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Showing posts from June, 2011

Be encouraged, Elijah

Elijah said to the people,"I am the last of the Lord's prophets." (1 Kings 18:22)

(Elijah replied), "I am the only one left, and now they want to take my life too." (1 Kings 19:10)

He (Elijah) said , "I am the only one left, and now they want to take my life too." (1 Kings 19:14)

Then the Lord said, "But I have preserved those who remain in Israel, totaling seven thousand—all those whose knees haven’t bowed down to Baal and whose mouths haven’t kissed him." (1 Kings 19:18)

Elijah, the great Prophet, thought he was the only one left who was serving the Lord. Did you get that? This capital "P" Prophet was mistaken. He was very discouraged. He seriously thought he was the last man standing for God. He wasn't off by one or two, but thousands.

Maybe you are a prophetic person or an intercessor. You've had a glimpse of how things ought to be, but things are quite the opposite. A pit fall for you is discouragement that can tur…

Orientation

What's your orientation? Orientation has to do with what you are pointed towards. A simple compass points north. It points north when you are moving north, standing still, or moving in a different direction. Christians are pointed toward a person who is Christ. Seems obvious, but we need to be reminded of the simplicity and genius of God's plan. You point to, follow, believe in, put your faith in, give your life to and daily pursue Christ; you are a Christian. Christian means Christ-follower. To follow means to be oriented towards. Simple yet deep. It's personal, relational. Great God of man. He calls us and adopts us to be his children in and through Christ. We were lost and God showed us or revealed to us his love in Christ. Christ died for sinners and we received salvation or rescue by Christ. We became one of Christ's disciples which means followers in that he is teaching us God's ways for people to live. Christians have Christ orientation.

We …

How to survive the storm

Safe rooms, storm cellars, safe houses, building high, building low; and moving away, but where to? These are some of the things people are thinking about in regards to future storms, floods, or earthquakes. There are also economic, societal, and governmental catastrophes that may occur.

Jesus says that storms will come and to be ready. How does he say to be ready? At the end of the sermon on the mount, Jesus says that the key to surviving storms and floods in life is to put his words into practice. That is what discipleship is: Following Jesus, listening to him, reading his words and putting them into practice; with each other. The big mistake is to hear the words of Jesus, perhaps study them, and even know them so well, that you can teach them to others; but not to practice them! Sounds crazy, but this seems to be our problem at least in the part of the American christian culture that I have been familiar with. It's much harder to live it than to know it. God is after …

The church is a menagerie

The French word menagerie is often used to describe a collection of wild animals kept in captivity. Menagerie can also be defined as, "a diverse or miscellaneous group". Menagerie comes from "menager", which means "to keep house", or "to husband". The word husband has at it's core, the idea of care-taking: "animal husbandry", for example. It doesn't mean being married, but caring for.

The church is also a menagerie, a diverse group of people, completely miscellaneous. I think that the fact that a diverse group is together in unity is a special attribute of the church.

I looked at two French translations of the New Testament and did not find the Greek word for household translated to menager or menagerie, but I really like the way that the CEB (Common English Bible) translates 1 Timothy 3. It has the word household in it several times. When a preacher says, "in the house", while preaching at a church meeting any…

The Helper

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:26

Back in the late 1980's, I read a little book about the Holy Spirit called The Helper by Catherine Marshall. I had never heard the Holy Spirit called the Helper before. The NIV & new Living translations say the Advocate, the new CEB says the Companion, the old KJV says the Comforter, and the new KJV as well as the ASV, NASB, and ESV say the Helper; and The Message says the Friend.

In our Christian culture, teaching and being taught is a big deal. The most common form of Christian radio is teaching. Most Christian books are written to teach you. One of the main reasons people say they go to church is to receive teaching. We go to a second church meeting mid-week to get taught some more. The most common thing you'll see on Christian television is teaching. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Bu…

Spiritual dryness, thirst, and barrenness

I have been looking at Hosea 2:3 lately. Here is the second half of that verse:

"I will make her like a desert, and turn her into a dry land, and make her die of thirst."

The context is that God is telling Israel what the consequences will be if she continues in her idolatrous and unfaithful behavior. We, as the church in America are not without our own sins and repentance may be called for (1).

Maybe you are embracing your personal brokenness and your heart is also broken over the lost as well as the ineffectual church and her sins. I think that God deals with the big and the small, the whole church, the whole nation, and also individuals. A single person may be walking closely with God in a land of famine or dryness. You may be in a dry place and it's no fault of yours. Be encouraged.



When I read Maurice Smith's piece, Spiritual Tsunami and falling tides, he helped me finish my thought that I am writing about here. Perhaps God allows dryness to help us to get in…

How's the test-imony going?

Last week, I was thinking about how it sometimes feels like things are never going to change. Notice how I said "feels like." In reality, things do change, and God keeps His promises and God is good no matter what. If you have terminal cancer or your child was killed, God is still good. God has something for people going through the worst of times. Jesus said, "blessed are the poor in spirit" and "blessed are those who mourn." He says that the kingdom of the heavens will break in for the poor and the mournful will be comforted. You can take Jesus' words to the bank. Some people like to talk about "getting a break-through." I have come to the conclusion that, more than you or I getting a break-through, God wants to break-in to our circumstances. That's the message that Jesus came preaching and entrusts us with. God wants to come and take over.

I was reflecting on how God keeps his promises, and you can count on God. My red NAS…

Non-Biblical Terms for Church Leadership

From “Elder Shepherding”by Dr. Cliff McManis:

"Non-Biblical Terms for Church Leadership: Pope, Cardinal, President, Archbishop, Priest, Reverend, Monk, Doctor, Prelate, Monsignor, Father, Session, Cleric, Superintendent, Senior Pastor."
Did you know that there is one Senior Pastor and he is Jesus Christ?

"And when the chief shepherd appears, you will receive an unfading crown of glory." -1 Peter 5:4