Tag Archives: change

Seasons of Change

Seasons of Change

The leaves are falling.  Soon the snow will be flying.  Before long, the grass will shove through the earth and the flowers will blossom.  The heat of summer will emerge, and the fall will be here before we know it.  Seasons make the year interesting.  Just as with the seasons and natural progression of hot and cold that God established, the Christian life and God’s church also goes through changes.

Change is something that human nature is resistant to.  We get comfortable.  We become accustomed.  What is “Normal” is what we have known to this specific point in our lives.  We can arrive at “new normal” when we willingly adjust our expectations.

Change in the Bible is good.  If you are a Christian, the specific moment you trusted Jesus for salvation, a big change took place.  You passed from “death unto life!” In John 5:24 Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

Change for the Christian is good. For example: we are to be “transformed” (Changed from the inside out) by the renewing of our minds in Romans 12:1-2.

The Christian is to be continually changing to look more like Jesus.  In 2 Corinthians 3:18, Paul teaches, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Change is good.  Individual Christians are changing to look more like Jesus.  Churches also go through changes.  One preacher aptly stated: “Churches are always in transition.”  Very true.

A local church cannot remain stagnant.  A church must strive to be vibrant, meeting the edification needs for its members and the evangelism needs of its community.

Here are three areas a church can benefit from change:

  1. A renewed spirit of unity. We are to strive together to fulfill the Great Commission. We are unified by Christ around the Gospel.  Philippians 1:27, commands, “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

Perhaps this humorous story will help: “Intending to raise cattle, a family from New York bought a ranch out West. When their friends visited and inquired about the ranch’s name, the would be rancher replied: “I wanted to name it the Bar-J. My wife favored Suzy-Q, one of our sons wanted the Flying-W, and the other liked the Lazy-Y. So we’re calling it the BAr-J-Suzy-Q-Flying-W-Lazy-Y.”

“But where are all your cattle?” the friends asked.

“None survived the branding.””

There are casualties in a church when the members are not united around the main thing. Don’t be distracted in your service to the Lord!  Preferences, nuances, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” And personality issues should not divert your attention.  Keep serving Jesus.  Stay united to the cause of Christ and do not allow side issues to get your eyes off Jesus.

  1. A restored community of trust. Paul’s ministry even encountered seasons of disunity and discouragement.  When Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, some of the believers were divided.  Read 1 Corinthians 1 for more details.  Some liked Paul’s preaching, others preferred Apollos (A great orator), and others enjoyed the passion of Peter.  The division was causing problems in the church.

Paul makes a hasty trip to Corinth in between these letters to try to resolve their issues.

Later, in 2 Corinthians, we find Paul sending another letter, not to elevate himself, but to elevate Jesus and help the people start to trust God again.

2 Corinthians 3:1-5 says, “Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles (letters) of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? 2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. 4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”

The church belongs to Jesus.  He purchased her with His own blood.  We can trust the church to God.  Jesus can overcome any doctrinal, personal, or preferential problems a church may face.  Paul knew that he was not sufficient to solve the division, but Jesus was (and is) sufficient.   Paul was not boasting in his ability, but in the fact that these Christians had started to yield their sin, personalities, and problems to the Lord and God healed their church.  Jesus said: “I will build my church.”  We can trust Him!

  1. A revived attitude of respect. 1 Thessalonians 5:12 instructs, “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.”

Pastors are not dictators.  If pastors were dictators, then no church member would ever miss a service, and no one would ever not bring their tithe to church, and members would bring Snickers candy bars to every church function. Lol… if you like.  The role of pastor is that of “Servant – Leader.”  It is an accurate and healthy description.

Pastors are to be gentle shepherds leading and feeding the flock.  Sometimes that includes protecting the sheep from wolves (in sheep’s clothing), false doctrine (bad spiritual food to eat), and dangerous pasture fields (emergent church models).

There should be a mutual respect among the members of a congregation for one another.  Church members should be trusting the deacons.  Church members and deacons should have an attitude of trust with the pastoral staff as well.

One service I was preaching through this passage in 1 Thessalonians 5, and suggested that it helps the pastor of the church when the church members are not fighting or bickering and that when a church was at peace, the true work of the ministry can thrive.  It is a true thought.

