Archive for February, 2019

My Family (I Timothy 5)

February 28, 2019

Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. I Timothy 5:1-2

I want you to know how much I love my family.  And I also want you to know that my family is growing.  Maybe you ask, are you referring to your biological family or your spiritual family?  My answer is, “yes” to both.

Keith and Amanda have been blessed by God to give birth to our grandson, Colt Matthew.  Our family is growing and I love it.

Our spiritual family is growing as God opens the hearts of men and women to their need of Him.  When repentance comes, the Lord gives new life to men and women.  Such people become part of our spiritual families.  Our family is growing and I love it.

In I Timothy 5, Paul instructs the church in how to correctly relate to each other in the family.  In the book “What’s Next?” I ask this question: “Which family group has the hardest time fitting into the church?”

I believe the answer is this: The group made up of those who engage in a sinful lifestyle. Such people are swimming upstream against the will of God.  Such people are unsettling to others and they cause division in the local church.

We see two examples given in the text.  We see the example of younger widows and also elders who sin.  The question comes, how do we keep the family together?

Let’s consider what Paul says about the elders (Vs: 19-21).  There are two steps we must take:

  1. We must be accurate in our understanding if an elder has engaged in unrepentant sin.
  2. We must then hold the elder accountable for their sin.

We do this by seeking for the elder to repent of their sin.  We do this by seeking for the elder to be restored to God and to the family,

This is often overlooked in our spiritual families. Because of this omission family members get hurt, hurt others, and often get picked off by Satan.  Brothers and sisters, I love my family so very much that I will seek to invest in the family so that fellowship and love will be sweet.

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Why is it important? ( I Timothy 4)

February 27, 2019

16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. I Timothy 4:16

One of the many things I have learned in ministry is simply: every hill is not worth dying
on!  There are some things in ministry which are good but they are not worth dying for.  I also learned early the importance of choosing ones battles.
Someone once said, “if you are screaming about every battle in life, you will have no audience when a significant battle occurs.”
As Paul writes to Timothy in chapter 4, Paul’s instruction is very pointed.  The subject matter is false teachers.  The Holy Spirit had revealed both the coming and teaching of false teachers. In this chapter Paul gives an illustration of false teaching and how to answer correctly,
Paul instructs Timothy to put these things before the people. Timothy was to teach the Word of God.  This was “The” hill to die on!
Maybe you ask, Why is this the hill to die on?  Paul would respond, because the souls of men, women, boys, and girls hang in the balance.
Timothy was to fight for the souls of all people by openly sharing God’s Word through teaching, sharing in conversations, giving wisdom to people, and by living out what the Word of God was teaching.  This was a fight worth having.
Timothy was not to take his eyes off this work.  The more he fought the good fight the more people would be saved.
Two questions at this point:
     1. What are you fighting for?
     2. What hills are you dying on?
Brothers and sisters, let us fight and die for the sake of the gospel.  The souls of all people are worth the fight!

Leadership 101 (I Timothy 3)

February 26, 2019

“Therefore an overseer must…” I Timothy 3:2

In our day-to-day living there are some musts in our lives.  You and I must have air to breathe.  Our heart must pump blood or we die.  You must have transportation to travel the entire globe.  You must like Kentucky Basketball to get to heaven  🙂  Maybe I was off about the last must.

In a local church there are also some musts. One of those musts is to have qualified spiritual leaders.  Notice I did not say perfect leaders!  Here in I Timothy three, Paul gives us 14 qualifications for a pastor.  Why did God chose these qualifications?  God knew these qualifications were and still are musts for the health and ministry of every local church, (2:15).

If any one of these qualifications are neglected or disregarded, trouble is sure to come to the local church.  Paul writes, “So that he might not fall into disgrace and into the snare of the Devil.”  

Pastors and deacons must want to strive to fulfill these qualifications. Church members must genuinely help leaders fulfill these qualifications.

If you are a pastor or deacon here are some helps for your life:

  • Daily keep these qualifications in the forefront of your mind.
  • Be honest with other leaders about the weaknesses in your life.
  • Daily meet with God for accountability and strength,
  • Be accountable to others.
  • Strive with all of your being to obey your calling.
  • Walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and crucify the flesh.

If you are a church member, here is how you can help your church leaders:

  • Pray for the success and protection of your leaders.
  • Help your leaders to carry out their calling.
  • Make sure you lovingly hold leaders accountable.
  • Walk along side of leaders to insure the church will become what God has called it to be.

This day I am praying for all the churches I have connection with.  May God bless you with Godly leadership for His glory!!!

Why me Lord? (I Timothy 1-2)

February 25, 2019

 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.  I Timothy 1:16

“It’s not fair, he has more than I do.”  The previous statement came from a three-year old who had looked across the table to notice that his friend had one more chicken-nugget than he had on his plate.

Have you ever found yourself focused on life not being fair?  I sometimes have a pity party for myself when I become self-centered.  Maybe you are in a moment when you feel as if God is being unfair to you?  Could it be you are saying, Why me Lord?

