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The Authenticity of Disciple Making

A Moral Obligation

What is a “Moral Obligation?”

Here is what Wiki says: The term moral obligation has a number of meanings in moral philosophy, in religion, and in layman’s terms. Generally speaking, when someone says of an act that it is a “moral obligation,” they refer to a belief that the act is one prescribed by their set of values.

So I have a moral compass guiding me to tell the truth. I have a moral obligation to live out the truth. I have a moral obligation to vote truthfully.

And that brings me to my dilemma. Do I vote for the candidate that I most closely agree with, or do I vote for the candidate that I disagree with, but has a chance to win? Do I vote for a candidate with similar values, or do I vote for a candidate with different values and lifestyle, but claims to be a conservative…just like me?

Do I vote for a conservative with a proven track record, but has no chance to win an election, or do I vote for the unproven with a better chance.

I think my answer will be found as I cast a ballot in the voting booth, for which some say I have a moral obligation to do. Some would also say that if I do not cast a vote for president, or write in a candidate that has no real chance of victory, that I do not have the right to complain about the results. Here is the truth, I can complain about the results whenever I choose, wether I vote or not. I can complain about the quality of the candidate, and the ideals that a candidate holds to. I can complain…but I will not…not much anyway. I will not complain, because I believe this to be what we deserve.

Lord Jesus, come quickly.

Please don’t “Get out the Vote.”

I am a grateful American. I love the democratic process. I am thankful for freedom. I believe in LIBERTY, and JUSTICE for all.

I don’t believe we should be begging people to vote.

If a person is not motivated to vote from a grateful heart, who am I to try to talk them into it? If a person is not motivated to vote by conviction, please don’t. Though we all have a right to vote, it doesn’t mean we should.

People who should not vote are those who remain uneducated in regards to political agendas and policies. Get informed on a candidates view, compare those views to foundational documents, and vote. Otherwise…stay home.

Everyone has a foundation, but not everyone has a reason. My first foundational document is the Bible, and the Constitution of the United States of America comes in second. I will base my vote on how people compare to my understanding of scripture, and their view of the constitution. I will then look at other issues, if necessary, and vote my conscience.

I am grateful that I get to vote. I am also grateful that some folks choose not to vote. No-one should cast a vote in ignorance. It is irresponsible, and even reckless.

My Heart-Christ’s Home

I first heard this at a fall retreat while in Student Ministry. Pretty cool stuff.

My Heart Christ’s Home By Robert Boyd Munger
“Robert Boyd Munger (1911-2001) was a Presbyterian minister who wrote this timeless work in 1951. It was a vividly compelling then, and I have found no other essay on the ABC’s of the Christian life, other than Scripture itself, so impacting as Munger’s wonderful work still today.” (Quote from a Christian leader)

In Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, we find these words:
“That (God) would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” (Ephesians 3:16). Or, as another has translated, “That Christ may settle down and be at home in your hearts by faith.”
Without question one of the most remarkable Christian doctrines is that Jesus Christ Himself through the presence of the Holy Spirit will actually enter a heart, settle down and be at home there. Christ will make the human heart His abode.
Our Lord said to His disciples, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). It was difficult for them to understand what He was saying. How was it possible for Him to make his abode with them in this sense?
It is interesting that our Lord used the same word here that He gave them in the first of the fourteenth chapter of John: “I go to prepare a place for you .. that where I am, ye may be also.” Our Lord was promising his disciples that, just as He was going to heaven to prepare a place for them and would welcome them one day, now it would be possible for them to prepare a place for Him in their hearts and He would come and make His abode with them.
They could not understand this. How could it be?
Then came Pentecost. The Spirit of the living Christ was given to the church and they understood. God did not dwell in Herod’s temple in Jerusalem! God did not dwell in a temple made with hands; but now, through the miracle of the outpoured Spirit, God would dwell in human hearts. The body of the believer would be the temple of the living God and the human heart would be the home of Jesus Christ. It is difficult for me to think of a higher privilege than to make Christ a home in my heart, to welcome, to serve, to please, to fellowship with him there.

