Posts Tagged ‘Christ’s Reps’

I’ve been browsing through Randy Newman’s book, Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Your Family Members, Your Close Friends, and Others You Know WellThis is an incredibly important topic as I have come to find it harder to share the gospel with family members as it is with an unknown person in my community. I imagine this is true for most if not all Christians.

In the conclusion of his introductory chapter, Newman provides four steps for sharing the gospel with your family. I thought they were very thoughtful and practical. Check them out.

1.  If you don’t already have one, develop a system for prayer for your family. Perhaps you can set aside a section in a prayer journal.

2.  Begin your prayers for your family with thanksgiving. This may be more difficult for some people than others. Regardless of your family’s well-being, thank God for the family you have and all the accompanying benefits you can identify.

3.  You may need to include prayers of confession as well–confession of your lack of love for your family, your idolatry of control in trying to change them, your reliance on your ability to convict them of their sin instead of trusting the Holy Spirit to do that, your coldheartedness, haughtiness, and self-righteousness, etc. Ask the Holy Spirit to shine his light of truth on your darkness of sin.

4.  If you haven’t already done so, “come out of the closet” as a Christian to your family. Pray for gentle words and a gracious demeanor mixed with bold confidence. . . . Aim for your announcement to be informational rather than evangelistic. You can trust God to open evangelistic doors later.

#3 nailed me.

One thing I might add, especially if you have a large family: look for opportunities in the course of the day when it is not so hectic where you might be able to enjoy a sustained conversation with a family member who is not a Christian. In a large group setting, conversations tend to stay on a superficial level, but if you can get alone with one or two family members for 10-15 minutes or longer, you will have a greater opportunity of magnetizing the conversation to the gospel and how Jesus has changed, and is changing your life.

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Chris Russell recently published a blog post called “8 Keys to Knowing God’s Will For Your Life.” That post was directed toward helping believers to figure out the big picture in regard to God’s will. For instance, those keys have much to do with God’s plan for you vocationally, in ministry, and in the important stages of life.

This post, on the other hand, lends help for the “smaller” decisions that we make from day to day.  In order to continue in the middle of God’s perfect will, it is vital that we make right decisions each day and each week. But that is not always easy. As a tool to help you make right decisions from a biblical perspective, I have pulled together 13 questions you should ask when facing a choice. Here they are:

1)  Does God already have a clear teaching about this?

Joshua 1:8
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

If God has already spoken clearly about this, you do not have to wonder any longer. Just do what he has told you.

Simple, right?

Well, the problem here seems to be that most people in our culture today seem to have a fairly low level of knowledge of the Scriptures. They are “low-information believers.”

So, I would encourage you to saturate your mind as much as possible with God’s Word. Read it. Study it. Memorize it. Learn it. Once you have done so, you will be amazed at how much better you are at making good, solid decisions in life.

2)  What do my top spiritual advisors tell me about this?

Proverbs 11:14
Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.

It is vital that you surround yourself with godly friends who will be able to speak into your life about life’s decisions. Do you realize that you are basically a composite of the five people you spend the most time with? It is crucial to choose those people carefully. If you don’t have those types of friends, I would encourage you to increase your involvement in church and small groups and ministry in order to establish those godly relationships.

3)  What do authority figures in my life have to say about this?

Titus 3:1
Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work.

(Also see Romans 13:1-7Hebrews 13:17)

God often works through authority relationships in our lives. For instance, it would be extremely rare for the best choice to be something that is illegal. Look at this choice from the vantage point of authority figures in your life, and at least use that as an important reference point for you.

4)  How will this affect me spiritually?

1 Corinthians 10:23
All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.

There is much more to this life than just earning a bigger paycheck or improving your status amongst peers. When you make choices, make sure you consider how this decision will affect your spiritual development. Will this draw you nearer to God or further from him?  Will this decision interfere with your ability to attend church, maintain godly relationships, or spend time cultivating your spiritual disciplines?  If it harms you spiritually, then I would suggest pulling the plug on that choice.

