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Posts tagged ‘King Jesus’

Do You Recognize Your True Role in the Church?.


Fence-Ed-Stetzer

Basketman/Free Digital Photos

In the first post of this series, I began a discussion on the importance of pastors establishing healthy boundaries in ministry.

As it’s an area in which I have personally struggled—and one in which I continue to grow—I’m passionate about sharing what I have learned in order to help others not make the same mistakes I did.

In the next four posts, I will share keys to establishing these boundaries. Think of them as four fence posts surrounding a healthy ministry.

The first “post” supporting a healthy ministry is to recognize your role in the church.

You, as the pastor, are not ultimately responsible for the church. While you do have some responsibility, only King Jesus bears the final responsibility.

When this boundary is ignored, the church ends up being built around the pastor, who then actually becomes part of the problem rather than the solution.

At my second church plant, we had grown to a congregation of about 125 after 18 months. While this might seem like a positive development, it became a bit of an Achilles heel for me. The attendance numbers became my driving force from week to week.

I would actually take time every Saturday to personally call all of our regular and occasional attendees and encourage them to be at church the next day. I was convinced that if I didn’t call everyone, the church would fall apart the next day. Because my identity was so wrapped up in our weekly attendance, if the church numbers collapsed the next day, my life, in effect, would collapse with it.

When pastors misunderstand their role like I did, they tend to put all their focus on some predetermined view of success rather than those things they are biblically called to, such as shepherding and equipping.

Thankfully, a combination of my wife and a pastor friend in another town lovingly pointed out to me I needed to make some changes. It resulted in my resignation. Well, sort of.

I actually got up one Sunday and “resigned.” (Yep, I used air quotes.) I told my congregation I was going to resign as the sole shepherd and caregiver of the church.

I apologized for not creating proper boundaries and explained I was restructuring. Using some very 1990s language (which wasn’t too terrible because it was the 1990s), I explained that I was going to move into a “rancher” role while appointing “shepherds” who worked there. It was a big step of growth, both for the church and myself.

Although moving to a decentralized ministry model was a good step, it was a hard step. In the next boundary “post,” we will examine the difficulty of creating healthy boundaries: The pastor has to be healthy enough to create the boundary.

Written by Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer is the president of LifeWay Research. This is the second of a four-part series called “Mystery Fenceposts.”

Ed Stetzer: Boston Marathon Bombing, the Broken World and Our Maranatha Hope.


Ed Stetzer
Ed Stetzer is president of LifeWay Research and is LifeWay’s missiologist in residence.

Monday afternoon we were again reminded of the horrific and real threat of senseless violence. Yesterday’s bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon are disturbing reminders of the brokenness in our fallen world.

Monday was another sad day—another tragedy. It will likely not be the last, regrettably. On days like these, commentators will ask, “Where was God in this?” or “why would God let something like this happen?” There are no easy answers to those questions. And while we may not be offered answers, we are offered hope and a promise in the midst of the brokenness.

Look around. Our world is broken. I’m not talking about the “world” in terms of nature (although creation, too, bears the marks of sin’s blemish and decay). I’m talking about the “world” comprised of the people, structures and systems that make up society—the moral patterns, beliefs and behaviors that result in things like unfair business practices, racism, extreme poverty, dishonest government, dirty politics, family breakdown, cheating, stealing, oppression of the weak, and so many other distressors and defilers.

Of course, tragedy is daily living in much of the world. Churches are bombed regularly in Nigeria; sexual violence trafficking is real and growing, and poverty is deep and pervasive. The world is broken. Sinfulness impacts everything.

Yet we are reminded on days like this, our hope is in a new kingdom.

A kingdom reigned by a returning King.

A kingdom with no more terrorist threats or bombings. No more thoughts of death to keep us up at night.

How could there be, since there won’t be any more “night” to experience—absolutely nothing to make us think back on a life that was so regularly troubled by fear, anger, bitterness, anxiety and lingering doubts? They’re all gone. All the time.

Keep all of this in mind.

Read about it and meditate on it often.

The kingdom has come because the King has come, but it is not yet fully here. That is why we pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Because the kingdom is not yet fully here and complete—and the world is not yet—well, right.

So, we remember the “not yet” reality we are here to model and live. We live as agents of God’s kingdom, perhaps some ministering today in Boston, and certainly praying where we are.

