Tuesday, September 30, 2014

October 1, 2014

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Psalm 19:1

Hal Seed, a popular pastor, speaker and author continually surveys his people regarding their most pressing questions. Over the past fifteen years the four most commonly asked questions are: 
  • Is God real?
  • Is the Bible true?
  • Do all roads (and all religions) lead to Heaven?
  • How can a good God allow suffering?
Over the next five days I want to share five compelling reasons for believing God is real.

The first reason for believing God is real is the universe.

Psalm 19 expresses this argument for the existence of God when it states, "The universe declares the existence of God!"

You may doubt the existence of God but you cannot deny the existence of the universe. If it didn't exist neither would you!

So, the big question is, "Where did the universe come from?" Or, in another form, "How did it get here?"

The fact that something exists is evidence that something greater caused it to exist. Animals came from their parents, plants came from seeds, houses came from builders and cars came from assembly lines. Where did the universe come from?

Was it a random spontaneous explosion of cosmic gases that accounts for this vast collection of galaxies or was it spoken into existence by an Eternal and Almighty God, as the Bible contends?

A corollary question is, "What keeps the universe together and operating so precisely?"

If the universe came from a spontaneous random event, how could it have become so precise that seasons can be predicted and time can be measured by it? How has it not, like just about everything within the universe, decayed or worn out or ceased to function?

To me it makes more sense that the precise and orderly existence of our universe is strong evidence for the existence of a Supreme Being Who is actively involved in sustaining our universe according to His goodness and power.

If that God is powerful enough to sustain our universe by His wisdom, by His will and according to His Word, would not that God also be powerful enough to have created the universe?

Many of the great thinkers of human history have concluded through their study and observation that God truly is the Creator. I am talking about such revered men as Abraham, Moses, St. Paul, Jesus Christ, Thomas Jefferson and the Founding Fathers who clearly believed that God was their Creator and the Maker of the universe and were not afraid to say so!

Maybe, if you have doubts, about the existence of God begin your search with a thorough and unbiased study of God's Word. Give yourself to the study of unbiased scientific research and I believe that you, like thousands before you, will come to the conclusion that the Psalmist did, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Psalm 19:1

Monday, September 29, 2014

September 30, 2014

"....so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." Ephesians 4:12b-13

I have a passionate love for healthy local churches because I believe they are the hope of the world. God's plan to evangelize the world and make disciples is impossible apart from healthy local churches.

I am the product of such a church. I have been privileged to serve in several healthy churches and witnessed the transforming power that resides there.

When I think about local churches I think of the tale about the little girl who had the curl in the middle of her forehead who, when she was good was very very good, but when she was bad she was horrid.

That has been my experience with local churches. When they are healthy and well led they can be very very good, but when they are unhealthy they can be horrid.

So, what does a healthy local church look like?

"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." Ephesians 4:11-16

For the next few posts I want to talk about the dynamics of a healthy church and cast a vision for such a church. These thoughts are taken from one who also had a consuming passion for the Church. He gave his life to the Church and for it. It was his ministry and vision that brought the church to the European Continent. This passionate apostle was the founder of this very church at Ephesus to which he writes this letter.

A healthy church has to be surrendered to Jesus and committed to serving Him because the Church is all about Him. He is the Lord of the Church.

You would think that goes without saying. The New Testament is crystal clear about who is the Lord, the life and the love of the Church. An yet, so many local churches end up lifeless and loveless. 

How can that be?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

September 29, 2014

"And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Hebrews 9:10-14

The value of anything is a function of its demand and its availability.

Also, value is determined by the price someone is willing to pay.

This is why redemption is such a highly prized commodity. Everyone would love a second chance in life but those are hard to come by. In fact, it was impossible to have a second chance until Jesus purchased it through the shedding of His blood upon the cross of Calvary. On that cross He bought back in blood what Adam had lost by his sinful rebellion against God.

Adam sold us out when he disobeyed God in Eden. God had created him especially to tend the garden and produce food to meet the needs of his family. When he allowed himself to be deceived by Satan he surrendered the power and authority given him by God. Jesus, born sinless and living without sin, He became the sacrifice tfor our sins to settle the debt for those sins.

Being redeemed means you have been bought back out of slavery and into God's glorious freedom. Through the shed blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, God paid the price to ransom you from slavery to sin and death and hell. As the song declares, "He paid a debt He didn't owe to release you from a debt you couldn't pay".

