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Russ Brewer

Russ Brewer

Rescued from the domain of darkness, transferred to the kingdom of the Son. Undershepherd of Grace. Husband of Corinne. Father of three. Chew-toy to Zeke...

Website URL: http://www.thegracetabernacle.org E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The Arc of Life

Saturday, 31 March 2012 15:13 Published in Blog

The Arc of Life

- Living life at any age -

As I turn 40 today, I can’t help but get a bit philosophical about life and its natural course.

As a pastor I work with people of all ages and from all places of life. On any given day, I’ll counsel teens, young adults, middle aged people and senior citizens. I’ve prayed with prostitutes and politicians, dined with drug dealers and doctors; and while I still have much to learn about life, I have a unique perspective that seems worthy of mentioning.

Because I have spent so much time with people of such an array of stations in life, I’ve observed something I’m calling the “Arc of Life.” What I mean by this term is that there is a natural rhythm of life that keeps pace with us, and even limits us, to what we can or should be doing at any given time. I began seeing this arc of life as I have had the chance to develop such close relationships with people of so many different ages and accomplishments. What I’ve seen is that there is a natural arc to life, an arc of productivity, an arc of family, an arc for things of God.

The book of Ecclesiastes has a passage (made famous in the 60’s by Bob Dylan and The Byrds) that speaks to this arc:

Ecclesiastes 3:1–8 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—2 A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. 3 A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. 4 A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. 5 A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. 6 A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. 7 A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak. 8 A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace.

Now you’ll see in this passage that God has ordained certain times for certain activities. There may be a degree of flexibility from person to person, but by and large, life in alignment with the Lord follows this arc: preparation> production> concentration> transition. I have found that our modern society that seeks to throw off all restrictions—people no longer think in terms of proper times and proper seasons. But whether or not we understanding it, our lives follow this arc. The less we live in harmony with it, the less peace and joy we’ll find.

In a nutshell, the arc begins with childhood—this is where children learn about life, about values, about work and play, etc. The lessons they learn here propel them into early adulthood.

Then, in early adulthood people decide upon their course for life. They refine their skills and step away from the edge of the pool and start swimming. Along the way they pick up a spouse, have children, and settle down. They are moving up the arc.

In their middle-aged years (from about 30-50) they are living in a renaissance of personal productivity. They are producers—making something, having an impact, seeing results. They are full of activity—if it can be done, they will do it. Should it be done? Maybe/maybe not, but they’ll give it a try. The folks have time, resources, vision and passion. They are nearly at the top of the arc.

But I have seen—when a person is following God’s natural arc—somewhere between 50 and 60 years old, rather than the typical notion of “slowing down” that the world pounds into our thinking, instead when a person has properly followed this arc, during this time they will enter into a realm of purified productivity—they are ultra productive, but not existing in a realm of hectic activity. They will be wise and seasoned. They will know what matters. They will still have resources of energy and vision to accomplish great things; but they will have the added blessing of seeing life from an eternal perspective. They start marking days and years and realizing that they can leave a legacy if they focus on the right things. They have the discernment to leave behind things that waste time, and they focus on what will count for eternity. Now they are at the top of the arc.

Where they go from here depends on how they have gotten here. If they have followed God’s arc to this point, they are rich with perspective and wisdom. They have much to offer others and seek to pass the baton on to the next generation of leaders. Their joy is found in giving away the riches God has given to them. They have much to offer and people come to them to receive. They continue to lead, but they lead into the twilight, lighting the way for those who follow, and because so few today have followed God’s arc to this point, many people gaze at these saints with love, joy, respect and gratitude.

This is the arc. It is an arc filled with hope, optimism and peace. It’s an arc most could follow, but few choose.

The more I interact with people, the more I see how living out of balance with this arc causes great misery. It seems as though society has increasingly derailed good people from this perspective. Society, with its sophomoric wisdom, tells itself that it can ignore this arc, that there are more immediate ways to happiness, that we shouldn’t be bound by such naïve notions. Yet people wonder why our misery continues to rise, our contentment continues to lower, and we increasingly descend into despair—especially as we age. Life is painful and without knowing their place on the arc, they forsake hope and give up.

And that’s why I thought I’d take a moment to write this post—for many people reading it—there is still time to redirect efforts and recognize our place on the arc.

