Month: October 2010

Testify

Tonight I will be delivering a message about the need for believers to testify about the great God we serve.  I was struck by this topic when I began to realise the serious impact that testimony can have on a group, and how one man’s testimony about the saving grace of Christ Jesus and the guiding strength of the Holy Spirit can alter the dynamics of any group.

Josh Hamilton of Texas Rangers Baseball is one shining example of what it means to Testify.  His life has been plagued by one battle with the flesh to another, and his testimony reflects the awesome power of our God throughout his redemption and rehabilitation from grief, guilt, and  crippling addiction.  Hamilton has confessed publicly in interviews, as well as www.iamsecond.com that his strength to battle these addictions has come from his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Evidence of his impact was powerful, but never quite as visible as the team celebration of the Texas Rangers after wining the American League Division Series. 

A time honored tradition is for the winning team is to spray champaign all over the team and locker room in celebration of the win; but when the team won clenched the birth to the post season, Hamilton quietly abstained from the celebration.  The celebration was missed by Hamilton, but the temptation of alcohol was not worth the few moments of jubilation with his team.  When the team defeated their first opponent in the ALDS after 5 games with the Tampa Bay Rays, the team was sure to celebrate in like fashion. 

The remarkable twist to the story is that the team celebrated with sodas and water instead of champaign in order that their teammate Josh Hamilton would be able to join in the festivities.  Hamilton had won the love of his team by sharing so openly his love for Jesus Christ and the standard to which he was called.

To testify about our God is to speak boldly the great worth of our Jesus, and to maintain our devotion to him with great passion in order to win others to His great name.  Hamilton’s devotion to his faith and constant walk with the Lord has displayed a great testimony to his team.  My prayer is that we will share in the joy of brothers and sisters being added to His kingdom through the walk of Josh Hamilton and others like him!

Identity

This weekend I was privileged to be able to work with Climbing Blind again.  Climbing blind is a band from the Lubbock area who is quickly becoming my favorite worship team with which to work.  We were both called to work at the Disciple Now of New Home Baptist Church and we had a BLAST.  Partly this is due to the friendships that we have created over the years, and partly because of the AMAZING students that from New Home, but mostly because of the fact the the Holy Spirit made provision for us!!! He was able to encourage and minister, due to the prayers of a dedicated people there, and we as ministers were in awe of the awesome power of The Almighty! 

I taught over the idea of Identity.  Mainly that our Identity is created and perpetuated by our relationship, or lack of relationship with Jesus Christ.  Religion, peers, and the American dream all attempt to impress themselves on the identity of teens today.  For the most part, teens listen, but it is my hope that the teens that were present this weekend will be the element of change for their school and all who come in contact with them.  These students are not special, but the God who has called them is!  Be in prayer for New Home Baptist Church as well as those who now have a new identity that is based on the bloody sacrifice of our Sovereign King!

Imitate His Example

Paul, writing to his pupil Timothy said that he should, “…but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” But where does he find this example?  Where should we look to see a model for living that would “set an example?”

Christ’s example in speech had nothing to do with the words that he used; it had everything to do with his message. But what was his message if not that the Kingdom is at hand, and that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Light, and that no man comes to the Father except through Him.  This powerful statement by Jesus Christ was the element that differentiated Jesus from all who came before him.  Every prophet who came before spoke of Jesus who would be the cornerstone, and every believer rests upon the perfection found in Jesus Christ as Savior.

This statement killed Jesus as well as his disciples.  It was the reason why the church was all but crushed by the oppression of Rome, and it is also why we have life today. 

We imitate His example by delivering the same message.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no one will come to the father except through Him.

Imitate Him in Every Way…

I have a nephew named Ace who is a little over 3 years old.  His father is Steven, my younger brother and farming cotton on the south plains of west Texas is their life.  I watch the facebook status updates for photos of Ace everyday and am not surprised when the photos characterise Ace in a way that resembles his father completely.  The resemblance is far more than DNA, it is the consumption that this boy has for his father; to talk like him, to play like him, to dress like him, and finally, to be like him.  For now, Ace’s pursuit of the clone of his father will demand that he love farming, hunting, and Ranger’s baseball.  But as an imitator of him, I pray that it demands Ace to be a lover of the word.  Not because it is a popular book in this great nation of ours, but because it will illuminate his way and draw him closer to the savior, who is Jesus! 

