They Gave Their Mirrors

4 10 2017

I’ve been reading through the Book of Exodus and this morning in my quiet time I came across a verse that had subtle reference:  Exodus 38:8 (ESV) 8  He made the basin of bronze and its stand of bronze, from the mirrors of the ministering women who ministered in the entrance of the tent of meeting.   As they were making the basin of bronze for the 1277118_origtabernacle, the material they used came from the mirrors from the ladies who helped serve at the tent of meting.  We don’t know exactly what these ladies did but we know their history.  Most of their lives had been spent serving their mistresses in Egypt.  Most of their lives had been spent living as a slave.

When you take a moment and just think where these mirrors must have come from this story takes on new meaning.  These ladies in Egypt more than likely never owned a mirror.  The mirrors that they knew were owned by their masters who enslaved them.  Each day would be spent using those mirrors to make beautiful their owners.  Never did they have something of their own until Moses began to lead them out of captivity.  Their final night was spent receiving gifts from their masters.  That night the LORD helped loot Egypt.  Part of that loot came in the form of mirrors given to these ladies.

Getting ready to leave Egypt finally after many years of captivity, these mirrors would have been a prized possession to them.  I could just imagine them packing them up with care.  All their lives they have viewed these mirrors but somebody else owned them.  Somebody else got to behold their beauty each day in them.  Now finally they have a mirror of their very own.  They must take special care of them lest they be damaged on the journey.

I could imagine the excitement of these ladies entering into their tents when Moses called for a freewill offering of material to build the tabernacle and its furnishings.  I could just see them entering in thinking about what they could give.  They could give their mirror.  No doubt these mirrors represented something that they prized.  They had never owned one.  They loved being able to look into these mirrors and seeing their personal beauty but the beauty of the tabernacle meant more to them.  God’s glory meant more to them.  So they gave.  They gave their mirrors.

The LORD thought enough of their gifts that the Word of God mentions this.  God knew what these gifts meant to the ladies who brought them.  He knew and He recorded it in His Word to be read for generations to come.

What do I have to give God this morning?  What is my mirror?  That is what I searching my heart for this morning.

 

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Review of No Silver Bullets: 5 Small Shifts That Will Transform Your Ministry by Daniel Im

20 09 2017

It is official; I’m officially on a diet.  Wait, that is not the right terminology.  Rather, I’m changing my lifestyle.  This is not the first time that I have attempted this.  I’ve lost and gained back a first grader at least twice.  My Facebook feed is constantly filled with people who have the secret shake, pill, or wrap that will take off the pounds but most

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experts agree that it takes hard work and change to truly make this happen.  I need more than just a super pill or drink; I need subtle but necessary changes.

That is the premise of Daniel Im in his newest book No Silver Bullets: 5 Small Shifts That Will Transform Your Ministry released by B&H Publish Group, a book I highly recommend to the pastor and leader who wants to see his church make a vital impact on the Kingdom of God.  Instead of looking for a quick one size fits all approach to ministry, Daniel challenges the reader to rather consider making small shifts that will in time lead to great change and fruitfulness in your ministry.  I must admit this book made me think about how we do ministry at the church that I pastor.  I found myself validated in a few areas but in need of reevaluation in others.

Daniel serves as the director of Church Multiplication for NewChurches.com and Lifeway Christian resources.  His position and his past experience has allowed him to bring us a book packed full of research and practical recommendations.  Having access to the Lifeway research department has allowed him to have access to the data that really makes his writing full of time tested truth.  This book is not something that you will lay down to never visit again.  The self assessments and audits make it a tool for future use with your leadership team.  I have read books that discussed to great length vision, strategy, and values.  Daniel explained each of these in simple terms but also gave you these great audits to look at with your leadership team.  The questions were simple but reveal the missing pieces in these areas.

You could tell that the author has been thinking about this for sometime, even back to the days of when he was serving the local church before serving at Lifeway.  Several times as he explained how he had implemented these shifts, I found myself thinking that I was going to be a thief and use his successful approach.

