The nice weather is here and I am so happy!!!!!
Besides the heat, I enjoy that summer is less hurried, I enjoy having conversations in the middle of the street with my neighbours or sitting on the front porch shooting the breeze.
This is my prayer for you this summer, I pray you have more talks about Jesus this summer than in any other summer of your life.
I pray that you will have these 3 types of conversations.
Nicodemus was a Pharisee who although misguided by having all those laws, they wanted to serve God faithfully. He was a Teacher and he was influential in being a member of the Sanhedrin. He came to Jesus at night most likely because he was afraid of being seen with this backwoods preacher who was beginning to cause trouble.
As I was looking at this passage something stood out to me that I had never really noticed before. Nicodemus came to Jesus after he had observed Jesus for a while and came to the conclusion Jesus was the real deal.
“He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” (John 3:2)
Seekers watch you long before they ever ask questions!!!!!
I wonder how many seekers were not in church this past Sunday because they saw to many inconsistencies in the life of professed Jesus followers? Sobering thought isn’t it.
There are many things in life I am skeptical about.
I am skeptical every time my door bell rings and there is someone asking to see a copy of my hydro bill because they can save me money.
I am skeptical when people call me and tell me they have a business opportunity (read multi-level marketing) for me to consider.
Skeptics want to have their questions answered before they believe.
There are many things that one can be skeptical about when it comes to Christianity.
These are legitimate questions that deserve an answer and it is our responsibility to be prepared “in and out of season” with a reason for the faith we have. However, it’s important to let skeptics know that there are some questions that only God knows the answer to and there are other questions that may not be answered to their liking. Finally, we can do our best to answer every question we are asked but there is still the issue of excepting the Gospel by faith in what Jesus has done for us.
“A study conducted by LifeWay Research found 80 percent of those who attend church one or more times a month, believe they have a personal responsibility to share their faith, but 61 percent have not told another person about how to become a Christian in the previous six months.”
There are many reasons why we are sometimes shy to tell others about Jesus. A fear of being rejected and a fear of not being able to answer questions or challenges probably top the list. However, the Scripture is clear:
“How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them?” (Romans 10:14 CEV)
For some people talking is just as easy as breathing and we may wish they would actually take a breath so we could get a word in:) However, whether it comes natural or not we all have a responsibility to set in motion conversations about Jesus.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
“But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.” (Acts 8:4)
If you stopped and took a few moments you could probably recognize the seekers in your life. Those who watch you carefully and ask questions that go a bit below the surface. Be aware of this and be ready to give an answer for your faith.
It’s probably not to hard to recognize the skeptics in your life because they are not usually shy in being vocal with their skepticism.
Here are a couple of sites that might be helpful in answering questions skeptics have:
Take a risk this summer and begin a conversation about Jesus instead of waiting to be asked about Him. Yes, you may be scared but you will be glad you did.
Here’s to s a great summer of talks with seekers, skeptics and those we start ourselves.
Photo credit: what_marty_sees / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Originally posted 2014-07-14 13:57:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
“Dentopedalogy is the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it. I’ve been practising it for years. ” Prince Phillip
If you’re a writer your bad draft goes in the garbage, if you make pottery you start again with the same piece of clay but if you’re a speaker once it’s out there, it’s out there:)
There is the classic, “Let everything that has breasts praise the Lord.”
There are also others that I’m not comfortable with repeating:) I can’t tell you what our Youth Pastor said.
With great understanding, empathy and compassion I present to you the following Pastor Bloopers:)
Foolishness always results when the tongue outraces the brain.
One of our Pastors was leading worship on a Sunday and came out with “sacred thong” instead of “sacred throng”. It was a weird visual of people dressed in that way following Jesus or barely dressed to be more accurate:)
I think we should all stick with, “I see that hand” and leave well enough alone.
I just wish my mouth had a backspace key.
When it comes to verses like that I slow down and say each word very slowly to avoid what this guy went through.
I saw a video where they pranked him by showing up, posing as the FCC telling him they were going to shut down his church. They got him pretty good:)
The more you speak the more chance of messing up. Bloopers happen to the best of us. If you’ve messed up, why try to hide it? Acknowledge it, laugh at yourself and move on. No harm done.
