April 30, 2009

Christ's Leadership

“And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.”

John 2:6–8

Leadership does not come by developing followers but by developing yourself.

Former President Dwight Eisenhower once wrote, “In order to be a leader a man must have followers. And to have followers, a man must have their confidence. Hence the supreme quality of a leader is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, on a football field, in an army, or in an office. If a man's associates find him guilty of phoniness, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other. The first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.”

Leadership is a coveted role in today’s world. Whether it’s a position at work or simply leading a children’s sports team, many people covet being in a position of leadership. But leadership isn’t about being in charge of people; it is about a lifestyle you live.

Let’s notice Christ’s display of leadership in our verses today. Why did the servants obey Him? Was it because Mary had commanded them to? Perhaps they listened to Mary, but what Christ commanded them did not make sense.

The water pots they used were pots used for cleansing or purifying. These pots had already been used and put to the side. Yet the Lord commanded them to take the pots and fill them with water. Why water? Surely the guests would know the difference between the water and the wine. Their jobs were at stake! Yet they obeyed Christ.

Jesus’ influence over these men was not a result of a great leadership style, but of a humble, godly life. His life was above reproach, and they may have even heard of His testimony before the wedding. They followed Him because of His actions.

Too many times people force leadership. They “rule with an iron fist” so that others will respect and obey them, yet not many people respect a tyrannical ruler. Follow Christ’s example of leadership; lead with your life, not your words. Anyone can command, but few people wish to live a life of holiness and honesty.

Are you in a position of leadership in your life? Maybe you aren’t an executive at a company but are you a teacher, Sunday school teacher, or parent? We all have people who look to us for leadership, people who follow our actions. Rather than trying to exert authority or talk of leadership, simply show them leadership through your actions.

As you lead your team, your coworkers, or your family today; remember to lead through your actions. Live honestly, never compromise your beliefs, and show others that you can be trusted and respected. As you live a holy life, others will more willingly follow your lead.

Dust or Liquid?

God said to Adam, “…dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19). However, now you may avoid the “dust” at death by having your remains liquefied. The Week news magazine (May 30, 2008, p. 22) reports a new option of “dissolving a body in lye and high heat and pouring the remains down the drain. The method, which is known as alkaline hydrolysis, involves placing a dead body in a steel container with the caustic chemical lye. The vat is then heated and pressurized so that human remains boil down to a brown, sterile fluid the consistency of motor oil. These remains can then be safely disposed of in public sewerage systems.” This gives new meaning to the Roto-Rooter jingle: “Roto-Rooter, that's the name; and away go my troubles down the drain!”

Advocates point out that it is more environmentally friendly than burial, which takes up needed land, and cremation, which can pollute the air with toxic chemicals from items such as dental fillings.

However, man cannot completely outsmart what God said to Adam in Genesis 3:19. After liquefying the cadaver, there’s a small amount of dry bone residue (dust) remaining from the body, which can be handed over to family in an urn.

Ashes to ashes… Dust to dust.

April 6, 2009

Great day visiting Christian sites

We left our home a little before 9.30 a.m. and headed towards Moulton where William Carey pastored.

Then went to Olney and visited the church where John Newton pastored and saw the house where he penned "Amazing Grace". We actually sang it in the church. Great accustics! LOL

In the same town is where William Cowper lived. We saw the summer house where he wrote many of his poems and hymns.

After that we headed to Bedford and the town of John Bunyan. We were telling the folks a Bunyan's where we had been and they had never heard of William Carey. Isn't that sad? Such wonderful history in this great land, yet folksdon't even know about it. Heartbreaking!!

Had FISH-N-CHIPS for supper to end a great day

February 5, 2009

The Word Contemporary

It is sometimes amazing to think of the many different implications of a single word. The word contemporary is such a word. For starters, this word may be used as both a noun and an adjective. We might read that “George Washington was a contemporary of Thomas Jefferson,” or “President Bush’s official portrait employed more contemporary painting techniques than you would find in the official painting of George Washington.”

