Read 2 Timothy 1:13-2:13
You have everything you need to face the future, if you would hold on tightly to the Lord’s Resources.
Believers in Timothy’s church had lost their focus on Christ. Paul knew that concentrating on Christ and ignoring personal annoyances would help Timothy’s problems. Christians, even those enduring suffering, must focus on Jesus the Savior and avoid being distracted by worldly problems.
In the shop of a blacksmith, there are three types of tools.
There are tools on the junkpile; out-dated, broken, dull, rusty….
There are tools on the anvil: melted down, molten hot, moldable, changeable….
There are tools of usefulness: sharpened, primed, defined, mobile. They lie ready in the blacksmith’s toolchest, available to their master, fulfilling their calling….
We are all somewhere in the blacksmith’s shop. We are either on the scrap pile, on the anvil, in the Master’s hands, or in the toolchest. (Some of have been in all three.)….
I’m sure that somewhere you’ll see yourself….
The rubbish pile of broken tools, the anvil of recasting, the hands of the Master – it’s a simultaneously joyful and painful voyage.
And for you who make the journey – who leave the heap and enter the fire, dare to be pounded on God’s anvil, and doggedly seek to discover your own purpose – take courage, for you await the privilege of being called ‘God’s chosen instruments.”
(From On the Anvil by Max Lucado)
Is your walk with the Lord obscured by day-to-day annoyances? Remember the priority of your relationship with the Lord and get back on track through prayer, Bible study, and worship.
May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me…. – II Timothy 1:16
We all have special gifts from God, gifts He’s given us to use for the good of the entire body of Christ. When we don’t use them, the body suffers. Today, you should make a commitment to use your gifts to serve God and others.
Lord, help me to use the gifts You have given me, to bring glory to you.
Who is the foundation of your faith?
How can you build on that foundation?
What gifts has the Holy Spirit given you?
use the gifts you have already been given. This means trusting completely in Christ and his power. he will give you strength to do his work.
If the church were to consistently follow this advice, it would expand geometrically as well-taught believers would teach others and commission them in turn, to teach still others. Disciples need to be equipped to pass on their faith, our work is not done until new believers are able to make disciples of others.
Like soldiers, we have to give up worldly security and endure rigorous discipline. Like athletes, we mus train hard and follow the rules. Like farmers, we must work extremely hard and be patient. But we keep going despite suffering because of the thought of victory, the vision of winning and the hope of harvest.
We will see that our suffering is worthwhile when we achieve our goals of glorifying God, winning people to Christ, and one day living eternally with him.
God speaks through the Bible, his Word, but we need to be open and receptive to him. As you read the Bible, ask God to show you timeless truths and the application to your life. Then consider what you have read by thinking it through and meditating on it. God will give you understanding.
The Gospel of John
The Gospel of John is the most unusual and perhaps the most valuable member of the quartet of canonical Gospels. The Gospel is strongly theological, and it deals particularly with the nature of Jesus’ person and with the meaning of faith in him.
Traditionally it was written by John the son of Zebedee, the last surviving member of the apostolic band, while he was spending the declining years of his life at Ephesus.
He was an eyewitness of the events he recorded. Both in 1:14, “we beheld his glory…” and in 19:35, where he spoke in the third person, “he that hath seen hath borne witness, he claims to be stating what had been part of his personal experience.
The epilogue of this Gospel hints that he lived for a long time after the beginning of the Christian era, for an explanation of his long life would scarcely have been necessary otherwise. The epistles show that he rose to a position of influence in the church and that he became a powerful expositor of the love of God as revealed in Christ. His death probably took place at the close of the first century.
Intense in nature, he gave to Christ an undivided loyalty that at times expressed itself crudely and rashly. As Christ tamed his ardor and purified it of unrestrained violence, John became the apostle of love whose devotion was not excelled by that of any other writer of the New Testament. John is an example of a man who could have been a great sinner, but out of whom Christ made a great witness.
Date and Place
The date of the Fourth Gospel has been variously estimated from A.D. 40 to 140, or even later.
