Tag Archives: John 12

A Trip to the 7-Eleven

chick saturday

We don’t have a 7-Eleven in our neck of the woods, nor any other large chain of stores. We’re about as rural as rural gets before it gets to frontier. You can’t always “have it your way” in Calhoun County, West Virginia, sometimes you can’t even get it! It’s a small price to pay though in my opinion to live in a neighborhood where everyone knows everyone and when the emergency services scanner goes off with directions to a home, somebody around those parts knows who to pray for. But another fact of life in our area is there’s little anonymity, possibly none.

As I read about the Corinthians that Paul had written to, anonymity wasn’t the case for their sins either.

Sometime around the middle of the first century, Paul traveled to spread the word of God at which time he traveled to Corinth. The level of wickedness in Corinth was as bad or worse than America, if you can even imagine it. A check list of issues was

  • Pagan altars
  • Idol worship
  • Worship of other gods
  • Prostitution
  • Blatant sin
  • Rejection of God
Hmm… Sound familiar?

The Jewish population of Corinth rejected Paul’s teachings, so the apostle turned his efforts to the Gentiles and thus the church of Corinth was born. One of the many sins of that day today was the lack of morality. Men and women alike did not honor their marriage and even weak members of the church were involved in affairs on a regular basis. But repentance did come for many.  Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 7:11  –  For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

A lesson in life from the 7-Eleven. We all struggle with sins and temptations, some to a greater degree than others, especially if your exposure to sin has been greater, then there’s more tools in Satan’s tool box to work against you. But here in this text we find the “overcomer’s club!” They’d fought the battle and won the victory.

Because of their:

The godly sort – the repentance of the Corinthians was genuine. And with it brought evidence of their desire to live for Christ.

Carefulness – to avoid the sins that had drawn them in and away from God. Oh that we would be more careful to avoid the pitfalls of sin through the company we keep and the exposure to multi forms of media. Sin is everywhere… oh be careful little eyes what you see, for the Father up above is looking down in love, oh be careful little eyes what you see.

Clearing yourself – That carefulness to avoid sin, and striving for a relationship with God brings a clearing of the air! There is nothing between you and the Holy One in Heaven.

Fear – A godly fear. A fear of falling back into the ways of sin that so “easily beset us.” God puts that fear in us because He knows without it we’d be prey daily.

Vehement desire – He also put within us a desire to know and serve the living God. You generally don’t know what it is until you’ve found it. But I believe there is a hole in the heart of every non-believer that draws them to the throne of God. They may reject it, but God said He would be lifted up to all men. John 12:32 says –And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

Zeal – Salvation and repentance brings a zeal, a fervor that can only be satisfied by telling the world about Jesus.

Revenge – The ultimate revenge against Satan is a soul on fire for Christ that robs him of the opportunity to steal other souls from God.

Clear of that matter – we cannot work for salvation. But we work to draw out minds into the goodness and wholesomeness of God and away from the sins of the world that will find us clear of the matter. I envision a long spiraling climb and finally reaching the peak of the mountain to where you can see clear from above… oh Glory… to be in that spot. Above the sin and reproach that Satan loves to lay at our feet.

March on Christian soldiers! Love ya! If   I encourage, please! share my blog with others.
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Organic Christianity… keeping it real in the youth ministry

Organic Christianity…Something the Pastor said in passing yesterday that has been stuck in my mind and obviously needs to go from pen to paper. Pricey organic foods are all the rage in healthy eating, although for the most part I have to wonder if it’s merely a difference in labeling than foods, and no different than the others on the shelf. I’m not real trusting of marketers. I’m even less trusting of many who share the gospel; one of the many reasons I’m a KJV (King James Version) girl. Just give me the basics. Is that not what organic is… just the basics. No additives or preservatives, its good just like it’s grown!

At a youth leadership meeting yesterday our discussion was around ways to improve the youth ministry, it’s always a subject of debate on ways to engage youth in the service. I was engaged with youth yesterday in the service, my three grandchildren. Curtain climbers that they are… I however was not engaged in the Pastor’s message for the distractions and concerns about the babies distracting others. Children are not born with social graces… it comes in time. I’m not so sure I’ll live that long. Insert grin here.

But the debate is, how do we change how we’re serving the Lord and keep the basics?

Luke 9:34-35; a portion of the scripture of the transfiguration of Christ says “While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.”

According to commentary the appearance of Moses and Elijah symbolically represented the law and the prophets. But God’s voice from heaven – “Listen to Him!” – clearly showed that the law and the prophets must give way to Jesus. The One who is the new and living way is replacing the old – He is the fulfillment of the Law and the countless prophecies in the Old Testament. Also, in His glorified form they saw a preview of His coming glorification and enthronement as King of kings and Lord of lords.

The disciples never forgot what happened that day on the mountain when they saw the new Jesus, yet He was still the basic. He was still the same, yet visibly different; God doesn’t change. That’s what I want to see happen in our youth ministry. I want it the same, yet visibly different. I don’t want to get away from the King James Bible, or reverence of God’s house; after all a youth program should be a training ground for servants, not an entertaining ground ~ but there’s nothing wrong with something new! The problem with new is it pushes us out of our comfort zone, but I’m not really the expert on that because I have the personality that embraces “new.” I do however understand that everyone does not, and as a leader I have to be considerate of that and make “new” softer and flexible if I want an excellence in the ministry for which I’ve been called to serve in. Because it’s not about me, it’s about everyone.

Shane Duffy’s definition of excellence in the ministry is found in John 12:24

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

Excellence is giving up something good for yourself to provide something great for someone else. Youth ministry is not for everyone, but it’s for someone. It’s a sacrificial ministry. And there have been times that I have felt as if I was sacrificed on the altar of insanity. It’s those times when people who have not been called to the ministry look at you like your crazy and say… “you want to do what with the kids?” Let me rephrase my statement about the youth ministry not being for everyone. It is for everyone, but in different capacities. If it’s your church you’re either a part of it, a supporter of it, lest you be a hindrance to it. It’s important that there are multiple people with multiple ideas involved else you get someone like me that goes to the extreme.

Perry Noble in a recent leadership podcast said this about extravagance….

Excellence is the overflow of attention and hard work where Extravagance is something you buy so it looks like there was hard work involved. If the average person doesn’t notice the difference, what we’re using becomes a toy, not a tool. We need to makes sure that what we’re using is a tool to reach people for Christ, not a toy to entertain. Spend money on what matters, otherwise it’s extravagance.

I love that! I needed that!

Because I love toys in the ministry. I like shiny things and far too often they’re just attention getters and take my eyes off Christ. If we want something new, it needs to be for the basic concept of drawing young people into a relationship with Christ, and families into to the church. Just the basics… organic, grounded in the gospel Christianity…. With perhaps a side of bling…

Hope this helped you… it sure helped me today!