When it comes to churches and music, the word contemporary has many different meanings. On one hand, the word contemporary might mean “existing at this time.” So you could say, “All the churches in America are contemporary,” meaning only that “All the churches in the United States exist at this point in time.” Actually, it would be hard to imagine a situation where such a sentence would even be useful.

On the other hand, the word contemporary is often used to contrast with old-fashioned in the sense that an old-fashioned church proclaims the Word of God and some contemporary churches believe that even carrying a Bible to the pulpit is offensive to today’s churchgoers. An old-fashioned church looks to the Book of Acts for its pattern of operation; a contemporary church may send out questionnaires to the community to ask what kind of a church they would like to have.

In the area of music, a very old tradition divides music into several categories: church music, theater music, and concert music. This traditional idea essentially acknowledges that church music should be different from other styles. In some contemporary approaches to church music, it is believed that all musical styles are perfectly appropriate for church, whether it is a traditional hymn of praise to God or a modern dance style with new words. It is this notion of the word contemporary that gives us pause. I am not aware of any sensible person who thinks a song is wrong simply because it was written within the last twelve months; when the term contemporary is used in a negative sense, it is used to convey the idea of church music that embraces traditional church music, modern dance music, and essentially all styles as equally suitable for the church service.

Pastor Trieber has long stated that he believes in using old-fashioned music in an old-fashioned church service. By this, he does not mean that a fresh coat of paint may not be used or the church may not purchase new buses. He means that he still adheres to the idea that the doctrine of the church should be guided by the Bible, and the music of the church should be separate and clearly distinct from the music of the world.

by Dr. Mike Zachary
Golden State Baptist College

December 17, 2008

Faithfulness not Success

“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”
1 Corinthians 4:2

God measures success in terms of faithfulness.

Clarence Jordan was a man of unusual abilities and commitment. He had two Ph.D’s, one in agriculture and one in Greek and Hebrew. He was so gifted, he could have chosen to do anything he wanted. He chose to serve the poor. In the 1940s, he founded a farm in Americus, Georgia, and called it Koinonia Farm. It was a community for poor people of all skin colors. As you might guess, such an idea did not go over well in the deep South of the '40s.

Ironically, much of the resistance came from good church people who followed the laws of segregation as much as the other folk in town. The town people tried everything to stop Clarence. They tried boycotting him and slashing workers' tires when they came to town. Over and over, for fourteen years, they tried to stop him.

Finally, in 1954, a group of people had enough of Clarence Jordan. They decided to get rid of him once and for all. They came one night with guns and torches and set fire to every building on Koinonia Farm but Clarence's home, which they riddled with bullets. The next day, a reporter came out to see what remained of the farm. He found Clarence in the field, hoeing and planting.

“I heard the awful news,” he called to Clarence, “and I came out to do a story on the tragedy of your farm closing.” Clarence just kept on hoeing and planting. The reporter said in a haughty voice, “Well, Dr. Jordan, you got two of them Ph.D’s and you've but fourteen years into this farm, and there's nothing left of it at all. Just how successful do you think you've been?” Clarence stopped hoeing, turned toward the reporter with his penetrating blue eyes, and said quietly but firmly, “About as successful as the Cross. Sir, I don't think you understand us. What we are about is not success but faithfulness. We're staying. Good day.”

Success in the world’s eyes means having many possessions and having a well-known reputation. But in God’s eyes, these things mean nothing! In fact, only one time in the Bible did He use the word “success” yet almost 100 times the word faithful or faithfulness is used.

As we saw yesterday, it’s not where God placed you but how you serve Him while you’re there. God isn’t looking for the next great millionaire or public speaker to use; He’s looking for a faithful servant. God can use anyone, but His choicest servants are those who are faithfully serving Him.

Do you desire to be used of God? Sometimes we can read of men like John Newton, Charles Spurgeon, DL Moody, and others, and dream of being used like them. But they were just normal sinners, saved by grace, faithfully serving God when He used them.

