The Right Tool For The Job

Their purpose is to prepare God’s people to serve and to build up the body of Christ. This is to continue until all of us are united in our faith and in our knowledge about God’s Son, until we become mature, until we measure up to Christ, who is the standard.

Ephesians 4:12‭-‬13 GW

I became like a person who does not have Moses’ Teachings for those who don’t have those teachings. I did this to win them even though I have God’s teachings. I’m really subject to Christ’s teachings.

I became like a person weak in faith to win those who are weak in faith. I have become everything to everyone in order to save at least some of them.

I do all this for the sake of the Good News in order to share what it offers.

1 Corinthians 9:21‭-‬23 GW

Until I get there, concentrate on reading ⌊Scripture⌋ in worship, giving encouraging messages, and teaching people.

1 Timothy 4:13 GW

When you abandon your dreams and pick up the cross of Christ as your salvation, a funny thing happens.

God uses you to further His Kingdom.

It’s all for His glory.

I’m starting something that the Lord has put on my heart to do and confirmed through the prophetic words of others.

I’m starting a men’s discipleship group.

It will be 4 or 5 guys meeting together weekly to read the New Testament together and to pray for each other and our world.

Why read the Bible together?

Accountability.

Encouragement.

Equipping.

Knowing the Word of God equips us for every good work.

I want all of us to be on the same page.

Using the Bible as our guide for code of conduct prevents personality from dictating our values.

There’s no one size fits all approach to discipleship.

You have to tailor it to the individual needs of the members of your group.

That’s why smaller is better.

You can go deeper faster.

And the bonds you build will last a lifetime, and longer.

I see four main areas of focus for this endeavor.

Similar to the four, outer walls of a house.

Of course, the foundation is Jesus.

And the roof is God’s Holy Spirit which covers us.

Our focus is lateral interaction.

Deliverance.

Discipleship.

Encouraging.

Equipping.

That’s the purpose of our time together.

Using the Bible, and specifically the New Testament, as our only written source, we will mine the depths of Scripture for wisdom and knowledge on how to live a life of faith.

The teachings of Jesus and his disciples will be our bread and butter.

I imagine that once through, then we’ll all be equipped to repeat the process with others ourselves.

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Only God knows the outcome.

Our job is to faithfully pursue Him.

Brothers are born for adversity.

And there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

To God be the glory forever and ever.

Amen.

Where Do We Go From Here?

We must also consider how to encourage each other to show love and to do good things.

We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing.

Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming.

Hebrews 10:24‭-‬25 GW

Also, make it your goal to live quietly, do your work, and earn your own living, as we ordered you.

Then your way of life will win respect from those outside ⌊the church⌋, and you won’t have to depend on anyone else for what you need.

1 Thessalonians 4:11‭-‬12 GW

Nothing makes me happier than to hear that my children are living according to the truth.

Dear friend, you are showing your faith in whatever you do for other believers, especially when they’re your guests.

3 John 1:4‭-‬5 GW

As Christians, we are meant to be encouragers.

Not just in words, but also in deeds.

It certainly takes a lot of courage to live a life of faith.

How do you do that?

Trust in the Lord.

His one time sacrifice took the punishment for everyone’s sin.

Not just mine.

Not just yours.

Everyone’s.

Some people aren’t aware of that fact.

Some people are living as if they’ve forgotten that fact.

We need to remind them of the truth.

Jesus Christ died and rose again so that you could inherit eternal life and live your life freed from the power of sin and death.

That’s some Good News, my friend!

Today, I want to share some helpful tips that I’ve found useful in elevating the conversation when you’re gathering with other believers.

  1. Ask better questions
  2. Listen to understand
  3. Invite and offer prayer

They’re all pretty self explanatory, but let’s discuss further nonetheless.

The purpose of gathering with other believers is to strengthen and encourage one another.

The opposite would be to weaken one another’s faith and tear each other down.

Obviously, that’s not what we want to be doing.

So, ask better questions.

Bland, worldly questions are not better questions.

You need to lead with purpose in mind.

A couple of my favorite conversation starters are:

“What’s the Lord been showing you lately?”

“What’s the Lord been doing in your life this week?”

If they don’t have an answer, you might want to skip ahead to asking what they need prayer for.

Perhaps it’s a personal relationship with God.

A huge problem that we all seem to have is that we seem to think we know everything.

Or at least, we think our opinion is of prime importance.

Perhaps I’m the only one who struggles with that.

