Posts Tagged God

When All is Lost, Not All is Lost!

by Rev. Rick Robinson 

Did you ever feel like all hope was gone? Even when all is lost, all is not lost! Sometimes we fall short of what God expects of us, as believers. God knew we would fall short, before we even thought about it. Jesus told Peter he would deny him three times before the rooster crows and Peter argued with him about it. 

Luke 22:34

Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” 

Luke 22:54-62

Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”  But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.  A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”  Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

There are several reasons we come to a state of feeling hopeless. One of those reasons is our sin. Jesus didn’t love Peter any less in his failure, and He still loves you and me, no matter what we have (or have not) done. This is not an excuse for sin, but the enemy likes to beat you up with your sin. There is a difference between conviction and condemnation. When God brings your sin up, he always offers a solution. Repentance, and restitution when necessary, is all that is required for you to walk in freedom from the hopelessness that sin brings. The enemy always brings your sin up as a hopeless situation—one that has caused God to hate you. God hates our sin, but He always loves us. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

It is not always an intentional act of sin that causes our self inflicted pain. Just like Peter, our fear can get the best of us. God is always there for us, even when we are not thinking about it.

Our circumstances are another reason we may feel hopeless. You may be in a certain predicament because of your own foolish decisions or someone else’s decisions beyond your control. That does not mean it is beyond God’s control. I love this character study found in the book of Acts. As you read this excerpt, think about which of the characters you most relate to.

Acts 27:9-22

Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast. So Paul warned them, “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest. When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the “northeaster,” swept down from the island. The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure. When the men had hoisted it aboard, they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Fearing that they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along. We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved. After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.

Are you seeking first your own desires? Have you given up all hope? Are you accepting the loss of things you thought were important, with thanksgiving to God for His mercy with the things that matter most? The enemy will always get you to focus on what could have, would have, and should have been. The only way Satan can defeat you, is to break your will to fight. Once you loose hope, everything bad that happens is traumatic, everything good that happens is too little too late, and your relationship with God (and others) will suffer along with you.

All these years after that shipwreck, the ship that was destroyed is lost and worthless in itself. The story of Paul has become part of the greatest book ever published, for all generations until Christ returns. The lives that were saved have untold stories of another opportunity for salvation before death. Only God knows the rest of the stories about the 276 passengers on board.

Storms are part of life. Sometimes we bring them upon ourselves, and sometimes they are beyond our control. Just as Jesus watched Peter deny him and just as God saw Paul in his distress, so is God watching you. Keep up your courage. Call out to Him in your distress, and realize that when all is lost, all is not lost.

Have you come to the place in your spiritual life, where you know for certain if you died today, you would go to heaven? For information about the ultimate hope, follow this link. http://mychurchgrowth.com/heaven.php 

Copyright 2012 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

MyChurchGrowth.com

Comments off

Help Wanted … Under Qualified But Overwhelmed

by Rick Robinson

Did you ever feel like God has call waiting, kind of like your telephone, and He switches between the calls He wants to talk to—and you’re the one on hold? Here you are in the most difficult of situations, and God doesn’t seem to be concerned about it at all. If this description fits your life right now, you and God are in a great place to help each other. Yes—I said help each other. Let me explain. There are scores of stories in the Bible to illustrate this, but I have selected accounts of Moses as an example. 

God called upon Moses to help deliver the people out of Egypt. God did not need Moses, any more than He needs us, but He loves working together with us. He is not cold and impersonal, but a relationship oriented God. Trusting us with a task is one of the ways God draws us closer together. Even as God ask Moses to participate in the deliverance of His people, Moses feels under qualified.

Exodus 3:10-11

“Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?”

God has great patience with Moses, showing Him miracles and proving His power, yet Moses continues to express his own feelings of being under qualified and overwhelmed, even begging the Lord to enlist someone else. 