One evening I invited Jesus Christ into my heart. What an entrance He made! It was not a spectacular, emotional thing, but very real. It was at the very center of my life. He came into the darkness of my heart and turned on the light. He built a fire in the cold hearth and banished the chill. He started music where there had been stillness, and He filled the emptiness with His own loving, wonderful fellowship. I have never regretted opening the door to Christ and I never will – not into eternity!
This, of course, is the first step in making the heart Christ’s home. He has said, “Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20). If you are interested in making your life an abode of the living God, let me encourage you to invite Christ into your heart and He will surely come
After Christ entered my heart and in the joy of this new relationship I said to Him, “Lord, I want this heart of mine to be Yours. I want to have You settle down here and be perfectly at home. Everything I have belongs to You. Let me show You around and introduce you to the various features of the home that you may be more comfortable and that we may have fuller fellowship together.”
He was very glad to come, of course, and happier still to be given a place in the heart
The Library
The first room was the study – the library. Let us call it the study of the mind. Now in my home this room of the mind is a very small room with very thick walls. But it is an important room. In a sense, it is the control room of the house. He entered with me and looked around at the books in the bookcase, the magazines upon the table, the pictures on the walls. As I followed His gaze I became uncomfortable. Strangely enough, I had not felt badly about this before, but now that He was there looking at these things I was embarrassed. There were some books were there that His eyes were too pure to behold. There was a lot of trash and literature on the table that a Christian had no business reading, and as for the pictures on the walls – the imaginations and thoughts of the mind – these were shameful.
I turned to Him and said, “Master, I know that this room needs a radical alteration. Will You help me make it what it ought to be? – to bring every thought into captivity to you?”
“Surely!” He said. “Gladly will I help you. First of all, take all the things that you are reading and looking at which are not helpful, pure, good and true, and throw them out! Now put on the empty shelves the books of the Bible. Fill the library with Scriptures and meditate on then day and night. As for the pictures on the walls, you will have difficulty controlling these images, but here is an aid” He gave me a full-size portrait of Himself. “Hang this centrally,” He said, “on the wall of the mind.”
I did, and I have discovered through the years that when my thoughts are centered upon Christ Himself, His purity and power cause impure thoughts to back away. So He has helped me to bring my thoughts into captivity.
May I suggest to you if you have difficulty with this little room of the mind, that you bring Christ in there. Pack it full with the Word of God, meditate upon it and keep before it the immediate presence of the Lord Jesus.
The Dining Room
From the study we went into the dining room, the room of appetites and desires. Now this was a very large room. I spent a good deal of time in the dining room and much effort in satisfying my wants.
I said to Him, “This is a favorite room. I am quite sure You will be pleased with what we serve.” He seated Himself at the table with me and asked, “What is on the menu for dinner?”
“Well,” I said, “my favorite dishes: money, academic degrees and stocks, with newspaper articles of fame and fortune as side dishes.” These were the things I liked – worldly fare. I suppose there was nothing radically wrong in any particular item, but it was not the food that should satisfy the life of a real Christian. When the food was placed before Him, He said nothing about it. However, I observed that He did not eat it, and I said to Him, somewhat disturbed, “Master, don’t You care for this food? What is the trouble?”
He answered, “I have meat to eat that you do not know of. My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me.” He looked at me again and said, “If you want food that really satisfies you, seek the will of the Father, not your own pleasures, not your own desires, and not your own satisfaction. Seek to please Me and that food will satisfy you.” And there at the table He gave me a taste of doing God’s will. What a flavor! There is no food like it in all the world. It alone satisfies. Everything else is dissatisfying in the end.
Now if Christ is in your heart, and I trust He is, what kind of food are you serving Him and what kind of food are you eating yourself? Are you living for the lust of the flesh and the pride of life – selfishly? Or are you choosing God’s will for your meat and drink?
The Living Room
We walked next into the living room. This room was rather intimate and comfortable. I liked it. It had a fireplace, overstuffed chairs, a sofa, and a quiet atmosphere.
He also seemed pleased with it. He said, “This is indeed a delightful room. Let us come here often. It is secluded and quiet, and we can fellowship together.”
