Saturday, August 4, 2018


Who’s Your Daddy
Being a good steward of your role in the church.

1. ME
Something you never forget!
The Church is both an organization and an organism!

One of the great things that happen when you go to school is that you hear things that stick with you the rest of your life. They can be part of a lecture or an off-hand comment by a professor or administrator, but it impacts you for a lifetime. This happened to me in the fall of 1973 and Wayland Baptist University.

When I was going to college I had a ministerial scholarship. I had it because I was majoring in religion and had “surrendered to the ministry” and was licensed by a local Baptist church to “The Gospel Ministry”. In other words, I was what we called back then a “preacher boy”! Part of the requirements for the scholarship was taking a class called “Church and Denominational Activities”. In this class I was introduced to the dynamics of local church operation and the functions of the Southern Baptist denomination. I sat in the opening session of the class and Dr. J. Ivyloy Bishop was teaching. He said something in the opening moments that I have never forgotten. He simply stated that “The Church is both an organization and an organism. It must be both in order to be successful!”

2. WE
How does this affect us?
What is my role in the church? How do I fit in the organization? What is my part in this living organism we call Restoration Fellowship?

The average church member today…
1. Attends church less that 2 Sundays per month.
2. Attends 2-3 churches at the same time.
3. Average stay in a church is less than 3 years.

The main problem is expectation! Mark Rutland recently quoted quality control expert Phillip Crosby who said that “quality is meeting expectations”. Not external expectations, but the expectations that are peculiar to a particular church at a particular time and space.

The Bible says it this way…

Proverbs‬ ‭13:12‬ (‭NASB)‬‬ Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.‬‬‬‬‬‬

1. We are not communicating our expectations of church members.

2. We are not meeting the expectations of the average church member. In other words, we are “spending time writing songs that answer questions that nobody’s even asking anymore”!

"The difference between expectation and performance is frustration!"

Here are some social changes that have also occurred…

1. The competition for time on Sunday has increased over the years.

2. Sunday is the only day families have for themselves.

3. Technology has made a it possible for people to attend church online.

I am somewhat hesitant to mention this last one because it appears self serving…

4. For many, church has become a ‘spectator sport’.

3. GOD
What does the Bible consider good stewardship of our church expectations?
Psalms‬ ‭62:5‬ ‭(NKJV)‬‬ My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.‬‬‬‬‬‬

Three pictures of the church from the Bible…

1. Bride
2. Body
3. House

Ephesians 5:30–33 (NKJV) For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Context: husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church…

1 Corinthians 12:27 (NKJV) Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.

Ephesians 1:22–23 (NKJV) And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Colossians 1:18 (NKJV) And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

Colossians 1:24 (NKJV) I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,

Ephesians 4:11–16 (NKJV) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

1 Peter 2:4–5 (NKJV) Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious; you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

4. YOU
What should you do about this?
Illustration: Stained glass windows…

5. WE
How can we all live this out together?
Acts 5:42 (NKJV) And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

Three challenges…

1. Commit
Attend a weekly service.

2. Connect
Be part of a small group.

3. Converse
Be involved in ministry.

  • I love Thy Kingdom, Lord,
    The place of Thine abode,
    The church our blest Redeemer saved
    With His own precious blood.
  • I love Thy church, O God;
    Her walls before Thee stand,
    Dear as the apple of Thine eye,
    And graven on Thy hand.
  • For her my tears shall fall;
    For her my prayers ascend;
    To her my cares and toils be giv’n,
    Till toils and cares shall end.
  • Beyond my highest joy
    I prize her heav’nly ways,
    Her sweet communion, solemn vows,
    Her hymns of love and praise.
  • Sure as Thy truth shall last,
    To Zion shall be giv’n
    The brightest glories earth can yield,
    And brighter bliss of Heav’n.
Timothy Dwight, I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord

Citation for format
Excerpt(s) from COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE: SEVEN KEYS TO IRRESISTIBLE COMMUNICATION by Andy Stanley and Ronald Lane Jones, copyright © 2006 by Andy Stanley and Ronald Lane Jones. Used by permission of WaterBrook Multnomah, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Getting Into S.H.A.P.E.

Getting Into S. H. A. P. E.
Various Scriptures
Stewarding our lives.

