Being the Best

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Our God is an excellent God! The Bible tells us that His work is perfect. When you pause to meditate on His excellence, it is not hard to conclude that the service that we give back to Him ought to be excellent as well.

Stop and think about the ministry that you have. Maybe you are a Sunday School teacher, a deacon, an usher, a janitor, a coach, a director, a choir member, a nursery helper or a sound tech. Regardless of your ministry for Christ, one thing is for certain is that He deserves our best. After all that Jesus has done for us, He deserves excellent service.

Best does not happen on accident. If you think of a co-worker that is the very best in their profession, you know they had to work very hard to get there. Sadly, some Christians will give 110% in service to their earthly employer and then give 65% in service to their heavenly Master—Jesus Christ. Every believer ought to desire to serve Jesus in the best way possible. Here are several thoughts that might encourage us in being our best as we work for Jesus.

  1. Our Attitude in the Work
    Romans 1:1 “PAUL, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,”  Before anything else, Paul remembered that He was a servant of Jesus Christ. If we give Jesus our best, we must remember we are His servants. We must remember to serve for His glory and not our own. The best servants are humble and willing to be instructed without taking offense. They are cooperative with other servants and avoid a critical spirit. They are willing to take initiative even when it is not their job. They are Christ-ward remembering they serve Jesus and by serving Him they serve others. They are eager to serve not waiting to be coaxed or prodded. They have a sort of wide-eyed intensity about their service to Jesus.
  2. Our Attention in the Work
    If we have the attitude of a servant, it will impact the attention we give to the work Jesus has given us to do. It will not be half-hearted but we will be fully engaged. One person said, “Mediocrity is the enemy of excellence.” This is so true! What sets Chick-Fil-A apart from so many other quickness’s service restaurants is their determination to “Be America’s best quick-service restaurant.” We love their product, but the process behind it where it all starts. It an excellent process. From how the employees talk and dress to how the food is prepared and served, the process is excellent! From the moment you walk in the door you have a sense that every employee exists to serve you and it shows in the attention they give to their work. 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us that, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”  We must give our attention to give Jesus excellent service.
  3. Our Awareness in the Work
    We must remember, if we plan to serve Jesus with all our focus and attention, the devil will plan to fight us. Ephesians 6:12–13 instructs us, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Satan does not fight the mediocre servants, they are no threat to him. He will fight against those that strive to be the very best servants for Jesus. Those that engage in the work of the LORD. One of the ways that satan fights us is by tempting us to get focused on the problems we will face as we serve rather than staying focused on the Problem Solver. If we focus on people and problems, we will become discouraged in the work. Sometimes people will say unkind things. They may do something or make decisions that are disappointing. However, if our eyes are on Jesus, we will be able to continue to serve with excellence.

Regardless of where you serve Jesus, recommit to giving Him the best service you can give. Don’t forget to yield yourself daily to His Spirit so that you will be empowered in your service.

Don’t Be Distracted by Objections

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Many times we are hesitant to share the Gospel because we fear the objections that people put up. Our church is going through “Take It Personally,” and we discussed seven common objections to the Gospel. These are ideas that the lost often raise when we are sharing the truth of the Gospel with them. We should not allow objections to distract us from the central message of the Gospel. However, we must be ready to answer them.

First, let’s be sure to use Scripture. Our words are weak, but God’s Word is like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces. God promises that His Word will accomplish its purpose. We must use it! Secondly, let us always remember that our goal must always be to bring the conversation back to the Gospel. Answer every objection with Bible truth and then continue to share the Gospel.

  1. I have always been a Christian.
    • No one is born a Christian. The Bible teaches we are born sinners.
    • Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; And in sin did my mother conceive me.
    • John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
  2. I’ve asked God to forgive me many times.
    • It is a prayer of faith, believing in Christ’s ability and willingness to save, and is a one-time decision.
    • Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
    • John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
  3. This is too simple. I need to do something to earn it.
    • If you could earn it, it would not be a gift.
    • Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
  4. I’m good enough. I am not a very bad sinner.
    • By comparison to others we might look good but, God sees our lives differently.
    • Romans 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
  5. Doesn’t death end everything? How do we know there is a real Heaven and Hell?
    • The Bible clearly teaches the reality of Heaven and Hell.
    • Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
    • Matthew 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
    • Luke 16—Rich man and Lazarus
  6. I don’t want to give up my friends and lifestyle.
    • There is nothing more valuable than an eternal soul. When you trust Christ as your Savior, He will give you the grace to desire a new life and be able to live a new life.
    • Mark 8:36–37 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
  7. I think that as long as I’m sincere in what I believe, that’s all that matters.
    • Sincerity is not what grants forgiveness or eternal life, rather a relationship with Christ.
    • Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, But the end thereof are the ways of death.
    • John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
    • John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
    • Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
    • 1 John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

*List of objections taken from Take It Personally available from strivingtogether.com

Why I Attend Outreach Conference

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

Register today!

Be Friendly

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We all want solid friendships. Research shows the quality of life increases according to the quality of our friendships. So, friendship really is important to our everyday living. The Bible helps us see that God created us to be relational. We were created for relationship with Him first and then with others. By the way, that order is super important! A relationship with God absolutely increases the quality of your relationships with others.

Understanding these things, many are left wondering why friendship and quality relationship elude them. Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, gave us the proverb that answers this question.

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:
And there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
Proverbs 18:24

If we want friendship, we then have to be friendly. This may not come naturally for you. In fact, you may really struggle with stepping out and being friendly. Maybe you freeze up and just don’t know what to say. Don’t give up! With intentional effort, you will find that you can show yourself friendly. I am going to pass along a guide for being friendly in conversation. It is not original with me. It comes from a pastor, whom I respect, by the name of Carl Herbster.

“How to be Friendly and Carry a Conversation”

F: family (husband,wife,kids)

R: roles (job,positions)

I: interests (hobbies,likes)

E: education(school,training)

N: neighborhood (where live)

D: denomination (church)

S: salvation (Christ)

Let’s seek to be friendly wherever we are and discover just how fun it is.

 

Our Purpose

 

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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.

Your Impact

 

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You have the unique, unspeakable power to impact others who live around you. When I speak of impact, I am talking about the ability to influence the direction, decisions and destiny of others. You have heard the statement, “No man is an island unto himself.” Simply put, every action, word and decision that you make influences the actions, words and decisions that others in your life make.

Romans 14:7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

None of us slip into life and back out without making some kind of impact in the lives of others.

Take a moment to consider both the kind of impact and the amount of impact you are making. If you are like me, you will be left thinking, “How can I impact others more?”  The best way to maximize impact is to simply love God with all of your heart, soul and mind. Your impact will be directly proportionate to your relationship with God.

Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus