Archive for October, 2015

Musical Ministers

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

In the month of October, we continue to honor and recognize the ministry. The last few weeks focused on the five-fold ministry: pastors, apostles, prophets, evangelists, and teachers. This week, we will honor another ministry God has blessed us with, and that is of the office of a music minister.

And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest (I Chronicles 6:31, KJV).

King David felt this was such a critical ministry, he appointed people to it. And, like pastors, apostles, prophets, evangelists, and teachers, the music ministers edify the body of Christ!

Our music ministers have an incredible responsibility to help ready the hearts of God’s people to invite God’s into their hearts, hear his Word, and respond to His presence! We are commanded in Scripture to praise (Hebrews 13:15) and worship (John 4:23–24) the Lord. Music ministers aid the church in their praise and worship through music and song.

Above all, music ministers strive to achieve unity in the praise and worship of the church—with every voice and every instrument. Much like in the Old Testament, when the musicians and singers were as one, making one sound thanking the Lord, the Lord’s presence filled the house (II Chronicles 5:12–14). Our music ministers spend innumerable segments of time practicing to ensure unity among their voices and instruments when accompanying the church’s praise and worship. When music ministers play and sing together, they desire not being a distraction to the church body so the Saints can focus on God!

In the book Worship Leaders: We are Not Rock Stars, Steven Miller mentions music ministers wear many hats in their ministerial role. Of note, music ministers are theologians, storytellers, and evangelists.

Music ministers spend countless hours searching for (and/or writing) and learning songs to include within our church praise and worship services. They are charged to ensure songs are doctrinally sound. Like the five-fold ministry, music ministers are held accountable if the songs they bring before the church body are not in alignment with Scripture.

Music ministers try to select songs that help bring forth the attributes and characteristics of God that are noteworthy—elements that the church takes for granted—with the goal of reminding the church the God who they serve! Music ministers also try to select songs to help the Saints make the action of praise and worship personal to them.

Our music ministers are no stranger to prayer and fasting. They seek God continually for His direction in song to select for the next church service that will: emulate the message God wants to convey, coincide with the preacher’s message, and speak to the trials the Saints are experiencing on a weekly basis. During the service when God’s presence moves in a mighty way, music ministers continue to play their instrument and/or sing to maintain the praise and worship atmosphere for the church body.

If we’ve ever participated in a church service, enjoyed special music, children’s and youth choirs, special events, etc. we’ve been blessed by a music minister. In our personal encounters with God at the altar after service, it is our music minsters who are seeking to help us make that connection with the Lord. We are blessed in so many ways by the ministry of our music ministers. Let’s take the time this month to appreciate the music ministers who’ve blessed us with song and music!

Open Season

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Scripture speaks about a man by the pool of Bethesda, who had an infirmity 38 years (John 5:2–9). The pool of Bethesda was a place where miracles happened. An angel would come down at a certain season and trouble the water. The first to enter the water had their life changed forever.

There’s nothing worse than being at the right place at the right time and missing out on an opportunity. Why did God only trouble the water at a certain season? This story finds its place in Scripture to teach us a truth for today: We no longer need to be in the right place at the right time. When Jesus shows up, we can get our miracle! We no longer need to wait!

Two Keys to Receiving Our Miracle

Decide

It’s not a question in God’s mind that He wants to bestow a miracle in our life. We need to decide that we want to be delivered. All healings were settled at Calvary—by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). Receiving a miracle is never a Jesus’ problem. It is always an “us” problem.

When Jesus saw the man lame for 38 years next to the pool of Bethesda, He stopped the miracle mid-motion. He asked the man if he wanted to be delivered (John 5:6). Decide ends in “cide” which means “death.” To make a decision in Jesus, we need to kill every other option. We need to give life to the Jesus option.

When we decide we want our miracle, Jesus will heal us. When we receive the freedom to walk, we do not need anyone to carry us anymore. Our miracle will free us from any bondage and affliction. When we receive that freedom, we should never walk back into our sickness! Jesus is here to push us from our pain, loose us from being lost, and deliver us from being destroyed.