1. ME
How do I struggle with this?
I don’t know about you, but I have struggled to know what God wanted me to do with my life. Before I became a Christian, I was interested in medicine and nuclear physics. After I came to Christ, I knew God wanted me in the ministry; I wanted to be a pastor but was also good in music and loved teaching music in schools. When crossroads would come in my life, these choices raised their heads again. People would counsel me that I had to limit my choices. That created confusion. 

I’ll tell you how things worked out later on. 

2. WE
How do we all struggle with this?
How do you steward your life? That is the question for today. Do you just do whatever you want, or do you consider God’s call and plan for your life. 
Yes, you have a call and a purpose.

Romans 8:28 NKJV And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 

3. GOD
What does the Bible say about this?
1.  God created us in His own image and likeness.

Genesis 1:26–28 NKJV Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

2.  He created us inside and out.

Psalm 139:13–16 NKJV For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.

3.  He re-created us in Jesus Christ when we were born again!

Ephesians 2:10 NKJV For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

4. YOU
What should you do about this?
You have a unique SHAPE. Now I am not talking about one of the body shapes but about five characteristics that God put into you to fulfill your purpose. 

S - Spiritually Gifts
Everyone has spiritual gifts. 

Ephesians 4:7-8 NKJV But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.

Three types of gifts

I Corinthians 12:4-7 NKJV There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

Motivational gifts
Romans 12:6 NKJV Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: 

Ministry gifts

I Corinthians 12:27-28 NKJV Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.

Manifestation gifts

I Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

H - Heart
Proverbs 23:7 NKJV For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

What is your passion? What is your pain? Your misery is your ministry!
What would you do in life if money was no object?

A - Abilities
I Peter 4:11 NKJV If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies…

What are you good at? You may want to sing in the worship team, but can you sing? If you can only make a joyful noise your venue is your vehicle! Your show is your shower! 

In my first church one Sunday morning a family came in carrying all kinds of instruments: horns, drums, percussion… I knew they couldn’t play them. I wondered, “What are they going to do?” When we started singing, they started playing, loud!
I asked them to quit and the dad got offended. He said, “The Bible says to make a joyful noise unto the Lord!” I said, “Well, you did that!”  Then I quoted one of my life verses:

Psalms 33:3 KJV Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a loud noise.

He understood and was fine. I appreciated their heart, but skill is important!

P - Personality
Proverbs 15:13 NKJV A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. 

I have always talked about personalities in four temperaments.  

Sanguine, the ultimate extrovert…
Choleric, the direct extrovert…
Melancholy, the reserved introvert…
Phlegmatic, the ultimate introvert…

Most of us are blends. I am a Sanguine/Phlegmatic, the nicest guy you ever fired. I can get nothing done and have the greatest time doing it!

For more info, check out “Spirit Controlled Temperment” by Tim LaHaye. 

E - Experience
Proverbs 20:29 NLT The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.

Only you have your history, your story. This gives you a unique ministry  

II Corinthians 4:7 NKJV But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

Your experiences trace your encounters with God in brokenness. You become a broken vessel that manifests the fragrance of Jesus wherever you God. You don’t minister about Jesus; you minister Jesus. 

I remember many times when I would try to minister to someone in the midst of a crisis. I would share the Word and pray, but it paled in comparison to what would happen when someone entered the room who had been through the same crisis. They brought a living dimension to give to the person in need.

“Don’t waste your sorrows!”

5. WE
How can we all live this out together?
We need to become this to a dying world that is longing for a real Jesus, an encounter with the living Christ who is manifested through you!

II Corinthians 2:14-15 NKJV Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

Don’t be too worried about finding your exact purpose and calling. Why? If you just live in obedience to God and get involved with people, you will find it. God takes the responsibility for you finding it!

Philippians 1:6 NKJV being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Philippians 2:13 NKJV for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Romans 8:28-31 NKJV And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Let me finish the story I started at the beginning. I want to share three instances where God took responsibility to give me direction and purpose.

Dr. Bryson; Dr. Temple; Richard Humphries, TFAC

Excerpt(s) from COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE: SEVEN KEYS TO IRRESISTIBLE COMMUNICATION by Andy Stanley and Ronald Lane Jones, copyright © 2006 by Andy Stanley and Ronald Lane Jones. Used by permission of WaterBrook Multnomah, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.