For a moment, let us consider Paul’s viewpoint on all of this.

As Paul writes to Timothy, he has the correct viewpoint of life. Paul’s younger days had been spent in climbing the religious and political ladder of self.  He had risen very high.  Here is how he described himself, “I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent of God.”

Paul is confessing he was a great sinner.  But then he met Jesus (Acts 9).  Suddenly Paul understood how God had been so merciful to Him:

  • God was patient in Paul’s rebellious days.
  • God was preparing Paul when he did not even know it.
  • God performed a miracle in making him new in Christ.

Now Paul knows, God had been more than fair with Him.  Paul is now “MERCY ON DISPLAY.”

Brothers and sisters, if you are struggling with feeling mistreated today.  Consider what God has done for you. Consider how He feels about you. Think deeply about how He has always felt about you.  Here is what Paul writes:

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 

When you and I understand God’s mercy in the correct way, we will cease complaining about God’s unfairness and we will center our lives on praising Him for His mercy!!!

No Surprise Here (I Thessalonians 5)

February 22, 2019

But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.  I Thessalonians 5:4

As I sat there watching Miss Anita Raney celebrating here 100 birthday almost two years ago, I was so amazed at all the changes she has seen in her lifetime.  Behind her was a board with many of the inventions and changes she had gone through.  Things such as  World Wars and the age of technology.   One of the biggest changes she told me about was the change in people’s hearts.  She said, “We live in truly an evil age.”

Brothers and sisters, our world is rapidly changing every day!  There are good things happening such as better communication, transportation, and health care.  But there are terrible things happening in our world today.   We have become a world filled with the poison of ancient Sodom.

These things should not surprise us.  These are what the Bible predicts as signs leading us to understand the coming of the Lord is near.  Paul writes about this Second Coming in Vs: 1-3.  He gives us three descriptions:

  • The description of the suddenness of the return (like a thief).
  • The description of the catastrophic destruction. (Like labor pains)
  • The description of the inability of man to escape standing before the Lord.

The question I consider today is this: Are my days filled with surprises or are they filled with passion for Jesus in these last days.  God intends for us to daily look for His return.  The Lord intends for us to live our lives in righteousness, humility, and intentionality for Him.

Brothers and sisters, as the days become more and more evil, I think, this could be the very day!!! But if the Lord does not return and I live as long as miss Anita, I want to live every day for Him.  Even so, come Lord Jesus.

Who gave these instructions? (I Thessalonians 4)

February 21, 2019

For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. I Thessalonians 4:7-8

If you are a type “A” personality you will quickly agree with what I am about to write, “It’s hard to just accept instructions without any input.”

As I opened my copy of God’s Word to I Thessalonians 4, I am reminded of this truth, sometimes it’s not easy to receive instructions.  For the church in the city of Thessalonica it seemed as if they were joyously receiving instruction. I wonder, it is this way with you and I.

To be honest, I daily read God’s Word and I usually never reject it’s truth.  But I do sometimes fail to live out His Word in daily actions.  I wonder, what causes us to fail to follow God’s instructions?

  • Could it be that we have a problem with the Author? Do you know Jesus as Lord and Savior?  Are you currently in fellowship with Him?
  • Could it be that we are having an obedience problem?

This church was leaning into obedience because God was growing their faith.  I truly believe this church loved the Lord and it led to their wanting to follow His instructions.

This day, I want to linger at His feet, making sure I get all His instructions correct because so much is at stake.  Here is what Paul writes:

 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

Lord, I want others to know who is directing my life!!!

Staying on the course (I Thessalonians 3)

February 20, 2019

for this reason, brothers,[b] in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. I Thessalonians 3:7

Never let it be said that I know very much about golfing.  The truth is, the few times I did play, I spent more time off the course than on the course.

Question:  How much time do you spend off the course of your faith?

As Paul wrote to this wonderful church, his heart was gripped with concern for the suffering the church was going through.  He was so concerned that he sent Timothy to make sure they were staying the course.

When Timothy returned, he reported the good news of this church having stayed the course.  How were they able to do this?

  1. The church’s faith was growing.
  2. The church’s love was growing.

These two things led to this church being known as a church which was standing firm in the Lord.

Brothers and sisters, do you want to stand firm in your faith? Are you tired of repenting of those moments of getting off course?  If so, learn from this church.

  • God calls us to lean into our faith.

13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love. I Corinthians 16:13-14

  • God calls us to love the Lord with all of our being.

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40

  • God calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

You and I are not alone on this course called Christianity.  Let me challenge you to love others well by going after them when they get off course (Galatians 6:1-2).

I have truly discovered I do not walk this journey alone.  Even Paul called for others in his hour of greatest trial, II Timothy 4:21.

Brothers and sisters, let us stay on course together for the glory of the Lord!!!

How much do we care? (I Thessalonians 2)

February 19, 2019

 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. I Thessalonians 2:8

As Paul writes this letter, it is obvious that he cares deeply about this church.  Each chapter seems to intensify in his love for the church.  Keep in mind, Paul was only able to be with the people for a few weeks and maybe a little over a month at most.

