January 16, 2010

Shine in This

Jeremiah 9:23-24
Thus says the LORD:
But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the LORD, exercising
For in these I delight,” says the LORD.

The world's value system says:
  • The strong rule the weak.
  • The smart rule the strong.
  • And everyone is trying to get rich.
All three of those are nothing compared to understanding and knowing God and who He is, and in what he delights!

Literally, that word chaphets means to bend.
  • Do we shine in the things that make God lean over and take a look?
  • Do we lean over and take a look at the things God is doing?

January 10, 2010

A Pastor's Heart - Chef or Shepherd?

Jeremiah 3:15
I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
A pastor is someone who feeds his flock.

Did you notice that "pastors" and "feed" in that verse are the same Hebrew word? There's a connection there.

How did shepherds feed their flocks?

When I remember a verse like "Taste and see that the Lord is good," an analogy of a delicious gourmet meal comes to mind with lots of flavors to savor.

But shepherds didn't prepare and serve meals for their sheep. Instead, they led their sheep to green pastures and let them eat.

He wouldn't try and fill their stomachs. He would create the environment (or take them to an environment) where they could fill their own.

Food tastes better when you're hungry!

How many pastors spend 20 hours in a week unearthing and polishing a beautiful gem for their sermon on Sunday, and then get frustrated because their congregation treats it as if it's only worth the five minutes it took them to hear the point?

A pastor needs to know two things:
  1. Your people will get hungry.
  2. You will not need to make them eat.
Shepherding is about:
  1. Identifying fresh pastures in which to eat.
  2. Leading your people to them.
  3. Letting them eat.
Let them chew on a question. Let them taste all the flavors that are the richness of the knowledge and understanding of God. Teach them how to prepare a nutritious meal.

People need to know God, Who He is, how He thinks, how He operates, what makes Him tick. When they taste that for themselves, then they will see.

Teach the culinary arts of rightly dividing the word of truth.

John 21:12-17
Come, have breakfast,” Jesus said.

But none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord.

Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.

This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Then when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these do?

He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.”

Jesus told him, “Feed my lambs.

Jesus said a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?

He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.”

Jesus told him, “Shepherd my sheep.

Jesus said a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?

Peter was distressed that Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” and said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”

Jesus replied, “Feed my sheep.

Serve appetizers. Teach cooking.

January 9, 2010

Not in any way terrified

Philippians 1:27-30
Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.

For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.
When we have no fear of suffering, those who persecute us know that they are the ones whose end is destruction, not us. That's the "proof of perdition." We know we are saved and nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.

It is a privilege for us to suffer on behalf of Christ. It is the means by which we obtain a better resurrection.

January 3, 2010

Through Your Prayer

Philippians 1:19
For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ
Paul's deliverance was dependent, in part, on the prayers of the Philippians.

Do we think of our prayers as having that kind of effect? As in making a real difference?

January 2, 2010

All Boldness

Philippians 1:19-20
For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
What is included in "all boldness"?

I find it most helpful to think of this as a spectrum. Anything above holding your peace qualifies as boldness to some degree. Perhaps in some mixed order of increasing boldness:
  1. Leaving a Gospel tract for someone to find.
  2. Handing someone a Gospel tract.
  3. Posting a Bible verse on Twitter.
  4. Using a Gospel tract to start a conversation.
  5. Using a Gospel tract to finish a conversation.
  6. Teaching a Sunday School class of children.
  7. Teaching a Sunday School class of high school students.
  8. Teaching a class of non-believers.
  9. Proclaim the Word to civic leaders.
  10. Street preaching.
  11. Going to a closed country.
  12. Street preaching in a closed country.
  13. Proclaiming the Word to hostile leaders.
  14. Proclaiming the Word when it could cost you your life.
  15. Proclaiming the Word when you know it will cost you your life.
You ready for this?

All boldness includes the whole spectrum.
  • All boldness means "whether by life or by death."
  • All boldness means in friendly and in hostile territory. (You never know where objections may arise--all too often it's friendly fire.)
  • All boldness could mean inadvertently "in pretense or in truth" (1:18). (Some may misinterpret a presentation as pretense.)
  • All boldness includes the simple, humble presentations as well.
Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort.
I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.