The Apostle Paul closes his first letter to a fledgling church with these final exhortations. This letter was written after Timothy returned with mostly good news about their spiritual growth in the Lord. It is full of thanksgiving to God for the faith, love, and hope of the new church. It also contains things he didn’t have time to teach them. It answers their questions about the future resurrection and rapture. And, it contains strong rebukes against sexual immorality and Continue reading Final exhortations to a fledgling church (1 Thessalonians 5:12-22)
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
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
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?
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?
If we lived 2,000 years ago, what would a church service look like? How did they meet? And, why couldn’t it work like that today? 1 Corinthians 14:26 Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you.
You may have thought God could only use superstars. But, this is not true, God can use anyone, if they are willing. God is very clear that these 8 gifts are given by him to ordinary people for service in your congregation… προφητείαν — prophecy; the gift of communicating and enforcing revealed truth διακονεῖ / διακονίαν — to serve (as a servant), waiting at table; in a wider sense: service, ministration διδάσκων — to teach (literally, “cause to learn”); instruct, impart knowledge (disseminate information) Continue reading 8 Gifts of Service for Your Church
Here are 7 exciting and important reasons the Apostle John wrote his letters to you… I am writing to you who are God’s children because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus. I am writing to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning. I am writing to you who are young in the faith because you have won your battle with the evil one.