Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day Twenty One - January 31, 2012

John the Baptist was considered the "forerunner" of Jesus. He led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River, challenged sinful rulers, called for repentance and promised God's justice.

John pointed to the "Messiah" who was greater than himself. In essence, he represented Jesus and became a modern day "Public Relations" ambassador.

A true PR person will take on the DNA of the one they represent. Their words and actions will reveal their heart. They will embrace the vision of their leader and cast the vision to others. They will see their leader's mission as their own and will make it the center of their efforts.

When you are called to represent someone else (believe me...we are called to represent Christ, but to also represent a leader(s), group, organization, team, etc. during our lifetime) you must avoid speaking negatively. Negativity will never produce positive results.

Even if you experience the negative, you will only communicate the positive. 
  • Think back to Samson when he passed through the vineyards of Timnath and defeated a lion with his hands. He didn't tell his father and mother about what he had done. After a time, he returned through the same vineyard and found the carcase of the lion and in it was a swarm of bees and honey. Samson ate of it and received enlightenment and then shared the honey with his parents. But notice, he only shared the "honey" not the "lion."
As we represent our leaders, we must do so with positive communication. Even if you don't understand your leader's decisions or actions at the time, you must represent your leader with truth and loyalty.

Each of us will be faced with this test. Whether or not you pass this test will depend entirely upon your ability to remain a pure representation of your leader even in the face of negative circumstances.

I've saved myself from many embarrassing moments and painful failures by simply thinking about a person in whom I greatly admire and saying..."would ___________ do this or say this?" Doing this has kept my feet from wrath and my actions loyal.
The blessing is found in "loyalty" and "right" representation.

Five Rules for Representation
  1. Representatives must always represent the truth. - Ephesians 4:15
  2. Representatives must always speak words that edify.(Build up) - 1 Corinthians 14:26
  3. Representatives must never let their actions betray their words. - Matthew 7:3-5
  4. Representatives must know what to say, how much to say, and when to say it. - 1 Corinthians 3:2
  5. Representatives do not rehearse the failures of the past. They restate the goals of the future. - Philippians 3:13-14

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day Twenty - January 30, 2012

Ever thought about what the word "anointing" means? In Full Gospel circles we tend to view this word as a "trance-like state" of spiritual power. It is believed by some that to really be "anointed" you'll become more spiritual and empowered beyond your natural abilities. 

After hearing someone preach or sing, we're infamous in saying things like, "now, that was anointed" - many times based upon the fact we received a goose bump during their performance or are drawn to their particular "flavor" of ministry performance. 

But is that really the anointing? 

Are we only anointed when we preach, sing or prophecy? Can we not also be anointed when performing an administrative or operational function? How about when serving another leader? What about cleaning the church? 

Are we any "less" anointed in a service role? When I was serving as a youth pastor, a minister whose name I will not mention said to me that "one day I'd have my own church." He made reference that when I stepped "up" into a Sr. Pastor's role I'd experience a "real" anointing. 

Honestly, that type of thinking in the body of Christ has put a bad taste in my mouth. As if...serving in a youth pastor's role was not fully anointed or cleaning the church or ushering was only a temporary place to serve on my way to something "bigger" in God's Kingdom. 

Friend, I was fully anointed to serve in every role God assigned me to, regardless of what others thought. To this day, I have a toilet brush anointing. I can clean with the best of 'em and I'm not ashamed to play second chair, carry water, clan a toilet, stack chairs or turn out the lights and lock the door.

Wherever you are presently serving, be assured the anointing of God is upon you in full measure irregardless of other people's opinions.

Here's what I believe...we are anointed by God to perform the task He assigns us to do!  Whenever God calls you to do something, He'll also empower you to perform that assignment. It doesn't take long to recognize the anointing in someone else. However, can you recognize the anointing in your own life? 

  1. The anointing will give you understanding of what needs to be done.
  2. The anointing will direct you to the practical.
  3. The anointing will cause you to do the unexpected.
  4. The anointing will help you speak words to edify.
  5. The anointing will feed you.
  6. The anointing will make you aware of needs.
  7. The anointing will give you endurance.
Rest assured, if God has called you...He will give you what you need to accomplish His work!

