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Tuesday
Oct072014

Just A Little Talk With Jesus

CONTINUAL COMMUNICATION

It’s hard for people to fathom that before the foundation of the world, God had us on His mind. Because He created man for fellowship and for worship, it makes sense that He would want to spend as much time with us—each and every day. I once heard someone tell a story about a man who learned about the love of Jesus and how it was Christ’s desire to fellowship with His people. The man decided to pull a chair up next to his bed for the Lord of Glory to “sit” when he talked with Him every day.

The concept of talking with God can embrace more meaning than what we typically think of when we hear the word. We need to commune with Christ on a continual basis and experience His presence in our lives—this can be via prayer, worship, praise, or just in fact, talking with Him.

There’s an old song called “Just a Little Talk with Jesus” that epitomizes our relationship with Christ. If you aren’t familiar with it, the chorus is as follows:

Now let us have a little talk with Jesus / Let us tell Him all about our troubles

He will hear our faintest cry / He will answer by and by

Now when you feel a little prayer wheel turning / And, you know a little fire is burning

You will find a little talk with Jesus makes it right

This little song speaks volumes of Biblical truth that we can apply to our lives and our walk with Christ. As we continue to live a righteous lifestyle in accordance with His Word, we become friends of God (John 15:15). Christ is a friend to us that is closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24) and He has proven such by laying down His life for us so that we would not face the penalty.

While the Bible tells us that the Lord will supply our every need (Philippians 4:19) and that whatever we ask in His name shall be given (John 14:13), spending time with the Lord is not always about needs; it’s about spending time with Him.

Many people seek refuge in friends by telling them about the cares of the day, and after their done “venting” they feel better. Why not talk with Jesus? He will send peace and the Comforter to you! When we take our problems and our issues to the Lord, we can lay them down at His feet and leave them there. He is the breaker that goes before us (Micah 2:13) and He will fight our battles (II Chronicles 20:15). The Word tells us that when we call upon the Lord and seek Him, we find that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30).

Talking with the Lord on a daily basis gives us strength and helps us walk the road of hardship each day. Man does not survive on bread alone but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). When we talk with the Lord—He talks back! When we pray to Him—He answers! Remember that He’s your friend and wants to commune with you, so don’t forget to let Him do some talking. In your conversation, learn one of the key points of communication—listening. God might just have the right Word for your situation, wisdom for tomorrow, or sweet sayings to make your heart melt for Him—our blessed Savior—all over again.

Jesus is our light, our hope for tomorrow, our Everlasting Savior, but most of all, He’s our friend. Try to have a little talk with Jesus each day even if it’s just for a few minutes at first. After you develop a greater relationship with Him, you’ll find you can’t stop—minutes turn into hours, hours into days, and days into a lifetime of friendship and fellowship with God. He’s always ready and waiting for you. Are you ready to talk?

Tuesday
Jan212014

Your Pastor Needs You!

  1. Your Pastor Needs You!

    Six ideas on how you can stand behind and alongside of your church's pastor and leaders

    Pastors are under attack today in every denomination and in every country. They are attacked from within their own churches by disgruntled attendees, within their own spirits by our enemy the devil, and from without by those who don't even attend or aren't members of the churches pastor...s have the privilege and responsibility to lead.

    It's no wonder so many pastors are often discouraged, exhausted, frustrated, and in their minds (if not in actuality) have tendered their resignations. Pastors move from church to church or from church to another line of work at an alarming rate. Some of this could be greatly reduced if they received more affirmation and encouragement from those they lead, especially those who are younger.

    I am well beyond the teens and 20s (74 at the end of 2013) but in my 45 years of ministry I have worked with lots of young people both with the Navigators and at Mars Hill Church. Many young adults hang back and stay on the fringes of church, afraid or reluctant to commit themselves. But as you deliberately support and encourage your pastor, you will identify yourself as someone who's on board and positive, and potentially someone whom your pastor can begin to invest in.

    Today's pastors need to focus on developing the next generation of leaders in their respective churches because young adults are the future of the church. It is, therefore, incumbent on young adults to especially be aware of how they can help, support and encourage their pastor(s). Here are some of my ideas on how you can stand behind and alongside of the pastor God has allowed to lead the church you call home.

