A Kings Witness: Deuteronomy 17:18-19

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19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees
20 and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:18-19)

Wednesday, we talked about how to perfect our witness.  One of the text we explored was Deuteronomy 17:19, which lead us to an important point found inverse 20.  In the passage, God is instructing His people on the type of king they should select to lead them.
Verse 19 says he should be one that “…reads it…”.  It states that he should carry the word on him at all times that it might be his source of knowledge and wisdom.   He must be one that soaks in the Word, not just rinses off.  He must emerge himself in God’s Word to such an extent that it both covers and fills him and keeps him as he rules.

Then he must “…follow carefully…”  His reading about God will help him respect and fear the Lord, leading him to be obedient to God’s law and decrees.  He must learn the word and respect God to such an extent that His life aligns with God’s will for His life.  He is to mirror God’s character, seeking to meet his approval in all he does.
And these two lead us to verse 20, which will sum up our thoughts on witnessing.worship-fast

Though this king would be chosen to lead and head the Israelite people, God wanted to insure one remaining thing, that being that he would “…not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites….”  Even amidst all the power he would have, God wanted to make sure he feared the Lord to such an extend that he would not loose sight of who the real King was and where the source of his power lay.

As a king, God wanted him to remember that his title was a position that came with authority, but not absolute power.  He was to serve not as one that was greater than, just as one that has more responsibilities than.  His job was not that people would follow or worship him, but that he would lead them in the ways of God, keeping them focused on his laws and precepts just as he would be.  The Word was also to keep him humble, reminding him that he was a citizen of God’s kingdom, despite his position as king.  He was to keep the perspective that he was a part of the kingdom no apart from the kingdom.

Thus I asked,
“What would your witness and worship be like if you had the same perspective?”

Most of what is translated in our witness
isn’t the boldness of our faith in Christ, when you talk to others.
It’s a condescending type of arrogance that is
overcast with sprinkles and showers of judgement
that would be described by many that have encountered us.

After reading this text, I thought, maybe we need more time in the word?  Maybe we need to be humbled just a tad bit or seasoned by a constant reminder that we have yet arrived and the leather exterior we display is not a result of our own righteousness, but the righteousness of God given to us by the death of our savior and by living out the Word He has provided for us.  The wisdom we display is not because we are just that intelligent, it’s because we are that discipline in our studies, which changes the way we speak, and helps us control our actions and has changed our ways.  The change in our lives is not because we came to the conclusion ourselves, but that He sought to free us and change us through much patience and long suffering, marinating us in the Word, seasoning us with forgiveness long before we were served as a gourmet meal.

imagesEven as the king bore his title and served as a representative of righteousness, he was to remember that he has been chosen,  not elected, nor was he self appointed, and neither are we.  God’s mercy and grace flowed upon all of our heads, as we were convicted by the Holy Spirit as to our ways, and the standard being held that we could not maintain from a God that is Holy and Pure.  All of us realized judgement was inevitable, and that our case for righteousness would be a few exhibits short lest we had Christ as our sacrifice. 

We all need him interceding on our behalf.  We all need him to stand for us and to claim us before the throne of Grace.  We all need His blood to cover us as we stand before God praying to be called sheep and not goat.    Be it reminded to us as we bare witness to others that they need what we have, and what we have doesn’t make us better, it just makes us believers.  The person we speak to is another of God’s creation who has yet to surrender their lives back to their creator.  He loves them just as much as He loves us, thus He sends us to them to bare witness of the story of His love and His desire to be in relationship with them, just as He did with us!

In a faith where the first shall be last, and the last shall be first, the emphasis is not placed in birth order, just in re-birth.  We see this even in how God was able to use Paul to impact lives and plant many churches.  He was able to mentor many saints and train up many young preachers and pastors, though he himself was not an original apostle or disciple that walked with Jesus.  God used him to make a great impact!  He can use you and he can use the one you are witnessing to!  You could be used to witness to the next Paul, so speak to them in that manner.  The Kingdom needs them, much like it needs you!

Think yourself not better, but as one that is bears the honor of sharing God’s truth with the world.  Like the king, remember that you too are a citizen, still growing, still stumbling, and at times still struggling.  We are all a work that God is working until completion, so lets ditch the completed action, and realize that we are still in process of be being made perfect.

If we do this, I bet our witness would be much more effective!

#PastorJDO3

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Build up the Kingdom!

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So you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
And what you heard me say in the presence of many others
as witnesses entrust to faithful people who will by

competent to teach others as well.
2 Timothy 2:1-2

Paul writes this letter to Timothy as instructional and encouragement for a young minister.  This letter as with the others are very important as it models something captured in verse 2 of this second chapter.  Mentor-ship, or Discipleship as we call it in the faith has a very important role to the life of the church.  It could be argued that the demise or death of the ancient church or has been a lack of not only evangelism, but discipleship which has left our church without A. Leadership B. Mature Saints  C.  Members.

Paul says to Timothy this important tidbit, which will also be key not only to the growth of the ministry, but will aide him in being an effective shepherd and leader.  Paul advises him to “entrust to” “competent” (some say faithful) people.

