Forgiveness, Friendship, Real Power

Not much you can add to this. But I really think you should take the time to watch this. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

I found this on Denny Burk’s blog. You can catch him here

His Word is our Delight

This video has been hitting the blogosphere a lot lately. It should too. Some Chinese believers receiving a very precious commodity – Bibles. Simply watching their reactions as they open up the parcel of Bibles is a lesson to those of us who have so much. There is no reason why being able to own our own Bibles should not elicit the same response in us – except that we are over satiated with very good things. We have grown so accustomed to having so much, including God speaking to us through the Word of God, the Bible, that it has become common place. Opening a Bible and reading it and being able to understand it and having the privilege of sitting under teaching that explains it and having it in our homes to read it anytime we like, should make us gasp in wonder at the privilege. Enjoy this video. And pray in a sense of wonder that we have a message from God.

Worship God this Sunday with others, under the Word of God. What a glorious privilege it is. His Word is our delight

Psalm 119:16
I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

I Peter 1:22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for

“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

II Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night

Psalm 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.

Perfect Leadership

Luke 22:3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. 4 He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.

Leadership is hard work. It is hard for all kinds of reasons and those who make much money out of packaging the snake oil of easy leadership are liars, or have never really tried to do real leadership. Or they just don’t tell the stories out of their leadership experiences that contradict what will get us to buy the snake oil. How refreshing it would be to be a part of a leadership seminar or read a leadership book, that did not give the impression that the principles being promoted will guarantee desired results. How refreshing to not be given the impression that the leadership qualities being sold are success in a can – guaranteed – maybe – if one uses them properly. Well, maybe there are such books and conferences. I hope so.

Satan entered into Judas Iscariot. Well, Satan did not enter into a neutral party. Judas was a thief from the beginning. There, some might say,  was Jesus’ first leadership error. He did not screen his team properly. He lets Judas into the band and for three years Judas fumes within himself about how Jesus is not heading toward what Judas hoped for. For three years he helps himself to the money entrusted to him by Jesus. By the time of the betrayal Judas is fed up. He has been patient. But he knows that if things are going to go the way they should, they are going to have to happen with someone other than Jesus. What would Judas have said to Jesus if there had been a confrontation? What would he have said to Jesus regarding his leadership abilities? Why couldn’t Jesus have allowed Judas enough input to at least give him a sense of being a contributing member of the team? Why didn’t He sit down with Him and seek to help him get over his issues and lead him away from his sense of isolation and frustration? Well, perhaps He did do all of that. Even good leadership garners opposition and there are some people who just can’t be satisfied and there are some people who wouldn’t respond to good leaders even if it was God Himself – Oh wait, that was who Judas had as his leader.

Leaders makes mistakes and there is no doubt that every leader on the planet can become a better one. But Jesus couldn’t. He couldn’t become a better leader. He was the best leader there ever was. He was perfect in His methods and goals and abilities to communicate them to His team. And still not everyone on the team was a supporter. Sometimes the old adage “I coached good but boy did they play bad” really is true. It was in Jesus’ case. He coached flawlessly. He had vision, goals, purpose, and He knew what to do to reach them. He was training His team for leadership after His inevitable departure. He discipled them flawlessly.

The problem with Judas was his heart. And a wicked heart will not respond to even flawless leadership. Those of us who have a calling to lead others should assess ourselves on a regular basis. When things go awry and people complain about the direction they are being led, we need to check and see if their complaints have any merit. When they do, we need to say so. We cannot, like Jesus, respond with the knowledge that our leadership is flawless. Leadership involves repentance.

But there are times when even a sinful leader’s motives and actions are right. There are times when the vision is right, the purpose statement is bang on and the chosen path for achieving the goals is as it should be and those who do not like what is going on, are wrong.  This is where the real test of leadership comes into play. How he handles success, or being right, says as much about a leader as how he handles failure.

