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Monday, 23 January 2012 11:51

God's Inconvenient Will

Written by Russ Brewer
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God’s Inconvenient Will

When was the last time God called you to act? When was the last time you were willing to let Him shape and guide your day to accomplish His purposes?

Often times, we get so caught up in our “To Do” lists, that wGenesis 14 Mape hardly have time for “inconvenient” moments that require soul flexibility to lovingly serve others.

It might be a moment when our child makes a theologically off-base statement that would be easier to dismiss or ignore, rather than stop and explain.

It might be a time when a slight comment like “help me understand what you’re saying” turns a conversation at church from a quick “touch and go” chat into a 45 minute heart-to-heart discussion.

It might be a time when a phone call in the early evening (when the person is actually home) yields a far deeper, though far longer, conversation than a short message on their answering machine at 2 in the afternoon.

There are times each day—each night—each week—when we have the opportunity to serve God versus serve self. Often times, these are moments of inconvenience.

I saw this principle this morning when I was reading in Genesis 14. It’s an account of a dicey situation where Abraham (then known as Abram but I’ll just call him Abraham for simplicity) was called upon to rescue his nephew named Lot. This whole account is fast-paced and laden with obscure geographical landmarks. Unless we read Genesis 14 with a map in hand, we’ll miss the practical lesson for our lives today. But have no fear, I’ve included a satellite map here to help us appreciate the action!

In Genesis 14, verses 1 through 3 list the enemy forces and explains how they converge in a region called the Valley of Siddim (“A” on the map). The Valley of Siddim is a flat, dessert-like area south of the Dead Sea. It’s near to where Lot lived, which also happened to be a city called Sodom of the infamous “Sodom and Gomorrah”.

As the events unfold, we find out that these enemy forces capture the man named Lot. Now, Lot was Abraham’s nephew and somehow news of this event finds its way to Abraham who was living in a town called Hebron (“B” on the map). Verse 13 tells us just that it was the “Oaks of Mamre”—but here’s where a good map helps because they’ll also call that place Hebron.

Now at this point in story, we begin to see how God’s call for us can at times be inconvenient. If you look on the map, you’ll see that Hebron is pretty far away from Sodom. But what’s worse, Lot’s captors have actually taken him far north, up towards Syria (“C” on the map).

If Abraham is going to act, it’s not going to be convenient. Think about what a journey like that would require. Abraham was looking at several days of travel. That probably meant a day or two for preparations—probably various challenges for his equipment and expenses for bringing servants and food, etc.  Plus it was going to take time to enter the coordinates into his GPS, to get the PriceLine hotel rooms bought, etc! So clearly, Abraham’s rescue effort was definitely not easy.

As the biblical account goes, Abraham and his men went north and went to the hill country of Dan (“C” on the map). There Abraham divided his forces at night and snuck up to the enemy. The enemy fled out towards Hobah which is beyond Damascus ( “D” just off the map). This was not an easy place to go--the whole region is mountainous and sparse.

But thankfully, by God’s grace, Abraham defeats the enemy, rescues Lot and returns all the way back towards home (“B” on the map). There he goes to the Valley of Shaveh which was near Jerusalem (which was called Salem back then). The king of Salem was named Melchizedek and comes out to meet Abraham. There Melchizedek blesses Abraham and the story wraps up (by the way, this Melchizedek was an important dude for understanding how Jesus is our High Priest presenting His own life as an atonement for our sins).

But going back to our story, if you read this account without a map, it might seems to just be a quick route—the enemy captures Lot, Abraham goes and rescues him, and then they all return home to laugh and talk about it. Instead we see that Abraham went to great efforts to save his nephew.

This all points to the principle that there are times when God calls us to do hard things. Life in Christ is not always easy. There are challenges on God’s path for us.

But we have to remember, that those challenges don’t necessarily mean that we are out of favor with God. Indeed, there may be times when those challenges are exactly what God has in store for us! God’s will is God’s best for us, but that doesn’t mean that it will be easy, clear and pain-free. If we find that following God is hard, we must remember that Jesus told us that if we are to be His disciples, we must be willing to pick up our cross and follow Him (Luke 14:27).