For the Men’s Conference at our home church, this passage was used to direct a message to the men of the Kingdom of God.  The message, God’s Kingdom needs men who the Gospel can be entrusted to, and men that will be competent to teach others.  This is a call to discipleship and evangelism.   soldiearmor

Though the passage is not gender specific, I felt the need to challenge the men to study to show themselves approved.  To press forward the Kingdom agenda by challenging men to grow in the faith that they might be deemed by their Pastor one that can be entrusted with the Word of God and Kingdoms Agenda.  The growth of God’s Kingdom will hinge on the amount of disciples that are willing to commit to Kingdom purpose.  We are calling for and crying out for the heads of houses to take a step forward to lead their families and to press to return to being leaders in our churches, rebuilding and fortifying our families and modeling the structure intended to combat the agenda of the world to unravel our family structures.  We don’t need undependable men, we need men that can be counted upon!  And not just financially.  We have run into a generation of people who feel money solves problems!  Money doesn’t spread the Gospel, its the Faith of those that commit to sharing God’s truth that draws people near via their testimony and fever for the truth communicated through the Gospel.  Transferring money into an account will not save people in other countries.  Someone has to open up their mouth and declare truth that the Gospel might be heard and faith might be achieved by conviction of the Holy Spirit.  We need committed men!

Furthermore, we need “competent” men.  I love how this is written.  Paul says to people who “will be competent”.  This is true in two ways.  1.  We need people who are Competent Now!  2.  We need people who will be Competent in the future!

First, we need men who have already been diligent as a soldier.  Our churches are hungry, desperate even, for men who have sought righteousness and sought to fortify themselves with the learning and applying of scripture to their lives.  We need men who have decided to dedicate themselves to walking daily with God, not chasing the things of the world and identifying themselves with worldly possessions.  Paul says find some people who “will be competent.”  We must find men that are dedicated to applying the Word of God to their lives like Balm!  We must be saturated in the Word such so that it flows like the anointing and favor we pray for!  That it becomes such a part of us that we teach by living, not by speaking!  Our lives should be so aligned with God’s Word, that our life is just the Cliff Notes, and our Mouths serve as study guide.  We need competent men!

Second, we need men we are willing to become diligent warriors.  Our church needs an infusion of men who are willing to get serious about their faith!  We need a generation that will cast down their nets, dock their boats, sale their possessions and follow Him!  We need men who will but down the magazines and log off the website, crack the spine of the Bible or Double Tap the App and immerse themselves in pressing towards the mark that has been set for us!   We need men furthermore that will submit to leadership.  This is key in both circumstances, but even more so in this one.  These men must be willing to be prepared by their Shepherd to become the vessel they are capable of becoming for the benefit of the Kingdom.

In both scenarios,  we find Paul telling Timothy that He must search for these people and model the example that Christ set for the Apostles, and the one that Paul imitated with he and others.  Yes, we also need men that are willing to be Mentors!  We need men who will engross themselves in not only reaching the mark, but will prepare others as well.  Our Lord took the time on earth to select some men that he found could be entrusted with the Gospel and would be Competent in teaching others the truths He gave to them.  The spread of the Gospel hinges on this.  Developing others that can be carriers of the Word, and not being the sole authority or carrier of truth ensures that the Kingdom will continue to grow and live beyond the days you have been given.  There are people that the preacher/pastor will never meet, that are beyond their reach and life experience, but that are accessible to those that sit under the weekly/daily teachings.

BodyLogoIn conclusion, I think it interesting that many of our fraternal organizations have practiced a principle that our churches might need to take a hold to.  Its Numbers verses Men!  The value of our churches is not in the numbers, but in men, in real discipleship!  Lord forbid that our Greek and social organizations uphold a standard and the church find its knees weak, compromising intake and  wavering on membership requirements, declaring all active despite their walk and actions.  We too must build and uphold the standard God set, not excluding those from entering, but holding all accountable who enter to the standard of the Most High!  To answer the question, “Yes we need to build up the Kingdom!”  But building up the Kingdom is not about numbers and buildings, it’s about the members in the Kingdom being stronger.  If we will continue this model, the future of the church will not only be great in numbers, but stronger in mirroring the image of Christ.  Having strong believers is a premium, more than having a large numbers of weaklings.

#PastorJDO3

 

Not a Fan, Chapter 3

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Not a Fan
Kyle Idleman
Knowledge about Him or Intimacy with Him?
Notes & Quotes from Chapter 3

idleman

Chapter 3 is taken from the Luke 7:36-39, which tells the story of Jesus at the home of a local Pharisee, and His encounter with a woman who pressed through to wipe his feet with her tears.  This passage serves as the backdrop of the chapter, as it show to distinct encounter with Christ, one from the Pharisees and the other from the Woman.