Realize

We need to come to the realization there is nothing strong enough to keep us away from God’s healing touch. There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38–39). If we think we cannot be healed today, Jesus has eliminated every excuse. Jesus has all power and there is nothing impossible for Him!

Now is the Time

Today is the day of our salvation (II Corinthians 6:2). It’s open season. Get what you need from God today—don’t wait.

Tremendous Teachers

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

In the month of October, we continue to honor and recognize the ministry:

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11–12, KJV).

In the previous weeks, we highlighted the pastors God has placed in our life, as well as apostles, prophets, and evangelists. The last remaining ministerial role out of the five-fold ministry is a teacher. If we’ve ever attended Sunday school, Bible study, or a church service, we’ve been impacted by a teacher in some capacity.

Teachers—like our pastors, apostles, prophets, and evangelists—have an incredibly important role in the kingdom of God and spend most of their time studying and preparing lessons to teach the Word of God (II Timothy 2:15). Statistics show that teachers (and preachers) will spend on average 10 hours preparing for a 30 minute lesson!

Teachers complete research to include examples within their lessons on how to apply the Word to every-day life and the believer’s daily walk with God. They sometimes become mini-theologians by digging into the Hebrew and Greek to provide the original meaning of Biblical words and concepts to help the learner understand God’s original intent. On the whole, teachers painstakingly ensure their lessons are anointed, complete, and can be understood!

Teachers realize studying the Word of God is an lifelong undertaking, and can sometimes tire the Saints (Ecclesiastes 12:12–13). When a babe in Christ tries to read the original King James version, their inability to understand the Word can be discouraging! Therefore, teachers carry the burden to take the Word, break it into bite-sized pieces, and present it in a way the church body can understand it. Teachers also take great care to cater their lessons to their intended audience: those who are babes in Christ (who need milk) and to seasoned Saints (that can eat meat) (Hebrews 5:12). If there is someone with a desire to learn, the teacher has a passion to teach them!

Teachers also have an incredible burden on their shoulders to not only teach the commandments listed in the Word of God, but to do them as well (Matthew 5:19). They are challenged to set the example for their pupils in all every way of life (Titus 2:7). If a teacher errs in teaching false doctrine, God will judge them more strictly (James 3:1–2)—the salvation of souls is in their hands! Therefore, teachers are prayerful because they want to ensure alignment with the Word, and maintain an active presence of the Holy Ghost in their life to lead and guide them into all truth.

Our teachers are serving in the pulpit, Sunday school rooms, small group studies, Bible quizzing, homes, and many more places! If we open our eyes, we can see the work of a teacher in every area of our life. With just a little bit of knowledge teachers are empowering the church to operate in the ministry of teaching—what Saints learn, they can teach to someone else!

As we are abundantly blessed by pastors, apostles, prophets, and evangelists present in our life, we are very blessed by the teachers God has placed in our lives. Let’s take time this month to appreciate the teachers who’ve taught us to know and continue to know this beautiful truth!

How Stuff Works

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes (Matthew 7:24–29, KJV).

Life is full of relationships—some that are solid and some that are a little shaky. If we don’t have a good (working) relationship, we start to see broken friendships, broken families, and sometimes broken homes. If we don’t work and invest time in our relationships, they won’t work.

Keeping our relationships health and working takes a lot of time and effort; it takes work. But, how can we keep them all healthy? We eventually pour into the relationships we deem worthy enough to keep alive and let others dwindle. But, Jesus tells us that we cannot manage relationships based on our own rule set. When Jesus came to earth, He brought a relationship revolution.

Left to ourselves, we break stuff. We eventually learn the only way for anything to succeed is by doing it God’s way. If we seek God, keep Jesus in the center of our hearts and relationships, our relationships will withstand every test and trial of time.

