Tag Archives: Ministry

Make Full Proof of Your Ministry

2 Timothy 4:5

 

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry

What good is our ministry if there is no evidence, no proof, that other people see in us? Everything we do and say should reflect the ministry that God has placed within us.  And all of us have a ministry! Don’t for one minute think that you are exempt.  If God has saved you. He has called you.  And if he calls you, He places within you talents to reach other people.  Paul puts in this way in Romans 8:30:

30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Whom he calls he justifies and glorifies.  What that means to me is that God will place within us a form of glory that can’t help but touch other people.  The glory of the Lord can be seen by the unbeliever as much as the believer.  When we walk in this glory, it reaches beyond our human flesh to minister to others.  There is a caution I want to give, though.  We must be very careful not to raise up in pride because we carry this little bit of glory within us.  It would be easy to give in to that pride, but we must not. That will destroy the ministry He has given us.

Let’s take a closer look at the four things Paul tells Timothy to do in this powerful verse.

  • Watch in all things.  This word watch is an interesting one.  The Greek word is nepho, which in most cases is translated “Be sober,” meaning not intoxicated.  But the deeper meaning is to have presence of mind, to always keep your mind clear of things that would distract one form the ministry.  The enemy of our souls can use anything to distract us and keep us from being the light we are supposed to be.  In my opinion, 2020 was a year he used science and politics to distract many Christians from the ministry of saving souls.  The Coronavirus brought fear to the hearts of billions of people and caused many a preacher to change their message from salvation to end times theology.  There were more people preaching about the last days than I have ever seen in my 69 years on this earth.  We do not, nor never will, know the time or day when Jesus will return.  We can look at the signs, and warn people He is coming, but that is not the important thing.  The important thing is that people get saved.  That they trust their lives to Jesus. But instead of preaching the love of God, many preached the wrath of God.  It is by His love that people get saved.                                                                       The political arena was also quite disturbing.  So many jumped on the bandwagon of a rigged election and fake news that it was confusing.  But God is not the author of confusion.  Our job, our mission, in times of uncertainty is simple.  Be a tree beside still waters that will not be moved.  Stay in the word and out of the jungle of political rhetoric.  God needs us to stay sober minded, cautious of the ways of the world, but temperate in what we say and do. The church in many ways lost it’s bearing in 2020, and we need to get back to the place where we are watchful and wise.  Adding emphasis, Paul says in ALL things.  I could preach for a long time on all, but let’s just say there should be nothing we are confused or conflicted about.
  •  Endure afflictions – This is actually one word in the Greek and it means exactly what it says.  It is translated this way and also endure sufferings.   The Greek seems to point not only to those things that come against us to set back our ministry, but also things of malicious intent that may never harm us personally, but will have a negative affect on our ministry.  Things like gossip and backbiting people would fall into this category.  We must not let our anger rise up, or try to get revenge or engage in any activity to get back at those who would commit such acts.  The Gospel is all about Christ’s love.  We must always show that love, even if a storm is raging against us.  This dedication to endure to the end will show others we live in real faith and that will bring people to Christ.  The fruit of longsuffering as aptly worded in the KJV.  Suffering long with wrong is a hallmark of the best of saints. On to of that, nothing, and I mean nothing, should offend us.  It is only pride that can get offended.  Only pride can get steamed up over something someone says or does against us.  When I was at Pure Life Ministries back in 2008, there was a saying on the wall that I wall always remember.  It said “If I get offended, what miserable piece of flesh is still in me that I can get offended.”  We must guard against allowing people to get under our skin and make our love not as effective.  Endure. or work through, and type of affliction without getting offended.  Your testimony will be greatly enhanced when you do this effectively.
  • Do the work of an evangelist. – This word means exactly what we think it means.  Timothy had a calling to be a bearer of Good News to all he met.  That is what an evangelist does.  We are all called to bring the Good News to those we come in contact with and we can do that in many ways.  The first way is to actually preach the Gospel, to vocally proclaim the Good News that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again to give us eternal life.  But there are more ways to actually preach the good news, and the most important one is by our conduct and character.  In the Bible it is often called our conversation.
    • Philippians 1:27 says “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;”
    • Hebrews 13:15 “ Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
    •  James 3:13 “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.”  
    • And 1 Peter 1:15 “ But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;” 
    • All of these verses point to a lifestyle that is above contempt and that visibly shows to other people  the work that Christ has done in us.  We can have all the flowery words we want, but if we do not have the conversation to go along with it, they are vain words and will lead people astray.  Make sure your lifestyle is where your mouth is!