First and foremost, the Lord needs to be at the center of our lives. Back in High School, I thought I was pretty cool by saying that God was my Co-Pilot. What I didn’t realize then is that a statement like this is simply foolishness. God IS the Lord and master of ALL life—even if we ignore Him or deny this truth. I can say I don’t believe in gravity, but it still dominates everything I do. God is not our co-pilot, He is THE pilot! He has determined the course of our days and the times and places we live. He is moving us along this arc whether or not we admit it. Unless we are surrendered to Him, we’re going to find that each stage of the arc is frustratingly toilsome. We’ll be out of sync with God’s natural rhythms of life.

We’re like a blind person, sitting in a canoe, being carried down a stream. We don’t know where the stream is going and we can’t see where we are, but we’re paddling with all our might into the darkness. The solution is to recognize what God is doing and let Him lead. This kind of trust and knowledge of God requires that we are reconciled to Him. It’s not enough to be fatalistic and just “go with the flow”. It’s more than that—we need to surrender and do God’s will. This means we need to be in a right relationship with Him.

How do we do this? Well, here’s the basics: God is holy and pure and dwells in absolute purity and perfection. Therefore, He can’t have any sin in His presence—otherwise, it wouldn’t be perfect any more. But sadly, each of us sin, each of us do things that are not like God. This means two things: we are out of fellowship with God here and now, and when we die, we will be out of fellowship with God forever (e.g. we go away from God because we can’t enter into His presence). If we are not in fellowship with God here, we are off His path for our lives.

But God wants us in fellowship with Him, God wants us near. So He sent His son, Jesus, to earth to be our atonement. Jesus was perfect—like God—never sinning. His death on the cross was to shed His life for us; to cover us with His perfection. This is His gift to us: eternal life. We don’t earn this, like any gift, we receive it when we reach out for it by faith. We confess to God we have sinned. We ask Him to be the Lord of our lives and turn us from the things that break our fellowship with Him. Once we recognize and submit to Him as the Lord of our lives, His presence and grace infuses everything we do and He enables us to live out His plan for us. Thus we walk the arc, fulfilling His will, experiencing His peace, knowing our lives are pleasing to Him.

Let’s get back to the arc of life…so, how do we teach it to our children? First, we need to connect our kids to the Lord at a young age. From this root stems a successful life (that is, one that is successful in the eyes of God). When God is at the center of our lives, we fulfill each stage of the arc with His hand guiding us and His strength working within us. We have peace knowing that each season is operating unto God and He will not fail to accomplish His will for us.

As we enter into young adulthood, we get equipped for a life of usefulness and productivity. During these years, we need to hold Christ at the center of our lives to keep from getting off His arc. The world is full of wild lures, seeking to draw us from God’s arc for our lives. Countless people burn through these equipping years without gaining the tools they need to really live. The result is the rest of their lives, they feel like they are playing catch-up, never quite in step with the pace of life.

Likewise, we need Christ at the center of our lives as we steam through the middle-aged years. These are the years when we can accomplish so much for eternity. These are the years when we make an impact. These are the years when we accomplish what we’ll be remembered for. Yet how many people rage through these years and just as they leave this era, they look back suddenly realizing the moment has past and the days were squandered? The old rock band, Rush, wrote a song called “Anthem”—I remember singing its key lyrics: “Live for yourself, there’s no one else more worthy living for”. But if this is our anthem, regret will eventually come like the plague.

But if Christ is the center of our lives during these years, we’ll have tremendous productivity—not just in our workplace, but in our homes and in our churches. We’ll go on Short Term Missions trips. We’ll sacrifice to fund overseas church planting. We’ll volunteer for a crisis ministry. We’ll do things that matter.

As we get older, if Christ is at the center of the arc, when we enter those Golden Years—we’ll find they truly are golden. Not because they are without pain or worry (likely, our pain and discomfort will increase) but rather we’ll have a life-time of godly wisdom that we can pour into our children and others in our family and in our church. We’ll have wisdom validated by a life well-lived and people will be blessed in our hearing.

And lastly, when we enter those twilight years—if Christ has been at the center of our lives, we’ll have known that we have spent them for eternity. We’ll see and know that time is short. We’ll have peace and contentment knowing that life has not been wasteful toil, but rather joyful Christ-filled service. We will have been connected to Christ, the Vine (Jesus taught about this in John chapter 15), for our entire lives and will rejoice in the hundred-fold harvest of fruitfulness as Christ has lived our His life through us.