Matthew 7:24–29 begins with “therefore” because Jesus had been sharing the relationship revolution—He was expounding truth that people had never heard before. Humans have a tendency to deal with relationships foolishly. We all have relationships that are “crashing down around us” and we pretend not to notice. There are “elephants in the room”—confines of our relationships—that we choose to ignore.

We are like the people described in Scripture (Matthew 23:23–26) that make big issues out of little things and ignore the big (important) things. In keeping relationships solid, we need to focus on what truly matters. We cannot “love” the elephant in our life and circumvent dealing with broken relationships. In order for our relationships to thrive and succeed, we must work on them!

Forgiveness is the key ingredient that will take care of every relationships issue. Forgiveness will get the relationships working again. We like to think everyone else is messed up, but in reality, it’s really us. Jesus told Peter—the Disciple who denied Jesus three times—when he asked for forgiveness, to convert and strengthen others (Luke 22:31–32). When we get Jesus in our hearts and He reigns in our life, we will have His supernatural power in us to help us make relationships work!

Jesus had to send the Comforter (Holy Ghost) to help us in our relationships (John 14:26). It is His Spirit living within us that helps others feel His love every day. We cannot forgive others until we accept that Christ forgave us. Today, let’s seek to restore the relationships we’ve allowed to break in our lives. Seek out the Lord, being willing to ask for forgiveness, and forgive others, and we’ll see the rebuilding of relationships in our lives that will last a lifetime!

Merited Ministers

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

The month of October is a time to honor and recognize the ministry:

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11–12, KJV).

Last week, we highlighted the pastors God has placed in our life. Pastors should be a more prominent spiritual figure in our life because we all need a pastor! But, God knew His people would need edification from more than just pastors—we needed apostles, prophets, and evangelists.

While pastors serve in a more personal and intimate capacity in our life, apostles, prophets, and evangelists are working at a slightly broader level. But, the body of Christ benefits from these portions of the five-fold ministry just as much.

Apostles, prophets, and evangelists are going into all the world to preach the Gospel (Mark 16:15) and are marked with true Apostolic identity. Many of these ministers are present in our churches today, visit our churches, and/or are active in the community, our job, or our institution of education.

God gave apostles, prophets, and evangelists to help the church: (1) learn the Word of God (John 21:15–19), (2) be aware of God’s presence (John 15:27), (3) embrace sincere worship (Jeremiah 7:1–11), (3) warn of divine judgment for our wrong doings (Jeremiah 36:30–31) and in the case of our prophets, (4) reveal important future events (Jeremiah 30:1–3). This list is nowhere near exhaustive enough of the multitude of ways these roles minister to the church!

These ministers, like our pastors, spend much of their time in prayer and fasting and have a keen ear to hear the voice of God. They are obedient to deliver messages to the church that are not only difficult for them to speak but also for the hearers (the church) to receive. Ministers are constantly in season (II Timothy 4:2) and ready to be used by God on a moment-to-moment basis.

While the church seeks revival, our ministers are the ones seeking God to use them bring that Spirit! Our ministers bear the burden of reviving the saints—true to their purpose of edifying the church. Many of these ministers spend most of their time on the road traveling from church to church, and do not have many conveniences we take for granted. They also sacrifice time with friends and family to do a work for the Lord.

While some are local to our church, there are ministers fulfilling a missionary role to the remainder of the country as well as abroad. They put themselves in danger taking the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8). They know what it’s like to sacrifice their time, money, and energy just to see a soul saved—providing a way for someone to hear this beautiful truth and have an opportunity at making heaven.

Just as we are blessed to have a pastor in our life, we are blessed for the apostles, prophets, and evangelists that God has placed in our lives. They are a gift we do not take enough time to thank God for or even the individual operating in that particular ministry. Let’s take time this month to appreciate the apostles, prophets, and evangelists who’ve blessed us tremendously!

Children’s Revival

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

Purposeful Pastors

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding (Jeremiah 3:15, KJV).

The month of October is earmarked as a time of the year to celebrate and recognize the ministry, clergy, spiritual leaders, etc.—however we choose to define them—that are present in our life.

God knew once He created man, he would eventually need a spiritual leader in his life. Scripture notes in Ephesians 4:11–12 God “…gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (KJV).

The word edifying in the Greek (oikodomé) is the act of spiritual building, advancement, and edification. God placed pastors in our life to challenge us in our walk with the Lord. Pastors fulfill the role of edifying the church by helping us draw closer to God, live righteously and in alignment with the Word, hear God’s voice, be a good steward of our God-given gifts (spiritual or financial), and be a blessing to others—the list goes on and on!

The pastors God has placed in our lives are good examples of how we should live our daily lives. A pastor’s life is more about servanthood than anything else. They serve God, but they also serve the church and the individual Saints in more ways that we realize. Our pastors are constantly at the church monitoring the inter-workings of the institution, overseeing administrative tasks, cleaning the floors, changing lightbulbs, counseling Saints, preparing for services, and supporting events. There is not enough time or space to list all that a pastor does for the Saints, church, and kingdom of God!

Pastors sacrifice much of their time, energy, and talent giving their all to the work of God. They work to enable many benefits of living for God we all take for granted! Our pastors spend many days and nights in prayer and fasting. Through their spiritual efforts they lay the groundwork for our own spiritual development and experiences. Our pastors put their finances on the line to support the building many of us call our church. Our pastors address their family’s needs second to be available to the Saint’s beckoning—all hours of the day and night!

Pastors know they have been given the charge to feed and support the church. They meet this requirement by teaching and preaching the Word to feed our knowledge and understanding. Pastors pray, counsel, text/email a good word, or offer a smile to fed the church emotionally. And, pastors also offer up finances to help the Saints financially (in and outside of church). Finally, pastors make hospital visits, pray over people when they’re sick, and are present at the church does well to feed the church physically!

We are all blessed beyond measure for the pastoral leadership God has placed in our lives. They are truly a gift every day that we live for God. Let us thank God for the many blessings we experience through the work of our pastors, and for our pastor himself! Let’s take time in the month of October to appreciate the pastor in our life and pray that God continues to bless him pressed down, shaken together, and running over.

A Place Called Dalmanutha

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha. And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? Verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side (Mark 8:10–13, KJV).

There is no greater place of safety than in the house of the Lord and in His presence. We should always remember that if we seek God’s presence, He will meet us (Jeremiah 29:13). In God’s presence there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11)—He will make us feel better and change our circumstances. God may not meet our need in the way we think He will, but He will always supply it (Philippians 4:19).

While we may accept the fact that God will move, we often try to paint Him into a corner for how He should move in our life. If God doesn’t act according to the way we think He should, we get bent out of shape. We need to remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways, and thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8–9).

In our setting of Scripture, Jesus had a specific destination when He set sail. He sailed to Dalmanutha. Jesus arrived, but instead of being greeted by a welcoming spirit, Jesus met opposition. He quickly left without performing any miracles. Due to the spirit of opposition, the people of Dalmanutha did not receive from Jesus what He had in store for them that day.

There are elements in our lives that have become an obstacle that God never intended to cause us problems. When God desires to do something in our life, we need to remove every obstacle from our life so that He can complete a work. Many times we walk away from the presence of God without seeing a miracle either because we had the wrong attitude, God met a need we didn’t want Him to meet, or we didn’t allow God to break the chains that were binding us!

We need to lay aside every weight and just be in His presence! Whether it takes a short or a long period of time to receive our miracle, we need to stay faithful to God and stay faithful to His house. Today, no one knows where Dalmanutha is. This sends a clear message to us that this city wasted away because of how they interacted with the presence of God. If the people allowed Jesus to operate in the way He came to work, what would be known of this city today?

Today, we need to present ourselves as an empty vessel to the Lord. We should present our bodies a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1) and allow Him to complete His perfect work in us. Let’s not create a new place called Dalmanutha in our life today. Let’s not allow our miracle to pass us by because of our own ideals and attitudes. Instead, when the Lord gets ready to move, let Him move!