Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Real Heroes of October

The Real Heroes of October

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  2 Timothy 4:2

Do you look forward to the World Series of Major League Baseball each October?  I do.  I enjoyed the first game between the Mets and Royals recently.  14 innings!  Wow!  Playing past the regular season, the “Boys of Summer” try to get their team into position to play baseball in the postseason called the playoffs.  Then the National League Champion will play the American League Champion to determine the World Champion in the World Series.

Baseball great Reggie Jackson was known as Mr. October.  When a team is advancing and still playing baseball into the month of October you know they are a good team.  There will be another MVP this year and one team will walk away the winners, the heroes of the baseball world.

Between both the Mets and Royals, there are many players I am not familiar with.  There are some new names on both teams.  No matter how long a player has played on his team, as a team member – he is committed to the same task – win the next game.  No matter what path he took to get to the majors, he is still accepted on his team as a vital asset towards winning.

There are other heroes in October, some of which we will never hear about.  They are the pastors, faithfully feeding the flock of God in their local fields.  However God called them and wherever they are serving, they are on the same team as I am – the Gospel Team.

In independent Baptist churches such as the one I pastor, we may not be familiar with pastors in other parts of the country.  We are not isolated, but we are just too far away to know each other.  There are pastors, missionaries and evangelists boldly declaring God’s Word and we may never know them on this side of Heaven.  We are on the same team – giving out the Gospel.  I am thankful for each team player.

The churches they preach in vary in size; some with 50, 250 or over 2000 members attending weekly services.  Some pastors and their churches are well-known, others are not.  All these pastors are known to those they minister to as being passionate about Jesus and His Holy Word.

Some churches will say “thank-you” in a public display.  Others churches are comprised of individuals who behind the scenes say “thank-you.”  However this is accomplished, it should be clear to the pastor that the church is blessed with his effort to serve the Lord and minister to them.  The real heroes of October are the pastors.  They are the ones ready to “preach the Word in Season or out of Season.”

Some folks have set aside October as a month to strategically say “Thank-you.”  Someone once aptly said that “What gets scheduled is what gets done.”  It is true that our human nature is to forget.  We may forget the impact 1 message had on our home.  We may neglect to give a testimony of how a message fed to the congregation met a specific need in your soul.  Sometimes a pastor is preaching on a totally other subject, but the Bible passage God directed him to, challenges and changes your life.  If we do not mark something good on a calendar, it just may not happen.

According to Thrivingpastor.com, pastor or clergy appreciation has been “over the centuries, decades and years, pastors have been recognized and honored, either formally or informally, by many denominations and local churches at various times of the year. It has been a long-standing practice.”  They refer to the I Timothy 5:17 as pastors preaching the Word should receive “double honor” as the precedent for this special recognition.

As you watch the closing games of this baseball season, be reminded of the real heroes of October.  The unsung heroes are those faithfully preaching the Word.  While you may not know all of them – take a moment to encourage those you do know.  Say “thank-you” in some way this week.

Advertisements

Giving A Testimony

Giving a Testimony

I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day… Acts 26:2

A man named Don was faithful in every testimony service to stand up and say “I thank Jesus for my salvation.”  I do not remember a time when Don would not say something good about Jesus when given the opportunity.  His testimony encouraged several preachers I know to serve the Lord in ministry.  Perhaps you enjoy hearing people give their salvation story.  Sometimes church services are blessed when people rise and vocalize what God is doing in their lives.

A Testimony is evidence given in court from an eyewitness accounting details of a case.  It is proof that supports a claim or a fact.

A Christian Testimony is when we are telling others what God has done for and in our lives.  It is giving evidence that God is working in our life.  What can you say about God in your personal testimony?

Concerning testimonies John Stott wrote: “So much so-called “testimony” today is really autobiography and even sometimes thinly disguised self-advertisement, that we need to regain a proper biblical perspective. All true testimony is testimony to Jesus Christ, as he stands on trial before the world.”

What does your testimony say about Jesus?  Testimony is more than reputation.  Reputation has to do with how you are known to other people.  Testimony has to do with how you live and what you say about God to other people.