Dear Jesus, thank You for your calling in my life.  As I look back over my shoulder I see Your hand was guiding me in my fervor to work in Your Kingdom.  Even as a child, You placed a desire in me to serve in Your Kingdom.  Thank You for not giving up on me, even when I was tempted to go astray.  I pray the anointing You give to your people will not be squandered by fleshly practices.  I surrender my body, soul and spirit to You afresh.  In Jesus' name.  Amen. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day Nineteen - January 29, 2012

CHRISTIAN...is that what you're known for?  What's your disposition?  Are you known as brash, funny or easy going?  The way you present yourself to the world is important to God 
The reputation you gain with the people who you associate with, and the consistency in which you demonstrate it is addressed inPhilippians 4:5

"Let your moderation be known unto all men.  The Lord is at hand."

What does Paul mean by "Moderation?"  The Greek interpretation of this word literally means "fair, mild and gentle."  So what is Paul saying?  He's reminding us that we should exemplify through our lives the fruit of the Spirit, specifically in this case, gentleness, goodness, meekness and temperance. (Galatians 5:22-23)

What does Paul mean by "known unto all men?"  This may seem self-explanatory as we come to understand Paul to be saying "to see someone as something and to have knowledge of, or to understand."  

As we live our Christian life, there will be some people who willknow us better than others.  Some people we see every day and they get to know us as being one kind of person or another.  This speaks to the reputation that you earn through your lifestyle and your actions.

Paul is saying that we are to have a reputation of being a gentle and mild person.  We ought not to have the reputation of someone who is brash or uncontrolled or someone who cannot control their tongue.

We are to be known as a true Christian, exhibiting the characteristics of Jesus.

There are other people who may see our life, but we don't personally know them.  We may be known to them by what they see, in the one time they see us.  We ought to make a good impression on everyone, regardless of whether they know us well, or don't know us at all.
  • Are you exhibiting the characteristics of Jesus?
  • What comments are you leaving on facebook? 
  • Is Jesus pleased with your conversation?
  • Are you calling people names?
  • Are you taking verbal jabs at people?
  • Are you speaking everything that comes to your mind without regard to the consequences?
  • Are you claiming to be a Christian but your actions speak of un-Christlike behavior?
  • Are you claiming to be a Christian but you don't attend church?
  • Are you claiming to be a Christian and yet you are defiling your body with habits, addictions and questionable practices?
I guess we should take a deeper look at not only how others view us...but also, how our Lord views us.  We have His unending love, grace and mercy...but in truth, what is God's opinion of us?

Sure...He loves us unconditionally...however, is what we're"known for" causing Him pain?  Are we the "Achin that's breakin' His heart?"

Although we are not perfect people,
we must continually reach forward to a moderate spirit. 

We may even take the disposition that "we don't care what people think about us."  However, if we are to represent Jesus to a lost and dying world, we must "care" how we're viewed...not only by those in the body of Christ but more so by those who are not.

Heavenly Father, thank You for saving me!  Your name is Holy and You are the love of my life.  Thank You for giving me a Holy Ghost check in my spirit that will keep me on my knees in prayer and my heart in tune with You.  I do not want to misrepresent You to this world.  So, thank You for doing whatever it takes to keep my path free from wrath...and my soul satisfied.  In Jesus' name.  Amen. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day Eighteen - January 28, 2012

The book of Acts describes the early church and it's challenges. One of those challenges was meeting the needs of a growing church while keeping everyone happy at the same time.

Sound like a challenge?

That church needed a team (staff) to feed all the people who showed up hungry for the church dinner. There were tables and chairs to set up; food to be served; dishes to wash; trash cans to be emptied; floors to be swept, etc.

If you were the leader and knew you needed help...what traits would you look for in a potential member of that team?
  • Sharp dresser?
  • Smooth talker?
  • Clean fingernails?
  • Charming personality?
  • Award winning smile?
  • Hard worker?
Perhaps. Think about it...wouldn't you want someone with those traits to wait on you at your favorite restaurant? 

But this is not what the early church based their decision on. InActs 6 we are given the standard for leadership. In fact, we know this particular position to be the role of a deacon (servant).
  • Acts 6:1-6 1 Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists,[a] because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. 2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; 4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word. 5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, 6 whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.