So my friend, what is God calling you to do? What changes does He want for you? Are there preparations to make? Are there mountains to climb? Are there roads to travel?

Look to your own situation and ask yourself, “How do I approach this with the faithful righteousness of Abraham?” Prayerfully seek to honor God in all that you do and then step out and see what God does in and through you, for His glory and your joy.

Well, those are some of my thoughts, I’d love to hear yours.

Grace and peace,


Saturday, 31 December 2011 10:26

Complaining About Ministry?

Written by Russ Brewer
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Complaining About Ministry

One of the more interesting Old Testament Minor Prophets is Malachi—sometimes known as the “Italian Prophet” (that’s a joke!). The book of Malachi speaks the words of God and calls the people back to pure devotion to the Lord.

Malachi covers a wide variety of topics that are symptomatic of waning devotion and he begins with the heart condition of the priests. The priests were the spiritual leaders of the people. In numerous places, they were called to shepherd the people and feed the people on knowledge and understanding (Jeremiah 3:15, 23:4, etc).

Yet in the first chapter of Malachi, the Lord brings His first condemnation on the priests because as they “go”, so do the people. It’s a case of the proverbial, “Fish rot from the head.”

In chapter 1, verse 6 the Lord calls out the priests for presenting defiled sacrifices to the Lord. According to verse 8, they were offering blind sacrifices. These imperfect sacrifices pointed to a heart condition far more serious than might be otherwise seen. First of all, an imperfect sacrifice communicates the message to God and the public that the Lord does not deserve our best; we can take shortcuts with God because other priorities trump Him. Second, it also communicates God is not concerned with the best; He Himself is sloppy and therefore accepts sloppy service.

Third, it communicates the sins being atoned are not all that bad. To understand this third point, we need to remember the sacrifices in the Old Testament were an ongoing object-lesson of covering over sins with innocent blood. Because of his sins, the worshipper could not be in fellowship with God; the worshipper’s sins were odious in the sight of the Lord and created a separation between them (Isaiah 59:2). However, if these sins were covered over by the righteous, innocent blood (life) of the animal (Leviticus 17:11), then the Lord would be shielded from their offence and once again, the sinner could have a relationship with the Lord (Leviticus 16:30).

But, if the priest was offering imperfect sacrifices, this pointed to the underlying notion that the person’s sins were not that bad, and any old sacrifice would suffice. I’m sure they even reasoned within themselves saying, “Aren’t all animals innocent? This blind goat is just as good.”

So clearly, presenting imperfect sacrifices to the Lord was a terrible action and one that led the people to stray in their hearts.

Another cutting accusation against the priests is found in chapter 1, verse 13. The Lord says the priests were complaining about the burden of their ministry. They were saying, “My, how tiresome it is!” Wow, these are seriously cutting words because who hasn’t made similar statements? Who hasn’t looked at their workload and their competing priorities and felt their particular challenges were daunting and difficult to bear? Have we gone so far as to utter words like these? No doubt, we have all felt this from time to time and felt the temptation to speak what was in our heart.

The Hebrew word in Malachi 1:13 points to a more sinister disdain for the work of God. It’s the word “mtela’a” which speaks to a weariness with a sense of frustration. Its root word (tela’a) contains the implication that the source of the weariness is something objectionable to begin with. In other words, it’s as if the priests were worn out (and telling people as much) from their labors and deep down in their hearts, they didn’t feel they should have to do the work to begin with!

This frightening warning should resound in the ears of God’s servants. From time to time, I hear of God's people who declare their weariness with their work for the Lord. I can understand their heart ache.

For pastors, the preaching regime turns the week into just two days: Sunday and all the other days morphing into one. The phone calls come in constantly—the important ones are okay, it’s the incidental calls late, at home, that exasperate us. There are countless meetings to be attended. People with frustratingly myopic perspectives squander our time on crazy hobby horses. 

For ministry leaders, often they have to deal with difficult people. Often the volunteers take "vacations" without proper notice. Efforts become sloppy, quality suffers.

