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October 28, 2010

Understanding My Calling


I am currently taking a Spiritual Formation Capstone class at seminary and I have an assignment to write what I believe God has called me to in ministry.

This assignment involves sharing what our calling is with a few classmates, to discuss the calling as well as any other matters that may either enhance or hinder our progress toward fulfilling God's call to ministry.

What follows next is what I have briefly written for this assignment.

As a result of seeking God, at this point in my life I understand my calling is to serve God in a pastoral/evangelistic role of ministry for His church.

A brief explanation of my calling is that I would serve as a shepherd of the church, preaching and teaching the Scripture in a systematic, expository manner on a weekly basis.

The benefit of this will primarily keep myself as the pastor and the congregation, submitted to the authority of Scripture as it is studied and proclaimed on a daily/weekly basis.

October 22, 2010

My First Youth Ministry Sermon

Back in June, I was looking forward to a great opportunity to preach at a youth service at First Assembly of God in Brookfield, CT, but that didn't happen. 

The reason I didn't preach that night in June is because my wife had coordinated with my Pastor, Phil Morgan and the Youth Pastor, Sean Cooper, to throw a surprise birthday party for my 40th.

Needless to say, my wife was successful and she totally had me surprised and everyone that was involved did a great job helping pull it off too.

Fortunately, a second opportunity was given to me, to preach and this time there were no surprises in store. 

October 20, 2010

Happy to be a Slave for Christ

A friend of mine and I started a reading group on Facebook where we commit to reading a New Testament letter consistently for 30 days.

John MacArthur recommends this for anyone that wants to develop a stronger recall of Scripture and as other letters/books are read in the same manner, you will begin to see connections between passages also, i.e., the Gospel of John and 1, 2, 3 John.

In the discussion thread of the group, I shared that the New King James Version uses the word bondservant in James 1:1, to describe his relationship to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I briefly shared my thoughts there and post them here.

This word in Greek is δοῦλος / doulos (doo'-los), which means a slave, either literally or figuratively; frequently therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subserviency.

James lived in complete slavery to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and made himself a servant to the Gospel. He wasn't captured physically and thrown into slavery. No, he was bound to serve God as a slave because of Christ's death on the cross.

October 16, 2010

In Christ Alone

"We must never admit any other thing or person into our heart’s confidence as our hope of salvation, but rest alone in Jesus as we received him at the first. His divinity, his manhood, his life, his death, his resurrection, his glory at the right hand of the Father--in a word, Jesus himself must be our heart’s sole reliance. This is absolutely essential. A temporary faith will not save: a continuing faith is needed."  Charles Spurgeon



October 11, 2010

Is the Doctrine of a Crucified Jesus Preached Today?

“Let us never doubt for a moment, that the preaching of Christ crucified – the old story of His blood, righteousness, and substitution – is enough for all the spiritual necessities of all mankind. It is not worn out. It is not obsolete. It has not lost its power. We need nothing new – nothing more broad and kind – nothing more intellectual – nothing more effectual. We need nothing but the true bread of life, distributed faithfully among starving souls. Let men sneer or ridicule as they will. Nothing else can do good in this sinful world. No other teaching can fill hungry consciences, and give them peace. We are all in a wilderness. We must feed on Christ crucified, and the atonement made by His death, or we shall die in our sins.” John C. Ryle

This quote from John C. Ryle regarding the power that is in preaching the cross that Jesus died upon, as John the Baptist said, takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

The preaching of the cross has become foolishness, not only to those that are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18), but has also become foolish to some pastors too, for the sake of not offending people, or to minimize Christ's suffering and death by completely escaping it, just to get people to pray some sort of prayer, to accept Christ into their lives without fully comprehending their violation of God's commandments and the eternal peril that it places them in.

No friends, the cross upon which Jesus Christ died is the single act of God that makes the difference for every person and their life here on earth as well as their eternal life after death.

The cross exonerates a person from God's judgment upon them, where it relieves them from any obligation, duty, or task of self-redemption, which fails to satisfy God.

October 7, 2010

Breathe on Me, Breath of God

One of my classes this semester is Worship Arts & Discipline and one of the books we have to read this semester is titled, The Divine Hours - Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

I am not one to follow a liturgical set of prayers on a daily basis, but I am enjoying drawing closer to God through the practice of the daily office prayers, in the morning (Morning Office), midday (Midday Office) and evening (Vespers Office).

I don't know how much I'll continue with the practice of the Daily Offices after the semester, but I have been enjoying this brief time of reading and prayer.

Even though this post is the day after what I read, last night's reading included a hymn, Breathe on Me, Breath of God and was written by Edwin Hatch (1835-1889), which I found to be a great blessing and the first time I've ever read of this hymn by Edwin Hatch too.

October 2, 2010

From My Heart

"It is written, 'My House is the house of prayer, but you have made it a den of robbers'" (Luke 19:46).

The week preceding Jesus' crucifixion is one of the busiest recorded in Scripture. The reason would seem to be that Jesus knew His time was drawing near. For this reason, everything He did was for a purpose-from the riding on the donkey to the cursing of the fig tree; from the breaking of the bread to the cleansing of the temple.

The Temple of Jerusalem was a major attraction for visitors. The temple was also, unfortunately, a major place of business. The merchants sanctioned by the temple abused their business privileges. They also used special temple currency which was exchanged at unfair rates. However, this was only a small part of what upset Jesus.

The temple was divided into several courtyards. The outermost courtyard was the one designated for the Gentiles. They could not go any further into the temple, so that was their place for prayer.

Here there was buying and selling, hordes of people talking, and animals all over the place, which made it hard to focus on fellowship with their heavenly Father. Not only that, but God was being robbed, too.

Today we face a similar problem in our churches. They have become social centers where we come to catch up on the latest gossip or to be seen by the masses. And when we casually approach worship, we hinder someone else in the process. They are hurt by our gossip or they can't focus on God because of our distraction.

Now let's take it the next step toward personal application. Is my body the "temple of the Holy Spirit?" Everything I do with my body, I do it to God's temple. Am I robbing Him or is my body truly a house of prayer?

Dear Jesus, Come examine your temple and cleanse me of all that distracts me from You. Amen.


This was taken from the Topic Notes section of the e-Sword software.



Reference

Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computer software].