Serving to Represent

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. – Colossians 3:17 NLT

Knowing who’s we are makes life much more satisfying. According to the dictionary a representative simply means, serving to represent. Paul was clear in writing to believers that our life is to be lived in such a way as to represent Jesus Christ. This charge is not just set aside for church leaders but to all believers. Whatever we say or do is representing Jesus Christ. This means my life, my service, is to represent Jesus. God has allowed you and I to be a representative for Jesus Christ while we live on this earth.

In all areas of my life; personal, work, private, and public am I a good representative of Jesus Christ? How can I better serve as His representative?

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31 NLT

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. – Colossians 3:23 NLT

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:1, 2 NLT

The Hardest Part of My Job Is My Win

Growing is not an option as long as we’re living. All life grows. We either are growing up or growing old, never the less we are still growing. Growth is painful. Growth is beneficial. Growth is necessary.

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a Pastors and Church Leadership Mentoring Session, in Fort Mill SC with Pastor David Kemp. I have written before on attending conferences etc. so I won’t go into all of that in this post. I will say that I have made a personal commitment to grow by seeking out leaders to meet with once a month for the purpose of identifying and putting into practice disciplines and lifestyles which can help me fulfill my God ordained responsibilities as a Pastor.

For the past good while, months even, the following passage has been at the forefront of my mind. I keep coming back to it and it even ended up in my daily reading this morning.

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. – Ephesians 4:11-16 NLT

In the particular translation I am reading right now, as a Pastor and Teacher of Gods word I am overwhelmed by the second sentence of this passage. Basically my responsibility, my job, my win as a Pastor and Teacher is to EQUIP Gods people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. It is Gods desire that the whole body (the Church) is healthy and growing (mature and reproducing.) That happens when each part of the body does its own special work and helps the other parts grow. As a Pastor I can’t depend on people to read my mind and just get it. I have to equip or train them of the desired outcome and help them use their God given gifts and abilities in their respective callings.

I believe the first step in equipping people to do the work of ministry is to help them identify their calling/gifting. For me that is the hardest.

We’re Almost There

As of today the those participating in reading the New Testament with along with us at North Aiken Church of God have completed a total of 8 books. Today was our last day in 2 Corinthians. We have a little over a month and a half and we will have read the entire New Testament. Here’s where we stand.

Challenge: Read the Entire New Testament in 6 months. June 2013 – November 2013.
Total Stats: 27 Books, 260 Chapters, 7,958 Verses
Completed to Date: 8 Books, 162 Chapters, 5,913 Verses
Left to Complete: 19 Books, 98 Chapters, 2,45 Verses

I can’t wait to celebrate during the first part of December with those who have been reading along. Here is a little encouragement from today’s reading.

Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet each other with Christian love. – 2 Corinthians 13:11, 12 NLT

Prioritizing Our Life Around Our Faith

A few weeks ago I posted a point from Sunday’s service regarding time. Below you will be able to read that post by clicking the link under resources at the end of this post. In today’s post I want to revisit the thought of priorities and leave you with a scripture and brief statement.

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper ), and to prayer. -Acts 2:42 NLT

As the early Church grew they prioritized their life around their faith. I fear we are so far removed from that concept. Instead, we prioritize our faith around our life. If our faith gets in the way of our life…we choose our life, or way of living. Far be it for us to base our schedule around what would be most beneficial as it relates to our spiritual growth.

The difference between those people who made up the early Church and what we’ve come to know as the Church is that the early believers prioritized their life around their faith not the other way around, their faith around their life.

Resources – More Reading On Life of Pursuit:

  • You Have Time, 168 Hours to be Exact
  • Am I Speaking Clearly
  • Spiritual Disciplines are Memorials
  • The Church is Important to Me

    When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. – Matthew 16:13-18 NLT

    Church is important to me. Not because it has to be but because I believe in the Church. I believe in its foundation, I believe in its formation, and I believe in its future. I believe the church has the ability to change its community and culture. I believe the church has the ability to raise up men and women, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters to make a difference in the world around them. For me Church isn’t something I go to even though I invite people weekly to join me at Church. Church is something I have been afforded the opportunity by Gods grace to be a part of. It’s a fellowship, a family.

    The churches foundation doesn’t reside in a formula but rather a belief. A belief that Jesus Christ is the Christ (Messiah and Savior) the Son of the Living God, cr. Matt. 16:16. As a Church fellowship, that truth is our core belief. At its foundation, I am part of a fellowship that believes Jesus is savior.

    The Church’s formation comes from the exact same passage Matt. 16:18, Jesus said based on this belief, I will build my Church. The belief that Jesus is the Christ, he is Savior, a rock. It’s on that rock, Jesus Christ, that the Church will be built/formed.

    The Churches future is bright. Christ said in Matt. 16:18 that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it. If Christ formed it he will protect it.

    I believe in the foundation, formation, and the future of the Church. That’s why I choose to make being an active part in the Church a priority.

