Called And Equipped 

Luke 9:1 “Then He called His twelve disciples . . .”

When the Lord calls us to serve Him there seems to be a universal response. Our hearts cry out, “I can’t.” This was the same response of Moses, Saul and Gideon. We feel this way because the Lord always seems to call us to do what is beyond our capacities. A young woman with small children senses a call to teach in children’s church, or a retired couple hears the call to the mission field, or a young man has a burning in his heart to become a pastor, and the voice in our head cries out, “I can’t.”

I think there is something encouraging here as Jesus calls the twelve. He is sending them out to serve Him. They will encounter many with needs beyond their capabilities to handle. They will cross paths with the sick, who will look to them for the answer, the demoniacs, who are held under by the powers of the devil, and some will oppose the work of God. For their journey they are told to take nothing: no money, no provisions, no extra stuff, for these things will not equip them for the ministry. Jesus wants them to understand, those are not the things that enable them, nor will a lack of those things restrict them. Instead, Jesus provides everything that is necessary. We read,

“. . . He gave them power and authority. . . “

All of their objections, and ours, should be silenced by these six words. Whatever reasons they had for objecting to the call, whatever lack they may have felt, must be silenced when Jesus declares, “I have given you power and authority.” Just as their objections are silenced by His promise, so must ours be silenced. Whatever objections you have to the call of God on your life, understand that what He calls us to, He equips us for. As He said to Gideon (Judges 6:12, 14), He says to you “Mighty man of valor… Go in this might of yours.”

Will you go?

Pastor Jim

Faithful In All Things 

Exodus 24:5
“Then he sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord.”

“If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” I am quite certain most of us have heard this little slogan. The lesson in it is, there is no way to get a job done properly, unless you alone are the one to do it. I would guess each of us could supply loads of empirical data that would support such a statement. We have all given a task to another, only to find they proved less than qualified to accomplish it.

While it is necessary for a person to prove themselves faithful before they are given opportunity for ministry, it is also true, God’s method of  expanding ministry is to give it away. Moses was not a one-man-band who did not allow others opportunity to serve. Instead, he spread ministry by putting it into the hands of others.

Although the names, physical descriptions, and occupations of these men are not disclosed, we do know, they were less than qualified for the task. The one adjective used to describe them was that they were young. Young, in many cases, could be used synonymously with the word inexperienced. The basic idea is, Moses chose guys who might seem unqualified for the job, in order to raise up another generation given to the service of the Lord. Moses was not alone in this approach, Jesus and Paul were both known for giving ministry away.

I think there are two simple applications to draw from this text. First, we should seek to become a person that others would want to include in ministry. If we know those serving the Lord are always looking for faithful, although perhaps inexperienced people, we should seek to be faithful. Second, if we are involved in ministry, we cannot try to hold on to it. Instead of viewing it as “our ministry”, we should see it as “His ministry”, and be looking for others to team with, and ultimately, to pass things on to.

Pastor Jim

Greatest Joy

3 John 4
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

There are many things that fill us with joy. Some of them are quite simple, like seeing a rainbow, or when our team wins. Others are much deeper, like our wedding day, or the birth of a child. John lived a long life and, no doubt, had his share of experiences that produced joy, making his statement here all the more valuable. He states, of all the things that have brought a smile to his face, nothing can compare to knowing his children are walking with the Lord.

As parents, we desire what is best for our children. It is natural for us to want them to have what we have, and more. We want them to have a happy childhood, get a good education, and make healthy choices as adults. While it is natural for us to want our children to succeed in life, making a decision to follow Christ, is the most important goal.

If we want to see our children walking with the Lord, we cannot leave it in the realm of the desire. Passing on Biblical values and a Christian witness, must be our chief priority. However, each individual must make his own decision for the Lord. Even the best parents have children that walk away from the Lord (Adam and Eve backslid, as did the Prodigal Son). That being said, there are things we can do to increase the odds, and provide an atmosphere which is more likely to produce godly children. Below is a list of ideas that should be demonstrated in our homes.

1. A godly example – Children learn more by what they see, than what they are told.

2. A healthy marriage – One of the best things you can do for the spiritual health of your children is to invest in your spouse.

3. Daily devotions – First, you need to have them yourself. The more you grow in the Lord, the better you will be at instilling godliness in others. Second, find a way to share the things of God with your children. Read the Gospel stories to them before bed.

4. Church attendance – God designed the church as a place for us to grow in Christ. Get the children plugged into age appropriate classes at church. They might not enjoy sitting next to you in service, but will love being in class with other children.