From here, for God’s people, there will be no “end” that awaits us, but rather a beginning—a beginning of the next phase of life (REAL life) where we walk with Christ face-to-face, in glory, without the weight of sin; where we can fellowship with Him and His people with purity and joy. We will step into eternity in harmony with the arc of life, knowing that indeed God has always been faithful.

So beloved, like it or not, you are on this arc. How are you doing? Is Christ guiding you on the path? Is He the Lord of your life in all His entirety? If you are young, are you gathering the resources to live life well? If you are middle-aged, are you maximizing the productivity of these days? If you’re in your golden years, are you using your wisdom and remaining reserves for eternity? Are you in the twilight years? Are you looking forward to forever with the Lord letting these last days be spent in fellowship with Him and His people? I prayerfully hope so.

The arc of life…to follow it in righteousness is to know peace and joy and productivity. To fight against it is to know toil, frustration and ultimately despair. If you have not aligned with God’s arc for your life, now is the day for repentance. Now is the day to let Him be the Lord and surrender to His will.

Again, if you’re not sure, here’s how:

Begin by praying to God and recognizing that He is holy and right about what is good and righteous. Recognize that you have not lived with absolute purity before Him. Recognize that when you measure yourself against His purity, He has every right to cast you from Him into Hell. But also recognize that He has provided His Son Jesus in your place. Jesus lived a perfect life and when He died, He died as a substitute for God’s people—that way, God’s holiness and justice are preserved, and we can be forgiven. Call out to God for forgiveness. Repent and turn your life to follow His ways. That means knowing what the Bible says by reading it. That means doing what the Bible says. That means joining with a church and getting involved. That means talking with Him in prayer and listening to His Spirit.

If you’re reading this, it’s probably not too late to align yourselves with God’s arc of life. If you do that, while I won’t guarantee that life will go perfectly, I can guarantee that God will be with you and strengthen you to accomplish and persevere through all that He brings your way.

Thanks and God Bless.

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

How do we know that the Bible is God's Word?

Tuesday, 27 March 2012 17:23 Published in Blog

How do we know that the Bible is actually the Inspired Word of God?

Is the Bible actually God's message to us? When you think about it, this is one of the most important questions a person can ask. If the Bible is a message from God, we must listen to it and set our lives by it. If it is simply a religious text from antiquity, we might marvel by it, but we certainly won’t submit to it.

So IS the Bible inspired? Many people would say “yes” but not be able to give much support. Others would say “no” and might cite something they learned from a college professor or the DaVinci Code. Others would say “I’m not really sure and I don’t really care.” If you’re in any of these groups, I urge you to read closely what we’re about to cover.

If the Bible was inspired, what would expect from it? Pause right now and think about that. What would you expect from the Bible if it were truly a message from God?

I would imagine that you’d probably expect it to be deeply meaningful, deeply important, deeply inspiring. If you thought longer about it, you’d probably also think that when it spoke of things that were related to fact—such as geography, science, history, etc., it would be true. Lastly, if there were areas that it foretold events to come, you’d expect them to actually come about in the manner that was given to us. Well, let me encourage you that the Bible is all this and more!

Let’s start with some foundation concepts that we need to build upon.

For one thing, the Bible claims to be God’s message to us. Now before you start shouting “circular reasoning!” hear me out—in just a few moments, I’ll attempt to show you how we know the Bible is from God. But we need to know that it really presents itself this way. No one reads the ingredients on a box of Fruit Loops and wonders if it’s a message from God. Why would they? It never claims to be. Likewise, the book The Wizard of Oz doesn't claim to be a message from God so no one spends any time wondering about the truth-claims of its message.

But the Bible is different. In over 3000 separate instances, it claims to be a message from God. Over and over it says, “Thus says the Lord…” Over and over it says, “Grace to you and peace from God…” Over and over it says, “Hear the Word of the Lord…” So with 3000 statements like this, we need to sit down and consider the validity of statements such as these. Has the Lord really said these things? Is the Bible a clear and faithful copy of what God wants us to know?

As we dig deeper into this point, let’s think through some of the ways we’d expect God to show that He has indeed given us His message in the Bible.

For one thing, the Bible ought to be true in areas of history, right? Indeed! The Bible is the most consulted ancient text in existence. It is frequently used to explain the archaeological findings in the Middle East and often countries in those areas will have parks & monuments at places where biblical events took place. Modern archaeologists routinely use the Bible to triangulate their findings. The New Testament book of Luke is considered one of the most reliable sources to understanding the political conditions of ancient Rome.