A thoughtful man, a genuine student of the Bible, suggested to me that the peace among the members was also connected to their respect or lack of respect for the pastor.  Read that verse again please.

“Esteem” means to “deem, consider, or count.”  A faithful church member must be able to count the pastor as respectful and worthy or he will not be able to learn, grow, or develop in that church.  A result of disrespect is that the pastor is not able to lead as effectively as he should.  Why can he not lead effectively?  Because of the lack of peace.  A pastor constantly putting out fires cannot commit the time called for – for the actual work of the ministry.  It could look like this old saying: “Too many chiefs – not enough Indians.”  Let the pastor be the “Servant – Leader” overseeing the overall work of the church.

These are 3 examples where change is good!  If these areas are lacking – Change!  Change to the glory of God.

  • Are you united with your church family in the purpose of the Gospel?
  • Do you have an attitude of trust for the other members, deacons, and pastoral staff?
  • Is there a mutual respect that you have for the church leadership that creates a peaceful environment?

Change is good.  Christians as well as churches go through “Seasons of change.”  Transitions and changes are sometimes difficult and even turbulent because human nature does not like change; but when we see Jesus – it will be worth it all.  When we make the needed adjustments as individuals and as a church, the Lord is glorified.

And. His. Work. Will. Continue.

 

 

 

 

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Time And Growth

Time And Growth

Recently I read about an incident that occurred back in 2004.  A fight broke out among the residents of a nursing home in their dining hall.  One man was playing with the lettuce in the serving line with his bare hands.  From that a fight ensued.  A 62-year-old and an 86-year-old started to trade “punches.”  Then a 79-year-old was bitten in the arm.  The mother of the 62-year-old man was cut in the arm and a 92-year-old man was shoved to the floor as other residents ran away from the dining hall.

The point of sharing this story is that time and age does not ensure a person grows “out of” anger issues.  We cannot hope that one day the wrath of a person is appeased because he or she becomes a certain age.  The only way to grow out of any sin – is to grow more like Jesus.  What we do in and with our time, is more important than how much time has expired.

Ephesians 4 clearly teaches how to replace the sin with righteousness and goodness.  God can help you grow in these areas!

Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Please observe the first sin listed: Bitterness.  Wrath, anger, clamour (outcry of grief), evil speaking (vile and blaspheme), and malice (badness) are all a result of the first sin: Bitterness.

Bitterness leads to faulty vision, angry thinking, and heated words.  Time does not heal bitterness.  Jesus alone can heal bitterness.

A life submitted to God will bring the hurts, pains, resentments, and seeds of bitterness to God and let God take care of them.  When we hold onto our “rights,” our pride, and our bitter spirit, the bitterness sprouts up into a garden of deceit, pain, and turmoil that chokes out all the positive things God is doing in our lives.  Nurturing bitterness ensures a garden of sin and grief is cultivated in a person’s life.

Replace the bitterness with forgiveness.  Replace the anger and wrath with kindness. Replace the harsh words with tenderheartedness.

While some people seem to “mellow out” over time, it is not just because of the passing of days. Time alone is not enough to grow out of sin and to find healing from the control of sin.  Growing in Jesus and learning to follow his example of love, compassion, and forgiveness is the only way to see victory over the sin of bitterness and anger.  What we do with the time God gives to grow closer to Him is what really counts.

 

 

 

Prayer Changes Us

Prayer Changes Us

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  John 15:7

“A fifth grade boy who had heard a sermon on persistence in prayer was praying by himself in his room one night. As his dad passed his door, he heard the boy praying over and over again, “Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo.” The next day, the dad asked his son what he was doing. The boy replied that he had given the wrong answer on a test for the capital of Mexico, and he was praying that Tokyo would become the capital of Mexico.”

Some people pray trying to “fix” a situation or change the way things are.  What if prayer changed us more than the situation?  It is very possible. Observe.

  1. When we pray the will or Word of God, we are “in tune” with God’s plan.
  2. When we pray for the will of God, we are asking for more than merely what we think is best.
  3. When we pray in the will of God, we are demonstrating faith and confidence that “His way is best.”
  4. When we pray the Word of God, we are allowing His presence in us to be more evident.
  5. When we pray in God’s will, we are able to rest, have peace, and totally rely on His working it out. All the while, the practice of prayer is also changing us.