God isn't impressed with how you look, how you talk, what you wear, what you can do and where you've been.

Personal integrity is the main issue.

What is integrity?  
  • An adherence to moral and ethical principles; honesty.(Random house dictionary 2011)
Integrity comes from within.  It's not something you have to parade around in front of people.  It is birthed from right choices, right associations, commitment to truth and unwavering faith.  If you have it...it will be good.  If you don't...it will be a disaster.

We live in a day and age...even in the church world...where we base our opinions of people by what we see on the outside rather than what's on the inside of an individual.  

What do people know you by?

I promise you...in the end you'll only want to be known as a person of integrity.  A person who spoke the truth, modeled the truth and embraced the truth.

Integrity will follow you around like a senior yearbook picture.

Lord, I commit to continue to walk in integrity.  Thank You for the cross.  Thank You for giving Your life so I could have life.  Although I'm not perfect, I do not use that as an excuse for a lack of integrity.  I invite Your Spirit to invade every part of my being.  Mold me and transform me into Your image.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Day Seventeen - January 27, 2012

Vision is useless in the hands of someone who lacks the discipline to do what needs to be done to make it happen.

God is large and in charge.  We need to dream big dreams because God is able to do "exceedingly, abundantly more than we can ask or think."  Ephesians 3:20 

Question:  Is God insulted when we dream small?

Jesus said in John 14:12 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."

It's one thing to dream it...it's another to have the DISCIPLINE to see the dream come to pass...through a disciplined life.

When God gives us a vision, He also gives us the GIFTS and TALENTS needed to make that vision come to pass.  If we sit back and "wait on the Lord" to do it all for us then we aren't being "spiritual"...we are actually being LAZY.

Why does God give us VISION?

It's not for the purpose of just giving us INFORMATION...but rather TRANSFORMATION.  The first person that has to be transformed is the one He gave the vision to.  If we're content to sit around and merely dream about it...nothing will happen.  

When God gives us vision, He does so knowing that it will LIGHT A FIRE within us that will make us want to do whatever it takes to make that vision a reality.

Many people dream BIG...few people want to pay the price to do whatever it takes to make that dream become a reality.  If you are a leader, then understand this...THE BIGGER THE VISION, the HIGHER the PRICE you will have to PAY.

Big Vision requires Big Responsibility!

Dear Lord, You have placed a vision within me that cannot be extinguished by time or temporary set backs.  I cannot control other people's behavior, attitudes or laziness...but I can control mine.  With Your help, I will put works with my prayers to see the dream come to pass.  I'm committed to fulfilling the dream You called me to and not settling for just a portion of it.  No matter how long it takes, I will do my part to make that vision become a reality.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Strength of the Local Church (Part 1)

The local church is still where it's at.  I'm passionate about the mission of the local church and it's diversity in ministry.  We are indeed called to make "full use" of our ministry...but where does that ministry receive validation? You guessed it...under the covering of the local church.

  • The local church is still being built by Jesus.
  • The local church is still reaching out to the broken, forgotten and the poor.
  • The local church is still making a difference that's going to be seen for eternity.
  • The local church is still God's plan for reaching the world.
  • The local church is still necessary for believers.

If the local church is not necessary then why did Jesus say He would BUILD it, DIE for it and will one day REDEEM it?  Jesus spent a considerable amount of time talking about the church.  Apostle Paul spent a considerable amount of time establishing local churches and the protocol of leadership training, development and missional operations that take place within it and through it.

More and more there is a renegade attempt to establish a credible ministry that resembles a church-like structure...minus the covering, accountability and validity offered by the Biblical pattern offered in the New Testament.  (More on this subject next time)

It has become increasingly popular to bash the church for all of it's mistakes or oversights.  I've been in the ministry for 25 years and have seen people who have been active in their local church through attendance, service, giving, etc., for years...then ALL OF THE SUDDEN...drop off like flies.  

I don't want to diminish anyone's authentic hurt...but its a sad commentary when people bail out because...