The key to the content of the Gospel of John is the author’s own statement in John 20:30-31.
“Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing ye may have life in his name.”
These three words, signs, belief, life, provide logical organization for the Gospel. In the signs is the revelation of God; in belief is the reaction that they are designed to produce; in life is the result that belief brings.
The Prologue (1:1-18) begins by using the term WORD to introduce the person of Christ. This term differs from those used in the other Gospels, for it does not connote any particular religious background, Christ is Jewish; Lord is Gentile; Jesus is human; but Word or Logos is philosophical. John thus makes the subject of his Gospel a universal figure, the incarnation of the Eternal Reason who is God, who came from God, and who reveals God as a son reveals a father.
John stresses the personal relation of Jesus to man.
Guidelines for calling one
Stating the reason for the meeting (on an agenda form, post card, or at least in a call to the participants).
Setting the standard (by arriving on time and coming prepared).
Develop an awareness of group dynamics (and seeking to make everyone comfortable and feel a part).
Arranging for a written report of the transactions for the record (whether formal minutes, an interaction Memo or simply a set of notes in a notebook).
What are the needs, interests and expectations of the participants?
What is the agreed upon purpose of the meeting? (to train, inform, plan, decide, etc.).
What materials are needed to facilitate the meeting? (and who will handle them? agenda, handouts, visual aids, etc.).
Are additional resource people needed? (who, who will contact them?)
What activities can best be used to achieve the stated goal? (brain-storming, survey, discussion, buzz sessions, etc.)
Is there enough time before hand for everyone to prepare adequately?
How much time will be needed to deal with the issues? (agenda should be planned with consideration for this).
What commitment do you seek and from whom?
Where could the meeting most effectively take place?
Who will be responsible for room arrangements, refreshments, clean up? (secure commitment).
Plan meetings in relation to objectives.
Plan meeting in relation to what members expect.
Define and clarify goals during the meeting.
Appraise progress mid-stream.
Create new assignments as needs arise.
Divide assignments and responsibilities.
Discuss problems openly.
Face tension frankly.
Set a climate of free expression.
1. Provide an orientation session for your members
a. Allow time for getting to know one another
b. Discuss your purpose and policies.
c. Clarify goals and agree upon objectives.
2. Mail out a prepared agenda in advance of your meeting
a. allow time for unfinished business
b. list reports and who is responsible
c. schedule time with flexibility
d. consider the order of the agenda.
3. During meeting
a. Arrive early
b. Begin on time
c. Keep the meeting moving and be sensitive to the needs of the group
d. Keep the discussion on track and clarify frequently
e. Motions should state:
what is to be done
at what cost
4. Set meeting dates well in advance
Role of Recorder
Record and produce the Minutes
Write down basic ideas on board/sheets
Make notes of Action Items and persons responsible
At the beginning identify the group, kinds of meeting, date, time and place
Identify chairman and recorder
List those in attendance and state whether quorum was present.
Acknowledge the acceptance of previous minuets
Record/attach financial report
Note points of discussion when at least 2 members request it.
Cite key points of committee reports
Cite vote counts and vote items
Give time of adjournment
How to handle problems
a. Make sure extra seating is closest to door
Always start on time-fewer people will be late
2. Committee Reports
Allow just 2 minutes for reports
3. Lengthy Speakers
State up front the time assigned
Notify speaker when there are 5 min. left
Sit near speaker, so you can tactfully cut him off.
4. Difficult meeting area
Visit the site in advance, speak directly with those in charge
request a floor plan and map out your needs.
commit one member to arrangements
have at least a mental walk through
Principle: God expects you to live a godly life while you minister.
