Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The source of thanksgiving!

Scripture Read: Psalm 100:4–5 Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.

As an American this day means very much to me. I was very blessed to be born in a country that over all was based on Christian principles, and allowed such freedoms. It is also a sad day for me because I know how many of my countrymen think that we made our country what it is on our own! Nothing is further from the truth. We owe everything to You Father, and if we continue to move away from that we will cease to be the nation we once were. As a believer I am thankful everyday for the grace, mercy and love You have extended to my family. Just to be able to approach Your throne Oh Lord produces thanksgiving in my heart. Anywhere, anytime, I can sit at Your feet and experience Your love and faithfulness to me. I find that one of the key reasons we fail to really live in a spirit of thanksgiving is because we forget so quickly all the love You have showered on us Lord. It is essential for us as flawed humans that can only keep so much at a conscious level for a short time, to build memories of Your lovingkindness in our lives. 

This takes times of worship and meditation, but the fuits are well worth it. As we spend time contemplating how You have loved us, it builds into our thinking the reality of what an awesome God You are and stands against the lies our flesh and our adversary accuse You of. Even the trials You have allowed into our lives, when we have come through them, if we would take time to investigate the growth and maturity that trial brought forth, we will find ourselves thanking You for what You allowed. When remembering Your love toward us becomes a way of life, we will find ourselves in continual praise and thanksgiving for You being in our lives. This is not something that will just happen, this requires a proactive way of thinking and living. Our eyes are so affected by our flesh and the world. We need to actively seek Your Spirits illumination on our lives so we can see with our spiritual eyes the great things You have done. It’s simple, not easy, but simple. Even one little thought, like – Who is man that You should think on him? – is enough to have us break out in a chorus of thanksgiving! You…Almighty God … think about me! Thanks Dad for Who You are!

Meditation Questions: Does God have to do something to earn your thanks? What does thanksgiving to God look like? When was the last time you made time to meditate on your relationship with God? What happened to you as you did that? What does that say? Have you ever spend a time in prayer where all you did was thank God for Himself? Why not commit a time this week to do just that? 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Our authority and our job description.

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 2:7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.  

Application: Here we see a very important conviction that we all need to have, The actual specifics may be different, but the principle is the same. Every child of God needs to understand, where their authority comes from and what their call is. Again, as I stated the specifics may be different, for instance I am not called to be the “Apostle to the gentiles”, that was Paul’s call. However, like Paul, you and I are “appointed” by You Lord for certain accomplishments in the world and in the Body of Christ. This is where we discover our authority to minister. What do I mean? When asked, what gives us the right to share our faith or be involved in a particular ministry in the local Body? We need to understand it is You Lord that has called us to these tasks. Everyone that knows You personally has been given a call to go and share that relationship. Not force it on people, not sell it nor be obnoxious about it. We are called to lovingly share what we know about Your love and grace to all we meet. The decision they make with that knowledge is between You and them, we are only to share. If we believe that Your Spirit places us in the Body of Christ and equips us to minister in it, that is the basis of our right to do what You have called us to do, not elections by congregations, or back room church politics. Being accountable to each other does not negate our call. 
We must see ourselves appointed by You so we can have the confidence to stand against the attacks of the enemy. Here we also see that in the end, our call will revolve around two central themes. No matter what we do, we are trying to encourage folks to have greater trust in You and stand on Your truth. Everything else is a side issue. Programs, ministries, you name it, the goal of all we do is to encourage individuals to trust You and accept Your Word. No matter where they are in their relationship with You. For the unbeliever that means believing what the Word teaches about Christ and trusting in Him for salvation. For the child of God that means growing in our trusting belief of what You desire to do in our lives and to grow in the knowledge of Your truth from the Scriptures. When we understand that we do what we do because we represent You, and when we see clearly that our goal is to help all know You more – life is full of purpose and not nearly as complicated as we sometimes make it. Thanks for Your Word Oh Lord!

Meditation Questions: Do you have a ministry in the Body of Christ? If no, why? If yes, does it energize you? What is the difference between a job and a call? Do you see God in all that you do? What does that look like? How often do you consciously realize that what you are doing really matters to God? What does that show? Can you find joy in knowing that God is pleased with what you do, even if no other person let’s you know that? 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Three most important words in Theology: I don’t know!

Scripture Read: 
1 Timothy 2:3-6 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.   

Application: Two items strike me in this passage. One is a very important truth that we need to hold to our heart and never forget; the other is a Deut. 29:29 reality. First, we need to understand that in the entire universe there is only one individual that can speak to God on our behalf. It is not a pastor or a priest, not a medium or a spiritual guru. Only Jesus Christ has the power and authority to stand before the throne of God for us. You say, but what about when we pray for someone? Are we not bringing them before God? Yes...and no. Yes, in the sense that because of your love and concern you are talking to God about them. No, because in reality you are only able to approach God because of Who Jesus is and what He accomplished by His death and resurrection. No one gets to the throne of God unless they come through Jesus Christ! This is a tremendous truth that should cause us to praise Him and humble us. Because of Him we have free access to the Maker of the universe! The other item is one that only God can explain. Isn't Jesus God? Yes. Here He is called a man, so is He a man? Yes. So which is it, is He God or man? Yes! But how can He be both - Deut. 29:29. Here are three of the most important words you must learn if you desire to be a good theologian - "I don't know!" 

If we can explain everything about God, then He is no greater than ourselves. I heard a great statement from a great theologian “ Every major Bible doctrine has stress in it, because it is from God and we cannot understand all that God is. When you remove the stress out of that doctrine, you remove the Divine!”. How true! In our desire to know, we sometimes push past honesty and theological integrity. We want to sound like we understand what we are talking about, so the gaps that the stress in a doctrine makes, become issues we try to resolve ourselves. We try to fill infinite gaps with finite explanations. Most do it innocently, some do it arrogantly! The wise thing to do, is not do it! We must learn to say, “I don’t know”. There is no shame in that, in fact there is honor is being honest. I have great joy when I yield to the truth in a class I am teaching and encourage the student to take their question up with the only person that can answer it – You, Lord! In the end, I have found that when we get done with our questions, we will find ourselves like Job. (Job 42:1-6) You are awesome Lord!   
 Meditation Questions: How comfortable are you with the things you do not understand about God? What is understanding based on? What is trust based on? Do you see a difference? Does God have to do anything to earn your trust? What does that say? Can you be content that you cannot understand God? What does that say? What is the difference between knowing a lot about God and knowing God?