Originally posted 2014-10-27 20:54:21. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
I wanted to yell TMI! TMI! but it was already too late because I was the one who asked:)
Being a shepherd means being with and taking care of your sheep. It means being involved in the triumphs and the messiness, the joys and the sorrows of individuals and their families.
Whether a brief conservation in the hallway or a more formal counselling session. I have learned that there are two sentences, that once started will usually end up with images being burned in my mind’s eye that I have to pray that God will erase:)
#1 – I can tell you this because you’re a pastor…
#2 – I can tell you this because you’re married…
Can I get an “Amen!!!”
Do you have another to add to the list? Please let us know so we can protect ourselves:)
Originally posted 2014-06-09 08:18:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
A couple of weeks ago, I asked our congregation to raise their hands if they or someone close to them have been affected by cancer. Obviously, hands went up all over the church. Then I said, “If I asked have you or someone close to you been affected by mental illness, you would be surprised how many hands would also go up.” Here in Canada we have Bell Let’s Talk Day which is a National Campaign on Mental Health Issues and has been very effective in bringing this challenge to the national consciousness. Stats say, 20% of Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. The personal cost can be devastating and the economic cost is in the billions. Continue reading…
Originally posted 2016-07-06 11:30:09. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
On Twitter one Pastor wrote: “Two Sunday’s ago I preached on sickness. Since then half my church has fallen ill. Sunday I preach about sadness. Consider yourself warned.”
I replied: “I preached on suffering and my car broke down and my wife was in emerg twice. I’m gonna preach on money.”
Suffering is a part of life, a part of life that I do not enjoy. I like the nice weather of life and I am not too interested in the storms that continue to blow my way. However, the reality is that our world is broken and hard times come whether we want them to or not.
One thing I like about the Bible is that it’s a book written by real people, serving a real God and they have real problems. I think every one of us can relate to these words from Psalm 22:1
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?”
“Here I am living my life for Jesus trying to love Him with all my heart, soul and mind yet all this stuff keeps happening to me. What’s up with that? This is not fair at all!!!”
Scripture gives us many reasons for suffering let’s consider 3 of them.
I have searched from Genesis to Revelation and what I see sometimes I don’t like:) I see people’s faith in God really growing as they went through tough times. I wish the examples were different but they are not. In the consideration of trials that come our way Peter said:
“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” (1 Peter 1:7)
We grow in strength by working and testing our bodies.
We grow in school by working and testing our brains.
We grow in God when our faith is worked and tested.
I don’t know about you but I often forget that the faith I have inside is actually worth more than gold? Our faith is valuable and it becomes more valuable as it gets tested. Don’t Waste Your Suffering – Use It
A friend of mine recently went through a divorce and was having great difficulty working things through with his ex. I did my best to help but when he finally met a guy who just a couple of years ago went through the same thing it made a huge different. “Finally someone who understands me!!”
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” (1 Corinthians 1:4)
We can receive the comfort of God in many ways:
When God comforts us it’s not meant to be the end it’s just the beginning. God expects us to be looking for opportunities to give comfort to others. Don’t Waste Your Suffering – Use It
“God’s comfort is not given it’s loaned and we are expected to pass it on to others.”
There is nothing scarier for a sports fan than it see the team’s Star Player on the sideline.
In the second half of the Book of Acts, the Apostle Paul was the Franchise Player. He cast a huge shadow, in his 3 Missionary Journeys he traveled nearly 8,000 miles telling people about Jesus and now he is in jail.
In writing to the Philippians, Paul gives us another look at our suffering.
“And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear.” (Philippians 4:12-14)
Suffering can be an opportunity for advancing the Kingdom, for sharing the Good News about Jesus. If people know you are a Jesus follower they watch you closely. But what they really want to know is if Jesus works when times get tough. When the summer weather is over and you are in the midst of a cold, dark winter.
Is Jesus worth in when the walls fall in?
Paul used his imprisonment to witness for Jesus and there were two results.