5. Serve the Lord as a family – Don’t force the children to do what they hate. Find an area of service they will enjoy, and commit to serving as a family.

I understand there are some parents who are grieving because, even after all their efforts, their child has chosen to walk away from the Lord. Do not live under condemnation for all the things you think you did wrong. Instead, receive the forgiveness that Jesus provides, and PRAY DAILY for your child. God is in the business of reconciliation, and He loves our children more than we can ever imagine.

Proverbs 22:6

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Pastor Jim

 

Memory Lane 

2 Samuel 15:14
“So David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, ‘Arise, and let us flee, or we shall not escape from Absalom. Make haste to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly and bring disaster upon us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword.’”

Perhaps you have heard someone speak of having their whole life pass before their eyes. In a moment’s time, while facing imminent danger, all they had done, whether good or bad, seems to flash into their mind. David is having a similar experience. His son Absalom has stolen the hearts of the people, mounted a large army to overthrow the king, and steal the kingdom. Instead of remaining in Jerusalem and turning the holy city into a battle ground, David chooses to flee to the wilderness and trust his life and future into the hands of God. As he departs, we are introduced to people from his past. It is like a journey through the memory of David, as he encounters those who stand with him or come against him. Let’s take a brief look at just a few of these encounters.

2 Samuel 15:18
“Then all his servants passed before him; and all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men who had followed him from Gath, passed before the king.”

David had spent many years as a fugitive fleeing from King Saul. During that time, he met a number of disgruntled men who were also living as fugitives. These men joined forces with David and over time became his “mighty men.” They were with him while he fled Saul in the wilderness, and remained faithful to him when the kingdom began to split. These were the men in whom David had invested his life, and they, in turn, were loyal to him to the end. We are exhorted to invest our lives in others, helping them to walk with, and grow in, Christ. Jesus called this disciple-making (Matthew 28:19). We should be able to look back on our lives and see that we have invested in the lives of others, helping them to grow in Christ.

2 Samuel 15:21
“But Ittai answered the king and said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in whatever place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also your servant will be.’”

Second, we come to Ittai the Gittite. We know very little of this man except he only recently joined ranks with David. He reminds us, making disciples was not just something of David’s past, but was part of his present as well. Some can look back and be reminded of great accomplishments for the Kingdom, but when we look at the present, we see very little we are doing for the Lord. It is sad and dangerous if our personal testimony is filled with only distant memories. We should be making current investments in the Kingdom of God.

2 Samuel 15:27
“The king also said to Zadok the priest, ‘Are you not a seer? Return to the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.’”

Finally, Zadok the prophet and priest passes before him. David encourages him to go back to Jerusalem because of his role as a “seer” or prophet. David surrounded himself with those who would speak the Word of God to him. We all have people that we allow to speak into our lives. They are the people we go to for advice, or we seek to model ourselves after. David reminds us to be sure we have those who will speak the Word of God into our lives. How important it is to allow God’s Word to direct us, and to surround ourselves with people who will speak His truth to us.
Look at your life. Are you currently involved in serving the Lord by investing in the lives of others? Are you surrounding yourself with people who will use the counsel of God to direct your life? If not, make the necessary changes today.

Pastor Jim

 

Sermon On The Mount

Matthew 5:1-2
And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: . . .”

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b9a/30989304/files/2015/01/img_1296.jpgMatthew 5-7 contain one continuous message that Jesus preached to His followers on a hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Although it is called a sea, it is actually a lake. The Greek word for sea and lake are the same word.

Verse 1 gives us the setting in which this sermon was given. We read, “seeing the multitude, He went up…” This great message on Christian ethics and Christian living was motivated by seeing the multitude. The word “multitude” simply means a large group of people. It is used in the Gospels to speak of the great number of people who, while being drawn to Jesus, had not yet received Him. The multitude illustrates for us the unbelieving world. The Bible teaches us how Jesus feels about the unbeliever. He loves them so much He bled and died for them. So, here we find Jesus wanting to save the lost; wanting to reach the multitude, and as a result, He departs from them to spend time with His disciples. A disciple is one who has received Christ and is following Him.

You see, the method Jesus uses to reach a lost world, is through the lives of His followers. The more time we spend with Him, and the more we become the Christian of the sermon on the mount, the greater influence we will have upon the world, for Christ.

As you read Matthew 5-7 pray and apply the Scriptures to your daily living and let’s see God use you to reach the world for the kingdom of heaven.

Pastor Jim