    Sermon Notes Recap from Sun. Oct. 6, 2013

    Yesterday in the 11:00AM and 6:00PM service at North Aiken Church of God we continued our series out of Acts 2:41-47. Our point of focus; As a disciple (maturing believer) we are to engage our community/culture Acts 2:46-47. I am posting some recap notes to serve as a reminder for all those who were part of the services or who missed on yesterday.

    The early Church (believers) were not hiding out. They were openly and joyfully serving God. Here are a few of their characteristics; They were consistent in meeting together (continued daily), they were unified (one accord), they broke bread (fellowship), they were happy people (gladness), they were not complicated (simplistic). This is not to say that they were unorganized but they didn’t over complicate things. They worshipped (praising God), they had favor from all people, they were growing (the Lord added daily), they were saved people.

    If we are to actively engage our culture we must actively live out our faith no matter what context we find ourself in. Practice/live out your faith. If your a business owner, base your business on the principals of scripture. If your an employee, base your work ethic on the principles of scripture.

    Engaging our culture is a deliberate action. We aren’t to be passive. It’s at the core of Jesus’ call.
    Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. – Jesus | Matthew 4:19.

    Engaging our Culture is a Matter of Flavoring and Illuminating
    You are the Salt of the Earth, You are the Light of the World. – Jesus | Matthew 5:13-16

    Don’t expect the world to shine for you. God calls you to shine for the world. The world is a dark place and God has put us where we are to be lights. That’s the challenge for the whole Church. -Colin Smith

    Engaging our culture comes by doing.
    We engage our culture by our works (c/r James 1:21-22, 2:14-26)

    What we do inside the building, collectively as a body of Christ is in order to propel us outside the church to engage our culture. You are part of the body of Christ for a purpose and I want you to be purposeful in engaging your community.

    Call to Action
    Find out one practical need we as a church can meet for someone within the body (church) this week and let me know.

    Find out one practical need we as a church can meet for someone within our community, not part of the Church and let me know.

    Preachers, God is Watching – Does He Approve

    You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.2 Corinthians 2:17 NLT

    To this aim we do what we do. Not to make ourselves famous or gain financially. But to strengthen and equip those we serve with the ability to be productive ministers of the faith to which they are called.

    God is watching us, does he approve?

    Advice for Study and Sermon/Lesson Prep

    Earlier this week I was able to watch a video which talked about sermon/lesson prep. I wanted to take a few moments today in order to share some of the insight with you. Undoubtably tomorrow is a big day for those of us who are preachers and teachers during our collective time together as believers. I would ask that each who serve with me at North Aiken Church of God take a few moments today in preparation for your responsibilities tomorrow. There is a video, which a link to is posted below under resources, its about 12 minutes and gives a wealth of insight for teachers and preachers. You can read over my notes then take the time to watch Dr. Mack King Carter teach on this for yourself.

    Advice for Study and Sermon Prep | Dr. Mack King Carter
    Disclaimer, the notes listed below through conclusion up to personal notes from me are taken directly from the video resource listed at the end of this post. Those things listed in [brackets] were added by me.

    Preparation for Preaching [teaching]…

    1) You must have a personal relationship with a personal God

    2) You must have a Godly life
    You can’t out preach [teach] your life. You have to live the life, that is the source of your life. Don’t let The Lord down in your behavior. Keep your life up you can’t preach [teach] over sin.

    3) You must Read Widely
    Don’t come before folks empty. If your going to talk to people you must read. Read the Bible voraciously…Eat it up. In this Dr. Carter gave the following illustration.

    Sermons/lessons don’t come from the sky to your head. They are straight from God but they come by way of a detour…through your buttox as you apply your buttox to a chair. Then it works its way up.

    4) You Must Have Personalization
    Personalize the text, allow the text to speak to you first. You do your best preaching/teaching when the text speaks to you.

    In conclusion, every time you come to church you ought to leave messed up because you came with a ready mind. You came prepared because you were sitting before God. Every sermon/lesson needs to give you homework. Every sermon or lesson ought to give an assignment.

    My personal notes to you. We don’t do what we do (teach/preach) because we can’t find anyone else to do it. Whether you are a children’s, youth, or sanctuary teacher/preacher you have been given a divine mandate by God to teach his word with clarity and conviction. Do you need to get your personal life in order, have you become familiar with what you are bringing to your people or class tomorrow, is it personal to you? If not, find sometime to get alone today and answer those three questions and come out ready to invest in those you’ve been entrusted to speak the words of life to. Don’t forget to give an assignment for those you teach to live out in the coming week.

    Resources:
    Watch the 12 minute video of Dr. Mack King Carter’s Advice for Study and Sermon Prep by clicking here.

    A Quote From Humility by Andrew Murray

    It is when the truth of an in dwelling Christ takes the place it claims in the experience of believers, that the Church will put on her beautiful garments and humility be seen in her teachers and members as the beauty of holiness. – pg. 21, Humility | Andrew Murray

    I am not so much convinced that holiness is in lifestyle as much as it is in attitude. At its very core isn’t our lifestyles/choices rooted in our attitude. Choose an attitude of humility.