Tag Archives: Paul

To Him Be Glory in the Church!

For the past few weeks Joe has reminded us of a verse (3:20) from Paul’s prayer (3:14-21) written in his letter to the Ephesians.  I absolutely love this verse!  Paul gets caught up in the greatness of God and the power He supplies His people for His Kingdom purpose.  Joe used verse 20 because it is there that Paul makes his point about God’s ability to do immeasurably, unimaginably more than all we ask.  As we set our goal of living this Christian life Unleashed, let us by no means fix a limit in our minds of what God can do in us.

It may have occurred to you that verse 20 ends with a comma, at least in most versions.  Paul includes all three parts of the trinity to make his point for us, but I have to include verse 21 to show you.

“Now to him (God the Father) who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power (Holy Spirit) that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”(NIV) Eph 3:20-21

God sent the Holy Spirit for a solitary purpose –to glorify his Son, Jesus.  The purpose of God’s power, which is given us through the Holy Spirit, is to build His church and to bring glory to Him, in Christ Jesus.  We glorify Christ, Christ glorifies his Father.  Part of unleashing God’s power in our lives is that we align our motives with God’s purpose – “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus.”

Warren Wiersbe puts it this way; “If our motive is to glorify God by building His Church, then God will share His power with us.  The power of the Spirit is not a luxury; it is a necessity.”

To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations.


Don’t Forget the Left-Overs

Each year, after thanksgiving meal is over, I’m still excited for the left-overs – a reminder of the wonderful meal, recently enjoyed.  The bounty of food is too much for one sitting, too much even for one day.  It spills over to supper, then to Friday and further.  Back home our tradition is to pour the gravy over a plate filled with cold turkey, stuffing and potatoes and warm it up in the microwave. Best. Left-overs. Ever. I’m going to have to work this off!

The left-overs turn my thoughts toward the twelve baskets left over after Jesus fed the multitude; then to Paul’s reference to spiritual food.  Jesus always fills us to overflowing!  He meets our every need and more.  “Taste and see that the Lord is good!”  When we sit at the feet of our Savior, we are fed the good, spiritual food of the gospel until we are so filled, we cannot take another bite.  We must leave and rest, then work it off before we come back for more.

Here’s my point and my prayer for all of us as we enjoy the spiritual blessings this Christmas season.

  • Taste and see that the Lord is good. (Come to Christ)
  • Gobble up the spiritual food He brings. (Sit at His feet)
  • Rest in Him – (Enjoy the fellowship of Christ and His church)
  • Work it off – (Serve Christ by serving others)
  • Come back for left-overs – (Remain in his Word and let us not forsake gathering together.)

How To Plan A Revival Without Scheduling One

Pray.
This one-word-blog brought to you by Paul’s Letters to the Corinthians and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.  Great effort was taken in the writing of this blog to keep the message clear and simple. Please feel free to elaborate with your own thoughts and experiences in the comment section below. All comments will be read by the author of the one-word-blog and replies will be posted at the authors earliest convenience. Any questions, concerns or suggestions can also be submitted via the comment section below.

The Relevant Ways Of Us

We learned from Joe last Sunday that there is a need for us to use relevant ways to communicate the love of Jesus to our world.  If you missed it, you can listen to it here.  As Joe pointed out, Paul demonstrated the value of being relevant in Acts 17, when he spoke of Jesus to the Athenians.  The points Joe brought out on Sunday were great and have caused me to continue to marinade on the Acts 17 passage he shared.  And a couple of additional thoughts came to mind.

In verse 16 it says that Paul was “greatly distressed” or “deeply troubled” when he saw the city was full of idols.  Reading this, I notice that it does NOT say that he was angry at the people for worshiping idols.  But he WAS “deeply troubled” by it.

When you look at the life your friends and family are living, are you “deeply troubled?”  Or do you find yourself angry with them?  I think there is a difference.  In Paul’s case, he must have seen the emptiness in their lives. In spite of their fervent efforts to worship many gods, Paul knew that those gods were not real and could bring their worshipers no fulfillment.  An idol could do nothing for their sin condition.  No idol could comfort them, or give them peace or hope.  Do you observe the emptiness and hopelessness in your Christ-less friends and family?  Or does it just make you mad that they act so irresponsibly?

Verse 23 “While I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD,’  therefore what you worship in ignorance, I proclaim to you.”  Paul was examining their idols?  Shouldn’t he have kept his distance?  What if someone saw him there and thought he was condoning idol worship?  To be clear; Paul did NOT participate in idol worship!  But we can observe that he made an effort to understand the people he was trying to reach.  I can’t help but wonder if Paul asked himself “How can I speak to these people in a way they can understand? Can I really identify with idol worshipers?”

When we read that Paul confessed to “passing through and examining the objects of your worship,” we see that Paul was intentional.  I don’t think that Paul’s mention of “AN UNKNOWN GOD” was spontaneous.  He was purposefully looking for a way to connect.  The altar inscribed “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD” revealed to him that these people were actively ‘seeking’ to know God.  The only reason God remained unknown was because they had not been told.

You may have friends to whom God is still unknown.

So how can we be relevant to those friends.  I believe that we have opportunities in 2011 and beyond like never before.  And they are brought to us by multiple Social Media engines, and they’re FREE!  Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Blogs allow us to, at anytime and in almost anyplace, share the love of Jesus with anyone.  I don’t know what you do with your social media time, but let me encourage you to think about it in a new way.

