Monthly Archives: October 2021

How to have Abounding Energy

1. Read your Bible everyday and spend time memorizing and meditating on the Word of God. I spend 30 minutes reading and 30 minutes memorizing every day, with only 6 or 7 misses a year. The Bible mentions over 50 blessings that come into the life of the person who spends time in the Word of God and one of those blessings is energy and strength. Most of what we term energy is emotional, mental and spiritual, not physical in nature. What sucks the energy out of us isn’t work or business, it is anxiety, fear, and worry. Psalms 119:165 says, “those who love Your Word have great peace and nothing causes them to stumble.” Those who faithfully read, study, memorize and meditate on God’s Word honor Him, and those who honor Him, He honors.

2. Spend time with God praying every day using a prayer journal so that your mind doesn’t wander and you don’t fall asleep. If you are faithful to a regular time and place it will become a habit. You can start out with five minutes each day and then gradually add a minute every month or so until you are up to 15 minutes. You can certainly do more but many bog down after fifteen minutes. During your prayer time ask God for strength. The more you ask the more He gives.

Isaiah 40:29-31 He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

3. Be involved in some kind of ministry that is accomplishing significant things for God. God loves to give His strength and power to those who are serving Him, but He does not give His power to lazy people. The more you serve God the more strength, energy , and passion He will give you.

More tomorrow

Self-leadership

Any group of people who are without good leadership will soon be out of control, and a series of bad decisions will be made by those in that group of people that will negatively impact all in the group. That is a basic law of life. The group might be a family, a business, a sports network, a church, a cultural group within a country or the whole country. A major problem in the United States today is that the number of good leaders has dropped appreciably. I am not talking about people with power as a result of being made a boss or having won an election, but regular people who have convictions, high moral standards, vision, good ideas, and know how to influence their work place, their community, their family, their church, and an ever growing sphere of people positively.

Leadership is a skill that is first learned and then earned by integrity and faithfulness. Strong, visionary, moral leaders have become effective by learning lessons progressively that they have put into practice in their life. If the number of these kind of leaders increases then the United States will turn around, and if the number continues to decrease the state of being out of control will continue to get worse and worse.

The first stage of leadership development in the life of any person is learning and acquiring the principles, the skills, and the self-control to effectively lead ourselves. No person will ever be a positive influence on others until they can lead themselves. People who have become effective self-leaders soon influence a growing number of people in a variety of ways.

One of the most effective tools available to us for self-leadership is goal setting. A goal is our personal vision statement, a target for what we want to accomplish and become in our life. The implementation and accomplishment of our goals requires self-leadership, and the more we set goals and successfully accomplish them the more skilled we will have become at self-leadership.

Most people don’t set goals. It is to much of a bother. It requires to much self-discipline. It takes to much effort and time. It seems to me that the desire to be in control of our own life instead of our flesh, the world, and the devil would be enough to motivate us to take the time and make the effort to set goals, even a few and pursue them.

Motives

I want to do good things for the right reasons, it is so easy to do all the right things for all the wrong reasons, and not even know it. I can slip over to being a people impresser easily, and become consumed by the desire for praise from people, and be totally motivated by pride. When that happens I get tired because the Holy Spirit in me is grieved and not working in me. When I stop serving the Lord to sense His pleasure I get grumpy because His joy is a major reward when serving with right motives. As I pay attention to myself and how I am thinking I can catch myself before I lose to many rewards.

Matthew 6:1 Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.

The Rapture

My birthday is in two weeks and I am looking forward to it because all my kids, son-in-laws, daughter-in-laws and 27 grandchildren will be here. It is going to be a wonderful time. But more than any other event I am looking forward to the Rapture. The word rapture comes from the Latin word raptura which is the Latin translation of the Greek word translated “caught up” in 1Thessalonians 16-17.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

The Rapture as an event is also described in 1 Corinthians 15:51-53

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.

The Rapture is when Jesus comes and takes us to heaven. If I am alive when it happens the first thing that will happen is I will hear a loud trumpet sound coming from heaven. Then my physical body will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. I wii receive a body like Jesus, no more aches and pains, no more weariness. Then I will hear a loud voice say, “Come up here,” and then I will rise from the ground and meet Jesus in the air with other believers and off we go to heaven.

Every day I think about that event and I plead with Jesus to make it today. Most people are going to be left behind on that day because they aren’t following Jesus as their Savior and Lord.

My confidence in my being part of this great Exodus is what makes all the current events bearable.

How Do I Pray for President Biden?

The Bible commands that we pray for our government leaders.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority,

So exactly what am I supposed to pray for them? I like the prayer David prayed for King Saul in Psalms 108:8-11, and I am tempted to pray it back to God, but that probably isn’t what God had in mind in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 when He commanded me to pray for our government leaders.

