Saturday, June 23, 2018

A Biblical Framework to Process a Calling to and Prepare for Full-time Ministry.


Regardless of what your opinion may be about women filling positions of leadership in the church, Jesus spoke of several women who played important roles in spreading the gospel message. 






The following article is an excerpt from the new book Now That I’m Called: A Guide for Women Discerning a Call to Ministry by Kristen Padilla. Her book provides women with a biblical, theological, and practical framework to process their calling and prepare them for full-time ministry.

Wondering if God is calling call you to vocational ministry? Find clarity in these two biblical steps adapted from Padilla’s book Now That I’m Called.

First, go forth in prayer. Jesus’ ministry was marked by prayer. He often withdrew by himself to pray (Luke 5:16). Jesus prays before miracles, such as the feeding of the five thousand (Matt. 14:19) and raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:41–42). His greatest test—his betrayal and death on a cross—was bathed in prayer. Jesus prayed in the garden; he prayed on the cross. He very likely prayed every step of the way. Jesus also taught his disciples how to pray (Matt. 6:9–13) and later urged them to pray so that they would not fall into temptation (Matt. 26:41).

Prayer is not a suggestion, an add-on, or a recommendation. Prayer is a command from Jesus himself. It is also a right, a privilege, a blessing, and a necessity for a Christian ministry. Prayer brings us into the royal court of our triune God. If you want to have a ministry that mirrors Jesus’ ministry, then prayer must be an essential component. Our ministries and our faith won’t survive without prayer. But even when we don’t know how to pray or what to pray, he is faithful to help us when we ask.

Second, go forth in trust and obedience. Jesus teaches us that our Father is good and trustworthy. Everything I have said in this book boils down to the goodness and sovereignty of God over our calls and ministries. Trust him to see the call he has given you through to its completion. Obey him, even if obedience is difficult and you don’t understand why. Depend on him, fully trusting in the truth that God loves you and wants to involve you in the work of ministry.

One day the King will return and set everything right. There will be no need for stewards of God’s people “for the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev. 7:17 ESV). Do you catch the irony in this statement? Jesus, the Lamb, will be the shepherd. Lambs aren’t shepherds; they are shepherded! Here, again, Jesus is flipping the world upside down. The sacrificial lamb will be the shepherd of all people. He is our redemption and our God.

In Revelation 19, John sees a vision of a wedding between the Lamb and his bride. Who is his bride? The redeemed people of God—men and women. Whereas God’s story and our story began in a garden, it now ends with a wedding in a city. Men and women, once again, are serving side by side as worshippers (Rev. 7:9–14) and as priests ministering, this time to their husband, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. Men and women together become the bride submitting to their husband (Rev. 19:6–9).

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matt. 9:37). Many people have yet to hear the good news of Jesus Christ, and many in the church have yet to be discipled! There’s work to be done, and if God is tenderizing your heart, calling you to be his ambassador, serving on his behalf for his people, then go! Get prepared for the long journey ahead in such a way that you will last until the end. And remember that God is the author and finisher of your faith and ministry. He holds you. He is with you.

On the pulpit at my church is a plaque that reads, “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16). Because of how the plaque is placed, every minister who stands in that pulpit touches it while he or she preaches. It is there as a reminder that the minister’s job is not to tell stories or jokes or good moral points; it is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. My prayer and charge for you is that your ministry will be marked by, “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” Preach the good news of Jesus Christ. By your life and doctrine, proclaim him as Savior.

And when you are done serving him in this world, the words you will have waited to hear, will come because of who he is for us and what he has done through us: “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matt. 25:21)

Now go in peace to love and serve the Lord. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Source:


Friday, June 22, 2018

Don't Celebrate Before You Score

A Devotional Thought for the day: 




JAMES 4:10
“ 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

Thursday, June 21, 2018

HOW TO IDENTIFY YOUR BLINDSPOTS


One of the most deadly challenges for leaders are blindspots. Everyone has them. 

The worst leaders don’t realize it, while the best are constantly on guard because they know how deadly those blindspots can be. 



For some, it’s being stuck in a unproductive way of thinking. For others, it may be staying blind to the poor performance of a friend who works for you. For still others, it may be living in denial of your own talents and abilities.


I’ve seen pastors whose church membership is dramatically declining, and yet they are still stuck in the thinking they used 20 years ago. I’ve also seen business leaders whose blindness about their own weak spots has created a lid they’re never going to grow beyond.

It doesn’t really matter what your blindspot is—what’s important is that you find it and fix it.

Years ago, I was stuck in a certain way of producing TV programs and documentaries. But by the grace of God I had enough honesty about my ability to see that I wasn’t keeping up with changing styles. So I surrounded myself with a talented young team and empowered them to push me in new directions.


HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR BLINDSPOTS?


First, empower the people around you to be respectful, but honest.

You’ll never discover your blind spots surrounded by “yes” men or women.

Second, be honest about yourself, because too many leaders live in denial.

Insecurity can destroy leaders, so be generous when it comes to other people, but we ruthless when it comes to yourself.

Then, when you realize what they are, encourage others to keep you alert.

Blindspots have a way of coming back because they’re often created by our own past, our upbringing or our personality. Through treatment, addicts can overcome their drug use, but they never stop being aware of situations that may cause that addiction to rear its ugly head.

And if you don’t think you have any blindspots, then you probably do, because that’s how they work.

We call them blindspots because just like the oncoming car in our side mirrors, we don’t see it until it’s too late. Start looking today, because once you discover them and start dealing with the problem, your effectiveness as a leader will be transformed.




Source:  Phil Cooke is an internationally known writer and speaker. Through his company Cooke Pictures in Burbank, California, he’s helped some of the largest nonprofit organizations and leaders in the world use media to tell their story. This article was originally published on Cooke’s blog at PhilCooke.com.





Wednesday, June 20, 2018

3 Marks of Humility in Leadership

We tend to despise pride in others and we recognize its destructive power. The Scripture teaches us that pride goes before destruction and haughty eyes before a fall. We long to serve with leaders who are humble, and we are wise to walk in humility ourselves. But what does humility in leadership look like? 

Here are three marks:


1. Attitude of gratitude, not entitlement

Leaders can move from gratitude to entitlement by believing their position or their performance entitles them to certain things. It is impossible to be filled with humility and a sense of entitlement at the same time. Whenever we feel we are owed something it is because we have forgotten that God is the One who gives all good things. Humble leaders believe all they have received is from the Lord, including the team they lead and their work ethic and intensity. All is from Him. When we walk in humility, we are grateful for all He provides.


2. Posture of stewardship, not ownership

Though some don’t recognize it, all leaders are temporary. Because leadership is a temporary assignment, humble leaders treat their roles and their organizations or ministries as something they steward not something they own. They know the Lord ultimately owns it all and they make decisions from the posture of a faithful steward not the posture of an owner who will always sit in the chair of leadership. Humble leaders desire to steward the season well and humbly recognize the season won’t last forever.


3. Trust in the Lord, not in oneself

Humble leaders trust the Lord and not themselves. Humble leaders seek His wisdom, not their own. They lead in His energy, not their own. They trust His leading, not their own. Their confidence resides ultimately in the Lord and not in themselves.


Source: By Eric Geiger

This article originally appeared here.





Monday, June 18, 2018

7 Steps to Take When Sunday Hurt


For some of you, yesterday was a difficult day. Something happened (or has been happening) within your congregation that makes your ministry difficult

If that’s where you are today, here are a few suggestions:





1.    Pray much today, asking God to teach you and grow you. Even in the toughest situations with people who are simply sinful, we can learn something. Lean on God all day long.

2.    Don’t overreact with emotion. Your emotion may be justified, but don’t let it lead to bad decisions. Don’t let somebody else’s issues create more difficulty for you.

3.    Talk with somebody. I realize you may not be in a position to talk about everything, but find somebody with whom you can share your burden. Let a friend encourage you.

4.    Realize what Satan wants to accomplish in your life. No matter what you faced yesterday, the enemy wants to discourage and defeat you. It’s your call whether you let that happen.

5.    Read some of your favorite Bible texts. I know this suggestion sounds simplistic, but that’s the point. Go back to a basic strategy of letting the Word of God speak to you as it has in the past.

6.    Work hard to reflect on anything positive that happened yesterday. Ask God to help you see His hand rather than the tough stuff. Even a glimpse of His work will help you deal with the negatives.

7.    Begin making plans to address the issues. Some situations demand follow up, and I’m not suggesting you ignore that need in your church. I’m simply saying that you need to think through your reactions and respond wisely.


What other steps would you take?

Source:  By  Chuck Lawless
This article originally appeared here.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

You Have One Life, Don't Waste It – John Piper

Seventeen years ago John Piper gave a powerful plea to 50,000 college students in Tennessee at Passion’s OneDay event

His message inspired a book he would later write a few years later entitled “Don’t Waste Your Life“. Many pastors, leaders, and missionaries today say his book was instrumental in changing their lives and giving clarity to where God was calling them to serve today.

“There are people in this country that are spending billions of dollars to get you to buy it [the American dream] and I get 40 minutes to plead with you DON’T BUY IT!” 

John gives us a great reminder we need to ask ourselves every single day: When we stand before the Lord and give an account for our lives, will we say we pursued our personal dreams and possessions or will we be able to say we lived for His glory?


“Don’t waste your life. Don’t waste it.”