5)  How will this affect my family? Will this draw us closer to God or further from God?

1 Corinthians 8:9
But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.

Not only must you consider how this decision will affect your own spiritual development, but you must also consider the affects it will have on the spiritual state of your family. Will this help your family to grow in Christ, or will it interfere with that spiritual growth? Will this pull them away from godly friends and away from a healthy, godly church environment? Will this divide your family in any way? Be careful not to make decisions that will cause your family to pay a big price.

6)  Is this going to bring more peace or less peace to my life?

1 Thessalonians 4:11
That you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.

Did you know that God actually wants you to have a peaceful life? Of course, this is not the “American way,” but it is definitely an important consideration when it comes to making decisions. Be cautious that you are not stacking your life with more and more “stuff” that will send you over the edge with stress and anxiety. And make sure it is not going to steal the peace from your family as well.

7)  Is this consistent with the way God has wired me?

1 Peter 4:10
As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

God has created you for a purpose, and He has designed you specifically to fulfill that purpose. You are a gifted individual, and His plan will be for you to function within that area of giftedness. When we veer outside of the way He has wired us, we often feel excessive stress, anxiety, and burnout very quickly.

When it comes to making decisions, make sure you evaluate the choice in light of the way that God has designed you. Are you creative? Are you detail-oriented? Are you relational? Are you task-oriented? Are you a communicator? Pay attention to how God has wired you.

8)  Am I paying attention to the risks that are associated with this?

Proverbs 27:12
A wise man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished.

When making decisions, it is very important to honestly assess the risk that is involved. Sometimes we can become so mesmerized by a “golden carrot” that we overlook the risks that are associated. For this one, I would suggest that you have an outside voice speak into the situation.

In his book Entreleadership, Dave Ramsey says that anytime he has made a business decision that has gone against his wife’s advice, it has cost him at least $10,000. Sometimes others, like a spouse, can see the risks that we overlook.

It is a sign of wisdom to be cautious. Not fearful, but cautious.

9)  Do I have total peace from God about this?

Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Sometimes everything can look right on the outside when I’m making a decision, but there will still be angst within my spirit. I have learned that making a decision without that inner peace is nearly always a mistake. God gives us peace as a protection and a guide. Seek His peace, and be cautious of making decisions that move against that peace.

10)  Are the doors of circumstances clearly open here?

(See Acts 16)

God often works through obvious circumstances. For example, He did that for Paul in Acts 16. In that chapter, Paul and his entourage kept facing closed doors as they were seeking where they were to minister next. And then, one door to Asia flew open while all other doors were closing.

God often directs me more by closing doors than by opening them. But there have been times in my life when I have attempted to force open a door that was not truly open. That never ends well.

It’s always good to look at how God is opening or closing doors in front of you. And while an open door does not always mean that you are to pass through, it is often an indicator that God is at work. Pay attention to open doors, and be cautious of forcing doors open when they are closed.

11)  Is now the best time for this? Could waiting be better?

Ephesians 5:16-17
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Haste does not always produce the best decisions. Sometimes everything might seem right about a choice, but making the decision at a later time might make more sense. This isn’t always easy, because we often want to move forward quickly when we see an opportunity. But sometimes the wiser decision is to slow down, plan more, get more input, and give it more time to develop.

12)  Am I willing to let God close this door?

(Again, refer to Paul’s journey in Acts 16.)

An important element to making good decisions is to make sure that you are completely submitted to God’s ultimate plan for your life. Sometimes we get it into our heads that we want to do a certain thing, and then we struggle immensely when we begin to realize that God may not want us to move forward with that particular choice.

The disaster comes when we place our desire above God’s plan. Let me be clear here. That never turns out well. The best decision you can ever make is to submit your choices to God’s plan and be willing to give up an opportunity when you sense God does not want you to move forward with that decision.

