To be a trusted counselor, you have to do more than come alongside a counselee and spout vague generalizations and empty platitudes. You must meet them where they are — like the LORD God walking with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day — like Jesus manifest in the flesh to break the power of sin and death — because they cannot come to where you are. First, you must understand their pain, their fear, and their darkness. Continue reading Becoming a trusted counselor
I was sitting out on the porch with my wife not long ago watching the rain and enjoying the natural beauty of nature, much of which she had added by her gardening knowledge and special touch. Many times, we’ve enjoyed our mornings together this way, drinking coffee and sharing thoughts. Twelve years ago hundreds of our trees were majorly damaged by a downdraft tornado, completely destroying the beauty that God and my wife had given to our little backyard getaway. But over time, with Continue reading Imagine a place where fellowship grows
Food Grows Where Water Flows The phrase, “Love Grows Where Love Flows” is borrowed and adapted from a powerful political message, “Food Grows Where Water Flows”, used by the farmers of California to explain the importance of water management to balance the crops of fruit, vegetables, and nuts they grow to feed 100s of millions of Americans versus the life-giving water needed for people, crops, landscape, recreation, and ecology. There are long lasting repercussions from simple decisions. Love Grows Where Continue reading Love Grows Where Love Flows (the secret to a loving romantic marriage)
Not for these only do I pray, but for those also who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that you sent me. (John 17:20-21) Jesus Prayed for you, but most Christians have not answered that prayer. They have splintered into thousands of groups, sects, divisions, schisms, churches, and denominations. They have Continue reading When Jesus prayed for you to be one; that the world will believe
1) Prayers are hindered by lack of love All the virtue that is saving, and that distinguishes true Christians from others, is summed up in Christian love. When that love is missing or corrupted, then our prayers are hindered. Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (Luke 6:38) Continue reading 10 Ways Prayers are Hindered (#5 is Shocking)
What is gnosticism? Gnosticism is literally, “the cult based on special, personal knowledge.” The apostle Paul specifically warned against this kind of division, which has spawned several very large Christian-like religions, dozens of very closed denominations, and hundreds or thousands of small sects. Each of these groups claims some “special personal knowledge,” which they have and you do not, which makes them more acceptable to God than you, and which keeps them separate from you. In the last month, I talked to Continue reading Gnosticism and the altar of special knowledge in the church today
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13) Christian Agape Love –Adapted from Introduction by Tyrone Edwards to Charity and its fruits by Jonathan Edwards Love is the best way of all Keep on desiring the better gifts. And now I will show you the best way of all. (1 Corinthians 12:31) Love is the sum of all virtue All the virtue that is saving, and that distinguishes true Christians from others, is Continue reading Faith, Hope, and Love — the Greatest of these is Love
There are 2 character traits that are very important for service to the Lord: humility and submission. Humility about yourself towards others and towards God. Submission first to God and then to each other. Without these character traits, the Apostle Paul said you will be just like a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. All noise. No benefit. If you consider these opposite character traits, it is obvious why pride and arrogance cannot serve the Lord. What motivates you?
When Samuel was sent to anoint a new king to replace Saul, he fell into a common trap. It’s not about appearance, countenance, height, or stature. It’s all about the heart. When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the LORD’s anointed!” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, Continue reading Don’t judge by appearance, countenance, height, or stature, because the LORD looks at the heart
What did Jesus teach about serving others? Many leaders in the Christian community are identified as Christian “ministers”. This tradition leads many to equate Christian ministry with clergy or leadership over Christian congregations. In scripture, a “minister” is simply a “servant” and “ministry” relates to “service”. How can one be both a servant to, and an authority over, God’s people?