The charge to go and make disciples of all nations propelled the early followers of Christ into a strategic mission that turned the world upside down – not just by preaching the gospel, but by training the new believers as well. To be a Christian is to be a disciple – a lifelong learner and follower of Jesus.
3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. - 2 Timothy 2:3-6
Paul compares the life of a disciple to the life of a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer. He then promises that if Timothy will reflect on these things, the Lord will give him insight. I want you to reflect on each of these things so that God can give you insight as to what a fully devoted follower is all about. Write each word down and reflect on what it teaches you about discipleship.
In Luke 6:40 it says that the student will become like the teacher. If we are called to make disciples, what are you producing? Spend some time reflecting on how the Lord wants to develop you not only to sustain you but the replicate Himself through you in others.
This Sunday we are celebrating those who have graduated. Let’s come and show our support for the next chapter in so many lives and pray that they will be all about knowing Jesus as they continue on in their journey.
Joy in Jesus!
There was a father who kept a journal everyday to look back on wrote something in it that was not completely accurate. He wrote, “Went fishing with my son today – a day wasted.” His son followed in his father’s footsteps and also kept a journal. In his he wrote, “Went fishing with my father – the most wonderful day of my life!”
On Sunday, we had baby day. It was wonderful seeing all the babies in our church. Along with these babies are parents who have the responsibility to raise them up in the Lord. What all is involved in that? As a parent, your role never ceases even when they are grown up and out on their own. Sometimes when you raise your children it can be the most challenging and rewarding times of your life. You never take a vacation from being a mom and dad. If you are not always hooked in to the power source of the Holy Spirit, then you are going to fail at raising kids who completely rely on the Lord.
In a few weeks, we will see our children enter a new season of life by celebrating those who are graduating. As I shared, you have 936 weeks with your children home full time. What you do with those weeks matters.
The apostle Paul shares a few simple truths in Ephesians 6 to help guide you on your journey.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise--3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. 5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. - Ephesians 6:1-6
Did you see the three guidelines for Christian Parenting?
May God continue to give all parents the wisdom to walk as a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ, following the One who knows best. When we make a mistake, we own it, as forgiveness, and strive to be all that God empowers us to be. Pray often for one another as we work to raise up children who love God with all their heart.
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
3 John 4
Joy in Jesus!
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. - John 14:16-17
Jesus calls upon the Father and sets the stage for the Holy Spirit to come and fill the believers. He does not bring us this far to drop us. His ministry and power continue to be evident in the form of the Holy Spirit. In John 16:7-15, Jesus begins to get very specific in His description of the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit. He reveals that the Holy Spirit’s ministry will look very much like His, except that He will indwell all believers and empower them to live and look like Jesus. Unfortunately, as A.W. Tozer has said, “Every believer has the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit does not have every believer.”
What would happen if the Holy Spirit were suddenly removed from our safe, routine driven world where people are used to living on their own human strength? Probably about 95% of all we do would continue, unaffected by His absence.
A.W. Tozer was a well-known author and pastor in the early 1900’s. Here is what he writes, “The doctrine of the Spirit as it relates to the believer has, over the last half century, been shrouded in a mist such as lies upon a mountain in stormy weather. A world of confusion has surrounded this truth. This confusion has not come by accident. An enemy has done this. Satan knows that Spiritless evangelicalism is as deadly as modernism or heresy, and he has done everything in his power to prevent us from enjoying our true Christian heritage.” Tozer died in 1963. The world has advanced in ungodly territory since then. Every step away from God seems extreme in the present time you are living. He was seeing it then and we are definitely seeing unprecedented evil amongst us today. They say that sinful living is the same today as it was many years ago. It just has a new coating. As a world, we just continue to slip further and further away from our spiritual heritage.
The Holy Spirit desires to not only indwell but to empower us; to not simply be in us but be on us, in power. He wants us to not be dragged into the pattern of this world. He is a person, just like Jesus, who has a mind, will, and emotions and wants to gift and enable every Christian for supernatural ministry.
