God expects us as Christians to take risks while doing His work. I would suggest the same is true at the level of the local congregation. I’m talking about the risk of failure. How ambitious are we in the plans we have to do work for God? Do we trust that things will be okay even if we try hard and mess up? This, I think, is a part of faith that requires maturity — the faith that God will stick with us even if we don’t succeed by our standards.
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With the arrival of a new year, new resolutions and plans appear in the mind. It’s good to reevaluate one’s goals and objectives, analyze past performance, and plan for better results.
Usually, plans made at the new year tend to be ambitious. The exercise gyms, for example, have their best attendance in January. That’s understandable. But neither should the small, incremental changes be despised. To borrow the language of Zechariah, let us not despise the day of small things, or as NET puts it, “small beginnings” Zech 4.10.
Sometimes it’s easier for us to nudge up our efforts in small ways than by big changes. Tweaks can often accomplish more than drastic measures. (More …)
God loves you, regardless. His commands are conditions to enjoy his presence, for he is holy and whoever approaches him must be purified through obedient faith in the blood of Christ. His commands are not requirements for love. He loved you before you sinned, and after. It is his love that reaches out to you and invites you to obedience. His love comes before your obedience, not after.
Humans make behavior a condition of love. To earn love you must do this or that, or be perfect in some way. God does not do this. His commands put us in a position to receive forgiveness. His commands are themselves an expression of his love. (More …)
What an amazing and fearful thought: God never fails! Be it the salvation of the sinner or the judgment of the wicked, his purpose always comes to pass. Man attempts, never knowing if his efforts will succeed or not, Ecc 11.6. God works, always sure of the outcome. He must find our success literature amusing. (More …)
In his once-famous book, Psycho-cybernetics: Creative Living for Today, author Maxwell Maltz wrote about the importance of concentration:
… concentrate creatively on the activity. No one can do it for you. When you play tennis, play tennis. When you are gardening, garden as if it is for the moment the most important thing of your life.
I must warn you that concentration is a process that can be done creatively only if you learn to do one thing at a time—and you learn to do it well before you take on another challenge.
If he is right, and I suspect he is, what does that say for the idea of multitasking? And what does it say for the church that involves itself in more and more activities outside its mission?
What if every member of the congregation were a preacher? Would that make the congregation successful? NO
What if every member of the congregation could sing like a song leader? Would that make the congregation successful? NO
Sometimes we may think that if we could get everyone to do something “big” for the congregation then the congregation would be successful! But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul basically asked, “What if every member of the congregation were an apostle? What if every member of the congregation were a prophet? What if every member of the congregation were a teacher? What if every member of the congregation could work miracles? What if every member of the congregation could heal? What if every member of the congregation could speak in tongues? What if every member of the congregation could interpret? Would that make the congregation successful? NO.”
Some in the congregation thought they were “big time” because they could do “big things” but Paul reminded them that every “little thing” mattered to the congregation’s success. Working together is what makes a congregation successful. Working together as a body is what gets the job done.
Everyone can’t be a foot, or an eye, or a nose – but everybody can be somebody in the body of Christ! And we must not forget that without love we’re no body no matter what somebody thinks; just read the next chapter in its context.
Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.John Wooden, Head basketball coach for the UCLA Bruins
My favorite proverb? Proverbs 3:5-6-NKJV:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
Why? Because our own understanding is not sufficient for successfully living in a sinful environment [earth]. In and of ourselves, we are not capable of directing our own steps (Jeremiah 10:23), therefore, we must align our thinking with God’s thinking (Isaiah 1:18) in order to successfully navigate this life and its many pitfalls.
I am not sure if I have a favorite prophet; I just finished reading Isaiah, and now in Jeremiah. Jeremiah has always been an interesting man to me. I think I was encouraged to give thought to him by other preachers who remarked on him. Through the years, I have come to think the same.
He is interesting to me because he was a prophet of God, though somewhat reluctantly. He was a prophet of God who preached and preached and seemed to have little “success,” if we measure success by the numbers. However, from the Lord’s vantage point – he was most successful.
Preachers today measure success, in part, by the numbers who attend the assembly. Perhaps there some warrant to this. OTH, if the result was the same that Jeremiah experienced, would we consider the preacher “successful”? I relate with this sentiment very well; I wonder.
Whatever your grade or position, if you know how and when to speak, and when to remain silent, your chances of real success are proportionately increased.Ralph C. Smedley, American founder of Toastmasters International (1878-1965)
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I’ve listed a few resolutions on my blog http://mbriley.preachersfiles.com/2009/12/17/suggested-new-years-resolutions-for-2010/. However, if I were to reduce all of those down to one resolution, it would be this one:
To be more like Christ, as the apostle Paul so profoundly stated in Galations 2:20:
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
If I am willing to pattern my life after Christ, I will be spiritually successful this coming New Year.
Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.Booker T. Washington