Thursday, June 18, 2015

Your Most Important Ministry Gift

In the last few months, I have had the opportunity to help with some ministry training of new ministers.  It has given me time to think about what might be most important.  Obviously, the most important thing for a minister is a strong spiritual foundation.  Your relationship to Jesus is really your only asset.  Everything else rests on your spiritual foundation.


But, what is the most important gift in ministry?  What one thing does every minister have to work on, keep sharp, and improve continually?  No matter what your ministry, communication is your most important gift.  You have to communicate well to share vision, passion, directions, structure, worship, prayer, financial needs, and the gospel message.


If you are going into ministry, I strongly urge you to take a public speaking class.  Get your hands on anything that teaches you about public speaking in every type of venue.  Work on pronunciation.  Start now and remove all unnecessary stuff from your casual conversation.  You can become a great public speaker by practicing these in your everyday conversations.


Here are some things to eliminate.
Um...
Like...
Well, you know...
The thing of it is...
The funny thing is...
Blah, blah, blah...
You know...
So, I'm like...
And uh...


Next, get rid of all mumbling.  Study the mispronunciation of words so you pronounce words correctly.  Don't use a word if you don't say it right.  Don't use a word until you are sure what it means.  Learn to pronounce your consonants with strength so that you sound confident.  Learn to look people in the eye in conversation and then make eye contact in your public speaking.  Eliminate large and awkward silent spaces in your speaking.


So far, I have focused on things to eliminate.  Remember that the Bible says even a fool who keeps his mouth shut will be considered wise.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Young Violence

We are all shocked by the violence in our world today.  A young man enters a school building and begins shooting kindergarten children and teachers.  A young man plants a bomb at the finish line of a world class marathon.  A young man enters a movie theatre and begins randomly shooting those watching the movie.


In the 20th century we were shocked by the gangsters of the depression, atheist despots like Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and serial killers who roamed our cities.  In the 21st century, we are being shocked, but does it seem to anyone that the perpetrators are getting younger and younger?  Are the victims getting younger and younger too?


I have a theory that needs some testing.  Could it be that our entertainment is driving our troubles.  The movies and music that interest kids today increasingly have kids killing kids.  Consider The Hunger Games.  Did not one of our most horrific school shootings follow that movie by just a few months?  A movie about young adults killing helpless middle school kids preceded a young adult killing children.  How many new programs directed toward millennials' and our youth have youth killing youth?


It is true that for centuries we have had youth killing youth in wars.  The average age of a Vietnam soldier was 19.  In World War II many youthful Germans and Japanese were killed by 18 and 19 year old boys in the allied forces.  But is war different?  They are under layers of military law and can be convicted of murder for indiscriminate killing, though that conviction happens rarely as far as I can tell.  Even war is messy and creates ethical and psychological questions about the health of those who are involved in the defense of their country or people.  We spend millions to treat PTSD and reduce the rate of suicide in our veterans, and they need even more support than ever.  And the most important point, no body goes to war for entertainment.  This little post is about what entertains us, not what we have to do.


So, here is the final thought.  I don't have all the answers or statistics.  However, it seems to me that the tension and thrill of violence we find entertaining one month becomes our reality the next.  Is there a link?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

10 Works of the Holy Spirit

1.  The Holy Spirit exalts Jesus. John 15:26 and John 16:14
2.  The Holy Spirit convicts us of what is wrong and what is right.  John 16:8-11
3.  The Holy Spirit regenerates us to life.  John 3:5 and 20:22
4.  The Holy Spirit lives in believers.  1 Corinthians 3:16
5.  The Holy Spirit seals believers.  Ephesians 1:13-14 and 4;30
6.  The Holy Spirit guides believers.  Romans 8
7.  The Holy Spirit empowers us to share our faith.  Acts 1:8 and Luke 24:45-49
8.  The Holy Spirit enables us to understand Scripture.  2 Timothy 3:16
9.  The Holy Spirit gives and will give life to our bodies.  Romans 8:11
10.  The Holy Spirit prompts us to worship.  John 4:24


The Holy Spirit does many things.  This is a list of ten of the things that he is busy doing today.

Monday, April 20, 2015

10 Works of the Spirit

There is so much more information in the notes of the sermon from Sunday.  I am posting the notes here.  This outline is from the AD series and this sermon is by George Wood with a few additions from me.  To listen to this sermon click on the LSC media page.


Acts 2:1-4
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.



For most of my upbringing as a kid in Missouri who carried the title Christian, the Holy Spirit was just a line in the liturgy.
“We believe in the Holy Spirit.”
For many who believe that the work of the Holy Spirit changed after the first century, the Holy Spirit is a purposeless theological mystery.


