Friday, March 30, 2012

The Wonderful Someone

"It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." John 16:7, KJV

The very promise Jesus gave us contains a name for the Holy Spirit that reveals the uniqueness of His nearness in our loneliness. This name, "Comforter," is equally translated from the Greek text into six other names, each of which describes a slightly different aspect of the Holy Spirit's precious, personal ministry in our lives:

Comforter: One Who relieves of mental distress

Counselor: One Who gives advice and manages causes

Helper: One Who furnishes relief or support

 Intercessor: One Who acts between parties to reconcile differences.

Advocate: One Who pleads the cause of another.

Strengthener: One Who causes strength and endurance

Standby: One Who can be always relied upon

Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to have Someone with these attributes in your life? If you belong to Jesus, you do have that wonderful Someone. You have the Holy Spirit.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Suitable Helper

Wives, submit to your own husbands. . . . Husbands, love your wives.  Colossians 3:18-19, NKJV

God created them male and female. The primary reason for woman's creation was not to produce children or provide sexual satisfaction or to keep the home but for the mutual happiness of man and woman. Like the Father of the bride, God Himself brought Eve to Adam.

There is not only an equality but a diversity between men and women. Eve was as different from Adam as Adam was different from Eve. But the differences were complementary. Because of the emotional and physical differences, Eve would supply what Adam lacked, and Adam would supply what Eve lacked. Eve would complete Adam as a "helper suitable for him" (Gen. 2:18, NIV). The same Hebrew word used for "helper" in this instance is used again in Psalm 46:1 when it describes God Himself as being "our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Rather than implying that Eve was somehow less because she was a helper, this term describes her godly characteristic of support for Adam.


Monday, March 26, 2012

The Sound of His Voice

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27, NKJV

The Eastern shepherd of Jesus' day raised his sheep primarily in the Judean uplands. The countryside was rocky, hilly, and creased with deep crevices and ravines. Patches of grass were sparse. So the shepherd had to establish a personal relationship with each sheep, nurturing its love and trust in order to lead it to where the path was the smoothest, the grass was the greenest, the water was the cleanest, and the nights were the safest. The shepherd always led the sheep. He knew their names, and when he called them, they recognized his voice and, followed him. When he stopped, the sheep huddled closely around him, pressing against his legs. Their personal relationship with him was based on his voice, which they knew and trusted.

The Bible describes our relationship with Jesus as being similar to the relationship between the Eastern shepherd and his sheep - a relationship based on the sound of His voice. And make no mistake about it, His voice is God's Word, the Holy Bible.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Greater than We Think

His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.   2 Peter 1:3, NKJV

God is bigger than we think and greater than we think.
Nothing is beyond His ability, whether it's.....

a problem to solve,

a marriage to reconcile,

a memory to heal,

a guilty conscience to cleanse,

a sin to forgive,

a business to save,

a budget to stretch,

another mouth to feed,

or anything else we could name.

All are within His power to "fix." He is more than able to sustain your marriage and your ministry, your faith and your finances, your hope and your health.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Learning the Art of Forgiveness

"Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us" (Luke 11:4).

"I'm sorry for speaking to you harshly last night," I said. Then the Holy Spirit reminded me to add the second and most important part of my admission. "Will you forgive me?" Without this request we have only partially repented of our sin. It is important to humble ourselves before those we sin against. This is repentance. If we only say we are sorry we are only stating remorse for our actions.

Jesus modeled this in the Lords Prayer: "Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us" (Luke 11:4). When I owned my music store I once filed a lawsuit against a client who refused to pay a $140,000 bill. However, the Lord instructed me that because I had also sinned in the situation, I was to drop the suit. My next move was to talk to my former client. I tried phoning him, but he wouldn't return my calls. Finally, I reached his secretary and said, "I want you to take this message down and give it to your boss, word for word - no changes: 'I have sinned against you. I know that I don't deserve your forgiveness, but I ask your forgiveness for filing the lawsuit against you. You are no longer obligated to pay the balance you owe me if you don't feel you owe it.'"

