Friday, October 29, 2010

November Elections 2010 - Humor

In a few more days all of those annoying political commercials will be over! Don't forget to vote next Tuesday!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Discipleship Graphics

For my most recent project in school, I had to come up with some graphics. Let's just say a graphic artist I'm not! Anyway, I thought I would share them with you and see what the consensus is. I haven't received the final grade for the project or class yet but am excited to be moving on to my 10 class of 20! The halfway point of this journey is in sight!

The idea with this one is to illustrate that discipleship is an ongoing process always with Christ at the center.

Here the idea was to put all of the ingredients into the funnel and discipleship is possible.
I'm not sure if I conveyed what I wanted to or not but I did give it an honest try. Let me know what you think!



Friday, October 15, 2010

Kids Earn Straight A's

Joshua and Hannah both brought home straight A's today! Melisa and I are so very proud of both of them and their efforts. Both kids are developing excellent study habits and are coming to understand the importance of education in their lives.

This picture of Hannah was taken at Outback Steakhouse where we had dinner to celebrate their accomplishment. We had a great dinner followed by a family night at home playing wii and enjoying spending time together.

Monday, October 11, 2010

How God Organizes People For Effective Action - Part 4

Conclusion

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

How God Organizes People For Effective Action - Part 3

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.[1] 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.


[1] Brooks, James A. The New American Commentary, Vol.23 Mark, Electronic Ed., Logos Library System. (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 71.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

How God Organizes People For Effective Action - Part 2

Job Design

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.[1] 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.[2]

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.[3] 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.[4] 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.


[1] Ibid, 153.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Mitchell, Michael R. Leading, Teaching, and Making Disciples. (Bloomington, IN: CrossBooks, 2010), 366.

[4] Kittel, Gerhard, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vol. 6. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

November Elections 2010 - Voter Turnout

Here in the county I live in, a recent news article quoted a county official's belief that voter turnout would be about 50%. Nationally I would be surprised if turnout numbers differ from that percentage very much. With so many people unhappy with the current direction of the country (Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike), I am amazed that only about half of those eligible to vote will make the time to do so.

Every vote matters! While I would be less than honest if I said I don't care about the elections results (of course I do!), this isn't the place for that discussion. Get to the polls in a few weeks and vote your conscience!

Monday, October 04, 2010

How God Organizes People For Effective Action - Part 1

**This series began as an assignment for Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary**

INTRODUCTION

Throughout the Scriptures, regardless of the situation being used by our Lord, we clearly see that there is a purpose and a structure to the approach taken by God when dealing with His people. The Biblical model for discipleship is certainly included. Here this seminarian’s understanding of how God organizes people to be effective in discipleship is presented. Previous graduate studies come into play when discussing job design which is currently one of the focuses in the human resources profession.[1] The secular model has similarities to the Biblical model God used when preparing the Israelites for their eventual entry into Canaan in that specific tasks were assigned to various people most suited for those tasks. In Numbers 1 – 5, God clearly assigns tasks to the priests as to who would be responsible for transporting various parts of the Tabernacle.

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.


[1] Schermerhorn, Jr., John R., James G. Hunt, and Richard N. Osborn. Organizational Behavior, 8th Ed. (Danvers, MA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003), 152.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Family Update 10 October 2010

It’s hard to believe that fall is upon us and we are preparing for the holiday season once again. Believe it or not the kids have already had their Fall Break at school and are eagerly looking forward to the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. Melisa and I have repeated wondered aloud “where did 2010 go”? I wish I knew! What
a year it has been so far!

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...

I am about to begin my 10th class as I work towards the MRE I began nearly two years ago. Upon completing this class I will be at the halfway point in my studies. It’s hard to believe and so much has happened since that Sunday in the fall of 2008. I can certainly tell the difference in my studies since our prayers were answered and a job was provided for me. A return to more reasonable work hours has been huge. I am also appreciating the wisdom of taking a break earlier this year to put the books down and recharge the batteries.

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.