Thursday, December 31, 2009
A little boy was overheard praying:
'Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it.
I'm having a real good time like I am.'
After the christening of his baby brother in church,
Jason sobbed all the way home in the back seat of the car.
His father asked him three times what was wrong.
Finally, the boy replied,
'That preacher said he wanted us brought up in a Christian home,
and I wanted to stay with you guys.'
One particular four-year-old prayed,
'And forgive us our trash baskets
as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets.'
A Sunday school teacher asked her children as they
were on the way to church service,
'And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?'
One bright little girl replied,
'Because people are sleeping.'
A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin 5, and Ryan 3.
The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake.
Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson.
'If Jesus were sitting here, He would say,
'Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.'
Kevin turned to his younger brother and said,
' Ryan , you be Jesus !'
A father was at the beach with his children
when the four-year-old son ran up to him,
grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore
where a seagull lay dead in the sand.
'Daddy, what happened to him?' the son asked.
'He died and went to Heaven,' the Dad replied.
The boy thought a moment and then said,
'Did God throw him back down?'
A wife invited some people to dinner.
At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said,
'Would you like to say the blessing?'
'I wouldn't know what to say,' the girl replied.
'Just say what you hear Mommy say,' the wife answered.
The daughter bowed her head and said,
'Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?'
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. -- Psalm 19:1
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
So, if you have a personal conviction on No Alcohol, don't use that to judge the "righteousness" of believers or not-yet-believers if they choose to drink alcohol.
And if you're using your freedom in Christ to enjoy a glass of wine with a meal, don't use that freedom to look down on teetotalers.
Preserving Freedom in Christ and Care Not to Harm Others
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Saul is converted in Damascus (Acts 9) and almost immediately begins preaching in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God (Acts 9:20). Three years later (see Galatians 1:18 about this timing) Barnabas introduces him to the apostles in Jerusalem (Acts 9:27), and then…Paul is sent off to his home (Tarsus) because he stirred up deadly passion after debating with some Grecian Jews (Acts 9:30). Shipping Saul out of town must have diffused the tension, because the next verse tells us that church enjoyed a time of peace. Paul returns for a visit to Jerusalem fourteen years later, with Titus (Galatians 2:1-2). Some time later, Barnabas asks Paul to join him in Antioch and help the new church there (Acts 11:25-26). It's after all this that the Holy Spirit begins sending Paul out on his three missionary journeys.
We can infer three lessons from this period of ministry and preparation time:
1.He was alone during the three years in Arabia, and that likely was an important part of his preparation. Paul was not being taught by other men (Galatians 1:16), but receiving instruction from the Lord. I imagine he reviewed every part of the Pentateuch, Psalms, and haftarah (comprising what we call the Old Testament) and seeing it anew in the reality of Jesus as the Messiah, Jesus as fully God and fully man, and Jesus as his Lord and Savior. I also suspect it was during this time that Paul learned to discern and hear the voice of God.
2.At some point during the 14 year period Saul changes his name to Paul. Name changes are significant! Paul was a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17), and now has a new name.
3.Paul wasn't just practicing preaching in a room by himself, he was preaching and teaching among Jewish and Gentile audiences. His ministry had some success: Titus, a Greek Gentile, is an early convert who later becomes a key pastor. And people clearly testify that Paul was preaching about Jesus the Messiah. But we have no recorded letters from Paul during this period. There are no other stories about converts or miracles or establishing churches.
I believe there are two key applications for us today:
1.God doesn't shortchange on preparation for ministry (and neither should we). This chronology spans more than 17 years, and God's greatest work through Paul was yet to come.
2.God is so amazingly powerful that even ministry training is fruitful for His Kingdom.
I encourage you to think about your own situation in light of God's development program for Paul. God has used many people to invest in you for years: your parents, teachers, pastors, employers, friends, even your children. And He is calling you to invest generously in others, patiently helping instruct and develop them.
Understand this: God's best ministry through you is likely still in the future.
So let us go forward today in thankful confidence that our loving Lord is developing and training us for ministry in His Name, using all kinds of people and opportunities and experiences.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Check out this resource: Fresh Sermon Illustrations
You do have to subscribe (free for 30 days, then $36/three years) but I think that's a small price to pay for a rich, steadily updated collection that is so easy to search.
(I don't earn any money from this recommendation.)
Sunday, December 20, 2009
My observation is that people who read the Bible best are people who have a PLAN to read it systematically.
