Friday, October 29, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
The vast majority of modern churches would look far different today if the Biblical model described were adhered to today. Learning objectives would be clearly defined and people with the appropriate gifts selected for carrying out discipleship ministry. That is not to say that other ministries that are not directly related to discipleship are not an important part of the functioning of the local church. The various parts of the body of Christ have different functions and should be used accordingly. It is unlikely that most churches would have their musicians on their finance committees. It is also equally unlikely that those churches would want their finance committees performing the Sunday morning music (of course exceptions exist!).
With clearly defined goals of discipleship there should also be the clear explanation that there are expectations of Christian service which include sharing our faith. The apostles were called by Jesus with the clear expectation that they would one day go into the world and preach the gospel. Christians are expected to become more like Christ and to share the good news with others. This should not be taken to mean that every Christian will be called to the pulpit but it does mean that every Christian should be sharing their faith.
There is also the matter of purity that is expected by God of His people. The church would do well to refrain from calling everyone a Christian that calls on the name of Jesus. Matthew 7:16 tells us that we will know them by their fruits. Perhaps saying so should happen more often. A few verses later we are also told that not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will enter into heaven (Matt. 7:21). The church should boldly be concerned with purity and go about the business of making disciples who are prepared to go into the world and proclaim Jesus. In summary, the model I believe should be followed is one that prepares and maintains an environment where discipleship can take place, identifies those from among the body available for service, equips those saints for service, and sends them out where they can provide a blameless testimony for the salvation freely offered through faith in Jesus Christ.
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Examples for Others to See
In the NT we examine four passages of Scripture beginning with Mark 3:14. Here we note that Jesus appoints the twelve that would become the nucleus of his church. The number twelve recalls the twelve tribes of Israel and symbolizes the new or restored people of God. We also see that they were with Jesus and that He planned to send them out into the world to preach. Next we examine Acts 4:13 where John and Peter recognized to have been with Jesus due to their boldness though it had been determined that they were common men. In 1 Thess. 1:5 and 2:5 the apostles came to the people full of conviction and blameless thus preserving the testimony of God that we saw previously was so important to maintain.
There should be obvious evidence that the people of God have been with Him. His people should become prepared for service in the ministry that is to include sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. God’s people are also to guard their testimony of Him in the way our lives are lived so that nothing we do can be construed as a slight against Him and His holy word. This is a point that cannot be made too strongly for Christians in America today.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Honesty must prevail and a hint of excitement confessed when discussing job design. Previous graduate studies that touched on this area immediately came to mind when considering the approach I might take in linking job design to the Scriptures. However, it quickly became obvious that link had already been established by our Lord in His word. There is nothing fancy here so brevity will prevail. Job design is simply the process of defining job tasks and the work arrangements to accomplish them. The “best” job design is one that meets organizational requirements for high performance, is a good fit for individual skills and needs, and provides opportunities for personal satisfaction.
God’s Design for Israel as Seen in Numbers 1 - 5
In Numbers 1 – 5, the first order of business was to conduct a census to determine how many men there were between the ages of 20 and 60 to determine how many men were available to go to war (Num. 1: 1 – 3). Perhaps Michael Mitchell had this in mind when he was writing of the frequently used metaphors used for ministry context. Still, one must remember the context of Numbers. The Israelites were preparing to take Canaan by force at God’s direction so such preparations were certainly necessary. Thus we see those set aside for the business of conquest.
The Levites were not included in this census. Instead, their purpose was to protect the Tabernacle, transport it and the various furnishings from within, and to set it up when it was to be pitched (Num. 1: 47 – 53). It is interesting that Scripture refers to the Tabernacle as testimony (עֵדוּת) using a word that denotes the activity of God creating the world. The very presence of God dwelled there and protecting it was more important than fighting any war. Though different in the NT, protecting the testimony of God remains vital to the church as will be discussed later.
Also of special importance is maintaining the purity of the church. It was important that the place where God dwells not be defiled. Effective ministry requires the presence of God. Of course, the sin of adultery is given lengthy consideration but the overriding theme here is that God cannot dwell where there is impurity and it must be dealt with.
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Monday, October 04, 2010
Later in Scripture we see that the twelve were called for the purpose of being prepared and sent out to make other disciples. After having been prepared, others could clearly see that they have been with Jesus and they were blameless in their dealings while they were on the mission field. Each step of the process was very intentional achieving the results intended by Christ in selection of his disciples, teaching them to be like Him, sending them out to reproduce what they had been taught while being a blameless witness for Jesus.
This methodical approach is the intended method by which discipleship is to be carried out by the church. The first step is coming to Christ. After this, spending time with Him and learning how to become more like him is essential. Once this preparation is complete, then we are to go out into the world and reproduce this process making other disciples always mindful that we are being watched by those around us looking for a way to discredit this work.
Friday, October 01, 2010
With my limited vacation time this year, we are undecided about how and where we will be spending the holidays. At the time of this writing, we still haven’t gotten around to sitting down with a calendar and figuring it all out. Who knows, we may decide to stay home and let folks know that they are welcome to come to Woodstock if they would like to see us. Not a bad idea if I do say so myself. Still, we do need to get that figured out.
Both Joshua and Hannah are doing exceptionally well in school and better still they both enjoy learning. As you would expect I am rather biased but I couldn’t be more proud of them. Learning seems to come easily for them. I hope this continues to be the case as they grow. Joshua is continuing with scouting and is now a first-year Webelo. It looks like there will be some camping in my immediate future as he is not yet old enough to go with a parent. Somehow I’m not seeing Melisa out in the woods for the weekend. Hannah, not to be left out is a Brownie this year. I’m not exactly what they do but I am looking forward to the cookies! She just celebrated her 8th birthday but you would think she just turned 20!My how they grow so fast...
Melisa is doing GREAT! She has been making some changes that have resulted in dropping a few pounds and exercising regularly. I said in a previous post that she has been an inspiration to me and she surely has. Like her, I am doing a much better job of watching what I eat and have dropped a few pounds myself. Next is getting back on the treadmill and then maybe even hitting the gym again. It’s been a lot of years since I spent any time in a gym but maybe the time has come. Like most things, the most difficult part is getting started.
As my regular readers can tell my blogging has increased and I will likely end the year with somewhere around a hundred posts this year. The blog is getting a lot more traffic these days for which I am grateful. I am also following a lot of other blogs and am really enjoying the blogosphere. There are so many talented people sharing their faith with the world and as the statistics from my own blog indicate, there are many, many people across the world interested in what others have to say. I hope my own posts have been helpful to those who visit this site. I am grateful for the comments made on the site and sent to me via e-mail. Your encouragement is a blessing.
Finally, please keep the Mendoza family in your prayers. My dear friend Mel (Las Cruces NM) lost his mother last week suddenly. My heart aches for this precious family during this time of grief. We were last with Mel and his family earlier this year for his wedding to Janessa where we were able to share their joy with Mel and Janessa’s families. Both Melisa and I wish we could be there with them now to share their tears. We pray the Comforter be with them during this difficult time.