I could hear the secretary begin to cry on the other end of the line. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. About an hour later, my former client called. We hadn't spoken for six months. We reconciled the relationship.

The next few years were incredibly difficult because of the financial setback I suffered, but God provided for my needs. Looking back, I realize that this was my Judas Test. I passed the test when I let go of my resentment and asked to be forgiven, and God was glorified in the situation.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Invite the World!

In My Father's house are many mansions. John 14:2, NKJV

Heaven is a big place! "In my Father's house are many mansions" - room enough for anyone and everyone who chooses to be a member of God's family! 

So please feel free to invite your entire family - including in-laws and out-laws,

every one of your friends,

all of your neighbors,

 the total population of your city,

your state, your nation -

everybody in the whole wide world!

Heaven is a great big place where all are invited to come!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Know Your Armor

"David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. 'I cannot go in these,' he said to Saul, 'because I am not used to them.' So he took them off." (1 Samuel 17:39).

David, the young shepherd boy, heard the challenge from the Philistines to send someone to fight Goliath. No one volunteered to fight except David. King Saul reluctantly agreed and offered David his armor. David put on the weighty equipment, but quickly concluded he could not fight in this heavy armor. He gave it back to King Saul.

God equips each of us in such a way that is unique to our strengths and abilities. David knew who he was and who he wasn't. David was trained as a shepherd to use another weapon. For David, it was a slingshot. David showed great maturity in realizing he could not be effective with Saul's armor.
What are the gifts and talents God has given to you? Have you ever tried to accomplish a task with tools you were not trained to use? God allows each of us to develop skills that are unique to our life. He will not call you to use someone else's tools. 

However, this is only half of the equation. These talents must be mixed with faith. Talent alone is not enough. Faith alone is not enough. It is only when the two are combined that God's power is released and manifested in the physical realm. 

Sometimes we admire the talents of others and seek to emulate them. The temptation arises to be someone we are not. This is a mistake. Let God live His life through the unique you.
Then, mix your unique gifts with faith today; you will be surprised at the power of God that will be manifested. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Call Him "Abba"

You received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba," Father.   Romans 8:15, NIV

What makes you and me think we can do without a personal prayer life? It's through prayer that we come into a personal, intimate relationship with our heavenly Father.

Do you long to have a closer relationship with God, but you don't feel worthy? Are you convinced you are a nobody and therefore would never be accepted, much less welcomed, into His presence?

Praise God! Our entrance into His presence is not based on our own worthiness but on the worthiness of Jesus Christ! When we enter God's presence in Jesus' name, we are as accepted by God as Jesus is, because God counts us as His own dear children!

Jesus invites you and me, in His name, to come into His Father's presence through prayer, crawl up into His lap by faith, put our head on His shoulder of strength, feel His loving arms of protection around us, call Him "Abba" Daddy, and pour out our hearts to Him.


Friday, March 16, 2012

In God's Timing

  To an eagle, timing is everything. There's a time to build a nest. There's a time to hatch an egg. There's a time to feed the baby eaglet. And there's a time to say "enough is enough" and teach the feathered food compactor how to fly! At this point the mother eagle wraps her mighty talons around the young freeloader for his first lift-off from the comfortable confines of the feathered nest. Mother will soar about two miles high while clutching her horrified baggage. When the time is right she will retract her muscular claws and for the first time ever the young eaglet is on his own, free falling, tumbling, screaming, and facing certain death as the ground quickly approaches. But, at the perfect moment, the mother will tuck her wings and make a beeline for the panicky kid. She will zoom past the tumbling feather ball, level off, spread her huge wings, and catch the mass of frantic foul on her back. This routine is practiced over and over until, at last, the young eaglet learns to fly.

With this illustration God reminded Moses, "I've held you up on eagles' wings and brought you to myself." What's true about the eagle is true about God: timing is everything. His majestic moves are precise and calculated. But whereas He may be swift to save, one truth remains, God is never in a hurry. His creation points to the evidence: towering redwoods stand guard for centuries, blue-ice glaciers carve rock mosaics by the millennia, our sun's fuel tank has enough gases to burn 3 billion years. God is simply not in a hurry.