I agree and understand these challenges are real, but at the heart of this rebuke are these underlying principles that we must remember:

1) The Lord deals patiently with His people 24/7 without rest or break. If there was ever a person legitimately called to complain about the “mtela’a” of His job, it’s the Lord. Yet He is patient with us, ever giving of Himself to us. As His servants, we must reflect this aspect of His nature.

2) The Lord’s work is holy. It’s a serious, solemn, high work. It’s a holy work that endures into eternity. No matter how mundane the task, when done to the Lord, it is holy (Zech 14:21 speaks to this principle).

3) The weary heart betrays a fleshly heart. Philippians 2:13 explains the principle that God is at work in us “both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” The Greek word “work” here is “energios” and it has the idea of “energy”—the heart of the meaning is that God will supply the “energios” for the tasks that He has set before us. If we are surrendered to Him, we will have His grace pumping into our souls, providing the ability and the energy to do His will. Yet the person who is wearied by the work has either a) distanced himself from fellowship with the Lord, or b) taken on tasks and challenges not of God—we can do this in many ways: by demanding an outcome not inline with the Lord, by fearing people and saying “yes” when we should have said “no”, by squandering our time on non-priorities so we must add hours to our work day to finish our real responsibilities. I could go on, but these three cover a lot of territory.

So, in our pastoral ministry, we have many responsibilities. We are to “shepherd the flock of God…exercising oversight…according to the will of God…with eagerness (1 Pet 5:2).” We do this by taking “care of the church of God” (1 Tim 3:5) specifically as we “preach the word…reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction (2 Tim 4:2).” All of this being done with an eye to equip “the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ (Eph 4:12) so the final result is we “present every man complete in Christ (Col 1:28).”

This is a very high calling. This is a high privilege. This is an utterly holy endeavor. No doubt there are seeds of bitterness waiting to take root and grow in our hearts. In each of our ministries, there are challenges and frustrations that tempt us to utter “My, how tiresome it is”. But these words are sinful; they come from the flesh and are rooted in a fleshly perspective. Yet like all sins, they can be crucified by the Holy Spirit as we offer up our idols to God and confess that we would rather serve them that Him. In His mercy and grace, He will accept our confession and cleanse us from this sin (1 John 1:9).

May God’s grace strengthen you and equip you in your service to Him.

Those are some of my thoughts, I’d love to hear yours.

Friday, 18 November 2011 12:35

Revitalizing a Church Featured

Written by Russ Brewer
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Here's a great article that was emailed to me:

The church I pastor, the Summit Church, was planted in 1962. In 2001, however, the Summit Church (then Homestead Heights Baptist Church) was a plateaued, declining Baptist church. The current pastor had been asked to resign after being caught in immorality. The pastor prior to him had unsuccessfully attempted to impose a Willow Creek model, and the pastor prior to him was a theological moderate. When I arrived, the church was in its fourth straight year of attendance and offering decline, and the outlook was bleak.


Only God brings life to dead things. But here are five lessons I learned that I believe contributed to our church’s revitalization.

1. Inward transformation drives external change.

Just as external moralistic changes cannot transform the human heart, so external changes to a church’s programs or structures cannot revitalize a church. You might as well try to bending a metal rod without first heating it. It will either resist change altogether, or simply snap in two.

Internal change in the believer happens only through the preaching of the gospel. People become willing to extend themselves to reach others as they learn more about God and what he has done.

There is a time to push change and a time just to preach Jesus. It takes wisdom to know what to do when. A church that has its “first love” (Rev. 2:1–10) is likely to undergo even the most uncomfortable changes to complete the mission.

As the Summit Church developed a love for the lost, changing our structures to reach more people became relatively easy.

2. Do not underestimate the power of momentum.

It is easier to change churches that are growing, just like it is easier to steer a bike that is moving. In any organization, including a church, momentum can provide the capital you need to purchase change. Sun Tzu, author of the 2500 year old military classic Art of War, said that momentum is a general’s most valuable ally. Small armies can win great victories if they know how to build it.