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:12)
Up to this point, we’ve looked primarily at ministry as an activity that a Christian is called to perform. But any discussion of the Biblical foundations of ministry would be incomplete if we didn’t take into account THE PERSON you are while you minister. God cares very much about the activity that occupies your talents, abilities, and skills. He cares about what you do through integrating your expression, provision, and mission into purposeful activity. But ultimately, God is concerned about the person you are and the person you’ll become through your work. Who you are and the person you’ll become through your ministry Who you are as a Christian should be reflected in at least four personal characteristics of your ministry:
A commitment to get the job done
A dedication to excellence
A desire to follow Jesus Christ
A readiness to share Him with others.
In a word, these qualities combine to make up your “integrity.” Integrity is the respect you are able to earn from others who see that there’s something that seems to distinguish you from other people. After all, shouldn’t there be an obvious difference between the Christian who claims to serve the Lord of the universe, and the worker who simply wants to get by, get done, and go home-before it gets too late?
How do you describe that difference, that measure of integrity that distinguishes Christians not only by WHAT they produce but by WHO they are in their ministry? Let’s find out.
What Do Others See in You?
In his book, Pagans and Christians in an Age of Anxiety, E. R. Dodds makes a striking discovery. He concludes that Christians flourished in the first century because they out-thought, out-lived, and out-died their pagan counterparts.
Integrity in Ministry
The best argument for Christianity is Christians; their joy, their certainty, their completeness. But the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians-when they are somber and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths. Sheldon Vanauken
From God’s perspective, faithful Christians are those men and women who exhibit their work and themselves in a way that makes others want to know, “What’s different about you?” When others observe you at work, what are they going to see? Will they notice what Paul calls, “The acts of the sinful nature: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like?” (Galatians 5:19-21). Or will people look at you and see that “the fruit of the Spirit and see that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”? (Galatians 5:22). Whether you’re called into a Christian or a secular work environment, your integrity as a worker and as a Christian will either stand or fall on the quality of life you exhibit. Integrity, how you are respected by others, is the pivot point that can turn your Christian faith into an opportunity that either honors God or embarrasses Him.
Exhibiting Your Integrity
1. You exhibit integrity through your ministry by getting the job done.
2. You exhibit your integrity at ministry by doing excellent work.
Doing a job is one thing. Doing it with a commitment to excellence is quite another. And it’s this commitment to quality that should be the hallmark of a Christian’s work. Paul reminds us that a Christian’s ministry. Paul reminds us that a Christian’s commitment to excellence reflects his integrity through his relationship with God. To the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “… whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Should it be any other way? How can slipshod work glorify an excellent God?
When a person decides to live for God, it seems only natural to want to minister to reflect the excellence of the Creator and Lord. That’s why, if you choose to see your career from God’s perspective, you’ll want to produce the highest quality of work you know how.
3. You exhibit integrity in the quality of life you lead at ministry.
This is integrity that is lived out through the relationships you have with others. The Apostle Peter will never step into your ministry setting, but he knows exactly what it means for you to be a Christian who displays integrity to all around you: “live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:12)
Can you see how a Christian’s integrity is able to take shape in the ministry world? It starts as you commit to do your ministry. It grows as others see the excellence you put into your work. And a Christian’s integrity really begins to shine when others see that WHAT you do is really a reflection of WHO you are. Your integrity becomes not only a trademark of your work, but also a hallmark of your very life.
Live the Life
Your walk talks, and your talk walks, but your walk talks faster than your talk walks.
4. You exhibit integrity at work in communicating your faith to others.
This principle is described in 1 Peter 3:15: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” The ideal way to share your faith is to earn the right to be heard, and then to respond to the questions others ask about your life and faith.
Integrity: What Do YOU Think?
How does integrity fit into your ministry life? Look at the following questions and write down your responses to each before going on.
In what ways are today’s Christians “out-thinking, out-living, and out-dying” unbelievers in our generation? In what ways does this phrase describe you in your ministry?
Can you think of any Christians who live an exceptional life in their ministry? What characterizes their behavior? Their ministry?
How does a Christian “earn the right to be heard?” In what ways are you earning the right to be heard in your workplace?
“Your walk talks and your talk walks, but your walk talks faster than your talk walks.” How does this saying relate to the Biblical Ministry Principle of integrity as explained in this section?