It's not as though He can't go at a faster clip. After all, it only took him six days to create an entire universe. I've had relatives stay longer than that! But God's dealings with mankind have always been in real time, or slower. His travels with us are never on "fast forward" but rather on "play," "slow motion," or (worse) "pause."

*Noah was assigned a building project. Estimated time of completion? 100 years. (slow motion)

*Abraham waited 25 years for a promised baby son. (slow motion)

*Joseph spent 13 years in slavery because of his jealous brothers. (pause)

*For years the sons of Israel begged God for deliverance from Egypt. (pause)

*God raised up Moses to deliver Israel, but only after the patriarch was 80 years old. (slow motion)

*David ran for his life for 11 years because of an insecure king. (slow motion)

*Israel spent 70 years in captivity to learn a lesson. (pause)

God will not be rushed.

On this point God and I rarely see eye-to-eye. Patience has never been my long suit. This is nothing new to Him. My prayers have been filled with complaints on the subject. I'm terrified because "with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." I'm usually willing to wait 24 hours, but 8,760,000 hours? I don't think so!

Perhaps I'm not alone in trying to hurry God. Ever tried to set a fire under His throne? Tell me when I poke a familiar nerve: A long illness, an overdue pay raise or promotion, a smoldering church feud, a perpetual critic, a wayward child, a divisive staff member, a family problem, an undisciplined disciple, a belligerent neighbor, unanswered prayer, waiting for the church to take off as other churches do... am I getting warm? Why isn't God as concerned as we are?

From the patriarchs of old, to the disciples of today, God's leaders have always asked the same questions, "When, Lord? Why not now?" Yet, to paraphrase His answer to Isaiah, "My timing is not your timing, neither are your deadlines my deadlines."

For at the perfect moment did not...

*Abraham, with a knife raised in his trembling hand, see a ram caught in the thicket?

*Joseph, with no hope of parole, go from an inmate on death row to be prime minister of Egypt?

*Moses, with Pharaoh's chariots closing in fast, watch as God opened the waters?

*David, with a bounty on his head, ultimately wear the crown of Israel?

Jesus, who spent 30 years preparing for a 3-year ministry, knew something about timing. He exhibited poise and patience in every phase of His demanding work. His pressures would have crushed any team of Fortune 500's. It appeared His hand-picked successors would never catch on. But he was never rushed, never preoccupied with the day's frantic pace. He was, as His father, never in a hurry.

Timing is everything. Our timing is to wait on His. And like the mother eagle, God may let us free fall, but He's never lost one of His kids yet.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I can't believe you think that!

"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom" (James 3:13-14). 

"I can't believe you think that," I complained. "I was simply trying to explain that I don't have the same feelings about that issue as you do." The other person's response left little empathy for my position because of the tone in which I had responded. We resigned ourselves to agree to disagree. 

We all see things through our own set of glasses at times. Men view things differently than women. Bosses see things differently than employees. One ethnic group will see a situation totally different than another. Our life experiences, our past treatment of circumstances and our personalities all contribute to how we view situations in daily life. 

Perception is often each person's reality whether that reality is true or not. Your perception of a situation is going to dictate your response more than the actual reality of it. 

Whenever conflict arises from viewing things differently there is really only one way to resolve the difference. Usually the other person is offended by the tone of the other more than the position that is taken. If the other person is offended, we can only offer a few words: "I'm sorry. Will you forgive me for my tone?" 

Humbling ourselves is the only way to resolve the relational breach. This does not mean you must agree with the other person's position, it simply means you acknowledge their right to their position and you apologize for the manner in which you responded to their statements. This will usually allow most conflicts to avoid a breach in the relationship. 

Is there someone you need to seek forgiveness from for taking an adversarial position?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Appearing to the Little Child

"At that time Jesus said, 'I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure'" (Matt 11:25-26).