Paul was not just a leader who preached and stayed at hands length from the people.  He came into the city with his spiritual sleeves rolled up, ready to give his life among them.

How is it possible to love people you have never met or you are just meeting?  Let’s research in Scripture:

  • Paul knew this people were loved by God (1:4).  As God’s ambassador, Paul loved people (II Corinthians 5:20).
  • Paul knew Jesus gave His life for these people (1:9).  Paul was willing to give his life (II Corinthians 12:15)

15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 

  • Paul knew how much Jesus sacrificed for all men (2:9).  He knew he also would have to work hard among them if he wanted to reach them.

These reasons plus many more led to Paul’s success not only in this city, but in every city he entered.  Could it be, you and I need to roll up our spiritual sleeves in our areas of ministry?

Dad, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and lead at home and on the job site.  Mom, it’s time you do the same in your role as a mother, wife, and on the job sight.  Single person, its time you roll up your spiritual sleeves as one who is to give themselves fully to the Lord.  He has much for you, it is time you get to work for the lover of your life.  Finally, student and young adult, it’s time you take off the cape of self and put on the robes of a servant.  The world needs people who will love them the way Jesus did!

Where have you been hiding? (I Thessalonians 1)

February 18, 2019

 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. I Thessalonians 1:8

It had been a few weeks since I had seen this couple. I immediately wanted to talk with them. I quickly asked, “where have you been?”  The husband spoke first, “Pastor, we have been on a two-week cruise.” The wife then spoke, “It was a great time of rest.”  In that moment my heart rejoiced because they needed rest.

I wonder how it must have been in the city of Thessalonica during the days when the church there was established? I see two friends meeting on the street.  One asks, “Where have you been hiding?  I have not seen you in three-weeks?”  The friend responds, “Three weeks ago I was invited to hear a guy by the name of Paul speak about different religions.  I went to the meeting.  Did you know there is only one true God?  I had never heard that God came to live on the earth.  His name is Jesus!  Did you know He came to be our Messiah?  I had not heard that He died on a cross for my sins.  You know we are sinners dude.  It gets even better, He rose from the dead on the third day.  Yes, it’s true.  Many people saw Jesus!  Did you know He went back to heaven after giving 12 men the mission of establishing and building His church by going into all the world and preaching His gospel?”

The friend responds, “No, I did not know all of this.”  The friend continues, “But that does not explain where you have been the last three weeks.  You have not gone to temple worship with me even once.”  The other friend responds, “I will never be going back there.  I gave my life to Jesus.  He is my Lord and Savior.  He has made me new. I don’t want to go to the pagan temples anymore.  I serve the true and living God.”

As the friend stood there in shock, his friend asked him the following question: “Why don’t you come with me to services tonight?”

Now, I don’t know if this is exactly how it happened.  But I do know the scene is to be how it is to happen in our lives as Christ-followers.  The city of Thessalonica was turned upside down (Acts 17:5-10) because of the testimony of those who came to know Jesus.

Today I want to challenge you with two things:

  1. If you have not turned to Jesus as your Lord and Savior, do it now.
  2. If you have turned its time to get about the business of telling others.

This is the only way our cities will ever be turned upside down for God!!!

Fellow workers in the truth (III John)

February 15, 2019

Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth. III John 8

Yesterday I asked the question: “who is in your house?”  This morning I received an email from a close brother who used to be in our house for C-group.  His words were far kinder than I deserved.  His words were a great reminder of how impactful the gospel is when we do it together.

May I  never get over the joy of working in the truth of the gospel with others.  Even thought I rejoice in this, at the same time I can tell you that my heart is extremely sad.  This sadness comes from two realities of our day:

  1. There are many false teachers in the world.

We know clearly of those who preach a different gospel.  We know of those who pervert the gospel of God.  We also know of those who oppose the gospel by their selfish attitude.   i.e. “Diotrephes.”

2. There is extreme spiritual warfare against Gospel-preachers today.

In this year alone already some of the most significant gospel preachers have lost their ministries.  I am not writing to judge right or wrong of their actions. I am thinking of how the enemy wants to destroy those who preach the gospel.  I know personally, I am only pastoring because of the great grace of God.

As John writes to the church, he writes on behalf of those who were evangelists.  The churches were to help these fellow workers in the truth.  As I read John’s words, I felt the urgency to pray and to write on behalf of my fellow workers in the truth.

I want to challenge you to do the following:

Pray for your pastors and for other pastors.  Pray for their protection, humility, purity, holiness, love, forgiveness, accountability, and power to push back the darkness.

It is amazing that those who either pervert the gospel or preach a false gospel never get held accountable.  Here is why: the Devil never goes after those on his team.

Stand up for those who lead and help them be protected, even from themselves.  Be assured no pastor is perfect.  This is why every pastor must pursue a holy God every day!!! This is why we must seek to restore God’s men and to not be quick to judge when the fiery darks come.