Exodus 4:10

Then Moses said to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” 

Have you ever made excuses about why you can’t do something for God? I am a pro, but He is not impressed with that part of my resume. As Moses surrenders to “help” God with this task, we can see the relationship transformed as he transfers his trust from his own ability over to confidence in God. If you want your relationship with God to prosper, you too will have to look at the truth of His ability, not your own. 

While the people are in the desert for what should have been a short journey, disobedience sends things sideways. There is no meat and fresh produce in the desert and the people grumble wishing they had not left Egypt. Moses is found questioning his own relationship with God, because he is looking to himself for answers. Once again, Moses is feeling under qualified and overwhelmed and perhaps overlooked. Have you ever felt that way? You’re in good company and not alone like you thought. 

Numbers 11:11-15

So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have You been so hard on Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all this people on me? “Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant, to the land which You swore to their fathers’? “Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me, saying, ‘Give us meat that we may eat!’ “I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me. “So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Your sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness.” 

Quail would migrate across the Sinai Peninsula in large numbers at certain times during the year, usually between March and April. God brought the birds over the camp of the Israelites with a great wind in the evening, and also wherever they camped for forty years, daily He dropped manna to the ground with the dew. Each family was to take what they needed with no leftovers. God made the manna unfit to eat overnight, so it was of no use trying to store up a supply. Daily trust in the Lord for provision was required. In case you wonder about it as you read, a measure of omer is about 2 liters. 

Exodus 16:16-24

This is what the Lord has commanded, ‘Gather of it every man as much as he should eat; you shall take an omer apiece according to the number of persons each of you has in his tent.’ The sons of Israel did so, and some gathered much and some little. When they measured it with an omer, he who had gathered much had no excess, and he who had gathered little had no lack; every man gathered as much as he should eat. Moses said to them, “Let no man leave any of it until morning.” But they did not listen to Moses, and some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul; and Moses was angry with them. They gathered it morning by morning, every man as much as he should eat; but when the sun grew hot, it would melt. Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, then he said to them, “This is what the Lord meant: Tomorrow is a sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.” So they put it aside until morning, as Moses had ordered, and it did not become foul nor was there any worm in it. 

This was not the normal manna they were familiar with. It melted in the sun, it became foul overnight, and it could be worked into nutritional bread. This was not a normal substance that the people recognized, it was a miracle. 

Deuteronomy 8:3

He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. 

If we want to live in the provision of God and share in deep fellowship with Him, we will need to take heed of these words the Prophet Isaiah wrote. 

Isaiah 55:8-9

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. 

Isaiah used this timeless picture of the heavens, which is a great illustration of the wonder of our God. We cannot even imagine the things He has created. The speed of light is our basic measurement for distance in space (the heavens). Light travels at some 186,000 miles per second. That means a beam of light could travel around the earth several times in one second. We don’t all own rockets, but most of us own a man made car. If you could drive your car non-stop to the sun, it would take over 160 years to get there, yet the light from the sun (God’s creation) reaches us in seconds. How great is your God? Are you still looking for provision on your own standard? Are you looking for a place to serve in your own ability or still making excuses of why you will fail? God wants to provide for you, and wants your help in some capacity. Most of all, God desires an intimate relationship with you. Did you know God has given you manna (bread) from heaven? Will you scoff and complain, or expect daily supply?

John 6:30-33

So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? “Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’ ” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” 

You and I may be under qualified for certain things and we may be overwhelmed with others, but God is neither under qualified nor overwhelmed. His word will accomplish everything as He desires, and you are a part of that plan—we all are. 

Isaiah 55:10-11

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. 

Comments off

Acquainted or acquitted?

By Rev. Rick Robinson

Once when Jesus went to the region of Caesarea Philippi, the question was raised in conversation with the disciples about whom the people were saying that he is. Simon Peter spoke up and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” If you were asked that question, how would you answer? Would it be an intellectually learned answer, or would it be a life-changed testimony to the fact? There are many people today who are confused about the question of who is Jesus. Some say he was created, just like Lucifer. That would make the two of them brothers. Some have a form of Godliness in their life, but yet all the testimonies of what they claim God has done for them is used to point to a particular “true church”. Some believe he is the Son of the living God–but then so does the devil.

