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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Planning for the DASH

Planning for the DASH

You are guaranteed at least four things on your gravestone when you die. You are guaranteed your name. You are guaranteed your birth date. You are guaranteed your death date. And last but certainly not the least, you are guaranteed a dash [-]. Your dash will sit snugly between your birth date and your death date. Your dash, as short as it is in length would speak volumes if it had a mouth. What does the dash represent? The dash represents your entire life. For every one of us our lives will be summed up by a dash.

What will your dash represent on your gravestone? Will your dash represent a wasted life? Will your dash represent a regretful life? Will your dash represent a hope-less life? Will your dash represent a lazy life? Will your dash represent a non-committed life? Will your dash represent an arrogant life? Will your dash represent a self-satisfied life? Will your dash represent a faithless life? Will your dash represent an empty life? Or, will your dash represent a God-glorifying life? Will your dash represent a humble life? Will your dash represent people-oriented life? Will your dash represent a faithful husband? Will your dash represent a faithful wife? Will your dash represent a loving father? Will your dash represent a man after God’s own heart? Will your dash represent a woman after God’s own heart?

I want to leave you with this thought. If you made resolutions at the beginning of 2011 but have since discarded them to the rubbish bin, then don’t make new resolutions. Instead be committed to the old ones. In the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9, if you have not made good on your promise to change then you have been like an athlete running in vain and you have been like a boxer boxing only the air – lots of energy but hitting nothing! If you want your dash to count for something then you must remain resolute in reaching your goals to change.

Don’t make new plans if your old plans are still great instead remain sincerely committed to implementing your old plans so that you experience new changes. God bless for 2012 and beyond!

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Posted by on December 31, 2011 in General Blog

 

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Role of (Pastors) and Deacons

A Study in the Biblical Role of (Pastors) and Deacons in Light of Scripture and Church History and in Examination of Current Practice – by Derek Gentle

Click on the following link to download an article on the “Role of (Pastors) and Deacons”

Role of (Pastors) and Deacons

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2011 in Church Leadership

 

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Chameleon

Chameleon

Many of you are now familiar with Jason Bourne. Jason Bourne has been popularized by the Bourne trilogy that have hit our cinema theaters over these last few years. But before they came alive on the big screens, Jason Bourne was birth in the books written by Robert Ludlum. If you’ve ever watched any one of the Bourne movies you’ll quickly discover that unlike James Bond, Jason Bourne is not as suave and sophisticated. Bourne is a world class undercover assassin who will not hesitate to eliminate anyone that gets in his way. Jason Bourne has a unique ability. He has the ability to transform his appearance, even in the slightest, and because of this transformation he is able to blend into any crowd. This is what makes Jason Bourne so elusive. This is what makes Jason Bourne deadly. Because of this uncanny ability, Jason Bourne is known as The Chameleon.

Chameleon Christianity is all too familiar to us today. Many of us are like the elusive assassin, Jason Bourne. Instead of standing out in the crowd we’ve chosen instead to blend in. Instead of non-conformity we have chosen to conform. Instead of sharing our voice, we’ve chosen instead to swallow our words. Instead of lifting our shoulders high, they’re drooping and shameful. Just like a Chameleon would sometimes use its ability to blend into its environment so too many Christians today have chosen to blend into their environments. Does your neighbour know you are a Christian with a strong voice for the Lord? If your neighbour doesn’t know then you’ve blended in. Does your co-workers know that you are a Christian with deep conviction about politics, relationships, work ethics etc? If they don’t know then you’ve blended in.

Paul says this in Philippians 2:14-16, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life…”

Let me remind you that those who are “holding out the word of life” are NOT chameleons. They refuse to blend in instead they choose to stand out! Would you make a decision for Jesus Christ that starting from today you will choose not to be a chameleon Christian instead you will be one who will stand out from the crowd as one who “holds out the word of life.”?

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2011 in General Blog

 

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The Mark of a Champion

The Mark of a Champion

I read on Facebook just now a post that goes something like this, “It’s that time of the year to evaluate life’s priorities again” Upon reading this I asked myself the question, “When is it NOT the right time to evaluate life’s priorities?” People who want to be champions are constantly evaluating their performances. They are always assessing their progress and they are always strengthening their weaknesses. Here’s something anecdotal about champions.

