Posted in Daily Word

The Purpose of Our Ministry

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (Col. 1:28-29 ESV)

Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32) signifying what kind of death he would die.

We have also given this the somewhat spiritual interpretation of meaning that we should only preach Jesus and him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2)–an interpretation that I am not against using. (Maybe it would be more accurate to call this an application, rather than an interpretation.) Anyway, the point is–Him we proclaim.

After 40 years of ministry, teaching the Bible to any who will listen, I am only beginning to understand what this means. I have not failed to preach Jesus and him crucified. I am still moved to tears anytime I talk of the wondrous work of the cross on my behalf. But I am just now coming to understand the fulness of what this means in my ministry and for my daily life.

I am beginning to sense an urgency in the Body of Christ, and I hear many preachers taking on a new tone of warning. This is something that has been lacking for the last two decades as we were lulled into a stupor with our eyes fixed on this world’s goods, listening to those who would sell us and tell us what we thought we wanted to hear.

Now, the emptiness of a self-centered, self-serving life is beginning to take its toll in the lives of many. They have achieved much, but gained little, and are beginning to realize the ledger is not balanced.

If you have any kind of a ministry at all–blogging, writing, talking on the phone, sharing on the street, speaking from the pulpit, whatever–I encourage you to “look on the fields, for they are white to harvest” (John 4:35). Seize every opportunity to speak the truth, to share what the Lord has done in your life, to warn those who are going astray, to encourage those who falling behind. (for an interesting and unique way to quickly encourage others, click here.)

Paul says here that he warns and teaches with all wisdom. I take that verse personally, and believe that I should be teaching and warning with wisdom. But, such is so often not the case. More often than not, I come on like gangbusters, sure that I have the answer for the situation, only to see someone hurt by my good intentions. As a result, I have learned to be quiet, waiting until I “know that I know that I know” that what I have is from the Lord. And I still make mistakes.

But, it’s not about me. It’s about the Lord, and when I can fully learn that lesson and live in its fulness, then I will be more able to see His wisdom as He flows through me in grace towards His people.

I gained an insight just last night while preparing this morning’s message from Phil. 2:13–I can’t get it wrong when serving the Lord. That is liberating for me.

My only goal in all that I do in ministry is “to present everyone mature in Christ.” Hopefully, something you read here will help you in your walk with the Master.

NOTE: This is the first in a weekly posting on the Epistle to the Colossians. I am not the only one who is writing on this book. There are others who will be posting something on their blog each day of the week. We are each bringing something that the Lord gives us from chapter one of the epistle. You will be greatly blessed and encouraged, and your heart will be filled if you will take the time to read each day’s posting from one of the other saints involved in this collective effort. Put the following link in your “favorites” or on your link bar at the top of your browser: http://www.philter48.com/bbs/ and make it a point to visit everyday.

Posted in Daily Word

Imitation is More Than Flattery

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own…Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. (Philippians 3:12, 17 ESV)

In today’s self-centered, narcissistic society, this statement would be viewed as incredibly arrogant. Who are you to say that we should follow your example?!!?

The prevailing philosophy is that I am the center of my own universe. I control my own universe. I am the best for my universe.

Simply because someone has had an experience from which I might benefit, is no indication that I should consider their results.

There was a series of jokes going around when I was in high school that always ended with, “Mother, please! I’d rather do it myself.”

It is no longer a joke. Rather, it is the reality.

Sadly, this worldly way of thinking has infiltrated the Church.

However, I am not as concerned about it being in the pew as much as I am about it being in the pulpit.

There are few godly men and women who are willing to say, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

That is a scary place to be. It is a scary place to put oneself–especially with all the dire warnings against being placed on a pedestal. Why would anyone place themselves high enough to be emulated?

We’ve all seen many toppled from a high and lofty place in ministry. Now we avoid it.

In this age of calling many by the term “hero” who are not, could it be that the world is actually bereft of any real heroes to imitate?

Rather than shrink from the calling, stand up, go forward, and allow yourself to be a standard to which others will want to look. And do not be reluctant to say so.

And find someone to whom you can look for imitation.

NOTE: This is the third in a weekly posting on the Epistle to the Philippians. I am not the only one who is writing on this book. There are others who will be posting something on their blog each day of the week. We are each bringing something that the Lord gives us from chapter three of the epistle. You will be greatly blessed and encouraged, and your heart will be filled if you will take the time to read each day’s posting from one of the other saints involved in this collective effort. Put the following link in your “favorites” or on your link bar at the top of your browser: http://www.philter48.com/bbs/ and make it a point to visit everyday.