When having a conversation, we need to realize we’re not using “social media.”

We’re not just broadcasting our views and opinions and looking for likes and comments.

Social media is a disease on public discourse in my humble opinion.

To have a conversation, we must acknowledge one another as equal partners in the quest for a greater understanding of our Creator.

We’re not here to understand ourselves.

We already know we’re sinful creatures prone to wander.

No, we need a better understanding of God so that we can become more like Him.

Conversations aren’t opportunities to talk endlessly about ourselves.

If you want to do that, post on social media.

It’s a time to ask questions.

Esteem others as better than yourself.

At least, that’s what the Bible says.

And finally, don’t use gatherings as forums to complain, fault-find, and have pity parties.

That’s all negative garbage.

We’re supposed to be loving and hopeful.

Steer the conversation back to the Source.

At some point, it will become obvious that the next question should be: “Can I pray for you?”

We’re all called to minister.

We can all pray for each other.

This weekend, I encourage you to get together with other believers and live in the truth.

Fellowship around the mystery of the Gospel.

Pray for one another.

Get to know each other.

Serve one another in love.

May God be glorified in your words and deeds!

Amen.

Set Free

O Lord, what are humans that you should care about them? What are mere mortals that you should think about them?

Humans are like a breath of air. Their life span is like a fleeting shadow.

Psalms 144:3‭-‬4 GW

Jesus answered them, “I can guarantee this truth: Whoever lives a sinful life is a slave to sin. A slave doesn’t live in the home forever, but a son does. So if the Son sets you free, you will be absolutely free.”

John 8:34‭-‬36 GW

God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and for godliness.

This power was given to us through knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and integrity.

Through his glory and integrity he has given us his promises that are of the highest value.

Through these promises you will share in the divine nature because you have escaped the corruption that sinful desires cause in the world.

Because of this, make every effort to add integrity to your faith; and to integrity add knowledge; to knowledge add self-control; to self-control add endurance; to endurance add godliness; to godliness add Christian affection; and to Christian affection add love.

If you have these qualities and they are increasing, it demonstrates that your knowledge about our Lord Jesus Christ is living and productive.

If these qualities aren’t present in your life, you’re shortsighted and have forgotten that you were cleansed from your past sins.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, use more effort to make God’s calling and choosing of you secure.

If you keep doing this, you will never fall away.

Then you will also be given the wealth of entering into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:3‭-‬11 GW

What is impossible for man is possible with God.

Like living a life free from sin.

Like never falling away.

Like patiently enduring until the end.

Sure, it’s a tall order but it’s not impossible.

God gives us the power to overcome our carnal, fleshly, sinful nature.

Without God it is impossible to be saved from ourselves.

No matter how hard you try to be righteous, without the indwelling Spirit of God, all your efforts will be in vain.

There’s no such thing as a good person.

Only God is good.

When we get born again, we are born of the Spirit.

We take on a new nature.

The divine nature.

That’s what gives us the power to live godly lives.

We were all slaves to sin before we came to know Christ.

Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.

But our spirits can.

The soul is the middle ground.

Is your soul submitted to God’s Holy Spirit or is it still a slave to your flesh?

Souls are eternal.

Our bodies die.

We’re just inhabiting these tents of flesh for a season.

When the season ends, we put on immortality.

This is all a test.

Consider this life your placement exams.

How faithful you are to God determines your reward.

Jesus lived a perfectly sinless life of obedience to the Father’s will.

Therefore, all authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Him.

We are parts of Christ’s Body.

As we faithfully perform our duties, we align with the Father’s will and give glory to God.

We’re going to be set free from these mortal bodies.

Don’t confuse the temporary with what’s eternal.

This present world will be destroyed by fire.

Everything that makes up the universe will be consumed.

The material is passing away.

The spiritual endures forever.

God’s word will not pass away.

Jesus has saved us from the punishment for our sins.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Having His Spirit live in us and direct our worship is the abundant life in the here and now.

We are living sacrifices.

We have sacrificed our carnal lives and fleshly desires for something greater.

As a former addict and alcoholic, I know that living a sinful life of carnal pleasure and selfishness is unsatisfying.

I have explored that lifestyle and can conclude in agreement with Scripture that it is not wise and ends only in death.

Thanks be to God for delivering me from my demons and my carnal nature.

Glory to God for sharing His divine nature with me so that I may enjoy freedom and life eternal.

May God’s infinite kindness, love and mercy find a home in your heart.

In Jesus’ Name I pray.

Amen.