Our worship of God does not make him more powerful. Neither does it compel him to act. But God is pleased by praise. He loves to act on behalf of his people when his people exult in him and exalt him in worship. Praise is where God lives (Ps. 22:3)! It is his home! That is why when we worship, things happen: the spirits of the discouraged are lifted and refreshed, sick bodies are healed, unsaved souls come to faith, the Spirit's voice is heard, relationships are healed, hope is restored, the Word of God is more readily heard and obeyed, unforgiveness toward others is overcome, bitterness disappears, demons are routed, otherwise stingy people become incredibly generous, and joy inexpressible and full of glory fills the hearts of God's people!
Before I delineate the 10 things all of us should know, let's look at a definition of postmillennialism by one of its advocates, Lorainne Boettner. He describes postmillennialism as,
"that view of the last things which holds that the Kingdom of God is now being extended in the world through the preaching of the Gospel and the saving work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of individuals, that the world eventually is to be Christianized, and that the return of Christ is to occur at the close of a long period of righteousness and peace commonly called the 'Millennium.'
The following brief article was written by my friend Ray Ortlund and posted on his blog on February 28, 2017. I was deeply moved by it and thought it should be made available again to those who may not have seen it.
It is very much in the Devil's interests that we despair. If he can get us to believe any of these three demoralizing lies that he loves to whisper into our thoughts, our powers for Jesus are greatly diminished. And each one seems to us quite plausible.
The psalmist exhorts us to worship "skillfully" (Ps. 33:3). Does this simply mean with technical precision or is there something more involved? I would like to suggest that what the psalmist likely had in mind is similar to what John Piper calls "undistracting excellence." Here is how he defined it:
"We will try to sing . . . and pray and preach in such a way that people's attention will not be diverted from the substance by shoddy ministry nor by excessive finesse, elegance, or refinement. Natural, undistracting excellence will let the truth and beauty of God shine through. We will invest in equipment good enough to be undistracting in transmitting heartfelt truth."
I need to make a confession right up front. I've never smoked marijuana. I've never been drunk with alcohol. In fact, I've never used an illicit drug of any sort. I mention this because I'm quite sure that some will object to what I say in this article by insisting that I have no right to speak about an experience in which I've never personally indulged. I think that's ridiculous. Whether or not I've ever been "high" (and again, no, I haven't), is irrelevant to the question of whether or not Christians should use marijuana for recreational purposes. That being said, let's get started.
Early this morning the Sun passed directly over the equator on its journey towards the Tropic of Cancer. Most of us did not stop to think or be thankful for this particular demonstration of God's care. The reality is that he will be faithful whether he is asked to be or not. Because God is who he is, he can't be anything but faithful to his promise he made to Noah thousands of years ago and to all of his promises.
Is the weather personal? But before you answer that here are some more basic questions. Is your everyday world controlled by a personal God who has a purpose for all that you encounter? Or is life on earth just a matter of random chance? Or is your life governed by impersonal forces that take no account of the moral decisions that you make each day? If you decide for either random chance or an impersonal force then you must conclude that God is silent.
I love church planters. When I moved into church revitalization part of the concern I had in doing so was I might not have a foot into church planting. That would be tough for me. After two successful plants and having worked with literally hundreds of planters, I think it's in my blood. (Interestingly, I learned a few years after my first plant that my mom served on the core of a church plant during her years before marriage. It's truly in my blood.)
It takes an intentional effort to improve as a leader. I think the best leaders expand their influence and leadership potential by continuing to learn and grow in experience. You can read books, follow blogs and Tweets, attend conferences, and hang out with other leaders. These are all good practices to improve as a leader.
I have a theory of pastoring successfully today.
To be a kingdom building pastor you MUST be a community building pastor.
I admit "must" is a strong word - and there are few things I'm emphatic about unless they are Biblical, but I do believe in order for us to reach people today we have to get outside the walls of our church buildings. And, this means we MUST do something intentional to make it happen. The community has to know - and believe - we really do care for them.
GROVE, OK (ANS - March 19, 2017) -- "To all who mourn in Israel he will give: beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness. For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory" -- Isaiah 61:3 (TLB)
CARBONDALE, CO (ANS - March 18, 2017) -- He walked away from the faith of his childhood and became a drug addict and alcoholic amidst the rollicking party scene at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles.
But years later, God's love drew him out of the darkness and he became a drug interventionist and counselor for Pete Carroll's Trojan and Seahawks football teams.
"I grew up with a very good, solid relationship with Christ," says Dirk Eldredge, now the CEO of Jaywalker Lodge, a treatment center in Carbondale, Colorado. "But when I went to college I walked away from God and walked into my disease of addiction."
I love principles. Perhaps this is one reason I spend so much time reading Proverbs. Principles aren't always "guaranteed", but they are often proven by time and experience.
Principles can help us learn from one another. We can benefit from another person's experience.
Here are a few principles of ministry I've experienced:
Just because you can do something better, doesn't mean you did anything wrong. We shouldn't be afraid of critical thinking or observations. Granted, some people are terrible at suggesting ideas. They always come across as being negative. Filter through personalities for nuggets of insight which can help you improve.
For the last 30 years or so, I've attempted to listen to, obey and follow the voice of God. I have never heard it audibly but I have had it for only impressed upon my heart and mind. I have actually been a believer for over 40 years, but I got serious about my faith in my early 20's.
It's been a long road, and I'm still a pilgrim in the process, but I've learned a few things along the way. These are based totally on my personal experience.