When we are being led by people of integrity and honesty and they are right and we are wrong we need to admit it and get ourselves in line. But it is very rarely the case when there is complete rightness on one side and complete wrongness on the other in a dispute. And what needs to happen in the vast majority of cases is repentance and forgiveness from both sides. Two people, one who has done wrong and one who has had wrong done to him, both seek reconciliation, because both are believers. Sometimes it must be the leaders who do this. Sometimes it must be those who are following them. Most times it is a combination of both. Sometimes, people are so sure that where the leaders are taking them is so off base that they pick up their ball and go elsewhere. Sometimes the leader is so sure that because he is the infallible leader that he sees to it that the opposition gets out of the way. It is amazing that God gets His goals and purposes and grand vision realized at all. But He always does. The only ones who suffer are those who refuse to get in on what He is doing.

This was Judas’ problem. He came to see that he was indeed wrong. But his evil unrepentant heart would not let him repent or seek to get back on the right track. God’s purposes were achieved. Judas unwittingly helped get them done and lost his own soul in the process. It is a tragic tale, from Judas’ side of things. He had no one to blame but himself. He had the perfect leader. His sin resented that. He chose badly and he was lost to the greatest movement the world has ever seen.

How we all, leaders and followers alike, need to be constantly taking stock to make sure that our own hearts and minds are not taking us to places where we will miss what God has for us. The consequences, hopefully, will never be as tragic for us as they were for Judas. We need to constantly be cultivating a self examining spirit that never confuses one’s own desires and perceptions as always being God’s. His way is best. Leading is not about defending one’s own direction and following is not about knowing that one is being led astray and has the calling to take over.

All believers have the perfect Leader. And it is a joy beyond description to know that when things go differently than the way we wanted, it is not because of faulty leadership. “Come follow me” our flawless Leader says. And there is never a place where He will take us that we need fear to go. Judas missed that. Let us learn from him and never make the same mistake.

A Christmas Rant – A Little Late

OK, so it’s not Christmas. But I wrote something around Christmas time that didn’t get finished. I finished it the other day and thought that I would post it regardless. A month late, but for me that’s tantamount to early. It’s a rant anyway and you can save yourself some angst by ignoring it altogether. You’ve been warned.

A Facebook friend of mine posted this . A few weeks before Christmas. Actually, more than one did. Then a few days later another posted this  .

The lyrics of the song are:

If you don’t see merry Christmas in the window,
no you don’t go in that store
If you don’t see merry Christmas in the window,
yes you walk right by that door
Oh it’s all about the little baby Jesus and my Savior’s day of birth
It’s the one and only reason that we celebrate the season
wishing love to all and; peace upon the earth
If you don’t hear ‘Merry Christmas’ when they greet you
when you’re walking through store
Simply turn and say ‘It’s very nice to meet you’
As you walk right out that door
Words are chosen every year to hide it’s Christmas
the reason for our hol-i-day
They’re not happy what we’re singing
but they want their tills a’ringing
Trying to sell my Christmas every other way
come and stand out from the crowd,
say Merry Christmas and be proud
Christmas isn’t just another holiday
What would be missing, now lets see,
if not for Christ’s nativity
No silent night or first noels No Santa’s sleigh
No jingle bells
No star atop the Christmas tree
No special day for family
No bells that ring for angels wings
No dolls and trains that Santa brings
No drummer boy or Tiny Tim
No Mr. Scrooge, we all know him
No list of those whose been good or bad
Well maybe that won’t be too sad No candy canes or mistletoe
No Christmas lights out in the snow
No stockings hung with so much care
hoping Santa finds them there
And one more thing there wouldn’t be
no partridge in a rum pum pum pum
If you don’t believe the reasons for my Christmas
then it’s sure okay with me
Please don’t tell me what to say, or what music I can play
after all my Christmas is my special day
Come and stand out from the crowd,
say ‘Merry Christmas’ and be proud
Christmas isn’t just another holiday

Really. Continue reading

New Year’s Eve

Every New Year’s Eve our church gathers at 11 :00 p.m. for a service of singing, Scripture reading and testimonies from our people regarding the goodness of God to us in the last year.  The testimonies are always a highlight and here are some of what was said this year.

There is nothing earth shattering in these testimonies. They are the stories of ordinary people who are glad that an extraordinary God cares for them in the everyday realities of their lives. It is wonderful to hear what people thank God for.

