What if Teardrops are Blessings?

I was driving back from Illinois in a rented truck to my new home in South Carolina. Talk radio and country music stations were all I could get and I was tired of both. So I turned the radio off and started praying for my kids and the kids of a former staff member from our previous church. About thirty miles down the road, I turned the radio back on and hit the search button and found this song just as it was being introduced.

Within minutes I was in tears, filled up with the longing that the song expresses.

“Oh God, if mercies and the nearness of your presence come in the disguises of storms and heartache, then give me a storm-battered life. Give me them that I might have You. Because I can’t live with the storms without You.”

Do any of us really understand what we are praying when we pray such prayers?

No.

Emphatically no.

But praying such prayers is a moment of clarity on the beauty of Christ and the glory of the gospel. Let Laura Story help you learn to pray. Let her help you learn that, with thanks to John Piper, “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.” Let your heart learn that we are most fulfilled, and grow in the capacity for the greatest joy when we are most delighted in Him.

Haunting Quotes Filled with Truth

“We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.”

Madeleine L’Engle.

“O God, give me grace to be a light to the world. Give me joy in showing mercy and the humility that is appropriate for a sinner who has no righteousness apart from the righteousness of Christ imputed to me. In Jesus name and for His glory I ask it.”

Praise God with Me

On a morning when we woke up to yet another tragedy in Dallas, …

On another morning when we were reminded that justice and peace are far from us, …

On yet another day when our hope and confidence in the direction of our country has been shaken to the core, …

Would you take two minutes to have your vision renewed? Watch this video and praise God for what He is doing around the world and then, begin to pray Habakkuk’s prayer from Habakkuk 3:2 for our own nation. Pray that what He is doing around the world He would once again do here.

 

“O Lord, I have heard the report about You and I fear.
 O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years,
 In the midst of the years make it known;
 In wrath remember mercy.” 

—Habakkuk 3:2

Great Quotes to Move Your Life

Once, there were great men who walked the earth. Here’s a quote from one of them.

Old Photograph John Gibson Paton Scotland

“Nothing so clears the vision and lifts up the life, as a decision to move forward in what you know to be entirely the will of the Lord.”

–John Paton, servant of God

Simple. 

  • Read your Bible.
  • Do what it says.
  • Experience clear vision.

Continuing to Think about Spiritual Gifts

Think it Through

Spiritual GiftsI am continuing to meditate and read about how to better equip the saints of the church. The last few days have been a rich time of revisiting some of my notes from previous times when I have taught on spiritual gifts. And I have had the opportunity to revise and re-edit/update some old notes, supplementing them with new material and new thinking.

Here is both a great quote and a great idea for how you might approach spiritual gift training at your church from Dr. Earl Radmacher.

“Every pastor ought to have a goal of helping each member to identify his gift, and then to find the place where his gift fits into the total work of the church. It is a rare pastor who has preached a series of messages covering each gift.

I ask pastors I meet, ‘Why don’t you take fifteen weeks and preach on one gift of the Spirit each week and then ask for decisions from your people.’ Ask them ‘What are your gifts? How are you using them?’ and really dig in deep because, as I understand it, shaping up the saints in large part means enabling them to find out what their gifts are and where they can use them.”

 –Dr. Earl D. Radmacher
Quoted in Leslie B. Flynn’s 19 Gifts of the Spirit, (page 15)

Seven Practical Points for Spiritual Gift Mobilization in Your Church

presence-of-holy-spiritThis post follows up yesterday’s post on Mobilizing Saints for Powerful Ministry.

The Holy Spirit gifts every member of the body of Christ to help the church become the beautiful Christ-exalting bride that He wants her to be (Cf. 1 Cor. 12-14). So it makes sense that we would want every member of the body to know and use their spiritual gift(s) in ways that will help the church become all that Christ wants her to be.

My own assumption is that there are no little people in the body of Christ. Everyone is a vital link in the whole. And since that is true, everyone deserves respect; everyone has something to contribute; everyone has something to teach me. 

With that in mind: Here’s seven tasks(1) to accomplish if you want to mobilize more of your people to utilize their spiritual gifts.

  1. Encourage, teach, and challenge all to become involved in personal growth and service to the body. Create a culture of expectation by celebrating the various gifts of people in the congregation.
    .   
  2. Design a gift-based ministry system. Pick one off the shelf or start from scratch and design your own. There is no magic material. Find what fits the personality of your situation and prayerfully work at it.
    .  
  3. Holy SpiritTrain ministry placement consultants. Depending on the size of your church you might only need one or two (male and female). Qualifications: Prayer warriors who love ministry themselves and who see the potential in others.
    .  
  4. Teach people about spiritual gifts. Overcome the fear and mystery surrounding the subject by attacking the problem head-on. Lift the veil of ignorance in your church by teaching on the whole context of 1 Corinthians 12-14 and other NT passages related to spiritual gifts. Use the pulpit. Use small groups. Use special classes or seminars. “Teach your way out of every problem.”
    ..
  5. Guide people to ministry opportunities appropriate to their gifts, passion, and experience. The gift of hospitality does not mean that a person necessarily can be entrusted with organizing every baby shower in your church family. It might mean that they take a new family out to lunch once a month.
  6. Provide advanced spiritual gift training.  Whatever is good in the church you need more of. Deeper understanding of what the Bible teaches on everything, including spiritual gifts, will always (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit) will always produce power for living more passionately for and like Jesus.
  7. Constantly evaluate how you are doing in mobilizing people into their areas of giftedness and passion. Any ministry that functions on auto-pilot without supervision and new input will eventually grow stale and lose its direction. Evaluation that includes celebration, as well as correction, will help you help others find their place of service for the King.

(1) Adapted from Robert E. Logan and Steven L. Ogne’s, Church Planter’s Toolkit, (1991), session 11.

Have a Guided-by-Jesus Day

Friday is for Heart Songs

Found this gem from Brother Andrew today and had to pass it along. Every day of your life is filled with opportunity for dynamic work in the Kingdom of God if we only choose to obey what we know already. I have added a note in brackets and a bold emphasis to the quote.

Brother Andrew 2“As we spend time in Scripture and in prayer, it’s important not to get sidetracked in trying to determine whether we’ve received an official call from God or whether we have a clear indication that we are doing God’s will. It’s too easy to get so caught up in the paralysis of analysis that we fail to act.

Most of us often have the idea that God must a have a special calling on our lives. If we have no such calling from God, then we have not been selected by him for special service, and we can only live out our lives as drones in the kingdom, one monotonous and unimportant day at a time.

We must never make our dreams for success or accomplishment as God’s purpose for us. God’s end, his purpose for us, is the process. Oswald Chambers put it so well when he said, ‘God’s training is for now, not presently [meaning, soon or in the future]. His purpose is for this minute, not for something in the future. What men call training and preparation, God calls the end… If we realize that obedience is the end, then each moment is precious.”

Obedience. Obedience is the key to a life of passion for God. Obedience saturated with the knowledge that He who called us His own is always beside us, will never leave us, and wants to direct us in every moment of the day.

Obey Him and have a great guided-by-Jesus day.