  • Someone didn't call them when they were out for two weeks.
  • Someone said something hurtful to or about them.
  • They didn't like what the preacher said.
  • They didn't like what the youth group was doing.
  • They didn't like the songs that were being sung.
  • They didn't like the order of service.
The list goes on and on...but you get the drift.  When anyone allows one thing in the church to UNDO the decades of ministry and impact that have taken place through the body of believers in the local church...that's ludicrous. 

I agree, the local church isn't perfect.  If you stay in a church long enough you are bound to see hypocrisy.  Someone will say something to you or about you that will hurt you.  Decisions will be made that you do not like.  There are going to be sermons that make you mad.

Friend, the enemy loves to play this card on you.  He's trying his best to convince you to just walk away...with your hurt feelings.  He knows that the first step away from God is usually getting people to step away from the LOCAL CHURCH.

Consider this:  If you are a transplant that has recently come to a local church from a previous one...what made you leave the previous one?  I'm sure there's a list in your mind...but before we point fingers at the church, we might want to point one at ourselves and ask... 
  • Am I repeating unhealthy patterns that are causing me to constantly be offended or off track?
  • Do I wear my feelings on my sleeve?
  • Am I highly opinionated and overly critical?
  • Do I receive instruction and correction with a "thank you for looking out for me" or do I view it as a challenge?
  • Do I pout and lay out?
There are times when the Lord may lead you to another local church.  However, if it's to be done biblically, it will be done with a blessing, unanimity and seamlessness.  God is not the author of confusion and His nature is not seen in laying out, pouting, withdraw or negativity.  If these things are taking place...you're probably in the right church but you just don't want to line up.  Therefore it's easy to seek refuge in a "new" place where they don't know you or your patterned history.

No, the church is NOT perfect...but neither are you or me.  So, when we're tempted to walk away because of the one thing that seems to hurt us or trip us up we should simply ask, "is this constant with this churches character?"

Stay in church long enough and you will have a bad experience...but let that PUSH you closer to Jesus as you recognize that HE uses imperfect people in His plan, which means sometimes they will get it wrong, and then ask the Lord to teach both them and yourself how to best deal with the situation...because, the LOCAL CHURCH is still His bride.

I love the local church.  She is still the BEST THING GOING!

Day Sixteen - January 26, 2012

Proverbs 12:22 "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but this who act faithfully are his delight."

God's standard for your life is not as easy as avoiding the "major sins."  You will never secure a relationship with God by simply living a good life.  His ninth commandment alone is sufficient to keep all of humanity forever separated from Him.  If you have ever told a lie, you have fallen short of God's standard of holiness.

Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

Having this knowledge, it is amazing that we, as Christians, would continue to lie.  Furthermore, we don't only lie, but we dismiss it as if it was not a sin at all.  Is this how we should treat the words of God?  Why do we approach a sin that is worthy of sending us eternally to Hell with so little thought, confession, and repentance? 

Our salvation does not exclude us from the temporal consequences of our sins.  We should not assume that God takes lying more lightly because we accepted His Son's death as righteousness counted towards us.

Proverbs 19:5 teaches us that "A false witness will not go unpunished and he who tells lies will not escape."

Those who lie, gossip, and withhold the truth from others are condemned by God in Exodus 20:16.  Jesus said that He was the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE! (John 14:6).

It is an offense against the very nature and person of your Savior to embrace a lifestyle of lying and SKEWING the truth.  On the other hand, Proverbs 12:22 teaches us that "those who act faithfully are His delight."

Commit to being a delight before the Lord today.  Ask Him to convict you of your sinful thoughts before they manifest themselves in the form of lying lips.  Confess any sin of lying and thank Christ that He is the Truth.

"White lies are non-existent, for a lie is wholly a lie; falsehood is the personification of evil; Satan has two names; he is called Satan, and he is called the Father of Lies." - Victor Hugo

Dear Lord, You said that all liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire. You know the motivation of my heart better than me.  Please wash my conscience of any lies and renew a steadfast spirit in me that will cling to truth.  Thank You for dying for my sins and giving me new life.  Holy Spirit, please sharpen my recognition of any lies I have been blinded to.  Help me to tell the truth, even when it hurts.  Please strengthen me to walk in purity and in truth from this point forward.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day Fifteen - January 25, 2012

Why are you here?  Life is too short to play games and waste time.  The church doesn't need any more lazy Christians who are unaware of who JESUS is and what He wants to do with His church.  However, the church needs Christians and Leaders who are passionate about His mission and who will stop at nothing to see Jesus change their community!

