Andrew + Di 10:00-3:00pm

The Word For Today

Encourage your pastor

'Honour...your leaders in the Lord's work.' 1 Thessalonians 5:12 NLT

If you want to encourage your pastor: (1) Cut the criticism. Most workers are evaluated each year based on their job performance; pastors are evaluated every week. Remember, if a particular sermon doesn't scratch where you itch, chances are somebody else needs to hear it. (2) 'Remember your leaders who taught you the Word' (Hebrews 13:7 NLT), and pray for their spiritual growth. Goethe said, 'If you treat a person as he is, he'll stay that way. But if you treat him as what he ought to be, he'll become what he ought to be and could be.'

(3) Write a note. Especially when something your leader says or does ministers to you. Verbal encouragement is good, but a note can be read many times over. (4) Put your talents to work. For example, if you're mechanically inclined, service the pastor's car. If you're technologically savvy, help them improve their computer skills. Instead of saying, 'You need to do this,' say, 'I'd like to help by doing.' Ask where your skills are most needed and become an active participant. (5) Squash gossip. James said, 'If you...don't control your tongue...your religion is worthless' (James 1:26 NLT). Counter negative talk with positive comments, and correct misinformation with truth. If all else fails - walk away!

(6) Be openly responsive. Nothing encourages leaders like seeing people respond to their preaching and teaching. (7) Lose the measuring stick. Instead of expecting them to be a mirror image of their predecessor, thank God for your pastor's individual style to minister to those in need.

Soulfood: Gen 35-36 Luke 9:57-62 Ps 149 Pro 4:25-27,


There's no substitute

'Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.' James 4:8 NKJV

Author Reimar Schultze writes:

'No man can become much like God, accomplish much for God, be intimate with God, be used much of God, unless he has learned to be much alone with God...and what a classroom you'll find yourself in. You won't become a carbon copy of other Christians, because there'll be no one in the class but you and God. In church you can say, "This isn't for me; perhaps it's for someone else"...Here time is designed to meet your particular needs, to equip you in your unique fine-tune draw the foolishness out of you...and mould you into his likeness. He may start with a chisel, but eventually he will only need sandpaper...Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice and...follow me" (John 10:27 NKJV). He'll not only teach you to hear his voice...he'll show you what's hindering you from hearing it. He'll teach you as quickly as you surrender to him, yet slowly enough so you don't miss a lesson. He'll teach you what it means to be yoked together with him and to walk at his pace and in his time. Of course the devil will fight you every step of the way. He'll give you rational and religious excuses to delay [but you don't have to act on them]. Resist him! He's a liar and a deceiver...There's a price to be paid for neglecting God. Some have lost children and grandchildren to the world, endured hardships, disappointments, financial crisis, and marital breakups...Some of our lives revolve around getting ahead, instead of getting around God...Repent and start doing the right thing now - you'll never regret it.'

Soulfood: Gen 32-34 Luke 9:46-56 Ps 145:14-21 Pro 4:23-24,


That's the good news

'Where sin increased, grace increased...more.' Romans 5:20 NIV

Bill Wilson and Bob Smith, co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, once visited a lawyer who was a hardened alcoholic. Confined to bed because of violent behaviour, the man had no choice but to listen to their stories of recovery. But as soon as they started talking about a 'Higher Power', the lawyer shook his head and said, 'It's too late for me. I still believe in God but I know he no longer believes in me.' How sad - and misguided!

Are you worried that God won't accept you because of your sins? You don't have to be! Paul says, 'Where sin increased, grace increased...more' (Romans 5:20 NIV). And he should know, because before his Damascus Road conversion he was 'the worst sinner' (see 1 Timothy 1:15). Afterwards God used him to reach the world with the gospel (see Acts 17:2). 'Grace' was so central to Paul's message that he mentions it in the very beginning of all his Epistles. That's because he understood that by trying to stand on your own merit before a Holy God, every time you mess up you feel like a failure - unloved, unworthy, and unaccepted.

Psychologists say we try to conform to the image of us that's seen by the most important person in our lives. So can you imagine what would happen if you started seeing yourself as God sees you? The truth is, you're his redeemed child and he sees you through the blood of Jesus, which cleanses all your sins (see 1 John 1:9). There's nothing you can do to make God love you more, and nothing you can do to make him love you less! And that's the good news!

Soulfood: Gen 30:25-43 Gen 31:1-55 Luke 9:37-45 Ps 145:1-13 Pro 4:20-22,

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