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Equipped!

Ephesians 4:12 is filled with wisdom for our Christian lives today.  One could spend hours of study, meditation, and reflection on the stated purposes of being equipped.

  • For the work of ministry
  • For the building up of the body of Christ
  • Until we all attain to the unity of the faith

This lesson is an investigation into one aspect (there are many) of the meaning of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration of the word equip.

Matthew 4:21 shows Jesus finding James, John, and Zebedee in a boat mending their nets.  Matthew’s “mending” and Paul’s “equip” are the same word.

Being fully prepared, repaired, and fit for service is a general summary of the idea.

Ephesians easily divides into two sections.  Chapters 1, 2, and 3, form section one and place emphasis upon the glorious work of God in and for the Christian.  Chapters 4, 5, and 6, for section two with emphasis upon “walking” properly as recipients of God’s great grace.

Paul immediately launches the second section with the command to “walk worthy,” in light of all God has done (chapters 1, 2, and 3), of this all-encompassing call of God.

In order to walk worthy of God’s high calling, one might say Paul hints at five holes that must be mended by clearly stating the mended condition.

“With all humility” suggests pride is a gaping hole that must be immediately stitched firmly closed.

  1. “and gentleness” indicates that harsh abrasiveness also needs mending.
  2. “with patience” repairs the net flaws created by impatience.
  3. “bearing with one another in love” is required to seal off the damage caused by not bearing and carrying one another and the lack of love.
  4. “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” keeps the Christian’s net mended from trauma caused by living outside the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace.

The author of Hebrews prays for this equipping in 13:20, 21, “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

 

Awaken the Wonder: The Holy Spirit and Creation

Awaken the Wonder: The Holy Spirit and Creation, part 2

Two key Bible passages for today’s teachings:

  • Genesis 1:26-28

26 Then God said, “Let us make man[a] in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

  • Psalm 24:1-2

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,[a  the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.

Blending the truth that the earth and the fullness thereof is the Lord’s with being created in the image of God and assigned to exercise responsibility (dominion, subdue) for His creation is the essence of the Christian understanding of stewardship.

Stewardship, in Greek, comes from two words put together: house and to allot or apportion.  It comes to mean “household manager.”

There are at least two related and yet different aspects to stewardship and the image of God.

  1. I (created in the image of God) respect and steward you (created in the image of God).
  2. I (created in the image of God) respect and steward you (as God, in whose image I am created, would steward you).

All flows really well until my heart gets misaligned and I “respect and steward” as if the world is mine and exists for me.  Shifting from steward to owner is a serious error and sin.

Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5, 6, and 7) are the ethical and moral perspectives of stewardship in the kingdom of God.

Consider what stewardship might look like through the lens of Jesus’ Beatitudes.

  1. Blessed are the poor in spirit.
  2. Blessed are those who mourn.
  3. Blessed are the meek.
  4. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
  5. Blessed are the merciful.
  6. Blessed are the pure in heart.
  7. Blessed are the peacemakers
  8. Blessed are those who are persecuted for my name’s sake.

In stewarding God’s creation, may I recommend that you consider both the supply and the demand through the lens of the Beatitudes?

We Speak Life

Retired Woman Having Professional CareWe are investigating Jesus’ (the Author of Life) interaction with a woman at a water well that totally transformed the woman’s existence into abundant lifeBecoming a person through whom people find more life for their lives is the goal.  John 10:10

In this narrative we have the Author of Life speaking life into a person’s existence.  One of faith’s greatest lessons is found in Proverbs 18:21.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue,

And those who love it will eat its fruits.

Today, you either have a death tongue or a life tongue.  You will eat the fruit of whichever type you love.

Each human being senses the common threefold enemy of lack:

  • Lack of worth
  • Lack of honor
  • Lack of respect

Experiencing and then speaking the opposite of that triad, worth, honor and respect into the lives of others will provide for both the speaker and the listener the life tongues’ fruit of dignity.  Dignity – The state or quality of being worthy of honor and respect.  I love dignity and it is in the power of my tongue!

Always speak from the posture of humility.  John 1:1

The dignity of being.

Speak into the place of the other person’s strength. John 4:7

The dignity of contribution.

Speak with invitation and dialogue.  John 4:7-26

The dignity of conversation.

Speak to overcome misbelief, doubt and blindness.  John 4:9, 11

The dignity of “getting it myself.”

Speak to create interest.  John 4:15

The dignity of desire.

Speak from the work of the Holy Spirit.  John 4:17-18

The dignity of revelation.

Speak from who you are to who he or she is.  John 4:26

The dignity of mutual disclosure.

The Benefits of Jesus’ Blood: God’s hedge of protection and provision of Passover

Following are the message notes from my message designed to encourage us to live “under the blood of Jesus.”  As you read, may you invite the Holy Spirit to apply Jesus’ blood to your life.

The Benefits of Jesus’ Blood: God’s Hedge of Protection and Passover

The blood of Jesus points in the direction of God and in the direction of Satan.

  • Jesus’ blood protects us from Satan, demons, the demonic, and evil.
  • Jesus’ blood provides the only way for God’s judgment to pass over our lives.