When God redeemed you from slavery He didn't take you as a slave but He adopted you as a child! As a child of God you are a joint-heir of all the riches and all the authority that belonged to Jesus. So, redemption means you were set free - you were bought back from abject poverty and absolute slavery into glorious freedom as God's child! You have gone from having nothing to having everything!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

September 28, 2014

"Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."  I Peter 1:17-19

There is an old story about a man by the name of John Griffith, who lived in Oklahoma in 1929. He had lost all he had in the stock market crash. He moved to Mississippi where he took a job as bridge operator for a railroad trestle. In 1937 he was involved in a horrible accident. One day his 8 year-old son, Greg, spent the day with his Dad at work. The boy poked around the office and asked dozens of questions - just like little boys do. The bridge was over a river and whenever a ship came John had to open the bridge to allow the ships to pass. The day the boy was there with his father a ship was coming so John opened up the draw bridge. After a moment or two he realized his son wasn’t in the office and as he looked around, to his horror, John saw his son climbing around on the gears of the draw bridge. He hurried outside to rescue his son but just then he heard a fast approaching passenger train, the Memphis Express, filled with 400 people. He yelled to his son, but the noise of the now clearing ship and the oncoming train made it impossible for the boy to hear him. All of a sudden John Griffith realized his horrible dilemma. If he took the time to rescue his son the train would crash killing all aboard, but if he closed the bridge, the boy we be crushed in the gears. John would sacrifice his son. He made the horrible decision, pulled the lever and closed the bridge. It is said, as the train went by John could see the faces of the passengers, some reading, some even waving, all of them oblivious to the sacrifice that had just been made for them.

Can you imagine being in that awful moment of having to decide between your son and a group of strangers?

I cannot.

God can. God did.

John Griffith sacrificed his son to rescue the lives on that train. God offered His Son to redeem every life on earth.

The term "redeem" is extremely significant. To be redeemed means to be "bought back". It denotes the payment of a ransom in order to release a captive. The original language paints the image of a slave who has been bought out of slavery and into freedom.

When God endured the horror of watching His only Son brutalized on a Roman cross He was paying the price to "redeem" you and me. We had been sold out by Adam's sin and held captive in the kingdom of darkness but Jesus, the Second Adam, offered His life's blood to pay our ransom! Jesus' shed blood was the price to buy us out of slavery!

John Griffith's son was crushed to save a few but God's Son was crushed to redeem all who will believe in Him.

You have been redeemed by the shed blood of Jesus on the cross of Calvary! You were bought out of the slavery of sin and into the glorious freedom of life - eternal life - through the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Through redemption you have:

Deliverance from the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13; 4:46)
Total and complete forgiveness of sins (Isaiah 44:22; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:15)
Justification before God. (Romans 3:24)
Sanctification is possible through God's Spirit. (Ephesians 5:25-27
Basis for an eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15)
Basis for strategic victory in the spiritual realm. (Colossians 2:14-15; Hebrews 2:14-15)
Basis for adoption as His children. (Ephesians 1:5)

Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
His child and forever I am.

Redeemed, redeemed,
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, redeemed,
His child and forever I am!

Redeemed, and so happy in Jesus,
No language my rapture can tell;
I know that the light of His presence
With me doth continually dwell.

Redeemed, redeemed,
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, redeemed,
His child and forever I am!

Friday, September 26, 2014

September 27, 2014

"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." Romans 6:1-11

What do Eduardo Ravelo, Robert William Fisher,Eric Matthew Frein, Alexis Flores, Glen Stuart Godwin, Jason Derek Brown, Fidel Urbina, William Bradford Bishop, Jr., Victor Manuel Gerena, and Semion Mogilevich have in common?

They are on the FBI's most wanted list. They are wanted dead or alive.

According to Paul in Romans 6, you are wanted by God! God wants you dead AND alive!

How can you be dead and alive, you ask?

As Jesus told Nicodemus, you were born physically alive but spiritually dead. You were alive to your desires and ambitions but dead to God's Word and His will. Just like Nicodemus, you must be born again - that is, made alive spiritually by God's Spirit.

In this portion of Scripture from Romans, Paul tells believers they must be dead to sin and alive in Christ. When faced with temptations and moral decisions, Christ-followers are to say "yes" to Christ and "no" to self.