    1. Pray for your pastor.

    Undoubtedly, the most important thing you can do to help your pastor be fruitful and effective in his role is to pray for him. You can use passages such as Ephesians 1:15-23, Ephesians 3:14-20 and Colossians 1:9-12 to pray for your pastor(s) and other leaders.
    Pray for him daily.
    Pray the Lord will give him wisdom in his various responsibilities in the church he serves.
    Pray for his role as both husband and father (if he is married and has children).
    Pray the Lord will protect him in the area of sexual purity.
    Pray he will experience courage and anointing in his preaching/teaching.
    Pray he would be able to strike a good balance between his ministry, family and personal life.

    2. Encourage your pastor.

    Lots of people will criticize and find fault. They will both email him and talk to him (and about him) in discouraging ways. You can be one of those who look for ways, and reasons, to encourage him — to camp on the positive, not the negative.

    Tell him what you appreciate about his ministry, and be specific. What has he recently done or said that you have profited from? After he preaches/teaches, go out of your way to tell him how it has blessed you. A pastor's teaching/preaching help many, but few tell him specifically how he has been a help and blessing.

    Every once in a while, write a personal note telling him you are praying for him and appreciate something he has said or done. Once again, be specific. For example, "When you said in a recent sermon that Jesus totally understands me and deeply loves me, that ministered to me because I am going through a difficult time right now and feeling lonely, and that is exactly what I needed to hear."

    3. Submit to your pastor's leadership.

    The Bible is clear on the topic of being willing to submit to the authority in the church you have chosen to be a part of. (I am not suggesting, nor does the Bible suggest, that you submit to ungodly or abusive leaders.) Here are two such passages talking about submitting, respecting and following your leaders.

    We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves" (1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13).

    Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you" (Hebrews 13:17).

    By being a regular attender/member at your church, you are placing yourself in a position to be taught, shepherded, led, and discipled by your church's pastor(s) and other leaders. It is an awesome step to accept God's call to be a pastor and to take seriously the roles and responsibilities that such a call entails. You should be able to trust, believe in, and submit to those the Lord has placed in authority over you. If you can't do this, you need to address this issue, and in extreme cases, leave if you can no longer respect and trust the leadership over you; more on this in point six.

    4. Get to know your pastor.

    A pastor, at times, has a lonely job. Many people instead of giving wind up taking from the pastor — taking his time, his energy, his resources, his wisdom and his counsel. It is refreshing and encouraging to know that people in the church family really care about him, pray for him, and really want to get to know him, not so they can take, but so that they can give.

    Why not call the church office to schedule some time with your pastor and offer to take him to lunch at his favorite restaurant? Ask him to tell you his story, how God saved him, called him into ministry and is currently leading him. I can guarantee you that he will appreciate this and be a better leader as a result of your initiative.

    5. Ask how you can serve your pastor/your church.

    Are you currently serving at your church? If you are serving, are you able to step it up a notch? Give more time or volunteer somewhere else where needed?

    I have never been in a church that had all the servants and leaders it needed and wanted. One of the best ways to grow personally, and at the same time help your church grow, is to find a place where your gifts, capacity and interests can make a unique contribution to what Jesus wants to do through you and through your church. If you are not serving in some capacity, please do so, leaving the ranks of the consumers and joining the ranks of the contributors.

    6. Talk honestly to, not about your pastor.

    If there is something that you honestly have a problem with — some decision he made, something he wrote or said that you disagree with — please talk to him, not about him.

    This is one of the big sins in the body of Christ. We talk about people, but not to people.

    Most pastors want to hear from people who have issues or questions with something at the church. Most would relish the opportunity to genuinely hear what is bothering you and to have the chance to both genuinely listen and share concerning your issue so the two of you can have mutual understanding and respect for each other.

    Talking about others rather than talking to others is gossip pure and simple, and it never makes things better, only worse. The book of Proverbs is loaded with words of warning about gossip. Here are a few for starters: Proverbs 11:13, 17:9, 18:8, 20:19.

    There are a lot of other things that could be said, but I will stop with these six. Let me say it again, "Your pastor needs YOU!"

    Most pastors want to be relevant to the younger generation and know that they can positively influence them for the kingdom. He needs your support, prayers, honest feedback and involvement to do this well. As you do this, you will experience more joy and personal growth in your walk with Jesus, your pastor will be more motivated and become a better leader, and Jesus will be honored.
Friday
Feb152013

The Value of a Child by Sis. Vickie Oliver

The Value of a Child

One could not possibly write fully of the God ordained value of just one child.

