No matter what you are going through, no matter what the circumstance may be, no matter what the situation is, no matter how much it hurts sometimes. We must always praise Him for His sovereign goodness and care for you and me, even when we feel He is silent sometimes. While I'm waiting is a great reminder that I must worship my KIng. To Him be the Glory!
27 June 2009
1. Its part of God’s plan
(1 Peter 4:19) Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
2. Some suffering is corrective it is intended to get us on the right path when we have gone astray.
Solomon refers to this kind of suffering in (Prov 3:11-12) My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline or be weary of His reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom He loves, as a Father the son in whom He delights.
3. Suffering should be expected
(2 Timothy 3:12) Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
4. Some suffering is intended to awaken us to the needs and feelings of other people
(James 1:27) Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
5. Some is instructive, intended to mold us into the image of Jesus Christ, because we learn through the things that we suffer
(1Peter 1:6-7) In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith--more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire--may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Suffering was neither corrective nor instructive. It was simply a suffering permitted by God so that the wonderful Gospel might be spread to others. Paul wrote in the Book of Philippians verse 12-13 “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.” John MacArthur says “Freedom to proclaim the gospel is understandably cherished today by Christians in the so-called free world. But many, if not most, of the great expansions of the faith and spiritual revivals within the church have come during times of opposition and persecution”. Here are some other encouraging examples of the Gospel advancing through suffering
1. Thomas: Preached the Gospel in Parthia and India, where exciting the rage of the pagan priests, he was martyred by being thrust through with a spear.
2. Luke: The evangelist, was the author of the Gospel which goes under his name. He traveled with Paul through various countries, and is supposed to have been hanged on an olive tree, by the idolatrous priests of Greece.
3. Andrew: Was the brother of Peter. He preached the gospel to many Asiatic nations; but on his arrival at Edessa he was taken and crucified on a cross, the two ends of which were fixed transversely in the ground. Hence the derivation of the term, St. Andrew's Cross.
4. Barnabas: Was of Cyprus, but of Jewish descent, his death is supposed to have taken place about A.D. 73. And yet, notwithstanding all these continual persecutions and horrible punishments, the Church daily increased, deeply rooted in the doctrine of the apostles and of men apostolical, and watered plenteously with the blood of saints.
5. John Bunyan: A preacher who was popular and very powerful and so unacceptable to leader’s in the 17th Century Church of England, that he was jailed in order to silence him. Refusing to be silent, he began to preach in the jail courtyard. He not only had a large audience of prisoners, but also hundreds of citizens of Bedford and surrounding area would come to the prison daily and stand outside to hear him expound Scripture. He was then silenced verbally by being placed deep inside the jail and forbidden to preach at all. Yet in that silence, he spoke loudest of all and more people than he could have imagined. It was during that time that he wrote “The Pilgrim’s Progress” the great Christian classic that has ministered to Gospel to tens of millions throughout the World. For several centuries, it was the most widely read and translated book in the world after the Bible. Bunyan’s opponents were able to stop his preaching for a few years, but they were not able to stop his ministry. Instead they provided opportunity for it to be extended from deep within a jail in the small town of Bedford to the ends of the earth.
One thing we can learn from these men they always knew the Lord was with them same goes for you and me today. As Paul says (1Thess 2:2) But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. D.L. Moody says "If He laid down His life for us, is it not the least we can do to lay down ours for Him? If He bore the cross and died on it for me, ought I not to be willing to take it up for Him?" We must proclaim Christ always in every situation that He puts in front of you and me. Remember what Peter said in his epistle “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:16-17. Serve Him and proclaim the gospel no matter what might happen to you, and never forget to pray for our brothers and sisters who are faced with suffering each and every day around the globe. As Peter said be not ashamed for such a great salvation in Christ Jesus! To Him be the glory forever and ever.
21 June 2009
19 June 2009
The duty of the shepherd is to care for and protect the flock. If one gets away, we are to go and find that lost soul and carry him or her back to safety. We must always be on guard and watch the sheep because this post-modern world wants to devour them with everything other than Jesus. Jesus clearly explains this in His parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son. For example, in the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus says the shepherd makes sure the other sheep are safe and he goes out to find the lost one. But I think what’s more amazing is that the shepherd doesn’t belittle the sheep, or punish the sheep; he carries the sheep on his shoulders. “And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing”. Luke 15:5. Do you see that? He (the shepherd) rejoices and invites others to celebrate with him. Why? Because the sheep is in the safe hands of the Great Shepherd away from harm or danger “And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'” Luke 15:6. Our duty as pastors is to make sure the sheep are safe in the arms of the Great Shepherd - not our arms - because He is the only reason we have been called to be shepherds. We are to carry them to Jesus because He is the One who forgives and saves souls.