So these days, the Bible is regularly acknowledged to be historically reliable, even by secular scholars. But this wasn't always the case. A couple centuries ago, scholars used to say that the Bible was filled with factual errors in relation to historical events. They’d cite a few examples of people/places that they assumed never existed. For instance, they use to say that the most famous king of Israel, known as David, never existed. He was just myth. And then they'd tease out the conclusion and say that since David never lived, massive sections of the Bible must be historically inaccurate. This "factoid" (a false fact presented as true) was often cited until the early 1990s. Then in 1993, archaeologists found steles (historical monuments of the ancient world) that referred to King David. Suddenly, one of the key examples of "biblical errors" came to an abrupt end. Wow, David really lived. 

The same is true for ancient people groups such as the Hittites, mentioned in the Bible. For much of modern scholarship, there had yet to be found any trace of the Hittites. The notion of Hittites really living was laughed at by scholars. But over time, not only has archaeology found proof of the Hittites, they now have the capital in along the Turkey/Syria border. Google “Hittite Capital” and you won’t find anyone saying “the Hittites were mythical people.” 

Well, we could go on and on with more examples, but the point has been made, the Bible IS historically accurate and these attempts to discredit it consistently end up being disproven.

How about geography? Did all those places really exist? When we read the book The Wizard of Oz, we hear about the Emerald City and the Yellow Brick Road. In some ancient myths we hear about mythical places like Atlantis. The Book of Mormon talks about a whole subcontinent located below North America called Nephi. Yet no true scientist recognizes that these places have ever existed.

On the other hand, when you look at the Bible, it’s amazingly current. You’ve probably heard of Jerusalem, Jericho, Gaza…these are all real places today and are on the evening news all the time. They are also mentioned throughout the Bible. They are real places. Sure, some cities have changed their names but that’s not a problem—if you look at the history of many towns in America, they often change their names (note Hagerstown, MD). But where the Bible is concerned, there are NO lost continents, no mysterious lands, nothing like that at all. It’s just straight fact—in fact, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Bible is actually used in archaeology to help determine what cities are being discovered when they’re dug up.

Let’s go on to science…

People often say that the Bible is full of scientific inaccuracy. What they’re talking about is really the first few chapters of Genesis, because (let's be honest) these chapters are a pretty jarring read if you’ve never read anything like them before. You’ve got God creating things in the blink of an eye and not in the order we'd expect. To our modern senses, it seems so contrary to what we learn in High School and College. If that's you, I can relate. I didn't grow up reading or believing the Bible. At first, these chapters threw me too. So, I was once there too, I know how it is.


But I gave the Bible an honest look. If God COULD do anything, He certainly could do everything Genesis 1-11 contains. Likewise, if the Bible is truly from God, than either it really happened as it is described (which I personally believe) or at least it’s something God wants us to understand because the theology of the first eleven chapters of Genesis is amazing. If you are interested in this topic, there are many books that seek to prove the reality of Genesis through REAL science. Don’t let the skeptics drown out the voices of these up and coming scientific discoveries. Increasingly, our ability to examine nature is proving (rather than disproving) these things. Studies in String Theory, Time-Dilation, DNA, and astronomy continue to verify rather than discredit the Bible. Likewise, Creationist theories such as Irreducible Complexity and Apparent Age answer many (perhaps even most) questions from skeptics. And while I don’t have the time or resources to go into this exciting branch of science, look into these links and consider for yourself if perhaps the Bible is saying things that are true after all.

Another important point to understand is that the Bible is a book written to all mankind from God. Not everyone in history had 145 IQs. Not everyone in history understood cause and effect, scientific theory, etc. Yet the Bible is written FOR the professor of Harvard just as much as for the Motilone Indian in Columbia--both need to be able to read it and understand it. The wording had to be accurate, but meaningful. Therefore, the wording God uses accurately explains His truths in a manner that actually makes sense to all people groups throughout history. When you consider this point, it's quite astounding that a Berkeley Professors and a NFL football player and a CEOs can all find out that indeed, God's Word is true.