Well, naturally as a young Christian I was thrilled. I couldn’t think of anything I would rather do than have a few minutes with Christ in intimate companionship.
He promised, “I will be here early every morning. Meet me here, and we will start the day together.” So morning after morning, I would come downstairs to the living room and He would take a book of the Bible from the bookcase. He would open it and then we would read together. He would tell me of its riches and unfold to me its truths. He would make my heart warm as He revealed His love and His grace He had toward me. These were wonderful hours together. In fact, we called the living room the “withdrawing room.” It was a period when we had our quiet time together.
But, little by little, under the pressure of many responsibilities, this time began to be shortened. Why, I’m don’t know, but I thought I was just too busy to spend time with Christ. This was not intentional, you understand; it just happened that way. Finally, not only was the time shortened, but I began to miss a day now and then. It was examination time at the university. Then it was some other urgent emergency. I would miss it two days in a row and often more.
I remember one morning when I was in a hurry, rushing downstairs, eager to be on my way.
As I passed the living room, the door was open. Looking in, I saw a fire in the fireplace and Jesus was sitting there. Suddenly in dismay I thought to myself, “He was my guest. I invited Him into my heart! He has come as Lord of my home. And yet here I am neglecting Him.”
I turned and went in. With downcast glance, I said, “Blessed Master, forgive me. Have You been here all these mornings?”
“Yes,” He said, “I told you I would be here every morning to meet with you.” Then I was even more ashamed. He had been faithful in spite of my faithfulness. I asked His forgiveness and He readily forgave me as He does when we are truly repentant.
“The trouble with you is this: you have been thinking of the quiet time, of the Bible study and prayer time, as a factor in your own spiritual progress, but you have forgotten that this hour means something to me also. Remember, I love you. I have redeemed you at great cost. I value your fellowship. Now,” He said, “do not neglect this hour if only for my sake. Whatever else may be your desire, remember I want your fellowship!”
You know, the truth that Christ desires my companionship, that He loves me, wants me to be with Him, wants to be with me and waits for me, has done more to transform my quiet time with God than any other single fact. Don’t let Christ wait alone in the living room of your heart, but every day find some time when, with your Bible and in prayer, you may be together with Him.
The Workroom
Before long, He asked, “Do you have a workroom in your home?” Down in the basement of the home of my heart I had a workbench and some equipment, but I was not doing much with it. Once in a while I would play around with a few little gadgets, but I wasn’t producing anything substantial or worthwhile.
I led Him down there.
He looked over the workbench and what little talents and skills I had. He said, “This is quite well furnished. What are you producing with your life for the Kingdom of God?” He looked at one or two little toys that I had thrown together on the bench and held one up to me. “Are these little toys all that you are doing for others in your Christian life?”
“Well,” I said, “Lord, that is the best I can do. I know it isn’t much, and I really want to do more, but after all, I have no skill or strength to do more.”
“Would you like to do better?” He asked.
“Certainly,” I replied.
“All right. Let me have your hands. Now relax in me and let my Spirit work through you. I know that you are unskilled, clumsy and awkward, but the Holy Spirit is the Master-Worker, and if He controls your hands and your heart, He will work through you.” And so, stepping around behind me and putting His great, strong hands over mine, controlling the tools with His skilled fingers He began to work through me.
There’s much more that I must still learn and I am very far from satisfied with the product that is being turned out, but I do know that whatever has been produced for God has been through His strong hand and through the power of His Spirit in me.
Do not become discouraged because you cannot do much for God. Your ability is not the fundamental condition. It is He who is controlling your fingers and upon whom you are relying. Give your talents and gifts to God and He will do things with them that will surprise you..
The Rec Room
I remember the time He asked me about the playroom. I was hoping He would not ask about that. There were certain associations and friendships, activities and amusements that I wanted to keep for myself. I did not think Christ would enjoy them or approve of them, so I evaded the question.
But there came an evening when I was on my way out with some of my friends, and as I was about to cross the threshold, He stopped me with a glance and asked, “Are you going out?”
I replied, “Yes.”
“Good,” He said, “I would like to go with you.”