13)  Am I willing to trust God if He asks me to step forward?

Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Closely related to the above question is this: Are you willing to trust God if He asks you to step forward? This is basically the flipside of question 12. It’s important to stop when God says, “Stop,” and it is equally important to move forward when He says, “Move forward.”

Are you willing to do that thing He might want you to do? What if it makes you feel uncomfortable? What if it moves you out of your comfort zone? What if it requires faith?

I can testify to you that the most exciting moments of my life have been when I have submitted to God and stepped forward with Him in faith. I hope you can experience that same joy.

Wrapping It Up

OK, so when you have a tough choice to make, I would encourage you to go over these questions before confirming your decision. Perhaps print these questions out and keep them as a reference point for the future. Talk through each of these questions with your spouse or a friend in the context of a decision you are currently making in your own life. I know of some parents who have used these with their kids to help train their children to make good decisions as well. In essence, these questions can serve as guidelines for helping you and your family make decisions that you will not regret.

* All Scripture quotes are taken from the New King James Version of the Bible

Stephen Altrogge

We all know that we’re supposed to pray. We all have our own prayer “tactics,” such as prayer lists, prayer apps, prayer walks, prayer meetings, praying out loud, writing down our prayers, writing down the prayers we say out loud, and saying out loud prayers which have been written down.

In spite of all these tactics, I believe prayer is THE MOST underrated spiritual discipline. The simple fact is, I take prayer for granted. Because Christ has opened the way into the Holy Places, I can pray freely at any time of day. I can pray in the car, as I’m working, and while I’m watching my kids. Being able to pray so freely is an incredible, wonderful blessing. I think, however, that the freeness with which I can pray causes me to take prayer for granted.

Think for a moment of all that takes place when I pray.

GOD HEARS

But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. (Psalm 4:3)

O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. (Psalm 5:3)

Holy smokes! When I pray, the Lord himself, Yahweh, the King of Kings, the commander of the armies of Heaven, hears me! The God who crushed the Egyptian army and humiliated the prophets of Baal, hears when I call to him. I’m not speaking empty words into a void. I’m not simply talking to myself. This is not the power of positive speaking. When I call, God hears.

GOD STRENGTHENS

O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more. (Psalm 10:17–18)

Not only does God hear me when I pray, but he also strengthens me. In the midst of affliction, when I barely have the strength to call out to God, he hears me and strengthens me. He imparts real spiritual, emotional, and even physical strength to me. Prayer connects me to the infinite strength of God.

GOD BLESSES

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11)

God is eager to bless me. Just as I am eager to give good gifts to my kids, God is eager to give good gifts to me. When I pray, God unleashes blessings into my life. I realize that sounds terribly Joel Osteen-ish, but it’s not. It’s God’s word. God will give me good things when I pray to him. He will bless me and pour out his incredible riches into my life.

GOD ACTS

The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. (>James 5:16–18)

This passage is meant to encourage us that God does real, incredible things in response to my prayers. When Elijah prayed, God actually altered weather patterns! When I pray, God does real, amazing, incredible things. He changes circumstances. He softens hearts. He intervenes with financial provision. He brings reconciliation. Prayer brings the Almighty God into the mundane details of my life.

Given all the astonishing things that happen when I pray, why do I treat prayer so lightly? That’s the big question we all need to answer.


Stephen Altrogge serves as a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church. Find out more at The Blazing Center.

Tips to a brighter Relationship
The wise couples (you know the ones that most people say “they were meant to be”) turn into wine and keep on getting better with age. Yet, lots of relationship fade away after the excitement phase is over and separate themselves like oil and water.

If you want your relationship to have the long life it deserves, have a look at our 10 things to do for a brighter relationship.

1. Have a positive attitude towards life

Everyone wants to be around cheerful people that seize the moment and take the best of everything.

