In every profession, there are good days and bad days. Days that are more difficult and days that are easier. Too often, I’m afraid, we remember the bad days more than the good. We remember the slumps of the tough days more than the joys of the fruitful days. I’ve had many difficult days in ministry. But I’ve also had many exciting, fruitful days. Yesterday was one of those exciting days, and I want to revel in it for just a bit.Continue reading “An Encouraging Day as a Discipleship Pastor”
For centuries, Christians have considered the preaching of God’s Word to be one of the primary means of grace. In other words, it is one of the main things God uses not only to save, but to grow and sanctify His people. Does the way we view, prepare for, and listen to preaching reflect this truth? If we really believe that preaching is one of the primary tools God uses to fashion, guide, and grow us, what practices regarding sermon-listening should we develop? I’d like to offer seven.Continue reading “Seven Ways to Get More Out of Sunday Sermons”
Before reading Putting on the Armor, I must confess that I often viewed the “armor of God” passage in Ephesians 6 as somewhat irrelevant. In a way, I knew it was probably important, but it seemed to be no more than a descriptive metaphor for walking with God, something I could easily skim over and get the point. I remember hearing a small handful of sermons or talks on the subject that seemed to trivialize the description of the armor. These talks of “praying on the armor” or “which piece of the armor are you missing?” trivialized the concepts of the passage so much that it had a negative effect on how I viewed the relevance of the verses. Dr. Lawless’ book has changed my view on the concept of the “armor” by providing me with an accurate view of the passage as a whole, helping me understand each individual piece of armor, and walking me through how to “wear” the armor in everyday life.
Do you ever feel like your days run endlessly together? Wake up, go to work, come home to innumerable chores, go to bed, repeat. Where is the abundant life God promised? Are you missing it? Is it possible to find purpose in the predictable and meaning in the mundane?
I (Jarrett) found this article earlier in the week, and I had to rewrite and repost it, because I think that every believer will be built up and edified through it!
If we are followers of Christ, the answer to the above questions are “yes,” for nothing done in surrendered obedience is ever wasted. At each moment, God uses our mundane, earthly experiences to train and equip us for something greater, to center our thoughts on the eternal, and to be active participants in his outpouring of love and grace. Living God’s great adventure is not a matter of location or vocation, but rather, a continual process of heart and mind transformation.
In the book Live Sent: You Are a Letter, Jason Dukes lays out 10 questions to help Christians discern whether or not they are operating with a missional mindset. I have tweaked them and explained them below. Challenging words!
1. When you speak of church, what prepositions do you use?
Do you focus on church as a place or event more than a people who are sent? We are all called to live missionally, and we as a church are to be sent out as “salt and light” to a decaying and dark world. Our church in Athens has a sign as you leave the parking lot that exhibits this mindset, reading, “You are now entering your mission field.”
Yes. I am afraid. Every time I begin to share about Jesus with someone, millions of thoughts run through my head about how I may offend or be received wrongly. Have you ever felt the same?
This is the log jam in the discipleship process and to fulfilling the Great Commission: evangelism. Sharing our faith. Why? Often times it is because we haven’t seen it modeled, or haven’t been taught “how.” Even in our rigorous attempts at discipleship have not fixed the problem, because discipleship has come to be regarded as a practice without the necessary component of evangelism training or practice. However, treating evangelism as a necessary part of discipleship helps to grow mature disciples, and is absolutely necessary. I read a great article recently highlighting 6 reasons why. Here they are: Continue reading “Six Key Benefits of the Necessary Evangelism Component in Discipleship”
“Missions Exists Because Worship Doesn’t” -John Piper
This semester, the Lord led my fiancée and I into a class called Perspectives that our church was hosting. The class is basically a college-type class set up to give believers a fresh “perspective” on the world christian movement, and to give a glimpse of what God is doing around the world. The first week we learned how God has been a missionary God from the very beginning, in his promise to Abraham to make him a blessing “to the nations.” But this week, we talked about the main point of missions-to bring worship to God and to bring him the glory and honor he deserves. One of the main quotes from the lesson was, “Missions exists because worship doesn’t” originally coined by John Piper. I just want to share a quick quote from our reading, and a conviction that I was confronted with.
This is the quote from this week’s reading, “The Story of His Glory,”:
“Humanity does not deserve the love of God any more than you or I do. We should never be Christian humanists, taking Jesus to poor sinful people, reducing Jesus to some kind of product that will better their lot. People deserve to be damned, but Jesus, the suffering lamb of God, deserves the reward of his suffering.”
I was convicted because of this: most of my evangelism and missions-mindset was just to save people from hell, and to show them the full life Jesus wants for them. However, Its not all about what we are saving them FROM but what we are saving them FOR- the worship of a worthy Savior.
We don’t just labor to save people from an eternity in hell, we labor to win our Savior the crowns he deserves for his life and sacrifice, and to bring Him the glory and worship that he deserves for all of eternity!
Thus, our neglect of evangelism and participation in missions is not only unloving to the lost, but it is a refusal to bring God the glory, worship, and honor that he deserves. And our participation in missions and evangelism is not only loving to the lost, but is obedient to God’s plan for our lives: to bring Him worship from every tribe, tongue, and nation!
We take part in missions because there are still tribes and people groups, friends and coworkers, family members and strangers, who do not worship our Father. We labor in part because of our yearning for them to avoid eternal punishment, but our main incentive should be drawn from our own love and adoration of the Father! We know how worthy he is of praise and worship, and we must devote ourselves to winning it for him from the people that do not know him.
The Father sent his only son, Jesus, who, through his death and resurrection, bridged the gap between our sinfulness and God’s holiness, so that we would be reconciled to God (1 Peter 3:18) and worship him! He extends grace and love to us, that we would return love and worship to him. This is the desire of his heart is to receive worship from his creation. This is what was broken in the garden of Eden, the ability to worship the Lord in truth and have a relationship with him. But now, through Christ, we are more than able! Not only that, we are entrusted as his children to win him the worship and glory that his mighty name deserves!
The question we must ask ourselves is this: What is my part in winning the blessed Savior this worship that he is so deserving of?
May the Spirit guide you as you commit yourself to his eternal purpose!