Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Important Components of Christ-Centered Ministry

Last week I handed in an essay for my New Testament Introduction course.  The purpose of the essay was to identify key components of Paul’s ministry, based on his writings in the New Testament, and discuss what components are necessary for someone in ministry today.

I thought it was a great assignment, so I’m sharing the summary list I came up with in my essay.

1.      Paul views himself as an “apostle of Christ” (Rom 1:1, 1 Cor 1:1, 2 Cor 1:1) who is called to preach the gospel.  In his mind he has no choice BUT to preach the gospel.

2.      It is Christ who does the work, not Paul.  Paul realizes the weaker he is, the more he must rely on Christ to accomplish the mission.  “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecution, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong. “  (2 Cor 12:9-10)

3.      Paul feels it is his responsibility to provide ongoing pastoral support to the churches he plants.  He encourages, supports, corrects, and guides them in their Christian journey.  He’s not afraid to speak boldly and truthfully to ensure his converts follow Christ faithfully.

4.      Prayer is a vital part of Paul’s ministry.  Paul prays for the churches and for the spread of the gospel.

5.      He leads by example, demonstrating solid faith in salvation through Jesus Christ.  Paul wants to be a role-model for the churches he plants and strives to live faithfully in Christ.

So what’s important for ministry today? 

In order to hang in there and echo Paul’s sentiments, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Tim 4:7) a sense of divine call or appointment is crucial.  Without the deep-rooted sense that there is nothing else God has called one to, it becomes very easy to leave ministry when things become challenging.

Prayer is essential.  Without a continuous connection to God through Christ and the Holy Spirit, ministry is doomed.  How can a ministry be Spirit led if no one listens to the Spirit?

I’m always amazed by the guts Paul shows in writing his letters.  He doesn’t sugar coat his message.  If he was sending an email the entire body of some of these epistles would be all caps and bolded!  He rants, he raves, he exhorts, he uses sarcasm, and I’m fairly sure he yells in some parts.  He speaks the truth for the good of his congregation.  And he does it because he loves them and genuinely wants what is best for them.

Oh that I could be as courageous as Paul!

What do you think is important for someone in ministry today?  Share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” below.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pure Flix - Do You Believe? - Movie Thoughts

A year ago Pure Flix Entertainment released their movie “God’s Not Dead”; a hit among
Christian movie goers.  This weekend their new movie, “Do You Believe” hits movie screens across Canada and the U.S.

I attended a pre-screening sponsored by 105.9 ShineFM in Edmonton and highly recommend you put this movie on your “must see” list.

Gun fights, car crashes, tear jerking moments, family strife, action, drama; this movie has it all.  Not once did I think, “This is two hours of my life I’ll never get back.”  Trust me there are lots of movies out there where that’s about all I can say about them, but “Do You Believe” isn’t one of them!

“Do You Believe” challenges you to answer real questions.  Do you believe in Jesus Christ?  Do you believe in the power of His death and resurrection?  Do you trust Him for your salvation?

One bit of dialogue stayed with me long after we’d left the theatre.  A first responder leads a dying man to Christ, giving him a small wooden cross.  The cross becomes “exhibit A” in a lawsuit the man’s wife files against the first responder. 

He must make a decision…does he stand up for his belief, or deny his faith to gain the backing of his union.  The prosecuting attorney looks him in the eye and speaks these words, “This cross is gonna cost you.”

“This cross is gonna cost you.”  How true!  Following Jesus doesn’t guarantee a life exempt from pain, sorrow, anguish, heartache, and illness.  Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”  (Matthew 15:24-25 NIV)

The cross will cost you.  The cross will challenge you. 
The cross will save you!

Do you believe?  And if you do…what are you doing about it?

Check out the “Do You Believe” movie trailer and don’t miss this faith challenging movie opening this weekend.