Where is your passion?  Sadly, many are not motivated by passion...they are motivated by POSITION and PAY CHECK.  Take away the paycheck and you'll find out if there's any passion  for the vision.

Are you lazy?  One of the reasons many churches lack passion is because their leaders lack passion.  Friends, our job isn't just to maintain the status quo and keep everyone happy...but rather our goal is to hear the voice of Jesus and do what He says to do.

Goals for 2012

  • Don't give up.
  • Stand for Godly principles even if others run.
  • Ask God to do the impossible, unexplainable and undeniable so that the church will become unstoppable. 
  • Trust God regardless of where He leads.
  • Face your fears.
  • Stop making excuses for laziness and disconnect.
  • Trust your brothers and sisters in Christ and learn to pull from their passion.
  • Be willing to make a sacrifice.
  • Quit blaming others for your shortcomings.
  • Live in "the now" while moving toward "the next."
  • Submit to those who keep watch over your soul.
  • Give your time and energy to people who position themselves to receive.
  • Love God, Love others, Love yourself.
  • Say "no" to dysfunction.
  • Give without expecting anything in return.
  • Train, Develop, Mentor, Coach, Father and Invest in others.
Today we must make a choice to free ourselves from the prison of predictability.   Today, ask God to consume you with His passion.  Today, live for what really matters to God until it really matters to you.

Lord, forgive me for a lack of passion in the things You are passionate about.  I continually need Your help to stay in a forward motion to fulfill Your mission.  I don't want to become bogged down with the details and miss the dynamic!  Fill me with Your passion until my heart beats stronger and my eyes overflow with tears!  In Jesus' name.  Amen. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Day Fourteen - January 24, 2012

Go ahead and admit it!  You like to be in control.  There are parts of you that love to be in charge and in control of every situation.  You like to be in control in the car.  You like to be in control of where you're going to eat and what you're going to eat.  You DON'T like being told how fast you can drive.

Does that describe you?  Don't sweat it...we all have control issues to some degree.  What we sometimes fail to realize is how little control we actually have in this universe.

  • You did not control when you were born.
  • You did not control who your parents would be.
  • You did not control who your brothers and sisters would be.
  • You did not control what color of skin, eyes and hair you'd have.  
    • Although apparently you can alter all of that today with products and surgery.(smile)
  • You did not control what part of the country you were born in.
  • You cannot control when you're going to leave this earth.
  • You cannot control what others think.
  • You cannot control your children's future.
    • You can direct...but not control.
  • You cannot control how other people relate to each other.
  • You cannot control Indiana weather.
  • You cannot control slow poke drivers.
  • You cannot other peoples response to the Gospel message.
  • You cannot control your age.
    • Forty's are fabulous...(just had to say that)
  • You cannot control GOD by your religious performance.
Still yet...we want to be in control.  We seem to derive a certain satisfaction by being in control.  The truth is, what tiny amount we actually do control pales in comparison to eternity.

This is where FAITH comes in.  We actually liberate ourselves when we discover that our fate is in the hands of a God who has NEVER ceased to maintain control over what He created.

So if you feel like you're out of control...YOU ARE!  The more we try to control the more likely we are to find ourselves in a place of rebellion to the One Who is in control...Who has all things in His hands and Who constantly calls us to surrender to Him.

God desires us to experience complete JOY living under His sovereignty rather than having to constantly discover that we have none of our own.

Do you have control issues?  (Come on...be honest)

Perhaps there are areas where you are feeling completely out of control today.  Could it be that the Lord is trying to get your attention and get you to surrender to His control?

Until He is in control...we will be out of control.

Dear Lord, thank You for hearing my cry today.  Thank You for giving me mercy and grace and steering me through areas where I lack Your wisdom and understanding.  I submit to Your control today.  I YIELD to YOU!  As You continue to direct my path, my earnest cry is that I will be sensitive to follow willingly at all times.  I am committed to staying close to Your heartbeat...to knowing Your plan above mine.  Thank You for not casting me aside when I've messed up or delayed Your perfect plan in my life.  I trust You!  In Jesus' name.  Amen. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

He's Still In The Fire - Rev. Robert Penny Sr.