James 2:19
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

If we have met the real Jesus Christ on a personal basis, then Jesus is the infinite God-man and there is no other that he could be.

John 1:1,14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Does your life express a life changed meeting with Jesus Christ or just an intellectual understanding of who Jesus is? There is a real difference between the two. What is your testimony when you answer the question about who is Jesus? Are you acquainted or acquitted?

Now let me pose another thought for you here. Suppose people were asked that same question about you? Who would the people say that you are? I am not talking about being famous or popular here, but about your character. Is the joy of being acquitted from your sin bringing genuine change to your life? If there is no difference in your you life, is it because you are simply acquainted with who Jesus is? Your circumstances will give you a difficult path to walk at times. When that happens who would the people say that you are? When you are walking through difficult times, you may feel all alone–deserted by the one who saved you as though you are only acquainted. I am guilty of that many times over. Jesus will not always make your difficult times to go away, but you will not have to walk that difficult path alone, if you are acquitted.

Matthew 16:13-16
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

 

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.
MyChurchGrowth.com

Comments off

Are You Secure?

By Rev. Rick Robinson

I grew up in the sixties in a rural community outside of Ocala, Florida. We didn’t have any alarms on our family cars and the only alarm system in the house was my dog Stubby. My dog took up hobbies like chasing the VW the mailman drove. He was a good dog and nothing came up missing on his watch.

Now days you can subscribe to services that protect your identity. My computer has more passwords that mostly keep me out. People have those annoying alarms on their cars and you see home security signs in neighborhoods everywhere. I hear gun sales are up, but I don’t own one of those either. I don’t expect to shoot anyone, and I don’t get into hunting. If an intruder is not demon possessed, I guess I’m in big trouble. The theft problem is not really a contemporary problem.

Matthew 6:19-21

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Let me say here, if you have services, alarms, and weapons to protect you I am not being critical of those things. Now that you have your security measures in place, are you really secure? To answer this question, we need to know who is it that wants to steal from us, and what is it they want to take? Jesus answers those questions, and gives solutions that will bring true peace.

John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

It is the devil himself that comes to steal from you, but what does he want? He doesn’t want your stuff. Sometimes our stuff works against us when it comes to growing spiritually in our relationship to Christ. He comes to steal the word of God from you. Stuff can be fun, but it is the word of God that is the key to a fruitful life, not our stuff.

Matthew 13:18-23

“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.  But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

In this second telling of this parable to His disciples, Jesus identifies who the thief is, and what he wants to steal. The parable goes on to explain the methods used to steal from us. A lack of understanding, trouble, persecution, the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth (not wealth itself) are all tools used against us to steal the word. Did you notice the scripture says making “it” unfruitful? It is not you that are unfruitful; it is you minus the word that will not be able to stand. You can see why it is the word the thief wants to steal, since that is where our hope is found.

Are you yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times (or less) of the word that has been sown? Are you taking the right precautions in your life to stop the real thief? Don’t hold the door open for the thief. Alarms, services, and guns will not keep him from stealing. You must stay faithful to God’s word, read it daily and meditate on it. Stay faithful to the fellowship of believers, praying for and encouraging one another. Be faithful in your obedience to Christ. Remember He is the one that gives life to the fullest, not the manufacturers of our stuff.

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.
MyChurchGrowth.com

Comments off

Sanity Takes a Holiday

by Rev. Rick Robinson

So they don’t want us to call it Christmas anymore? The caravans did not travel following OnStar to their destination for a holiday. The angels did not announce glad tidings of vacation time and great shopping discounts. All right then, I want to wish you a very Merry Jesusmas! I know it has extra syllables, even for those of us who are from the south–but if you get a running start with it, you can make it fit in most of those songs that offend some people.

