Cross found on all donkeys' backs?
There is legend that the crosses on these donkeys appeared after Jesus rode one into Jerusalem (read Matthew 21:1-11). There is no evidence that this is true. The dark stripe in the form of a cross was a trait in these donkeys long before Jesus lived. However, the fact that Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem is very important. It fulfilled a prophecy that was spoken 500 years before Jesus lived, and showed He was the Messiah (read Matthew 21:5 and Zechariah 9:9).
Dear Prayer Partners
1} President Obama and his advisors
2} the men & women serving in our armed forces and their families
3} Bobby- a missionary in Haiti who was flown back to the states with a broken back
4} Holly- recently gave birth to a son
5} Hailey- has Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is unable to work due to it
6} Margo- recovering from a stroke
7} Dan- has Leukemia & an inoperable brain tumor, the tumors in his stomach and lung have been removed successfully
8} Christine- recently gave birth by an emergency C-section and her new son is in critical condition
9} Living Waters A/G looking for a youth pastor with a vision to reach the youth
10} Dennis- having problems breathing
11} The Holm Family- death of a loved one from cancer
12} The DeRien Family- death of a loved one
13} The Fraley family- death of a loved one
14} Eugene- is battling cancer
15} Schimmica- husband is having an affair
16} Kevin- has some serious dental problems and is recovering from emergency oral surgery
17} Faith- is hospitalized after a heart attack and partial amputation of right foot, has a serious infection in heart, lungs and kidneys and is back on dialysis
18} Chantella- is expecting her 1st baby in the spring
19} Julianne- having difficulty with her pregnancy
20} Marc- family problems
21} Tom- problems with weight control
22} Achan- has HIV, an infection in her lungs and gall bladder is shutting down
23} Rick- has bulging disc in his back
24} Noah- a toddler having complications from heart surgery, has a very high fever
25} Frank- fighting depression
26} Gloria- hospitalized after passing out at work
27} Chaplain Sam- recovering from eye surgery
28} Chaplain Jay- preparing for a missionary trip to Uganda next year
29} For all the unspoken and personal requests that people have
30} For us at Highway Mission Outreach that we will continue have the doors opened to share the gospel and the needed finances to carry out the ministry of the mission and as we plant The Cross-Roads Chapel
31} For Michael Frankland, Gill Ainsworth, Mark Ainsworth, Tracy Ainsworth, Tony Wood, Eileen Walsh, and Elaine - break down strongholds in their lives
Opening Our Hearts to God
Psa. 19:14 - May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable before You, O Jehovah, my rock and my Redeemer.
Acts 13:22-23 - And when He had deposed him, He raised up David for them as king, to whom also He testified and said, I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man according to My heart, who will do all My will. (23) From this man's seed, God, according to promise, brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus.
~~~~~ Words of Ministry ~~~~~
Both of the above passages are related to David. Psalm 19:14
is a prayer of David, while Acts 13:22-23 is a description of
David. In David's prayer, there are the “words of my mouth”
and the “meditation of my heart,” or the thoughts of the
heart. He prayed that he would not only be kept in his words
outwardly, but also be acceptable to God in his thoughts
inwardly. The words of the mouth are an expression of the
thoughts of the heart. The heart is the root problem.
Whether or not one outwardly says the right words is not the basic problem. Whether or not one has an outward attitude in his speaking that is right is also not the basic problem. The
thoughts of the heart are the basic problem. The thoughts of
the heart constitute the root problem and cannot be overlooked. David did not merely pray, “God, may the words of my mouth be acceptable before You.” He added to the prayer, “May the meditation of my heart be acceptable before You.”
David's prayer was for the thoughts of his heart to be
acceptable before God. This is why Paul could later testify
that David was a man according to the Lord's heart. A person
who is according to God's heart allows God to touch his heart. If you will not allow God to touch your heart, it will be hard for you to be one who is according to His heart.
Many Christians ask, “Why is it wrong for me to do this? Why
is it wrong for me to say this? Why is it wrong for me to
express myself this way?” Brothers and sisters, whether or
not you are doing the right thing, saying the right thing, or
expressing yourself the right way is not the real problem.
