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Monthly Archives: May 2011

“HOW TO MAKE A WIFE” WEEK: “Work and Study” Devo 5-9-11

I have believed for a long time that after about two years of marriage, our wives become who we create them to be. They either “blossom” under the safety that we provide (emotional, physical, spiritual) or they get “crushed” under our arrogance and selfishness. Most women allow their husbands, initially anyway, to have that kind of sway in their lives.

This week we will look at skills that a man needs to possess in order to establish a solid marriage…the whole week is “MY OPINION” and not intended to be a Bible Study per se. Also gotta note that these posts are based on my personal conviction that the state of your marriage (and mine) is primarily the responsibility of the man. So for us to have marriages that are BUILT TO LAST I believe that each of us men should have the following 10 skills:

We need to have the SKILL to…

1. PROVIDE FOR HER. Yep, that is right! Get a job, keep it and do well at it. 1 Timothy 5:8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

I think for most men this idea is pretty simple and straightforward but is has HUGE implications for how hard we work, how we handle set backs and how we submit to the authority that is represented at work. It is a gross overstatement to say that a woman primarily is looking for financial security…but there is a some truth to it. A woman should be able to expect her husband to work hard (not work-a-holic), take care of the resources God has provided (without being a scrooge), and make responsible financial decisions etc…. It is NOT an unspiritual pursuit to seek to provide well for your family. (obviously it can be taken too far) Somewhere between living in a cardboard box and a mansion in Turtle Creek lies the reasonable expectation. You can live on a small salary or a big one and still provide “well” for your family.

2. STUDY HER. 1 Peter 3:7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

Know her dreams, fears, likes and dislikes, her tendencies (good and bad) and what “pushes her buttons”. Know what makes her happy or causes her stress. Know what hurts her feelings and why. Hint: men and women have the same emotions….they just come out differently. Women get angry…so do women, men get insecure…so do women, men need respect….so do women. Think about it!

REMEMBER:

“THE FACT THAT YOUR WIFE IS A WOMAN IS A STRENGTH FROM WHICH TO BENEFIT

and NOT A WEAKNESS TO BE MANAGED”.

from The Bible Study Series, “Things They Did Not Tell Me About My Faith” – Hixon Frank 2007

 

MINISTRY WEEK: “THE FOG OF … MINISTRY?” Devo 5-6-11

The FOG OF WAR is a term used to describe the uncertainty in situation awareness experienced by participants in military operations.The term seeks to capture the uncertainty regarding own capability, adversarycapability, and adversary intent during an engagement, operation, or campaign. -Wikipedia

Anyone who has been in ministry for very long has experienced something similar… The FOG of MINISTRY. It is the feeling of being overwhelmed, uncertain, and fearful with regard to what you have been asked to do in ministry. There was (is) ways something that could be done at church: more phone calls to make, more preparation to pull together, more people to see, more notes to be written, more meetings to hold, more study to do, more details to execute, more leaders to shape etc…… it creates a “fog” in the heart of the ministry leader that makes him uncertain and timid….it also robs him of his joy.

THE BEST “FOG LIGHT” I KNOW IS TO FIND “YOUR MINISTRY” WITHIN “YOUR MINISTRY”

ASK YOURSELF THESE TWO QUESTIONS…

1. WHAT IS IT ABOUT MINISTRY THAT GOT YOU “JAZZED UP” IN THE FIRST PLACE? Do you remember? For me it was several things…

  • Seeing the “light come on” with people. Helping people “get it”! So I started to incorporate a lot more Teaching into the way I executed my assignments.We also started a ministry called “Wingmen” that allowed me to teach a bunch of guys each week… The fog began to lift….
  • Leadership Development – I am wired to exhort and encourage folks in their walk with Jesus so it is a natural overflow of that tendency in my life. So I started meeting weekly with the young staff members who were new to the staff…the fog dissipated.
  • Shepherding – I am a Sheepdog and not a German Shepherd so I intentionally tried to see my staff and volunteers as “sheep to be lead” and not “cattle to be driven”. Joy crept back into my “ministry”.

2. WHAT WOULD YOU DO “FOR FREE?”. In other words, if you did not receive a paycheck from the church, what would you be involved in for the cause of Christ? For me it was pretty simple, I would…

  • Systematically “disciple” younger guys in their marriages and “Walk with Jesus.
  • Volunteer to teach any large group gathering that would have me…
  • I would direct (shepherd) a LIFE group
  • Probably be a greeter at the Welcome Center

What I have discovered is that I can effectively shape my ministry responsibilities to fit how I am wired. I am called to “equip the saints for the work of ministry”…so I teach, develop and shepherd in a way that accomplished this…..see?

I think Moses was in the “FOG OF MINISTRY” when the following passage was written….

EXODUS 18:17-23

17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”

 

The BIBLE and the Death of Osama bin Laden… guest post by Dr. Bruce Frank

I have watched the “Facebook/Twitter” debate about the “appropriate” response a Christian should have at the news of Osama bin Laden’s demise. Some of the posts have seemed almost “rednecked” in their enthusiasm that “we finally got the sorry ….. um…. turkey!”. While others have come off as “hyper-stoic”, as though we should be more spiritual than to be elated that the “murderer is dead”.

No one has articulated the conflicting emotions many American Christians have (and I believe should have) more succinctly than Dr Bruce Frank, Sr. Pastor at Biltmore Baptist Church in Asheville, North Carolina. He posted the following on his blog…..  (great blog that you can check out by following the “Bruce Frank” link in the right-hand column of this page)     

“Obviously the news has been full of the details concerning the death of the terror mastermind, Osama bin Laden. When President Obama said:”Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children” – it set off a huge reaction here in the states and around the globe.

While most here in the States joyfully celebrated and rightfully gave thanks to our military personnel, some others, as expected ,said such reaction was ‘barbaric, etc…’ The question came up to me numerous times yesterday, “How should we react?” In other words, ‘how should we feel when we see a guilty person (admittedly and beyond reasonable doubt) brought to justice at the hand of civil government?’

While not exhaustive by any means, here are a couple of Biblical principles for a Christ-follower to consider:

1. Romans 13:1-5 clearly says that the government is a “minister of God for good”. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.” The killing of bin Laden was fully justified by the demands of just war theory, the historic Christian means of moral reasoning that measures the justification for acts of lethal force. Bin Laden was the one human being most responsible for a series of terrorist attacks that left thousands of civilians dead. He claimed responsibility and pledged future attacks.

2. Proverbs 24:17-18 says, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; or the Lord will see it and be displeased, and turn His anger away from him.” The word for rejoice means “be arrogant, mocking”. However, Proverbs 21:15 tells us “the exercise of justice is joy for the righteous, but is terror to the workers of iniquity.”

So, on one hand we are told not to rejoice and on the other hand to also rejoice. So what we have is somewhat of a mixed emotion. I have a deep sense of joy, patriotism, and thanksgiving that our military had the means and will to remove this threat. There is a sense of satisfaction that a person who has harmed so many has been brought to justice. There is also a sense of sadness that a human being, made in the image of God, would be so given over to evil that he would callously murder many innocent people.”

There is a sadness when any person dies without Christ and suffers eternal punishment.

I guess the phrase I heard Al Mohler use sums up my feelings:

SOBER SATISFACTION.

 
 

MINISTRY WEEK: “3 QUESTIONS WE GOTTA ANSWER RIGHT” Devo 5-4-11

THERE ARE DOZENS OF DIFFERENT WAYS TO “DO” CHURCH! I know what I believe but could argue for and against a lot of things. Elder leadership, deacons, “simple church” model, “attractional” models, “missional” models, Purpose Driven models, mission strategies, big buildings, no buildings, alter calls, LIFE Groups, home groups, worship styles, creativity….etc, etc…and blah, blah, blah! Don’t get me started on the different theological points that we could debate…..

But here is the deal…I also know where my church stands on all of those issues…I stand with my church! Not in violation of my conscience and certainly not in violation of Scripture…. but in support of the leadership, plan and direction my pastor (leadership of the church) has determined we should go. It is freeing to have convictions that differ from my church (insignificant issues) and a conviction to uphold and support the local body that I serve. THE TRUTH IS: You will never serve a church that you are in 100% agreement with every little thing that is done…ever! So enjoy where God has planted you for this season.

ANSWERING THE “BIGGER” QUESTIONS RIGHT:

1. CAN I STILL REACH PEOPLE WITH THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST AND REMAIN AT MY CHURCH? If you can answer this question “YES” then the rest fades away nicely. Just focus on that and you may be suprised at how your frustration will vanish.

2. DOES WHAT WE DO AS A CHURCH VIOLATE SCRIPTURE? (not my opinion, convictions or preferences BUT SCRIPTURE). If the answer is “NO” then you might be struggling with simply “wanting what you want”. I know of folks who leave a church based on the “fact” that the church violates Scripture BUT really the church is just violates their PREFERENCES.

3. CAN I SUPPORT MY PASTOR? (Leadership) If “NO” then you may have a legitimate reason to leave OR you may have a real problem with authority. The reasons that 1 Peter 2: 13-17 was written is because we all wrestle with being told what to do… referees, teachers, cops, bosses…all represent authority that most folks “rub against”. The testimony of someone who can come under authority is honoring to God… 13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

 

MINISTRY WEEK: “But they just don’t…..” Devo 5/3/11

I have heard the following statements made by staff members (not here) and church members alike over the last several years….