The ritual of baptism is symbolic of being dead and alive. You willing walk into the baptismal waters, you obediently go under the water to testify to your death to the old sinful life and you arise from the waters testifying to the new life you have received from Christ.

God wants you dead AND alive.

Are you dead to yourself and sin?

Are you alive in Christ by your faith?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

September 26, 2014

"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him." Romans 6:1-8
The fact that God forgives us and blesses us when we don’t deserve it, and of course, we never really deserve it, is what makes grace such a risky thing.

Author Philip Yancey, in his book "What’s So Amazing About Grace", calls these things loopholes. We all understand loopholes. Webster’s defines a loophole as a means of evading something unpleasant - a hole that provides a means of escape. 

Yancey notes that in his book he provides what he calls "a one-sided picture of grace - portraying God as a lovesick father eager to forgive, and grace as a force potent enough to break the chains that bind us. He writes: "depicting grace in such sweeping terms makes people nervous, and I concede that I have skated to the very edge of danger. I have done so because I believe the New Testament does, too."

He then proceeds to tell the story of a friend of his he called Daniel. Daniel was about to leave his wife of 15 years for another woman, someone younger and prettier. He knew the personal and moral consequences of what he was about to do. But he had a larger concern - and he asked his friend "Do you think God can forgive something as awful as I am about to do?"

What a question, huh?

Yancey pondered, "How can I dissuade my friend from committing a terrible mistake if he knows forgiveness lies just around the corner?"

C.S. Lewis quoted Augustine, who said, "God gives where he finds empty hands." Then Lewis noted that a man whose hands are full of parcels can’t receive a gift. Then Yancey wrote: "Grace must be received. Lewis explains that what I have termed grace abuse stems from a confusion of condoning and forgiving. To condone an evil is simply to ignore it, to treat it as if it were good. But forgiveness needs to be accepted, as well as offered, if it is to be complete…and a man who admits no guilt can accept no forgiveness." Ultimately, Yancey told his friend that, yes, of course, God could forgive him. But he also challenged him with these thoughts:

What we have to go through to commit sin distances us from God. We change in the very act of rebellion, and there is no guarantee we will ever come back. He said to his friend, "You ask me about forgiveness now, but will you even want it later, especially if it involves repentance?"

Consider what a tremendous risk God took by announcing forgiveness in advance. Yancey says that the scandal of grace involves a transfer of that risk to us. 

In Romans 6, Paul refers to one of the big risks of grace - to abuse grace as a license to sin.

Grace is extended to you because Jesus died to atone for your sins. Your sins and my sins condemned Jesus to death, so how could you justify abusing grace in this way when it was sin that sent Him to the cross?

The proper response to His grace is to die to sin and Paul points to baptism as the symbol of that death. Going under the baptismal waters is a public testimony that you have been cleansed from your sin and that you declare yourself dead to sin. Rising from the water symbolizes your new life in Christ.

Baptism is significant because it testifies to what God has done for you through Christ AND it testifies what you intend to do going forward. He died for you and you are dying to Him.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September 25, 2014

"Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God." Romans 6:8-10

There was a certain old recluse who lived deep in the mountains of Colorado. When he died, distant relatives came from the city to collect his valuables. Upon arriving, all they saw was an old shack with an outhouse beside it. Inside the shack, next to the rock fireplace, was an old cooking pot and his mining equipment. A cracked table with a three-legged chair stood guard by a tiny window, and a kerosene lamp served as the centerpiece for the table. In a dark corner of the little room was a dilapidated cot with a threadbare bedroll on it.

They picked up some of the old relics and started to leave. As they were driving away, an old friend of the recluse, on his mule, flagged them down. “Do you mind if I help myself to what’s left in my friend’s cabin?” he asked. “Go right ahead,” they replied. After all, they thought, what inside that shack could be worth anything?

The old friend entered the shack and walked directly over the table. He reached under it and lifted one of the floor boards. He then proceeded to take out all the gold his friend had discovered over the past 53 years – enough to have built a palace. The recluse died with only his friend knowing his true worth. As the friend looked out of the little window and watched the cloud of dust behind the relative’s car disappear, he said, “They should have got to know him better."

If you are a follower of Christ the overwhelming desire of your life is the desire to know Him better. You certainly don't want to come to the last moments of your life regretting that you didn't get to know Him better.

"How do I get to know Him better?" you may be asking.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul answers that question, "You get to know Him better by sharing in His death."

"How do I share in His death?" you may wonder.