So we need to understand, when the Bible talks about science, it’s accurate--it might not use the same terms as we do, and it might not be as precise as our modern science, but when it speaks to matters of life and nature, it is accurate. For instance, the Bible says that the Earth is round (Is 40:22) –that wasn't even the prevailing belief in science until a few centuries ago. Likewise, it describes a limitless expanse of the universe (Is 55:9). Likewise, it talks about the stars being innumerable (Jer 33:22) and while we have tried to map and count every star, thanks to Hubble we've found out that some “stars” we’re looking at are actually whole galaxies--definitely not numerable! Sometimes you'll hear people talk about the dimensions of a giant round bowl in 1 Kings 7--it's 30 cubits around and 10 cubits across. The quick math says that pi would have to be "3" rather than 3.14. This is one of the few "Bible inaccuracies" that some people throw out. But there's a backstory that they are missing. For one thing, 3 and 3.14 aren't so far off, when you think about it and not bad for people who didn't have modern mathematics. But more importantly, the full description of the text in 1 Kings 7 explains that the disk is shaped like a flower where the lip flairs outward so that the dimensions of the lip are different than the inner dimensions of the bowl. Thus the questions of "pi" are resolved when we understand the irregular shape of the sides of the bowl. So all this is to underscore, that while I'm not saying that the Bible is a science text book, I am saying that when it refers to things that can be examined scientifically, it is accurate.

So far we’ve talked about how the Bible is amazingly frank and candid when it discusses matters of history, geography, science, etc. But these don’t fully convince or satisfy us—a telephone book better be pretty accurate, but we don’t put our eternal soul in its hands. So let’s move on…

The Bible is more than just an accurate ancient book, indeed it has a voice and tone that sets it apart from all other literature. When you read scripture, there is a powerful message that is being bull-dozed into your soul. It’s a message of God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness. It’s a message of God’s goodness and man’s rebellion. It’s a message of the measures God has done to reconcile us to Him, and it’s a message of the horrific reality that awaits those who refuse Him. This message is so complete, and so unified, we take it for granted. I doubt anyone reading what I just wrote blinked an eye because this is simply the message of scripture through and through. The fact that scripture has this message is something of a miracle in itself.

You see, the Bible is an old book. And not only was it old, it was written across a spectrum of cultures and regions. Some of it is a record of oral tradition that is so exact that it baffles modern scholars. Some of it is a force of unity that it amazes its students.

Here’s what I mean. The Bible was written by about 40 authors over 2000 years. Think about that for a minute. Have you ever heard JFK’s speeches? While they are beautiful, they clearly represent a perspective on life that is different from most of ours today. And yet, that was only 40-50 years ago! Look at the changes in America in the last century—from technology, to morality, to politics, to the family. Our nation has changed. And yet the Bible has an amazingly unchanging message from cover to cover.

And it wasn't just because they were all drinking the same Kool-Aid. Back then, generally is was just the rich who had access to education. Generally just the rich had access to the writing implements to record information. Generally just the rich had access to other copies of literature. Yet the Bible was written by the rich and the poor. It was written by kings and peasants; doctors and fisherman. It was written from Israel, Babylon and even a small island in the Mediterranean Sea. If Americans, can't agree with Americans from 40-50 years ago, how could the Bible be so unified when written over such a span of time and by such a spectrum of people?

And lest you think I’m talking about the obvious stuff—like “God is loving” I’m not. I wouldn’t be very impressed if the only unified thing the Bible could say about God is that He is loving. But there is so much more! There are subtle “rivers” of truth that flow throughout scripture that would be missed if it were not for the complete revelation. For instance, you may not know this but the classic phrase from Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” is nestled into a subtle statement of the doctrine of the Trinity. Genesis 1:2 talks about “God” (the Father). Genesis 1:2 talks about the Spirit. Genesis 1:3 talks about the “Word”—which is another term for Jesus. A few verses later, when God talks about creating people, He says in Genesis 1:26 “Let us make man in our image”—wow, it sounds like God is plural there. However, in the very next verse it says, “God created man in his own image”–now it’s back to singular. Even in these verses we can see the germinal idea of the plurality of the godhead united in one person (sorry for the fancy theological terms there). That’s an amazing and subtle message that is carried through the whole Bible.

I could go on and talk about the unified message the nature of sin and the need for faith instead of works, the coming Messiah, the nature of God’s wrath, the nature of prophecy, etc. These, and countless other themes, are quite astounding in their unity. They present God in a complex array of facets, each complementing and further highlighting the person and nature of God. When you really take the time to look at these, and consider them in light of how the Bible has 40 authors over 2000 years, it’s beyond possible.