A constant attitude of dissatisfaction, complaining and nagging — attracts negative emotions creating a terrible mood, and implicitly creating bad relationships between people.

Having and keeping a positive attitude towards life makes you a more attractive partner while at the same time, makes you a happier person overall.

2. Love yourself

Your partner doesn’t want to be the object of your sacrifices. He wants you to be happy with him just as much as he wants to feel good with you.

You both need to be pleased and fulfilled with your own individualities in order to be able to draw the same emotions in your relationship. And, more importantly, you need to preserve your own personality above and beyond the things you’re doing to please the other person.

3. Pay attention to your partner’s wants and needs

Men and women are different and inherently share different perspectives on relationship and what makes them happy in life. Acting controlling and trying to change your lover around to like the things that you do and undertake the actions and reactions you see as righteous — is an instant major turnoff for your partner and extremely frustrating for you.

4. Show admiration and gratitude

If you are in a relationship with someone — it goes without saying that you appreciate them for a series of qualities, the way they treat you, how they make you feel etc.

The key here is to REMIND your partner CONSTANTLY just how much you admire the things he/she does for you and the way those makes you feel.

5. Be careful with words

“Words cut deeper than swords” is more than just an idiom. It is a universally valid truth.

You cannot take back an offense, an insult, a humiliation, a lie or any verbal abuse. No matter how much you’ll excuse yourself after the storm has passed. It will irreversible linger in the back of your partner’s head and “scar” her/his feelings or opinions about you.

6. Show respect

Any kind of healthy relationship needs to be built on mutual respect.

Respect is multi-leveled and shows that you have common-sense and value the person for what they are and stand for. Therefore, you need to respect them verbally (see item 5), you need to respect their opinions and decision even when you don’t agree with them, you need to respect their friends and family even if sometimes it’s just for the single reason that “they come with the package”.

7. Be empathetic

We all go through stressful periods, have bad days and lazy moments and get affected by various factors which alter our spirits and self-worth. Having someone besides you who accentuates your awful mood rather than ameliorating it — is even worse.

So, try to cheer up your other half when they’re down, accept that your partner might be upset by something that does not impinge on you (and vice-versa) and show them compassion. Bear in mind that once in a while, we all need some time alone.

8. Make memories together

There is nothing that brings you two closer than going through happy, adventurous and also less joyful experiences together. Try to make an effort towards taking some trips, lessons (dance/music), doing whatever you find exciting and fun (scuba-diving, camping, participating in a contest) as long as you do them TOGETHER.

Take a lot of pictures and souvenirs to reinforce your good times and to remember that blissfulness, if and when things become tedious.

9. Fight routine

Sometimes, life just seems too demanding and tiring to find the time, patience and will to fight daily routine. Still, as I said previously, memories are what make your connection deeper and more meaningful. Sitting in front of the TV the whole afternoon and ordering dinner every evening is not too much of an experience.

10. Spice up your love life

Routine is again a turnoff when it comes to your most intimate moments. Once again, being adventurous and open to trying new things can make a huge difference.

You need to constantly find new ways to appeal to your partner’s senses and outreach his or her desires.

Try new positions and / or locations, anticipate the moment (through messages, notes, phone calls) and value foreplay in order to relate at a deeper emotional level. Dare to dive into each other’s fantasies and be that person that he or she never had and never wants to leave.

There’s nothing wildly spectacular about the pieces of advice shared throughout the article yet that’s precisely the reason why they work — always! They fit with any person and any type of personality, it’s what people in successful relationship do, and what keeps them in those relationships.

So, are you ready to brighten your relationship with these 10 easy and natural things?