Set an “action goal” to help you apply the principle of integrity. Make it measurable and specific. Example: “Since my hot temper is my trademark at ministry, I’m going to make a long-needed appointment with a Christian counselor and begin resolving this problem that’s obviously a hindrance to my Christian testimony.”
Identifying the NeedBarna’s research found that most pastors do not view themselves as being called or gifted as leaders. His recent national survey of pastors revealed that less than one-quarter of them believe they are leaders; most say they have been gifted to teach and preach. That self-image affects the tasks pastors embrace and the energy they devote to leading the church.
The study also discovered that only one out of every ten churches has viable teams leading the church’s ministry. Although one might assume that a pastor who is a leader would be more likely to rely upon leadership teams than would pastors who are not leaders, the opposite is true. Pastors who are leaders are somewhat less likely to use team leadership than are other pastors, striving to provide all of the leadership by themselves or appointing other individuals with leadership capacity to supplement their own efforts.
The value of leadership teams was demonstrated in a variety of churches studied by Barna that rely upon teams rather than gifted individuals working alone. Among the benefits of using lay teams are reduced dependence upon the pastor; elimination of the need for leaders to be broadly skilled superheroes; diminished stress experienced by leaders; and heightened synergy. Barna also noted that teams provide a means of reducing leader burnout, which is a substantial problem in most churches.
Why Teams Work WellChurches that use lay leadership teams are more likely to experience a broader base of changed lives as a result of the church’s ministry, according to Barna. “The bottom line in ministry is whether people accept Jesus Christ as their savior, and how devoted they are to becoming more Christ-like. Lay leadership teams facilitate such commitments and the resulting life change because the church becomes more ministry-minded but less dependent upon the pastor, it releases a greater wealth of gifts and talents through the lay leaders God brought to the church, and the church’s ministry vision becomes more central to the daily operations of the ministry.”
The ideal scenario, according to Barna, is when the leadership team combines four different types of leaders: a visionary motivator, a strategic decision-maker, a team-builder who mobilizes people around vision and tasks, and one who oversees the operational aspects of the team’s work. Working as a close-knit unit, such a partnership maximizes individual capabilities while compensating for individual weaknesses.
Making the change to a team-based ministry is not simple. “It may take two or three years to complete the transition from solo-based leadership to team-based lay-driven leadership,” explained Barna. “The church’s culture must change, people must understand and own the change, key leaders have to model the practice, and the implementation has to be carefully constructed to facilitate effectiveness. The church must have a well-conceived strategic plan for making that transition – and the patience to allow the plan to work. I found that internal politics, the fear of change, congregational impatience, and pastoral resistance have undermined the process in many churches. Those ministries that gave completed the transition, however, have been transformed by the shift in leadership. In some cases it has truly saved the ministry of the Senior Pastor who, not being a leader, was constantly frustrated by the demands of leading a church, but who was freed to support church leaders through teaching and preaching once leadership teams were in place.”
During the crucial battle of Gettysburg, General Lee ordered General Longstreet to move his forces forward. For some inexplicable reason, Longstreet delayed. For many precious hours when the Confederate forces might have gained a victory, Longstreet held his forces in check. When Lee finally prevailed upon his reluctant general to proceed, it was too late. The Union troops were now prepared to repel the Confederate attack, and they won the decisive battle of the war. Lee had every right to castigate Longstreet for his insubordination. But he did not. Lee took full responsibility for the defeat. Lee knew that, despite his deficiencies, Longstreet was the best general he had available and that to alienate or lose him at this juncture of the war could be devastating. More importantly, Lee understood that, as the leader, he must always bear responsibility for the performance of his troops even when his subordinates disobeyed his orders.
Lord grant that I might always and everywhere share the blessed secret of your love with everyone I meet. Make me a true disciple of yours, spreading your love and gospel throughout my world. Amen.
Explain your lifeline with it’s up’s and down’s, highlights and disappointments, from the time you can remember to the present.
Write three things about yourself.