Remember, God isn’t looking for success in your life. He’s looking for a humble heart, faithfully serving Him. If you want more responsibility from God, faithfully serve Him in what He’s already given you to do today.

December 9, 2008

Out of the Darkness

“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
Luke 1:30–34

The molding process isn’t enjoyable, but it is necessary for a vessel to be ready for use in God’s master plan.

I once read this poem called “Out of the Darkness”:
Out of the dark forbidding soil
The pure white lilies grow.
Out of the black and murky clouds,
Descends the stainless snow.
Out of the crawling earth-bound worm
A butterfly is born.
Out of the somber shrouded night,
Behold! A golden morn!
Out of the pain and stress of life,
The peace of God pours down.
Out of the nails—the spear—the cross,
Redemption—and a crown!

Even in the midst of trials or troubles that come your way, God is working His good. Let’s go back over 2,000 years. Imagine you are a young person. You love and obey your parents and are faithful to God’s house. You have spent your life seeking to live by God’s laws and to live a holy life.

Suddenly, an angel comes to you and announces that you will be accused of a crime. But not to worry because it will all work out in the end. You are puzzled, wondering what God’s purpose in something like this could be. But you agree to follow Him.

Then people in your town begin finding out about the accusations. Your friends leave you, your parents question you, and most everyone in your town ostracizes you because of the charges against you. You are an outcast, left to fend for yourself. How could God be in this? How could He have allowed this to happen? What was His point?

I imagine this is how Mary must have felt. She had lived her life in obedience to God and her parents, yet now she was told she would bare a child. Infidelity was one of the highest sins a Jewish woman could perform in her day. Even though she was overjoyed to be bearing God’s Son, she must have had to endure harsh treatment from others who doubted her story.

Even in the midst of Mary’s difficulties, God was working. He had a divine plan and was molding her to be the mother of His Son! What an honor!

Are you facing trials today? You never know what God is preparing you for through your trials. He uses difficulties to mold His children into prepared vessels, ready for His use! Rather than questioning His will, trust Him like Mary and subject yourself to His molding.

December 8, 2008

I Predict...

“Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness. Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.”
Psalm 119:159–160

Man’s predictions are based on man’s strength; but God’s promises are based on His strength!

The book The World's Worst Predictions lists some of history's all-time prophetic goofs.

King George II said in 1773 that the American colonies had little stomach for revolution.

An official of the White Star Line, speaking of the firm's newly built flagship, the Titanic, launched in 1912, declared that the ship was unsinkable.

In 1939, The New York Times said the problem with TV was that people had to glue their eyes to a screen, and that the average American wouldn't have time for it.

An English astronomy professor said in the early 19th century that air travel at high speed would be impossible because passengers would suffocate.
In 1958, Business Week reported, “With over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn't likely to carve out a big slice of the U.S. market.”US Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox predicted on December 4,1941, “Whatever happens, the U.S. Navy is not going to be caught napping.”
On October 16,1929, Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics at Yale University, said, “Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.”

Over the years men have tried to predict when things would happen. But as these quotes show, they haven’t always been right. With so much error and so many variables in the world, how can you know who or what to trust for the truth?

Have you ever wondered how we know God’s Word is true? There are many people who believe their book or belief is truth, so how do we know the Bible is divinely inspired? The proof is in the predictions God makes in His Word.

If you read through the prophetical books of the Old Testament, you will read several “predictions” regarding the birth, earthly ministry, and death of Christ. When the time came, all these prophetical predictions came true. The predictions were proven by the results.

Even so God has made several “predictions” or promises in His Word for you. He promises to protect you, guide you, provide for you, and to one day come again and take you to Heaven if you are saved. These are predictions you can trust!

Do you ever feel down, wondering if God’s promises are true for you? Look through God’s Word and see that He has always come through on His promises! God will not go back on His Word. So rather than questioning His promises, trust Him and lean on the knowledge that He will never break a promise to you.