Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tradition or Obedience?

I was reading Mark 7:6-8, "And [Jesus] said to them, 'Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'" What are the traditions that I have allowed to come in to take the place of obedience to God? Would it be the tradition of social or political correctness or certain management leadership styles or the most recent "in" thing or book or a cliché or fear that is keeping me from following the commandments of God to love one another, to be pure, and to take the gospel to the masses? Traditions that may be keeping us from aggressively trusting God and moving forward in faith to do something about the 160 million street children of the world, the 13 million orphans of Africa, 90 percent of the people who have yet to know Christ in the Philippines, and the over 95 percent of people in India who do not know the Savior. So, is it tradition or obedience?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Go Get Them!

Please consider helping recruit for the ministry of Action International Ministries (ACTION). Simply share the need for additional missionaries and the ministries of ACTION to your family, friends, and especially your local fellowship; trust the Lord to use you to help recruit for the Great Commission. You can inform people to go to the ACTION Web site [] and apply online as the Lord leads. At present we are trusting God for many additional missionaries to serve with street and underprivileged children, needy pastors and in other ACTION ministries worldwide.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Day with the LORD

A Day With the Lord
“For a day in your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Psalm 84:10
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”   James 4:7-8

ACTION missionary Jim Robinette serves in Uganda, Africa.  He is involved in equipping pastors and church leaders in their walk with God and for ministry.  He writes the following on the subject of prayer and setting aside a day devoted to prayer.  You can learn more at
Our Lord Jesus Christ, as in all things, sets a remarkable example for us in devotion and prayer as He gave Himself to God for an extended time. He drew near the Father in Luke 4:1-2: “Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they ended, He was hungry.” Though His consecration here is a preparation for His soon-coming ministry, in this passage we see our God, who became the Man Jesus, in an extended time of closest communion with God the Father.
The examples of godly leaders who found the benefits and blessings of spending extended time before God also encourage us in this practice. Donald Whitney reminds us that the church has been blessed by leaders who followed our Lord in nearness to God through spiritual disciplines: “Godly people are disciplined people. It has always been so. Call to mind some heroes of church history—Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Bunyan, Susanna Wesley, George Whitfield, Lady Huntington, Jonathan and Sarah Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, George Muller—they were all disciplined people.”
We are to train ourselves in godliness according to 1Timothy 4:7-8: “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” This spiritual training or discipline (Greek: mathetes [meaning ‘a learner and adherent’] and sophronismos [meaning ‘saving the mind’ or ‘of sound mind’]) in grace enables us to habitually draw near to God and serves as a means of receiving His grace. “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6. These exercises are not works by which we earn righteousness but merely a means to draw close to our grace-giving God that we may receive grace fully from Him.
In this spirit of gracious discipline for godliness, I offer you the following helps and suggestions for spending extended time in fellowship and communion with God. A Christian friend of mine once told me that he didn’t know how to spend a day with God so I offer these thoughts for him and others like him who would gain knowledge of this spiritual practice and apply it in their lives. I’ll also cite Biblical references that relate to the use of these disciplines.
Years ago I became acquainted with the spiritual disciplines through older, godly Christians. In my private readings I came across the idea of spending a day, or most of a day, regularly in seeking God through exercises like those listed below. As I began to practice this discipline I found refreshment and revival in my relationship with God. I spent usually one day a week (this could be one day a month or quarterly, if you prefer). I also began to fast during this time and this became a blessed and long-standing habit. I’m convinced of the blessings these actions bring. God abundantly blesses the soul that longs for Him. Time with Him can only strengthen and grace us. A longing for His nearness can be realized!
These thoughts are shared not as a formula but as an aid and useful guide. Grace requires growth (not declension) so choose the means that would be most helpful for you personally and begin to practice those means—perhaps with difficulty at first, but with increasing blessing as you draw near the Lord.
Andrew Murray wrote: “Time is one of the chief standards of value. The time we give is a proof of the interest we feel. We need time with God—to realize His presence; to wait for Him to make Himself known; to consider and feel the needs we plead for; to take our place in Christ; to pray till we can believe that we have received.”
A Day with the Lord
Note: Schedule with friends and loved ones, and cancel appointments so that you have 6-8 hours of uninterrupted time with the Lord. This is an appointment with the King of kings and takes precedence over all things (Matthew 6:33; Matthew 7:7). Trust God and ask Him to show you the means that honor Him and bless you as you spend a day with Him (Psalm 52:8; James 1:5-6; Song of Solomon 4:9).
Your time could include:
A. Early morning devotions
~Reading the Bible is essential and reading devotional material is also helpful.
B. Prayer and worship
~The use of a prayer journal has been very helpful to me. Write out your prayers and pray from a Biblical text (Matthew 4:4; Ephesians 6:18; Psalm 68:4; Psalm 119:24).
~Sing hymns and songs to the Lord. This time should not be hurried but should be a time of edification and enjoyment.
C. Various spiritual exercises
~Exercise or go on a nature walk. I like to run and find this a help to meditation and prayer
~Study of the Word, meditation on the Word, reading the Bible and other God- honoring books
~ Being still before the Lord Quiet your heart and enjoy the Lord’s wonderful presence and nearness (Numbers 9:8; Hebrews 10:22; Isaiah 9:6).
D. Sermon preparation
~Some time can be used to prepare to preach and teach (Ezra 4:15; Mark 6:31; 1Timothy 4:7; Psalm 1:2; 2Timothy 2:15; 1Timothy 4:13; Jeremiah 36:8; Ecclesiastes 12:9).
E. Special prayer
~Schedule 1 or 2 hours especially seeking God in prayer and devotional reading of His Word leading to prayer (Luke 22:41; Psalm 143:1; Psalm 118:14).
F. Simply sitting before God in His Word; Resting in the presence of the Lord
~Enjoying the beauty about me is enjoyable to me. Enjoy God and His Word in nature or a place of quiet and undisturbed tranquility (Psalm 46:10; Psalm 119:59; Psalm 146:6).
~Schedule time for silence and solitude. This is often helpful and needed.
G. Fasting (Acts 14:23)
H. Scripture
~Come back to God’s Word repeatedly. Read Scriptures devotionally in adoration of His name. Simply to love God and rejoice in Him is blessed (Psalm 119:97; Psalm 18:1).
May the Lord bless you, friend, as you seek to glorify and enjoy God in a day in communion with Him.
“Be much in prayer. Spend longer time in holy adoration. Read the Scriptures more earnestly and constantly. Watch your lives more carefully. Live nearer to God.” –C.H. Spurgeon
“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Feeding the Hundry

