Wednesday, July 31, 2013




One of the most exciting ministries in the church is working with young people.  Teenagers are full of life and working with them is a constant joy.  I was a Youth pastor for 11 years in two different churches and was almost sad the day I was “promoted” and had to leave the youth ministry.  I would do it all over again and want to encourage anyone looking for a ministry in the church to think about serving youth and leading them to Christ.  Here’s what it’s going to take:  

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE:  Young people need a lot of love.  They are trying to discover their identity and usually struggle with feelings of insecurity and acceptance.  Loving them for who they are is a gift you give them as they transition toward adulthood.  They appreciate feeling valued and when you show interest in their lives.    Ask them questions about their life and then listen intently.  Some young people have no one to listen to them.  Let God’s love shine through you!  (Phil 2:3-4)…let each esteem others better than himself.  4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 

UNDERSTANDING:  Those who work with teens need to recognize adolescent behavior for what it is.  Not only is their body changing but also their emotional and psychological development is transforming.  Then add on their curiosity about spiritual things and you’ll find that so much is happening in them at such a rapid pace.  Understanding this will put you in a mode of acceptance, the very thing they appreciate and makes the feel valued.  (Rom 15:7) Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. 

BE YOURSELF:  Some say the most effective youth worker is the young and cool person who knows all about the current pop culture the youth are into and can talk their language.  It is valuable to be discerning of current trends but you don’t have to be hip to reach young people.  That means you can be any age and any type of person.  Kids are reached through love not by wearing the right jeans or the coolest shoes.  Don’t try to be one of them.  Just be yourself because God made you who you are and He can use you and your background just the way it is.  (Psa 139:14) I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…   

JOY:  Young people are out for a lot of fun.  Having joy is a way of letting them know that walking with the Lord is the happiest life there is. (Psa 144:15)…Happy are the people whose God is the Lord! 

TIME AND ENERGY:  Youth ministry is an active ministry due to the nature of the energy a young person has.  This means lots of energy is needed to keep up with them and lots of activities need to be provided for them.  This incorporates not just Bible study time but also fun excursions, sports, games, camps, outreaches, mission trips, staying up late, etc.  (Neh 8:10) … the joy of the Lord is your strength.”   


Wednesday, July 24, 2013




One of the greatest ways to serve the Lord at your local church is being a Sunday school teacher.  Just think of the impact you can have as you sow the seeds of God’s Word into young hearts who are so open and tender to the things of God.  Is the Lord calling you to step forward into this ministry of sharing the love of Christ to children?  Then here’s some things to think about: 

LOVE FOR CHILDREN: It is obvious that in order to effectively reach children for the Lord it is essential to have a heart for children.  Kids can sense if you’re sincere or not the minute they meet you.  Remember when the little children were brought to Jesus that He might bless them?  The disciples rebuked them but Jesus had a heart for the children:  (Mat 19:14)  But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”  Ask the Lord for His embracing and abiding love for the children that you serve.     

COME PREPARED: Your Sunday school director will hand you curriculum to study and to prepare for.  This will usually include a schedule of class time use such as a lesson from God’s Word, craft time, etc.  You will need ample time to prepare so avoid waiting until the last minute.  You will need time to pray and ponder the lesson, memorize any key verses, collect and organize the craft items, etc.  You will find that when you come adequately prepared it helps to alleviate some of the things that can go askew as you work with children.          

PRAY FOR YOUR CHILDREN: Throughout the week it is important to pray for your children.  You will find that when you pray for your kids you will feel close to them because they are in your heart and mind as you lift them up to the Lord.  (Eph 6:18) praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.  Pray for their spiritual growth, protection, their families, the prayer requests they brought up and anything else the Spirit will lead you to pray for.   

BE A SOUL WINNER:  Seek to win your children to Christ.  Don’t assume they are all saved just because they are from a Christian family, etc.  (Pro 11:30) … he who wins souls is wise.  Talk to them individually about their relationship to Christ.  Give periodic invitations to receive Christ in your class.  Show movies or have skits or presentations that are evangelistic in nature.  (2 Cor 13:5) Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?

FAITH FOR THE FUTURE:  Finally, have faith that the seeds you are sowing will grow in their hearts as they get older.  God’s Word is powerful and it endures forever!  (Isa 55:11) So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void…  What you are doing is having a lasting impact in their lives.  Soon they will be adults and serving the Lord!   


Wednesday, July 17, 2013




One of the things we love so much about gathering together as Christians is the time we sing praises to the Lord.  From the old hymns to the new praise songs it’s a glorious time that warms our hearts and gives us the glow of the Spirit.  (Psa 147:1) Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.  And how we appreciate our worship leaders who are so talented with their instruments and voices.  But can anyone just go up to the microphone and lead a group in worship?  What does the Bible say about what it takes to be a worship leader in the church? 

- TALENT:  (Psa 33:3) …Play skillfully with a shout of joy.  It would be nice to say that just anyone is able to lead worship in the church but that is just not so.  You don’t have to be a professional but you do have to possess a certain level of proficiency without being a distraction by being offbeat, etc.  A worship leader then has to practice and strive to be the best he or she can be for the Lord.  Some are self-taught while others will need music lessons. 

