Tag Archives: ministry

Harvest with Joy

Ministry is not always easy. Many times, it is grueling. Onlookers can only capture a glimpse of what is put into a ministry. They may not see the initial planning, the preparation, and everything that goes into getting everything in place. But they also don’t see the back-end story—they don’t see the lives of those who are ministering.

No matter what we are going through, we are still able to plant. Our faithful and obedient leaders of the Early Church certainly didn’t have it easy but they pressed onward. They understood that “those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.” They trusted that the harvest would come. They trusted that God would use every seed for His kingdom.

You may be struggling today and wondering how you can make a difference. You may feel unworthy or not equipped to plant. Remember that God qualifies you (2 Corinthians 3:5). Remember also that God’s word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). Continue to plant the seed my friends. Some may reject it. Your testimony needs to be heard. It may not always be easy. But the harvest will come. Indeed!

“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.” – Psalm 126:5-6 [NLT]

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Yield to Others

Yielding to others is difficult. Try driving in a roundabout with everyone thinking they are justified in going first. There’s a pattern to the road plan that has given drivers a time to yield and a time for others to yield. The world tells us we shouldn’t have to yield. The world tells us that we are owed the opportunity to go first. The world has caused us to think we must rush around, without pausing to allow someone else to go, because there isn’t enough time.

Yielding to others is not simply something we are to do when we are driving. We are to yield to others in life too. Another way to say this is being reasonable or accommodating. You might consider this to be very sacrificial in some regards, or it could be something very small. At the end of the day, if we are not willing to yield to others, if we are not flexible and able to adapt for others, we will neglect those that God has placed before us. We will charge over them just like someone who rushes into a roundabout without acknowledging the yield sign.

Today, consider how you interact with others. Remember that we aren’t supposed to be stressed out and OCD over every area of life. We need to be willing to yield to others as we go through our days. This demonstrates our compassion for others. This is a way of surrendering to the fact that you are not in control. This is all about thinking more about the ministry than about your selfish desires or pride. If you aren’t at a place where you feel ready to yield, continue to fix your eyes above. Remember that this is a wisdom that comes from above.

“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” – James 3:17 [NLT]

Pass On

Timothy is told to pass on what was taught to him by the Apostle Paul. When we are taught something, we aren’t supposed to keep it just for ourselves. Paul was pouring a wealth of teaching upon Timothy. He was sharing great insight into the ministry of the Good News. He wanted this teaching to continue to pour out from Timothy to others. This is how the spread of the Gospel works. Ministry is a team effort.

If you look at the Early Church, you will find that those who were intimately involved with Jesus Christ during His early ministry rose up to spread the Good News. After his conversion, Paul did the same. Many of these people had small groups meeting together, sharing together, doing life together. This Good News was then spread by these people to others. As it was shared to some, it was passed on to many others. People were being equipped and empowered.

Too often we get caught up in thinking that the people in our lives will hear the Gospel from some pastor at a local church or on television. We think that ministry is all about someone speaking to the masses. But the Bible shows us that the Early Church spread the Gospel not simply by speaking to large groups, but by focusing on a small group who then passed on the great spiritual truths. Do not keep what you know about Jesus to yourself. What you learn, pass on. Whether you pass it on to your family, to your friends, or you start a small group or lead or teach at church—pass it on. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you share what you know, teach you more, and to show you who is ready with open ears to hear these spiritual truths.

“You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” – 2 Timothy 2:2 [NLT]

Throw Yourself

Paul ends chapter 4 discussing what it means to be a good minister of Jesus Christ. In verse 14, Paul tells Timothy to “not neglect the gift” (NIV). Verse 15 says to “be diligent in these matters and absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all” (NIV). The NLT translation says to “give your complete attention” and to “throw yourself into your tasks.”

Paul reminded Timothy of the importance of the gift he was given and the importance to press forward with that gift, to throw himself into the ministry of Jesus Christ.

Just like Timothy, we each have a ministry. For everyone, the ministry is different because each of us is unique and gifted differently. If you know the ministry you have been called to, throw yourself into it. Give it your attention. Remember the great importance of pressing forward. If you are still wondering about the ministry for you, pray for the Spirit to reveal this to you. Continue to diligently read His Word and serve His people. He will show you the path to take.

“Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.” – 1 Timothy 4:15 [NLT]

Special Assignment

Each of us has a special assignment. We have each be given a life to lead “that the Lord has assigned.” Each of us has a different assignment, a different circumstance, a different condition. Wherever we are, whatever our current condition, it is unique. It is our very own special assignment.

In ministry and in life, we each have our special assignments. It is important to keep your eyes focused on these special assignments instead of looking at another person’s assignment. My Grandma always said to “keep your eyes on your own plate.” God created you for your assignment. You were never meant to try and fulfill the assignment of someone else. Don’t beat yourself up trying to be something you never were meant to be—there’s something perfect for you to live out friend!

To be content, it is necessary to embrace the life that has been assigned to you. Don’t misunderstand. This does not mean you are giving in or that you do not have free will. This does not mean you are settling. Embracing the life assigned to you is embracing the blessings of the Lord. The great I Am specifically designed you. He knows everything about you. He knows you better than you know you. You are unique. You are gifted. You have a special assignment. When you begin to live out that assignment, you will overflow with joy.

“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.” – 1 Corinthians 7:17 [ESV]

I Have Prayed for You

When someone tells me they are praying for me, it means a great deal to me. This means that someone took time out of their day to pray for me, to speak to God on my behalf. How awesome is that? I think it’s important that we let people know we are praying for them. Jesus told Peter he was praying for him, and I imagine it was something Peter did not forget.

In Luke 22, Jesus spoke to Peter, calling him Simon. He said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan commanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat.” Calling him by his old name reminds us of where Peter once was—his old life—and I am sure it meant something to Peter too. But then Jesus says, “But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Then Jesus calls him Peter for the rest of the conversation.

Jesus was telling Peter that Satan wanted to get his hands on the disciples (that’s the first “you”), but that He prayed for Peter’s faith not to fail. Then He says, “When you have turned again” (when he has repented) to strengthen the other disciples. Jesus was telling Peter that he would slip, he would stumble back into his old way of life (which is when he denies Christ). But He also told Peter that He prayed for Him. He covered Him in prayer. That’s the best gift you can give someone. A prayer. Pray for someone today. Let them know you are praying for them. And ask God how He can use you to help answer that prayer.

“But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” – Luke 22:32 [ESV]

Sweet Perfume

I have a very sensitive nose so there are particular perfumes and colognes that cause me to sneeze and some even kick in my asthma. As you personally select a perfume or cologne, you most likely spray it in the air or try a little dab on your wrist to smell. You want to select something that smells good, that is pleasant to your nose. The problem is that everyone has a different sense of smell and everyone likes different smells. I love the smell of vanilla candles. I love the smell of Dove soap. But when I enter some department stores and I’m bombarded by some intense smells, it is anything but a sweet perfume. There are times when all I can do is gag and duck outside quickly holding my nose.

Paul mentioned that as we are used to spread the message of Christ  we could be compared to a “sweet perfume.” But he continued to explain the problem. Yes, God loves the “Christ-like fragrance” but there are others who don’t like our sweet perfume. Paul said, “We are a dreadful smell.” We smell so badly to some people because we are seen as the bearer of judgment upon them. Ever notice if someone shares the Word of God and it’s received by non-believers badly—they say the people are being “judgmental.” Yet a person was simply reciting what God has said. The person was not judging the person. God’s Word is convicting. Being convicted of sin, being found guilty can cause great frustration and anger, hence the reason for the “dreadful smell.”

Continue to be a sweet perfume, sharing Christ and pressing forward. Understand that to some you will be a sweet perfume, but to others you will stink. They will not want to be around your “dreadful smell.” Still press forward. Still spread the scent. Remember, we are to please God not man.

