonstration the Spirit and power. As he is writing the Corinthians he corrects this mistake in verse 4 he makes this statement, "And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,"
To be effective in sharing the Gospel we have to not only understand what we believe and why we believe it. Paul was not discounting that but we must have the fruit of the Spirit (demonstration of the Spirit) and the power of the Spirit (gifts, actions) active in our ministry. In every meeting our church has, in every service I preach or teach, I expect God to move in power. We should always expect the Holy Spirit to show up. Our attitudes and character should always reflect the fruit of the Spirit and our actions the power. If you are filled with the Spirit you should expect the Spirit to flow in power through you and if you are filled with the Spirit God expects the fruit to flow through you too! This is truly the effective Gospel message.