Look at what the Holy Spirit’s role is:
This Sunday we will continue our Study of the Gospel of John. We will specifically look in John 3. I always look forward to worshipping the Father with my Church family. Consciously seek the Lord and His Spirit with all your heart. Give Him your all and follow with an unrelenting dedication to His ways.
Joy in Jesus!
There was a lady named Anne Sullivan born in poverty and affliction. She was half blind. Her mother died and she went to live in the poor house in Massachusetts. While she was at Perkins Institute for the Blind, a brilliant operation restored her sight. From that point on she devoted herself to the blind.
One of the people she cared for was a baby born blind and deaf by the name of Helen Keller. Anne initially taught her thirty words, spelling them by touching the hand. She worked with her for forty-nine years. Helen became an incredible powerhouse in her own right.
Time came when misfortune befell Anne Sullivan, who meanwhile had become Mrs. Macy. She became blind. Now it was time for the student to become the teacher. Helen, out of gratitude, returned grace to Anne by helping her to cope and thrive in her new condition.
Psalm 100 is filled with praise, thanksgiving, and a heart of gratitude for all God has done for us.
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100)
Within Psalm 100 there are 7 reasons to show gratitude to the Lord:
We serve a God who gives us many reasons to be grateful. If you think about it, the instant that we are born, we already owe our mothers for nine months of room and board. There is no way that we can pay that debt. But we can have fun trying. Maybe even this Sunday as we celebrate Mother’s Day. This Sunday we will have a small token of appreciation for our mothers and recognize the love they have for their families.
Gratitude is from the same root word as “grace,” which signifies the free and boundless mercy of God. Thanksgiving is from the same root as “think,” so that to think is to thank. Take some time today to be grateful and thankful for not only the Lord but our mothers and others the Lord brings into our lives. When we choose to live a grateful life, we will live as a blessed people and see the Lord provide peace that passes all understanding.
May God give each of us a grateful heart.
Joy in Jesus!
It’s report time. I’ve known about it for a while but it is finally here. It is like the paper the professor assigned at the beginning of the semester and now it is due within the week. It is crunch time because you’ve allowed other things to get in the way. They were necessary but they didn’t get you where you needed to be.
I like how Chuck Swindoll describes this professional thief that steals your time away.
“Chances are you’d never pick this slick little guy out of a crowd, but many, over the years, have come to regard him as a formidable giant. Quick as a laser and silent as a moonbeam, he can pick any lock. Once inside, his winsome ways will captivate your attentions. You’ll treat him like your best friend. But watch out. He’ll strip you without a blink of remorse.
Master clever logic that he is, the bandit will rearrange the facts just enough to gain your sympathies. When others call his character into question, you’ll find yourself not only believing in him, but actually quoting and defending him. Too late, you’ll see through his ruse and give him grudging credit as the shrewdest of all thieves. Some never come to such a realization at all. They stroll to their graves arm-in-arm with the very robber who has stolen away their lives. His name? Procrastination. His specialty? Stealing time and incentive.
This not only happens with reports or tests that creep up on us, it happens in most of our bathrooms when we step on the scales. I know you have done it, as have I. You step on the scales and look down in disbelief. “Who broke my scale?” The scale is telling the truth, but the thief offers another interpretation. So what do you do? Wait to deal with it another day because you can put it off ‘til tomorrow. Besides, you have a box full of donuts to celebrate something with."
Some of you have been putting some things off for a while now. You’ve ignored it, dodged it, postponed it, even run from it. The time is now to check that off your list. The thief offers the perfect alibi and back on the shelf goes your decision. Don’t fall for it this time.
“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Proverbs 14:23
I pray your day will be profitable as you work on eliminating another long, overdue item on your list of postponed tasks.
Remember that we will have our Faith Promise Dinner on Saturday at 5:30pm in the Family Life Center. Sam Tamayo from the Philippines will be our guest speaker. He has an incredible testimony you will not want to miss. Our Work and Witness Team will be sharing some stories from the Tennessee trip to Crosstyle Ministries as well as our Kinderchoir sharing a song. Childcare will be provided for 3 and under. The kids will love hearing all the things God is doing in our world. It is going to be a great night. So don’t put it off, put it on your calendar right now.
Ok, where do I start on this report…? What else can I do…
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene