Thoughts and Musings

01
Aug

Accepted in the family. Servant to Christ Disciple #1

What is a disciple?  How do I become one?

A mentor asked me, “Do you teach those you disciple who they are in Christ?”

Our discussion covered how hard it seems for many to find rest in Christ and His goodness and live as disciples serving Him and others.  For a moment, I scratched my head and thought about my example and my teaching.  Am I being clear?  Am I being declarative?  Am I being challenging?

A disciple is a follower:

Humor me.  Do you call me pastor?  That would make you a disciple.  A disciple is a follower.  In a kids ministry, one of the workers came to me and said, “Pastor Phil, I prayed over the phone with one of the students this week.  You do that with me.  You just pray while we are on the phone.  You don’t wait to another time.  You just do it.  So I am doing that also.”  She is a disciple.  She is a follower.  Followers receive blessing.  John 1:43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 

Have you faithfully gone out into your world to bring others to meet the rest of the congregation family?

Do you deeply love and serve other members of the congregation?

A disciple is a servant:

Donese brought her family to the church campus.  I quit counting at 110 and know there were 20 more.  The blessing of watching people play volleyball, cook catfish, enjoy fellowship, and fill the parking lot is good.  Watching her run about setting tables, serving food, and checking to make sure all had a good time is good.  She served.  She served her family. She served the church, the congregation.  She served me as pastor. A disciple is a servant.  It was joy to share scripture, a lesson, and prayer with the family. Servants receive blessing. Mark 9:35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

How can you serve the church family and your pastor this week?

How can you serve your home family and friends this week?

A disciple has authority:

While speaking at the mission, people were being healed of physical and emotional diseases.  The speaker was one that attended a Bible school, where I taught.  She took what she saw and learned and gave it out to others.  Her authority came from her submission.  In Christ, she had all authority.  As a submitted disciple, she was placed in a position to reach others and she ministered out of what she learned and saw.  Jesus uses lines of authority to enable and release us. While we all report directly to the King of Kings, He releases authority through submission not pride or arrogance or independence.  Disciples have authority. Luke 10:19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Is there a need where authority would break you free?

Are you submitted and listening to leadership so that authority flows through you freely?

There is more:

This is just a small lesson, but powerful.  Begin to live it and you will find more peace with God.  I’ll be obedient to teach you who you are in Christ in my example and with clarity.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

 

Confess Your Discipleship Position in Christ

I am a follower. I choose to follow the leadership chosen for me and to follow Christ in all I say, do, and think. John 1:43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 

I am a servant. I look for opportunities to serve my family, friends, my church family, and my leaders. Mark 9:35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

I have authority. I am under authority and live with authority in Christ. Luke 10:19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

 

http;//hclive.org/themosaic

 

 

 

 

26
Jul

When Christians Fail

A recent flop in Christianity disturbs me. It should disturb you

A university, under legal pressure, decided to remove ChriStian religious symbols of the cross and Bibles from a campus historic chapel.  That does not disturb me.  

What disturbs me is that the Christian presence is weak enough to be questioned.  No one complained about Bible studies, just dusty books.  No one complained about mass conversions through revival, in fact they use the chapel for many non-Christian meetings. 

Pray for Christ’ life to be so evident on campus that the chapel is a moot point.

The failure of Christians to present a viable, soul winning action plan that puts living Bibles (believers) in and around the building is the angst.  The lack of dedicated servants that will take up their cross and follow Christ as living examples is the pain.

Pray for the congregation you attend and serve to be a challenging presence of Christ in community.  If you don’t attend and serve regularly, then join us at Hope.

This morning a friend called to report a young man came to a Bible study we host on campus at Hope Connection Christian Community Center. He struggles with drugs. He dropped in and received compassion, prayer, and Bible study. May our campus be open every day that anyone can find Christ. We are open on the internet 24/7 and constantly reaching with the gospel of Christ.  Some 2500 video presentations were seen in the last four weeks. 

I pray for you to be effective as a member of Christian community.  These are not days to travel alone.

30
Jun
26
Jun
20
Jun
10
Jun

Balancing the Cart

Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips. Psalm 16:4 NIV

Developing life, business, and community can at times take too much of us.  Our pursuit takes over our thought life and overall sense of well being.  When that happens, our balance is tipped and the joy begins to retreat. Thehi Lord sees that.  He wants us to enjoy balance.

“Faith gives you an inner strength and a sense of balance and perspective in life.” Gregory Peck

Many gods consume attention. Social climbing, physical beauty, happiness, perfect health, good works, education, personal fulfillment, recreation, profit, and religion are a few of these gods. They do not need to be of wood or stone or precious metals. They only need to take our primary attention away from The God.

Every one of these gods mentioned is good. They build us.  They build our lives and the lives of others. Each develops a component of life and society. You need to develop socially, physically, mentally, financially, well being, personally, benevolence, and expression of faith. They only become a god when we worship and serve above our worship and service to The God and His desire. Anything that becomes bigger than Him destroys. Our creative design is upset.  Enjoy all of life starting with the God component only He can fill.

Businesses and organizations become skewed. Over focus on profit and mission disallow balanced lives of colleagues. The corporate man or woman must conform to the corporate look, feel, and religion at unreasonable levels. Eventually, it fails. A certain freedom of personal balance needs support.

Personal lives become skewed. Drive to look good or have the best or promote personal opinion stifles faith, family, and friendship. Love becomes violent. Hurt replaces health. Anger stirs and streams.

Three of the Ten Commandments focus on: 1. God first 2. God honored and respected 3. Keep His days separated to worship and rest. The others speak also to family, finances, friendships, community, and order. The Lord of Creation wants us to be balanced and fulfilled in Him and others and self. He is not hung up on hard living.  He is hung up on us living fully and healthily in spirit, soul, body, mind, will, emotion, wisdom, wellbeing, relationships, and family.

Consider the layout of your week.  Prioritize time in each day and the Lord’s Day to worship Him. Prioritize your relationship with Him. Many distortions can be healed through a simple and top priority friendship with the Creator.

Have a great day. The Lord of All is on your side. He is FOR you.

Phil@shepherdok.com 

08
Jun

Stand and Stare

I say to the Lord , “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” Psalm 16:2 NIV
When I pray, I pray to the Creator of All.  Remember to whom you are speaking. Realizes He is able to do whatever is needed. Acknowledge Him in His greatness. Stand before Him as a child of greatness.

When I pray, I pray to The Great Love. His love is outstanding above  all human expressions of love. Come repentant. Acknowledge gratitude for this love through a changed life. Yearn to be like Him.

When I pray, I pray to The Good God. His goodness challenges me to step up my life. He is good to all. His mercy covers all His creation. Acknowledge love and acceptance for others unlike yourself. All are Hs creation and objects of His goodness and affection.

 Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. Lao Tzu

Struggle through life issues with a confidence and reliance on the Great Lord. He is Lord. He is Master. He is Boss. He is In Charge. He is King. He is not here to do my bidding but for me to express His will and way.

In employment and business relationships I try to remember the parable of the talents. Jesus tells the story of a business operator who assigns assets to be managed by three men. Two are faithful and increase the value. One does nothing. In the end the businessman says to the two, “Enter into the joy of the Master.”

The joy and reward is most defined by the owner of the asset and the most powerful in the transaction. When I recognize that, I open myself to greater reward in negotiation and relationship.

Approach God open. Allow Him to define the terms of reward. Drop preconceived ideas of what you want and understand He only has good to give.

Stand before the Lord, Creator, Great Love, Good God and stare into His power and presence. He will change you and your circumstance.

07
Jun

Morning Moment – Position in Prayer 

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. Ps 16:1

The writer positions in God as he prays. We need that. We need to position to posture and to pose in our our mind and heart as we approach the Living God.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

How do You Stand in Front of the Lord of All?

Position with humility. Recognize He is God and I am nothing. Yet, in my nothing , He makes something. He makes worthy. He makes valuable. He makes able to stand before Him. No longer am I nothing. I deserve nothing and receive by grace everything as a free gift.

Position with gratefulness. Thank Him for all He brings. He brings life and life with abundance. He gives forgiveness and the freedom to walk without bondage of depression and anxiety and defeat.

Position with power. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is on my side and your side. Stand there in His favor. Allow Him a place.

Position with confidence. Confidence builds through conquest. Problems rise and fall. We rise and fall in and through them. Rise more than fall. It is said the average strong business leader fails five times before striking on the right formula to success. Get up and go again. Stand up and sing again. Never stop singing. Never stop standing.

Approach the Lord of All with a calm dependence on Him and a sure readiness to act. Be ready for Him to support and you to work without tiring. Position heart and mind to succeed. Shake off failure and put on confidence. He invests in you. He believes in you. He will not make a bad investment.

04
Jun
28
May

Dad’s Tale on Memorial Day

I remember Dad today.  Early life was full of adversity, violence, and abandonment.  Tough stuff.  He prevailed through separations, unexplainable childhood expriences, and two wars on the ground. He prevailed through illnesses and raising a family. He prevailed with compassion for others who suffer and a spirit of self sacrifice for his family.  Money was never really important to him.  Have enough plus some to share.

WWII and Korea left indelible marks on his soul. He prevailed. His kids received the advantages he never knew. We did not have much but we had enough and a little to spare.  We all worked hard and young and enjoyed learning life.

Dad’s life marked my life and marks the lives of my children. We give freely of our time, talent, and treasure in many different ways. 

I’ve had opportunities to “make money” that would require stepping away from family and community action. People and family always won out over money and prestige.  Serving the heart of my Heavenly Father as best I could made my top list.  Others are called to make the money.  That is a good God calling. We must follow our call. I am called to serve in this path I walk.

Dad taught me that. Follow the call. Whether it be to be a manager or a minister or a millionaire follow the call not the desire or fad of the world.  Be who you are to the best. The world will fade. Dad lives on in the lives of others.

It is about the generations not the moment.