Jesus also said in the parable of the lost coin, "Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?” Luke 15:8. A shepherd’s job is to be dedicated to the people of whom God has made him an overseer. Look what this woman does in the parable: she turns on a light because it’s next to impossible to see anything in the dark, especially a small coin; she sweeps every square inch of the area with great care and concern. This is a prime example of what a shepherd is to do in his local church. Can I ask you a question? Pastor, are you doing this in your church? If not, why not? We have been given the privilege to care for God’s children. This requires dedication and care for others as Paul said in the second chapter of Philippians, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” A shepherd is selfless not to the point where it causes conflict at home, but is selfless in putting others first by carefully searching until you find what you have lost. There are many souls lost and without the hope of a Savior; it’s our duty to care for the church and the surrounding community. The people need and must see a shepherd who cares for their souls.
We see in the last parable that Jesus gave, ‘the prodigal son’, a lost sinner separated from home comes to the realization that he needs the Father’s forgiveness. "But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, Luke 15:17-18. But that’s not the only thing we see in this story, it’s the next part that defines a true shepherd’s heart. "And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. Luke 15:20. How much are we rejoicing when a person comes to the Savior? Are we too manly to hug someone when they have seen their sin and need your help? The shepherd doesn’t wait for a person to come to them; the shepherd runs to meet the lost sinner with Christ. The Bible tells us that the Heavens rejoice over one sinner who comes to repentance. The shepherd is to embrace the new believer with open arms, with compassion and love for a sinner who has come home.
Even though these parables were directed to the ignorance of the Pharisees and the importance of repentance, we see a glimpse of the shepherd’s heart on the pages of Scripture. Pastors, we must have this heart which Jesus described in these passages. A true shepherd is someone who has a passion for Christ; a love for souls be saved; a person who is dedicated to hard work; and most of all, a fervent desire to see no one perish. Is this me? Is this you? I hope and pray that others will be able to say that about us one day. That he (add your name here) was a man who cared, searched, embraced every lost sinner with a Christ-like love and directed the community to Christ because Jesus is the Great Shepherd. There is no other name under Heaven by which a person may be saved. As the apostle Peter said, “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”1 Peter 2:24-25.This what a shepherd’s heart truly looks like. Though we can never completely fulfill this requirement, we must imitate Him who paid such a great price for you and me; He’s the Great Shepherd.
16 June 2009
1. The Gospel exhibits the grace of God
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Eph 2:4-7
2. The Gospel reveals the glory of God
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Cor 4:6
3. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. Rom 1:16
4. The Gospel is the wrath of God towards sin
5. The Gospel is all about the Son, Jesus Christ
who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil 2:6-11
The Gospel goes against everything the world stands for and believes:It shows exclusivity to Jesus ALONE. All other beliefs are false and lead only to destruction/separation from God.
The person that listens to the true Gospel: Continues to go up stream against the current. Continues going up the down escalator. Continues to follow Jesus when everyone else walks away . "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." is what Jesus said to His disciples.
The Gospel stands against every false teaching: There is only one way to heaven. There is only one Gospel. There is only one Savior and His name is Jesus Christ
"The Gospel is open to all; the most respectable sinner has no more claims on it than the worst." Martyn Lloyd-Jones
"There is nothing we can do to make God love us more; there is nothing we can do to make God love us less." Philip Yancey
"It is not thy hold on Christ that saves thee; it is Christ. It is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee; it is Christ. It is not even thy faith in Christ, though that be the instrument; it is Christ's blood and merit." Charles Haddon Spurgeon
"The gospel alone is sufficient to rule the lives of Christians everywhere...any additional rules made to govern men's conduct added nothing to the perfection already found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ." John Wycliffe
The Gospel Saves
07 June 2009
When I woke up this morning I was thinking about how perfect the Lord's timing was, and I was humbled by that to my shame, because we should never doubt God for His providence in our lives. How amazing is our God? The One who loves us with an everlasting love. The One who saved us from eternal Hell. We are to praise Him for His sovereign plan for each and every one of us, from the youngest to the oldest. To Him Be the Glory is what my heart desires to do, and its really all I want to do with my life. I say that because the Lord has taught my wife and I some valuable lessons this past year personal, and also as husband and wife seeking a future in full time ministry with children. We must always continue to praise Him for everything that happens in and out of our lives! No matter what the circumstances or the outcome may be. This coming week my family and I are heading to Grunthal, Manitoba for the second time to stand before the church with the hopes of becoming their new pastor. My wife and I along with our children are very excited about going with the hopes of them saying yes. Why? Because this could be our new family the Lord has chosen for us for many years to come. That's exciting to us to see God at work in the lives of His children, the ones who He called out of darkness. So would you please pray for the families of Grunthal EMB Church, as we seek the Lord's wisdom in these next few weeks.