The current state of life on this planet sure has a lot of brokenness. You’re right to be dissatisfied with it. But it’s not enough for Christians merely to recognize that the world isn’t what it ought to be and that people are suffering in ways they shouldn’t have to suffer. Our sorrow and indignation must lead us into action that subverts the brokenness that is real and present right now. We work to make this world more as God would intend it to be—with justice, peace, and more.

So we pray for His Kingdom to come, “on earth as it is in heaven.” Yet, it does not fully come until Jesus returns to set all things right. We pray for that day to come soon, particularly on days of tragedy.

There is just one use in the New Testament of the Aramaic word phrase, Maran atha. Paul writes, “Marana tha that is, Lord, come!” (1 Corinthians 16:22). Most translate it as a cry for King Jesus to come soon. Yet, that one word has become a cry for Christians in pain, persecution and much more.

This marathon tragedy drives us again to our Maranatha cry—”come quickly, Lord” and set things right.

In the meantime, may we live as agents of your kingdom—showing and sharing the love of Jesus—to a broken and lost world. But, days like these make us long for that Day, where the kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of our God and King.

We pray “maranatha” today—and rightly so.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

ED STETZER

Ed Stetzer is the president of LifeWay Research and LifeWay’s missiologist in residence. He is also an author and speaker, and serves on the Church Services Team for the International Mission Board. This article originally appeared at EdStetzer.com.

We Have the King.


They all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication. ACTS 1:14

Originally, five hundred people witnessed the resurrection, but only one hundred and twenty stayed in Jerusalem as Jesus commanded to wait on Him—doing what He said, where, when and how He said to do it. Of these, three hundred and eighty missed Pentecost because they did not obey the King. Don’t miss the visitation of the Holy Spirit in your life because of disobedience.

The church was born as the other one hundred and twenty people poured themselves out in humble obedience. They said, “Anyone who has the keys of death and hell must have the keys of the kingdom. If He has the keys of the kingdom, He must be the King of the kingdom!”

They didn’t have a great building. They didn’t have a head preacher-.-.-.-no choir, no radio, no television, and no Bible. They didn’t have anything but a King! And if you have the King, He brings the kingdom with Him!

That’s all we need! We don’t need another building, another program, another lecture, another sermon, another tape series, nor another book! All we need is the King.

King Jesus, I submit to your authority and will in my life.
I desire for You to rule my whole being. Establish Your
kingdom in my life. Amen.

By ROD PARSLEY.

Leave Lo-debar.


Then King David sent, and fetched him Mephibosheth out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lo-debar2 Samuel 9:5

Just as Abraham had to leave Ur, so Mephibosheth had to leave Lo-debar. Lo-debar! The very name of that place means “not a pasture.” Lo-debar was the dwelling place of lack, poverty, dryness, and desolation. It was the wilderness, an empty field of no sowing and no harvest.

There was only one way out of Lo-debar. The only way out required that a prior promise be remembered and a cherished covenant be fulfilled.

When in Lo-debar, it seems that existing on stale crumbs is the only option. For Mephibosheth, Lo-debar seemed like the end of the journey, the final chapter in a tragic existence. Lame and alone, the king’s descendant appeared doomed to an existence devoid of hope or harvest. He may have been born royalty, but he would die an outcast. Or would he? Against all hope, overcoming every circumstance, and beyond Mephibosheth’s wildest dreams, the impossible happened. He was called out of Lo-debar by the King and from that moment on, there would be no more crumbs! King Jesus is calling you out of your Lo-debar today and into His kingdom. Will you leave where you are and follow Him?

Jesus, I will follow You wherever You lead.
I no longer desire to stay in Lo-debar.
I want to reside in the presence of
You, King Jesus, and to dine
at Your table. Amen.

By ROD PARSLEY.

{ Day 242 }.