“Oh,” I answered rather awkwardly. “I don’t think, Lord Jesus, that You would really want to go with us. Let’s go out tomorrow night. Tomorrow night we will go to prayer meeting, but tonight I have another appointment.”
He said. “That’s alright. Only I thought that when I came into your home, we were going to do everything together, to be close companions. I just want you to know that I am willing to go with you.”
“Well,” I said, “we will go someplace together tomorrow night.”
That evening I spent some miserable hours. I felt wretched. What kind of a friend was I to Jesus when I was deliberately leaving Him out of my associations, doing things and going places that I knew very well He would not enjoy? When I returned that evening, there was a light in His room, and I went up to talk it over with Him. I said, “Lord, I have learned my lesson. I can’t have a good time without You. From now on we will do everything together.”
Then we went down into the playroom of the house and He transformed it. He brought into life real joy, real happiness, real satisfaction, new friends, new excitement, new joys. Laughter and music have been ringing through the house ever since.
The Hall Closet
There is just one more matter that I might share with you. One day I found Him waiting for me at the door. An arresting look was in His eye. As I entered, He said to me, “There is a peculiar odor in the house. There is something dead around here. It’s upstairs. I think it is in the hall closet.” As soon as He said this, I knew what He was talking about. Yes, there was a small closet up there on the landing, just a few feet square, and in that closet, behind lock and key, I had one or two little personal things that I did not want anyone to know about and certainly I did not want Christ to see them. I knew they were dead and rotting things left over from the old life. And yet I loved them, and I wanted them so for myself that I was afraid to admit they were there.
Reluctantly, I went up with Him, and as we mounted the stairs the odor became stronger and stronger. He pointed at the door. “It’s in there! Some dead thing!”
I was angry. That’s the only way I can put it. I had given Him access to the library, the dining room, the living room, the workroom, the playroom, and now He was asking me about a little two-by-four closet. I said to myself, “This is too much. I am not going to give Him the key.”
“Well,” He said, reading my thoughts, “if you think I’m going to stay up here on the second floor with this odor, you are mistaken. I will take my bed out on the back porch. I’m certainly not going to put up with that.” Then I saw Him start down the stairs.
When you have come to know and love Christ, the worst thing that can happen is to sense His fellowship retreating from you. I had to surrender. “I’ll give You the key,” I said sadly, “but You’ll have to open the closet and clean it out. I haven’t the strength to do it.”
“I know,” He said. “I know you haven’t. Just give me the key. Just authorize me to take care of that closet and I will.” So with trembling fingers I passed the key to Him. He took it from my hand, walked over to the door, opened it, entered it, took out all the putrefying stuff that was rotting there, and threw it away. The He cleaned the closet and painted it, fixed it up, doing it all in a moment’s time. Oh, what victory and release to have that dead thing out of my life!
Transferring the Title
Then a thought came to me. I said to myself, “I have been trying to keep this heart of mine clear for Christ. I start on one room and no sooner have I cleaned that then another room is dirty. I begin on the second room and the first room becomes dusty again. I am so tired and weary trying to maintain a clean heart and an obedient life. I am just not up to it!”
So I ventured a question: “Lord, is there any chance that You would take over the responsibility of the whole house and operate it for me and with me just as You did that closet? Would You take the responsibility to keep my heart what it ought to be and my life where it ought to be?”
I could see His face light up as He replied, “Certainly, that is what I came to do. You cannot be a victorious Christian in your own strength. That is impossible. Let me do it through you and for you. That is the way. But,” He added slowly, “I am not owner of this house. I am just a guest. I have no authority to proceed, since the property is not mine.”
I saw it in a minute and dropping to my knees, I said, “Lord, You have been a guest and I have been the host. From now on I am going to be the servant. You are going to be the owner and Master and Lord.”
Running as fast as I could to the strongbox, I took out the title deed to the house describing its assets and liabilities, location and situation and condition. I eagerly signed it over to belong to Him alone for time and eternity. “Here,” I said. “Here it is, all that I am and have forever. Now You run the house. I’ll just remain with You as a servant and friend.”
He took my life that day and I can give you my word, there is no better way to live the Christian life. He knows how to keep it in shape and deep peace settles down on the soul. May Christ settle down and be at home in your heart as Lord of all!