But the Holy Spirit is not just a mystery or idea.  The Holy Spirit is a person who is  and has been working practically and purposefully.
-From the beginning, Scripture says, “The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:2).
-In the Old Testament, we frequently read about the actions of the Holy Spirit. He would come upon people, such as judges, kings, and prophets.
-In the New Testament, the Spirit of God conceived Jesus in the womb of Mary (Luke 1:35).
-He descended upon Jesus bodily as a dove at His baptism (Luke 3:22).
-He anointed His preaching ministry (Luke 4:16).
-And the Holy Spirit gave Jesus supernatural power to perform signs and wonders (Matthew 12:28).

Monday, March 9, 2015

All Authority

Every sermon seems to have one extra special nugget of truth for me.  Yesterday there was one.


In Matthew 28:19, Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples..."  Why is his statement of all authority so important?
1.  Jesus has the authority to give us a command to action.  Jesus can tell you what to do.
2.  Jesus has authority to tell us to get involved in others' lives.  Today in our overly tolerant world, Christians are often told, "Stay out of my life."  Jesus says, go get in.
3.  Jesus has authority to tell the Jewish disciples to break their old traditions which limited their contact with other types of people.  Jesus has authority to break the Old Testament regulations and traditions that limited contact and involvement with non-Jews.  Break the racial and political boundaries of our world to share Jesus.
4.  Jesus has authority to tell his disciples to break through geographical boundaries to carry the good news to people.  What if a nation says that it is illegal to share information about Jesus in their land?  They have some authority.  Jesus has all authority and says go.


Let's be under the authority of Jesus who said "go," rather than the authority of culture and the world that says, "be quiet."

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Missions Giving Saves Lives!

Last week, our missionary to Papua New Guinea gave me a native arrow.  Because it was long, narrow, wood tipped and seemingly light I asked, "Is it for shooting birds?"

"No, its for shooting people." he replied.  The owner/creator did not need it anymore and sold it for some quick cash.

When we give to missions, we are sometimes giving to those who are preaching the gospel in places where people are killing each other.  The gospel can turn people killing each other into people who are saving each other.  This is true of our missionaries serving in Ukraine today too!  They are in serious peril this year and have had to relocate their home four times in 12 months due to the war with Russian fighters there.  In the worst of times and in times of peace, missionaries save souls, but they also save lives.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Worship Today

We recently finished a short series of messages on worship.  As a follow-up, let me encourage you to worship God today.  Find reasons to give God thanks or praise for what he has done for you.  Point your mind toward God and consider all the reasons that you love him.  Even when your day is going the wrong way and you may be receiving bad news, worship God.  Your perspective on your trouble changes toward optimism and faith when you worship God.  If your day is going just fine, enjoy it with God.  "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."  James 1:17 (NIV).

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Annual Missions Convention

Our annual missions convention is coming up January 25th!  Sunday morning, we have two excellent missionaries with us.  We have been supporting Phil & Kim Rojack, missionaries to the islands of the South Pacific for years!  I can't wait to hear more about what God is doing through them and our support.  They will be sharing in the worship service and in our children's ministries.  We have also been supporting Carrol & Gayle Deal, missionaries to the nations of Africa for decades.  He is an amazing missionary speaker!  You will not want to miss his message on Sunday morning.  Sunday evening, David & Zenetta Hewkin, missionaries in Eastern Europe, will share with us at 4:00 p.m.  If you miss the a.m. service due to work, don't miss the 4:00 p.m. service.


We will also be making our 2015 faith promises for missions giving.  This year, we have already had the children and youth make their pledges to Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge (BGMC) and Speed the Light (STL).  The youth have already pledged to raise several thousands for STL in 2015.  Last year, we asked everyone to give to these programs.  This year, the kids want to do it on their own!  So, adults, let's come prepared to make a faith promise for missionary giving in 2015 that will build the kingdom of God through missionaries we already support, ones who need a raise, and new missionaries who desperately depend on a church's help!


Every time we have missionaries, we receive an offering for them on the day of their visit.  That offering does not go toward our regular monthly support of missionaries.  It is a way to bless them for their time and ministry and to cover their travel costs as well.  Please attend our missionary services with a heart to give and be prepared to do our best for the missionary and be a blessing to those who serve.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Called to Ministry

If you are called to ministry, I have a sermon for you.  Go to www.lifestreamwith.us and visit the sermon page.  Listen to the message, "Living Life in Jars of Clay."  Pastor Ron Pettet has some great insight and great testimonies about moving from point A to point B with God.

Monday, January 12, 2015

What A Great Day!

Sunday was a great day!
1.  Several people visited for the first time.
2.  I spoke with four people who were returning for their second visit.
3.  The message was on the topic of worship, and God moved!
4.  We closed with a very meaningful time of worship around communion.
5.  After church there was a productive Missions Team meeting.
6.  After church the Financial Fitness class met for their 2nd week.
7.  After church the cast from the Christmas program had a celebration party.
8.  After the celebration lunch I met with the fine arts worship team for 90 minutes of practice.
9.  We experienced no weather problems all day!


The greatest moment of all was when four people responded to the Lord working in their lives and made commitments to follow Jesus as savior.  I hope that you will be expecting great things with God next Sunday.