Then three of the thirty chief men … came to David at the cave of Adullum. … And David said with longing, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” 2 Samuel 23:13, 15, NKJV

The Bible gives this compelling illustration of extravagant devotion as a model for becoming people of one thing. David had been anointed king, but he was not king yet. Jealous King Saul was chasing him from cave to cave. About six hundred men joined David, and they made the cave of Adullum their main headquarters. It was probably late one night, and David was saying with longing, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem!” Hearing David’s longing, his mighty warriors said, “Let’s go get him some of that water.” They knew it might cost them their lives, but they loved David with extravagance, and it thrilled their hearts to answer his request. They went far beyond the call of duty to answer the longing in their king’s heart. Of all the stories that could have been told of David and his men, this story became famous as one of the most extravagant acts of devotion toward the king. For us, this becomes a picture of devotion to King Jesus. It’s a pattern for becoming people of one thing, with hearts after God‘s.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Jesus, the example of David’s mighty men shows me the depth of loyalty and devotion I want to have for You. Let me love You with that level of extravagance and live my life in the pursuit of all that makes You pleased with me.

David’s mighty men were a picture of the passionate loyalty we should have to Christ Jesus.

By MIKE BICKLE.

The Believers’ Shangri-la.


…And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Revelation 20:4
Recommended Reading Revelation 20:1-10 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%2020:1-10&version=NKJV ).
Fictional utopia on earth is described in novelist James Hilton‘s 1933 novel,  Lost Horizon , and the subsequent film made from it.

The people dwell in a harmonious valley called, “Shangri-La,” enjoying unheard of longevity.

The word “Shangri-la” has become synonymous with a Garden of Eden-like paradise.
Listen to Today’sBRRadio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

However, surpassing man’s idea of a Shangri-la will be the peaceful era of the Millennium when Jesus Christ physically returns to earth, defeats His enemies, and sets up His kingdom for one thousand years.

Old Testament prophecies will be fulfilled as a final rebellion inaugurates the new heaven and new earth.

King Jesus will be reigning and ruling on the throne of David in Jerusalem.
Understanding future events should awaken us from living in a routine of selfishness.

Servanthood should characterize our lives.

The Millennium is a reward for believers.

We’ll reign and rule with Christ and be given opportunities to serve Him in a utopian setting.

Let’s live in Christ-like readiness!
We need to take down our “Do Not Disturb” signs…snap out of our stupor and come out of our coma and awake from our apathy. Vance Havner.
Read-Thru-the-Bible 1 Samuel 13:1-15:35.

By David Jeremiah.

Seeing Beyond the Suffering.


My father-in-law’s cancer is back, and right when he was feeling up to traveling to the United States to visit. It’s hard. We’ve shed tears. Being an ocean away from one side of the family is never easy, but the distance is felt even more acutely when a loved one is ill.

Through this time, King Jesus has been teaching us a few things about suffering:

  • You cannot look more and more like Jesus without encountering suffering. He was the Suffering Servant, after all.
  • You cannot lead like Jesus without encountering suffering and sacrifice. His supreme act of leadership was laying down His life.
  • Therefore, we ought not make decisions based on the desire to avoid suffering and sacrifice.
  • Furthermore, when trials come our way, we should rejoice through the pain, knowing that suffering has a redemptive purpose.

In recent weeks, I’ve been committing Colossians to memory. As I work my way through the text every day, I am taken aback by Paul’s determination to rejoice in his affliction (Col 1:24). It’s obvious he is able to rejoice in suffering because he sees what’s beyond the moment.

It reminds me a little of childbirth (not that I would know from personal experience!). Standing next to my wife as she gave birth to our children, I saw how difficult and painful the process was for her. And yet both of us were filled with excitement. She groaned in pain, but she knew the pain was purposeful. New life was coming. There was rejoicing in the pain.

When we go through trials, it’s not helpful to minimize the pain, ignore the difficulty, or pretend that things are not as bad as they really are. This is denial, not redemption.

Neither is it helpful to merely accept pain and suffering as if it’s just the way of this world—That’s just the way it is.

No… the Bible points us forward to something better. We say:

  • This is just the way it is, yes…
  • But this is not the way it’s supposed to be, and…
  • This is not the way it WILL be.

Holding firm to these three truths helps us see beyond the suffering. We must not minimize the pain of the present. Neither must we imagine that our present circumstances are forever. Instead, a kingdom mindset expands our horizons and helps us see our present pain in light of our future glory.

We rejoice in suffering, not because we get a kick out of pain, and not because we’re in denial, but because we know what’s coming. We’re in the birth pangs of the world, and the kingdom is on its way. So we rejoice! And by rejoicing, we show the world that Christ is all we need.

By Trevin Wax.

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