You might consider focusing first on changing those things that are hindering the church from growing. When growth is happening, you’ll find it easier to change the other things. As people experience the joy of new believers being born into their midst, they become more willing to shift away from what is comfortable for them and into what is effective at reaching others.

Further, in most cases I would encourage you to spend more time developing the people who are with you than engaging those who are against you. Momentum and excitement often silence opposition. So instead of spending a lot of time putting out fires, you might want to start one of your own.

When I first got to the Summit, there were a number of problems we chose to ignore, at least for the time being. These included dress code, music style, the length of the services, and an inefficient (and in some ways unbiblical) constitution. We changed a few key things that we knew would signal a new day in the church, and we set a couple of big goals for some upcoming outreaches. When we reached those goals, we made a big deal of celebrating God’s faithfulness in them. After one of these outreaches, we baptized our first African-American believer. An older gentleman who would later become the chairman of our elder board came up to me with tears in his eyes and said, “Son, I’m not crazy about a lot of these changes you are making. But if that is a taste of what we are going to get, count me in.”

During that first year I baptized an exchange student from another country. I happened to speak her native language (having lived in her country for a couple of years), and so I conducted her baptism in that language. After that, I probably could have suggested that we all stand on our heads in church and people would have gone along with it. Within two years, we had changed our dress code, sold our property, and re-written our constitution, all without a dissenting vote. Had I suggested those things during the first year, it would have been a bloodbath. But after we had gained momentum, they changed naturally.

Win a few evangelism “battles,” and then celebrate them. Isn’t that what we see the psalmists doing both to strengthen their own souls and to inspire a vision for the future? In Psalm 48, the sons of Korah tell Israel, “Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers, consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever.”

3. Beware of fighting battles that lead you nowhere.

A third lesson is tied to the second. Beware of fighting battles, no matter how worthy, that gain you little strategic ground.

Some battles (often worthy battles!) won’t help you in the bigger “war” of revitalization. Often, if you postpone them, you can win them later without shedding a drop of blood—on either side. Know which battles to fight when.

I’ve noticed that leaders who are perfectionists tend to have trouble with this principle, because they can’t distinguish “the right” from “the expedient.” We sometimes forget it’s not about winning battles, it’s about leading people.

The Apostle Paul seemed to understand this. Sometimes he let people malign his character; other times he defended his apostleship. Sometimes he brought himself into conformity to the law; other times he publicly rebuked those who refused to embrace their freedom. His grid for engagement was what was strategic for the mission (1 Cor. 9:19-27; Gal. 2:11-15).

Of course this does not mean we ever tolerate open sin or substantial doctrinal corruption in the church. It just means that we fight the right battles at the right times.

4. Create a sending culture.

In my opinion, creating a sending culture is essential to revitalizing a church. Churches that are revitalized see themselves as communities on mission with God, not as country clubs for Christians.

One very practical thing you can do to encourage this mentality is to send as many people on short-term mission trips as possible. Few things open our eyes to missional living like spending time with missionaries overseas. The more that mentality gets into the bloodstream of the church, the more church members become willing to apply missional principles to their own context.

During our first two years we sent an inordinate amount of our people and leaders overseas. It cost a lot of money and took up valuable time, but it did two things. First, it raised the level of generosity in our church. Having seen the needs on the field, the people gave. The trips may have cost us a lot of money, but they paid for themselves many times over. Second, it made our people ask themselves if we were laboring to reach our city the same way that missionaries overseas were laboring to reach theirs.

When you create a sending culture in your church, you will likely lose some of your best people to a church plant or a missions assignment. But don’t be afraid; the sending culture creates more leaders to take their place. It has worked for us like the five loaves and two fish: the more we give away, the more is multiplied and given back to us.

5. Lead your people to yearn.

The French mystic Antoine de Saint Exupéry once said, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” As people yearn for the salvation of the world they will not only put up with the changes you propose, but will probably instigate a few of their own as well. That’s when the church is really revitalized.