by Pastor Ron Mcconnell

It is impossible to share Christ with a hungry man or child until we have fed him. It is also impossible to share Christ with a dead man. Some people feel that simply a program to feed the hungry without gospel witness is not “evangelical Christianity” but it is! Evangelical Christianity is Matthew 25 as well as Matthew 28. In Matthew 25 Jesus said, “Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these (feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, care for the sick, and visit those in prison) you did not do it to me.’ (Matt. 25:45). In Matthew 28, Jesus said “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20)

The question of good deeds versus good beliefs, or physical versus spiritual, or the social versus the evangelical, is not an either/or issue. One without the other is incomplete, inadequate, and therefore un-Biblical and un-Christian. It is both/and. We cannot have evangelical Christianity without a social consciousness any more than we can have evangelical Christianity without evangelism. We are called to follow Christ! He will always lead us to human need, whether physical or spiritual.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Intercession literally means to stand between two parties and plead the case of one to the other. It means that we must take into account the mandate for world evangelization.

Systematically pray around the world:
Sunday – Latin America

Monday – Central America

Tuesday – North America

Wednesday – Europe

Thursday – Africa

Friday – Asia

Saturday – nations of the Pacific

Intercede for the national church and missionaries in these areas, and for the suffering and poor.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pastors in the Philippines: How do you define "servant leadership"?

How do you define “servant leadership”?

ACTION missionary Steve Read in the Philippines reports: "Great mentoring group this week! Five pastors cram into my office. Worship. Praise. Prayer. Open
hearts. Electric.".

We wrestle with the idea of “servant leadership.” Luke 22:24-26 (NIV) describes an interesting
interaction among the disciples and Jesus’ response: Also a dispute arose among them as to which of
them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them;
and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that.
Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who
serves.” Like many things, Jesus turns the idea of leadership upside down.

After each has a chance write a personal definition of servant leadership, personal opinions,
explanations, beg-to-differs begin to pop up. Smiling as I leave the room, I ask them to put their heads
together and come up with a definition they can all agree on. One guideline: “No blood on the floor,
boys!” One replies, “But bruises are OK, right?”

The results are informative, enlightening. “Servant leadership is struggling by His grace to empty oneself
as Christ emptied Himself out. Servant leadership is being Christ-like.” The definition carries us for nearly
two more hours of interaction and application.

“Struggling.” Servant leadership definitely is not easy. That seems especially true when it comes
to serving those church leaders that always seem to oppose you. One pastor laments, “Moses had
only one Pharaoh. I have three!” It is not easy to serve self-motivated power-grabbers. “Struggling.”

“By His grace.” Unmerited favor. The gift of character, strength, graciousness that flows from God’s
heart. It is God at work, not the pastor when servant leadership is in operation.

“To empty oneself as Christ emptied Himself.” Philippians 2:6, 7 (NIV) talks about Jesus’ servant-
spirit: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but
made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant. “Made himself nothing,” literally to empty
himself, to give up his power position (Swanson, James. Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic
Domains : Greek (New Testament)).

Wow! How do we do that? Stories are shared. Pain is felt. Tears are shed. Love is expressed.

Jesus’ command to love one another, even our enemies, rings in our ears. That’s the Christ-likeness of
servant leadership. How did Jesus love his enemies? He did it on the cross even as we our very selves, in
our sin, hammered the nails into his hands. He served us laying down his life, emptying himself. We hear
Jesus’ cry on the cross, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. Love.

Jesus continues to speak: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross
daily and follow me (Luke 9:23). Daily love. Daily denial of self. Daily servant-leadership. Daily the
cross. Daily Christ-like. By your grace, Lord.

We continue to struggle in the mentoring group to understand, to apply. Yes, Lord, sometimes those we
serve do not know what they are doing. Forgive. Love. Christ-like. Yes, Lord, sometimes it’s what you

Learn more at Steve Reads Blog: