Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Size Matters in Ministry

25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. - Acts 11:25-26 (NIV)




Paul (Saul) and Barnabas went to Antioch on a mission.  Earlier, in verses 20-21, men from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch and shared the "good news" and "a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord." Word of this reached Jerusalem and Barnabas, who was "a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith", was sent to Antioch where he encouraged the believers (vv. 22-24).  That's when he went for reinforcements, seeking out Paul (Saul) in Tarsus.

The Book of Acts gives the Bible reader an account of the missionary journeys of Paul.  Barnabas, also known as "Son of Encouragement," went to Tarsus and brought his partner to Antioch.  They spent a year there, teaching and discipling a diverse population of believers.  Obviously, they did some good works because the people were called "Christians," followers of Christ.  At some point, their teaching and fellowship must have hit home with those with whom they shared the Word of God.

Think it through.  There were those who brought the Good News that sparked the movement among the people.  Barnabas stepped in and offered some support to the new converts.  After that experience, Paul (Saul) was brought in to assist Barnabas in discipling the people at Antioch.  That was teamwork.  The teamwork occurred in phases or stages.

We need to examine the example of these men further.  Our ministries need to do something similar.  There needs to be a team who can go into uncharted territory and break new ground with the Gospel.  They need to be able to share the Good News with fervor, winning hearts and souls along the way.  They need to return to the house of God, sharing what they discovered as fertile ground, so that others like Barnabas can come in and edify the new believers with words of comfort, gladness and encouragement.  From there, those encouragers can leverage their relationship with the believers and other evangelists and workers who can support and strengthen the believers.  That's teamwork.

We need prayer warriors who can intercede on behalf of lost souls and those evangelists and missionaries.  We need workers within the ministry who are taught and trained, equipped to do good works beyond the confines of the house of God.  We need those who have the spiritual gift of exhortation, comfort, and other special gifts to serve in a variety of capacities in order to reach a dying world.

It takes a team who can work together to bring a community together in the name of Jesus.

5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.
- 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 (NKJV)


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Doing as He Says

Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
and do not do what I say?
- Luke 6:46 (NIV)

You shall observe My judgments and keep
My ordinances, to walk in them:
I am the LORD your God.
- Leviticus 18:4 (NKJV)



When accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we also accept Him as Lord.  We embrace His sacrifice for our salvation.  We accept His suffering for our sins.  Yet, we stumble when it comes to His lordship over our lives.
 
In Leviticus 18, God addresses His people through Moses the man of God, affirming His relationship with the people by stating repetitively: I am the LORD your God.  The phrase repeats throughout the divine dialogue between God and His people.  God states it through Moses and establishes His relationship with His people based on His decrees and statutes given in the wilderness.
 
Read Psalm 145:13. It speaks of God's "everlasting kingdom." Nathan shared the words of God with David in 2 Samuel 7.  God promised David: And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever (2 Samuel 7:16, KJV).
 
Let us fast forward to Jesus walking the earth as the Son of David.  He came as the Messiah and the Christ, "the Anointed One." The Savior would reign and rule as Lord forever.  His kingdom would extend beyond Jewish bloodlines like He shared through His prophets.  He came and sacrificed Himself for us.  He kept His promise to redeem us.  He offers the sinner in us all reconciliation.  He lives as our Lord.
 
Look at how we handle Him ruling over us as Lord.  We cry out to Him, expecting Him to offer us healing and help.  Yet, we must regard Him as Lord.  We must serve as His loyal subjects, for He is the King.  Those who serve the King do as He says.  They do each and every act according to His commandments in true submission.
 
If He is your Lord, do as He says.  Leave your ego out of it.  Keep your faith as your focus.  Do just as He says.  He is Lord.  Submit to Him.  Do as He says.
 
He is your Lord.
 
Do what He says for you to do.
 
Do just what the Lord says.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Fiasco of Faith

And let our people also learn to maintain good works,
to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.
- Titus 3:14 (KJV)

We, the faithful, are also called to be fruitful.  We are commandment to bear much fruit.  Jesus said so.  The Lord Himself wants us both faithful and fruitful.

So what's the deal? Are we faithful? If we are so faithful, we should be full of fruit.  We should be fruitful.


We become unfruitful, in the words of Paul to Titus, when we fail to meet urgent needs and to maintain good works.  Being without fruit, barren in other words, we demonstrate little faith.

James said as much when he wrote: But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:18, KJV).  What you have to show for all the faith that you claim to have will speak louder than words.  Your actions will outweigh your words.  Your proclamation and profession of faith will be measured by your production of fruit.

Fruit is the byproduct of your works.  Your works should produce something.  The fruit stands as evidence of the effort on your part.  No faith equals no fruit.  It is a simple formula.

Keep the faith.




 
Amen Me!