Monday, October 14, 2013

The Spirit of Indifference

The problem with indifference is that many who have it don't know it; and those who do...don't care.

Definition of Indifference
  • Apathy, unconcerned, disinterest.  
  • Not mattering one way or the other. 
  • Having no particular interest or concern.  
  • Lack of diligence, dedication and devotion.  
  • Attitude and actions say, "I don't care!"

God's people have always been plagued with indifference.
  • Lamentations 1:1-12 - Judah is doomed to captivity and the people act as if it is nothing.
  • 1 Corinthians 5 - At Corinth there was a case of fornication in their midst and the brethren had done nothing.  They were not even upset about it.
  • Revelation 3:15-16 - Church at Laodicea was lukewarm.
Indifference is a CANCER that eats away at the life of a Christian and a local church.

The people of God should be DILIGENT, DEVOTED and ZEALOUS!
  • Matthew 6:33 - seek first the kingdom of God.
  • 2 Peter 3:15 - sanctify the Lord (set him apart) in your heart.
  • Romans 12:11 - fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.
  • Colossians 3:23 - put everything you have into the service of The Lord.
  • Ecclesiastes 9:10 - whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.
  • Titus 2:14 - zealous of good works.
More to come...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Good Soldier

With bullets flying and danger all around, a soldier who uses his/her influence to encourage others to fight against the enemy will be held in high regard by their fellow soldiers.

Soldiers who use their actions to motivate others to do good not only earn a medal; they earn the love, respect and admiration of their peers.

How much more should we, as Christians, follow the One who endured suffering and death to rescue us from the most horrible fate of all - an eternity in hell?

Apostle Paul, a jail bird if you will, wrote to young Timothy when he was being weakened in his ministry at Ephesus by relentless opposition from heretics, apostates and persecutors. Timothy is no different than any Christian who experiences difficulty because of following Christ.  He just needed to be reminded again of his suffer hardship as a GOOD SOLDIER of Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 2:3-4 "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No man warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."

A Good Soldier...
  • Does not simply do the minimum duty, but rather is one who serves with everything they have in them.
    • As a Christian, that's what we are called to do.  Paul's words to Timothy are our marching orders...we must STRIVE to be a GOOD SOLDIER of Jesus Christ!
  • Is willing to suffer hardship with the rest of the soldiers. 
    • Notice that Paul says "with me" - a reminder that he isn't asking Timothy to do anything that he wasn't willing to do.  In fact, Paul was writing from a prison cell.
    • In the United States, we have yet to shed blood for our faith. (Hebrews 12:4)
    • We really don't have an understanding in our culture of what it really means to suffer for the Lord.
    • Yet Jesus said, "If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you." (John 15:20)
  • Is marked by his separation from the "normal " life.  
    • When you are enlisted in the military, you do not have a 9 to 5 job or even a 60-70 hour work week.  
    • A soldier is a soldier 24 hours a day, everyday of the year.  
    • His body, his health, his skills, his time - all that he is - belongs to the military.  
    • Even when on leave, he is subject to recall at any time, without notice and for any reason.
    • Separating yourself keeps you from being ENTANGLED in the affairs of everyday life.  The thought is, GOOD SOLDIERS cannot be enmeshed with former things.
    • We should never allow earthly matters to interfere with the fulfillment of our duty to the Lord. 
    • Temporal concerns and activities, innocent in themselves, have neutralized the effectiveness of many pastors, special ministries and churches. They they once labored faithfully in the primary purpose of serving Jesus to advance His Kingdom against the forces of darkness, they have unwittingly taken themselves out of the battle.
  • Has a genuine desire to "please the one who enlisted him as a soldier."
    • In a greater way, the Lord deserves our honor, affection and obedience for all He has done for us.  He stayed the course and went before us to to WIN our freedom and eternal life.
Keep fighting soldier!
  • God will use the PERSECUTION to change your DIRECTION and SHAKE you out of broken SYSTEMS, STRUCTURES and SHALLOW relationships!
  • What you're CRYING about'll be SHOUTING about tomorrow!  Go ahead and thank God in advance that He used the PERSECUTION to pull you out of DYSFUNCTION!
  • Realize that God can use the BLAST of the FURNACE to PUSH you OUT, PURIFY you THROUGH and POSITION you INTO your next level!
  • Your PAIN will bring GAIN!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Keep Your Uniform On

I suit up in my uniform every week, regardless if the coach keeps me on the bench or puts me in the game.  Faithfulness wins championships!

Have you ever felt like a "bench warmer?"  In one ear your emotions are telling you, "You aren't worth anything.  The coach doesn't respect one does.  Why sit here and take this?  Go ahead - just get up and leave.  You don't need this humiliation."

This is a tough place to be.  You don't want to listen to this voice because your training has taught you to be a team player.

The voice of a team player says, "You've worked so hard.  You deserve to be here, ready when needed.  Your best friends are in the game and you are part of the team. You are wanted."

It can be difficult sitting on the bench, while others seem to be getting all the playing time. Watching from the sideline after you've given endless hours of work, dedication and pushing yourself to the limit...the last thing you want is to do is sit on your hands.

This feeling can apply not only in sports and careers, but also in ministry.  It is frustrating to be a SPECTATOR in what you love doing. 

To keep the proper perspective, you have to consider WHY you are where you are at. Truthfully, you love doing what you're doing or you wouldn't be doing it.  There is nothing like the thrill of seeing goals met, championships won and fruitful results as a result of giving your all!  Even the bruises are battle wounds worn proudly at the end of the day!

I've learned in the ministry that even if you don't play much, you participate in every practice. Why?  Because you are part of a team who sticks together like family.

Serving on a TEAM is where God designed us to function best!  It doesn't matter if we're LEADING the team, NEW to the team or have the LEAST responsibility on the team - WE were designed to be on a TEAM.

John Maxwell said it best...TEAMWORK makes the dream work.  As I think about the TEAM God has placed me on, I realize how BLESSED I am.

  1. The right team fits together like peas and carrots.  Serving on a team isn't so much about loving the work we's about loving the PEOPLE we've been called to do the work with.  If there isn't REAL LOVE, the team will be dysfunctional.
  2. The right team shares the LOAD together.  Why?  Because problems don't belong to "ME" they belong to "WE".
  3. The right team speaks the TRUTH in LOVE in an environment of respect, because they love the church and one another too much to allow disrespectful behavior or constant COMPLAINING.
  4. The right team will discuss difficult things in a DIGNIFIED manner to make a right decision, rather than just making sure everyone is happy.
  5. The right team will operate and function in COVENANT relationship with one another. Refusing to talk ABOUT one another; rather talking WITH one another.
  6. The right team will show up EARLY, stay as long as NEEDED and make sure the work load doesn't fall on one person.
  7. The right team will CONTRIBUTE their fair share, without complaining when more is required.
  8. The right team will APPLAUD one another, rather than be JEALOUS of one another, knowing that when ONE wins...we ALL win!
  9. The right team will be FAITHFUL to their post, not because they have a POSITION but because their DISPOSITION is to SUPPORT the BIG PICTURE and VISION of the church.
  10. The right team will push past STAUS QUO to advance the cause!  The right team is more obsessed with their DREAMS of what COULD BE rather than the memories of what HAS BEEN.
Serving on a team isn't difficult when I consider the joy that being a part of a team brings me - and not just any team, but MY TEAM!

I love what we do and I love my TEAMMATES!  When you think about it that way, the view from the bench really isn't so bad after all!