Here’s a quick, powerful lesson on the purpose of financially supporting ministries. At this time of the year, many ministries are asking for your year-end gift. Once you’ve discerned which ministries to support (which I hope includes your church!), you need to make sure you have the right attitude when giving.
Philippians 4:17 says, ““Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.”
Paul made this statement after acknowledging the Philippians’ financial support to his ministry. Here’s the lesson: We give because we want to see fruitful ministry. It’s not about the money we give; our motivation should be the ministry fruit that will be produced.
A perspective for ministries:
Be good stewards. Don’t just seek the gift to say look at what we got, but set your hearts on how to use that money for the most ministry effectiveness.
A perspective for givers:
Don’t boast in your gift (the amount or the fact that you gave). Boast in what the Lord does (the fruit) with the gifts of the faithful.
Let’s be generous and see more ministry fruit!
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By Ryan Strother — 1 year ago
For some reason, God chose to let us be part of his divine plan of redeeming sinners. Without the preaching of the Word of God, people won’t hear, and if they don’t hear, then they won’t believe and then they won’t call upon the name of the Lord (Romans 10:14-15).
Now this isn’t just talking about the formal preaching setting in a church worship service. The word kerusso that is used in Romans 10:15 means to preach, herald, or proclaim. Anyone who has been saved by Christ has the responsibility to proclaim that Good News to others.
You are a herald in your home;
a herald in your workplace;
a herald to your family;
a herald in a classroom at church;
a herald when you are at the store;
All of us are preachers in the sense that we are to herald the Good News.
Romans 10:15 asks how someone will preach unless they’ve been sent. I want you to know that if you are saved by Jesus Christ, then God himself has sent you to proclaim the Good News. This is how it has always been:
- It was the Lord who directed the feet and mouth of Moses and Old Testament prophets as they heralded God’s Word.
- It was the Holy Spirit who came upon Old Testament followers of God to empower them for a mighty work.
- It was Jesus himself who called the original 12 disciples and taught them.
- It was Jesus who told us that He has all authority in heaven and earth and then sent them out to teach all the nations everything he taught them.
- It was Jesus who promised that the Holy Spirit would empower the believers to forever be empowered for the work of evangelism.
- It was the Holy Spirit who came down on that day of Pentecost and indwelled and empowered every believer.
- It is the Holy Spirit who will give you the words to say (Acts 2:15).
So yes, God sends us to proclaim the Good News of salvation to a lost and dying world.
So why are we often so silent?
What needs to change in your life so that you are actively fulfilling Romans 10:15?
Photo by Anna Vander Stel on UnsplashPost Views: 896
By Ryan Strother — 2 years ago
What’s attractive about a buffet restaurant? Everybody gets something they want.
Growing up, my family would actually drive an hour to a Ryan’s Steakhouse for special occasions with my grandparents because of steak on the buffet.
I remember many mornings having breakfast at the Ponderosa in town with Grandpa. We never had to twist his arm to go there. He could get his bacon and eggs while I got those cinnamon french toast sticks with strawberry sauce.
School field trips would often end up at a Golden Corral, and after our high school football team won the state championship, where did we go? The Western Sizzlin! And just about destroyed it…
Everybody gets what they want.
Could I argue that religion today is like a buffet restaurant? It’s about making everybody happy. Everybody gets what they want. But when you’re talking about faith and belief, there is much more at stake than the spreading of germs and food poisoning. Your very soul is at stake.
I recently started preaching through the book of Judges. I introduced the concept of religious pluralism because we see it among the Israelites in the period of the Judges as well as today.
“Religious pluralism is the belief that every religion is true. Each provides a genuine encounter with the Ultimate. One may be better than the others, but all are adequate.” (Norman L. Geisler, “Pluralism, Religious,” Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 598.)
Just like a buffet of food where you go down the line and think all of this might fill me up, but I’ll pick certain items because I like them better, pluralism would say any of these religions and ideas might give me some kind of satisfaction, but let me pick the ones I like best.
This is a perilous pursuit! Dictionary.com defines peril as “something that causes or may cause injury, loss, or destruction.”
If we don’t follow The Truth, our very soul is in danger of eternal damnation in the torment of hell.
Maybe CS Lewis says it better: “An open mind, in questions that are not ultimate, is useful. But an open mind about ultimate foundations either of Theoretical or Practical reason is idiocy. If a man’s mind is open on these things, let his mouth at least be shut.” (C. S. Lewis quoted in Credenda Agenda, Volume 4/Number 5, p. 16)
In my next two posts, I’ll explore two specific consequences of religious pluralism. For now, I hope you’ll think about the truth to which you are subscribing in your life. Have you considered the truth of Christ, the ultimate Truth, that points out the reality in our life (our sin) and gives us the only way to find rescue from this depraved condition?
I hope you’ll understand this Truth and experience it yourself.Post Views: 1,236
By Ryan Strother — 2 years ago
Don’t miss the simple, obvious truths when you read the Bible. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “28Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Some might ask: how is Jesus’ yoke easy and his burden light? They might equate Jesus’ yoke with unattainable religious rules that restrain their freedom.
Here’s the simple, obvious truth: Jesus’ yoke is easy because you are yoked to Jesus.
One alternate yoke is religious regulations.
The context of the passage in Matthew 11 is Jesus talking about salvation. At that time, Jewish people sought salvation and the pursuit of righteousness by keeping God’s Law. The Pharisees had deceived people into playing the part of being outwardly religious while being morally rotten on the inside (Matt. 23:27-28).
Romans 8:3 tells us that God did what the Law could not do–sending His Son to condemn sin in the flesh so that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled. So, while the Mosaic Law had its purpose, Jesus’ work on the cross is necessary for us to become righteous.
Some people are religious but are relying on their own strength to get by in this world. Man-made rules cannot fully restrain your sinful desires and can not fulfill or satisfy you. That’s a burdensome yoke.
Another alternate yoke is sin’s bondage.
All people are born into sin; therefore, all are in bondage to sin until they trust in Jesus to save them. John tells us that God’s commands are not burdensome because everyone who has been born of God (saved) has overcome the world (1 John 5:3-4).
In other words, if you are saved by Christ, you now live free from the bondage of sin and live in the freedom Christ offers to pursue righteousness. It’s like John is saying, you already know a burdensome yoke–the bondage of sin in the ways of this world–and Jesus frees you from that!
If you think God’s commands are burdensome, then you do not understand the futile burdens of the world’s ways. Yet we open ourselves and willingly yoke ourselves to them. That’s a burdensome yoke.
Jesus’ Yoke Is Easy
He did the work to make us righteous and He enables us to live in freedom from sin through the Holy Spirit. A yoke was used to keep animals in step together to accomplish a purpose. You are always moving closer toward eternity as you navigate life. The question you need to ask is what yoke am I wearing to find eternal significance in my life?
You can choose difficult yokes: religious demands or the world’s ways. Or you can choose Jesus, who accomplished what you could not (your redemption from sin) and who gives you what you do not have (strength from the Holy Spirit), so that you can navigate life in freedom and with a great hope lying ahead. That’s an easy yoke.Post Views: 787