Thursday, April 30 2015
The world isn’t going to be changed by our average style of Christianity. It is going to be changed by the presence of true disciples of our Lord. John Wesley wrote, “If I had 300 men who feared nothing but God, hated nothing but sin, and determined to know nothing among men but Christ, and Him crucified I would set the world on fire.” According to John the apostle, a disciple is someone:
1. Who Continues in the Word
John 8:31: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;”
2. Who Demonstrates Christ’s Love
3. Who Bears Much Fruit
Of course, we all realize, I’m sure, that it all begins with the New Birth
John 3:3-7: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
Our Lord never put discipleship in fine print in the contract. He calls on us to forsake all, to deny self and to love Him more than anything else. We are not our own, we are bought with a price (I Corinthians 6:19-20). We are the personal property of Jesus Christ with no right to anything. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
1. A Disciple has the Right Priorities:
Jesus first, He is above all.
2. A Disciple has the Right Perspective:
He counts the cost
3. A Disciple has the Right Purpose:
To be salt
To be consistent
What accounts for your drive for Christ?
You have a work to do, laid out for you in the secret counsels of eternity; no other can do it. If you neglect it, it is not true that some other will do it; it will remain undone. If you know your heart today, you should rather die than not be used by God in building up His Kingdom.
Another word that begins with “d” is likened unto disciple and that word is discipline and it isn’t a very popular word. The lack of it turns students into fools, children into culprits, athletes into losers, and a garden into weed patches.
One thing that is very clear about Jesus is that He knew He had been sent. An awareness of a purpose and a mission should be obvious as being the sons of our Father.
Friday, April 24 2015
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Hebrews 13: 17
During the 38 years that I’ve been at T.B.C., we’ve lost a lot of members. Fortunately, we’ve gained considerable more than we’ve lost. I’ve often wished I could keep everyone and that I could keep them gruntled. But I’ve learned that isn’t possible; through the years I’ve had to deal with my share of disgruntled souls. They bash the Lord’s work, listing all the things they are unhappy about ---the clothing the teens wore, inadequate follow-up on visitors, a perceived snub from another member, a children’s event that they felt was too wild … etc… etc…etc. . There is always something for them to be disgruntled about.
Every church faces this and no pastor is exempt. In our highly mobile society, people move around a lot; and with a consumer-oriented generation that eschews loyalty and demands quality, we’re going to lose some along the way. We are ministering to a generation of church-hoppers.
Here are some things I try to remember as I cope with it:
1.Some losses are gains. God not only gives us wonderful additions but blessed subtractions. Just as a fruit tree needs occasional pruning. God prunes His church. Those who are leaving may represent a blockage in the spiritual life of the congregation, and their removal will allow God to work in newer, fresher ways.
2.We can use departures as occasions for improvement. We can lean to improve from the loss.
3.When families leave, ask God to keep you from taking it too personally. The loss of one family may prompt changes that will keep others from leaving later.
4.Ask God to send two people for everyone who leaves.
No one understands how hard it is to be a pastor. When families or individuals leave, it feels like having a tooth pulled without anesthetic. I usually take a moment to pray for the poor pastor who inherits any problem.
Thoughts taken from: Nelson’s Annual Preachers Sourcebook 2005 Edition
Tuesday, April 21 2015
Isaiah 53:6 says, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one.........us all."
Romans 3:23 declares that "....all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
Matthew 1:21 "........for he shall save his people from their sins."
Acts 4:12 "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be SAVED."
When Jesus looked at people, He saw their need. First, He saw their greatest need, salvation, and the forgiveness of sins. No matter what the situation, Jesus dealt with the heart of the problem, which was the problem with the heart.
He dealt with the religious man, Nicodemus, in John 3, a Pharisee who came by night: And Jesus told him of the "New birth" without which no man could see heaven.
He dealt with the Samaritan woman by the well and told her of water that if she drank she would never thirst again. The woman who had had five husbands and livings with a man who was not her husband who got gloriously saved and then told others of the Christ.
But one of the greatest examples of repentance is the dying thief on the cross. Matthew 27:44 tells us that both "thieves also, which were crucified with him cast the same in his teeth."
But then something happened to the one thief who said: "Remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." Luke 23:42 and Jesus said, "........Today thou shalt be with me in paradise."
Jesus did not say, "Straighten up and Live Right" , "Pay Your Debts to Society" , or "Read the gospel of John" --all good things to do.
But this dying thief could only do one thing: CHANGE HIS MIND.
His attitude in Matthew 27:44 was a critical one against Christ but he changed his mind. He couldn't beat upon his chest (hanging on the cross), he couldn't fold his hands or drop to his knees and pray. All he could do on that cross was change his mind.
He changed his mind about:
the Saviour -- "this man hath done nothing amiss" (Luke 23:41)
about sin-- we deserve what we are getting--"for we receive the reward of our deeds" (Luke 23:41).
That, my friend, is Repentance!