Rather, is your heart right when you are doing such a thing,
saying such a word, or expressing yourself in such a way?
What is the condition of your heart? What is the condition of
the root? Even if you are right in every outward thing, it is
still possible for your heart to be wrong. God is touching the condition of your heart and asking about it. He allows many winds and waves to beat upon His children for this very reason.
He uses these things to touch your heart and to expose the condition of your heart.
By C.H. Spurgeon
"For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called" (Isaiah 54:5).
JESUS, the Redeemer, is altogether ours and ours for ever. All the offices of Christ are held on our behalf. He is king for us, priest for us, and prophet for us. Whenever we read a new title of the Redeemer, let us appropriate Him as ours under that name as much as under any other. The shepherd's staff, the father's rod, the captain's sword, the priest's mitre, the prince's sceptre, the prophet's mantle, all are ours.
Jesus hath no dignity which He will not employ for our exaltation, and no prerogative which He will not exercise for our defence. His fulness of Godhead is our unfailing, inexhaustible treasure-house. His manhood also, which he took upon him for us, is ours in all its perfection. To us our gracious Lord communicates the spotless virtue of a stainless character; to us he gives the meritorious efficacy of a devoted life; on us he bestows the reward procured by obedient submission and incessant service. He makes the unsullied garment of his life our covering beauty; the glittering virtues of his character our ornaments and jewels; and the superhuman meekness of his death our boast and glory. He bequeaths us his manger, from which to learn how God came down to man; and his Cross to teach us how man may go up to God. All His thoughts, emotions, actions, utterances, miracles, and intercessions, were for us.
He trod the road of sorrow on our behalf, and hath made over to us as his heavenly legacy the full results of all the labours of his life. He is now as much ours as heretofore; and he blushes not to acknowledge himself "our Lord Jesus Christ," though he is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Christ everywhere and every way is our Christ, for ever and ever most richly to enjoy. O my soul, by the power of the Holy Spirit, call him this morning, "thy Redeemer."
Thank you for your support and continued prayers for these new believers and this ministry!
In His vineyard,
We Shall Worship the Lord!
By John Piper
Do you delight more and more in the majesty and glory of God? Does your heart incline to worship God more consistently and intelligently and earnestly and intensely today than it did five years ago?
Is your love for your brothers and sisters in Christ abounding more and more so that you use your gifts more and more effectively to strengthen their faith and stir them up to love and good works?
And do you feel a greater burden for the lost? Are your prayers for unbelieving relatives and friends more consistent and earnest? Are your efforts to give a reason for the hope that is in you more bold, less ashamed? Are you becoming a world Christian with a zeal for the final mission thrust of the church to reach the hidden peoples?
If you can answer yes, we are making progress as a church. If not, we are failing in those areas. But at least we have goal and a definite Biblical theology behind it.
But it is not new. Listen to the way another pastor and teacher describes the meaning of membership in the church:
Membership, therefore, involves a personal obligation to promote the objects of the body as expressed in the covenant.
These objects are three:
1. The social, united worship of God...
2. The perpetuation and diffusion of the gospel...
3. The sanctification of its own members...
The church, thus comprehensive in its scope, looks upward to God, outward upon the needs of a lost world, and inward to the processes of sanctification in the souls of its own members; the neglect of any one of these grand objects of its organization imperils its whole design.
This is our philosophy of ministry. The quote is from Hezekiah Harvey, who was born in England in 1821 (The Church, 1879, reprint 1982, pp.35-36.). There is nothing modern or trendy about the priorities of our church. They have been around for two thousand years. They are tried and true, and it shouldn't bother us at all that they are not new.
Friday, August 27, 2010
"I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name." - 1 Cor 1:10-15 (ESV)
As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church there were many issues that were of concern to him, one of which he outlines in this passage, namely division in the Church. He wished to see harmony and unity and was alarmed to hear reports that there were four factions amongst the Church members. The King James Bible states the problem this way, “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.” In considering the four groups a few things come to mind.