No other religious work can say this. The Book of Morman claims to be from God along with the Bible, but its contradictions with the Bible are dizzying. The Quran has so many contradictions, they have a whole system of how to handle them. They solve the problem by saying that whatever was spoken last overrides whatever was said earlier! Wow! [Now, just in case you’re thinking Christians do that with the Old and New Testaments, there is a huge difference. For one thing, the Old Testament has large sections that are about ceremonial law of sacrifices. But the ceremonial law was fulfilled (and therefore finished) in Christ so now we don’t need to follow that specific code anymore. It was legitimately fulfilled and therefore its purpose and presence is complete.] Going on, let's pause to consider Hindu writings. Hinduism has so many "gods" that no one even tries to assemble Hindu teachings into a single source. Their teachings cover so many “gods” that their contradictions end up being something akin to brand loyalties--you choose a god much like choosing Pepsi over Snapple. You like the taste of this god over that one. Again, the Bible is nothing like this.

As we look at the Bible, we begin to develop the clear impression that this book is like none other. Sure lots of books claim to be from God, but none have the precision, form, power, and message of scripture. Indeed, the very theme of the Bible is unlike anything else: God is holy and pure. He created man without sin. Man rebelled against God and has been cast from His presence. God loved man despite this rebellion. God made the way for man to be reconciled to Him: He sent His perfect Son who would give His life as a ransom for their sins. Then God would even give people the faith necessary to believe this message. Finally, God would place His Holy Spirit into His people so that they could then live and walk with Him. It’s an amazing message without parallel in the rest of the world.

And this brings us to our final “proof” that the Bible is the Word of God—it truly changes people’s lives. I once heard a proverb from Winston Churchill that "the world is run by tired men." I don’t know if he really said it, but it makes sense that he would because he was known to function on just four hours of sleep during World War II. The thing is, if we were to take Winston’s words and apply them to every person’s life in every situation, we’d really bungle the whole world. Everyone would be exhausted and things would start falling apart. What was “wise” for one dude, doesn't apply to all men everywhere.

But the Bible is not like that. The Bible (when interpreted and applied correctly) is relevant for every person in every culture in every epoch of humanity. It’s power works in kings and aboriginals. It’s transforming nature cleanses movie stars and skid row bums. As a pastor, I have a front row seat in watching God change people’s lives all the time; it's what keeps me excited about the ministry. I’ve seen first-hand how the clear, simple message can being about the total new birth in a prostitute so that after she followed it’s teachings, she was transformed and was nothing like the person she once was. I knew her before and after and her life is a miracle of the handiwork of God. The Bible changes lives. If you set out to obey each line of scripture, you WILL be different. And that difference won’t come as the result of your own “boot strap” will power, it comes by the power of God, through His Spirit, working in you and through you. It’s truly amazing!

So having said all of this, now we’ve got to make a decision. What are we going to do with all of this? Can we simply walk away? Do we have that luxury? Is that even an option anymore? Indeed it is not. You must decide what you are going to do. At this point, you can either harden your heart to God, or you can surrender your heart to Him and commit—like the psalmist in Psalm 119:4—to obey God’s word diligently.

Lastly, keep in mind that the message of the Bible is clear: We need a savior to reconcile us to God. I've written another blog post article about how we can be saved by God when we surrender to Him.

Also, if you have time, here's my personal story about how God transformed my life. If you come to Him, He will work in your life too.

If you need help, drop me a line. I’d love to help you walk with God through the study of His word.

Thanks and God Bless!

Russ

 

 

 

 

 

 

Touched by a Holy God

Monday, 27 February 2012 10:54 Published in Blog

Touched by A Holy God

In Exodus 29, the Lord gives Moses an intricate process of consecrating the priests and their equipment for use in the tabernacle. Verse 33 contains the non-politically correct teaching that no one except for priests can eat of the sacrifices, because these sacrifices are holy.

Now, on the one hand, we might simply accept this injunction and move on. Or we might think this makes sense and equally dismiss it. But this point begins to take on a special meaning for God’s children. You see, down in verse 37, God also states that anyone or anything that inadvertently touches these holy items become holy as well. Again, we might miss what is really being said here.

The key to two these statements, and their profound implications for our lives as Christians, is that whoever touches a holy, consecrated item is sanctified by that item. This means that it is forever enlisted into the use of God. A holy garment touching holy things must always be used only for God. It has been set apart, it is now defined by God, it can no longer be used for common uses. It is now God’s, and is now surrendered to Him to be used only for His desires and purposes.