I led things off by telling the folks that a couple of weeks ago I had a very rough day. Heather had gone to bed before I had and when I got to the bedroom there was a note on my pillow with II Corinthians 4:1 written on it

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God,we do not lose heart.

I thank God that He gave me a wife with such a heart and the knowledge that the Word of God is what I need when I have rough days.

Some of the other testimonies:

A lady whose health issues keep her away from us most of the time – “I thank God for His presence in my life, for my Thistletown family’s love and support. Before I was a Christian I didn’t know anything, not even why there was a thing called Good Friday. I knew the catechism but not the bible or Jesus. I knew the priest couldn’t forgive me but I did not know who could. We are sinners who do not know what to do and Jesus comes and saves us.”

The wife of one of our deacons – “I thank God I am here united to my fellow believers. I thank God for the good and the bad, for the unity in our family and I thank all of you for your prayers.”

One of our newest members who struggles with great pain – “It is a great joy to be here tonight. My arthritis and fibro myalgia keep me from church. I am free enough from pain to be here tonight”.

A working mom whose husband is away and who is a refugee in Canada – “When I remember where I was and now see where I am I am thankful. I thank God for my church family – the prayers help most of all. I am thankful for being kept safe in the ice storm, that my husband arrived home safely and that my children are well.”

One of our AWANA leaders -”Pastor Davis told a joke a few weeks ago about a man who whispered to the bank teller that he wanted to make a deposit. When the teller asked him why he was whispering the man replied that he was afraid his car would hear that he had some extra money and then break down. My mother gave me some money for Christmas and it got used to repair my car.”

“I picked up a bag that someone had dropped and ran to give it to him because the Bible says that to know to do good and not do it is sin”

Our church treasurer – “I thank God for His provision. He gives me everything I need for life and godliness. He provides for my spiritual healing through the cross. One day, we will be completely healed – physically and spiritually.”

One of our worship leaders – “I thank God for my health, my job, which  love, for a wife who keeps me healthy, for this church and especially for being allowed to be a part of the worship team. It means more to me, to be able to help lead the church in singing, than I can say.”

Our Missions Committee chairman -

“Psalm 31:1 In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me!
3 For you are my rock and my fortress;
and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;

Please pray for me that I have a closer walk with God.”

A 12 year old girl – “I thank God for my church family.”

Just a small church gathering to worship God on New Year’s Eve. No fanfare, no flash, no great scenes of miracles. But a wonderful place to be as people chosen from before the foundations of the world, stood to thank God for His grace. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Read This

There are other things to say on the first week of a new year. But this really needs to get around. This is great stuff that is a tragedy that it needs to be written. Please – read this. It’s called “Sincerely, One of Many Girls Who Care”

http://bemalleable.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/sincerely-one-of-many-girls-who-care/

Happy New Year

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

We truly pray that this will be a year when you come to know Christ, if that is not true of you yet, and that it will be a year when you come to grow in your knowledge of Him if you already do.

Children of God have the great comfort of knowing that they have been predestined to be conformed to the likeness of Christ. By coming to Christ, you can know it too.

Romans 8:29 – For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

That growth into Christ’s image begins now as we behold the great glory of the Lord – the Gospel.

II Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

4:1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

May your 2014 be a wonderful year of this growth into Christ through the Gospel. Allow nothing to slow you down in this glorious pursuit.

Here are a few more texts related to the thing that is forefront of our minds on New Year’s day – time. God bless you all.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 – For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Psalm 90

1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3 You return man to dust
and say, “Return, O children of man!”
4 For a thousand years in your sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night.
5 You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning:
6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
in the evening it fades and withers.
7 For we are brought to an end by your anger;
by your wrath we are dismayed.
8 You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.
9 For all our days pass away under your wrath;
we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
10 The years of our life are seventy,
or even by reason of strength eighty;
yet their span is but toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away.
11 Who considers the power of your anger,
and your wrath according to the fear of you?
12 So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
13 Return, O Lord! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
and for as many years as we have seen evil.
16 Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands!

Philippians 3
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Jude
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.