To be an imitator of the Son for the sake of his son will require Steven to talk like Jesus, and be like Jesus.  Only then will Ace’s passion to be like his father set him on the path to meet the Father.

Imitate His Growth

The word speaks of Jesus and says’ “and Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52 ESV). If I am to imitate Him, I must begin in my growth in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and men. We grow in many ways every day we live, but to be imitators of Christ we must dedicate our learning to these three aspects of life. In order to achieve our goal we must focus on the only one who attained the mark we desire. We must train our eye on Jesus Christ and his life message.

Imitate

This week at the National Youth Workers Convention in San Diego, CA a pastor referenced a passage of scripture that seemed to strike me.  Not sure why, I prepared to meditate on this passage for the rest of the weekend and beyond. 

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

Such a simple passage with a radical message.  I must be the imitator of Christ that would warrant people to imitate me.  There is a great authority with which Paul is able to make such a weighty proposition, and it had nothing to do with his actions.  the previous few verses indicate that, in my interpretation, it is irrelevant what you do, only that you would do it to glorify our King and to bring the gospel to the lost.  So what then, if not my actions, should people be following?  What, if not his actions, should I follow in the example of Jesus.  How must I imitate the father for the sake of those imitating me?

 

Harvest

The harvest is a great time in the life of the farmer, and it is the culmination of all that the year entailed.  The identity of the year can be summed up in the harvest because it is the sum of all factors leading up to itself.  The harvest will be the make-or-break each year and will be the determination of future gains and projects. 

The harvest is determined by what happens during planting, cultivation, and growing times of the year.  Its profits are won and lost by the slightest of margins and are calculable by anyone who works with the land.  Some factors are out of the hands of any farmer.  Rain, hail, wind, drought,  and some pests are simply outside the realm of determination for the farmer and all who rely on the production of the crop. 

Planting is not one of those factors.  You see, planting is an element of the harvest that is totally up to the farmer, and what he is willing to invest.  The harvest will be slim if the planting is slim, and its potential grows as planting becomes more bold. 

Christians seem to believe that if we plant a smaller number of seeds, then we will have the ability to better protect and provide for these seed.  The flaw with this logic is that we are only able to determine a few of the rules that govern the growth of the plant.  What then do we do when our precious seed are disrupted by an unforeseen catastrophe?  The future is based on the development of the seed and the distribution in every area.  The soil may not be ready, and it may not yet produce fruit, but we must be diligent in distributing seed to every corner of the world.  In time, we may see a harvest where we were previously not able to yield fruit if only because we were determined to plant the seed of the gospel and allow our God and Creator to breathe life and light into dark places.

I am invigorated to plant the seed of the gospel into the generations that are yet coming.  As young, and fertile soil, they are able to gather the fruit inside and produce a great harvest.  But only when we deliver a great message to them.  Just as it is true for the farmer, we must plant thick and boldly the gospel message!

Fraternity

Brotherhood is an overlooked and under appreciated aspect of ministry. It’s application is far more powerful than programs or events for men. There is no lesson or teacher that can help men become men more quickly and effectively than simple conversation and honest expression with other men. Our hearts as men long for fraternity, and our minds are quick to create time with others. However our societal pressures for being men are bent toward isolation and independence.
Men of the church must begin the process of opening up to other men. Then our expression of love to each other will be believable.

Learning

Learning is a unique experience.  It is a humbling process and an empowering finish.  It is necessary and progressive, yet we seem to avoid it as long as possible. 

I am so glad that I am here at National Youth Workers Convention, in spite of the fact that Krystle is 1000 miles away.  I am inspired because there are so many new concepts for ministry and development, rather than simply the perfection of programs from yesteryear. 

Krystle, I am so glad that you love to learn, and that you love for me to learn and grow.  I pray that you are encouraged while we are away, and that you are equipped to minister along side me.  May the Lord’s light shine down upon you, and may his presence be your companion and mine whenever we are apart.