While pray does “change things” – it can also change us!

 

 

 

 

 

Readers Are Leaders

“Readers are Leaders”

The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.  2 Timothy 4:13

“Readers are Leaders” It is a thoughtful statement.  As learned as Paul was, he continued to read the Bible (Parchments) and books.  This is a good example for us today.  The Bible teaches us to continually grow spiritually, personally, relationally, and professionally.  Reading is a good way to accomplish this.  Make sure you are “especially” reading the Bible.  In addition, here are several suggestions for your library.  In a day of disclosures, please note: While recommended, not everything may be endorsed.

 

General:

The Calvary Road, Hession

I Am a Church Member, Rainer

Church Still Works,  Chappell & Reed

The Pastor in Prayer, Spurgeon

Be Committed, Weirsbe

The Power of His Presence, Rogers

How God Answers Prayers, Towns

Key Words in the Christian Life, Wiersbe

Understanding the Times, Ham

The Plan B Prayer, Zacharias

 

Marriage:

A Firm Foundation, Chappell

A Faith Full Marriage, Chappell

The Right Romance in Marriage, Rice

The Love Dare, Kendrick

How to Save Your Marriage Alone, Wheat

Christian Living in the Home, Adams

The Five Love Languages, Chapman

The Christian Home, Sexton

Making Home Work, Chappell

Live Lighter, Love Better, Schmidt

The Love Dare Day by Day, Kendrick

 

Retirees:

Fourth Quarter, Sisk

How Do You Feel Today, Harness

 

Parenting:

Basics of Biblical Parenting, Chappell

Do You Mind If Your Kids Don’t, Rice

Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Tripp

 

Ladies:

The Choice is Yours, Chappell

A Joyful Heart, Gibbs

Wisdom from Women in the Bible, Maxwell

 

Men:

The Steps of a Good Man, Sisk

Lest You Fall, Hummell

Turn Away Wrath, Hummell

One Being a Servant of God, Wiersbe

Living Beyond Your Capacity, Chappell

Learning From The Giants, Maxwell

Great Hunting Stories, Chapman

 

Teens:

Discover Your Destiny, Schmidt

Just Friends, Mike Ray & Cary Schmidt

Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn for Teens, Maxwell

Money Matters for Teens, Burkett & Wooding

Boyhood and Beyond: Practical Steps to Becoming a Man, Schultz

 

Young Adults:

Boundaries in Dating, Cloud & Townshend

Before the Ring, Coleman

Starting Out Right, Burkett

 

Finances:

How to Manage Your Money, Larry Burkett

Giving & Tithing, Larry Burkett

Never Enough?,  Blue & Guess

 

What book are you currently reading?

What book has helped you in your Christian life the most that you read in the last year?

Please leave your encouraging comments.

New Year Transformation!

Be Transformed

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  Romans 12:2

Transformation is possible in your life today!  God can take you and I and make something better out of our lives.  The Lord can work a metamorphosis (transformation) in us.  Like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, God can make something beautiful of your life.

To have a total change is to be transformed from the inside out.  That is what the Lord wants for us as humans; to change to be more like Him.  We are to be “formed” after His image.  When we change on the inside we will eventually see change on the outside.

Here are a few areas you can see transformed:

  • Your relationship with God.
  • Your relationship with your spouse.
  • Your relationship with family members, children, parents, etc.
  • Your thinking about life in general.
  • Your thoughts about truth.
  • Your ideas about the “will of God.”
  • Your approach to world events.
  • Your perspective on workplace and school conflict.
  • Your walk in the Bible each day.
  • Your prayers being answered.
  • Your faith being increased.

There are so many other areas that you could see transformed this year. Get your Bible, start reading the Book of Romans and let’s see our lives transformed for the Glory of God.

I am excited as we study the Book of Romans in 2016 at the Wilton Baptist Church.  You are invited to seek transformation with us at 11:00 AM each Sunday.