Make full proof of your ministry – carry out completely what God ahs called you to do!  What a strong challenge Paul gives to Timothy and to all of us.  Do you know what God ahs called you to do?  Does God every stop calling us deeper, or to do more?  Our ministry is always evolving, always changing.  He has great things for every one of us to do, and if we listen closely, He will tell us what the next step is.  We have to be careful not to get off track, but to follow the path he has laid out for us.  This world is dying to hear the Good News.  How is God calling you to share it?  What is your ministry?  Whatever it is, whether washing the walls, preaching the gospel, teaching Sunday School, being a greeter or maybe a prayer warrior, do it with all your might and God just might call you deeper.  Be ready!

Does God Count You Faithful?

1 Timothy 1:12-14

12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

I like to take credit. I like to think I did something myself. It was me who read the Bible and gained the knowledge I have. It was me who began to understand how the Old and New Testament worked together., It was me who figured out how the scripture applies to everyday life. I wrote all these poems and songs through the years. The moving of the Holy Spirit is due to my ability and expertise in putting a worship service together. All these years, I have been slaving away for God and coming up with these thoughts and ideas on how God works in our lives. I did it. Me!

That paragraph is the definition of pride. I did it. I accomplished it. I figured it out. This is where I lived for years, and truly believed the sayings in that paragraph. It caused me to start top think I could disregard all that I had learned and do what I wanted to do. After all, I had done it all for God!

But I soon fell hard, lost my job and almost my family and had to take inventory on my spiritual life. What I found out was what Paul says here. God has enabled me. I do not have the ability within myself to do the things above. It is God in me and through me. That is the only way these things can minister the way they do. That is the only way the right words can get on paper that will touch hearts and heal up wounds of the soul.

You see, I was once very much like Paul. I certainly was a blasphemer, a breaker of all the commandments, a drunkard and drug addict and a person who could care less about God. My own way was the way I would go and no one could tell me I was in the wrong. I had walked away from God in high school and had no plans on coming back to Him. I was a persecutor, maybe not of the saint, but of everyone around me. I would put down, speak badly of, and try to hurt with words anyone that wronged me. I was a smaller guy and not a physical specimen, so I relied on a quick wit. This also made me injurious, like Paul. My words could injure peoples spirits and hearts quicker than a dart being thrown at them. The bigger problem is that they could dodge a dart, but could not avoid my stinging words.

Then grace came in. Love came in. Faith came in. Somehow I found myself driving to Iowa to see my best friend. Clear out of the blue I had decided to make the 1300 mile drive from Massachusetts to Iowa. When I arrived at his house, we had a great reunion, having not seen each other for over a year. He was a Christian, and had tried to sway me a year earlier at our high school reunion. It didn’t work, but it also did not hurt our friendship. Here I was on His doorstep in Iowa. Through the last year we had sent letters back and forth and each one of his letters had a scripture address on it. I had to look it up to see what he was saying. He was a sly old fox (well, not that old. He was a week older than me).

Then he said come to church with us tonight, and I said OK. I had no problem going with him, just don’t give me any of that salvation stuff. Don’t tell me I need saving. I was doing just fine. And I was so wrong. That minister, who was a missionary home on leave, told me I was headed for a burning hell. I did not want to go there! Then he told me there was only one way to avoid it, and that was Jesus Christ, I wanted Jesus. Jesus took me into His arms later that week and saved my soul. His grace covered me completely.

Now He enables me. I do everything I can to keep my thoughts out of this blog, out of the poetry, out of the songs that fill the pages of my web sites. I seek God’s wisdom and His words for these pages, not mine. I have nothing of value to give except my life. These are His words, His thoughts, His songs. I claim no ownership.

Since He has enabled me, it is now up to me to be an open conduit. He has put me into this ministry and now I need to allow His message to flow through me out to you. Paul tells us that the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet (1 Corinthians 14:32). This means God gives us the ability to shut it down or make it flow. We can muzzle the message God gives us to share. We can say “God gave this to me and I’m not going to share it!” We absolutely can. But I do no want to be that person.