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Probably my favorite part of the book is the treasure trove of quotes.  I found myself highlighting, not only Daniel’s work, but also all of the various authors that he has pulled into his work.  This will cause me to pull this book down time and time again.

If you are looking for a very practical work that could make a huge difference in your church, you would do well to pick up his work.





My Church is Too Crowded!

6 09 2017

This past Sunday was our church’s 4 year anniversary of the day we merged with New Life Baptist Church.  It was a great day of celebration and I’m so very thankful for it.  Our worship team was amazing and our speaker was inspiring.  Our fellowship afterwards 6a0120a4f88a1c970b017d3c8c087d970cwas second to none.  We had plenty of food and plenty of seats thanks to the tent that we put up.  I noticed something though.  I noticed that some of our church family still didn’t stay for the meal afterwards.  When asked why I was told that the crowd is just too much for them.  We were crowded.  Even though we made arrangements for more seats they still chose to go home.  It is not a bad problem to have.

Here is my thinking and it comes after reading and praying about this for several months.  Calvary is in the business of reaching people.  We are greatly committed to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.  We never want to get to the place where we just maintain what we have because that isn’t what God has called us to be and to do.  He has called us to keep reaching people in the name of Jesus Christ.  Sunday was a Sunday like many Sundays that we have experienced.  Our service was packed. Yes, it was a special Sunday but we have done this with Sundays that nothing special was planned.  We are in the season of growing.

I read this past week about the Bonsai tree.  Did you know that there is nothing really special about that tree.  It has the DNA of every other tree but it is put in a pot that restricts its growth.  We don’t want to restrict the growth of our church because we have just not made the room.  That is why we have sought to become creative as too how we can continue to grow.

There are a couple of things that we can do as a church.  We can go to two services, a earlier service and a later.  Timing is everything on this move and we will have to make sure that our congregation understands this.  We are doing this so that we can continue to reach people but to do this it will take volunteers.  We will need committed worship leaders, committed first impression team members, and committed people to come to an earlier service.  Many churches make the move unsuccessfully and I don’t want to do that.

The second thing that we have suggested is to give our children their own time of worship downstairs while we worship upstairs.  Some of our congregation has pushed back on this idea and I understand why as I too agree that it is important that children see their moms and dads worship.  I only see this as an intermediate step that we will reverse when we grow to the point where we can go to two services.  At that point we would discontinue the children’s worship time and return to letting them loose before the sermon.  This intermediate step of having children’s worship will free up some room and hopefully keep from happening what happened Sunday.  I don’t want any of our regular attenders or guests to not come back because we are just too crowded.

What happened?  People chose to not do something because it was too crowded.  It was not worth the trouble.  They wanted their space and they went home.

I just don’t want that to happen in a worship service.  So we need room.  We need first impression team members and security members in our parking lot helping people find their spot.  We need for people to continue to sacrifice and serve by parking away allowing our guests to take the best spots.  Honestly, I need for you to be open to the idea of our children worshiping together downstairs before their children’s church Bible study.

Macon County needs us.  They need us to sacrifice so that we can make room for them. Pray that God would give us wisdom to make wise decisions in the coming days.  Pray that we continue to reach people are are far from God.  I want us to take as many to Heaven with us as we can.  I want us to disciple the nations.  I want us to love God and love others.

 





Small Groups. WHY?

15 08 2017

It usually happens every time I teach our membership class.  I talk about the importance of small groups in our church, people nod their heads in agreement, and I feel confident

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that they will commit themselves to it.  Then it comes time for people to commit and the motivation is just not there.  So why should you do it?

Acts 20:20 (ESV)
20  how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house,

The early church felt a great need to be connected to each other.  They were desperate for community.  They were in the midst of persecution and they felt a desperate need to connect with other believers.  They needed a way and a place to do as Jesus had done b

 

efore them.  Jesus spent a lot of time pouring himself into a small group of people.