“The folks I serve with are more concerned about attendance than impact.” (Really? How do you know?)

“They are more interested in money coming in than with lives transformed by the Gospel.” (like the money used to pay your salary….keep the lights on and fund your ministry)

  • “They are just trying to make a name for themselves.”  (jealousy is an ugly thing)
  • “They just want to make a bigger church”  (and that…is…bad…how?)
  • “They don’t care about the lost like they should.” (spoken most often by people who have never shared their faith with anyone)
  • “They just cater to the folks with money cause they want more from them.” (prejudice against folks with money…and jealous. Usually from people who never give a dime)
  • “They don’t teach the Bible.” (translation: …like I want it taught. Or like the last guy did….whom I criticized too)

If you have ever made the above statements or something like them then you may have a problem judging the hearts of the folks you work with. 

REMEMBER: YOU REALLY DON’T KNOW “THEIR” MOTIVES.   

  1. TRY THIS:
    LET THAT STUFF GO!  It will kill you. …unless you see something immoral, unethical or illegal going on then assume the best about your pastor and rest of the staff. (yes I know what assuming does…and it is a lie) You will sleep better and last longer.Proverbs 16:2  All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD. (Leave the motive weighing  to God.)
  2. EXAMINE YOUR OWN LIFE. Often times the things that frustrate us are also the things that reveal us. Staff just wants to make a name for themselves?  Maybe that is your issue.  They don’t care about the lost? How do you know?   Very seldom does someone who is involved in reaching people for Jesus have the time or inclination to complain about what other people are not doing for the cause of Christ.
  3. FOCUS ON YOUR OWN MOTIVES. What is driving your criticism? Is it fear? Is it the need for significance (as you define it?)  Or is it a passion for the things of Jesus?

James 4:3

 

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures”.

 

 

SATISFACTION AND CONTENTMENT IN MINISTRY COME FROM WALKING CLOSELY WITH JESUS AND NOT FROM BEING SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE THAT ACT LIKE YOU, DRESS LIKE YOU AND SMELL LIKE YOU! 

IT DEFINITELY DOES NOT COME FROM CREATING A SITUATION WHERE YOU ARE FREE FROM CONFLICT, CRITIQUE AND QUESTIONS!  

 

 

DISCOURAGED MINISTERS WEEK: “So You Don’t Like the Music?” Devo 5/2/11

In the last 18 months I have watched 7 men I know in ministry leave their churches out of frustration. They finally just got tired and decided to go somewhere else (4 to other churches, 3 out of ministry all together) because they could not support the “direction” of their church. It was NOT that they had a biblical disagreement (at least nothing significant) it was just that they did not like the style of worship, methods of reaching people, long hours, criticism etc… all culminated in discouragement and finally drove them to “greener pastures”. But of all of these men,  ONLY 1 was glad he left his church.

So what do you do if you are feeling trapped but God clearly tells you to stay put?

Over the next few days we will look at several principles that may help you….they sure helped me!

# 1. REMEMBER:   YOU CAN EMBRACE THE BIG PICTURE WITHOUT LIKING ALL THE LITTLE STUFF if your church is doctrinally sound then you will be fine. (I love what Rick Warren says: I believe in the absolute inerrancy of the Bible….just not the inerrancy of my interpretation of the Bible…your’s either.)

1 Corinthians 2:2

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

So it is a little too formal for your liking …the music is so 1990’s (or 1890’s) So your pastor wears a tie! (oh my!)  So you have big buildings…enjoy them as a gift from God. So your church openly embrace the tithe… So you have drums in the service or a choir…… so what?

  • Can you still serve Jesus there?  Then do it!
  • Can you still impact lives for the kingdom there? Then do it! 
  • Can you recruit, equip and launch other people into ministry there?  Then do it! 

PROBLEM MIGHT BE:  Your focus is on the wrong thing (mine was) … maybe it is on yourself, your comfort, your “relevance”. 

REMEMBER: You don’t have to agree with everything that your church does, everything your pastor says, or every decision made. You just have to agree to “walk well” with the Lord according to the CORE and CULTURE of the church you serve.

Most folks I know who are reaching people for Christ, training them and sending them out to do the exact same thing…. rarely complain or gripe about what other people are NOT doing, the style they do it or the recognition the receive for doing it. Most Ministers I know who are busy doing the same thing are pretty happy where they are too. And if they leave their church it is to do what they are doing on a grander scale and not out of protest or discouragement. 


 

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2011 in Uncategorized