Again, Paul has the answer, "You share in Christ's death by an action and an attitude. The action is baptism and the attitude is considering yourself dead to sin."

In the act of baptism you symbolically identify with the death of Jesus by going under the baptismal waters. When you make this public testimony of your faith by your baptism you make a private personal commitment that you will die to sin.

Through the sacrament of baptism you share in the death of Jesus which also allows you to share in His resurrection, as signified by rising out of the water. You have given up your life and now you live unto God through the life of Christ at work in you. Paul says of Christ, "The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God." 

If you have been baptized you have given yourself to knowing Him better through sharing in His death and coming alive in Him.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September 24, 2014

"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' "Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.' " 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' "He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' " Luke 16:17-31

What is there about human nature that has a tendency to get distracted from the truly urgent to the immediately important?

That is precisely what set the occasion for Jesus' teaching. While He was lecturing His disciples about proper priorities and values of His Kingdom, some religious teachers were eavesdropping so He turned the focus of the teaching on them.

Long ago the Jewish religious leaders had lost sight of what was most spiritually urgent for them to be teaching and living. Like many today, they were lured into a focus on power and wealth believing that those were the ultimate indication of God's blessing.

No wonder Jesus flipped the paradigm on them by having the poor beggar being the more spiritual and the Rich Man as evidenced by where they ended up in eternity. This concept rocked the world of these religious leaders.

Only when the Rich Man awoke in Hell did he finally develop an urgency about the eternal destination of others. Unfortunately, he had presumed that he was fine spiritually because of his wealth and his status as a Jew, one of God's chosen. That false belief caused his to spend his earthly life pursuing the wrong things - temporary material things. It turned out to be a fatal error.

Once his fate was sealed did he suddenly become concerned for the eternal spiritual condition of his loved ones. He called out for Father Abraham to intercede for them so they would not end up in the miserable destination he found himself. By the time he cared about the right things it was too late.

We would do well to hear the admonition Jesus is giving to these Jewish leaders. Like the Rich Man, we so easily get distracted by the temporary and lose sight of the eternal, for ourselves and for those we love.

How tragic to wait until it is too late to become urgent about eternal matters.

God, help us to live with eternity's values in mind! Holy Spirit, help stay focused on the things that matter while there is time to make a difference.

Are you sure you are ready for eternity? Have you prepared yourself to live forever in God's Kingdom? If you were to find yourself in eternity before the end of this day, would you see Lazarus or would you be with the Rich Man?

If you are certain of your eternal destiny, what are you doing to reach others?

Monday, September 22, 2014

September 23, 2014

"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,  Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess." Hebrews 4:14

Thanks to Pastor Jeff Strite for this thought on baptism.

So why would Jesus need to be baptized by John?

Well... Jesus' baptism by John was the beginning of Jesus' ministry

Mark 1:1 starts out: "The BEGINNING of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" and then Mark starts telling us about Jesus' baptism by John.

In Luke 3:23 we're told of Jesus' baptism by John and then we read: "Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he BEGAN HIS MINISTRY..." 

Obviously, for some reason, Jesus' ministry began with His baptism.

Now, at this point in Jewish history, water baptism served one of 3 purposes.

1st, there was the Baptism Of Repentance. 

This was what John the Baptist's was preaching.

But of course Jesus didn't need to repent because He hadn't sinned.

The 2nd kind of baptism was for people who desired to convert to Judaism.

It was a Baptism Of Conversion. 

If you were a Gentile who wanted to convert to Judaism, they baptized you in water.

So, baptism was used when someone wanted to convert to Judaism. But Jesus had no need to convert to Judaism. He already was one. He'd been born a Jew.

So baptism in those days could be for repentance or conversion... and Jesus did not need to be baptized for those reasons. So, for what OTHER reason would a person be baptized in water back then???

Well, the only other people who experienced baptism - in the Jewish faith in that day were priests. The Law dictated that especially the High Priest was to "washed with water." And the Temple had pools set aside for just that purpose. 

In Leviticus 8:6 we're told that - by the instruction of God -- "Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward and washed them with water."

Then, later, during that ceremony Moses "poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron's head and anointed him to consecrate him." Leviticus 8:12 

This act INITIATED Aaron's ministry as High Priest. When Aaron and his sons were washed with water and anointed with oil, they BEGAN their priesthood and were empowered to make sacrifices and to handle holy things as God's representatives. 

