Charles Stanley – The Main Function of the Church

 

Acts 2:37-47

If someone asked what the primary purpose of the church is, how would you answer? There are many opinions regarding this issue—and since all the activities of the church are vital, it’s a challenge to be definitive about which one is most important. To help us find an answer, let’s see what Scripture says about the first church in Jerusalem, which was born on Pentecost.

Today’s passage describes what happened after Peter gave his first sermon: Many of the Jews believed in Jesus, and the church grew from 120 to around 3,000 people (Acts 1:15; Acts 2:41). From this, we can conclude that preaching about Jesus is an essential activity of the church. But is it the most important?

Next, we see that Christians would come together and focus on the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer. In addition, they met in homes to partake of meals and also shared materially with fellow believers who were in need. These things certainly make a faith community desirable, but there were still other vital activities taking place in the first church.

Love and generosity for one another witnessed powerfully to observers, as did faith and praise of God. Acts 2:47 says the Lord kept adding to the number of believers, so we can say this church had a powerful evangelistic ministry. Then, is that supposed to be the primary focus of the church?

The answer is that all of these things together can be summed up as worship of God and His Son Jesus Christ. And worship is the primary function of the church—as long as these elements are done according to God’s Word and with the purpose of glorifying Him.

Bible in One Year: Job 1-4

 

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Our Daily Bread — Stop

 

Read: Psalm 46 | Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 15–16; John 12:27–50

Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

My friend and I sat in the sand, near the ever-rhythmic ocean. As the sun sank in the distance, wave after wave curled, paused and then rippled toward our extended toes, stopping just short each time. “I love the ocean,” she smiled. “It moves so I don’t have to.”

What a thought! So many of us struggle to stop. We do, do, do and go, go, go, somehow afraid that if we cease our efforts we will cease to be. Or that by stopping we will expose ourselves to the ever-present realities we work to keep at bay.

In Psalm 46:8–9, God flexes His omnipotent muscles, putting His power on display. “Come and see what the Lord has done . . . . He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.” God is a busy God, who works to create calm within the chaos of our days.

And then in verse 10 we read, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Of course it’s possible to know God while running here and there. But the psalmist’s invitation to cease striving beckons us into a different kind of knowing. A knowing that we can stop—and still be—because God never stops. A knowing that it is God’s power that gives us ultimate value, protection, and peace.

Dear God, help me to find my rest in You.

We rest well when we’re in the loving arms and perfect will of God.

By Elisa Morgan

INSIGHT

Psalm 46 has been a source of encouragement to many over the years—including reformer Martin Luther. In fact, he based the classic hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” on this psalm. During times of struggle “when terribly discouraged, he would turn to his co-worker, Philipp Melanchthon, and say, ‘Come, Philipp, let us sing the forty-sixth Psalm’” (Ligonier Ministries, Luther and the Psalms: His Solace and Strength).

This mighty fortress describes the God of strength who is our refuge. And He is also the God who calls us to find our rest in Him. In the New Testament, Jesus personalized that rest when He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). In the midst of the cares and despairs of life, we can stop, be still, and find refuge in God.

Bill Crowder

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Wisdom Hunters – Vocational Fulfillment 

 

When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned.  Genesis 39:3–4

What brings you fulfillment in your work? Is it the sense of accomplishment? Is it the opportunity to encourage someone? Is it the satisfaction of caring for your family? Is it the sense of security from a steady income stream? Your vocational fulfillment flows from a combination of these characteristics and more. When you are fulfilled in your job, you are able to filter through the negatives on the way to the positives.
Be careful not to equate feeling passionate about your position with being fulfilled in your work. Passions ebb and flow around the excitement of a situation, like a start-up when everyone is thinking and working twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. But this passionate breakneck pace is not sustainable. Your career is a marathon, not a sprint. Indeed, if you are absorbed in your work, not constantly glancing at the clock, then perhaps you are in a place of fulfillment.

“He named him Noah and said, ‘He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed’” (Genesis 5:29).

Is it your sense of control over the outcome that draws you to serve where you work? You feel empowered, you are able to expand your skills, and you can make a meaningful contribution in your community as a parent or an employee. Vocational fulfillment flows from a heart engaged in a mission that means something to you and to the Lord.

If Christ has placed you where you are, can you be content to serve Him wholeheartedly? The Almighty’s vocational assignment carries its own sense of satisfaction. Joseph found favor because God placed him in his leadership role. In the same way, use your workplace platform as a launching pad for the Lord. Your ability to support others, offer promotions, and create a caring culture facilitates fulfillment for everyone.

Vocational fulfillment is a faith journey that brings out the best in you and those around you. God blesses the work He assigns. Have you accepted the Lord’s assignment? “From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph” (Genesis 39:5).

What brings me fulfillment in my job? How can I help others find fulfillment in their work?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to work Your work and not be distracted by other good work, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: What area of expertise can I develop in my work so I can be better equipped for my next season of service?

