C.H. Spurgeon was known as the “Prince of Preachers,” and he once said, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor.”   Someone else said that, “a non-ministering Christian is a contradiction in terms.

God does not call everyone to be a pastor or a preacher; however, He does call each of His children to minister.   While we can minister to the needs of one another inside of the building we call First Christian,  our main area of focus is what lies outside of the doors of the church—this is our mission field.

In John 4:35, Jesus said:  “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!”

To work in the harvest is to embrace the missionary mindset of Jesus.  He said His purpose was to seek and to save the lost.  This task was not reserved for Him alone.  His expectation was and is that we would join Him in this effort:  “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21).

Are you satisfied to just set on a pew row or are you willing to get up and GO with Jesus to the mission field?  Engaging people was the goal and purpose of Jesus’ ministry, and it is His desire for each of us.

Ask yourself some questions:  How am I engaged in the work of Christ?  How does my life compel people to embrace Jesus?

I’ll end this post with a quote from C.S. Lewis:  The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose.

A Slip of the Tongue

oopsAs I was updating the message on the church’s electronic sign to promote the annual Super Bowl of Soup (February 2), I made a minor mistake in my spelling.  Mind you now, some minor mistakes can really have a major impact on the meaning of a message.

My typographical slip of the tongue had the message reading Super Bowel of Soup—not to appetizing is it?

According to Psychology Today, “Slips of the tongue are almost inevitable. For every 1,000 words spoken, we make one or two errors. Considering that the average pace of speech is 150 words a minute, a slip is bound to occur about once every seven minutes of continuous talk. Each day, most of us make somewhere between 7 and 22 verbal slips.”

I remember an incident several years ago that involved Ted Kennedy.  Education was one of the many passions of the now deceased senator.   During the speech, Kennedy said:  “Our national interest ought to be to encourage the breast.”  There was some nervous laughter from the audience, and Kennedy quickly corrected himself—“I mean the “best and brightest.”

I remember Frank Marley, a rock solid individual and man of character, telling me one day: “Don’t take a man for what he says, take him for what he means.”  We need to be careful when we speak, so that are words are appropriately meaning-filled.

In Matthew 12:36, Jesus said:  “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.”  I wonder how a slip of the tongue will be considered?

Silver and Gold

sumerian_idolsI’m reading through the book of Psalms this month.  To accomplish this task, each day I read every 30th Psalm.  As an example, on the 15th, I read Psalms 15, 45, 75, 105, and 135.

When I read my Bible, I follow a thought or theme from one Scripture or book to another one.  One day this week, my journey eventually led me to Psalm 115.  Even though I’ve read this Psalm many times, verses 15-18 really caught my attention this time:

The idols of the nations are made of silver and gold.
They were made by human hands.
16 They have mouths, but they cannot speak.
They have eyes, but they cannot see.
17 They have ears, but they cannot hear.
They cannot breathe.
18 Those who make idols end up like them.
    So does everyone who trusts them

Typically, idols were chiseled from rock or crafted from metal.  Does verse 18 mean that a person’s heart can become as hard as a rock or as cold as a piece of metal?

Perhaps we need to inventory our lives and see which possession, hobby, or habit best defines us, and what it says about our relationship with the Lord.

Just a thought that I thought was worth sharing.

The Old Gray Mare

old-gray-mareMy mom was fussing about some aches and pains, so I started teasing her with an old folk song called the Old Gray Mare.  A repeated line in the song says, the old gray mare ain’t what she used to be.

After I sang a line or two of the song, I came to realize there is some theological significance to those words; and, fortunately, I’m not what I used to be.

There are several places that Paul speaks of this change.

  • Ephesians 2:  But now through Christ Jesus you, who were once far away, have been brought near by the blood of Christ . . . you are no longer foreigners and outsiders but citizens together with God’s people and members of God’s family
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17:  Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence.

The Old Gray Mare has a focus on how the old horse is wearing out and breaking down.  Our focus should be on who we are in Christ.  Paul tells us:  God’s kindness overflows in the lives of many people, and it will produce even more thanksgiving to the glory of God.  That is why we are not discouraged. Though outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are renewed day by day.  Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine.  We don’t look for things that can be seen but for things that can’t be seen. Things that can be seen are only temporary. But things that can’t be seen last forever (2 Corinthians 4).

Let’s endeavor to renew our minds, so we can be renewed day by day.

Cogito Ergo Sum

1855645010_thinking_thoughts_xlargeCogito Ergo Sum is a Latin phrase that means I think therefore I am.  The little mental messages that flash through the mind act as a backseat driver that determines the direction of a person’s life. They either read the map clearly or they act as a dysfunctional detour.

With this being true, a person needs to give some thought to his thinking.   Are you more prone to mindless musings or mindful meditations?  Zig Ziglar was an often quoted motivational speaker who knew the importance of the thoughts we think.  Ziglar encouraged people to perform a “daily check up from the neck up to avoid stinkin ‘thinkin’.”

Ziglar was a Christian, and it’s possible that some of his quotes were Scripture-based.  The words of the Apostle Paul may have provided Ziglar some food for thought:  We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ (2 CorInthians 10:5).

Let me share a couple more Ziglarisms:

  • Remember that failure is an event, not a person.
  • You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.
  • People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.
  • If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.
  • Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, he encouraged them to think about their thoughts:  Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.

Have you given much thought about how you will think in 2014?  Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Think excellent thoughts and not ones of mediocrity
  • Think thoughts that are full of compassion and not misdirected passion
  • Think constructive and not destructive thoughts
  • Think powerful thoughts of faith instead of paralyzing thoughts of fear
  • Think thoughts of reconciliation and not retaliation

Thomas Edison once said that, Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.

Where are you in Edison’s equation and are your thoughts mindless musings or mindful meditations?