At that point (their baptism) God put His mark of approval on the ministry of Aaron and his sons.

The Bible tells us that Jesus' ministry began with His baptism by John. 

After His baptism, the Father anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit as it descended on Him in form of a dove. And the Father put His mark of approval on Jesus by loudly declaring: "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." Matthew 3:17

This was the beginning of Jesus' ministry as our High Priest. 

Did you realize Jesus was our High Priest? 

Indeed He is!

From the day of His baptism by John at the Jordan until His death on the Cross, Jesus (as our High Priest) prepared the ultimate sacrifice for our sins... His own body.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

September 22, 2014

"He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything."When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!" Luke 15:16-17

We have taken a look at some reasons why certain people were not able to receive the love of God that was available to them. The Pharisees and religious leaders couldn't receive God's love because of their pride. The younger son was unable to receive love because he was on a power trip, looking to use his father's fortune to take control of his life. Finally, there was the older son who was unable to receive his father's love because he was caught in the performance track. He thought he could earn love based on what he did.

Do you recognize any of these attitudes creeping into your spiritual life? They seem to be ingrained in our human nature and if we are not constantly watchful, they can become barriers to receiving the extravagant love of the father.

So, with that in mind, how do we make sure that we receive the love we need and the love that the father desires to lavish on us? Let's study that. To do that we must study the only one who was able to know the love of the father.

The first thing I notice is that he received the father's love when he was hungry enough to seek the father.

It wasn't until he was so destitute that he was forced to fight the hogs for food that he thought to do something different. It occurred to him that if he had to fight with pigs for food, he would go back home and fight with his father's pigs. So, he got up and began the long trip home. He was heading home hungry hoping for some scraps from the father's table. The days of feeding on the things of this world were over, his appetite had changed.

Jesus once said, "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled." The lost son was about to discover that truth.

When you get your fill of power, pleasure, and playing at life, you may be ready to head home to the father. And when you head home with a spiritual appetite, you are a candidate for receiving his love.

He did. And he did!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

September 21, 2014

"For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."  Romans 12:4-8

As an avid sports fan I really appreciate a well executed play.

When a running back blasts through the line of scrimmage and breaks free for a long touchdown run and brings the fans to their feet. It is a spectacular play that makes the running back look like a star. But then the slow motion replay reveals there were several stars involved in the play. The quarterback received a perfect snap from the center and the center flattened the nose guard with a devastating block while the quarterback executed a perfect fake before handing the ball to the running back. At the same time the guard on the left side moved the defensive tackle and the fullback blocked the linebacker to open the hole for the "star" running back. Down field and out of the view of the TV camera a wide receiver threw a block that took out the final tackler to seal the touchdown run.


Every member of the offensive unit had a role to execute and they used their unique set of skills and ran it to perfection. One player carried the ball but the entire team got the score! Oh, the beauty of team sports!

A team needs a good quarterback but a team of eleven quarterbacks on the offense would be a joke. So it would be with eleven centers or eleven guards or eleven ends! It takes eleven players each one skilled at one of the eleven positions to have a chance to win at football.

To take a group of players with various gifts and skills and put them into their positions so they work together is the challenge of the coaching staff. Getting eleven players with differing backgrounds, interests and skills to function as one in the spirit of team work is no small task. It is why successful coaches make the mega salaries.

I can think of something more exciting and beautiful than a perfectly executed touchdown play. That would be a team of believers within a local church who work together within their areas of giftedness develop disciples for Christ!

God, in His great wisdom gave a variety of gifts and talents to every church body. The challenge of the leaders in those churches is to identify the gifts and put those players in the right positions! He has designed the ministry dynamic of the Church so that the variety of gifts and talents and skills will divide the fellowship if they don't depend on the Holy Spirit to unite and anoint those gifts, talents and skills.

One of my mentors, Bill Hybels, in order to answer a call to ministry walked away from a multi-million dollar family business that he had been groomed to lead and eventually inherit. When asked about that choice he expresses no regrets and clearly affirms, "I have the greatest leadership challenge imaginable! I am called to lead the most important organization on the planet and accomplish the most important task in the universe and I get to do it with volunteers!" (BTW - he has built one of the largest and most effective churches in the world in the process)

If you attend a local church, God has led you there to be part of a winning team that can help win the world for Christ. 

Will you discover your spiritual gift? Your pastor can help you!

When you know your gift will you play your position?