Again, it is the preaching of the gospel that creates this yearning. The gospel makes us stand in awe of Jesus, who was rich, yet for our sakes became poor. It moves us to pour ourselves out for others as he has poured himself out for us. The gospel awakens people from their middle class slumber to follow Jesus as he seeks and saves the lost. It moves them to love the poor, the stranger, and the outcast.

The gospel teaches us to see the world through the lens of the compassionate God demonstrated at the cross and revealed in the resurrection. The gospel fills us with audacious faith, making us (in the words of William Carey) “expect great things of God and then attempt great things for God.”

The gospel makes us yearn to see the glory of God cover the earth like the waters cover the sea. It gives us a passion for his kingdom that outweighs our comfort with the status quo. As the gospel has become more of the center of our church, I have seen our people do the most amazing things—from moving from richer neighborhoods into poorer ones, to adopting unwanted children, to loving refugees, to sharing Christ with their neighbors.

So personally dwell on the gospel. Meditate on it until it burns in your breast and you can’t contain it. Then preach it, letting it do the work of revitalization.

J.D. Greear is lead pastor of the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina and the author of Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary (B&H, 2011).

November/December 2011
© 9Marks

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Here's an email I received from my Dad this morning on the current global situation. His insight is pretty helpful to understand our current situation. Thought I'd pass it along, enjoy...

This morning I woke up and during my sleep my mind had connected some dots. We have amazing world events - pretty similar in many ways to the 1930's.

It started with Republican Paulson's decision to let Lehmen fail - so here is an interesting sequence...

1) Letting Lehman Bros. fail caused the world gross national product output to almost stop for 18 months
2) That caused our American mortgage industry to collapse and within months the USA had to take extreme and drastic Federal steps to prevent the other 5 investment (mortgage reseller) banks from collapsing such as phase one, two and then TARP.
3) Smaller banks failed around the USA in huge numbers
4) Global banks began to fail since they were stuck with worthless mortgage paper sold to them by the US investment banks
5) USA unemployment skyrocketed to 10.2% in 2010 and has continued to hover there plus or minus 1 %
6) The Euro began to drop in value
7) European Countries that were overspending got caught in the global downturn and had to buy more money
8) Real USA unemployment (underemployment or those whom unemployment payment expired) rose to 20 plus %
9) USA housing values dropped between 29% to 60% - depending on which area you were looking at
10) The stock markets dropped 30 to 50% and families savings were consumed by this drop - so that their two biggest net worth calculations dropped 60% for most families.
11) Housing foreclosures rose so fast that banks have been afraid to foreclose on homeowners. I know one family that has not made a mortgage payment for more than 2 years and the banks have not foreclosed. They know there is too many foreclosed homes in inventory and figure it is better to have the homeowner live in the home vs. leaving it empty.
12) World Tourism visiting other countries radically declined
13) The Tea Party won enough legislative seats to be a power
14) The Tea Party was angry about taxes and federal debt when they hit Washington - although they were in experienced in economics, politics or Global impacts
15) Mideastern countries counting on oil sales found sales were off due to high prices and their income radically declined
16) Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Italy came to the edge of bankruptcy
17) American consumers radically cut back their spending for the second time in two years
18) The Mideast raised oil prices to offset their banking and tourism losses
19) Mideastern sales of oil declined because major American and European consumers drove less, and the newer cars got better mpg
20) The Mideastern countries saw huge unemployment in the 20 to 40 year olds because of their local sagging economies.
21) The Mideast riots began as their oil and tourist dollars declined - Tunisia and Egypt have 1/3 of the GDP based on tourism (I don't know about the rest of the Mideast. But Dubai found their huge national investment in tourism was already faltering.
22) We scared the bejabbers out of the world markets by massive delays in raising the debt - which turned out this was like threatening to let Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, etc go bankrupt.
23) Meanwhile early "Back-to-school" sales are showing a very weak consumer - and is usually those sales are the forecaster of the Christmas season
24) Today - the world markets react to a general fear factor as for the last 8 weeks they contemplated the global financial disaster that could result by the USA defaulting.- the impact is similar to America actually having defaulted.

