Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April 26, 2017

"...because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."  Hebrews 11:6

The old saying claims, "You do for love what you wouldn't do for money."

That is proven every Sunday in every church nursery when faithful volunteer workers change stinky diapers of infants who are not theirs. Yep, that's love!

When someone volunteers to sit in a nursery filled with stinky bawling babies, what are they looking for? Why do they do that? It isn't fun or pleasant. It doesn't do much for them.

Motive matters and when you are a nursery worker you are not doing it for the reward you are probably doing it for the relationships.

This verse states that "God is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him".

Are you seeking God for a reward or are you seeking Him for a relationship? Is your faith based upon what you hope to get from Him or are you seeking  to know Him?

Hebrews 11 is the Christian Heroes Hall of Fame (or Hall of Faith). What made these men and women exemplary was not just what they did, but what motivated them to do it.

Noah labored every day for over 100 years building something he had never built before to prepare for something he had never seen before! Why was he doing that? What reward was he seeking? He didn't get paid by the hour nor was he on salary. He not only had to pound the nails into the boards and seal then with pitch - he had to make the nails, he had to cut down the trees and draw the tar out of the trees. There were no Lowes or Home Depots in that day.

Noah wasn't in it for the reward. I believe he was in it for the relationship with God.

You could go through this list of great people and ask, "Were they after a reward or were they wanting a relationship?" I believe the answer would be the same, they wanted to please God through their obedience. And they did! They altered history! They changed the world! They changed lives!

In the end they discovered an amazing truth - God IS their reward! They found that what Who He is far exceeds anything we could ever receive from Him.

Are you seeking God for what you can get from Him? Are you after the reward more than you're after the relationship? God can't reward self-seeking. You run the risk of missing both the reward and the relationship - which, in fact, IS the reward!

April 25, 2017

"After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.  “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.’"  Luke 10:1-9

For the 45 years I have been privileged to serve in pastoral ministry I have read many books and attended many seminars and been exposed to many different plans or strategies of discipleship. Discipleship IS the deal for those of us who claim the Name of Jesus. But it was never meant to be a program or a strategy, it is intended to be a lifestyle. It is what He expects us to do!

In this encounter between Jesus and His disciples He demonstrates the model for making disciples. I invite you to pay close attention to how Jesus changed these followers into disciples.

First, Jesus did ministry and they watched. He preached the gospel and declared the Kingdom, healing the sick, delivering the captives, casting out demons, and doing miracles. While they were impressed and amazed, it often seemed like they really didn't grasp the significance of Who He is and what He came to do. But He ministered in power and authority and they watcher.

Second, Jesus did ministry and they helped. When He fed the five thousand He had them find the loaves and fishes. Then He had them help organize the crowd and hand out the food. Finally, He asked them to gather up the leftovers. He did ministry and they helped.

Third, Jesus sent them to do ministry and He watched. They discovered that when they went in His Name declaring His Kingdom healing happened and deliverance happened and salvations happened! Not only did they change lives but their lives were changed in the process!

Fourth, Jesus celebrated with them when they returned from their mission trip with stories galore! When His Kingdom came the kingdom of darkness fell!

Finally, as Jesus prepared to ascend into Heaven following His death and resurrection, He commanded these disciples whom He had disciples to go and make more disciples. In other words, they were to do ministry while others watched. Then they were to to ministry together. After that they were to let the others minister while they watched and then all of them would celebrate together!

Disciples disciple! It is what they do! It is how they live. It is why they live!

Who are you discipling? 

Who is discipling you? 

Are you spending your life or investing it?