Showing posts from May, 2009

What's Going On?

Did you ever get to the point in your life where you just couldn't figure out what was happening to you? You thought you were doing everything right, but the results you were getting was far from what you expected. Have you ever cried out to God asking, "What's going on?" or something to that effect? Here is a possible answer to to that question. Romans 8:29. Most believers have memorized Romans 8:28, and use it often to cast our circumstances in a better light. The usual take on this verse is that, no matter how bad things are right now, God will turn it around for our good. However, there is a BIG condition attached..."for those who are called according to His purpose."What follows in verse 29 is often overlooked. "For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers."The mental image that I get when I read that takes me back to when I used to…

The Badges of Discipleship

In the church today one is often called a disciple if they have completed certain courses, or serve in certain ministries. However, Jesus had a different way of identifying those who were His disciples. In John 13:34-35 He said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another."
The love Jesus referred to is AGAPE love. Josh McDowell calls this "love anyhow". That means it is not dependent on a person's status, their, possessions, their popularity, or their actions toward you. It is love anyhow. This love is demonstrated by the "sheep" in Matt. 25 who ministered to "the least of these".
The second badge of identification for the disciple is found in John 15:8. "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples." The "fruit that rem…

Three Key Relationships of a Disciple

Every person who aspires to be a disciple of Jesus Christ would benefit from three key relationships in addition to their relationship with Jesus. We each need a "Paul" in our life. A "Paul" is one who has at least a little more life experience with the Lord, and who is willing to pass that along to us. Then we need a "Barnabus". A "Barnabus" is one who is on the discipleship journey with us and serves as an encourager. And finally, we each need a "Timothy"; one with whom we are sharing the things we have learned in our walk with the Lord.

In my personal experience, most of my "Pauls" have come via books, tapes, and conferences. On many occaisions the person(s) did not even know they were my Paul. My encouragers (or Barnabuses) have been both family members and friends who have prayed for me, listened to me and given me counsel that helped me on the journey. My Timothys have been those into whose lives I have poured th…

As You Go...Make Disciples

The Great Commission mandates disciple-making "as you are going" (the literal meaning of "Go!"). Early Rabbis were followed day in and day out by their disciples. One description of a disciple is "one covered with the dust of their rabbi". The learning took place, not in a class room, but in life. The disciple learned as they watched the rabbi in their daily transactions with God and with people. Today we've pretty much institutionalized the process of making disciples. We've made it about taking certain courses and filling in the blanks with the correct answers. In doing so we've lost the impact of allowing people to learn from our lives.
Over the past 50+ years in ministry, I've noticed at least two powerful disciple-making tools that are often overlooked.
Your home: When people are allowed into your home and see how you interact with your family around the dinner table, watching TV, playing games, and doing chores, they learn how …

The Eyes Have It

I just had my pre-cataract-surgery exam today. I think they dialated my eyes twice. I had left my sun glasses in the car, so when I came out into the bright S. Florida sun, I almost went blind. I finally understood what the blind man in scripture meant when he said, "I see men as trees walking." The scarey thing about this is...I had to drive home on US 27. Not a fun thing to do.
Once I felt my way home, I couldn't read, watch TV or anything much for at least another couple of hours. And all of this BEFORE the surgery. They also told me that my glasses prescription could not be changed until a couple of weeks after the second surgery. I'm wondering if I need to get a white cane with a red tip, or borrow a seeing eye dog for a few weeks. At the very least, we're about to become that couple that you see with Mama driving and Papa in the passenger seat, at least for a couple of weeks.
This is the second sign of Old Age that I've had to deal with. The fir…

Subjective Worship

I was reminded again during two worship services yesterday just how subjective our worship is. Regardless of how much we claim otherwise, it IS about us and not so much about HIM. What we deem as REAL worship is usually that which elicits a certain emotional response from us, with little or no thought given to the supposed object of our worship. It seems that we can even abide horrendous theology if the music to which it is set gives us goose bumps or brings tears to our eyes.
Paul addressed this issue in 1 Corinthians 14 when he said, "What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding." There should be thought given to our worship, whether in prayer, quiet meditation or music. Worship is not about calling forth some visceral response from deep in our gut. It is about acknowledging the ONE to whom we pray, and of whom we sing. Worship must be…

Remembering Mom

With Mother's Day approaching, I'm taking a few moments to reminise about my Mom, Ila Grace Cole (though few people knew her first name). She epitomized her name, "Grace". She was such a kind, loving person; the sort who attracted those who needed a listening ear or a kind word. She was definitely the center of warmth in our household.
My fondest memory of Mom is the night she knelt with me by my bed and led me in a prayer of repentance and faith as I received Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. Whatever success I've achieved over 50 years of ministry, I owe to the prayers of my Mom. She's been with Jesus for over 22 years now, yet I can still hear her voice in my head. I only wish she could have been here to rejoice with us when Pops finally accepted Christ at age 87. Pops went to be with the Lord last month, so I know they have rejoiced together over that just recently.
I only hope that I can leave a legacy with my kids and grandkids like the one Mom…