It was a typical Sunday morning church service. Twelve-year old Jordan was deaf. She was the daughter of the pastor and took her regular first row seat opposite her mother across the isle. She liked to sit with her friend on the front row even though she could not understand the message without a sign language interpreter. On this day, there was no interpreter for the service. However, sitting next to her were her friend and her friend's mother, and they both knew sign language.

They often had visiting preachers at their church. This day, the visiting preacher asked people to come forward to be prayed for. The message that day was on "Getting into the River of God."

Jordan asked her friend if she saw what she was seeing. Jordan's friend asked, "See what?" Jordan replied, "The angels and Jesus!" The friend said, "Where?" Jordan again pointed to the platform. "There! By the guitar!"

It was then that her mother saw the girls talking. Pattie knew her daughter was seeing something because of her face and her reactions. Jordan never took her eyes off the platform. Jordan began describing what she was seeing to her friend's mother who then began telling Jordan's mother what she was seeing. Jordan was seeing Jesus on the stage and a host of angels surrounding Him. Jordan described the scene in every detail. As Jordan looked on the stage at Jesus who was standing behind the minister, Jesus looked back at her and signed to her, "I love you."

Jesus appeared often to the disciples after His resurrection. Over the centuries, there have been reports of personal appearances of Jesus to both believing and unbelieving individuals.

Saturday, March 10, 2012






The Bible says;

" I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." 1 John 5:13

Another question to consider is: Suppose you were standing before God right now and He asked you, " Why should I let you into My heaven?" What do you think you would say?

You may not know what you would say. But... You can know, because
God loves you and has a purpose for your life.

The Bible Says;

" For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16


* We receive eternal life as a free gift.
" For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6: 23
* We can live a full and meaningful life right now.
" A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance. John 10:10
* We will spend eternity with Jesus in Heaven.
" If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also." John 14:3


Yet... Our sinful nature keeps us from fulfilling God's purpose for our lives. Thus...


* We are all sinners by nature and by choice.
" For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
We cannot save ourselves.
" not from works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:9
We deserve death.
" For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23
It is true that: God is holy and just and must punish sin, yet He loves us and has provided forgiveness for our sin. 

Jesus said,
" I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
The good news is that God has provided for the forgiveness of our sins.

* Jesus is God and became man.
" In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1
" The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14
* Jesus died for us on the cross.
" For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God, after being put to death in the fleshly realm but made alive in the spiritual realm." 1 Peter 3:18
* Jesus was resurrected from the dead.
"He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification."
Romans 4:25

That is good news, but the only way Jesus can affect our lives is for us to receive Him.

The Bible says;
" But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name," John 1:12
The choice is ours. Thus...

It is as simple as A-B-C
A. ADMIT- Admit to God that you are a sinner. Repent, turning away from your sin toward God. The Bible says in Acts 3:19;
" Therefore repent and turn back, that your sins may be wiped out so that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,"

Repentence is not just feeling sorry for our sin. Acts 26:20
" Instead, I preached to those in Damascus first, and to those in Jerusalem and in all the region of Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works worthy of repentance."

B. BELIEVE - Believe. By faith receive Jesus Christ as God's Son and accept Jesus' gift of forgiveness from sin.
" For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift--" Ephesians 2:8.
* Faith is not just believing facts about Jesus.
" You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe--and they shudder." James 2:19
* Faith is trusting in Jesus
C. CONFESS - Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
" If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
" if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation." Romans 10:9-10


* Does what you have been reading make sense to you?
* Is there any reason you would not be willing to receive God's gift of eternal life?
* Are you willing to turn from your sin and place your faith in Jesus right now? The Bible says in Romans 10:13;
" For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Read this prayer and see if it says what you want to say to God.

" God, I know that Jesus is Your Son, and that He died on the cross and was raised from the dead. I know I have sinned and need forgiveness. I am willing to turn from my sins and turn toward You, and through faith in His death and resurrection I ask to receive Jesus as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for saving me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen."
Call on the Lord in repentance and faith, using these or similar words of your own, and if you sincerely prayed this prayer from your heart, Jesus will become your Savior and Lord. The Master of your life.