Your bible might have a reading plan in it; check. Or you may have one from somewhere that you liked and want to use again -- great!
If nothing else, start with this read the Bible in a year plan.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
It's not enough to teach your students the truth from the Bible. You must mentor them and coach them and teach them how to interact with the Bible for themselves and the people God puts in their sphere of influence. Do not make them dependent upon you.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
3. French Hens refers to faith, hope, and love
4. Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels or the Four Evangelists
5. Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6. Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation
7. Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, and compassion
8. Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes
9. Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10. Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments
11. Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles
12. Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed"
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
That's the question I've been asking lately - for myself, my family, my ministry for Christ, for neighbors and nations. I want to see more people I know entering the Kingdom of God and serving joyfully for Christ. I want to increase the number of people competent to teach God's Word to others. I want my children to be strong in the Lord. I want our marriage to honor the Lord. I want to be a wiser leader and better steeped in Scripture. I want our church to grow by conversion and be an equipping center for sending people to neighbors and nations. I want to lose fat and build muscle so I can serve others better.
There are many changes I want to see. But positive changes require sacrifice. I will have to give up something that I kind of like, secretly enjoy, or even something that's been very effective in the past, in order to see the changes I want to see.
Much of my day-to-day life is built on mindsets, habits, and practices that I've held for months and years, and those routines are generally what produce the results I see. I have habits for studying the Word and for prayer, and routines about when and what I eat, how much I sleep, how I interact with my family and friends, how I spend money, what I do for entertainment. I'm not completely on autopilot, but I do have a many functional habits, rituals, and routines.
This is true for churches as well as individuals. We have treasured mindsets, habits, practices and routines that drive much of our time and energy. Routines and predictability give us comfort and give us strong foundations, up to a point. When they become the focus rather than God, they're idols. They're deadweight that pulls us down. Jesus is life, not rituals.
I'm not saying everything is bad and must be sacrificed! When we plateau and stop growing, then we need to seriously ask what needs to be sacrificed to grow again. If we want to see different results - positive changes - then we must wisely discern what mindsets, habits, practices, and routines need to be different. In short, we have to address the question "What sacrifices will you make for the change you want to see?"
We're weak people, of course. We tend to exploit two strategies to shortcut this question and avoid making sacrifices.
(1) First, we rationalize that the change we desire isn't going to happen anyway, or for a very long time, or is just not realistic for the near future. So we don't need to change anything about the way we live.
(2) Second, we displace the need for change on someone else. "I'm fine, I don't need to make any painful changes - it's those other people who need to change. Then everything would get better."
Be mature. Don't allow either of these to derail you from a tremendous growth opportunity, and drawing closer to God in obedience.
(If I haven't made you uncomfortable yet, please go back to the beginning and reread.)
Let me help you unpack your thinking.
Mindsets. How do you think about yourself? How you think about your spouse and children and extended family? How do you think about God's call on your life? What do your behaviors tell you about how you really think about people and situations?
Habits. Is there something mindless and useless that takes up more than a few moments of your week that needs to be sacrificed, however enjoyable? What are some habits that you know do not help you or help others? What are some positive habits that may still be a distraction from the desired change you seek?
Practices. What's the good thing which is the enemy of the best thing? Is there a constructive shakeup to the order in which you do things? What habits contribute to "numbed autopilot stumble along through life" behavior rather than dynamic growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Routines. What are our conventional schedules and programs which keep up busy enough to have no margin for creating and developing new ministry areas? What are the "sacred" things in our church life which have a big "Don't Touch" label - and why? What would it take to hear equal parts criticism and "Wow!" responses?
Working through this takes humility and prayer.
Let's push ahead for Christ's sake!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
There's no such thing.
Because God is always at work, and no one makes himself. We are creatures, not the Creator.
Now what they usually mean by that expression "self-made" is that a person reached some position or state without any help.
Teachers, you are not self-made. You've had a lot of help along the way.
Yes, I acknowledge that some people have had more help than others. But the fact remains that you've had a lot of help. Someone shared the Gospel with you. The Holy Spirit opened your eyes and heart to receive the Lord. Someone has enabled you to learn the basics of our faith. Someone worked to print that Bible you read. It's likely that many people have patiently worked with you since you were a child. And over all this, our sovereign Lord has been providing for you constantly.
Take heart from this: you're not self-made at all, but God-made!