A good day.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Getting Married

Who you marry has eternal rewards and consequences.


This morning, I bumped into a pastor friend here in town.  We talked about pre-marital counseling for a few minutes and I was reminded that marriage is not eternal.  Jesus said that in eternity, we will neither marry or be given in marriage.  That does not mean that marriage has less meaning.  It just means that, like everything else in this life, your marriage will have eternal rewards and consequences.


One, your marriage is intended to exemplify and practice of unconditional love like the love of God for us.  Two, your marriage includes two people working through and growing past imperfections requiring grace and mercy.  Three, your marriage may produce children who have eternal destinies.  Four, God will teach you about provision and trust in your marriage.  Five, the sexual and emotional fidelity of marriage is intended to be a picture of the perfect faithfulness of God to you.  Six, when two believers work together, their ministry for God is multiplied.  Seven, your spouse will either promote your faithfulness to Christ or hold it back.  Eight, your spouse will either promote your children's faithfulness to God or erode it.


It is no wonder God commanded that believers be equally yoked in First Corinthians.  If you are thinking of getting married, make sure you marry a person who will pull you forward in Christ, not hold you back.  I want your marriage to have eternal rewards not consequences.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Little Things Matter!

Sunday a man drove into the parking lot and asked a parking lot attendant, "When is church?"  The attendant said, "10:00, come on in."  He did!


Every job at church matters more than you think.  Your love and invitation can change a person's life, the future of our church and eternity!  Whatever you do at Life Stream Church, do it with excellence and for the glory of God.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Say "Yes" to Ministry.

Last night I watched two videos that I shared on Facebook.  The first was an interview with Dr. Stanley Horton, the most prominent Pentecostal theologian of the 20th century.  The second was a sermon by C.M. Ward, the speaker for the Assembly of God radio broadcast Revivaltime, which aired across the nation and around the world on hundreds of radio stations, until the early 1990s.

In both videos by great leaders of the church in one of its fastest growing seasons, the same encouragement was given.  If you are called to ministry or if you want to get closer to God, start serving in your local church.

Dr. Horton, like many other great ministry scholars I have befriended over the years, was not only a vocational minister or scholar.  He was a Sunday school teacher in many of the local churches he attended in the course of his life.  Dr. David Bundrick (Adult class), Dr. Richard Hammar (4th Grade Sunday School), and Dr. Charles Harris (Sr. Adult Class) are all great academic ministry leaders who I have observed as they volunteer in their local church.

If you want God to use your life, start letting him use you now.  Lead a small group or be willing to teach kids classes.  Say yes to everything your church needs and God will begin to develop a gigantic leader within you.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July.

Today I am reminded that freedom is not free.  Men and women have fought for their freedom over the last 238 years.  The freedoms they secured have been handed to us.  Every generation is granted the right and responsibility to guard and enrich those freedoms as Americans.  Some fought on the shores of foreign lands.  Their willingness to sacrifice all deserves my thanks today.  Others have fought battles at home in factories, city councils, pulpits and in courts to keep their, and our, individual liberties.

Let's remember that there are three battles for freedom that every generation must fight.  The physical battle to defeat the enemies of freedom that threaten our safety.  The intellectual battle to maintain a society that builds upon our freedoms rather than using freedom as an opportunity for laziness or wickedness.  The spiritual battle we fight in prayer to overcome the powers of Satan that threaten us from without and from within. 

As we fight for individual liberty, we must also fight for individual safety, individual productivity and individual goodness in the eyes of God.  Happy 4th of July to you.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Called to Ministry

Are you called to ministry?  I will be using the blog to communicate with a number of people in our church who fell God's call to full-time, vocational ministry.  I will be posting entries that focus on ministry because your calling is important.  I want you to have ministry input from your pastor.

If you are called to any type of ministry, you are called to preach, teach, proclaim, and dispense the Word of God.  If God called you to rodeo ministry, are you called to rope, leather, cows and belt buckles?  No, but you might love those things a lot.  Military chaplains are not called to guns, helicopters and rockets.  Kids ministers are not called to games and water balloons.  Youth pastors are not called to car washes.  Disaster relief missionaries are not called to trucks, water filters and MREs.

When you are called to ministry you are called to encourage people to accept Jesus Christ as Lord.  To accomplish your mission, no matter what your calling, you have to know the Word of God.  You will use the tools that pertain to your specific calling; a motor cycle missionary better have a bike.  But more importantly, he better know the Word.

If you are called to ministry, I challenge you to become a serious student of the Word of God.  First, read it.  Its that simple.  Every person called by God should read the Bible through every year at least one time.  If you are a student, use this summer to get started.  Second, look for ways to study the Bible.  If you will get serious about your calling, I will get you the Bible study materials you need.  I can get correspondence courses, and online video studies to you.  Please ask.

Many of you at LSC are called to ministry.  I want you to make a huge impact on your world.  I am prying for you!