The Gospel vs. 100 Years of Planned Parenthood

The Gospel vs 100 Years of Planned Parenthood
Article | October 17, 2016 |
Russell Moore

This weekend Planned Parenthood turned 100. As several politicians and pro-choice supporters publicly celebrated the milestone, many Christians and others committed to defending life and human dignity mourned.

While supporters see a century of Planned Parenthood as an era of choice and physical autonomy, many of us see it as an era of death, both of unborn humans and of the consciences of millions of women and men. Many Americans cannot hear the words “Planned Parenthood” without remembering a series of videos that revealed leaders of the organization having cavalier lunch conversations about the best prices for infant body parts. And we also remember the explicit social Darwinism of Planned Parenthood’s founder Margaret Sanger, and her vision to create a society with fewer
“undesirables”—including minorities and the disabled.

Every human person naturally ought to recoil from such ideas. But for a Christian, especially, such language ought to trigger in us thoughts of Jesus of Nazareth, who identified himself with human nature, taking on flesh and dwelling among us (Jn. 1:14). He was an “embryo.” He was a “fetus.” He was a nursing infant. He was a child. He is an adult.

An attack on vulnerable humanity is an attack on the image of God. And that image is not abstract. The image of God has a name and a blood type. The image of God is Christ Jesus himself (Col. 1:15). Every human image-bearer is patterned after the Alpha and Omega image of the invisible God.

And at the Cross, Jesus stood with and for humanity in suffering. We are often told that abortion is ethical because the “products of conception” aren’t “viable,” that is, they cannot live outside the womb. This suggests that the value of a human life consists in its autonomous power. But Jesus was conceived in the most vulnerable situation possible in the ancient world—as a fatherless orphan. He lived as a migrant refugee outrunning with his family the Planned Parenthood of his day, the King Herod, into a land hostile to his own. He died helplessly convulsing on a cross, dependent on others even for hydration. Even in death, Jesus counted himself with thieves and was buried in a borrowed grave. In his humanity, Jesus wasn’t “viable” either.

Moreover, like the dead orphans of Planned Parenthood, Jesus was seen as valuable only in terms of his “parts.” The soldiers cast lots for his clothing (Mk. 15:23). With the very King of Israel standing before them, the Roman soldiers could see his value only in terms of how much money they could fetch from his garments. That should shock the conscience.

The cross should remind us that Jesus hears the cries of the suffering, even those whose cries are unable to be heard. But the cross should also remind us that Jesus saves sinners. The 100-year legacy of Planned Parenthood is horrendous, both in terms of social injustice and in terms of personal sin against God. What can wash away such sin? Nothing. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

As we lament and protest Planned Parenthood, it may be tempting to despair, thinking we are powerless in the face of such well-funded and well-protected evil. But we cannot forget Jesus. All the royal rage and blood-thirst in the world could not stop God from accomplishing his purposes through the Messiah child.

God used a young virgin and a quiet carpenter to preserve the life of the Savior. Let’s follow their example of obedience and fight the spiritual powers that seek to kill, steal and destroy, by carrying the Gospel of the baby who came to give life, and life abundantly. As we stand against the abortion industry, and the culture of death behind it, let’s point to Christ. He was here long before Planned Parenthood, and his kingdom will be here long after Planned Parenthood has been utterly forgotten.