As evidence of confessing Jesus as Lord, you will want to identify with Him. The New Testament way of identification is to confess Jesus publicly and to follow Him in baptism and church membership. The Bible says in Matthew 10:32-33;
" Therefore, everyone who will acknowledge Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven."
" So those who accepted his message were baptized," Acts 2:41
" Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life." Romans 6:4

* God keeps His Promises. The Bible says in Ephesians 2: 8-9
" For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift-- not from works, so that no one can boast."
* God heard your prayer. The Bible says in Romans 10:13;
" For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
* God recorded your commitment. Jesus says in Luke 10:20;
" However, don't rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Words of Hope

Words of Hope

The vacation fund dwindles. Workplace conflicts escalate weekly. Relationships fail. The economy sputters. Loneliness seeps in.
Could those words, or similar words, serve as the caption for a picture of your current situation? Unfortunately, too many of us could respond in the affirmative. Maybe the picture seems oddly out of focus, but it’s obvious a storm rages around you. You may even witness the pieces of your life—the things that have given you security, stability—swirling away. In times like that, it’s easy, and maybe even commonplace, to find ourselves overcome by exasperation . . . anxiety . . . discouragement . . . anger . . . hope.
Hope? Wait a minute! Can hope find its way into this picture and into your life? Yes! And not a wistful, I-sure-hope-so kind of hope either. No, rather, a God-created, God-directed, God-strong hope!
At one point in history, things looked bleak, not only for an entire nation, but for individuals and families as well. Joy eluded everyone. The future looked miserable. Then one man engaged God in intense conversation, openly voicing his pain. His Why? rose to heaven as he sought God’s explanation and received God’s wisdom in return.
After wrestling with his pain and listening to the Lord’s responses, this man could say with confidence:
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. (Habakkuk 3:17–19)
Getting to the Heart
In the eye of a seemingly out-of-control storm, this man of God chose to keep his eyes on the Lord who wouldn’t (and couldn’t) take his eye off of him. Was it easy? Probably not. Certainly he struggled within the Why?! of the storm. Why? Why me? Why? We are your people, whom you love! But this believer didn’t get stuck in that place. He wisely allowed his Savior-God to enter the picture of his life. And it changed everything! The Lord grew the man’s faith. The Lord turned his servant’s face toward his own. The Lord God Almighty broke down the hopelessness so heaven’s hope could rise and stand strong, certain, secure.
Maybe you’ve prayerfully thrown your own Why’s? heavenward. Maybe a frantic Help! or two also!
Despite the crisis, God’s prophet chose to rejoice in his Savior—the Savior who was bigger than the crisis. You, too, can know for sure that Jesus Christ, who died for you, wants to be your strength, your security, the object (and creator) of your joy. He wants to lift you from despair to new heights.
But before you relax into hope, perhaps you first need to ask your own Why? questions. Why has this happened? Why do I feel this way? Why am I feeling so alone? Perhaps circumstances beyond your control have brought you to a place of uncertainty and hopelessness. If so, that can be a hard truth to admit, because it means the future is also uncertain—and, consequently, intimidating. Even so, our changeless God promises we can trust him:
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. (Psalm 55:22)
Your Savior wants you to know that he is “a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble” (Psalm 9:9). Even as the storm rages on, the Lord wants to calm you in its midst, so you’ll find yourself echoing the confident, faith-filled words of the psalmist:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1–2)
Even when life feels out of control, everything is, in fact, well under control—the Lord’s control. Standing by themselves, those words may not comfort you, until you remember that the One in control loved you enough to die for you! He’s on your side and by your side! When bad news comes out of the blue, threatening to send you crashing into despair, in confident hope, you can say:
If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