Here are 4 ideas to help you share your Christian testimony.

Talk about Jesus with Appropriate Answers.  1 Peter 3:15 tells us: But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Perhaps an entire life story is needed to be told to let others see Jesus in you, but generally, the most meaningful parts of what God has done in your life is all that is needed.

Essentially what you are saying with a salvation testimony is: “This is what God did for me.  Jesus saved me.”  In a service testimony, you are conveying: “This is how the Lord answered prayer. He can help you too.” Or “The Lord helped and enabled me.”

Give Insight with Considerate Conversation.  Colossians 4:6 teaches, Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Be careful not to pour salt on somebodies wounds.  Others who hear your testimony may be grief stricken about sin or a circumstance.  Be careful to consider their thoughts.

Others are in the middle of a similar lifestyle you used to live.  As you speak, they may be battling the same depression, drunkenness, or abuse that you endured.  Great details of sin need not be given.  When the apostle Paul gave his testimony, he did not include the gruesome details of Stephens death, or of the families that he tore apart.  Paul spoke in general terms.  We must avoid magnifying the depth of sin.  Exalt the forgiveness of God.

Show Thoughtfulness With Godly Preparation.  Proverbs 16:1 instructs: The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

You may have witnessed a similar story: “It was testimony night in the church. A lady got up and said, “We are living in a wicked land where sin is on every hand. I have had a terrible fight with the old devil all week.”  Where upon her husband, who was sitting glumly by her side said, “It’s not all my fault either; she’s tough to get along with.””

It is a good idea to ask the Lord to help you prepare your testimony beforehand.  Not every occasion for verbalizing a testimony will be formal, but for those formal settings, you should be prepared with what you will say.  Let God help you prepare ahead of time.  Of course, He can give you the words before and even during the testimony.

Think about your story of God working in your life.  Know how to tell His story in your life.  Rehearse the story.  The more you tell it– the easier it is for you to recognize you are blessed and it is easier to tell others.

Many Christians who battle depression are simply not “practiced up” at telling others about God working in their lives.  Be rehearsing what God has done.  It will help you in many ways.

Be Happy Using Joyful Expression.  Proverbs 15:23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!  Giving a testimony, the right way and the right time is a wonderful thing.  Recalling forgiveness of sin, victory in Jesus, and the power of the Gospel is terrific.  Remembering our future with Jesus is inspirational!

Smile, have your eyes open; speak confidently and joyfully about the Lord Jesus Christ.  Ask the Lord to help you have the joy of the Lord evident in your testimony.

With these testimony ideas in mind, I encourage you to rehearse your salvation testimony this week, and then relate the testimony to someone soon.

Travel with Us to Israel

I was blessed in early 2015 to be given a trip to the Holy Land.  The Wilton Baptist Church, the people I pastor, sent me on a trip of the lifetime to Israel.  I am very thankful for their generosity and kindness!  It was an incredible experience that really brought to life the Bible locations that I study each week.  It was a life-changing time for me as the pages of Scripture took on a fresh interest. The landscape and having been “on location” has helped me further understand the events of the Bible in relation to geography, weather, and human experience.  For example, walking up to the Mount of Olives means more to me now after having walked it on a sunny day.  Traveling across the Sea of Galilee during a storm was exciting!  The wind and rain assaulting our little ship gave me a glimpse of the times when Jesus sailed the Sea.

Dr. Richard Harper, the evangelist, and myself are planning to go again in February of 2017.  In 2015, we went to nearly 60 locations and I took around 4000 photos!

Below are the details of the 2017 trip.  Perhaps you would like to go.  I encourage you to sign up.  If you send your pastor, his preaching will never be the same.  I encourage churches to send their pastor as it will not only bless him, but will also reciprocate in stories, photos, and greater depth of understanding that will return to the church from the pulpit.

A person does not need to go to Israel to be a great preacher or to know the Bible, but visiting there can be a help to gain insights that you may not have considered before.  Please read the details below.  Begin to pray and begin to save money for the trip if you feel the Lord would have you go.

2017 information