Rev. Robert Penny Sr.
He's Still In The Fire

Rev. Robert Penny Sr. has been an ordained minister for the past 33 years. He has served in multiple ministry positions, including Senior Pastor. As a father, grandfather & a great grandfather, his pristine legacy of Christian faith has been imparted to future generations. Rev. Penny went home to be with Jesus on February 9, 2010. His ministry will never be forgotten. He will long be remembered for his preaching, spirit, craftsmanship, his "Amens!" and the phrase, "we're going on!" This sermon contains the voice and spirit of a man who was indeed considered an elder statesman and a highly respected minister of the Gospel.

Bishop Penny will forever be MY HERO!


Pastor Hylton

Day Thirteen - January 23, 2012

The men that God had raised up to help Moses helped him best when they stood by his side and held up his arms.  That is our responsibility towards those God has placed over us.  As a loyal son to my fathers, it is my calling, my responsibility, and my duty to assist my pastor(s) and leader(s).  My Bishop is the leader; he is the shepherd whom God has charged with overseeing our ministry.  My job is to ease his burden, to make his job lighter, to hold up his arms, to help him in anything that needs done.

My job is to pray for my leader daily, to encourage him if I can, to give him lots of data so he knows everything that's going on, so that he's never surprised by anything, to give him input and opinion, to support him and help him.  Bishop doesn't want nor need a yes man that nods dumbly at everything.  But on the other hand, he doesn't need some independent cowboy seeking to build his own kingdom.

God has placed somebody over you.  Submit to them.  Love them.  Pray for them.  Help them.  Above all, always be loyal.  Never betray those with whom you minister.  Never backbite or criticize publicly.  Never gossip or be a talebearer. 

If there's something you can't live with in a ministry, quietly leave.  Never try to build your own ministry on another man's foundation.  Touch not the Lord's anointed.  If he's off the wall, God will deal with him; who are we to criticize another man's servant?

Never cause strife or division.  Help, encourage, submit, lighten the load, assist.  Don't try and be a star.  Serve God by serving the leader God has placed you under.  If I'm doing my job right, my leader will never have to worry about this part of the ministry because he'll know that it is running just exactly as it would if he had the time to be here and do it all personally.  The only reason he needs me is because he doesn't have time to do it all.  If he did, he'd do it himself.  It is my leader's oversight; I need to guide it just as he would.

If you have a heart for God's people, are a servant, and are willing to put sincere effort into your service, you'll never have trouble with your leader.

Dear Lord, I submit to You and to those You've placed over me.  Today, I will check my motives and heart to make sure that all is well and that I'm not conflicted.  Thank You for your goodness and thank You for seeing fit to place me in the ministry.  You are not a burden!  You are not a chore!  You are the love of my life.  In Jesus' name.  Amen. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Long-Suffering Leader (Part 2)

Sharing the Gospel with an interested person is one thing.  Arguing and debating with them is another.  Talking out an issue is good.  Disagreeing and trying to understand one another is good.  However, arguing about the truth is not good and neither is it necessary.  The truth (Jesus) stands alone regardless of whether a heretic thinks they get the last word or not.  The truth STILL stands.  If I spent all my time defending what I believe, I wouldn't have time to do anything else.

If you are a Christian out doing something for Jesus, expect persecution...don't be surprised when it comes.  The Bible says that all that will live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.  In sharing Christ on the Internet, we've encountered a variety of people...including atheists and liberals...many of them claiming to be Christian who are Buddhists, Mormons and even Satanists.  They all have one thing in common...they are false prophets who want to share their bad news and misinformation.  