FORGIVENESS: YET I SULK

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CC: @318_Media


Last year I was hurt by a close friend, and my reaction was to cause hurt in return. Actually, it may have been the other way around. The entire incident was so passive and internal that it’s hard to say how it all started.
Either way, it resulted in sulks, resentment, licking of wounds, and finally, grudging apologies. We’ve been on relationship probation ever since. When we see each other out in public, we smile and try too hard—neither one admitting our resentment. Feeling like I was owed something, I never made an attempt to mend our relationship. Why should I give in first? After all, it would be foolish to make myself vulnerable to that person.
But the last time I checked, Jesus doesn’t bless the ones who hold out the longest for an apology. In my reading of Matthew, I found quite the opposite: He blesses the peacemakers. And in the Sermon on the Mount, He shows us exactly what peacemaking entails:
“If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matt 5:23–24).
Jesus doesn’t say “go and ask for an apology,” “go and make excuses for your behavior,” or even “go and tell your side of the story.” He says go and be reconciled.
Jesus goes on to explain what a response to being wronged looks like:
“But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you” (Matt 5:38–42).
He uses examples of some very public wrongs—a slap across the cheek and a lawsuit.
It’s often harder to back down if it means losing face. I don’t swallow my pride easily, and I know exactly what I would do if I were literally slapped across the face: I’d turn the other cheek with such an exaggerated, provoking attitude that I would deserve that follow-up slap.
Jesus is describing a much more humble attitude—one that perhaps includes a tacit recognition of the other person’s hurt or anger.
His words within the Lord’s Prayer are a reminder of why we should forgive: “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matt 6:12).
Forgiveness isn’t grudging or passive—it’s actively showing acceptance. And it’s not contingent on whether I feel the other person is deserving of that forgiveness. It’s in response to the unbelievable and undeserved forgiveness that Christ offers me.

Jessi Gering

___________________________________________

Biblical references are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV).

Jesus was so large of heart, so large of spirit, so endless in consciousness. Like, you don’t even need to think he is the son of God. Just think of him, first, as a man. He was such a man of beauty. Impatient with hate, dismissive of judgement, large of heart. Jesus was a beautiful man. Giving, forgiving, listening, understanding, relating, empathising. He was what some call, a son of mercy. How did his followers get so angry, and faithful and full of the fury of condemnation, and … xenophobia.

It’s all this ‘heretical’ teachings that take symbols and words and twist and bed them to fit whatever prejudice is in vogue in that age. Every generation has had its interpretation of the book of Revelations for 2000+ years. To fit its social context, and in this generation, our apocalyptic influencers insist the job of Christians is to delay the anti-Christ. *Shudders* And delaying the anti christ often means, in their telling, fighting ‘sin’, attacking the ‘sinful’, fighting cultural wars. To do this, they often descend on the book of Revelations and stretch and pull every word and symbol until it fits that assignment.

I have no doubt that they truly, truly believe in what they say, and their hearts may be in the right place. But it’s oh so dangerous. When Christians leave the simple, clear words and teachings of Jesus and the example of his life and witness, to pursue… evil.

Like sometimes I understand why the world is so cynical, so suspicious of Christians and Christian motive. Why they disconnect from our culture, and attack beautiful experiences like worship, or tongues, or prayer. They don’t see what I see when I am in many gatherings and I see the family of God’s children in worship, in fellowship, Connected, broken, emptied of self and ego and ambition, and fear and hate. Ah, worship, it’s a blessing to watch people in worship.

Then, those same people get into the world after service and then they become this judgemental, angry set of people. It really confuses me. Really confounds me. Like, how did you lose that pure state, that Jesus-state, so soon? How did you let it go? How did you let love go? How did you let compassion go?

Jesus was a disruptor. He was a spiritual disruptor. And that disruption was to the Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and all of that of the times the eye-for-an-eye, God-of-wrath stranglehold. His disruption was love. If it wasn’t love, then there was no point of His coming. The religions of the time already had judgement, condemnation down to a part. If that’s what he came here for, then it was unnecessary. But he came because his message was radical and revolutionary.