Now you might be think that is nice but that is not for me.  You already have a lot of things going on in your life and your plate is full.  All of us, including me, struggle with the

ity and you will not get that by just coming to church.  You need a platform where you can build authentic relationships.  You need a place where you can lean on others.  Small groups are perfect for this.

demands of job, family, and just life.  Why would we add something else to our agendas even if it is just two nights a month.

Let me tell you why you should honestly consider small groups.  God has made you for commun

 

As we grow bigger as a church, it is going to be in the platform of small groups that we will make sure to care for each other.  When one hurts, we all will hurt.  That will be done primarily through small group settings.  In small group you will be cared for and celebrated.

Let me give you a few more reasons:

  1. Small groups are a place where you can do deeper in the Word of God with a group of people.  It is a place where the truth comes alive as you can ask questions and give opinions.
  2. It is a perfect place to share your struggles and have brothers and sisters in Christ pray over you and for you.
  3. They are the perfect place to unwind, release stress, and laugh with new friends.
  4. Small groups help you deal with the pressures of life.
  5. Small groups are the perfect place to put into practice the “one anothers” of Scripture as the Bible lists over 50 one anothers that we are to do for each other.  We do need each other.  God never intended for us to walk alone.
  6. You will make friends for life.
  7. It is a ton of fun!




How Should I Pray

13 11 2010

This morning I was thinking through Ephesians 1.  First, I was just enjoying who I am in Christ Jesus.  Dear Christian if you ever feel down and depleted you absolutely must go to Ephesians 1.  There you are reminded:  1.  I’ve been blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (the places by the way where Jesus is reigning even today…the places where it counts the most.  see the end of Eph 1.  2.  I’ve been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.  He CHOSE me!  I like being chosen  3.  He chose me so that I can stand before the Father holy and blameless.  4.  He has predestined me for adoption.  So glad to be adopted. 5.  I’ve been redeemed through his blood.  6.  I’ve been forgiven.  I’m blessed.

 

At the end of the chapter Paul is praying for the Ephesians and it reminded me how to pray for the people around me.  So many times our prayers are shallow.  You know the type…Lord, bless Johnny.  How do you pray Biblical prayers for others.  Look how Paul prays for the Saints.

1. He thanks God for them.  Are you thankful for the people that God has placed in your life.

2.  He prays that God would given them a spirit of wisdom.  Everybody needs wisdom.  Wisdom is knowing what to do next.  Some people have knowledge but no wisdom.

3.  He prays that they would have a intimate knowledge of God.  Now isn’t that better than just praying, “Lord, bless them.”

4.  He prays  that their eyes would be focused and clear that they may know exactly what God is calling them to not just do…but to be.  Be glorious for Jesus.

Lord, help me to pray for others like this.





It Is Enough

12 10 2010

This morning I was meditating on 2 Corinthians 2:14-16

2 Corinthians 2:14-16 (ESV)
14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.
15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,
16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?

As I was thinking about this verse this morning I was reminded that I’m privileged just to be in the parade.  Paul is using a Roman tradition of the army coming into the city after the battle has been won.  They would march under this great arch being led by the priest in the city burning incense.  It was the sweet smell of victory.  My thought this morning is that I’m not marching to victory but from it and I get to wear the uniform.   I get to march in the parade.  I get to be a fragrance of Christ to God to those that I will come into contact with on this day.  Praise God for that.





If you think God can’t use you remember…

10 09 2009

The next time you feel like God can’t use you, just remember…
Noah was a drunk.
Abraham was too old.
Isaac was a daydreamer.
Jacob was a liar.
Leah was ugly.
Joseph was abused.
Moses had a stuttering problem.
Gideon was afraid.
Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer.
Rahab was a prostitute.
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young.
David had an affair and was a murderer.
Elijah was suicidal.
Isaiah preached naked.
Jonah ran from God.
Naomi was a widow.
Job went bankrupt.
John the Baptist ate locusts.
Peter denied Christ.
The Disciples fell asleep while praying.
Martha worried about everything.
Mary Magdalene was, well you know.
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once.
Zaccheus was too small. Paul was too religious.
Timothy had an ulcer…
Lazarus was dead!

And God isn’t finished with you yet.