Teach the Bible to change lives, dear friend.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Periodically I'm asked what I think about "The Secret," the "Law of Attraction," and Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich." The basic idea is that the universe is your servant, and responds to your deepest thoughts. If you think the right way ("magnetically") about wealth, for example, the impersonal universe responds by delivering money to you. This magical thinking is an enormously popular idea with multiple incarnations in human history -- and fundamentally it's a religious idea.
I don't believe this religion squares with Scripture at all. Our thoughts our important, but our thoughts have no control over our environment, and the universe is not impersonal!
In fact, this kind of magical thinking is fundamentally narcissism. (Definition: inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity.)
Sam Vaknin has written this about the narcissism of "magical thinking":
"Magical thinking is one of the hallmarks not only of pathological narcissism, but of a panoply of mental health disorders, including a few personality disorders, most notably the SCHIZOTYPAL personality disorder.
Magical thinking postulates that one is able to exert influence over other people, inanimate objects, and events, merely by projecting one's thoughts. Infants get over this worldview at age 3. Narcissists and other mentally disordered people don't.
The Law of Attraction teaches us that we are responsible for our actions and cognitions and should bear their consequences (which is a good, mature principle of action). But, it also claims that our thoughts translate into real-life events. We are, therefore, to blame for everything that is happening around us, to us, and to others, merely by mutely thinking about it! This is an onerous and terrifying burden to bear. It is the exact opposite of empowerment!
The Law of Attraction is also a fallacious organizing principle: we cannot always tell good from bad, because we cannot see into the future. Some events are blessings in disguise; the fortuitous or serendipitous character and the utility of some occurrences and people becomes known only much later in life; too much of a good thing (wealth, fame, even happiness) is frequently counter-productive.
The dichotomous, black and white view of the world, propagated by the Law of Attraction ("good" vs. "evil" or "bad") is considered a pathology in its own right: it is a defense mechanism known as "splitting" which characterizes early childhood (ages 6 months to 1 year) and vanishes in healthy adults."
So my counsel is to be a scofflaw of the "Law" of Attraction. Put aside childish notions about how the world works, and teach others to do likewise.
(Giving credit where credit is due: The link between magical thinking and narcissism came from a personal newsletter of Perry Marshall.)
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Excellent ideas for your family to use: "Thirteen Ways to Bless Missionaries Without Paying for Postage."
I especially like these two creative ideas:
- Purchase an iTunes gift card for them. Have it sent to you and email them the account number.
- Get friends and family together to create a holiday video greeting for them using Google Video or YouTube. Include lots of people you know they miss.
Read the whole list, see what you and your church can do.
Monday, December 07, 2009
Saturday, December 05, 2009
I recently received an email asking me to comment about keeping Christ in Christmas. Perhaps you can identify with him:
* Understanding the biblical context of the text
* Standing on the authority of the Bible
Even if you know these things, it is important to be reminded. And make sure the people you teach understand these truths as well.
Friday, December 04, 2009
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
The first question we must ask of every biblical text is simply this—what does it tell us about God? What does it say about who he is and about what he does?
The second question is: what does this text say about us human beings? What are we meant to be and what has gone wrong?
The third and final question is: what has God done about this and what does he expect of us in the light of what he has done?
Asking these questions and seeking answers to them will help us interpret the Spirit’s message to Christ’s people and to each of us as individuals.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
A large fraction of small groups in the US use pre-made study guides. That's ok. I encourage all of you to try going without pre-made study guides and dive into the Word together without them. Come up with your own questions.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I want to thank Glenn for inviting me to contribute to his blog. I always get so much out of what Glenn writes; it’s a little intimidating to put my own thoughts on the same page as his. Hopefully, what I have to say will bless you. If not, Glenn will be back soon! :0)
I’m sure you have noticed this: Our God is a God of great creativity, variety, and diversity. Just look at His creation:
* As an omniscient, omnipotent Creator, God could have made everything a hueless gray; but He didn’t. Instead, He graced our eyes with bright blue skies, deep green forests, white-capped mountains, golden sunrises, and violet sunsets.
* Our food could have been as tasteless as styrofoam and still have supplied the energy we need to live, but it isn’t. We enjoy the sweetness of strawberries, the zest of lemon, the “bite” of salt, the crunch of almonds, the fluffiness of yeast rolls, and the creaminess of butter. (Is anybody else hungry?)
* All of Adam’s children could have inherited identical genome sequences, but instead we each have DNA that makes us uniquely “us.” Red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in His sight!
This is diversity that merits our unrestrained praise and awe. God’s unlimited artisanship is a wonder to behold!
