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, March 8, 2013

Bumping into yourself and not recognizing you!

There is a story of a very rich man at a banquet, seated with him were all kinds of famous people, including what was considered one of the world’s most beautiful women. He wrote a note and passed it to her, it said; “will you sleep with me for $100,000?” She looked over and said, “yes”. He wrote another note and passed it to her, it said; “will you sleep with me for $50?” Incensed, she looked at him and said, “what kind of woman do you think I am?” He said, “we established that with the first question, now we are negotiating price!”
What you are is not what the outside always shows. The real you is what’s inside! This is one of the reasons the world is so confused about what a “Christian” is. They see too many people putting on a surface look, but when the real person inside shows up, their image does not match their reality. We are looking at what that inside should look like; we have discussed two:

{1} True Spirituality
{2} Deep Humility

The third quality is the real edge that a Christian has concerning life.

{3} Self Discipline

This does not mean that we cannot enjoy life, or have a sense of humor. Life has been very fun for me and I laugh a lot. What this does mean is that we understand what is at stake for everyone in life when it comes to eternity. No matter where we are or what we are doing, we carry that reality in us, and it will make a difference in our life. Even in our leisure time, we will not blow every minute as some do.

2 Timothy 2:3  Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

Paul states it well – “a soldier" approach to life:

·      You work - while others waste time
·      You will pray – while others play
·      You will study – while others sleep

You are not after applause – You just desire to run your race well and finish.

{4} Vision - See beyond today

The ability to allow the Holy Spirit to show you the “Big Picture.”

It’s real easy to give up the potential of tomorrow…for the glory of today

Two scriptures illustrate this well. King Saul was commanded by God to destroy the enemy completely, but he chose to compromise. No matter his intentions, Samuel expresses to the King what is Important to God:

1 Samuel 15:22–23 But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lordhe has rejected you as king.”

One of the saddest stories is about King Asa, who ruled Judah. Baasha, king of Israel, came up against Judah to make war. Asa, instead of turning to the Lord, turned to Ben-hadad, king of Aram

But the prophet Hanani confronted him:

2 Chronicles 16:7–9 At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, “Because you have relied on the king of Aram and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Aram has escaped out of your hand. “Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubim an immense army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.”

I remember what the brother that was teaching said that day and it has never left my consciousness:

Don’t sacrifice the ultimate, on the alter of the immediate!

Remember the truth about Judas:

“Still as of old, Man by himself is priced.
For 30 pieces, Judas sold himself,
not Christ!”

{5} Clear and convicted decisions

This simply means you know where you are going! Not necessarily the final temporal destination, but you have a clear sense of purpose and destiny.

Our Lord and the apostle Paul understood this:

Luke 9:51 When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem;

Acts 16:10 When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

A very famous example is Cortez; after unloading his supplies and men on the coast of Mexico. Legend has it that he sent a boat out to each ship hand had them burned! His men and his enemy now knew it was conquer Mexico or die!  

I am not saying we agree with what happened, but the example of a committed person is clearly made!

CHALLENGE: Take some time to ask yourself just a few questions: What do I see when I look inside? How close is it to what people see outside? Of these five descriptions of the Christian life, which one is my strongest? Which one is my weakest? What do I need to do to continue to grow the strengths I have? What do I need to do to confront and change the weak areas? Who can I be accountable to, to better help me see this all happen?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

You don’t live on an Island by yourself.

One more thought on family before I go back to Proverbs and the book of Judges.

In Romans Paul states this:

Romans 14:7–8 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

The point is that in the family of God, yes we are individuals, however, none of us live just to ourselves. Everyone that you come into contact with is left with an indelible impression by you. It can be good or it can be bad.

One aspect of family that we need to deal with boils down to the fact that each family member is responsible for their individual walk. Others may encourage, still we alone determine that individual walk, and all of us are impacted by each individual’s walk. What should that walk look like?

Many years ago a man I respect shared some thoughts of what the Christian life should be. I loved it because of its simplicity, and as all teachers, I digested it and then regurgitated it from my perspective of what are the teachings from the Word of God on this issue. I thought it might be helpful to share as we think about our participation in the body of Christ.

When I think of what it means to have a life that impacts the environment around you, one of the names that comes to my mind is John Geddy. He was a missionary that went to Aneiteum and spent 24 years there. His life had such an impact that when he died they put a plaque by his grave that said this:

In memory of John Geddie, D.D., born in Scotland, 1815, minister in Prince Edward Island seven years, Missionary sent from Nova Scotia to Aneiteum for twenty-four years. When he landed in 1848, there were no Christians here, and when he left in 1872 there were no heathen."