Can you begin to imagine the world reaction if we actually defaulted? Oh my gosh ....

Now here are some more dots to ruminate over....for kicks I googled wiki about the tax revolt 1930-1933. Here is the link to save you time - - copy and paste it. Then read the 1930 Tax revolt background and compare it to 2009 and 2010 and then to our world today. The world was in a depression started by the American bank failures. The Euro/Baltic global reaction was to blame their own banks and consequently the Euro/Baltic/Russian Jewish bankers and their banking establishment. So the The European and Baltic governments needed scapegoats and selected the hapless Jews.

European Inflation went rampant as companies tried to raise prices to cover their losses. USA went into massive unemployment. The Euro/Baltic people base become extremely angry at their governments and began to quietly and then violently protest their governments. In my high school history books were pictures of German women going to the grocery store carrying large shopping bags filled with German Marks to buy a loaf of bread. Meanwhile the Japanese economy was flourishing.  They went to war against Russia to build a railway in order to export goods to the Western world. And shortly after their Japanese economy ramped up, Europe went to war - but we didn't. The affluent Japanese wanted to drive cars, and fly planes - but because of their SinoRussian war the Japanese businessmen needed to manufacture large amount of goods. To wage war and to manufacture goods, they had to import all of the basic materials, steel, rubber, aluminum, copper, tin, nickle, oil etc. They turned away from the Russian war and instead went to war with China, Korea, and the Northern edge of Indonesia, where they won the lands containing these commodities. FDR sent an ultimatum to Japan to back away from all of Indonesia and the Philippines, especially from the Indonesian Oil fields, and within 3 months we had World War, Pearl Harbor and Europe.

Right now we have our hopes pinned on Germany's ability to hold the poorly managed European countries together. The Mideast remains a crap shoot. As those governments topple or change, will the replacements be good global friendly governments? Our traditional ally India is flourishing and has enough raw material to support their economy. But they have bad neighbor Pakistan and Afghanistan at their back door - both countries a doing poorly. So does flourishing China and their trend seems to better global citizens not more hostile. Africa remains an unknown. But these are all threads that we might be wise to support.
Sobering dots when you connect them. I think that it might be a good idea for us all to pray for God to strongly  intervene in our world once again.
Want to find a great Christian Quote? Here's an excellent resource!
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 21:47

Corinne's Grandfather's Passing

Written by Russ Brewer
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Corinne's grandfather passed away this past weekend. We both loved him deeply. He was a particular blessing to me since I didn't know my natural grandparents well and he was a tremendous man of God. His life is a testimony to the truth that when we live for the Lord, our joy and impact for good extends beyond our years on this earth.

Here's his obituary,


Jan 20, 1919 – Jul 23, 2011

Roger Alan Comfort, 92, of Modesto, California went home to be with our Lord Saturday, July 23, 2011 while at home with family. A memorial service will be held on August 27 at 11:00am, at Big Valley Grace Community Church, Modesto.

    Condolences and memoirs may be sent to Jim Comfort, 5501 Chenault Dr., Modesto, CA  95356

   Roger was born January 20, 1919, in Baltimore, Maryland, the second of three sons, to Newman and LouElla Comfort. He moved with his family to Oakland, California in 1924 where he met and married his wife Lois in 1943.  In 1956 they moved to the hills above Hayward, California with their six young children. Roger worked as a machinist at Pacific Roller Die, near Hayward Airport, and was an active member of Redwood Chapel Community Church in Castro Valley for nearly 30 years. Upon retiring, Roger and Lois moved to Twain Harte, California in June of 1993 and then to Modesto in 2004 due to ailing health. For the past seven months he and his loving wife have enjoyed the wonderful care provided by the staff at Bethel Retirement Community of Modesto, and the expertise of Community Hospice.

   Roger’s greatest form of relaxation was as a private pilot with the Oakland Squadron Flying Club which flew out of Oakland Airport’s North Field and then eventually out of Hayward Airport. He enjoyed camping, hiking, swimming and target shooting. He also worked a few side jobs included selling for Fuller Brush, Zonolite roofing materials, as well as insurance and real estate. After retiring and moving to Twain Harte, he even got a job at the new Wal-Mart store in Sonora.