Until about a year ago I used facebook as an alternative gaming platform.  Please don’t throw the first stone!  Those games gave me a chance to interact online with my family who live in another state.  Why the change?  A year ago I read this book “The Church of Facebook” by Jesse Rice.  If you’re a reader, you should buy this book.  I won’t summarize it for you, but Jerry’s words were largely responsible for refocusing my social media time.

Let me make a couple suggestions and feel free to criticize or embrace these.  Some Dos and Don’ts:

1. DON’T repost those “Gotcha, you sinner” types of tags and quips you read on others status updates.  You know the type I’m talking about – similar to the church marquee that says “If you think it’s hot here, just wait!” This “punchline witnessing” doesn’t allow you to speak Christ into someone’s life as a loving friend would. You’ll likely be unfriended and your witness left damaged.

2. DON’T tell someone “If you don’t repost this, you’re ashamed of Jesus.” In all honesty, they may love Jesus, but avoid reposting because they are ashamed of you.

3. DO be a personal and authentic witness when on social media.  Facebook and other social media platforms play up to our tendency to pretend we are something or someone we are not. Most of us have a certain and specific image we want to portray. And on facebook we think we can control the way we present ourselves.  Instead of that silliness, be yourself.  People will appreciate it when you “keep it real” even if that goes against the culture and the social media norm.

4. DO be intentional.  We have an opportunity here that is unique to our generation alone. Let’s not miss it.  Pray for the people in your friends list or circles or followers. Message someone just to tell them you are praying for them.

5. DO be encouraging. Post and tweet scripture. Inspire others with quotes from Christian writers and speakers.  Post something the Holy Spirit taught you that day.

6. DO follow other believers who can encourage and/or mentor you on social media.  I follow several on twitter who I look forward to checking everyday.

I’m sure many of you have already had similar thoughts and consider the social media universe a relevant means of making a difference in the lives of others.  Are you being a positive twitness on twitter?  Or do you put on your pious face for facebook?What do you intentionally do on social media to Make A Difference for Christ?  Do you agree with my ideas?  Do you have an idea to share with me? Please leave a comment.


The World is Worshipping. Are You?

Something occurred to me over the weekend. I’m sure that I’ve tried to think this thought before, but a combination reading tweets and reading bloggers takes on the Oscars over the weekend caused me to have an epiphany. This is what the world worships; ENTERTAINMENT. At least, it is one of their idols or false gods.

Actors and Actresses on a “silver screen” or on the “idiot box” getting our love.
Athletes and Ballplayers on a court a diamond or a field getting our praise.

I am under the same self condemnation as Paul spoke:
1 Timothy 1:15
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all.

Yes I love the movies and tv shows. I watched “True Grit” and enjoyed myself immensely. Our whole family watched Toy Story 3D this past year and it was a great entertainment experience. And I’m seriously considering talking my wife to see “The Kings Speech.” I am a huge fan and follower of baseball and devote more time than I should at studying the stats and reading the scouting reports of players who might not even make it to the big leagues. (Yes; I’m a nerd!)

I confess all this for 2 reasons:
1. Confession is Biblical and yes it is good for the soul.
2. I trust that I am not alone in at least one of these categories.

Now, please remember that I offer these blogs as a chance to get myself thinking and hopefully those of you that read it… (hi mom) So remember this isn’t a condemnation of any one of us, but perhaps we may find ourselves rethinking the worth of our worship to the Father who is worthy of far more than any earthly treasure.

For your comparison.

The International Mission board approved it’s Annual budget for 2011;
$308.5 Million dollars for global missions 5,000 Missionaries.

The Combined Yankees and RedSox 2010 payroll;
$380.5 Million

Remember that even with a budget like that those ball teams make a profit, while IMB is had to 600 missionaries out of its budget for 2011. That is a cut of almost 11% of missionaries; taken out of the mission field! This is our responsibility? What do we do to change it.

Of course money isn’t the only measurement of giving ourselves to God.
You fill in this blank:
Time I spent talking to friend about my favorite show or sports team _____?
Time I spent bragging to friend about the greatness of God in my life______?

Trust me I don’t even like asking these questions, so I don’t want to answer them either.
So the last one is a question of our testimony, what about giving God our attention.

If you evaluate your own worship to God by your enthusiasm; what are you more enthusiastic about?
A. Christ in You the Hope of Glory (Col 1:27)
B. The Big game
C. A night on the town
D. Payday

I won’t reveal to you my answer; trust me… it wasn’t A. I wish it was. God forgive me when it’s not.

I better wrap this up, lest I go put my own head in the sand. How much attention does God get compared to the world?

_____ hrs spent in scripture and prayer versus ______hrs spent being entertained?

Do I evaluate the worship service by how I’m captivated or by what I bring to God?

Do I look for a worship SERVE US?
Do I offer SURFACE worship?
Do I come to SERVE AS the worship offering and gift to my God?

Dear Father, as I answer these questions in my own life, please guide me toward the unselfish. Forgive me when you have looked upon my so called worship offering and found me doing something else. Nothing but Your presence and glory in my life will truly satisfy me. Help me not to look elsewhere. Amen