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The right way to boast

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2017 in Scripture

 

Finding and giving comfort

During my Bible reading this morning, I read 2 Corinthians 1:3–4.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

It was a welcome reminder for both now and the future. God is comforting me during my current affliction. He is using this experience to prepare me to better comfort others as they go through various trials. He comforts me in my affliction so I can comfort others in any affliction.

Nothing is wasted in the will of God. That in itself is comforting.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2017 in Personal growth, Scripture

 

Getting back to normal

 

As part of my rehab and recovery from a broken leg/hip, I was told it would take 4-6 months to get back to normal. In one of my more reflective moods, I began to contemplate what that means and whether or not it is possible.

How can you get back to normal when everything will be different? At the end of the recovery period, I will be headed to Russia on my annual ministry trip. With a titanium rod and pins in my right leg, navigating airport security will be completely different. I will need greater patience to constantly explain why my leg is setting off the metal detectors. Traveling will never be normal again.

Preaching will require a new normal. I do not use a pulpit and move constantly while I preach. I hold a Bible in one hand and a remote mouse in my other hand. I use PowerPoint and visuals when I preach. Since I now use a walker to get around, I cannot carry things in my hand. I will need a podium or music stand to set things on. Since I cannot stand for long periods, I will need to sit on a stool. My style of preaching will need to change.

Our church staff has stepped up in my absence to fill the void while I’m on the DL. Jack Gilbert has preached for several weeks. His skills and abilities have grown. When I return, there will be a new and different dynamic. There will be a new normal.

During my recovery, I am sleeping in a recliner since getting in and out of bed is too painful. Since I used to sleep on my right side, and since I broke my right leg, will I need to learn a new way of sleeping? Will my nights ever be normal again?

Is it realistic to think life will ever get back to normal? In one sense, it’s like standing in a river and then stepping onto the riverbank for a period of time. When you step back in, it’s a different river. The water is different. Erosion has occurred and the river bottom has changed slightly. Rocks have shifted their positions. I stepped out of the river of my normal life for several weeks/months. When I step back in, will it ever be normal again?

I am reminded of the words of Frodo Baggins at the end of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on when in your heart you begin to understand there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep that have taken hold.

Rather than expect everything to remain static and on hold for my return, I need to understand that things have changed. I will need to adapt and adjust and change and develop a new normal. Life will never be the same again. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. It might be even better.

 

 

 

What would my mother think?

Would my mother be more horrified that: (1) I have a broken leg/hip and need a walker to get around; or (2) I wore sweats to church today? I’m guessing the latter. 😉

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2017 in Family & Friends

 

What is God teaching you?

“What is God teaching you?” someone asked me Friday evening. I was reminded of my father’s answer when I asked him that same question when he was dying of cancer in 1983. Dad responded, “I don’t know, but I know he can be trusted.”

Like my father, I know that God can be trusted even if he never reveals why I went through this season of disability.

I am confident that a broken leg/hip and weeks on the DL is part of God’s plan for my life. I am confident that he who began a good work in me will complete it (Philippians 1:6). I am confident that God will cause this event to work together for his good purpose and that he will use it to make me more like Jesus (Romans 8:28-29). I am confident God will use this season of trial to further shape and hone my character (James 1:2-12). I am confident that God will demonstrate his power in my weakness, and that his grace is sufficient during this season of disability (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). I am confident that nothing is wasted in the will of God. This is part of his curriculum to prepare me for an even more determinative ministry.

“Though he slay me, I will hope in him” (Job 13:15).

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2017 in Character, Personal growth, Scripture

 

Levels of Evangelism

Levels of Evangelism

Gary L. McIntosh, Growing God’s Church: How People Are Actually Coming to Faith Today

 

    Persuasion Evangelism

Goal: Helping others become disciples of Jesus Christ.

Evaluation: How many people have become lifelong followers of Jesus Christ?

 
Proclamation Evangelism

Goal: Helping others hear about and decided to believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

Evaluation: How many people have believed?

Presence Evangelism

Goal: Helping others in the name of the Lord

Evaluation: How many people have been helped?

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2017 in Church, Evangelism, Quotes

 

A balanced approach to ministry

Do we share the gospel or do we feed the hungry? Do we pour our efforts into evangelism or digging wells for clean water? The nature of these questions assumes an either/or answer. However, as Dr. Gary McIntosh explains, we need a holistic approach to ministry, but one which keeps sharing the gospel as the first among equals.

Our priority to proclaim the gospel of salvation to all the nations does not mean we should ignore serving our communities or mankind. Service without proclamation and proclamation without service are both futile. It is the gospel preached and lived that impacts humanity and society with power. Both need to be preserved, and the church must practice both. In truth it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to disentangle preaching and service. Preaching the gospel of salvation must be done among the people, not just to the people. Yet it must also be admitted that the best service the church can render to humanity is the proclamation of the gospel of salvation. Numerous nonprofit organizations, Christian and non-Christian, address social justice issues around the world. But only the church is called to proclaim salvation in Jesus Christ.

What makes the church unique is not its good deeds but its message of salvation in Jesus Christ. If we feed the hungry today but fail to preach the gospel of salvation and thereby see few or none turning to Christ, those we feed will ultimately die in their sins. They may be well fed, but they will go into eternity apart from Christ. The ultimate service is to win souls, whereby they go into eternity as children of God.

Gary L. McIntosh, Growing God’s Church: How People Are Actually Coming to Faith Today

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2017 in Church, Evangelism, Ministry, Quotes