Transformed Theme 2016

The Change Thanksgiving Makes in Us

The Change Thanksgiving Makes in Us

Do you enjoy the thanksgiving time of year?  Football games, awesome food, Christmas shopping season kickoff, and the great change in weather are terrific!  I always look forward to seeing Snoopy and the Charlie Brown characters make their way across the ocean on the Mayflower.  Does anyone have any plans for popcorn to replace the turkey dinner? Snoopy knows what I am talking about.

There is much more to the “attitude of gratitude” than all of the mostly superficial things we see.  It has been accurately stated that “The foundation of gratitude is the expectation of nothing.” This is an important proposition that each person must come to terms with if they are going to be a thankful person.  Today we will examine all of the “Thanksgiving Psalms” as found in the Book of Psalms.

“Perhaps you have heard of the man who wished to dispose of his home. He went to see a friend who was in the real estate business and, describing his house and grounds to the man, asked him to write an advertisement which he could put in the newspapers. His friend did as he was requested and then read what he had written to the home-owner.

“Read that again,” said the man who wanted to sell his house. His friend obliged, to hear this astonishing remark:  “The house is not for sale. All my life I’ve wanted a place just like the one you have described. But I never knew I had it until I heard what you have written about it.”

Once he gave an account for his blessings, he was able to be thankful.  It is true that the more we focus on the blessings of God, the greater a change that grows in us.

Being thankful produces great change in us.  Notice the many ways that giving thanks changes us…

Thanksgiving Changes Our Conversations. Psalm 26:7 says, That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.  What we speak about publicly and personally is affected by a thankful heart.  in what ways have you declared the blessings of God to others this week?

Thanksgiving Changes Our Commitments. Psalm 50:14 declares, Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:  The priorities of our life are all affected by the purpose for service we find in our hearts.  When we pay our vows to God, we are purposing to honor Him above all else.  Vows in the Bible were voluntary.  When we are thankful, we have no problem making a vow and then following through with that vow to the Lord.

Thanksgiving Changes Our Songs.  Psalm 69:30 teaches, I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. The word Magnify means increase the apparent or actual size of something. It has to do with increasing the importance of something.  The songs we sing should minimize us and maximize our estimation of God.  Jesus should be magnified and increased in value as we sing.

Psalms 147:7 also indicates praise in our singing:  Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:  Praise includes words of approval and admiration or worship. The song of our heart is affected when we are thankful to the Lord.

Thanksgiving Changes Our Awareness.  There are 3 areas that we can be aware of in connection with our God.

  • Be Aware He is Here. Psalm 95:2, Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
  • Be Aware He is There. Psalm 100:1, Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.  In this Song of praise or thanksgiving, we find the Lord is in other places besides where we are.  Missionaries in other parts of the world realize His presence too!
  • Be Aware He is Near. Psalm 100:4, Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.  The court of God is not too far from where you are today.  James 4:8 informs, Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.  

Have you noticed the Lord is these areas of your life this week?  Do you see Him at work in your life and in the lives of others.  Be aware of His presence and be thankful for his being here, there, and near.

Thanksgiving Changes Our Attitude. Psalm 107:22 challenges, And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. Sacrifices of thanksgiving are the result of the affection of the heart and the direction of the mind. Declaring the word of God with rejoicing indicates that the heart of the thankful person is joyful.  Our attitude is changed to reflect gratitude as we say “thank you to God.”  We are undeserving of anything good.  Everything good comes from God and our attitude must reflect this truth.

Thanksgiving Changes Our Prayer.  Meditate on Psalm 116:17 which states, I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.  How have you been praying lately?  Have you been asking God for more things?  It is good to ask!  Be sure to stop and say thank you before you ask for more.

“One morning there was a little puddle by the roadside. Some small brown birds gathered around it and took turns hopping in for a great time of splashing. Then they flew up in the bushes near by and sang gaily, as though pouring out their thanks for the nice bath they had found on a hot, dusty day.

Birds and animals seem to enjoy and appreciate every little blessing that comes their way—a cool drink, a bit of food, a little shade on a hot day, some shelter from a storm.  Don’t they rather shame us humans who take so much for granted in our lives? Suppose we try looking about us today to find the little things we should be thankful for.”

Being thankful produces great change in us.  As you consider Thanksgiving, be sure to give thanks to God for the ways in which He is changing you.