Tuesday, July 31, 2012

MOVING FORWARD


A WISE OLD WAG ONCE REMARKED, God’s army is the only army that moves forward on its knees. Of course he was speaking of the position of prayer we take before God’s throne of grace.
     Ephesians chapter six also reminds us that the well-equipped army of the LORD wears armor consisting of the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the Gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. (Ephesians 6:10-20) Along with this all-important armor the Apostle Paul calls for the prayers of the saints be made on his behalf so that he can speak the Word of God with powerful effectiveness.
     As Christians, those who have chosen to follow Jesus, the Messiah as our Lord and Savior, we are part of this mighty army of the LORD. And to the extent that we wear the armor well and moved forward in constant God-seeking prayer is the extent to which we shall find victory in the battles that wage around us. These are not the battles of politics or those of the social arena, as real as they may be, but the battles that rage in the heavenly realms over the souls of men and women, boys and girls. (Ephesians 6:12)
     As a local church God has continued to bless us richly. We have been blessed with a legacy of godly men and women who have faithfully prayed and faithfully taught the Word of God. God has blessed us with facilities that have literally been used by thousands throughout our 50+ years, and God has blessed us with the finances that have allowed us to ministry around the world through supporting God’s work both near and far. Our task is to continue in that legacy until the Lord calls us home or steps back into history to fully and finally establish His Kingdom. Until that day we move forward, on our knees and ready for battle.
     One of the greatest blessing God has allowed us to be part of over the past 35 years is the ministry to the children in our community through AWANA and through our summer Vacation Bible School program. I don’t know how many boys and girls have made decisions to follow Jesus through those programs, but I am sure it is in the thousands!
     With this in mind, I, along with our AWANA Commander, are seeking a select group of men and women to serve in the front-lines of our AWANA ministry by joining a team of thoroughly trained Prayer Warriors. We are seeking individuals that will covenant with us before God to uphold the ministry of AWANA through the 2012-2013 school year. We are looking for those who will take time to pray not only for AWANA, the staff and the children, consistently throughout the year, but we are looking for some who will spend time every Tuesday night that AWANA is in session.
     For those who rise up and say I will serve on the front-lines, we promise to do our part to keep you informed of the prayer needs and the events of the evening so that you can pray with insight. In fact, if some of you are able to be here on a Tuesday night we will have a special room where you can pray “on-site with in-sight.” But even you cannot be here, wherever you are you can lift your requests before the throne and help us, by the Holy Spirit’s power to reach the lives of this children of our community for Christ and His Kingdom and glory!
     The battle is real! But we must remember, the battle is not ours, but it belongs to the LORD (2 Chronicles 20:15) It is the LORD who grants the victory, and as we move forward in prayer, wearing the armor of the LORD, who shall stand against us? As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans,
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 Just as it is written, "FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED."
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39)
     Come and join us as together we seek to win boys and girls, and through them whole families to the Lord!    Will you not join us in this battle and help us move forward for the Lord?
     If you are interested send email to our church office (churchoffice@feltonbiblechurch.org) or give us a call here at 831.335.3418 and will get you equipped with what you will need to pray forth a powerful victory and a great harvest!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

MASTER OF DIVINITY? REALLY?

Saint Mark - Brancoveanu Monastery
Saint Mark - Brancoveanu Monastery (Photo credit: Fergal of Claddagh)
Master of Divinity -- Really? We pastors are supposed to go to school, gain a strong Biblically-grounded theology. We are exit grad school with an MDiv (Master of Divinity), or so we're supposed to. But really, can I lay claim to that title?

Sure I can parse a few Greek verbs. I can exegete a passage of Scripture. I may be even be able to preach a understandable sermon, or offer effective organizational leadership. I may even maintain a good bed-side manner and bring pastoral care to those who are shut-in, or in the hospital or are grieving over the death of loved-one. But, consider myself a Master of Divinity? Hardly!

Consider, dear reader, (and I might lose my Ministerial Certificate of Ordination over this.) I still walk in the flesh from time to time (Hardly divine). I have been known to get my exposition of Scripture wrong once in a while (or so I have been told by that dear saint with the veins popping out of his neck!) There have been times I wished I was the Pope so I could excommunicate a certain attendee at our annual meeting. And yes, there have been times when I did not feel like visiting a new attendee, and truth be told, I sometimes wonder why the "good die young?"

For more than thirty-five years I have carried the mantle of the pastor. I have planted a church, officiated weddings, funerals, baptisms, baby-dedications (even baptized an infant, not immersion of course, which is usually not done in my denomination.) Without trying to sound proud, I think I have done it all, seen it all, and not surprised by much, but to say that I am a Master of Divinity, hardly. Truth be known, I don't consider myself a master of anything.

Now, please hear me out (or read me out, because you're most likely not hearing this blog), I am not saying we should throw the proverbial baby out with the proverbial bathwater, nor should we throw caution to the wind. What I am saying (writing) is that we all need to take a step back, and give a sober look at the titles we confer and receive. I mean, as I see it, there was only One who was/is Divine, and it is in His footsteps I must tread, it is to His Image I am called to conform. He is the Master of Divinity. My call is to trust and obey as a faithful follower.
Well, I'd better stop. I am sure the letter requested the return of of Certificate of Ordination is being sent out in today's mail, and then I'll have to change the title of my blog-site. I wonder what I'll call it? Any ideas?
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