Well, if I can’t change the name legally, then why can someone else? At least I left the “mas” in my revision; they aren’t suggesting Happy Holidaymas. When is the last time you asked someone if they accepted a Holiday as their personal Lord and Savoir? If you don’t like Jesusmas, you are not alone. My spell checker wants me to change it. Add it to the dictionary…argument over. Maybe there should be a Sanity Clause in all of this legal mumbo-jumbo.

While we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25th, and many are working to remove reference to Christ from the day of celebration, let’s look to the Bible to see what information we can get about the birth date of Jesus Christ.
Many Christians acknowledge that no one knows the exact day Jesus was born, but the Bible gives us some good information about the event. The exact date of Jesus’ birth is not as critical as not losing focus of the greatest gift given to mankind. Let’s look at the series of event recorded in the book of Luke, and break it down into a time frame.

Luke 1:5-17 (NASB)
In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years. Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering. And aan angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. “You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. “And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

We see from this passage, Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, was serving in the course of Abijah in the temple. The “course of Abijah” was a specific time when priests served in the temple. King David had divided the sons of Aaron into 24 groups (1 Chr 24:1-4). This would set up a schedule by which the Temple could be staffed with priests all year round in an orderly manner. Lots were then drawn to determine the sequence in which each group would serve in the Temple (1 Chr 24: 7-19). Zechariah served in the course of Abijah, the eighth course, which started in early June.

Luke 1:24-37 (NASB)
After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying, “This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men.” Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. “He will be great and will be called the Son of  the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, ‍The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. “And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

As we continue exploring the timeline in Luke, we see the angel announcing the birth of Jesus, to Mary six months later. The Jewish calendar was different than the one we use today, but this would have been sometime around our December, when Mary conceived. If I was teaching this in a classroom environment we would dig deeper into this, but this is not a course on calendar conversion. We know this was six months after the conception of John, because the angel told Mary that fact. Assuming that both Mary and Elizabeth were normal in terms of length pregnancy, John the Baptist would have been born in March, and Jesus probably sometime in the month of September.

The Bible also gives more evidence that Jesus was not likely born in December.

Luke 2:8-12 (NIV)
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Shepherds were not in the fields in the winter, they were in the fields early in March until early October. This would place Jesus’ birth in the spring or early fall. It is also known that Jesus lived for 33.5 years and died at the feast of the Passover, which is at Easter time. He must therefore have been born six months the other side of Easter – making the date around the September/October time frames.

Luke 2:1-7 (NIV)
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Palestine is very cold in December and much too cold to ask everyone to travel to the city of their fathers to register for taxes. This would also support the evidence of the shepherds being out in the fields.

If Jesus started His ministry at the age of thirty, as was customary for the Jews (Numbers 4:3) and was crucified at the feast of the Passover, which is Easter time, then He was about thirty-three and one-half years old. Six months the other side of Easter would make His date of birth around the September time frame.

Regardless of when Jesus was born, our hearts should be filled with thanksgiving that God chose to send his Son into the world for our redemption and salvation. I hope this information does not ruin your Christmas, but makes it more special. If you have not received this gift of Christmas (eternal life) you can do it now and make This Christmas the best ever.

The gospel does not require the celebration of Christmas, but there is no time that is “off limits” for us to meet together to celebrate the good things God has done for us through Jesus Christ. We celebrate Christmas in our home every year, but we are aware that the thing that is sacred, is the birth of Jesus Christ, not December 25th.

