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!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Are you a sponge for God?

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 4:15  Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.

Application: This passage must be considered in a wide scope. Here Lord, we see Your desire expressed through Paul to a young man in ministry, yet it behooves us to consider its admonition for each one of us also.

Take pains is from an interesting Greek word:

μελετάω meletáō; to be of interest, to concern oneself. To consider, weigh or ponder over something so as to be able to perform well; equal to meditate.[1]

This will require us to spend some time in deep thought about what we are doing with our lives. Is this time well spent? Is it not important Lord? We will each one, stand before You to answer for the life You have extended us and, how we invested it. Therefore this should not be done in a sloppy or haphazard way, meditation is required. 

Be absorbed in them comes from a Greek word that means to exist! Paul is showing Timothy that the life he is talking about is not one of doing but being! Obviously You desire balance Lord, yet we all know of athletes that have a balanced life, while at the same time being very disciplined, committed to and focused on their sport. How much more it should be for those of us that claim to be Ambassadors for the King! One commentator brings forth a clear thought on this:
The exhortation, “give thyself wholly to them,” is en toutois isthi (ἐν τουτοις ἰσθι), “be constantly in these.” The meaning is that Timothy is to throw himself wholly into his ministry. Robertson says that it is our “up to his ears in work” and “sticking to his task.” [2]

Paul points to his goal for Timothy that your progress will be evident. The word progress is:

 προκοπή prokop; to drive forward. A going forward, used only figuratively of progress, advancement, furtherance, also “to cut forward, to blaze the way, make a pioneer advance.” [3] [4]

What a tremendous picture You have painted for us Lord! Like Timothy, we should think deeply about how we invest our life.  We should be focused on being, so that our lifes testimony clearly shows us moving forward, in godliness and even blazing a path for others to follow. That is what making disciples is about! We praise You, for Your Word Lord it guides us so clearly!

Meditation Questions: What absorbs you? What does that show? Is God an after thought? Is it natural for you to think on the things of God or do you have to force yourself to do so? Have you asked those close to you what growth they have seen in you toward the Lord? How hungry are you for God? A snack? A meal? Dessert? Have you slowed your life down enough to contemplate what you want your life to count for? What do you want your epitaph to say? Why?  

[1] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
[2] Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader (1 Ti 4:15). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
[3] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
[4] Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader (1 Ti 4:15). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Don’t keep the wrapping paper on your gift

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 4:13-14 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. 14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.

Application: What does it mean to neglect our gift? Do we do this only consciously or can we do this unconsciously? What happens if we neglect our gifts? Consider what this word neglect means:

ἀμελέω ameléō; careless, not to care for, to neglect to overlook, and so to let suffer [1] [2]

This word allows both action and non-action to play a part in the problem. We can abuse our gifts by what we do or what we don’t do. Using them with wrong motives or by ignoring their God given purpose. God has given gifts to each of His children for use in the Body of Christ; Rom 12:4-8 is just one list. He has also given “us” as the Body of Christ gifts to help equip each individual; Eph 4:11-16. We can and often consciously refuse to use our gifts, due to many excuses; too busy, not talented enough, too shy, not spiritual enough, etc., the list could go on. In doing so, we may not realize it, but we are actually refusing to care for the abilities the Spirit is desiring to equip us with and help us become more Christ like. This is seen in both the individual level and the corporate level.  As an example on the corporate level: the gift of Pastor-teacher in Eph 4 has been abuse by many local Bodies as I have observed. Instead of having their  shepherd - equip the members for ministry  as he is deigned to do, the Church has the him doing the entire ministry, while they sit and watch. In this case the Church is not “caring for” the gift God has given that local congregation. An example of the individual refusing gifts and talents given by God can be seen when we unconsciously neglect our gifts by just being lazy in ministry, or when we are not willing to learn from our own mistakes or others. When we stop learning and think we have arrived, or by not putting ourselves into a place where our faith is stretched and our gifts are used in a new way. Some may say they feel tired, so they take a “leave of absence” from ministry. 