My heart’s desire is to be counted faithful. Jesus said that to whom much is given, much will be required (Luke 12:48). The words, songs, melodies and so on come from God. He has given them, for some reason I will never understand, to me. He entrusted me with the ability to hear His voice, and I for one want to make sure He will say I did it well. I could care less if anyone on this earth says the same. I am aware that very few hear God the way I hear Him. Very few have learned to listen as He has taught me to. He holds me accountable for those things He has entrusted to me.

What about you? What gift, or gifts, has God given to you? What talents do you possess? What are you doing with them? I suggest you make a list of all the gifts and talents God has bestowed on you. Some will have just a few items they can think of, others might have many dozen. Pray about it and be thorough. Once you have compiled your list, take each item one by one and ask God if you are doing a good job with that talent. If you’re like me, there are some you are doing well with and others you need to do better.

After this is done, ask God to help you do a better job of ministering in the areas where He has gifted you. Ask Him to enable you to reach more, teach more, love more and touch more. Ask Him to make your light shine so that you might bring Him glory. Give yourself as a living sacrifice for Him so that you might prove the will of God is alive in your life. Be vigilant in your ministry and never back down. This world needs you!

Growing Up

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

The purpose is growth of each believer.  God never intended for us to get saved and He stay the same.  His desire is for each one of us to become the very best Christian we can become.  With that comes enormous blessing, responsibility and purpose to our lives.  If we stay still, and don’t seek to grow in knowledge and wisdom, we can easily be drawn into false doctrine and away from Christ.  That can bring all sorts of trouble to our lives as God tries to draw us back.  The best way to avoid conflict is to continually grow in Christ.  I am not saying you won’t have conflicts if you are growing,  just believe they will be greater if you are not.

Growing in Christ is fairly simple.  Seek to be under a ministry that preaches Jesus Christ crucified and risen again.  A ministry that believes in the five-fold ministry  and it’s purpose.  A ministry that is uplifting and feeds your spirit.  When you find such a ministry, be humble and teachable to learn all that God has for you.  Then seek God for the ministry that He would have you fill.  He has a plan for you!

15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ

Once you have found your place, this verse becomes vital.  First, speak the truth over your life.  Before you were saved, the world filled you with lies about yourself.  It may have told you that you were not smart, or not pretty, or not lovable, or many other things to bring you down.  Or it may have told you that you are the cat’s meow, the best thing that ever happened to this earth, or someone that is just way cool to build  you up.  Now it is time  to speak the truth to yourself.   You know have access to ALL THE PROMISES OF GOD! (caps intentional).  You also have a requirement to fulfill the commands of Jesus Christ, which are light burdens.  And he will help you all the way.  I am not gong to attempt to start listing those promises, but I will mention one.  You are a new creature in Christ – old things are passed away and all things are become new (2 Cor 5:17).  .

You also must speak the truth to others in love.  No more gossip, backbiting or having the pastor for lunch with your words.Minister into their lives with the word of God. Remember, we are here to edify one another.  Paul said we should not let any corrupt communication leave our lips, but we should speak words that edify (Eph 4:29).  Make sure you are doing your best to speak positive, uplifting things into peoples lives.  This is part of your growth process, not theirs necessarily.

As you do these things, you will grow up in Christ, and that is the goal as Christians. Regular, steady growth.

16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

As we all grow individually, we also grow as a body in our local church.  We are groomed by God to take our place in that church, whatever vocation He has out us into.  Every part is necessary to the whole body.  we then encourage one another to be our best at what we are called to do, and he body grows together to minster to those outside the body, which continues this growth cycle.  God fits the body together, not man.  He places whom He will into your body of believers, and hopefully saints are obedient to His call should hey determiner  it is time  to move to another body.  This happens both in the flesh and in the spirit.  we need to pray for, and not judge, those who leave our body for another.  All in all, we must  keep our focus on our caliing within the church, and endeavor to always do our  best to see that our  service is glorifying God.

 

Just Do It!

Philippians 4:9

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

 

Now that Paul has done his best to get the congregation thinking the right way, he gives a final admonition on what they should do. It’s almost worth going back and looking at the different ways he tells them to think.  I know we spent a lot of time on this but there’s nothing more important than getting our thought life straight. So the things were going to think about are things that are true, honest, just,  pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy. If you  missed the posts on each of these characteristics, please go back to the last 8 posts and enjoy them

With that in mind, let’s look at the things that Paul says here that they need to do now that he has them thinking the right way.  First, they need to do the things that they’ve learned. As we look back at the Philippian Church, they learned about salvation, they have learned about the Holy Ghost, they have learned about deliverance (remember Paul was delivered from prison in Philippi), they have learned how to pray, and the power of prayer, and they have learned humility. Now they need to do these things.

