Ministry Spark

7 06 2011

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service…” (1 Timothy 1:12)

Ministry takes place when divine resources meet human needs through loving channels to the glory of God.

–Warren Wiersbe, On Being A Servant of Christ

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Reciprocity

3 05 2011

“O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem…”
Jesus, Luke 13:34

The vision of the house churches in China today is not only to saturate our own country with the life and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, but also to impact all remaining Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu nations with the Gospel…It is as though Hudson Taylor (19th century pioneer missionary to inland China) handed a flaming torch to the Chinese church and asked us to continue the race towards the finish line.

–Paul Xu Yongze, Back to Jerusalem





The Kingdom Imperative

22 04 2011

“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
(2 Peter 3:17,18)

A church is truly relevant when it seeks first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. It becomes irrelevant when the tangential worries (packaging, PR, what brand of coffee is served in the foyer, etc.) take precedence over living and preaching the biblical gospel.”

–Brett McCracken, Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide





The Nature of Worship

26 06 2007

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
(John 4:21-24)

Worship is not what you feel when you look at the ocean or when you are enjoying a wonderful mountain lakworship-at-the-beach.jpge. It’s not the way you feel smelling the cut grass of a perfectly manicured golf course or hearing the squeak of perfect snow under your skis. Many of us confuse worship with inspiration. Inspiration occurs when God illumines our lives with His gracious presence. Worship is our response to those moments. If we truly want to honor the God who gave us perfect swells, clear trout streams, ski slopes, golf greens, beautiful children, and loving spouses, we should enjoy those things six days a week and then give God the worship He commands on the seventh. Worship always includes gathering with God’s people and participating in “spirit and in truth.”

–Tod E. Bolsinger, It Takes A Church To Raise A Christian: How The Community of God Transforms Lives, pp93-4





Warring For Peace

19 06 2007

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
(Ephesians 4:29)

About 20 years ago, I said something impromptu to the new members lined up across the front of the church. As we received them, the Holy Spirit prompted me to add, “And now, I charge you that if you ever hear another member speak an unkind word of criticism or slander against anyone—myself, an usher, a choir member, or anyone else—that you stop that person in mid-sentence and say, ‘Excuse me—who hurt you? Who ignored you? Who slighted you? Was it Pastor Cymbala? Let’s go to his office right now. He’ll apologize to you, and then we’ll pray together so God can restore peace to this body. But we won’t let you talk critically about people who aren’t present to defend themselves.’

“I’m serious about this. I want you to help resolve this kind of thing immediately. And know this: If you are ever the one doing the loose talking, we’ll confront you.”

To this day, every time we receive new members, I say much the same thing. That’s because I know what most easily destroys churches. It’s not crack cocaine, government oppression, or even lack of funds. Rather it’s gossip and slander that grieves the Holy Spirit.

–Jim Cymbala, pastor Brooklyn Tabernacle





Why Don’t We Get It?

16 06 2007

“Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.”
(Acts 6:3)

As clear as Scripture is about the priority and preeminence of following, it is somewhat amazing that we still don’t seem to get it. Churches hold leadership training courses, but rarely get around to talking about following. We fill our preaching agendas with calls for men to be leaders in their homes and leaders in the church, when what we really need are people who are first and foremost fully devoted followers.

Think of the dramatic power of a husband who tenderly cares for his wife, because he is singularly defined and directed by Christ, regardless of what he gets in return or how she is responding. As a follower, he has no option but to live Christ’s love in his home. Or consider a leader whose singular goal is to magnify Christ and serve the needs of His people rather than gaining a reputation and influence.

–Joseph Stowell, Following Christ: Experiencing Life The Way It Was Meant To Be, p39





The Blushing Apostle

3 06 2007

“Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God and walk in all His ways and keep His commandments and hold fast to Him and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
(Joshua 22:5)

The first step down for any church is taken when it surrenders its high opinion of God.

–A.W. Tozer

Raphael was painting his famous Vatican frescoes when a couple of cardinals stopped by to watch and to criticize.

“The face of the apostle is too red,” said one.

Raphael replied, “He blushes to see into whose hands the church has fallen.”

–quoted in Warren Wiersbe’s The Integrity Crisis, p40