Persecution

Persecution

“If the world hated me…” Can you finish it?


Add Another Brother

We started the Bible study by showing the video of our trip to the Philippines and the devastation that had occurred and then asked them this question: “So if you had the opportunity to say a word of encouragement to the Philippino’s in this storm, what would you say?”  This led to a discussion of what is the absolutely truest and most important thing in the whole world and we went over the gospel two or three different times.  At the end we asked the question we always ask, “What have you done with Jesus?”  One young man came to us as we ended our session and asked us how to pray.  After talking a little bit I asked him if he had a relationship with Christ.  He said he thought so and so I asked him to tell us about that.  He shared that he had been hurt in high school and wasn’t able to play and he asked God to heal him and he has been playing ever since.  I said, “You know, God can hear and answer any prayer He chooses and I can tell you believe in God, but the question is have you ever asked Jesus to come into your life and forgive you of your sins.”  His answer was “no.”  So after making sure he understood the gospel we asked if now was the time for him to give his life to Christ and with tears streaming down his cheeks, Alvin said, “Yes” and prayed to receive Christ as his Savior and he gave his life away… to Jesus.


GateKeepers Philippines

Monday we leave for the Philippines for “First Glance” look at the devastation.  Please pray for us and take a look at the video describing what we are doing.

 


Daydreaming

My wife often chides me to do one thing and do it well.  In my heart I know she is right but I see so many things that need to be done and I am fully capable of accomplishing each and every one of them.  As a full time pastor it always started out with the primary focus being youth ministry.  I loved it, I succeeded in those relationships and I believe many would say God used me in their lives… but that would inevitably lead to other strategies the church had and so Men’s ministries would pop its way in.  Outreach was always something I had a heart for and so I off I would go on another trail to spearhead strategies to pull that off in a larger way.  I am relational so hospital visitations were a large part of what I would do and Mandi and I constantly have people to our house to get acquainted with them.  Leading the services, I tended to be good up front so I would give announcements and tended to be the face of many ministry endeavors.  People say, “Pastor Brian, if someone in leadership like you would put their face to this program or ministry, it would have a greater chance of succeeding – and if I didn’t it was like I did not care about their cause and they would feel disappointed or let down.  We can’t let them down now, can we?  So another endeavor takes our time.  

On and on it went until we felt God calling us to a new ministry.  Finally, to be able to focus on just one thing and make it succeed would be such a relief, until… The umbrella is one ministry but there are four ministries under that umbrella that need constant tending and each of the ministries are fully capable of being more successful and impacting on their own.  Aaah, the strains start all over again.  Seeing this that can be done and that that can be accomplished.  There is no end to the task and the needs are great.  I feel God keeps showing me new opportunities and at each I have the desire to jump at them for the cause of Christ.  I want to make a difference in my community so I jump in to make relationships and do things like coach pee wee, but again it causes a time and effect balance of negotiating.  I like to dream and think, “I can do that…”

Then my wife sends me this from Oswald Chambers: “Daydreaming about something in order to do it properly is right, but daydreaming about it when we should be doing it is wrong. God will take the initiative against this kind of daydreaming by prodding us to action.  Allow Him to be the source of all your dreams, joys, and delights, and be careful to and obey what He has said.  Daydreaming after God has spoken is an indication that we do not trust Him.”  My problem is not daydreaming – my problem is wanting to jump everywhere I believe God is working and I see Him working all over the place.

 Anyone want to jump with me?


Studies keep rolling

Thoroughly enjoy Bible studies with CSU coaches. Just had a great study going through Proverbs 12. Tonight we have our first study of the year with the players and whomever they bring.  Looking for an exciting year as they are so ready to dive into the Word!


Israel Trip

 

 

 

 

 

 


Where is your HOPE?

Core of My Being

Where Is Your Hope? by Jeff Manion from his new book, Satisfied.

Please join us in a live author chat with Jeff tonight, January 9th, where he will answer YOUR questions about finding contentment and a satisfied heart while living in a materialistic culture. Learn more and register here.

* * *

I am rich, yet frequently oblivious to my wealth. What would my Lord whisper into my opulent life?

Let’s turn the corner and ask a penetrating question. How do the things you possess, the symbols of your success, affect your attitude toward yourself? Do your possessions lead to humble gratitude toward the Giver, or do you detect ego inflation as your financial profile grows?

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant, nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain. — 1 Timothy 6:17

Why does Paul raise this issue? Why does he advise Timothy to warn againstarrogance? Why was this warning needed in Ephesus, and why do we need this reminder so badly today?

I suspect that our natural inclination — our gravitational pull — is to drift toward arrogance as wealth increases.

Wealthy believers in Ephesus were coached to flee arrogance. Conceit naturally and easily follows financial success, and it is vital to guard our hearts against it. If you work hard, advance in your career, and build wealth, there are several positive emotions you should experience. As you achieve, legitimate godly emotions might include deep satisfaction, gratitude, joy, and thanksgiving. But arrogant pride is an anti-God state of mind that corrodes the soul.

Timothy is also counseled to encourage the Ephesian affluent not to “put their hope in wealth… but to put their hope in God.”

To put our hope in wealth is to depend upon it as our ultimate source of security. Only God should occupy this treasured position in our lives.

With this admonition we return to the topic of core identity. In a consumer-driven culture, we are over-impressed by symbols of wealth. We need to remind ourselves again and again, “I make my money, my money doesn’t make me. As a Jesus follower, it’s not what I possess, but who possesses me that forms the core of my being. I earn money, spend money, and save money, but it will fail me if I place my hope in it. It is not my life and must not become my God.”

The Creator reasons, “Don’t put your hope in your stuff. Put your hope in Me, the One who provides such things for your enjoyment.” This generosity, this “rich provision,” is designed to draw your heart home. It should cause deep sadness when we discover that the very gifts intended to draw our hearts to God result instead in egocentric pride.

I think this will be the challenge of a lifetime: how to enjoy our possessions without placing our hope in them.

You won’t have to work at becoming arrogant. As your wealth grows, just do nothing, and you will drift toward egotistical self-centeredness. It requires corrective action to prevent drift toward conceit.

What activities train the heart in humble gratitude? Are there disciplines that work to purge arrogance from our lives? Let’s return to Paul’s counsel to Timothy with regard to the financial elite of Ephesus — those who had the capacity to live in the houses on the terraces with elaborate floor mosaics and brilliantly colored wall frescos. When residents with this financial abundance became followers of the Christ, what could they do — and what can we do — to draw nearer to a true view of themselves, their wealth, and their God?

What Paul advises his protégé should not come as a surprise to us. He counsels Timothy to urge the wealthy to give themselves away, to be generous with their time and money. He challenges them, and us, to serve and share. Read this life-giving advice slowly and reflectively.

Command them {the rich} to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. — 1 Timothy 6:18–19

The first two pursuits (do good and be rich in good deeds) relate to the generous use of our time and may be combined under the heading “serving.” The latter two pursuits (be generous and willing to share) relate to the generous use of our money and possessions and may be combined under the heading “sharing.”

These endeavors reverse the pull of arrogance. Serving and sharing are two disciplines that counterbalance the potentially lethal effects of growing wealth.

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Your Turn

How do you practice generosity to rid yourself of arrogance? How do you serve others to live out humility? We would love to hear from you on our blog! Join the conversation! ~ Devotionals Daily


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