What have they received? They have received salvation. They have received the Holy Ghost. They received several of Paul’s co-workers to help minister the gospel. They most likely received immeasurable blessings from the Lord. So they need to do these things. How did they do these things? They share them with others. That’s how we do the things that we receive – we give them away. When was the last time you prayed for somebody to receive Christ.  I have to admit it’s been awhile for me. I need to give away some of the things that I’ve received.

And what if they heard?  They heard the gospel message. They’ve heard about humility. They’ve heard about their thought process. They’ve heard about sacrifice. They’ve heard about being like-minded. They’ve heard about deliverance from prison. They’ve heard about the power of prayer. Now they need to do these things. It’s not enough to just go to church and hear the sermon.  When we hear it, we should do it. When was the last time you acted upon a sermon that your pastor gave? You might say to me that he’s not a very inspiring speaker.  He hasn’t inspired me to go out and do things. I’ve heard it said that Jonathan Edwards was not a very fiery preacher either but people would feel like they were burning in hell as he sat in the chair and delivered his message.

When it comes to hearing and doing it’s up to you. The pastors job is to deliver the message God has given Him for that  day.  I am a firm believer that if I am sitting in that congregation, God has something for me in that sermon, and it’s my responsibly to listen and act upon it.  It’s not up to your pastor to put it in some dainty little package. It’s up to you to act on the word of God. So stop paying attention to how it’s delivered and pay attention to the word that’s given.

Lastly he says to do the things that they’ve seen in him. What have they seen Paul do?  They’ve seen him give his life for the gospel.  They’ve seen him worship and praise the Lord while he was in prison.  They’ve seen him traveling all over the place to minister the word.  They’ve seen him not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. These are the things I need to do.  And, as a side note, would I be comfortable telling people to do the things they have seen in me?  How about you? I’ll leave that as a rhetorical question.

Paul then leaves them with this thought: if they all do these things God will be with them and He will give them peace. I don’t want to be questioning whether I’m doing what God wants me to do or not. I can have peace with God by just doing the things that I’ve learned, received, heard and seen others do. I think I better get busy.

Stand Fast In The Faith

Philippians 4:1-3

 

 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

 

 

Philippians chapter 4 is my favorite chapter in the entire Bible. So many wise instructions and edifying words that many of us turn to on a regular basis are in this chapter. It is packed with gold and we may spend extra time on some of these verses as we go through. We start out with verses one through three.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the old adage it says of a sentence or a chapter begins with “therefore” we need to go back and see what it is there for. When we look back over the previous chapters you see Paul talking a lot about like-mindedness, being in the same frame of mind as Christ Jesus, being willing to die for the gospel because you kow that there is a better result in heaven.  Those beliefs set the stage for wat is coming in this chapter.

We can tell the Paul loves the Philippians because he calls them dearly belovedand his crown and joy.  He also mentions that he longs for them. What what an awesome greeting this is to begin this chapter. Do you have people in your life that you could say that too? Could I greet them that way sometime? It would probably bring a shock to their system but it would be an honest assessment of how you feel about them and we don’t do that very often.

Therefore Stand Fast in the Lord. I hope we’re all standing fast in the Lord doing the things that He’s asking us to do, walking the walk He has asked us to walk and saying the words He has asked us to say. That’s what’s called standing fast, immovable and unshakeable in our faith and our Witness. I pray on a regular basis that I can live that kind of life everyday

­­­He had greetings for a few specific people and encourages the Philippians to help those people who worked with him in the gospel, especially the woman. I love the fact that Paul mentions a woman that worked with him in the gospel. There are many women throughout the history of the Bible that have been instrumental in and carrying the seed of Christ.  I think of Ruth and Rehab, the most unlikely of women, but used by God. We need to acknowledge everyone who has labored with us through the years. This little portion of scripture shows that Paul appreciated the people that worked alongside him and didn’t mind telling them so and giving them credit. Let’s make sure that we’re doing the same. People that labor in the gospel need encouragement.  I think we all know it can be hard work, and it can really drain a persons spirit. Let’s edify those that are around us and working with us every day to further the Gospel of Jesus Christ