The way I see it. God was tired of the disruption of his true image for millions of years. He sent Jesus to make it right. To reveal his true nature that prophets and priests had struggled with for years. Jesus came to earth to model God’s true nature. That’s why it’s so difficult to justify a gospel of hate with his life. You can’t use Jesus’s words to justify this self-righteousness. You often have to turn to flawed apostles, or visioners. I’ll stick with Jesus. I’ll always cast my lot with Jesus. Stop “fighting for God”. He doesn’t need your help. What he asked you do is work on your life and bring others to him through that life. 

Listen, Jesus didn’t send the church to fight the devil for him. Nope. Jesus already won that battle on the cross. It is finished.

Anytime the Bible teaches about the Devil, it’s in relation to a Christian’s personal life. Resist the devil and he will flee “FROM YOU”. It’s not for you to carry weapons and go claiming you are fighting the devil. God doesn’t need your help to fight the devil. God needs you help to fight for your salvation and to draw others to him. And his weapon for that is love. The more you spend time fighting the world, the less time you have living a better life as a Christian. 

Matthew 7:5

Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. (NLT) 

When Christians stop persuading and start coercing, we have moved so far from what Jesus thought, we’ve practically turned our backs on Him.  Here’s what Walter Brueggemann has to say about “Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God.” 

I so desperately want people to meet Jesus. To meet this beautiful, incredible guy. All this hate from Christians makes it so hard. 

Important reading: “The Problem with, Hate the Sin Love the Sinner” 

“Using “hate the sin” as a license for cruelty defeats the purpose of proclaiming truth.”

how-to-be-a-godly-manOne of the questions that men often ask is “How Do I Become a Godly Man?” A few years ago pastor, Todd Wagner, gave a message entitled, “Act Like Men: Defining and Discussing God’s Calling for Men” where he outlined some key characteristics of a Godly man with Scriptures to go along with each. In addition, he posted a handout on his personal blog that can be downloaded, printed, and shared. Here is a smooth guide to becoming a Godly Man with Help from Pastor Todd

We hope you these characteristics, and accompanying verses, help spur you on to be the kind of man God created you to be!

1. STEP UP: Lead. Initiate. Be a man of action. Assume it is your job and your moment. Hate apathy. Reject passivity.

When David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the army, the mighty men…”Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the LORD do what is good in His sight.” –2 Samuel 10:7,12

“I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” – Ezekiel 22:30

Other Scripture:

Psalm 101, Proverbs 14:23, Proverbs 20:6, Jeremiah 5:1, Ezekiel 22:23-31, John 10:11-13, James 1:23-25

2. SPEAK OUT: Silence in the midst of sin is a sin. Be courageous. Fear God not man. Speak the truth in love.

Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. – Proverbs 27:5-6

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. – Proverbs 31:8-9

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. – 1 Peter 3:15

Other Scripture:

Proverbs 14:25, Proverbs 15:1-2, Proverbs 24:11-12, Isaiah 8:11-13, Jeremiah 1:17, Romans 1:16

3. STAND STRONG: Don’t give in when you are challenged, attacked or criticized.

“Now behold, I have made you today as a fortified city and as a pillar of iron and as walls of bronze against the whole land, to the kings of Judah, to its princes, to its priests and to the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the LORD. – Jeremiah 1:18-19

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. – I Corinthians 15:58

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. – 1 Peter 5:8-9

Other Scripture:

2 Chron. 16:9, Prov. 24:10, Isaiah 41:10, Jeremiah 12:5, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Galatians 1:10, Philippians 1:27-28

4. STAY HUMBLE: Be vigilant against pride. Get the log out of your eye. Don’t think less of yourself, think of yourself less.

Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me; It is oil upon the head; Do not let my head refuse it, for still my prayer is against their wicked deeds. – Psalm 141:5

You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:5-7

Other Scripture:

Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 12:1, Isaiah 66:2, Micah 6:8, John 15:5, Philippians 2:3-5

5. SERVE THE KING: Seek first His Kingdom, His glory, His righteousness. Hope in the eternal. Live for a greater reward.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45

Other Scripture:

Joshua 24:14-15, Psalm 16:11, Psalm 84:10-12,2 Corinthians 5:10, Hebrews 6:10, 1 Peter 2:21-23

How are you doing on these characteristics? Leave a comment below and let us know how we can pray for you!

how-to-be-a-godly-womanOne of the questions that’s often asked around in Christian circles is “How to be a Godly man?” and today I wanted to write a post answering another question we often hear; “How do I become a Godly Woman?” Below you’ll find five characteristics of a Godly woman with verses that go along with them. There is also a Handout to help you become one. it will be available shortly.

We hope these characteristics, and accompanying verses, help spur you on to be the kind of woman that God created you to be!

1. SEEK GOD FIRST: Reject the lie that anything or anyone else can satisfy you.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:33-34

Other Scripture:

1 Chronicles 16:8-12Psalm 9:10Psalm 27:1-5Psalm 34:10-14Psalm 40:16,Jeremiah 29:11-13Zephaniah 2:3Matthew 6:25-34

2.  SPEAK FAITHFULLY: Love others with godly wisdom, boldness, and kindness as a faithful completer of others.

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” – Genesis 2:18

Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. – Proverbs 27:5-6

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. – Proverbs 31:8-9

She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. –Proverbs 31:26

Other Scripture:

Psalms 19:14Proverbs 12:18Proverbs 13:3Proverbs 16:13Proverbs 20:15,Proverbs 24:26

3. SHOW TRUE BEAUTY: Bodies deteriorate, persons develop. Invest in that which lasts.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. – Proverbs 31:30

Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. – 1 Timothy 2:9-10

Other Scripture:

1 Samuel 16:7Proverbs 11:22,1 Peter 3:3-5

4. STAY HUMBLE: Be constantly aware of ‘pride and selfishness. Don’t think less of yourself but think of yourself less.

“Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD. “These arc the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” – Isaiah 66:2

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 2:3-5

Other Scripture:

Psalm 141:5Proverbs 3:5-6Proverbs 12:1Micah 6:8John 15:5, 1 Peter 3:8-9,1 Peter 5:5-7

5. SERVE THE LORD: Set your mind on eternal things, serve the eternal King, live to please only Him.

“He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” – John 12:25-26

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. –Colossians 3:23

Other Scripture:

Psalm 16:11Psalm 84:10-12Mark 10:42-45,2 Corinthians 5:10, Philippians 1:21,Hebrews 6:10,1 Peter 2:21-23

How are you doing on these characteristics? Leave a comment below and let us know how we can pray for you!

Is it ok for a Christian to have a concealed handgun license? In this quick video Pastor Todd Wagner of the Watermark Church explains…

Watch and be informed.

Click here to watch

As a child I enjoyed going to church. Back then, churches were big on moral education. Jesus was projected as the ultimate exemplar of spiritual and moral excellence. Whenever we face a moral dilemma we were told to simply ask ourselves this question: What would Jesus do if He was in our situation? The right answer to this question spells the right thing to do. Quite evidently this lasting moral lesson I received as a child has inspired the title of this piece.

As an attempt to sidestep the pitfalls of sweeping generalization, the title of this piece is couched to tacitly suggest, there is an ideal type of “Nigerian pastor”. However, this ideal type is possibly suffused with some trite notions. Since, it highlights subjective features and impressions. If it is, there is no cause for alarm. Facts are inherent in cliched perspectives. Inherited ideas are not bad, if they are rooted in observable reality, useful for social reconstruction and non-discriminatory. Perception is still a valid way of gleaning knowledge.