But there is another kind of diversity that is not of God’s making. I am talking about doctrinal diversity—differences in beliefs about what is right and what is wrong, what is true and what is false.
In a “Politically Correct” world where “tolerance” is everything, we often hear Christians revel in the different understandings of brothers and sisters regarding various truths of the Bible. It is commonly thought a wonderful thing that we “agree to disagree” about “non-essential” doctrines and not bother trying to reach a common understanding.
Now, I have dear friends from many different denominations and theological traditions. We have divergent views regarding baptism, church government, the return of Christ, spiritual gifts, predestination, the use of alcohol, the separation of church & state, and many other such things.
I imagine you have such relationships too, and I’m sure you value those friendships as much as I do mine.
But did you know that our job as teachers of the Word is not to celebrate this kind of diversity but to strive to eliminate it?
Before you write this off as the intolerant rant of a hair-splitting theologian, let’s take a look at Ephesians 4.11-16:
“And He Himself [Jesus] gave some to be . . . teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from Whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what each joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (NKJV).
A quick read of Ephesians 4 will show that God’s major concern is unity, not diversity.
There is, first of all, a unity that we’re required to MAINTAIN and, second, a unity that we seek to ATTAIN.
The first unity is mentioned in verses 1-3:
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
This is the unity that already exists between every true Christian. It is grounded, not in anything that we do, but in the Gospel truth that there is “one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father Who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (vss. 4-6).
We don’t have to “attain” to this unity; it’s already ours. We simply need to “maintain” or “keep” it “in the bond of peace.” We do this by treating one another with humility, gentleness, and patience, as Paul urged the Ephesians above.
What the apostle says in the ensuing verses about teaching for doctrinal unity must be tempered by the words we have just considered. Those words should dispel any thoughts one might have of achieving doctrinal unity by dogmatic dictatorship or deceitful debating tactics (condemned in vs. 14).
That kind of dogmatism might be motivated by a noble goal, but it violates the prior “bond of peace” command. It is not worthy of one with your calling, and it will end up not achieving the goal of bringing others to unity of doctrine.
Consider, now, the second type of unity—“the unity of the faith” (vs. 13).
Unlike the “unity of the Spirit,” spoken of in verse 3, “unity of the faith” is not something that we currently have in its fullness; for Paul says that teachers and others are to minister “till we all come to” such a unity.
It is not something we have already acquired, but it is something to which we should all aspire. But should we really?
Why shouldn’t we “celebrate our diversity” in different doctrinal views?
Take for example the various Christian views on baptism. I believe in believer’s baptism by immersion; my good Presbyterian friends (and I have many) believe in infant baptism by sprinkling. Should we rejoice in the fact that we hold these two mutually exclusive views? No!
Why not? Because, though we might both be wrong, we cannot both be right; and God wants us to know His truth, i.e., to be right. Rather than “celebrate our diversity,” we should study harder, communicate better, and “eliminate” our diversity by coming to a common conclusion.
Consider The Living Bible’s paraphrase of verse 13. It says that teachers should teach “until finally we all believe alike about our salvation and about our Savior, God’s Son.”
TLB’s rendering of this phrase is confirmed by the classic commentaries.
As a matter of fact, when Paul says in vs. 13, that we are to “come” to this kind of unity, he uses a word that is found 9 times in the Book of Acts with reference to travelers arriving at a destination.
The apostle here sets forth three “destinations” toward which believers in Christ’s body are moving.
We are all “coming” to:
* Unity of Creed (“till we all come to the unity of the faith”)
* Unity of Communion with Christ (“and the knowledge of the Son of God”)
* Unity of Christ-likeness (“to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”)
There is a logical order here. The more accurate our doctrine, the better we can know Christ as He truly is; and the more intimate our knowledge and communion with Christ, the more like Him we will become (see 2 Cor 3.18), for we shall see Him “as He is” (1 Jn 3.1-3).
Will we ever “hammer out” all of our doctrinal differences? I seriously doubt it. But that’s no excuse for not trying.
We know that we will not be like Jesus in holiness until He shall appear; nevertheless, with that hope within us, we are to continually seek to purify ourselves (1 Jn 1.3).
In the same way, though we will likely not get all of the “flies” out of our theological “ointment” until Christ comes to teach us the Truth; that does not relieve us of the responsibility of seeking His Wisdom now and finding out all we can before He comes.