Thom Rainer: 12 Reasons for Church Staff Conflict

12 Reasons for church staff conflict.
Thom Rainer

My email inbox is full of these stories.
Messages to me via social media hit this topic too frequently.
There is a lot of church staff conflict out there.
To be clear, conflict exists in all relationships. And when I use the phrase “church staff,” I am referring to all who serve in vocational ministry at a local church, including the pastor. Conflict is certainly not unique with church staff. But among the several reasons for staff conflict, there are some that seem to be more pervasive with these relationships than others. Here are twelve of them.
1 Many church staff persons are woefully trained in leadership and relational skills. Pastors often have superb theological training but they have never led people nor have they been trained to do so. Other church staff have similar backgrounds.
2 Often the church staff involved did not have a role in selecting their team. The pastor inherits a staff. The staff have no say in the selection of the pastor. A search committee did not ask the pastor for any input for the selection of the worship pastor. These are some examples where church staff members feel that a team member has been forced upon them.
3 The chemistry among the staff is bad. It can happen in all relationships. Church staff members are not exempt.
4 The priorities among the staff are not aligned. I am seeing this reality more frequently. Failure to align is a guarantee for failure to move forward.
5 There is jealousy and insecurity. I recently heard from a worship pastor who decided to leave the church because the new pastor was so insecure and jealous of the relationships the worship pastor had developed over several years before the pastor arrived.
6 There is clear insubordination. Here is an excerpt from an email a pastor sent me. The communication was from the worship pastor to the pastor: “I am going to lead the worship service the way I want to lead it, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
7 Church staff have formed unhealthy alliances. Different alliances within the church, both formal and informal, often develop around specific church staff. It can feel akin to hostile political parties always seeking to win their way.
8 Communication is poor. The staff do not spend time together sufficiently in either formal or informal settings. The pastor decides to lead down a certain path, but he has not gotten buy-in from others on the team. They may not even know about it.
9 There are work ethic divergences. One staff person works 60 hours a week. Another works 30 hours a week. But they are considered peers with similar pay. Resentment is likely to build.
10 The staff spend time pointing blame at each other. Obviously, such actions are terrible for relationships. They are destructive rather than constructive.
11 Solutions are frustrated or thwarted. The pastor goes to the personnel committee to seek help dealing with an insubordinate and lazy student pastor. The personnel committee refuses to support the pastor because any proposed solutions “would not be the Christian thing to do.”
12 There is a consistent lack of appreciation. One of the key ways to promote church staff unity is to show appreciation. One of the key ways to promote church staff disunity is never to show appreciation.
I often write about the negative realities of church life because too many church staff members and church members are unwilling to admit them. But I have a greater purpose. It is my desire to uncover these challenges so we can know exactly what we can do to be redemptive and unifying to bring glory to God through these important relationships.

Offering Envelope Fail

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Any time you are given a grade for how you have served God during the week, you are missing the entire point. These are for sale at Lifeway Christian Resources, by the way.

Thoughts on the Election 2016

Lord Jesus, Come Quickly!

It is completely alright to pray for Christ to return and rescue us from what is to come. It is not likely that is the plan, but its ok to ask.

What is far more likely is the further demise of the moral and spiritual heart of America. This is due to generations of direction and is not the fault of 2 failed candidates. Let me say this as clearly as possible: Both 2016 major party candidates should be in jail, and are unfit for leadership of our country.

But that is not our problem.

These candidates are a symptom of our problem. Our problem is a continued refusal to respond to holy God by the people He created. I would present that our country is getting exactly what we deserve, and it could allow for the gospel to be magnified. When times get tough, people are motivated to respond to Christ. This has been the case throughout human history. So, though I would prefer the easy and blessed route, that is not the path that normally leads to effective church ministry.

If we find ourselves in a desperate place, I would hope the people of God would focus our attention on the ministry of the gospel, rather than the negative goings on lead by lost people. Once again, we cannot expect lost people to make saved decisions, and we cannot expect a lost nation to make saved nation decisions.

