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Give up dirt for diamonds

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2020 in Quotes, Tim Challies

 

An overview for training leaders in the church

Book Review: The Leadership Formula: Develop the Next Generation of Leaders in the Church, by Juan Sanchez

Pastor and author Juan Sanchez believes the church has a leadership problem. Far too often, churches focus on competency, skills, and giftedness, but they fail to consider the biblical qualifications for leadership. While the church can and should raise up faithful leaders, we must also consider what kind of leaders we are raising up. His book is a basic primer on how to develop godly leaders.

In chapters 1 and 2, the author lays out a biblical foundation for leadership in which he summarizes the problem.

In Genesis 1 and 2, God established the pattern of leadership. The man and the woman are equal as God’s image, and each has a distinct role unique to their gender. The man was created to lead, protect, and provide, while the woman was created to come alongside the man and help and encourage his leadership. Sadly, though, instead of faithfully reflecting the divine image, Adam and Eve rebelled against God. So God cursed them, and as a part of that curse, the man and the woman entered into a relationship of conflict, characterized by a battle for control. That’s the leadership problem.

In chapters 3-9, he lays out what he proposes as the biblical formula to observe and evaluate faithful men in potential leadership roles. Pastors and elders must not only model biblical leadership; we must continually develop biblical leaders, so that the church may continue in faithful ministry until Christ returns. Churches should seek to develop leaders with godly character, biblical and theological convictions, competence to teach God’s word, and experience to caringly shepherd the church faithfully. Together, these qualities demonstrates the leaders’ credibility.

In chapter 10-11, he applies his principles to pastors, parents, and Christians in general. The author provides practical instructions to each group on how to develop godly leaders in their context.

The book is thoroughly biblical and offers examples from the author’s church and ministry. The book provides an overview of the topic of leadership development. It will get you started in developing a philosophy of leadership development. However, you will need additional tools and resources to flesh out the concepts and form a practical plan for implementation.

Disclosure: I received this book free from B&H Publishing through the B&H/Lifeway Bloggers program http://www.bhbloggers.com/. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2020 in Books, Leadership, Quotes

 

Tozer on Money

“As base a thing as money often is, yet it can be transmuted into everlasting treasure. It can be converted into food for the hungry and clothing for the poor. It can keep a missionary actively winning lost men to the light of the gospel and thus transmute itself into heavenly values. Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth. Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality.”

A. W. Tozer

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2020 in A. W. Tozer, Finances, Ministry, Quotes

 

It’s not about the numbers

“God’s job is to worry about the number of sheep. Your job is to feed the sheep.”

That the advice Pastor Tim Counts’ grandfather gave him after Tim was discouraged by the low attendance for a Wednesday night Bible study. It is part of a helpful article entitled, “Brothers, preach your heart out–No matter how few people are in the room.” I found it a good reminder as I prepare to preach tomorrow.

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2020 in Preaching, Quotes

 

The need for preparation

“Every time you preach or teach, someone sweats. Either you do beforehand or they do during.”

Howard Hendricks

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2020 in Preaching, Quotes

 

Incomplete forgiveness

Those who say they will forgive but can’t forget, simply bury the hatchet but leave the handle out for immediate use.”

Dwight L. Moody

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2020 in Quotes

 

Grace Giving

Pastor John Piper began a sermon on money by saying,

Richard Halverson, the chaplain of the U.S. Senate, pointed out something that bothers a lot of people and excites a few. He said,

Jesus Christ said more about money than about any other single thing because, when it comes to a man’s real nature, money is of first importance. Money is an exact index to a man’s true character. All through Scripture there is an intimate correlation between the development of a man’s character and how he handles his money.

That is a good paraphrase of Matthew 6:21 where Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” In other words, what your money goes after is a signal of what your heart goes after. And Jesus cares more than anything about what your heart is going after.

What our hands do with our money shows what our hearts are doing with God. Or to get right at the heart of the matter: what we do with our money shows what we believe God is doing with us. What money is to us shows what God is to us.

2 Corinthians 9:6-15 is the culmination of Paul’s teaching on the subject of giving. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, he explained the principles of giving. In 2 Corinthians 8, he presented the church in Macedonia as an example of generous giving. In 2 Corinthians 8:7, he challenged the church in Corinth to excel in the act of generosity. In 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, Paul explains the cycle of grace giving. We have been blessed in order to be a blessing.