Each child that is born into this world, either loved or unloved, wanted or unwanted, is truly a blessing from the Lord. The value of that one life that will exist forever cannot be measured! Psalm 127:3-5 tells us that children are a gift from God and that we are blessed if we have many of them! (Paraphrased)

I personally value each child as an example of perfect trust and untainted innocence. If we recognized the great emphasis that Jesus placed on the children in scripture and took a good look at His reasons for doing so, we would soon discover the awesome traits in a child! A child is a canvass of innocence totally trusting the artist to paint only “good” upon him! I want to strive to approach the savior of my soul with that same trust! A little girl lent me such trust just a few weeks back. Her mother brought her to the Children’s Church Crusade and went to join the adults in the sanctuary for their service. This sweet four year old was not happy with this arrangement and was displaying a pouty lip and folded arms. We were just getting started with our service when I felt a tug at my skirt tail and heard her call me. “Teacher!” she said. “I am going to give you ten minutes! If it doesn’t get any better than this then I am leaving!” I must say that I was stunned and awed at her point-blank honesty and courage! I was taking it all in when it occurred to me that she is only four years old and most likely cannot tell time! I smiled sweetly and said “Ok, you have a deal! And I will tell you when ten minutes are up!” We both agreed on this arrangement and some three hours later she was speaking with other tongues in an altar where she was oblivious to time! The value in this lesson of total trust and honesty is priceless! I’m thrilled with the concept of not being so time conscious as well!

I am intrigued with the thoughts of what a child will become as he matures. We must not underestimate Gods plan and direction in the life of a child. The callings of God on young children are very real. I myself was called to ministry as a young child. I have witnessed many children express the voice of God in their life over the years and watched these same children grow to be preachers, teachers and evangelists. Their readiness to hear the voice of God is so refreshing! One such child came to me to express his experience in the altar at a Junior Youth camp. This young man was moved by the anointed word and made a commitment to be whatever God called him to be. Weeping and praying in the altar he surrendered his life at the age of 9 years old. After the service he came to find me where I was packing our props and preparing to go home. The child asked to speak to me about what God has just shown him while he prayed. He said, “Sister Oliver, God has called me to preach the gospel! I am going to be an evangelist and travel just like you!” He continued with, “I already have some messages written down and God says I am supposed to go with you now!” I was once again taken back by the openness of a child. He was so willing and ready to follow the leading of the Lord and to do it now! I carefully explained to him that he did indeed hear from God and he would do well to prepare himself now. I also assured him that his family would miss him terrible if he started traveled with me! This valuable child will no doubt win souls and do great things for God. Little did he know the lesson he is teaching adults by his example.

Children are not the future only; children are a valuable asset to the present. If we take a little time to listen, watch and learn from the everyday lessons that children teach, we will be blessed.

Tuesday
Dec182012

How Do You Define Truth?

A famous man named Pilate once asked a profound question – “What is Truth?” (John 18:38). That same question lingers in the minds of so many today. In a world of so many religions, there are those who claim there are no absolute truths. It is our honor to share with you, from the pages of the Word of God, what we believe is the answer to Pilate’s question – What is Truth?

In John 14:6, Jesus said of Himself, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” and He said in order to find out what Truth means, you must “continue in His Word” – and in so doing you would know the Truth and the knowing of that Truth would make you free! (John 8:31-32).

His Word reveals what Truth is – because Jesus IS Truth, then knowing Him through knowing His Word will reveal to you all of Truth that there is to know.

Have you ever been hungry? Spiritual hunger is much like physical hunger – you aren’t satisfied until you “eat”. Matthew 5:6 says “blessed are those that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.”

If you are hungry to know Jesus, to know what Truth is and if your desire is to know Him in personal relationship, then we challenge you to come learn with us and we encourage you to seek Him with your whole heart. Open your heart and mind when you open His Word.

Friday
Nov022012

Predestined Conformity

Predestined Conformity

by Ernest Krantz

The greatest man was Christ. He was meek yet courageous beyond comprehension. He was brilliant yet understandable to the simplest. He was powerful beyond imagination yet restrained. He had ultimate authority yet chose the path of temporary defeat. No one could ever compare with Christ because the man Christ Jesus is the incarnate of an infinitely perfect God – a divine being without shadow or turning.

But it was this man, His character and behavior, that serves as the template for every born again believer. Romans 8:29 tells us that: “God knew us and chose us to become like His Son, so that His Son would be the first born among many brethren.” Christ is more than THE Savior of the world. He is THE pattern that Christians everywhere should emulate.

His character and nature provide us benchmarks to strive towards. His kindness and courage represent the terminus of our divine capacity in struggle. His ability with words gives us insight into interpersonal communication. His graciousness shows us how to deal with the antagonists in our lives. Everything about Christ is a precursor of things we can and should see in ourselves.