This is done by dwelling in the unity already given to us by the Spirit and gently teaching, humbly searching, patiently debating, and speaking the truth in love to attain the unity of thought that eludes us. It is accomplished by every member taking a part and edifying the body in love (vs. 16).
It will not happen if we piously “celebrate our diversity” in areas to which God has called us to unity.
Laziness, fear of offending, disdain for conflict, and an apathy toward truth are the great enemies that Great Bible Teachers must conquer if they are to fulfill the mission set before them in Ephesians 4.11-16.
The “Therefore” in Eph 4.1 points us back to all the reasons we should fight and conquer these enemies. (You’re a GBT, so I’ll let you search Eph 1-3 and discover those reasons!)
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
If you'd like to study these issues in more detail, I also recommend Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
One of the most difficult things for me is coaching teachers who have low expectations for what can happen in their class or group. They say things like, “Oh, I’m not a good presenter, and so people aren’t going to learn much from me.” Or “It’s just a few people and I can’t imagine what I could teach them because they’ve all been Christians a long time.”
If you’re focusing on yourself, then you probably should have low expectations for the outcomes of your class or study group.
Open secret: It’s not about you!
Here are reasons you should have high expectations:
This is the Word of God. It’s powerful. History has shown that God changes people as they genuinely interact with His Word. He promises that it will not return to Him without it accomplishing what He intends (ref).
The Holy Spirit is at work. I really want you to work hard on preparing your lesson material and practicing. I believe God wants you to work hard at your teaching craft. But even a “mediocre” lesson or presentation can be used by God to transform hearts and minds when the Holy Spirit is at work!
Jesus is interceding for you. Can it get any better than that? See Romans 8:34.
You are sinning if you do not expect God to “show up” and fulfill His promises. Don’t think less of God’s power in this particular circumstance than the Bible does.
“Be strong and courageous.” “Stand firm.” “Let nothing move you.” Your task is to obey these clear commands from Scripture, and give glory to God.
Friday, November 13, 2009
I recently saw a lady trying to walk her energetic puppy, who was running, rolling, sniffing, and constantly straining against the leash -- everywhere except by her. She was pleading in frustration, and yanking hard on the leash. The puppy was either trying to pull her along as he sprinted out front, or refused to come to her when he wanted to sniff longer around a tree. Neither she nor the puppy looked the least bit happy.
A few minutes later I saw a man walking with a mature German Sheppard. What first caught my eye was the absence of a leash (we have a leash law in our town.) But then I noticed that no leash was needed. The dog heeled beautifully, perfectly keeping pace with the man, and joyfully kept his attention either on his master or looking straight ahead. The man spoke quietly to him. The deep affection between them was obvious. I watched them enjoying their walk together until they turned the corner out of sight.
A dog heeling next to his master is a curious picture of the joy of the Christian life.
I thought about how many times I’ve acted like that puppy: running ahead of God, sniffing after things that are of no account to Him, barking in frustration when pulling at the end of the tether, choking myself in resistance to God’s direction. Puppies are absolutely convinced they know better than people where we should be going, how fast, and when to take diversions. You and I have behaved like that with our loving Father in heaven, haven’t we?
Contrast that with the joy that we can experience when we walk with our Father, by His side, looking frequently to Him, submitting to His pace and direction. No straining. We respond to gentle words. The biggest satisfaction is simply being with our Lord and Master, Teacher, and Friend.
Our ability to joyfully live the life God has for us is utterly dependent on our close connection with God and obedience to His direction. Jesus told us we can do nothing without him: “Apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Our relationship with Christ is designed to be like the relationships in the Trinity: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.” (John 5:19-20)
What can you do today to experience joy as you walk well with God, as you are enabled by the Holy Spirit?
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
This is a guest post from my friend Dale Hill...I've invited several people to provide guest posts because I want give you excellent information. -- Glenn
My dad taught me that if I don’t know ‘why,’ then I do not fully understand a thing. Though that may not apply to all situations and things, the principle has served me well through my life. Not being gifted with a purely logical mind, I have been able to use that mindset to move me to the core of much of my thinking and understanding about life.
Let’s apply that philosophy to what we do—why teach? More specifically, why do we teach? More pointedly, why do YOU teach?
There are many reasons why someone teaches, and we will outline some of them in this post.
1. We teach because we want to. This is a purely surface reason, but it is a necessary one. If you don’t want to teach, don’t do it—no matter who has asked you to fill a position. It is a grave mistake to fill a position with just a warm body, simply because the spot is empty. (Of course, I am not speaking here to those who are just getting started teaching. Maybe someone has called on you because they see something in you that needs to be developed. At this time, you may not ‘feel’ that you want to do this.)