The first group he mentions were followers of Paul. Now lets remember who is writing this. It’s Paul! Yet Paul seems just as much concerned that people would follow him blindly as they would anyone else. Paul saw his ministry as a gift to the whole body of Christ, and he was not in this to gain a following, but to point people to Christ. He looks back at his time of ministry in the city and now knowing of these factions is happy when he remembers he did not baptize them, except for the two people he names, Crispus and Gaius. If he had baptized most of the Christian Corinthians (even though doing so would not have violated any Scriptural principle at all) then it might have added fuel to the fire, so to speak, further cementing the ridiculous idea that these Christians are unified by their love for Paul, rather than another prominent Christian leader. Paul wanted the Church to look to Christ alone as the Head and that there be no divisions amongst them, united in the same mind and the same judgment (v. 10).
The second group were followers of Apollos. We are told that he was a very eloquent speaker, mighty in the Scriptures (Acts 18:24). It is easy to see why certain members of the Church might gravitate towards him and enjoy his ministry. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a ministry. The problem comes when we can only hear one minister. Christ did not give just one ministry gift to the Body of Christ (Eph 4:8-12) and no one sees the complete picture by themselves. Proverbs 11:14 tells us, "There is safety in the multitude of counsellers," and likewise, there is safety when the people are exposed to more than one ministry gift.
The third group were followers of Cephas (or Peter). Peter was, like Paul, an obvious leader amongst the Apostles and was a leader amongst leaders. He is prominent not merely in the Gospels, but preached the opening sermon on the Day of Pentecost when 3,000 people came to Christ. Very little needs to be said about why believers would feel safe following Peter’s lead.
The fourth group is intriguing though – the “followers of Christ.” Isn’t that exactly what Paul was longing to produce - followers of Christ?
Well, yes, and no. Yes, Paul would want people to be followers of Christ and nothing would please him more to see this, but it would seem from the context that in the division that was taking place in the church at Corinth it would be fair to say that these “followers of Christ” had just as much a divisive spirit as the others. They are listed as one of the four splinter groups in the Church.
Perhaps they would only listen to Christ’s words, and not listen to any Apostle of Christ. Perhaps they would not submit to any human leader, and this too would be wrong. All Christians are called to the safety and nourishment of the local Church body where pastors (elders) are given oversight in order that they might nourish and care for their spiritual wellbeing. This is the way of Christ for us all. Hebrews 13:17 says, "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you."
I have met Christians who have this "I am of Christ" mindset in our day. They say they love Jesus but have no time for Paul. In a recent conversation I had, one lady said Paul was wrong (concerning the issue under discussion) and she felt much more comfortable with Jesus. Of course, I was immediately alarmed by this and sought to point out that although no human being except Christ was ever perfect, when Paul wrote Scripture, he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. More than that, to be an apostle of Christ is to be one sent forth by Christ with the full authority of Christ. If someone rejects an apostle of Christ, they also reject the One who sent him. Jesus made this principle clear even as He sent out the 72, “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16) . Sadly, the exchange I had with the lady did not go well. She refused to listen. I pray God will open this dear lady’s eyes as to her folly and the seriousness of her error. Her issue is not merely with the Apostle Paul, but with the Lord Jesus Christ who sent him.
As I consider the factions in Corinth from the super-spiritual “I am of Christ” group, even to the followers of Paul, Peter and Apollos, I think we can all take note of the error of putting any one man on a spiritual pedestal. Instead, as we serve Christ in His body the Church, let us enjoy and submit to the many gifts God has placed there for our edification. Not even Paul sought followers of Paul, and each of us as ministers of Christ should never seek to make people dependent on us.
We can promote the right thing always by pointing away from ourselves and to the Christ who not only saves, but nourishes and tenderly cares for His sheep as the masterful Shepherd. As Paul wrote later to the Corinthians, “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.” (2 Cor 4:5)
I was certainly one of those Christians that says, "I follow Christ" to mean that I did not need anyone else, and even considered not going to church once. But the Scriptures clearly say that God designed the church so that we would all need each other and it is essential to use our gifts for others edification. Christians are missing out on some blessings by not going to church or refusing to be blessed by others in the church.