  • A champion has the courage to risk failure, knowing that setbacks are lessons to learn from.
  • A champion uses an event to gain greater self-knowledge as well as feedback on physical improvement.
  • A champion trains their thought processes as well as their body to produce a total approach to performance.
  • A champion understands their athletic weaknesses and trains to strengthen them.
  • A champion actively creates a life of balance, moderation and simplicity – values that help improve running and life.
  • A champion views competitors as partners who provide challenge and the chance to improve.
  • A champion understands performances are like a roller coaster, with many ups and downs, and that you have to accept both the good and the bad.
  • A champion enjoys sport for the simple pleasures it provides.
  • A champion has vision. A champion dreams of things that haven’t been and believes they are possible. A champion says “I can.” (http://www.wayofchampions.com/articles-by-jerry-lynch/what-makes-a-champion.html)

The apostle says this resoundingly in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

As I read these words of Paul I do not see anything else but a man who is potentially a champion, and he was! According to Paul a potential champion has a few marks. There’s a few things that characterizes a champion.

  1. He or she does not spectate, they are participants IN the race. To be a champion is NOT to be a cheerleader! “All runners run!”
  2. He or she runs to get the prize. The race must be a meaningful event. The race should not be thought of and approached as drudgery. “Run in such a way as to get the prize.” The race has rules. Follow the rules and you’ll be on you way to being a champion.
  3. He or she is disciplined. You would be foolish to think you can participate in a race if you have not trained adequately for it. “Everyone who competed goes into strict training” Why do so many people fall apart during the Comrades Marathon? Thy fall apart because they did not have adequate training.
  4. He or she prioritizes for lasting change. The runners in Corinth would participate in a race for a crown that they would receive today and would wither away in a few weeks time. The prize had a “shelf life”. Paul is saying that in contrast to that we should participate in a race where the prize has no shelf life. When people come into our homes they must see the prize in the good behavior of our children. They must see the prize in our own moral standard. They must see the prize as they look at the lost people we won for Christ. All these prizes have NO shelf life. These are the kinds of prizes we should be striving to win.

In a few days you too will be evaluating a year that has gone by and in doing so you will make new plans to implement new changes. This is good but will they last? They will last only if we listen to Paul – listen to the Bible. You’re meant to be a champion, so why do you choose to live like a loser. Rise up and become a champion!

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in General Blog

 

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Fearless

Whether we like to admit it or not, we are all fearful people. Every one of us fears something. Moreover every one of us are so paralyzed by certain fears that it hinders our responsibility to the Kingdom of God and it prevents us from doing his will. I’ve been on boards and in meeting long enough now to realize that what people call strategy and sensible thinking is really a paralysis brought about by fear. From the time we are born, fear has been planted in us, especially by our cautious parents. If you have children you may be familiar with these words, “Tommy, don’t climb the tree!”, or “Jon, stop playing in the sand, you’ll get germs.” or “Lisa, don’t speak to black people, they’re dangerous.” Fear has been planted in us by overly cautious parents, equally cautions friends who supposedly have our best interests at heart and some of our teachers. Fear has been planted so subtely in us that we don’t even recognize its control and influence over us. We’re fearful of speaking out. Why? Perhaps because we’ve been taught at home that outspokenness is a form of disrespect. We’re fearful of making friends outside of our current circle. Why? Perhaps we’ve been taught that people outside of this circle are dangerous and harmful. We’re fearful of helping the poor or sharing our possessions. Why? Perhaps we’ve been taught that what we’ve worked for belongs to us and us alone and that sharing would deplete our resources. If we were to take a mental walk back toward our childhood we will discover how much we’ve been programmed to be fearful instead of fearless.