Related Readings: Deuteronomy 15:10; Psalm 90:17; Proverbs 12:11; Colossians 3:24; 1 Timothy 5:8

Worship Resource: 6-minute music video- People and Songs: Bring An Awakening

 

http://www.wisdomhunters.com/

Joyce Meyer – Get Plugged In

 

I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. — John 15:5

In our Christian walk, many times we end up with a lot of principles, formulas, and methods, but no real power. That may be true for teachings on faith, prayer, praise, meditation, Bible study, confession, spiritual warfare, and all the other precepts we have been hearing about and engaging in. They are all good, and we need to know about them, but they alone cannot solve our problems.

It’s important to remember that, as good as these disciplines are, they are only channels to receiving from the Lord. They are of no help unless we are plugged in to the divine power source.

We get plugged in through a personal relationship with God, which requires time. We will never have any real lasting victory in our Christian life without spending time in personal, private fellowship with the Lord. He has an individual plan for you. If you ask Him, He will come into your heart and commune with you. He will teach and guide you in the way you should go.

Learn to respond quickly to the promptings of the Holy Spirit for an intimate relationship with God. Come apart with Him privately, and you will be rewarded in abundance. It is only in the presence of the Lord that we receive the power of the Lord.

Prayer Starter: Father, I can’t do anything without You. Help me to put You first in my life and make a habit of spending time with You. You are truly my one and only Source of joy and fulfillment. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Life-giving Fruit

 

“Godly men are growing a tree that bears life-giving fruit, and all who win souls are wise” (Proverbs 11-30).

“The monument I want after I am dead,” said Dwight L. Moody, “is a monument with two legs going around the world – a saved sinner telling about the salvation of Jesus Christ.”

When a young minister asked the Duke of Wellington whether he did not consider it useless to attempt to evangelize India, the Iron Duke sternly replied:

“What are your marching orders, sir?”

No doubt one of Satan’s greatest weapons of deceit in the world today is that of procrastination. Tomorrow I am going to become a soul-winner. Next month, after an evangelistic training program, I will become a great witness. As soon as I finish seminary or Bible college, I’ll begin sharing the good news of the gospel.

But “today is the day of salvation, now is the accepted time,” declares the Word of God. Sensitivity to God’s Holy Spirit – dwelling within to give me supernatural ability – will enable me to tell others what Christ means to me, and what He has done for me.

In God’s economy, the truly wise person, is that one who is redeeming the time, buying up every opportunity to share his faith, refusing to put off that which he knows should become a natural, every-day, moment-by-moment part of his life. Wonder of wonders, God even promises to put the very words in our mouths, if we ask Him, as we go in His name.

Bible Reading:II Corinthians 5:11-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will do what God leads me to do this day to bear life-giving fruit.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God Made One Version of You

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Da Vinci painted one Mona Lisa. Beethoven composed one Fifth Symphony. And God made one version of you! God custom-designed you for a one-of-a-kind assignment—“to each according to each one’s unique ability” (Matthew 25:15).

“The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others” (1 Corinthians 12:7). Did the apostle Paul say, The Spirit has given some of us?…or a few of us?  No! “The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others.”

You don’t have to do everything! You are not God’s solution to society, but you are a solution in society. Don’t worry about the skills you don’t have. Don’t covet the strengths others do have. Just extract your uniqueness—to God’s glory!

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – My response to the firing of Paige Patterson

I enrolled at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in the fall of 1980. Over the next nine years, I received two degrees from the seminary and taught philosophy of religion there.

Dr. Russell Dilday, president of Southwestern during my time at the seminary, remains one of the most significant mentors in my life. Much at Southwestern has changed since then, but I continue to be grateful for my years at the seminary.

Recent events at SWBTS have generated national headlines. As a Southwestern graduate and former faculty member, I have a personal perspective on this issue. I recognize that many of you are not Baptist, but the topic we will discuss today transcends denominations and is relevant to all believers.

What happened at Southwestern Seminary

Dr. Paige Patterson became president of Southwestern Seminary in 2003. A week ago, the seminary’s trustees responded to escalating criticism of his leadership, especially his statements about women, by voting to change his status to president emeritus. They invited him to reside at the on-campus Baptist Heritage Center as theologian-in-residence and provided ongoing compensation.

His status changed again two days ago.

The trustee board’s executive committee made this May 30 announcement: “New information confirmed this morning was presented regarding the handling of an allegation of sexual abuse against a student during Dr. Paige Patterson’s presidency at another institution and resulting issues connected with statements to the Board of Trustees that are inconsistent with SWBTS’s biblically informed core values.”

As a result, the executive committee “unanimously resolved to terminate Dr. Paige Patterson, effective immediately, removing all the benefits, rights and privileges provided by the May 22–23 board meeting.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – My response to the firing of Paige Patterson