Do you often find yourself in situations where you are asking God to "get you out" instead of asking God, "What do you want me to get out of this?" The disciples were constantly watching Jesus do miracles. Every day was new. There were healings going on, the dead were rising, the blind were seeing, the deaf hearing, the cripples walking, storms were calmed. One day after another they saw Jesus doing these things and more in their midst.
Your effectiveness in ministry (and anyone who is "in Christ" has some) comes down to four basic elements:
Why are you attracted to Jesus? One author suggests that we are attracted to Jesus because He is the real deal.
Just a Thought: Going from a demonized state to deliverance, we see a terrible story with a happy ending. Well sort of. Luke takes us on a journey with Jesus to a place where we meet a man under the control of demons so much so that he has become wild, hopelessly and helplessly a prisoner of Satan's power. That is until he meets Jesus. We see here that even the one who is severely dominated by the demonic is not out of the reach of the delivering power of Jesus. When the man meets Jesus, Jesus cast the ...
Jesus. Jesus. You say it. Say it again. Say it out loud and repeat His name several times. The old Gaither song is right, there is just something about that name. "Master, Savior, like the springtime after the rain…" It is the name we call upon for salvation. It is the name we call upon for cleansing of sin. It is the name we call upon in times of fear. And it is the name we call upon to strengthen our faith. Jesus knows our deepest secrets, He knows our greatest struggles, He knows the things that shake our foundation ...
Decades had come and gone, and for Russ McElveen it seemed that there were important people in his family he would never see again. Then came the miracles of the past year or so that brought a son and two sisters back into his life. After 60 years he made contact with two of his sisters and after 45 years he was reconnect with a son. Have you ever thought that someone was gone from your life forever.
How's your heart?
What difference do you make to the Kingdom work God is doing around you? Some may feel they don't contribute much, but let's remember all the members of the body are essential for the body to function properly. Just because you don't preach or teach doesn't mean you're unimportant. If you are serving God, using your spirit given gifts and serving for the honor and glory of God, you are essential! When you consider the ministry of Jesus, it is easy to focus on those out in front such as Jesus and the disciples. But ...
"Dearly Beloved…" That's the way I started out my last wedding sermon. I know it's a little bit of a throwback. We don't call too many people "beloved" anymore, but I hope you know what I mean. Today, I want to think about why that's a perfect way to greet one another…"beloved".
What a prison self consciousness can be. When I think of those "would be" Christians if they could just find someone to express the love of God and acceptance to them. In Luke 7, we read the story of a self-righteous Pharisee who invites Jesus to dinner and an encounter with a prostitute. (Odd mix I know) but it is kind of like Christians in the world with judgmental spirits or worse how sinners are made to feel (if) or when they walk into the church building. You have heard people say, "Well if I went to church the ceiling ...
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"And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ."
If I knocked on your door and asked you if you would rather die than give up the teaching I'm ready to share with you, how would you respond? If I called you on the phone as you were eating dinner and told you to give up your home and your car and your relationships and follow me, how would that go over? I'm guessing not so well, right? I don't think I'd have too many followers.
My youngest granddaughter just lost her third tooth. She is grinning at everyone to show the gaps in her teeth. As a joke, I asked my daughter if she was going to buy a flipper to cover the gaps. She looked at me blankly. I guess she doesn't watch "Toddlers & Tiaras."
"Oh, I must find rest in God only, because my hope comes from him! Only God is my rock and my salvation- my stronghold!-I will not be shaken. My deliverance and glory depend on God. God is my strong rock. My refuge is in God. All you people: Trust in God at all times! Pour out your hearts before the Lord! God is our refuge!"
They say, "Politics makes strange bedfellows." We've probably all been surprised from time to time when we see two people or groups who would normally be at each other's throats suddenly work together because they've found a common enemy.
"Look! I'm standing at the door and knocking. If any hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to be with them, and will have dinner with them, and they will have dinner with me."
"The LORD's voice is over the waters; the glorious God thunders; the LORD is over the mighty waters. The LORD's voice is strong; the LORD's voice is majestic."
Deuteronomy 31:8 says: "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
The memory is a dozen years old now, but vivid. I couldn't tell you what it was like outside, but I remember that room. I even remember what I was wearing. But even more clearly, I remember what my son looked like - a pudgy little nine-month old, in a hospital gown, snot dripping from his nose, coughing non-stop. He had pneumonia. It was awful. We were first time parents, trying to deal with a sickness we couldn't seem to do anything about. All day long, nurses had been in and out poking him for one reason or another ...
Lots of old expressions sneak into our lives and conversations every day. Ever heard the expression, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree"? I seem to use that expression a lot these days. It's a handy expression that means the son or the daughter is a lot like the parent. So when a child exhibits a behavior or similarity to one of the parents, I will likely say, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."
I hope you're ready. The countdown to Christmas is quickly nearing zero. And if you've been reading these articles, you've seen what I've said about the importance of keeping the CHRIST in CHRISTmas. So today I want to discuss the most important part of being ready for a CHRISTian CHRISTmas - the receiving. You see, if you aren't ready to receive this Christmas, you will miss out on the best this holiday has to offer: true peace, true joy, true love.
Last week, this article reminded us of the reason for the season, the purpose behind all of our preparations and parties, decorations and driving, fun and family gatherings. We talked about preparing for CHRISTmas rather than just Christmas, and how that happens when we keep the proper attitude and the proper purpose.
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Let's go to Bethlehem! Let's see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.
We're well into December. You know what that means. The Christmas Parade was Saturday. The bell ringers are out. The radio stations have converted their music. The newspapers are full of all the ads. Christmas is coming.