- To embrace the will of God for our life…God is the One Who is going to go with you.
- That our employer, our national leaders, our health, our retirement may fail us…God has never and will never fail you.
- That those we love or invest in might forsake us…God will never forsake you.
“As long as we are content to live without revival, we will.” —Leonard Reavenhill
Does God have a specific task and calling for every believer in the local church? Yes! Yes! Yes! Beginning with Christ and His disciples and throughout the New Testament, God teaches believers that we were saved to serve. While the world has always despised serving others and promoted being served, the Bible teaches us the exact opposite. All those who follow Christ should be servants.
In many churches today, there is a dangerous philosophy that has crept in. It is the idea that the pastor and staff are paid to do all the serving. With this philosophy, soulwinning, cleaning, maintenance, vehicle repairs, lawn care, snow removal, hospitality, care for the hurting, widows and fatherless and much more is hired out to staff. The Bible says in Ephesian 4:11-12 that the very purpose of a pastor is to develop believers to serve in the church. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11–12) Yes, the pastor is to serve and one of the greatest ways he can serve believers is by developing them to serve. Certainly, a part of this development, is personally modeling a servant’s heart just like Jesus did for His disciples in John 13.
As a believer, don’t buy into this philosophy that you come to church to be served. You have a vital part in what God wants to do in your church and community. William McDonald aptly said, “Limitation of Christian service to a select class of men hinders the development of God’s people, stifles the cause of world evangelism, and stunts the growth of the church. The distinction between clergy and laity is unscriptural and perhaps the greatest single hindrance to the spread of the gospel.”
I encourage you that if you do not already have a place to serve in your church with your God-given gift, this Sunday, ask your pastor how you can serve. Don’t wait to be asked. Be eager to serve.
Relationships are an amazing gift from God! Beyond the relationship that God wants to have with us through Christ, the greatest relationship that can be had is found in marriage. Before we even get two chapters read in the Bible, we see marriage debuted. For a short while Adam and Eve knew perfect harmony with each other and their creator. In fact, their marriage was the only perfect marriage.
If we are honest, none of us have perfect marriages. There are times we argue, are unkind, exchange hurtful words, are unloving, show disrespect and the list could go on. Truly, every marriage that will be harmonious takes effort, commitment and an ever growing relationship with Jesus Christ by both husband and wife. Marriage is a relationship to be kindled each day for sure. Consider kindling your marriage like this:
- Practice Love and Respect. God instructs husbands in Ephesians 5 to love their wives unconditionally. Regardless of the behavior the wife, the husband is to show love. The practical standard of this is the husband loving his wife as much as he loves himself. Guys, kindle your marriage by truly loving your wife even on her worst day. Wives, on the other hand, are told to respect their husbands. Often wives give respect based behavior. However, God tells wives to respect her husband no matter what. Respect is demonstrated when a wife encourages and does not belittle. One man said, “A wife that is loved will grow in loveliness and a husband that is respected will become more respectable.”
- Practice Clearing the Air. When troubles and conflict do arise, be sure to settle them quickly. In all cases, never go to bed angry. The Bible warns us about letting the sun go down upon our wrath. Every night before you fall asleep, kindle your marriage by making certain nothing is unsettled.
- Practice Investing in your Marriage. There are many things that will drain a marriage of harmony and closeness. Even good things can be the culprit. Reading books on marriage, maintaining time alone, planning dates and including times to get away to focus on your marriage are all important ways to invest. One of the greatest reasons we Grace Baptist Church host a Couples Retreat is to provide a way for couples to invest in their marriages. Sitting under Biblical instruction for marriages will always be a worthwhile investment.
Will you plan to kindle your marriage today? Will you plan to do something in this week as an investment in your marriage?
The work of the ministry calls for frequent sharpening. One of the ways I sharpen myself each year is by attending the Outreach Conference at Faith Baptist Church in Avon, Indiana. Here are some reasons I make this conference a priority.
- Solid Preaching—As pastors, we need to hear preaching. I have enjoyed hearing men like R.B. Oullette, Mark Monte, Kurt Skelly, Doug Jackson and Cary Schmidt. God has used these men to challenge me to keep growing spiritually.
- Meaningful Fellowship—I enjoy reconnecting with pastors that I don’t get to see throughout the year. Whether it is sharing ideas or just talking about the ministry, I am encouraged by the fellowship we have together.
- Genuine Motivation—Sometimes you get the sense that conferences are hosted in order to show off rather than to give sincere help. This conference is born out a genuine desire to just be a blessing. I have observed this over and over again.
- Encouragement for My Wife—Some conferences focus so much on the pastor that they forget the pastor’s wife. Every year my wife has been encouraged and leaves refreshed and charged.
- Helpful Workshops—Practical workshops give an opportunity for pastors and ministry leaders to sharpen themselves on multiple subjects. The workshops are about a half hour in length so that you can get more information in a short amount of time. No doubt you will leave with useful material.
Would you take the time to participate in the Outreach Conference March 6-7, 2017? You will be glad you did!
This year, at Grace Baptist Church, we are our learning our purpose and priorities. More than anything, we want to accomplish the purpose that Christ has given us to accomplish. In Matthew 28:18-20 says, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” This is a huge, monumental undertaking! However, as one man said, “Through God’s power, our faithfulness is always possible.” We have a purpose and we must faithfully engage in that purpose.
This past Vision Sunday, I was excited to reveal our public church purpose statement. Our purpose is to engage in the complete fulfillment of the Great Commission of Christ through the power of the Spirit to the glory of God.
During this first quarter of the year, I am preaching and teaching our priorities—how we will accomplish our purpose. I believe that accomplishing such a God-sized purpose requires that we plan and prioritize. You can listen to the message at our website, facebook or podcast.