A quick look at Jesus and the Nigerian Pastor is a study in contrast. It elicits paradigm-shattering dissonance. Jesus is the epitome of selflessness. Sacrificial love was the signature of His services to God, humanity, state and society. Similarly, it was the grand motif of his teachings. But the converse is true of the Nigerian Pastor. The governing maxim of his ministerial endeavors is inspired by the capitalists checklist: What is in it for me? This is making the Nigerian pastor a well-known avatar of greed. Around the globe, those who want to take lessons in the idiocy of profligate highlife are turning their attention to him. To the Nigerian Pastor, self is supreme. God is secondary. Pleasure is the essence of life. People are doormats. Or, they are seen as mere expendable launch pads to the stratosphere of fame and fortune.

If Jesus was a Nigerian Pastor, He would be a servant of God to the people. His wholehearted commitment to alleviating the atrocious living and working conditions of the poor would be a gospel anti-poverty agencies would draw inspiration from. His passionate pursuit of the transcendent would not blindfold Him to the appalling material misery of those around Him. He would not widen the socio-economic gap between the haves and the have-nots.

He would not be known for setting financial targets? for His church members, a practice that has compromised the faith and purity of many. Of what good is it for a young poor lady to sell her body in order to meet such  set targets? Unlike the boastful, wasteful hedonistic Nigerian pastor, He would have embodied Puritan ethics, which is a stimulus for capital accumulation for enterprise building. He would have raised frontline entrepreneurs by freely and gladly sharing the business sense He acquired as a carpenter par excellence.

If Jesus was a Nigerian Pastor, he would not be a tag-along denizen of Aso Rock. He would make the annexation of His ministry to the structures of political power impossible. Certainly, now and then, He would dine and wine with politicians. Whenever there is a legitimate reason, He would likely visit the seats of political power. However, He would maintain a dignified distance from them. So that He can speak truth to power with the unmistakable voice of authority. Painfully, the Nigerian pastor is increasingly becoming voiceless. He is seen in political arenas, but not heard. His shameless backslapping gestures have eroded his moral authority to be a voice of truth to power.

If Jesus was a Nigerian Pastor, He would not promote the baseless fatality that comes with hatred of difference. There is hardly anything that assaults the sublime nature of prayer like making it an expression of homicidal rage. In fact, the God-centric life that Jesus models is hardly enemy-conscious. One truth the Nigerian pastor seems not to grasp is that if prayer is fear-inspired, not God-centred and love-based, it is prone to become a tool of the devil.

If Jesus was a Nigerian Pastor, He would not organise programmes in places that will impede vehicular movement. He knows there is a nexus between the good life and trouble-free movement. Fixing bad roads, fighting poverty, beautifying the environment would have been on His agenda for socio-economic development. Unlike the Nigerian pastor, Jesus would not build a multi-billion naira ultra-modern mega-church in a squalid environment with unmotorable roads. He would do his best to develop the socio-economic infrastructure in His domain of influence for the benefit of all.

If Jesus was a Nigerian Pastor, He would not shutdown churches that are not commercially viable. His ministries would not be confined to cities. He will gladly pastor in villages like Karangiya in Sokoto, Anong in Cross River. The Nigerian Pastor needs to jettison the illusion that God dwells only in cities. And its corollary, you can’t have a thriving church outside Lagos, Abuja, Warri, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, etc.

Well, if to the Nigerian Pastor ministry is a gravy train, a means to own a private jet; it will be easier for pigs to fly than for his expectations to come through in a village church. But the truth is, if the Nigerian Pastor is truly like Jesus, geographical location will not debar the growth and influence of his ministry. Didn’t the city dwellers go to the wilderness to hear John the Baptist?

Let me assume I am in a position to advise the Nigerian Pastor on how to truly create heaven on earth.

Dear Pastor, please model Christ. Endeavour to be selfless. Stop conveying the impression that you are a parasitic opportunist. Build sanctuaries of care for the vulnerable. Pay attention to the real needs of the world. Poverty abounds, join the fight to alleviate it. Step out of your grand soapbox, pickup your workbag and hit the street. Without cameras, please.