We are commanded NOT to argue with them and I've learned the hard way to obey those commandments.  STRIVING with people will certainly "eat you as a canker" as the Scripture says.  
  • 2 Timothy 2:14 "Strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers."
  • 2 Timothy 2:16-17 "But shun profane and vain babblings:  for they will increase unto more ungodliness.  And their word will eat as doth a canker..."
  • 2 Timothy 2:23 "But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes."
  • Proverbs 26:4-5 "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.  Answer a fool according to his folly, let he be wise in his own conceit."
In other words, you have to use wisdom to know when to ignore a fool and when to answer a fool. 
  • 2 Timothy 2:24  "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,"
The Lord's servant must not be an argumentative type of person who is ready to come out with guns blazing.  There are many people like that who shoot from the "lip," always ready for an argument.  But the Lord's servant is not out to win arguments; he is not out to squash the opposition or silence dissent by overbearing, heavy-handed approaches.  Rather, he is there to encourage discussion and examination.  He does not put down opponents or resort to name-calling or attacks.  He is not argumentative, not contentious. 

The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) teaches us to walk with gentleness to all.  Steer clear of squabbles.

Day Twelve - January 22, 2012

The way up is down.  If you would stand tall in God's Kingdom, you must learn to be on your face before Him.  The Lord's way is exactly the opposite of the world's way.  We can have a room full of flow charts...but ultimately...God's way means:  The "higher up" you go, the more people you have the opportunity of serving.  

The creator of the universe, Almighty God, girded Himself with a towel (John 13), knelt down and did the work of a slave by washing His disciples' feet.  Are we greater than our master?

Ministry means service.  It means opening your eyes and seeing what needs done and doing it.  It means that we consider no task to be too low or common. If it needs doing...do it...don't let others do it...do it yourself.  If there's trash, pick it up.  If a light's out, change it.  If the nursery is short of help, serve!

Motivated by love for God's people, it is our calling to serve them.  Some people aspire to ministry but won't lift a finger to help out in practical ways.  Others are willing to help if you specifically tell them what to do.  Both can be irritating.  A true minister is a servant, a voluntary daily slave of the people, he sees what needs done and does it.  The fields are white unto harvest, but the laborers are few.  The self appointed clergymen who wants prestige are many, but workers, laborers, true servants are few.  That's what Jesus said to pray for more of.  

You never outgrow service.  It's not something you do until the church is big enough to get others to do it.  The greatest in the Kingdom is the servant of all.

Lord, I know You have called me to serve.  Thank You for calling me and thank You for seeing fit to place me in the ministry.  My life is in Your hands.  I do not carry an "entitlement spirit."  Everything I am and everything I hope to be is in Your hand and at Your discretion.  Help me to remain teachable, tender hearted and willing to do Your every wish. In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day Eleven - January 21, 2012

Blessed are the FLEXIBLE for they shall be flexed.  A lack of flexibility is why we're often attracted to "pre-packaged" ministry.  We prefer that our lives have a regimented schedule so we know what to do and when.  Just thinking about coming up with a 5-year plan is intimidating.

If you're going to serve in ministry...YOU MUST BE FLEXIBLE.  The Scriptures teach us about being "instant in season and out" and ready to be used of God at any time in any way.  If you're not flexible...YOU WILL BREAK.

Life is full of interruptions...especially in the ministry.  However, interruptions are just OPPORTUNITIES for God to use you to share His love with others.  If we live our lives guided by the Holy Spirit, we need to be open to hearing and obeying His voice as He speaks to us from his Word.

I have found that having a schedule is CRUCIAL for my sanity!  However, I must be careful not to become a slave to it.  I may purpose to take care of administrative details only to have the Lord shift me to minister to someone one-on-one in prayer.  When we walk in the Spirit we are open to having our schedule rearranged.  Believe me, everything God wants done will get done.

If we're going to see measurable success in our lives and ministry then we must be good stewards of our time.  At the same time, we must be flexible and open to change.  Being willing to go wherever the Lord leads is essential to the Kingdom of God being shared.  Sometimes you'll be called upon at a moments notice to teach a class, pray with someone, counsel another, plunge a toilet and fix the boiler.  (All in one service...ha ha ha)

The flexible never break!

It's me Lord.  Once again, I'm coming to You with a heart of gratitude.  Thank you for loving me, saving me and placing me in the ministry.  You're not a burden!  Living for You is a privilege and never a chore.  Thank You for waking me up today and thank You for leading me in a clear path.  Regardless of what happens today, may I respond as You would.  May I love as You would.  May I give as You would. May I be flexible in all my efforts. In Jesus' name.  Amen.