Archive for August, 2011

Has the day of rest become a day of stress?

Gen 2:1-3Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

Ex 20:8-11 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

I find it interesting over these past 11 years that I have been an ordained minister of the Gospel how stressful the Lord’s Day has become.  Think on that for just a moment.  It is supposed to be the Lord’s Day, which says to me I should do things that are pleasing to Him.  When God looked out over all He had created, He saw it all and said “it was very good” and then He gave the land a day of rest.  Why then have “church members” turned the day of rest into a day of stress?

I by no means am a bodybuilder, but I do understand the concept of body building in that you have to let your body rest in order for the workouts to take total effect.  Then shouldn’t we do the same thing?  Just because the world has made it a 7 day work week, does not mean we have to treat Sunday as a “work day”; we should rest in the Lord on that day especially.  The devil goes into high gear on late Saturday night and doesn’t relinquish the pressure until Sunday night.  He will start adding stress to your thoughts and pretty soon you are upset before anything has ever happened just with the idea of “what will happen if such and such does happen.”  Have we ever thought how ridiculous that sounds and is?  I guess you could say Sunday is the one day most everyone puts on their armor, but that is to try and withstand the attacks of their “brothers and sisters” in Christ.

Jesus said that His church would stand and the gates of hell would not prevail.  I believe it is time we reclaim the Lord’s Day and repent and give it back to His rightful owner, God Himself.  Stop worrying about the “what if’s” and the “who is or is not doing something” and simply say “God your will be done in my life” and also “Lord, what would you have me do”.  This world is stressful enough, why bring it into God’s House on His day?

I want to rest in the Lord and with the Lord on His day, don’t you?

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Be Thou My Vision

“Be thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart”.  Interesting words with an incredible clarity.  Everyone wants a clear vision, most expect a “new vision”, because the old one is not good enough.

I don’t know how many times I have been asked in my ministry and even during conferences / seminars “what is my vision”.  The funny thing is I have even been told that vision was / is too vague.  I was even told by one of my teachers it had to encompass more “qualities”.

My vision has been and still is the same as God’s, “…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance2 Peter 3:9.  My vision is the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) under the full obedience of the Great Commandment (Mark 12:30).  One will not do the Great Commission if they do not embrace the Great Commandment

Sometimes we wait for a new revelation from God on what we should be doing or “honing” in on, when to me it is very simple.  Jesus said He would build His church on one thing; the confession of believers just like Peter made in Matt 16:16 “…Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus went on to say that the carnal man does not understand this, but it is the spirit inside of man listening to the Spirit of God when it is revealed to him and he believes “…for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”  Matt 16:17.

So my vision is the same as Jesus’.  For the Spirit of God to infiltrate the heart of man as the people of God proclaim the Great Commission because they believe and obey the Great Commandment.

Nothing new, nothing fancy, very simple.  Imagine, EACH ONE REACHING ONE in obedience to the Word of God.  That is my vision oh Lord of my heart!

A Baptist and the latest Article?

I subscribe to churchleaders.com which means that every morning in my email I get a few articles on “leading the church”.  I must say that if I was to truly try and follow all the “advice” given by the “experts” I would be like a dog chasing his tail and if I ever caught it I wouldn’t know what to do with it.  I just finished reading one by someone identified as a “clarity evangelist”, yes I typed it correctly, a clarity evangelist.  Shouldn’t we all have that title since the Word of God tells us all to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim 4:5).  I would hope the word of God is clear to us all that we are to evangelize.

Other the past few weeks here are few of just the headlines of articles I as a leader siphoned through:

  • 6 Vehicles for Church Vision: How Many Are You Using?
  • How Can Churches Make the Most Out of Google Plus?
  • 3 Ways to Respond to “Churches Only Want Money”
  • 4 Ways You Can Lead Like Jesus
  • Team Leadership: Are You Doing It All Wrong?
  • 2 Signs Your Church Embraces the Vision
  • The New Normal of Preaching
  • The Problem with Deeper Teaching
  • 7 God-Directed Deviations in Disciple-Making
  • Are Volunteers Worth the Hassle?
  • Removing the U from Failure
  • Should Your Church Create a Social Media Policy?
  • 9 Steps to Unleash Greatness in Others
  • When Teaching Creates a Barrier to Change

I think you get my point.  Sometimes I think we as Baptists have gotten to the point of waiting on the “next article” from our appointed leaders in the denomination that we forget the Word of God and how God has already taught us to lead.  In this day and age of “social media” we are simply addicted to the next “tweet” so that we can “tweet” something even cleverer than that person so we might even get it “re’tweeted”.  Don’t get me wrong, I like twitter; I get some great words from some great men of God and even some great laughs throughout the day.

What would happen if we took a sabbatical from all this for a while and simply got back to the basics of “Thus saith the Lord” and not responding to everything the world wants to throw at us.

What if we simply went back to being, as Dr Jerry Vines greatly preached to bring our convention back to conservatism, “A Baptist and his Bible”.  My guess is God would be pleased because we would be following the guidelines and blueprints on leadership in this world according to Him.  Now there is a sermon every leader should read.