Copyright 2010 Church Growth Associates, Inc.
http://MyChurchGrowth.com

Comments off

Are You Spiritually Unemployed?

by Rick Robinson

During the Great Depression unemployment jumped from 3.3 percent in the 1920’s to 15.9 percent in 1931. By 1933, 24.9 percent of Americans who wanted to work could not find a job. This unemployment rate hit before a food stamp program and unemployment insurance existed. Most wives did not work outside the home, so if the husband lost his job, all income for that household stopped. This left many Americans homeless, hungry, and desperate. It wasn’t until the United States entered into World War II the unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent in 1942.I wonder how these percentages would stack up when it comes to workers in the church? I am not simply talking about that building you worship in; I am speaking of the population of believers. How many people that call themselves believers are serving Christ? Are you spiritually unemployed? That is, do you serve Christ on a regular basis? Perhaps you are spiritually under-employed, serving Christ now and then. Many people look for a church that will provide services and opportunities for the family, maybe even being a big enough church to hide in undetected, without being asked to serve.What if all those benefits were only available like unemployment benefits in America are distributed? What if every week you were asked, “Did you serve Christ this week?” and “Did you look for opportunity to serve Christ this week?” Would you still qualify for the benefits of your local church? Of course, this is not how it works, but I’m just asking. Think about your commitment to Christ, not just from the aspect of the local church organization. Have you become a hearer of the word only?

James 1:23-25
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

Are you attending church as though it were a sort of spiritual welfare program that gives you a form of religion and a shallow relationship with Jesus Christ? God has a perfect plan for your life, and place for you to serve Him. He has given all believers at least one spiritual gift to enable them to rely more upon Him in the task they are called to do.

Romans 12:1-8
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
 

1 Corinthians 12:7
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
  

It could be you need more preparation for where God wants to take you in the future. That does not mean we should not serve until we feel we are ready. We must continue to learn more and stretch our faith, but we must also let God determine when we are ready for what. Serving in a capacity now to be a blessing to others, does not mean that is our spiritual career path. 

2 Timothy 2:15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.   

Think about what could be accomplished if we found a decline in spiritual unemployment. Just as World War II saw a decline in unemployment in America, so will the spiritual war that is taking place find spiritual unemployment dropping in the church, when we accept the call to serve. 

Galatians 5:13
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

Copyright 2010 Church Growth Associates, Inc.  

 http://mychurchgrowth.com   

Comments off

1929 Pontiac Restoration Project

Soon you will be able to follow the restoration of my 1929 Pontiac on our website. I will post pictures and information along the way. I have no target completion date for the restoration, it will be complete as time allows. This is a hobby to enjoy and not something for the pressure of a deadline that has no eternal value. When I see a vintage automobile in need of restoration, I see it in my mind as what it will be when it is restored. God is looking at each of us in that same way. He is looking at you for what you can be, and will be, if you allow Him to bring restoration to your life.

Restore us, O God; Cause Your face to shine, And we shall be saved! Psalm 80:3

In the restoration of a vintage automobile, (to original factory standards) there are four stages. My Pontiac is in stage two of the restoration project as listed below:

Research

This is the stage of getting to know the automobile. This stage is helpful when selecting a vehicle for purchase since:

  • You will be able to identify many issues with the car that are not correct.
  • Knowing what parts are incorrect will help you to estimate your window of investment between your purchase price and the cost of restoration, compared to the value of the restored vehicle.
  • Understanding the original condition of the vehicle is essential for an original stock restoration.

After purchasing the vehicle you will want to obtain original sales literature, owner’s manuals, shop manuals, body manuals, parts books, interchange manuals, etc.

Disassembly

This is the stage that the vehicle is dismantled:

  • All parts and assemblies should be photographed, tagged, and logged into a database
  • A list of parts that are missing or need replaced can be compiled using the database
  • The interchangeable parts can also be entered into your database along with suppliers and jobbers

Restoration

This is the stage that all parts that need restoration will be either sent out to a jobber, or restored in house.

  • When parts are sent out for restoration they should be noted in the database with information on the jobber, date of completion, and cost.

Parts can be purchased that are beyond repair or missing at any point they are located.

Assembly

Once the parts are all complete, the vehicle can be reassembled. This is where you will appreciate your photos and detailed notes in the database. Don’t trust your memory. A frame off restoration can take years for a do it yourself project.

Some minor parts may not be able to be located before you reassemble, depending on the age and model of the vehicle.

Leave a Comment