Wow! Enough said.

The Christian life starts with:

{1} True Spirituality

1 Corinthians 2:15 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

All this means is the evidence of the Holy Spirit in your life. This is not walking around with a somber face and trying to sound spiritual, nor is it waving your arms and screaming “hallelujah” as loud as you can. It simply means to be under the control of the Holy Spirit. In Thayer’s lexicon it states, that which takes possession of the mind is said to “fill it.” In Luke 5:26 the disciples were filled with fear, because of a storm. Have you ever seen someone filled with fear? It's very apparent; you don't have to guess. When a person is filled with the Spirit of God it shows itself in the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22–23

{2} Deep Humility

This is a quality that everyone else sees, but the person who's showing it does not. If you think you are humble, you just answered your own question, you're not. Jesus spent much time trying to teach the disciples the very valuable characteristic humility.

Luke 22:24–27 And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’  “But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.  “For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

This was the secret to John the Baptist’s greatness. 

John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.

Paul is a perfect example of how this works. In a period of a decade, Paul became more Christ like, yet saw himself as less.

In AD 55, writing the Corinthians  – He states he is the: Least of the Apostles
In AD 60, writing the Ephesians. – He states he is: Less then the least of all Saints
In AD 66, writing to Timothy – He declares he is the: Chief of Sinners

The closer he walked with Jesus, the more he saw himself as a sinner.

We will stop here and look at 3 more when we pick up. Ask yourself today…Who controls me? Also, How righteous do I see myself? Ask the Spirit of God to help you be honest. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

It’s a Family affair!

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Philemon 1:1-2 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved brother and fellow worker, and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:

Gideon tried to get the help of his brethren, but they would not be counted as “fellow” participates. As we look at how Paul was right on about what we should pray for…the prayer from Ephesians also emphasizes a unity.

Ephesians 3:17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints

Paul makes it clear that we are all in this together. This is vital for us to remember as we run the race. We are not on our own. It amazes me how the enemy not only tries but also succeeds in dividing the Body of Christ. Often we are quick to think critically or less of others just because they are not “one of us”. The “us versus them” mentality, makes us quick to criticize, which can lead not only division, but embarrassment.

A patient was making his first visit to the doctor.  “And whom did you consult about your illness before you came to me?” the doctor inquired.  “Only the druggist down at the corner,” replied the patient.  The doctor did not conceal his contempt for the medical advice of people not qualified to practice medicine.  “And what sort of ridiculous advice did that fool give you?” “He told me,” replied the patient innocently, “to see you.”

The unity Paul expresses is not that we become “clones”. Fellow worker & fellow soldier express the idea of Unity in Purpose. That is what a family has. All in the family are individuals, yet they are all driving to the same place.

Dr. Nick Stinnett launched a "family strengths research project" Dr. Stinnett summarized his findings as follows: "All together, we studied 3,000 families and collected a lot of information. But when we analyzed it all, we found six main qualities in strong families. Strong families:  * are committed to the family,* spend time together,* have good family communication,* express appreciation to each other,* have a spiritual commitment,* and are able to solve problems in a crisis."

Our unity is not based on personal likes and dislikes: Two key issues are important. 1. A willful decision to love; which will place relationship on equal footing with Truth. We cannot sacrifice Truth, but we must be committed, if any way possible, to remain unified. Most times unity is not broken over Truth; instead it is personality issues, or procedural issues. Love covers those mistakes and tensions with forgiveness.  2. Using our giftings to help the “family” reach it’s goal. This leads to a wonderful freedom: I don't have to do it all, this is a team effort.

Paul dealt with a very carnal church over this issue:

1 Cor. 3:4-9 For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe--as the Lord has assigned to each his task.  I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. 

The real issue that arises here is motive. Are we doing what we are doing for the Lord or for ourselves? Applause either produces ego or channels that applause as appreciation for all on the team and to God’s glory for how He is using you.

A.W. Tozer said, "The test by which all conduct must finally be judged is MOTIVE.

Meditation Questions: What does motive mean? When was the last time you checked your motives? Do you minister as part of a team, or as the only one? Why? If you have a team, who is on it? What have you done to let them know you need and want them? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your ministry? What does that show you? How can you prevent that?