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Archive for June, 2008

Think…

T H I N K

Alan Redpath once formed a “mutual encouragement” fellowship at a time of stress in one of his pastorates. The members subscribed to a simple formula applied before speaking of any person or subject that was perhaps controversial.

T – Is it true?

H – Is it helpful?

I – Is it inspiring?

N – Is it necessary?

K – Is it kind?

Paul wrote, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

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Burl Godwin…

5Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.  2 Timothy

Burl Godwin owns a business where he operates heavy earth moving equipment.  He is a very gifted man.  Many of the renovation and building projects at our church have involved him in the process.  In one of his projects the little boy in me would sit in wonder as I would watch this man sit in the seat of some big piece of equipment and dig up a massive stump, plow through tough ground and watch a plain piece of property take on a whole new look.

I would give anything to sit in that seat and have a chance to operate it for myself.  I don’t think it would the better part of wisdom to do that on a job site.  You would probably have to put me in the middle of a desolate place and turn me loose.  It wouldn’t be a pretty sight no matter what happened.  I don’t know a think about running that piece of equipment.

I asked him one day how he knew when a person who wanted a job with him knew how to operate the equipment.  He told me that all they had to do is sit in the seat and he could tell whether or not they were competent to the task.  There is something that you can see.   The excellence or lack thereof is very visible to those who are looking.

I am reminded again this morning that those around me should be able to see the One who lives in me.  I should not have to say a word.  Folk around me should see that I am a workman approved of God…who does not need to be ashamed…rightly dividing the Word of God.  You should be able to see it as I walk around.

Burl can tell the skill of the employee just by looking.  I wonder what Burl sees when he sees me?

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7For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

8So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

Today is Vacation Bible School.  Today I have the privilege to share God’s invitation for these students to believe on Christ and be saved.  The teachers in our Vacation Bible School have been so faithful these past two days setting up what they will hear today.  God is Real.  Jesus is the one that shows us God and He is the only way.

Paul gave his life both in and out of prison sharing this gospel.  I will stand in a free country in an air conditioned building with all kinds of technology that supports the hearing of the gospel and share God’s Good News Invitation with the children who attend.  I do not have to be the Holy Spirit.  I do not have to convince them.  I am simply given the chance to invite them to come to Christ.  What a joy!  The teachers do the teaching and laying the foundation.  The Holy Spirit is at work.  I get to invite them to come to Christ.

God I thank you for cleansing my own heart today.  I am thankful for the mercy and grace available because of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I stand today in that place and trust you for what I will see happen in our church.  May your Holy Spirit guide me as you have already been preparing these young men and women to hear.  Open their hearts today tot he invitation to believe in Christ.

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“Man of God”

11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith.

Every now and then I need to focus again on what God has called me to do.  I know that I am a Christian.  Second, I am a husband to my wife, Nancy.  Thirdly, I hold responsibility to be the father to my three children – Jason (Jenn, his wife), Jeremy, and Kimberly.  Fourth of all God has called me to be a “Man of God”.  His call on my life is reviewed in this passage.

A life of no compromise.  I am to “flee” and “pursue”.  I am to flee any kind of motivation in my life other than the fact that God has placed His hand on me.  My relationship with him – this special calling that He gave me – is to the be what causes me to serve and sacrifice.  God’s expectation on my life is to the Man of God.  He describes my relationship with Him

Uprightness – God’s values
Godliness – whole of the Christian experience
Faith – Vertical relationship with God
Love – Horizontal expression of my love for God with man

My relationship with others
Lead with endurance – that “don’t quit” kind of attitude
Lead with gentleness – patience with a gentle composure

Today I remind myself that I am a Man of God and I hold a responsibility to live that life out in front of God, my family and my church and the world.

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16 Jehoiada now made a covenant between himself and the king and the people: they were to be God‘s special people.  2 Chronicles 23

Jehoiada was a priest of God.  He had seen more than his share of idolatry on the part of God’s people.  They were God’s special people and not acting so special.  The people were very religious and far away in their relationship with God.  The cleansing of God blows me away.

Jehoiada reminds me tonight that no matter what other people do, I have a responsibility of living up to my commitment to Christ.  God is serious about being holy.  His patience is unbelievable.  He is jealous and also is more than able to keep his promises.  When I say God is awesome there is a fearful side to him.

I found it interesting that before they went to work cleansing the world around them, Jehoiada went to work cleansing the temple.  It is time to cleanse my own temple before I go to work dealing with other people.  Getting that speck out of my brother’s eye presumes I have been honest enough to deal with the beam in my own eye.

Let’s make a commitment to God to be one of God’s special people.  Now that I made the declaration God is teaching me that if I am going to talk the talk then I must be willing to walk the walk.

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13 But his servants caught up with him and said, “Father, if the prophet had asked you to do something hard and heroic, wouldn’t you have done it? So why not this simple ‘wash and be clean’?” 2 Kings 5:13

Pride gets in the way of a lot of things.  God is so creative in how he deals with pride.  For Naaman God used a simple but deadly plague to get his attention.  He was eaten up with leprosy.  Amazing how a change in our circumstance can change my mind.  Budget gets tight, someone gets sick, the car dies somehow, the lawnmower breaks, oh and a thousand other things.  However, this change in circumstances got Naaman’s attention and right now.

This leprosy would separate him from everyone.  If you had leprosy you were a castaway and no one could afford to be around you until you were cured.  This guy was a general.  He was a legend in his own mind.  He loved his position and the prestige that comes with being the general under King Aram.  But I am learning that God really is interested in the condition of our heart and attitude.  God was at work on the inside of Naaman.  God’s simple command to Naaman changed his life.  “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”  Repent.  Nothing difficult about understanding that simple command.  But the simple command can make a clean and beautiful person out of you.

Oh, Holy Spirit, I am glad for the convicting and cleansing work that you are doing in me.  Christ has washed me and made me clean.  I am glad.  I am blessed.  I am thankful.

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I’m passing this work on to you, my son Timothy. The prophetic word that was directed to you prepared us for this. All those prayers are coming together now so you will do this well, fearless in your struggle, keeping a firm grip on your faith and on yourself. After all, this is a fight we’re in. 1 Timothy 1 The Message

I am thinking tonight of Vacation Bible School.  This coming Sunday we will be privileged to travel with Fred Kosin in the Book of Nehemiah in the Word of God.  While rebuilding the wall the builders found it necessary to hold a sword to fight with in one hand and a tool to repair the wall in the other.  There are five things that we build into our lives as well as fight for them as we face the future.  In our Vacation Bible School each day will focus on one of the five points that Rev. Kosin will share with us.  This year’s topics are a “God thing”.  There has never been a day when our children, youth and adults need to hear this word from our God.

Paul is telling his son in the ministry, Timothy, that he is passing the work he has been doing over to him.  He is a man that God has prepared for that time and because of his obedience our lives will be encouraged as well.  God is instructing me today that this is a fight that we are in.  We are waging war.  The life of our legacy depends on our desire to be “fearless in our struggle”, keeping a “firm grip on our faith”, and keeping a firm grip on self and the flesh…after all this is a fight we are in.

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