It’s very easy for all of us to get wrapped up in our own despair and miss the opportunity that God has given us. We will all go through the valley and if you have to make the journey why not use it as an opportunity to grow, comfort and shine? Don’t Waste Your Suffering – Use It
Originally posted 2015-04-22 06:45:50. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42)
As you can see from the example above it’s important how you build:) Paul writing to the Ephesians said we are “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” (2:20)
What happens when the foundation shifts away from solid Biblical teachings?
When We Don’t Build On The Bible – Kingdom Activity Takes A Backseat to Social Activity
“Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.”(Isaiah 1:17)
Scripture is full of admonitions to care for the less fortunate and many times we fall short of these commands. However, with the rise of the Social Gospel the heart of the Gospel message of salvation was devalued. Taking care of those in need must be seen in the larger context of the redemption story. What’s the point to only care for the temporal physical needs of people without point them to eternity?
When We Don’t Build On The Bible – Discipleship Takes a Back Seat to Feeling Good
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)
“For a Church to be deficient in discipleship is to be deficient in its fundamental reason for existence.”
Why Build On The Bible? – The Bible holds the words to Eternal Life
“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)
“As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well-built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” (Luke 6:46-49)
Like the rock that has withstood the test of time the Bible has also withstood the test of time.
Why Build On The Bible? – The Bible is your GPS through life
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
The longer I live the more I see people running without direction or hope in their lives, they are looking for answers. The Bible has the answers to life challenges whether relationships, marriage, eternal life , suffering it’s all there and shame on us if we dilute the Scripture to moralisms.
Originally posted 2015-04-29 11:09:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
Recently, I re-read Preaching with Bold Assurance which was one of my seminary texts. The second time around it was even better. Here are 23 quotes that stood out to me, I hope you will find them inspiring.
“Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2)
“Preaching is a huge commitment…speaking as God’s representative, an agent of change and salvation, is the greatest and highest privilege in the world.”
“Oral communication is the most personal and powerful way to connect with others.”
“The history of preaching leaves and undeniable body of evidence that God uses men who are committed to the Word, to holiness, and to he power of preaching.”
“A spoken message is made up on only three components; the verbal, the vocal and the visual.”
“If you want to truly understand the text and find the way to preach it with an applicational emphasis, then you must look for the and discern three things about every passage you study: the context, content and the concern of the text.”
“Ripping verses out of their context and assigning them a meaning that the author did not intend is doing violence to the Scripture and is an affront to the Word of God.”
“Our goal, therefore, is to preach so that our listeners hear and perceive the same message that God originally gave. To the degree that we faithfully preach the text, we speak God’s words.”
“Whatever study may demand, whatever sacrifice it may require, whatever effort it may entail is eclipsed and forgotten in the sight of lives touched b God and changed by the gospel.”
“The needs of people have not changed since the Bible was completed. They are still born into a sinful world, separate from God, in need of salvation.”
“Although we cannot take credit for the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, we can usually take the blame for His absence.”
“A doctor prescribes a medicine because of her belief in its efficacy, Her intent is to help the patient get well…In the same way, the expositor preaches the Word because he believes it can help her listeners.”
“The preacher will experience the greatest anointing of the Holy Spirit and the greatest effectiveness possible when he places himself squarely within the confines of the biblical authors’ intent.”
“Each transitional sentence acts like a hitch between the boxcars of a train. It not only connects one main point to another, but i helps the listener follow the development of the sermon.”
“Application is what makes the Bible come alive and makes sermons practical.”
“The way you handle the Word in the pulpit is the way your people will handle the Word in their lives.”
“Just as you rise to the pulpit and open your Bible, in the rustling pages and shuffling of coats, they are all saying the same thing: ‘Why do I need to know this? What good is this going to do me?'”
“If you must make a choice between using a great illustration in the boy of the sermon or in the conclusion, use it as the end. This is the place where you need to get their hearts open to reach their minds.”
“Jesus was a master communicator because he not only spoke from his heart, but he also directed his speech to the hearts of others.”
“If you must make a choice between using a great illustration in the body of the sermon or in the conclusion, use it as the end. This is the place where you need to get their hearts open to reach their minds.”
“Make no mistake about it; trust is the most critical element in communication. You’re got to be believed to be heard.”
Here’s to learning together.
Originally posted 2015-06-17 03:47:18. Republished by Blog Post Promoter