“But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?” – 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 [NLT]

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Children’s Ministry Lesson: Abraham Abundance and Blessing

Getting Started: Discussion of Count the Stars Simile

First tell children about some similes – brave as a lion, crazy like a fox, slow as molasses. Visual illustration: molasses poured out slowly.
Genesis 15 says “look up at the sky and count the stars… so shall your offspring be.” – As many people as stars.
Can you count the stars? Do you know how many stars there are in the sky? What does this mean? (You can also show your favorite constellation to intro to these questions).

Craft / Activity

Watered down glue / glitter / black or dark blue construction paper / brown or beige construction paper

Cut the brown / beige construction paper as a small land mass before class.

Spread the watered down glue on the papers. Put the land mass at the bottom of the paper. Sprinkle glitter on the paper. Be sure to have a small box to catch the glitter that falls from the paper.

On the land mass, write “Count the Stars” – Genesis 15:5

After doing the activity, begin digging deeper into the lesson (this allows for the papers to dry and for children to have another visual learning experience).

Genesis 12:1-5 – God’s promise to Abram

I will make you into a GREAT NATION

I will make your NAME GREAT

You will be A BLESSING

… ALL PEOPLES ON EARTH WILL BE BLESSED THROUGH YOU.

(New Home – Great Name – Family)

Abram (75 years old)  – left Haran with Sarai and Lot.

Genesis 15:2-6 – Count the Stars

Abram asked what the Lord could give. He had no children. The Lord said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars –if indeed you can count them. So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Genesis 18:10-14 – Sarah Laughs

Three men visit Abraham and food is prepared. They explain that Sarah would have a son. Sarah laughed. Is anything too hard for the LORD?

Genesis 21:1-7 –Isaac born

The Lord did as He promised. Abraham and Sarah had a son, Isaac, God has brought me laughter. Abraham was 100 years old.

Discuss what this means to us. Discuss blessing. Discuss abundance.

Closing Verse: 2 Corinthians 9:8

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

What does this mean? What are we promised?

Download this Lesson (Dropbox Link to .doc file)

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The Anywhere Ministry

A person does not need to be at church or doing specifically labeled ministry work to minister to others. Whether you have considered it or not, everyone can minister from anywhere. There are people ministering in libraries, on the school playground, in bars, and even in the grocery store.

Today at work I was having a conversation with a customer. At the same time, I did not realize that there was another customer listening from out of view. We were talking about serving the Lord, about His blessings and providence, and about His faithfulness and trusting in Him. It was a short conversation. It was an unplanned conversation. I was not thinking about how to minister to a person and I did not consider myself doing ministry work per se. Then the listening customer came around and said she “loved” the conversation she just heard. Without even realizing I was being used to do something, God spoke through me to her.

Too often we think that ministry is simply something done at church or when we put on our ministry caps and run an outreach event or knowingly minister to someone. In reality our greatest ministry is done when most people are not looking, in those uncalculated moments. You probably heard that you could be the only Bible someone will read—today, consider that great responsibility. Don’t confine your ministry. Don’t over think what God can do through you. Simply ask Him to use you and show up for duty. There’s no need to complicate things. God has a great plan. You can make a difference from anywhere. Just do everything in love.

“Do everything in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:14 [NIV]

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Children’s Ministry Lesson: Creation Cube

I am doing a lesson on Genesis 1 – Creation. I am going to start off showing the children the cross paper and discuss how God knew at the very beginning that we would need a Savior. Then I am going to transition into a discussion on Creation and we are going to cut out our crosses. I am going to read from Genesis 1 and review Creation. As we progress through each day, we will fill in a box on the cross by drawing something that represents what God created on that particular day. After the 6th day, we will fold our cross into a cube and tape it together. Then we will finish with Day 7. Finally, we will split into groups and take turns rolling our cube and sharing something amazing about that day of creation. Afterward, we will gather together and review.

Image

For the cross pattern, simply measure 8 inches by 2 inches rectangular on a vertical sheet of paper. Then draw a line every two inches so that the squares are 2″ x 2″. Then at the second square from the top, put a square (2″ x 2″) on both the left and right side.

When you cut out the cross, fold up the sides at the mid square section and then fold the extra square (the bottom square) up. Use tape to hold the sides together.

This lesson allows the children to use their creativity while learning about Creation.