“Like the Pharisees, many fans have given their minds to the study of God, but they never surrendered their hearts. These were men who had plenty of knowledge about God, but they didn’t really know God. “ Page 42 Idleman

“They honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me,
and they worship me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
Matthew 15:8-9

“But when Jesus comes to the house of Simon, there is no kiss of greeting. There is no washing of feet. There is no oil for his head. And these were not accidental oversights. This was quite deliberate. Jesus was ignored and insulted.” Page 43 Idleman

“As she stood behind him at his feet,
weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears.
She wiped them with her hair, kissed them,
and anointed them with the perfumed oil.”
Luke 7:38 

Do you just know about Jesus, or do you really know Him?

“The problem isn’t knowledge. The problem is that you can have knowledge without having intimacy. In fact, knowledge can be a false indicator of intimacy.”
Page 44  Idleman
“Instead of describing a relationship where I truly knew Jesus, I would have told you what I knew about Jesus. But when there is knowledge without intimacy, you’re really no more than a fan.” Page 46 Idleman

“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain,
and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.”
Genesis 4:1

“He didn’t know that the visiting rabbi sitting at his table was the promised Messiah that he had spent countless hours studying about. “ Page 48 Idleman
“It’s hard to imagine what it would take for her to walk into that courtyard. But she is so focused on Jesus that she forgets about herself. She is desperate to express the love and affection she feels for him. What she does next is reckless, it’s impulsive, it’s inappropriate, and it’s exactly the kind of follower Jesus wants.” Page 49 Idleman
“In the end the religious leader with all the knowledge is the fan, and the prostitute who intimately expressed her love for Jesus is shown to be the follower.” Page 49-50  Idleman

Who am I most like in the story?

Serve the People (John 13:1-14)

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John the 13th chapter, shows our Lord and savior interacting with His disciples at the Passover Meal.  This meal, would be there last Passover Meal, and also last gathering as the 12 and Jesus before the Cross.  After this meal, He will be kissed and betrayed, accused and beaten, convicted and crucified, and buried in a tomb!  (Of course, that’s not where the story ends).

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Christian Flag

Jesus is getting ready to leave His earthly ministry to return to His heavenly position!  He realizes that He is His moments left with His disciples were few, and thus He positions Himself to teach them one lat lesson, that sums up His mission on earth.  They had seen Him as a Teacher, known Him as a Friend, Honored Him as their Rabi but needed to experience him the Master as Servant.   God wanted to leave for the disciples a legacy that would further the Kingdom and reflect His true nature.  He was not only a teacher preacher and pastor! What brought Him to earth was His calling to Serve through Death on a Cross.

So he mirrored in the Last Supper what He did Spiritually!  “Jesus knew that the father had handed all things over to him, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, he got up from the meal, removed his outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around himself.”  V 3-4

First he took of immortality and put on mortality.  We see this mirrored in the passage as He came down from position of Master and Rabbi, and put on the covering of a lowly servant.  God, in humility, placed himself in a position to serve the creation that should have been serving Him.  He left his throne to experience being His creation.  Making Himself the perfect sacrifice to restore the relationship between God and Man.  In this, God show us that we must be willing to put aside our titles, place aside our accomplishments, look past our accolades and serve each other.

Furthermore, He “poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself.”  V 5-8   He was willing to work!    The scripture lets us know in verse 4, “he got up”.  Not only did He get up, He god up and tied the towel around his waist and then poured the water into the washbasin.  He prepared himself to serve.  He could have washed their feet in His robe, but He wanted them to see the visible image of himself serving in humility, not leaning upon titles or credentials.  See, He knew that the robe did not make him the Messiah, His calling did!   We need people that are willing to work!  We have to many sitting at the table eating, but too few that will wash the feet of others.   Cleaning people takes a sacrifice.  Is requires one to address the sin, filth and shame of the one who has accumulated dirt on their journey, and to cleanse them where they are.  We want people to wash their own feet, but it is the job of the host to clean the feet, being hospitable and caring towards the one in need.

We must fight the culture of the collection plate.  Now, we must pay our tithes and give an offering, but we must understand that some jobs require us and not our money!  Too many of us throw money at problems, when our service is the solution!  God is asking us to roll up our sleeves and to sweat, not to solicit workers to do the job He assigned to you!

After serving, the parallel continues as He places on His robe returns to the Father!   He had completed His mission.  He made the sacrifice, and now our sins are forgiven.  He returns to His throne to sit on the Fathers right hand to be our covering and righteousness.  But leaves for us the lasting impression of His act of service.  That being, “you ought to wash one another’s feet.” V. 14  See, God knew that though clean, on this faith journey, a part of our flesh would always be exposed.

Though we are covered in righteousness, we will all sin, and will need to be restored.  In heaven, God requires us to repent, and in that, forgiveness is applied via the Blood covenant.  But on earth, God knew that our relationship would need more than the Blood to stay harmonious.  God wanted us to see the importance of forgiveness and restoration from His very hands.  Despite His example, many of us find ourselves condemning our brothers.  We find ourselves casting aside God’s children.  We sever ties from those who have offended us and or committed offenses against Christ.

We must see in this that Jesus washed all 12 Disciples feet; including Judas!  He addressed this fact in V.11 when He told Peter, “…not everyone of you…” referring to being cleaned.  Thus, if Jesus is willing to wash the feet of Judas, we are expected to do nothing less than the example He provided for us to reach.

#PastorJDO3