   Roger’s warm smile and sense of humor will be missed by all who came into contact with him. But most importantly, he is remembered by his children as the dad who would, every night, pray blessings upon each of them and their family while he knelt beside his bed.

Roger was preceded in death by his father and mother, his brothers Philip and Newman jr. He is survived by his loving wife of 68 years, Lois, their sons Dr. Stephen A. Comfort (Cheryl) of Walnut Creek, CA, James R. Comfort (Suzanne) of Modesto, John D. Comfort (Jackie) of Hughson, CA, Timothy T Comfort (Janet) of Castro Valley, CA; daughters Martha D. Kemptner (Rick) of Manteca, Ruth A Roehl (Erich) of Redding, CA; 27 Grandchildren and 46 Great-grandchildren. Thank you dad for the godly heritage and example you have left for us.

Friday, 01 July 2011 12:39

Paul's Example of Noble Thinking

Written by Russ Brewer
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47 Ways Paul Demonstrated Noble Thinking in the Book of Philippians

In Philippians 4:8, Paul lists several practical domains that are to govern the thought-life of God’s people. Among them is the word “Noble” or “Honorable”. Another way to translate the word would be “Dignified.” There’s not much available on this grand topic, but here are 47 observations that I made of how Paul exemplified noble thinking throughout the letter to the Philippians:

1. 1:3 Thankfulness towards God

2. 1:4 A life of prayer towards God

3. 1:9 A mind growing in knowledge

4. 1:9 A mind growing in discernment

5.  1:10 Approval of the things that are excellent

6.   1:12-13 An optimistic/silver-lining attitude

7.   1:14 Ability to see the redemptive value in a trial

8.   1:17 Extending grace towards others rather than unforgivness or a critical spirit

9.   1:18 Joy at the proclamation of the Gospel

10. 1:19-20 – Optimism in his situation

11. 1:21-22 A mindset of being sold-out for Christ

12. 1:28 Not easily being in fear over situations

13. 1:29 Trusting in Christ during conflict

14. 2:2 Being unified around spiritual truths

15. 2:3 A view that considers others as more important than yourselves

16. 2:4 A view that looks to the interests of others

17. 2:5-11 An attitude that seeks to be like Christ

18. 2:12 An attitude of fear and trembling as we are living out our salvation

19. 2:14 An attitude devoid of grumbling and disputing

20. 2:21 An attitude that seeks Christ’s interests rather than your own

21. 2:24 trust in the Lord

22. 2:26 A concern for the emotional condition of others

23. 2:30 Valuing the work of the Gospel even above one’s own life

24. 3:3 No confidence in fleshly religion

25. 3:7-8 Willingness to lose everything for Chris’s sake

26. 3:9 Seeking righteousness from God on the basis of faith

27. 3:10 A desire to know God

28. 3:10 A desire to know the power of the resurrection

29. 3:10 A desire to become like Christ, even in death

30. 3:12 A desire to press on to achieve the things Christ has called you to do

31. 3:13 Not dwelling on the past

32. 3:15 An attitude of submission and unity

33. 3:17 Noting and following the example of other mature believers

34. 3:18 A tender heart for the condition of the lost

35. 3:20 An attitude of waiting for Christ to return to bring us home

36. 4:1 Standing firm in the Lord, not being swayed from God’s truth or unity of Spirit

37. 4:2 Harmonious living with others

38. 4:3 A willingness to help others in spiritual need

39. 4:4 A heart of rejoicing, at all times

40. 4:5 A gentle spirit

41. 4:6 Peaceful, non-anxious living

42. 4:6 A sustained habit of bringing everything to the Lord in prayer

43. 4:7 Allowing the peace of God guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus

44. 4:8 Thinking upon that which is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good repute, excellence and being praise-worthy.

45. 4:11 Contentment at all times

46. 4:14 A heart to share with others

47. 4:23 God’s grace renewing and reviving our spirits


You can listen to my whole sermon on this topic here.


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