If a knife was used in the tabernacle, since it was now holy, it could not be used to carve the Thanksgiving Turkey. If a bowl was used in the tabernacle, it could no longer be used for Fruit Loops. If a shirt was used in the tabernacle, it could no longer be worn to a Jets game.

Now let’s fast-forward to the New Testament and turn to 1 Peter chapter 2. Throughout this chapter, Peter argues that we are living stones being built into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood unto God (1 Peter 2:5). Later in verse 9, Peter states that we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession.

Peter weaves the teaching from Exodus on holiness into our identity as those who have called upon Christ as our Savior. We are now “living stones” in the holy temple of God. We are holy and thus not to be used for common purposes. We are a holy nation—a separate nation, and thus, we are a people “for God’s own possession.” Just like in the Old Testament when something touched the holy altar of God, we have been touched by the Holy One who laid Himself eternally upon the altar. And since we have been touched by Christ, we have been set apart. Our lives are no longer dedicated to the common purposes of everyday life.

And thus, Peter builds upon these ideas and tells us, therefore “as aliens and strangers abstain from fleshly lusts (vs 11)…keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles (vs 12)…submit yourselves to the Lord (vs 13).” His point is that we have been set apart by God for God’s work. We are no longer ourselves. We’re like that bowl used in the temple—once we’ve touched the holy things of God, we can no longer return to our previous lives. Things are different, things have changed. We are now surrendered to God and are bound in service to Him.

So have you been touched by God? Has His loving hand reached into your life and drawn you to Him? If so, consider yourself consecrated unto Him. Consider yourself placed in His temple. Surrender your entire life to Him. Every part must be holy and dedicated to Him. From now on, this will bring you your greatest joy and fulfillment.

If you have yet to surrender to God, realize that this calling is not toilsome drudgery, but rather the fulfillment of your highest purposes in life. Apart from God, we can do nothing that truly lasts or satisfies. God has designed it to be this way. He created us with a “God shaped” hole in our heart that nothing else can fill. But when we come to Him and surrender to Him, and consecrate ourselves to Him, we find the greatest strength, peace and joy we’ll ever know. Jesus Himself said, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be made full (John 15:11).” Life will still have trials, but when we go through them consecrated to God and His purposes, His grace and joy courses through us even in the midst of them.

How do you surrender to God? Understand that first, you have not been surrendered to Him until now. Confess to Him in prayer that you have lived for yourself and your purposes. Recognize that He is holy and that you cannot stand in His presence because of your sin (Habakkuk 1:13; Isaiah 59:2). Recognize that Jesus is God’s holy sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 9:23-28). Call out to Him for forgiveness (1 John 1:9). Romans 10:9 tells us that “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” And with this salvation comes a whole new life (1 Corinthians 5:17), a life now dedicated to God and blessed by God. A new adventure living for Him and doing His will.

Well, these are my thoughts, I’d love to hear yours.

Thanks and God Bless,

Russ

God's Inconvenient Will

Monday, 23 January 2012 11:51 Published in Blog

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,

Russ

Complaining About Ministry?

Saturday, 31 December 2011 10:26 Published in Blog

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.

Holiday Church Sign Messages

Wednesday, 30 November 2011 13:49 Published in Church Resources
Here are some church sign messages for holidays:

Easter/Resurrection Sunday:

IN CHRIST IS NEW LIFE
JOHN 1:4

Thanksgiving:

GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD
FOR HE IS GOOD
PSALM 107:1

Christmas:

SHE WILL BEAR A SON WHO WILL
SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS
MATTHEW 1:21

 

HE WILL BE GREAT AND
HIS KINGDOM WILL HAVE NO END
LUKE 1:32-33

hE WILL BE CALLED MIGHTY GOD,
eTERNAL FATHER, pRINCE OF PEACE
ISAIAH 9:6


THERE HAS BEEN BORN A SAVIOR
WHO IS christ THE LORD
LUKE 2:11

 

New Years:

may you experience
the FULL blessing
of CHRIST IN 2012
romans 15:29

 

MAY GOD’S COUNCIL
GIVE YOU WISDOM IN 2012
PROVERBS 19:20

 

This year, seek GOD’s will
and he will guide your paths
PROVERBS 3:6

 

Nothing
is impossible with God
Luke 1:37

 

Taxes:

Render unto CAESAR
that which is CAESAR’S
matthew 22:21

 

 

 

____________________________________
Want to find a great Christian Quote? Here's an excellent resource! www.gracequotes.org

Revitalizing a Church

Friday, 18 November 2011 12:35 Published in Blog

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.