Sadly many on RR don’t return and in reality retire! They stop seeing they have and are a “gift” and forget that they are no longer their own, but are bought with a price. Gratitude to their Savior is a lost thought. They continue to “overlook” their gifts and their abilities suffer. None of us are immune to these short-fallings, because life can throw some interesting curves and we are “flesh”. The key is to awaken from this spiritual slumber and get back in the war. Put back on the armor of God. Because our God is a very merciful and gracious Father, He will enable you to rediscover your gifts and see them used for His glory again! God has a reason for the gifs He bestowed on you. My encouragement to you is, do not miss the eternal investment He desires to produce in you. If you are a gift to a local Body, reclaim what you should be. Do not let politics or power plays keep you functioning in a way that denies your gifts! Be who God made you to be! That is where purpose, joy and peace begin, with an eternal viewpoint!

Meditation Questions: Do you know your gifts? If so, what are they? If not, why? Do you see others in the Body as gifts? What does your answer show? If everyone in the Body of Christ would use their gifts for Christ what would that look like? What would the world see? Do you think God wants you to minister till you burn out? Describe what balance is to you? What should you get from your ministry? Is that question selfish? If you minister in your gifted range what show you get from your ministry? Are you? What does your answer show?

[1] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
[2] Liddell, H. (1996). A lexicon : Abridged from Liddell and Scott's Greek-English lexicon (42). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Seeing Jesus “with skin on”

Scripture Read:  1 Timothy 4:11-12 Prescribe and teach these things. 12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.

Application: As a young man in ministry I took this verse to heart and it guided and strengthened me. Having had many peers and differing individuals in the flock I was given to shepherd, some that were older, wiser, with more education, some even with years of experience way beyond my own, this verse gave me wisdom and spared me much grief. Only You Lord, could have known and guided me in the wisdom of this verse. I pray for Your mercy on others who read this text, that their eyes will be opened to the wonderful truth You are communicating. Because Timothy was also young, it is important that we see the incredible principle that is illuminated by Your Spirit. People can deny our words, but they cannot deny our life! They may disagree with us, think less of us, even slander us, but to their dismay, by our life we are what we are, no matter how they feel about it. With Timothy it was youth, but with any of us, there may be those around us that think we are ignorant, superstitious, naïve, or think we are wasting our life, whatever in may be. The wisdom of this verse gives us the victory! Dont argue with them, or try to convince them with your words, just live Christ in front of them. I saw some young Pastors trying to lift themselves up, proving by their use of original languages, or their masterful preaching and even their more enlightened counseling techniques that they were all that. It never worked! They came across as arrogant, conceited, not teachable or proud. Instead, be confidant in who the Lord made you, be teachable and most of all live what you preach! 

When we choose not to argue or defend but rather in everything we do we show the things we talk about by our walk, it will not win everyone, but to anyone that is honest, they will respect our life because they can SEE what we believe not just hear it. As Timothy lived out what he preached, the older and more experienced in his flock grew in respect for him and saw his authority as a Pastor. Whenever someone respects your life, they give authority to the truth you are speaking, and may consider or trust in Him as their Savior as well. Nothing is more encouraging to fellow believers than witnessing one of their own, living out what we all claim to believe. Nothing is more vital for those that do not have a relationship with Christ, to see Christ with skin on through those that say they belong to Him. This is Pauls point in

2 Corinthians 3:1–3 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? 2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

We need to be the Word of God in the flesh to people who are trapped in their sin!  

Meditation Questions: Do you try to impress people? Why? Why not? If you had to live a week around people you know, but could not speak, what do you think your life would communicate? Can you be content just being who God made you, even if it falls beneath the world’s idea of greatness? If not, why? Is it wrong wanting to be recognized? Honored? Appreciated? What should the guideline be? If you had one goal how would you finish this sentence – “when I leave someone I want them to remember - ______________________________. What does your answer show you?