Entrusted

Entrusted
1 Timothy 1:18-20
Intro
Wednesday night gathering 2016
Men’s accountability group starting October 17
Defend the faith!
this is the mission learn from Paul and Timothy this week.
Timothy was in the Pagan community of Ephesus, and challenged to stand for that which is true, and to do so in a way that brought the gospel to those pagans.
Text
Verse 18: Ephesians 1 and 2
Charge: a military command given by a superior officer.
God chose him to serve by the testimony of Godly people who recognized his anointing
Verse 19
Under orders, but equipped with faith and a good conscience
The only way to succeed is to serve diligently under the orders you have been given
Verse 20
Paul mentions names of folks who served in ministry, but fell away
They were shipwrecked by ungodly lives.
SIN WILL WRECK YOUR LIFE, and it has consequences
Points
Charge Entrusted
The Church has been entrusted with the gospel
The Church has been entrusted with life changing truth
Timothy had been charged with combating false teaching in Ephesus, and are charged with the same in our world.
ILLUS: The man of the house: charged…but not entrusted
we have a beautiful calling and a special gift: Defend the FAITH!
You are in ministry by divine appointment: GOD has commissioned you to serve, no-one can take that away.
For North Park:
No guilt in serving or attending
But we have a huge responsibility to not grow complacent
Stick with that you know to be true, and love your church enough to be a part of it.
Wage Good Warfare
You are a warrior, and you defend that which matters.
ILLUS: Basketball: we protect this house by swatting away false doctrine…with love
Coaching a 6th grade team
The lane was our house…no one got in
We defend the FAITH in NORTH TEXAS:
by being the church
by loving the unlovely
by being unified as brothers and sisters
by telling the truth, no matter the consequences
by standing while others are compromising
We defend the FAITH in our homes
by having our church life and home life mesh together as one
by reading the scriptures with our children
by being a witness from our home
DEUT 6:7: You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
We defend the FAITH in or lives
every breath declares the glory of the Lord
We never take a breath off
Holding Faith
Bad doctrine usually begins with bad conduct
Do not let your faith become shipwrecked
stuff sneaked up on you and chips away at your vessel of Faith
It doesn’t happen at one time, but usually gradually through compromise and carelessness.
Illusions: cruise ship Costa Concordia
The captain, Francesco Schettino, was familiar with the waters
All the warning systems were in place
The rocks didn’t move, the ship did
The tragedy could have been avoided by paying attention
Don’t get so comfortable that you forget the importance of paying attention to that which matters most.
do the simple things in faith
strive for knowledge of scripture
think and look upon things that are holy.
the more you do to secure your FAITH, the less you expose yourself to the things that will ruin you.
As a minister, and as a mentor to other ministers, I have warned many and myself that we are never more than a step away from MORAL COLLAPSE
I warn you today…shore up your FAITH,
serve in faith
walk in faith
study in faith
LIVE in FAITH!
Close

God’s Desire

1 Timothy 2
3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,
4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[fn] Christ Jesus,
6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

God’s Desire

Intro
Text
Verse 3
He is God our savior
We should be well acquainted with him.
Verse 4
It is God’s desire that all should be saved
People must come to knowledge of the truth and in so doing, have opportunity to follow Christ by faith.
Verse 5
Theology Proper: God
Trinitarian concepts: give us
God the Father: God our savior
God the Son: the man Christ
Verse 6
The ransom for all
Which is the testimony: same word as covenant: the new covenant in Christ
Points
Savior
1 Timothy 4:10: God who is the savior of all people, especially those who believe.
He is savior, acknowledged or not
He is the only savior, the only God, the only Lord.
Titus 3:4-7
God our savior-through Christ our savior
Becoming heirs
The church:
Do we recognize God’s desire to save people?
Does it mark our ‘everything’
Illus: osu student body: painted orange, wearing an orange oversized foam cowboy hat, orange overalls, celebrating their team…marked by looks, action, and heart
Similarly, we should mark ourselves with a love for Christ and his desire for salvation
Our outward appearance should look like Christ
Our actions should match his
Our voice should declare our love, allegiance, and his heart
Are you prepared to tell someone what it takes to be saved?
Have you shared his knowledge with others?
There is no plan B, you are the plan!
Therefore everything should demonstrate this:
Our building should reflect this
Our body should reflect this
Our homes should reflect this
Our doctrine should reflect this
Our outreach should reflect this
Mediator
Christ is the answer to the problem of sin and death.
He is standing in the gap and gives us free access to God
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love! 1 John 4:18
1 John 2:1-2 my little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
Hebrews 9:15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.
Hebrews 12:24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Jesus is the one name that is above every name and is the one that the world needs to hear.
Ransom
He paid a debt he did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay.
He became the ransom the world needed and desired
Stop trying to pay for sins that have already been paid! Come to Christ for salvation!
The message of the cross is that Christ became that sacrifice
Matthew 20:28: gave his life as a ransom for many
Rev 5:9-10 the worship of the Lamb that had been slain
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation
And you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.