Give generously (6-7). Each one of us has the responsibility and privilege of giving. Giving is to be planned (“decided”), kept private (“in his heart”), done willingly (“not reluctantly or under compulsion”), and joyfully (“cheerful”).

As we contemplate how much to give, we need to keep in mind two facts. (1) The law of the harvest. If we sow sparingly, we receive a rather thin harvest. If we sow generously, we receive a bountiful harvest. (2) God weighs our motives. He loves sincere (not reluctantly), willing (not under compulsion), cheerful givers.

God’s grace abounds to us (8a). When we give, God responds by pouring out his grace to us. Paul heaps four words together to make his point—“all grace,” “all sufficiency,” “all things,” and “all times.” God will give us all we need, not necessarily all we want.

We give even more to God (8b). God doesn’t bless us so we can be blessed. He doesn’t reward us for our own benefit. God pours out his grace so we can abound in every good work. We have been blessed in order to be a blessing.

God blesses us even more (10-11). God will multiply our seed and increase our harvest. We will be enriched in every way so we can be generous in every way. The cycle begins all over again. The more we give, the more we will be given by God to share with others.

There is a three-fold result to the cycle of grace giving. People’s needs are met (12a). God is praised and glorified (11b, 12b-13, 15). The giver is appreciated and prayed for (14). The cycle of generosity results in more and more people giving thanks to God.

Based on this passage, Christ followers should:

  • Obey God’s command to give
  • Be generous
  • Trust the law of the harvest
  • Have a proper view of God
  • Give joyfully
  • Trust God to keep his promise
  • Seek God’s glory

We have been blessed in order to be a blessing.

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on February 23, 2020. It is part of a series on Generosity. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

 
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Finding joy in trials

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2020 in Quotes, Tim Challies

 

Forgive, if you want to have a long, healthy ministry

In his book, Resilient: Key Factors in a Long and Successful Pastorate, author John Miller includes the “Capacity to Forgive Wrongs Suffered” as one of his factors. He writes,

I am persuaded that ministers who remain spiritually healthy through the years and decades have made the often-challenging decision not to hold grudges. They have endeavored to wish no ill on those who have wronged them, lied about them, betrayed them, backstabbed them, front stabbed them or abused them. In fact, these shepherds have learned through the rugged realities of ministry that forgiveness is the best medicine for healing a wounded heart.

I think the author has hit the nail on the thumb. Though difficult to do, it is so much healthier in the long run to let go of the hurts and forgive those who caused them. I have found it helpful to pray a blessing for those individuals when God brings them to my mind today.

 

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2020 in Books, Ministry, Quotes

 

Who determines truth?

What does it mean to “live my truth”? Who determines what that truth is? Is it up to me alone?

I encountered the phrase in an article about retired NBA star Dwayne Wade. He was on The Ellen Show and talked about when his twelve-year-old son, Zion, came out as transgender and wanted to be called, Zaya. “I’m ready to live my truth,” was part of the reasoning behind the decision.

According to author Marquita Herald in a blog post on www.emotionallyresilientliving.com, living your truth means,

It’s important to understand that learning to live your truth isn’t about changing or “fixing” you, it’s about freeing you to be the confident, powerful person you were meant to be, and honoring that truth through actions and communication with others as well as yourself.

Living your truth means your relationships with others can be based on mutual respect rather than the disempowering need for external validation.

Support is always a good thing, but when you have the confidence to accept what’s right for you, it releases from the need for approval from others.

Based on these statements, it sounds as if truth is a purely subjective issue. It sounds as if I can determine what is true for me regardless of what others say or don’t say. But how do I know that “my truth” can be trusted?

This subjective approach to defining “my truth” is the logical end result that occurs when you reject Jesus Christ as the source of truth. Jesus claimed, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). In an exchange with Pontius Pilate (John 18:37-38), Jesus said, “… for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” to which Pilate replied, “What is truth?”

In Romans 1:18-32, the apostle Paul describes the downward spiral of society. In large part, it is due to a rejection of truth. When people “suppress the truth” (18), claim to be wise in their foolishness (22), and exchange truth for a lie (25), they end up treating truth subjectively. What is playing out in the media today is a vivid portrayal of Romans 1. We should not then be surprised when it leads to God bringing judgment on society (18).

Rather than turning inward to discover and define “my” truth, I need to turn back to Jesus. He is the one who is the source of truth. It is only when I abide in his word that I know the truth that truly sets me free (John 8:31-32).

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2020 in Culture, Jesus, News stories, Quotes, Scripture