FIVE LIFE-GIVING FACTORS

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

Things to be thankful for

Tuesday, 01 November 2011 15:26 Published in Verse Lists

For God’s nature:

Psalm 106:1 (NASB95) 1 Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

For Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior:

1 Corinthians 15:57 (NASB95) 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

His provision:

2 Corinthians 9:11 (NASB95) 11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.

For spiritual victory:

2 Corinthians 2:14 (NASB95) 14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ.

For the believers in our lives who have ministered with us:

Philippians 1:3-5 (NASB95) 3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, 5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.

For new believers:

1 Thessalonians 1:2 (NASB95) 2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers;

For the faith displayed in others:

Romans 1:8 (NASB95) 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.

For love exhibited by others:

2 Thessalonians 1:3 (NASB95) 3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater.

The Trinity

Thursday, 22 September 2011 09:54 Published in Verse Lists

Trinity

Isaiah 34:16 (NASB95) 16 Seek from the book of the Lord, and read: Not one of these will be missing; None will lack its mate. For His mouth has commanded, And His Spirit has gathered them.

Judges 13:3 (NASB95) 3 Then the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son….Judges 13:22 (NASB95) 22 So Manoah said to his wife, “We will surely die, for we have seen God.”… Judges 13:25 (NASB95) 25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Isaiah 48:16 (NASB95) 16 “Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.”

John 10:30 (NASB95) 30 “I and the Father are one.”

Matthew 28:19 (NASB95) 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

John 5:18 (NASB95) 18 For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

John 14:9 (NASB95) 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Romans 8:9-10 (NASB95) 9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.

1 Corinthians 6:11 (NASB95) 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Ephesians 5:18-20 (NASB95) 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;

Ephesians 4:4-6 (NASB95) 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

Romans 8:2 (NASB95) 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death…Romans 8:7 (NASB95) 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,

2 Corinthians 13:14 (NASB95) 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

John 14:26 (NASB95) 26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

Romans 1:4 (NASB95) 4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,

ohn 15:26 (NASB95) 26 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,

Luke 1:35 (NASB95) 35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.

Matthew 3:16-17 (NASB95) 16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

Luke 3:22 (NASB95) 22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”

1 Peter 1:2 (NASB95) 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

Acts 10:36-38 (NASB95) 36 “The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)— 37 you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. 38 “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

Acts 5:3-4 (NASB95) 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? 4 “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

1 John 5:6 (NASB95) 6 This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

Hebrews 9:14 (NASB95) 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

1 Timothy 3:16 (NASB95) 16 By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 (NASB95) 13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

Philippians 1:19 (NASB95) 19 for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

Galatians 4:6 (NASB95) 6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

1 Corinthians 6:19 (NASB95) 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

1 Corinthians 2:10 (NASB95) 10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

Romans 8:26-27 (NASB95) 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God

Matthew 3:16-17 (NASB95) 16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

Luke 3:22 (NASB95) 22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”

1 Peter 1:2 (NASB95) 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

Acts 10:36-38 (NASB95) 36 “The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)— 37 you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. 38 “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

Acts 5:3-4 (NASB95) 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? 4 “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

1 John 5:6 (NASB95) 6 This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

Hebrews 9:14 (NASB95) 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

1 Timothy 3:16 (NASB95) 16 By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 (NASB95) 13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

Philippians 1:19 (NASB95) 19 for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

Galatians 4:6 (NASB95) 6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

1 Corinthians 6:19 (NASB95) 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

1 Corinthians 2:10 (NASB95) 10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

Romans 8:26-27 (NASB95) 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Peddling the Word of God

Monday, 12 September 2011 08:57 Published in Verse Lists

2 Corinthians 1:12 (NASB95) — 12 For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.

2 Corinthians 2:17 (NASB95) — 17 For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God. 

2 Corinthians 3:12 (NASB95) — 12 Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech,

(Therefore=context=the conviction that they have the message of God) which then produces boldness of speech. 

2 Corinthians 4:2 (NASB95) — 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 

2 Corinthians 4:5 (NASB95) — 5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. 

2 Corinthians 4:7 (NASB95) — 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;

2 Corinthians 4:13 (NASB95) — 13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore we also speak,

2 Corinthians 4:11 (NASB95) — 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

2 Corinthians 4:15 (NASB95) — 15 For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.




 

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