Even after we’ve become Christians we still carry the baggage of fear into our new life. We may proclaim that we are fearful in doing the will of the Lord and I don’t question your integrity. However I would ask, “What does it really mean to be a fearless Christian?” To be a fearless Christian means that you make right EVERY area that you’ve wronged God in. Do you take drugs and alcohol? Make it right! Do you have relationships that are displeasing to God? Make it right! If you are not spending enough time with your family, make it right! If you are not reaching people with the Gospel, make it right! If you are not reading your bible daily, make it right! If you are not praying daily and regularly, make it right! Are you hanging out with the wrong crowd? Make it right!

In the book of Numbers chapter 13 and verses 26-33 we see two types of people. In the persons of Joshua and Caleb we see FEARLESS people and in the people of Israel and the other ten spies we see FEARFUL people. This is Joshua and Caleb’s response after the exploration, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” and the people respond in this way, “We can’t attack those people, they are stronger than we are..we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes and we looked the same to them.”

In 2012 and beyond would you like to be living inside the land of God’s promises or outside? If your answer is inside then you must be fearless. Only fearless people experience the blessings of God. Only fearless people live in the land of God and enjoy its fruits. Only fearless people survive. What kind of person are you, fearful or fearless? Today, you can choose to be fearless!

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2011 in General Blog

 

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Will You Finish?

Will You Finish?

It is said that anyone can start well but not everyone can finish well. It is also said it’s not so important how one starts but it’s very important how one finishes. These days the media is buzzing with news stories of influential Christian men and women who have failed. These men and women have disqualified themselves because of their sin. These stories are not only warnings to those who are still in the race, they are also magnify for us how importantly the finish is viewed.

In a few days you will begin a new year and you most likely will begin the year with great plans and goals for the new year. It is very likely you may even start of with a burst of energy and enthusiasm that is unrivaled by the other runners, however, a crucial questions remains, “How will you finish in 2012?” The Apostle Paul tells us this in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith, now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness…”

What will it take for you to finish the race, not just up to the end of 2012 but beyond, right up to the time you die?

  1. It would take resilience
  2. It would take discipline
  3. It would take persistence
  4. It would take courage
  5. It would take training
  6. It would take antagonism
  7. It would take belief in Jesus Christ
  8. It would take unflinching nerves

This short list of character qualities are qualities that existed in Paul. Because of these he could say, “I have finished well!” How will you finish? How you finish is directly in proportion to the degree of existence of the quality characteristics I have listed above.

I’m praying for you!

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2011 in General Blog

 

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New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions

According to Wikipedia, New Year’s Resolution is, “A commitment that an individual makes to one or more lasting personal goals, projects, or the reforming of a habit. According to Gretchen Rubin (author of best-seller “The Happiness Project”): “You hit a goal, you achieve a goal. You keep a resolution”. This lifestyle change is generally interpreted as advantageous. A New Year’s Resolution is generally a goal someone sets out to accomplish in the coming year. Some examples include resolutions to donate to the poor more often, to become more assertive, or to become more environmentally responsible. A key element to a New Years Resolution that sets it apart from other resolutions is that it is made in anticipation of the New Year, and new beginnings.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year%27s_resolution)”

Some guidelines for New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Don’t be impulsive when it comes to making resolutions. Think about what you want to accomplish in 2012 and think about it through the lens of the Bible.
  2. Bathe your resolutions in prayer and seek God’s guidance from the Bible in achieving the best results.
  3. Set realistic and achievable goals as you set about your resolution. Lofty goals, when not reached can be discouraging and may even cause you to give up.
  4. Tell your family members about your resolutions and ask them to help you and to hold you accountable. Then ask 2-3 people who have your best interests at heart and who will be able to set you straight if you straggled, to hold you accountable.
  5. Be absolutely disciplined in reaching your resolutions. Be consistent daily in doing things that would help you reach your resolution.
  6.  Let the word “NO” be very quick on your tongue to the things that will distract you from your goals.
  7. Let the word “YES” be quick on your tongue to the God-things that will help you to achieve your goals.
  8. Don’t give up if you fail. Pick up the pieces and start again.
  9. Always ask for help when you feel you are struggling to reach your goals.
  10. Think of how you can reward yourself at the end of 2012 having reached your goals and found the resolutions.

I look forward to you the reader to contribute with more tips on “New Years Resolutions” – God Bless!

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2011 in General Blog

 

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