Links & Quotes

link quote

Some good reading & viewing from today…

As the fellowship I grew up in celebrates its 100th anniversary, I love reading quotes like this: “Worldwide, 95% of Assemblies of God adherents lived outside the United States in 2013. In the U.S., over 41% of Assemblies of God adherents were non-white. In the U.S., the white constituency has decreased by 34,922 over the past ten years, while the number of non-white constituency has increased by 433,217.

An excellent post for unmarried people, and the friends who care about them: 4 Lies Single People Need To Stop Believing.

[VIDEO] Millions of dollars in “humanitarian aid” for the Palestinian people has been hijacked by Hamas to build tunnels into Israel for their terrorist schemes.

“God’s sovereignty means that His design for us cannot be frustrated. Nothing, absolutely nothing, befalls those who love God and are called according to His purpose, except what is for our deepest and highest good (Romans 8:28; Psalm 84:11).” —John Piper

“Since God does in fact address man in His Word, He obviously regards him as addressable in spite of the fact that man as a sinner closes his ears and heart to Him.” —Karl Barth

Your gift makes you a servant, not a master.” Read more in: Use Your Knowledge To Serve Others.

“In a time when everything in the world seems to be vanity, God is depending on us to proclaim that He is the great Reality, and that only He can give meaning to all other realities.” —A.W. Tozer

A Leader’s Nudge And Covering

Nudge & coverLeadership carries a heavy responsibility. I often paraphrase what the Apostle James wrote, “Not many of you should presume to be leaders because you know leaders will be judged more strictly” (see James 3:1).

Consider what was said to Jeroboam, the king of Israel: “And God will give Israel up because of the sins Jeroboam has committed and has caused Israel to commit” (1 Kings 14:16, emphasis added).

A leader’s action has consequences not only for himself, but for all the people under his care. Sure, some Israelites were going to sin regardless of how Jeroboam lived, but his sinful lifestyle gave a nudge to those who took their cues from him. In other words, Jeroboam’s sin made it that much easier for others to sin.

I’m sure there were some Israelites who didn’t follow Jeroboam into sin, yet they were now exposed to God’s “jealous anger” (1 Kings 14:22) because Jeroboam’s sin removed the covering of God’s blessing on those northern tribes.

These principles still hold true today for me as a dad, a husband, a pastor, a citizen of Cedar Springs. And they hold true for you in your role as a spouse, a parent, an employer or employee, a Christian. Your sin may be the nudge to others that causes them to sin; your sin will remove God’s covering and expose people to His judgment.

Leaders best serve by staying wholly committed to God. 

It’s only as I am wholly—and holy—His that I can nudge people toward righteousness and preserve the covering of God’s blessing.

May our lives never arouse God’s righteous anger, but may we be a blessing by wholly serving Him all the days of our lives.

A View To Pleasing God

I read an article this week 10 Bad Reasons To Be A Pastor. For the most part it was right on-target.

Even if we have the right reason (singular, not plural) for being a pastor—namely, that God called us—we can still battle discouragement over what is or isn’t happening in our ministry. I am convinced that much of this discouragement comes from listening to the wrong applause.

Chrysostom

John Chrysostom

John Chrysostom, a man very reluctant to answer God’s call on his life to enter the pastorate, wrote—

“Let, therefore, the man who undertakes the strain of teaching never give heed to the good opinion of the outside world, nor be dejected in soul on account of such persons; but laboring at his sermons so that he may please God, (For let this alone be his rule and determination, in discharging this best kind of workmanship, not acclamation, nor good opinions,) if, indeed, he be praised by men, let him not repudiate their applause, and when his hearers do not offer this, let him not seek it, let him not be grieved. For a sufficient consolation in his labors, and one greater than all, is when he is able to be conscious of arranging and ordering his teaching with a view to pleasing God. (emphasis added)

Our view must always be to pleasing God. It matters little whether humans hands applaud us or not. We must live, and preach, and discharge our pastoral duties solely for the applause of nail-scarred hands. If our Master says, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” what does it matter what anyone else says?

Bright Lamps

photoPastor, please carefully consider these words from Charles Bridge (1794-1869)—

“It is indeed a ‘neglect of the gift of God that is in us,’ to trifle either in the study or in the pulpit. God will bless our endeavors—not our idleness. Our Master, and our people for our Master’s sake, have a just claim to our best time and talents, our most matured thoughts, and most careful studies. To venture upon this infinite work of God with slender furniture, proves a guilty unconcern to our high responsibility.” 

These words remind me of Christ’s words at the end of the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Luke 12): Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their Master to return.

We cannot be idle. Even our “down time” should be preparation time for renewed ministry.

Don’t neglect the gift God has given you to minister to others, to glorify Him, and to be a servant working to hear his Master say, “Well done!”

Preaching Christ

My dear pastor, please prayerfully consider these words from Charles Spurgeon, and allow the Holy Spirit to help you answer the question: “Am I preaching Christ crucified?”

C.H. Spurgeon“Let me very briefly tell you what I believe preaching Christ and Him crucified is. My friends, I do not believe it is preaching Christ and Him crucified, to give people a batch of philosophy every Sunday morning and evening, and neglect the truths of this Holy Book. I do not believe it is preaching Christ and Him crucified, to leave out the main cardinal doctrines of the Word of God, and preach a religion which is all a mist and a haze, without any definite truths whatever. I take it that man does not preach Christ and Him crucified, who can get through a sermon without mentioning Christ’s name once; nor does that man preach Christ and Him crucified, who leaves out the Holy Spirit’s work, who never says a word about the Holy Spirit, so that indeed the hearers might say, ‘We do not so much as know whether there be a Holy Spirit.’”

—C.H. Spurgeon

It is so vital that we preach the full counsel of the Word of God boldly. Don’t be afraid of the reaction of those in your congregation. Rather, preach to hear Christ say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Servanthood

ServanthoodThis morning we wrapped up our series called Life Togetherwhere we looked at the one another phrases in the New Testament that related to the Church—with the thought of serving one another.

I think this 1-minute video from John Maxwell captures this thought about servanthood well…

From The Personalized Promise Bible we looked at this prayer that comes from the servanthood example of Jesus in John 13:13-17

Jesus is my Mentor and the Lord of my life. He has left me an example of the greatest servitude the world has ever known. I will do as he did and wash the feet of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I will see the real good and benefit of others through humble service. With a tender heart of compassion, I will take the time to do good to those around me. Through this generosity of service and willingness to give of myself to others, no matter how humbling the service may be, I store up for myself favor upon favor, and blessing upon blessing.

Thursdays With Oswald—A Glorious Opportunity

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Oswald ChambersA Glorious Opportunity

     If you are a saint, you have a glorious opportunity of following the example of Jesus and being strong enough to decline to exercise your rights.

From Bringing Sons Unto Glory

He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant. (Philippians 2:7)

“Do you think I cannot call on My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matthew 26:53-54)

Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done. (Luke 22:42)

Saints, you have a glorious opportunity to go and live like Jesus.

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