Wednesday, August 27, 2008
First, begin praying earnestly for your friend that God will open a door for your friend to hear the gospel (Col. 4:2-4). Talk to God about your friend; it will help when you talk to your friend about God.
Second, prayerfully set an example of a believer before your friend (1 Cor. 11:1). Your friend will believe what he sees in you before he does what he hears from you. Your moral life, your proven faith, your sacrificing love, and your unsinkable hope will speak loudly what God has done in your life. Live such a life that people will ask you why.
Third, prayerfully remember you must earn the right to speak to people about the most critical issues of their lives. People will grant you time to speak when they know you genuinely care for them and for their souls.
Fourth, prayerfully begin by planting little seeds. A simple sentence containing profound observation or point can often be far more persuasive than a sermon. In your responses, keep God in the focus.
Fifth, prayerfully give your friend a relevant tract, a Christian periodical, an audio CD or DVD of a sermon, or a guided Bible study. Remember in today’s culture most people want to find the truth for themselves. No one wants to be told; they desire to search it out to establish their own faith. There are many valuable aids available to help them; use them (The “Upon the Rock” Bible Studies are especially effective. Download them free at www.God-answers.org).
Sixth, prayerfully invite them to a fellowship at church so they can meet other Christians. Introduce them so they feel welcome and wanted. Then, invite them to worship to hear a gospel sermon. Encourage them and enlist others to encourage them.
Seventh, prayerfully ask them to obey the gospel. If they are not ready continue working and ask again. Don’t give up, some folks take a while. In the end you’ll rejoice when they become a child of God.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Paul was right when he found his sufficiency not in himself but in the Lord (2 Cor. 3:5). So must we. We aren't wise enough on our own; we aren't strong enough on our own; and we do not have the resources enough on our own to do all that God has assigned us to do. We need God's help.
It is certainly better to take up the yoke of Christ than to try to labor on our own strength. His yoke is bearable and his load is light (Matt. 11:28-30). The yoke of Christ was designed to help us bear what we could otherwise only do with great exhaustion.
It has always been interesting to me to study Paul's discussion of grace (the favor of God). While Paul realized his salvation is by grace (Eph. 2:5, 8), he also knew that his ministry was by the grace of God. God put him into place (Acts 26:18-20; 1 Tim. 1:12-16). Paul didn't earn a spot; God gave it to him and enabled and strengthened him to do the work (1 Cor. 15:8-10). Paul had this understanding that he really did not deserve the ministry he received; yet, Paul was not going to receive the grace of God in vain. He would be obedient to his heavenly calling and walk worthy of it. So should we all.
What a blessing the guidance of the Word is! What a comfort it is to engage the God of heaven in prayer! What consolation to know the Holy dwells in me, and I am never alone.
I am utterly dependent upon my Father to help me, my Lord to save me, and the Holy Spirit to strengthen me.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Over these years I have witnessed their prayers, their tears, their service to the family of God at Concord Rd., and their obvious love for God and each other.
Many people love the thought of leadership. When everything is good and easy, leadership is desired; but when life and decisions get hard, leadership can be excruciatingly difficult. I have learned over these last thirteen years to appreciate the eldership beyond measure. My elders have allowed me to set in on their meetings, to voice my concerns and thoughts, and to share in their prayers for the congregation. I have seen them in all seasons, and my respect could not be greater for their sacrifices and their utter concern for the welfare of the congregation.
Elders can't tell everything they know. Sometimes they make decisions people don't understand or approve. I can tell you, they make these decisions often with great thought and prayer. Sometimes members need to step back from the easy criticism and simply trust. They aren't telling you everything, because they are protecting someone or helping someone. They are willing to bear the brunt of criticism (much of it unfair) in order to see the will of God done and a brother or sister protected. Give them a break.
Elders and all leaders have to give an account for the flock. Let me say here that Hebrews 13:7 and 13:17 says "leaders" not "elders." The word leader certainly includes "elders" but may not fully be limited to just them. That burden weighs on their hearts, every soul of the flock.
Pray for your elders and encourage them. It will bless their hearts.
Monday, August 11, 2008
I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves…For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.
The freedom to live any way one desires often causes people to deny Jesus and to embrace atheism and evolution. For Huxley, the theory of evolution had to be true for moral reasons, not scientific ones. Robert Morey observed, “The moral implications of creation would be too dreadful to bear” (The New Atheism 35).