Today we investigate the benefit of Jesus’ blood as your personal Passover.

  • The shedding of the blood.   Exodus 12:6
  • The applying of the blood.  Exodus 12:7
  • The effectiveness of the blood.  Exodus 12:23

Notice the following:

  1. God explains his upcoming action.  Exodus 12:12-13
  2. God explains the actions the people are to take.  Exodus 12:3-11
  3. God explains what his response will be to obedience.  12:13

For some reason, I grew up hearing about the Death Angel of the Passover.  However, in Exodus 12 there is no mention of an angel, nor is there an angel responsible for death anywhere in the Bible.

The judgment of Passover is the judgment of God.

  • For I will pass through the land of Egypt… 12:12
  • At midnight, the Lord struck down…12:29

It is clear.  The shed blood of the lamb, applied to the door, was the sign for which God was looking in order to pass over a family.

God still visits his world with judgment today.

  • For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God.  I Peter 4:17
  • The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment.  1 Timothy 5:24

Just as in Egypt, so in your life today: both the shedding of blood and the applying of blood are required as the sign for which God is looking to Passover your family.

The blood of Jesus is applied to our lives today by a genuine request to the Holy Spirit.  Hebrews 9:14

“Holy Spirit, please apply the blood of Jesus to every area of my life, home, and family.”

MCA Church LIFE Groups

My Story

  1. This weekend we heard that Jesus’ blood effectively protects us from Satan, demons, the demonic, and evil and that His blood also provides the means for God and His judgment to pass over our lives.  Have you ever experienced God’s protection?  Have you known that his judgment passed over you?
  2. Have you asked the Holy Spirit to apply Jesus’ blood to your life?  How and when did you come to that decision?  If you haven’t yet come to that decision, would you like to decide today?

Digging Deeper

  1. There is an interesting component in the Exodus 12 Passover passage about the role of the blood for the entire family.  How many references do you find about the family (household) in Exodus 12:1-6?  What did they mean to the people then and there?
  2. Do you have a role in the application of the blood of Jesus for your family today?
  3. Do you think Acts 16:31 sheds light on this subject for us today?
  4. According to Exodus 12, it is God who judges Egypt with the death of the firstborn.  Why is it difficult for people today to grasp a God who at long last brings judgment even though He reveals over and over again what He is planning to do unless people obey?
  5. Luke, Paul, and Peter all reveal that God is indeed the Judge.
    1. Acts 10:42
    2. 2 Timothy 4:1
    3. 1 Peter 4:5
    4. How do you recommend that Christians communicate to our world that there is a tipping point at which the Judge decrees His judgment?

Taking it Home

  1. Is there something in your family that urges you to request the Holy Spirit to apply Jesus’ blood to the “door posts” of your home?
  2. Is there something in you that is not “under the blood of Jesus” and deserves the judgment of God?  Would you like to place it “under the blood of Jesus” today?
  3. Do you have a friend, relative, associate, or neighbor that is nearing the tipping point of God’s judgment?  Would you like your LIFE Group to pray with you for them?

Celebrate the Year of Ministry with MCA Church Mobilization Ministry

I am delighted to serve alongside of Pastor Mark Burgess and his bride, Valerie.  They are a blessing to me, our family, and the MCA Church family.  Following is Pastor Mark’s Annual Report.  God is good!

Ministry Mobilization Summary of The Ministry Year  – Mark Burgess

Looking briefly at the ministry year in review and celebrating what God has done! Please consider how you can live Local through a variety of MCA Church Ministry opportunities.

Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames Drama.  In July we hosted the HGHF Evangelistic Outreach Drama and rejoiced with people responding to make Jesus Christ their Savior.

EXCELr8 Men’s Ministry – Special Events included the Men’s Super Bowl Outreach, the Alaska Men’s Network Retreat, and the Father’s Day Celebration.   MCA Men’s Ministry sponsored a weekly Monday Night Football Life Group, a Courageous and a Band of Brother’s Men’s Special Interest Life Groups, and a Monthly Pit Stop Breakfast.

Water Baptisms – 37 people were water baptized this year.

Church Members – 48 people became MCA church members this ministry year.

Life Community Venue –9:15 and 11:15 worship services were offered each Sunday.

Adult Sunday School – This weekend teaching ministry was offered each Sunday.

Mobile Food Pantry – Each Wednesday morning at MCA  supplemental food was distributed to an average of 90 families expressing need.

Transportation – Each Sunday this faithful team provided church van transportation to our Sunday daytime services.  This team also provided transportation to special church events.

3rd Wednesday Meal – A monthly dinner meal was provided to MCA members and guests through September 2012.

Ministry Mobilization – Partnering with our Communications Sphere, our Annual Ministry Catalog was distributed and made available on our church web site in August 2011.

Greeting Card Ministry – Each month this ministry honored Birthdays and Anniversaries of MCA church members.

Deacon’s Assistance Ministry – The Ministry Mobilization Director partnered with this ministry for individuals expressing sustenance, material, or other need.

Emergency Cold Weather Shelter – A once a week Emergency Shelter for homeless families needing shelter is planned to begin in October.  It will operate from October through April.

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