2. We teach because we feel called to do so. Some of us simply cannot help ourselves—we teach all the time. We can’t hardly get into a conversation before an opportunity comes along to “lay something out more plainly” and off we go.
Those first two reasons can be summed up in the verse from Paul to the Corinthians: 1Cr 9:17 ESV - For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship.
3. We teach because it is a gift God has entrusted to us to build up the Body of Christ. Eph 4:11 ESV - And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
4. We teach because it is a part of the Great Commission. Mat 28:19 ESV - "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." The phrase “make disciples” carries within it the idea of teaching, for it means “to enroll as a learner.” We enroll them as a learner and begin to teach them all that the Lord has commanded us.
However, it is my conviction that everyone is to be a teacher. While we each may need a Paul in our life to help us along the way, we each should also have a Timothy to whom we can impart the things the Lord is giving us. If we are not teaching someone, then we are only taking in; and we become like the Dead Sea with nothing flowing out.
I base this conviction on Hebrews 5:12 ESV - For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food. That word was written to all the Hebrew Christians. It is a word that we take to ourselves as being for us. There comes a time when everyone should begin to teach.
Teachers, it is your responsibility to make sure that happens.
Glenn Brooke is on a quest to see 400,000 Bible teachers raised up. You can help by identifying those who are ready (or should be ready) to begin teaching at least one other person. Because of your gifting and calling, you are in a unique place to see this. In fact, you should be able to see the qualities in someone before the pastor does, and you can bring this person to the mind of the pastoral leadership in your church.
We teach because it is our passion to see the Kingdom of God and His glory fill the whole earth.
Dale Hill has been a Bible teacher and pastor since 1970. He currently resides in central Pennsylvania with his wife, Gracie, a dog and two cats, and a bear from the mountainside that frequents the back yard. Dale maintains a blog for teaching, a FaceBook presence, and a website for his books. His most recent publication is Basic Bible Teachings, which is an interactive Bible study for personal use or evangelism. The book is free of charge, and you are encouraged to see if it is something that will work for you.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Take a few moments and reflect on Kevin de Young's recent blog post on prayerlessness as unbelief.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Friday, November 06, 2009
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
What’s So Great About Heaven?
The Bible says a lot about heaven. It’s beyond what we can even imagine, but some things are clear about the paradise purchased for Christians by the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. Let's examine the two most important things about heaven: we will be in the very presence of Christ, and there will be no more sin or wickedness.
Some people say that Christians are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good. Actually, I have found that the more heavenly minded I am, the more earthly good I become. As usual, God’s truth is the complete opposite of what the world calls truth.
In Philippians 1:23 (NKJV), the Apostle Paul said he had a desire to "depart (die) and be with the Lord." The Bible makes it abundantly clear that the most precious part of heaven will be the fact that you will be in the presence of Jesus Christ. You will be able to worship Him and fellowship with Him forever. Day and night will not exist and you will have uninterrupted joy and peace in communion with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. What a tremendous picture. In this world and in our weak bodies, we grow weary in worship. Sometimes illness completely prevents us from conscious worship. However, it will not be like that in heaven. You will see Him face to face. The One you have served and loved and worshiped here by faith will then be in plain sight.
The second greatest thing about heaven will be the complete absence of sin and wickedness. 2 Peter 3:13 says of that day, "Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells."
Let that picture develop in your mind for a moment. Can you imagine a place where you no longer struggle with sinfulness in your own heart, nor with the sinfulness and wickedness of a world gone mad? Can you dream of a place where there will be no more murder, no more war, no more crime, no more earthquakes or floods?
I long for the day when I will no longer have to struggle with my own self-centeredness, my own lust, my own greed, my own pride. Is there a place without sin? You and I have never known it, but we will, if we are in Christ.
Sure, there are lots of other great things about heaven. There will be no more sickness, no more tears, no more grief because of death. Still, I believe the two greatest treasures will be the ones you and I have looked at in this brief article: seeing Jesus Christ face to face, and no longer struggling with sin. That will be "joy unspeakable and full of glory."
For more about experiencing Christian joy and peace, visit Glen's website http://www.histruejoy.com. Glen Averill has been a Christian minister and journalist for more than 25 years. His ministry is to encourage Christians to be all they can be in Christ.