Psalms 109:8-11
Let his days be few;
Let another take his office.
Let his children be fatherless
And his wife a widow.
Let his children wander about and beg;
And let them seek sustenance far from their ruined homes.
Let the creditor seize all that he has,
And let strangers plunder the product of his labor.

I pray five things each week for Senators, judges, governors and president.

1. I pray that God would bring about an event strong enough to get their attention, and prompt serious thinking about their decisions, as He did with King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel.

2. I pray that He would bring a godly person into their life who would have some influence in their life, such as Elijah in the life of King Ahab, or like Samuel in the life of King Saul.

3. I pray that God would turn their heart like water in the palm of his hand toward justice in all of their decisions.

4. I pray that God would prevent the devil from influencing them in any way.

5. I pray that God would cause them to have dreams like Pharaoh in the life of Joseph, like Nebuchadnezzar in the life of Daniel, and like Belteshazzar also in Daniel’s life. The dreams were reoccurring and scared the rulers split-less causing them to seek for counsel.

Climate Change

Revelation 16:8-9 The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory.

There is a lot of climate change mentioned in the Bible, but in every instance, it is God-caused, not man-caused or, I might add, not even man prevented or cured. What can man do about tornados? Nothing, just wring their hands. What can man do about hurricanes? Nothing, just build dikes. What can man do about earthquakes? Nothing, just get under the table. Man can’t do a whole lot about anything, they can’t even fix the problems they really did cause, like the present and coming economic crisis. Now, when man tries to fix something, it just gets worse and worse.

Psalms 2:1-5 Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!” He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury.”

In the midst of all that is happening around us, I just trust the Lord. He is in control, and He knows what He is doing. I am riding a roller coaster and enjoying every minute of the crazy ride.

Columbus Day

There is a lot of stupid politics going on today about everything that is good, Christian, traditional, and American. One of those is the call by some to cancel Colombus Day and change it to “Indigenous People’s Day. “

Democratic Rep. Nydia Velázquez of New York described the Italian explorer as “a genocidal maniac,” and went on to say, “Today should just be IndigenousPeopleDay.”

When I was a kid I picked up many heroes that I admired and wanted to be like. Some of them were real people that I knew, but many were historical people that I learned about in school and in history books. One of my heroes was Christopher Colombus. He was on my hero list because he was brave, he had a dream and he went for it, and he did what everyone else was afraid of doing. When I was an Eighth-grader I asked my teacher Mrs Fosmark if she had any books about Christopher Colombus that I could read, and she brought me several that I devoured quickly so she brought me some more. She asked me if I would like to write a paper about Christopher Colombus from what I had learned from my reading. She told me that if it was good enough I would earn an “A” in history. I wrote the paper and entitled it, “Christopher Colombus, the Brave Explorer,” and I got my “A.” She entered it into a State writing contest for me that included kids up through Seniors in High School and I won first place.

Today almost everyone is afraid of COVID or something. In Colombus’s day everyone was afaid of falling off the edge of a flat earth. They were afraid of something that wasn’t true, but it didn’t matter that it wasn’t true, it still restricted their life. Columbus wasn’t afraid and because of his bravery he opened up the world to Europe. Most of the fear that controls and restricts people today is no more true than a flat earth, but it doesn’t matter if it is true or not, it still controls the lives of people

Columbus was a dreamer and he didn’t let the fear of failure keep him tired up to a dock in Europe, and he didn’t let the fear of death keep him from sailing to the edge of the known world and beyond, he pursued his dream. Most people have no dreams, no aspirations to do something great with their life, they are tied to the dock by their fears of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of pain and loss, and fear of death.

Columbus Day is a great day to celebrate and remember not only because of it’s significance in American history, but also because it commemorates the character that made America great in the past.

Teaching and Preaching like Jesus

Matthew 7:28-29 When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

The teaching that Jesus did was compelling, the listeners were anxious to do and live what Jesus taught. That authority is supernatural, it is the Holy Spirit empowering us and working in the hearts and minds of the hearers. The question is, “what will it take on my part for God to give me that same authority that Jesus had.

God blesses those who are faithful, responsible, and diligent in their preparation. Whatever we are teaching on or about, we need to study the passage well or the topic we are dealing with. Studying is so much easier today than when I started as a preacher and pastor. Back in the ’70s and 80’s all my studying was done in books and encyclopedias. I often drove into Corban to use their library because I didn’t own enough books to study some passages or topics well.

Now with the internet I can sit in my recliner and look up information on every topic under the sun and include it in my sermon.

But even with the internet diligence is the character trait that God honors, blesses and works through. Being diligent to study hard, to read the text repeatedly , read commentaries, listen to other sermons on the topic or passage, and to write, write, write.

Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.

2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

1 Timothy 4:16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

I listen to 4 to 6 sermons everyday while I am driving, working by myself, and riding my bike. I listen to sermons by those preachers and teachers I most want to be like. I listen for what makes them good preachers and I try to learn from them.

How to Speak Effectively pt 2

Record your sermons and lessons that you have taught and listen to them, and become your own worst critic. I listen to the sermons I preach and evaluate what my strengths and weaknesses are. I will often replay a section repeatedly as I try to figure out what doesn’t sound right to me. I listen for enunciation and speed to determine if I can be understood easily. I ask myself if I am boring and what I can do in my delivery to jazz up my preaching a bit. I want God to anoint my preaching and for Him to speak through me. I know that God amplifies our diligence in preparation and evaluation so I try to give Him plenty to amplify. I know that God blesses the humble, and listening to my sermon is one of the most humbling things I do.

Pray, pray, and pray some more. I read books written by the early church fathers, and the main emphasis they made on improving preaching is to pray a lot asking God to anoint, and to work in the lives and hearts of those listening. Many of them emphasized the need for the time spent in praying to equal the time spent studying. I pray for everyone in JBC every week. The ones who are in my leadership classes I pray for several times each week asking God to speak through me into their lives. In a couple of weeks when the Wednesday night service has been going long enough to make a list of regular attendees I will pray for each of them on Wednesday before the service. I am also in the process of making a list of people at Buena Vista Community Church where I am preaching on Sunday mornings. The more I pray the more God works in my preaching. Nothing communicates to God and ourselves that we can’t preach and teach the Word of God without His blessing and strength as much as prayer does.

On one particular Sunday morning I preached what I thought was the worst sermon that I had ever preached in my life. I was so disgusted with myself and embarrassed at my efforts that I wanted to slip out without talking to anyone. But I forced myself to walk out into the foyer to talk to people. The first person I talked to raved about my sermon. I thought they were just making up praise because they didn’t want me to feel bad because of the bomb I had just unloaded on them. But then another person said the same thing, and another, and another. I received more praise that morning for my sermon than I could ever remember receiving before. Patty and I have a deal to help eliminate conflict in our marriage, she doesn’t say anything negative or critical about my preaching for at least three days until I am less sensitive about it. But that morning on the drive home from church I mentioned what happened, and she agreed with me that it was the worst sermon I had ever preached. I asked her why I got so much positive feedback from people then, and she said, “That is easy, it left your mouth bad but God fixed it before it hit people’s ears.” I laughed out loud at her simple explanation, and thought, wow, prayer is powerful.

Tell good stories that illustrate the points being made in the sermon or talk. I work very hard at telling good stories. I am always thinking of every event in my life as a potential story. I read lots of short stories written by the best to learn the secrets of engaging storytelling. I have subscribed to several online classes on learning how to tell captivating stories. Over the years I have written and saved hundreds of stories so that I have them available to put into a sermon or lesson that I may teach. Good stories, that are well told have great power to hold people’s attention but poorly told stories are worse than no story at all.

Tomorrow

How to Teach Effectively

I have a class that I teach on how to teach and preach effectively. In the first class I shared some basic principles that I was taught year’s ago. I have tried to follow these over the years as I have had the goal of getting better, just a little bit better every time I speak.

1. Always be learning. A basic law of God is that people learn from a learner not a know it all. Once a person thinks they have it all figured out they stop learning and they stop teaching effectively. Learners read a lot, they listen to good teachers and preachers, and they seek counsel and advice from wise people in their life. Learners are constantly expanding the breadth of their knowledge-seeking. A teacher and preacher of the Bible can spend all their time studying and learning from the Bible but if he learns how to tie flies, learns how to weld, learns Spanish, learns how to grow blueberries, and many other things his teaching will become much more alive and interesting.

Proverbs 2:2-5
Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will discern the fear of the Lord
And discover the knowledge of God.

2. Learn how to write well. I read a lot of books, but I buy three times as many books as I read. When I start to read a book that I have purchased I give it one chapter to prove to me that it is a good book worth the time it takes to read it. If it doesn’t hold my attention well, then I throw it away or delete it if it is a Kindle or e-book. I want to learn how to write so that I hold people’s attention as they read, so I will only read books that do that to me so that I become a better writer by reading good writing,

A fundamental law of communication is that the better you write the better you will teach. As I write my daily blog I am constantly going back over and rereading what I wrote to determine if it makes sense, if it is clear, if it is logical, and if I think it will hold people’s attention as they read it.

A cool thing about the program that I use to write and publish my blog online is that it gives me a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly count of how many people read my blog. As I look at the numbers, it gives me the motivation to learn how to write better and to work at my writing harder.

More tomorrow.