 We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. (Romans 8:28)
Therefore, before you step into each new day, unsure of what may lie around the next bend, take time to stand on the promise of your never-changing, all-powerful Savior, the one who says to you:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
Taking It Home
Those words of hope place you in the strong, safe, and comforting hands of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Today, we’re making available to you some easy-to-read, practical words of hope you can take along with you as a reminder. Please receive the gift of hope Jesus offers you today, or keep them to use later or give to a friend in the future.
Maybe you find yourself in a financial crisis. Maybe you’re searching for hope within a storm of loneliness. Maybe you need a solid Rock to stand on as you walk through an out-of-control situation. Let the true hope Christ offers point you beyond your struggles to the eternal joy your Savior will give you on the day he dismantles all the sin, suffering, and death that now unsettle you. Allow God’s Spirit to bring that truth into focus for you day in and day out as you rely on your Savior’s words of hope.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What is Christian ministry?

What is Christian ministry?

Question: "What is Christian ministry?"

"Ministry" is from the Greek word diakoneo, meaning "to serve" or douleuo, meaning "to serve as a slave." In the New Testament, ministry is seen as service to God and to other people in His name. Jesus provided the pattern for Christian ministry—He came, not to receive service, but to give it (see Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; John 13:1-17).

The Christian should minister by meeting people's needs with love and humility on Christ's behalf (see Matthew 20:26; Mark 10:43; John 2:5,9; Acts 6:3; Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:10; Colossians 4:12). Christians are to minister to others out of their devotion to Christ and their love for others, whether the other people are believers or unbelievers. Ministry to others should be impartial and unconditional, always seeking to help others as Jesus would.

The ministry in our day has taken on more of a vocational meaning as we call pastors "ministers" to full-time service. Pastors do spend their lives in the ministry, they do minister to others, and they can rightly be designated as ministers, but pastors are not the only ones who are to be involved in ministry. From the early New Testament churches to the churches of our day, each Christian should be in the ministry of helping others (see Romans 12:3-8, 10-13; 2 Timothy 2:24-26).

The content of ministry seems to prioritize the ministering in spiritual things, not just practical things. Ministry should certainly place emphasis on sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others so they can come to know Him and receive Him as personal Savior, go on to experience Him as Lord of their life, and go even further to know Christ as the essence of their Life (see John 1:12; Colossians 2:6-7; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 3:8-10). Ministry can, and should, include ministering to the physical, emotional, mental, vocational, and financial needs of others. Jesus did, and so should we!

Sunday, March 4, 2012



“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
“The wages of sin is Death” (Romans 6:23).

That is, I must believe that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again to save sinners like me.  He bore “our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). I must trust Jesus.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

I must take God at His Word and confess Him before men.  “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth, the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation”     (Romans 10:9-10).

To repent means to forsake or turn away from.  He will give us power to do this. “But as many received Him, to them gave He power to become the Sons of God” (John 1:12).   “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Friday, March 2, 2012

When Doing Right Ends Wrong

 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:2-5).

Sports can teach us lot of valuable life lessons if we'll let it. I played sports growing up and was a golf professional for three years in the 1970s. Sometimes we buy into the idea that if we will do all the right things and execute the perfect golf swing, or the perfect baseball pitch, or the perfect whatever, we are guaranteed success. The problem is that sometimes it really is true. The outcome matches the execution and the goal. However, in sports, as well as in life, success is not guaranteed. 

Sports psychologist Bob Rotella says, "If you bring a smothering perfectionism to the golf course, you will probably leave with a higher handicap and a lousy disposition, because your game will never meet your expectations."* 

You can make the perfect golf swing and end up in a divot or sand bunker, or make a great baseball pitch and the batter will hit a homerun. The analogies are limitless. 

So what do we do when the outcome is bad? We must accept that in sports, as in life, outcomes don't end the way we always hope. 

Jesus came to be Savior of the world. He was a perfect human being without sin. He did all the right things. The result was death on the cross because a short term positive outcome was not God's plan for the situation. He had a bigger picture in mind. 

You and I need to keep the big picture in mind when short term outcomes don't turn out well. The Bible calls this perseverance. "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him" (James 1:12). 

Ask God for the grace to accept bad outcomes even when you have done all the right things. 

Bob Rotella, "Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect", Simon and Schuster, New York, NY 1995, p. 117