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Leadership

Christian Leadership

Intro
Over the next few weeks we will look at leadership and fellowship
You will be challenged in your understanding of leadership in the church God established
Text
3:1:
episkope: Best translated as overseer, many times translated as Bishop.
other similarly translated words:
Titus 1:6-7: Presbyteros= old men
These titles seem to be synonymous by Paul’s usage:
Acts 20:17 Paul sends for the Elders
Acts 20:28 Paul refers to them as Overseers
It would appear that there are several overseers in the local body of believers
3:2-6
A list of 15 qualification that should mark the life of one called to serve in Christian leadership.
above reproach
husband of one wife
sober minded
self controlled
respectable
hospitable
able to teach
not a drunkard
not violent
gentle
not quarrelsome
not a lover of money
manage his household well
not a recent convert
good reputation
3:7: The summary: A leader in the church must be of good reputation and character, a reputation and character that are proven through time, and would be impossible without the presence of Christ
Point
The Mandate of Leadership
There is no third option: Lead…Serve…err
We are to lead and serve as we are gifted, called and equipped,
but don’t think for a minute that you are exempt.
The expectation from Holy God is to use the gifts HE has given you:
to make a difference in your family
to make a difference in your church
to make a difference in your community
you are called to be a part of the most amazing movement in of world history: the church!
Illustration: Rapelling
All the rigging was set up: Ropes, harness, instructions given, I’m clipped in.
There comes a point that I have to back off the edge of the cliff
there was a servant at the bottom of the cliff that was holding the rope…and in so doing was assisting in my safety.
Everyone was needed to lead in their role, or it would not have ended well.
William Carey, when confronted with the need of world evangelism said: I will go, if only I can find someone to hold the rope.
We must do both things: Go and hold the rope!
Modern thinking:
Lead, follow, or get out of the way…WRONG THINKING
Lead, and follow, and stand in the gap!
Lead, and follow, and hold the rope!
The Question: ARE YOU?
The Responsibility of Leadership
It is a responsibility to lead as God has directed
It is the responsibility of the church to follow Godly leadership
It is also the responsibility of the church to recognize leadership is not found in a single person, but in a body of leadership.
The Pastor: The clear call to Shepherd the flock
The Elder/Overseer: Those with wisdom and experience should make decisions, and insure we remain faithful to the mission.
Clearly, christian leadership is not found in a dictator, but rather spirit filled surrender.
Illus: Without leadership…ugh
The first wedding I officiated…I learned a lot.
Weddings are powerful statements of God’s covenant with us, and powerful statements of the depravity of mankind!
I know ask in premarriage counseling: Who will be leading the rehearsal
I am not worried about the ceremony, or the dinners…but I am greatly concerned about the rehearsal.
I don’t have to lead it…but someone does.
and only 1 leader is appropriate.
If you have 1 head, you have a leader, if you have 2 or more heads, you have a monster.
The first rehearsal I participated in was full of leadership…and not direction! Someone needs to take the lead!
In our context:
We serve our LORD Jesus, he is the good shepherd.
The pastor is the undershepherd, called to watch over the flock, provide guidance and teaching
The Overseers are to submit to the standard set before them by Christ himself
the Standard of Leadership
Christian leadership is to model the behavior of Christ, and surrender to his standard
The standard of leadership is set so high, that no man could accomplish this in the flesh.
The standard is set to demonstrate what a body of believers should look for in people God has placed there for leadership.Christin leadership is NEVER about the LEADER, but about God
don’t become a leader so that people will respect you.
don’t become a leader because you desire power
don’t become a leader because you believe in yourself
don’t become a leader because you are obviously qualified.
Marked for leadership
by humility
by dependance
by surrender
by sound doctrine, belief, and practice
by grace, truth, and peace.
Marked by the aroma of Christ.
Close
We need leadership in the church
we need those who are called to lead, to step up and do so
Let me tell you my frustration:
Folks who tell me they want to lead…and then never act in a way that qualifies them.
Folks who tell stories of past leadership accomplishments…and not currently participate.
Folks who desire an office, but do not desire accountability.
Folks who find fault, but do not find solution.
Leadership is about GRACE and the mission of Christ
gospel advancement is at the heart of this
we lead because it matters.

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