Thursday, February 11, 2016

That's a Good Choice

I just sat down at the coffee shop to get in some reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic. Wait! I don't have to do that anymore! So just some reading and writing.

I ordered an oatmeal-raisin cookie and a small cup of brewed coffee. "Oh, that's a good choice! Those go so good together." The barista is probably trained to say something like that no matter what I order. But it made me feel good about my order.

"That will be $4.22, please."

I looked at my app and I had $4.34 on it. Turns out I did have to do some math. Let's see…$4.22 is greater than or less than $4.34?

Somebody needs to give me a gift card!

I wonder how often a person who makes a decision in our churches gets the kind of enthusiastic encouragement I got at the coffee shop today. Or do we just shake their hands, hug their necks, and let them drift along.

I bought a truck six weeks ago. It's not new. It's not exactly what I was looking for except for the price. But John made me feel like I had just made a great decision. So there has been no buyer's remorse.

So do the people who make decisions about their relationship with Jesus and following him feel buyer's remorse? They shouldn't because those are decisions that are the best in the world. Nothing can top that!

But if we don't help them along in their journey of following Jesus then problems can set it. If we do little or nothing to help them they may decide to just quit the church or quit Jesus.

Do you have an arm around a new believer helping them walk with Jesus? What are you doing to help them? You should realize that helping a new believer may be one of the greatest things you can do today.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Be Encouraged

I guy I know bought a new, nice truck. A big truck. It doesn't have an alarm and he would like to have one for this new, nice, big truck. He posted a picture the other day of the truck with two big, mean-looking dogs tied to it. That's his alarm until he can get one installed.

Figuring out how to do something in a new or different way is a good trait to have. Sometimes bailing wire, duct tape, and WD-40 aren't the fix your situation needs.

Serving a church is like that, sort of.

We have a tendency to do things like we've always done them. And if something goes wrong the fix is the same old fix. More of the same stuff that often brought you to your current situation.

Even the "new" fixes are often just duct tape with a new design. It looks new, different. But it accomplishes nothing different.

Then there are those folks that take a big swing at it. Like the baseball player that isn't hitting well so he just swings harder. Or kicks his leg higher. Or waggles his bat more. Or revamps the whole swing. Church leaders like to do that, too.

Paul wrote a letter to Timothy. Two of them, in fact. The aging apostle was preparing his young protege for ministry on his own. In 2 Timothy 4:2-5 Paul gives this advice that was good then and is still good today. The warning applies today, too.

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

No matter what, preach the Word. When the people respond, preach the Word. When the people don't, preach the Word. When ministry is noticeably effective, preach the Word. When you can't tell, preach the Word. When the message is welcomed, preach the Word. When the message is rejected, preach the Word.

I don't have answers to all the questions a church leader may have. But I do know this: preaching the Word is always right.

So be encouraged, Pastor! Even when you don't know what to do you can be sure that faithfully preaching the Word will help.