- CHARACTER:  (1 Cor 11:1) Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.  Worship leaders must keep in mind that they are in front of others and therefore need to be an example to the believers both at church and out in public.   They are to be humble as they use their talents and avoid the pride that comes with being in front of people playing music.  Remember Satan used to be the worship leader in heaven before he fell.  The old quote says it well: “When Satan fell out of heaven, he fell into the choir loft.”  In other words the devil seeks to puff up those leading worship.  This tendency must be resisted since we are to be servants, not celebrities.  

- SUBMISSION:  (1 Pet 5:5)…Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”  Worship leaders are to submit to the leadership of the church and not be resistant to direction.  They are to open minded when the pastor or leader directs them in a way that they don’t agree with.  For instance, if a leader says to play a hymn when the worship leader doesn’t really like hymns, he is to yield to authority and do it as unto the Lord.  

- COOPERATION:  (Psa 133:1) Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!  Musicians can be moody and independent of spirit.  But when you lead worship with others you must be open to other people’s ideas and be willing to yield.  Don’t be a know it all when it comes to music.   There is a lot of give and take in worship ministry.   

A note to pastors:  Always place character above talent.  It is better to have an average musician who is humble than a gifted and charismatic worship leader who is proud.     

Verses to ponder: 1 Sam 10:5; 1 Chr 25:1; Psa 96:1, 150:1-6; John 3:30, 4:24; Eph 5:18-20.  


Wednesday, July 10, 2013




Deacons are officers in the church who serve the church body in practical ways.  They care for the physical needs of the congregation so that pastors and elders may concentrate on spiritual needs. Deacons are not viewed as a governing body but as servant leaders.  The term “deacon” is derived from the Greek word diakonos, which is usually translated “servant”.  (Phil 1:1) Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.  

The seven chosen in Acts 6 seem to be the prototype to this church office.  (Acts 6:1-7) Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.  2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.  3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;  4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch,  6 whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them. 7 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.    

Paul gives qualifications for deacons that include character traits that would be suitable for their service: (1 Tim 3:8-13) Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money,  9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.  10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless.  11 Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.  12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.  13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. 

Deacons are men called by God to serve in various capacities in the church and so often they serve in the background with no need for recognition.  Deacons prefer to take directions more than give them.  Deacons today may be seen as ushers, distributing communion, counting tithes and offerings, opening and closing the church, involved in building maintenance, distributing benevolence to the poor and needy, and sharing in many other practical ways of service according to the needs of the church.  Deacons exemplify the spirit of the teaching of Jesus:  (Mark 9:35)…“If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Through their faithful and humble service deacons may expect much reward from the Lord!  (Mat 6:4)…your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.   


Thursday, July 4, 2013




In the church of Jesus Christ God has established leadership of the local church through the office of elders.  These are men of God who have a special calling to oversee the flock along with the pastor.   How is one chosen for this special position?  What qualifies a person for such a calling?  And what are the duties of an elder?  Let’s study God’s Word on the subject. 

There are different words for elder in the New Testament.  Presbyteros is the most common and which depicts a mature saint in the faith who is qualified for leadership (1 Pet 5:1).  Episkopeo, sometimes translated “bishop,” is another term which means overseer (1 Pet 5:2).   Together the words mean a mature believer called by God to oversee the flock of God on a leadership team.  Pastors (poimaimo, which means shepherd – 1 Pet 5:2) are also of this body and have the main duties of the spiritual feeding and nurturing of the flock.    

How are elders chosen?  The Bible speaks for their appointment.  (Titus 1:5) For this reason I left you in Crete, that you … appoint elders in every city as I commanded you.  Elders then are technically not voted in by the congregation but are appointed by the leadership of the church.   

What are the qualifications for an elder?  (1 Tim 3:2-7) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;  3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;  4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence  5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);  6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.  7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (See also Titus 1:5-9)  In many churches elders are chosen for their business prowess or prominence in society.  How far this is from the Biblical teaching of  choosing men for their character and their family life!   

Elders are also called to prayer for the flock.  (James 5:1)  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  They should be available to the flock for prayer during times of gathering and also open to visiting the sick and praying over them for their healing.   

How long should they serve?  This is up to each church body.  Some elders serve ongoing or as long as the Holy Spirit leads (Acts 20:28).  Or they may serve a designated time (3 years is common) so other men may have the privilege of serving.  This also keeps things fresh with new blood (Lev 17:11).  Elders should meet regularly to discuss church matters and seek the mind of the Lord together in unity for necessary decisions (Acts 15:28).  They should also be supportive of the pastor and his leadership by their friendship and assistance (1 Kings 4:5; Exo 18).   


Monday, July 1, 2013




(1 Cor 6:11)  And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Homosexuality has become increasingly acceptable in our society.  In fact, the stigma of being homosexual is quickly evaporating.  We can thank the gay community who have worked hard and have won many battles to get their lifestyle into the mainstream of society.  We can thank the Hollywood film industry and certain celebrities for coming out of the closet.  We can thank liberal judges and congressmen and women who have voted pro-homosexual, some who are gay themselves.  We are truly in the last days where it has been prophesied that there would be a great apostasy (falling away from the faith) in the end times (2 Timothy 3:1-5).   Society has changed but God’s Word never changes!  God’s truths stand the test of time and culture and the Word of God has something to say about homosexuality:

- IT IS AN ABOMINATION:  'You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. (Lev 18:22)

- IT WAS PUNISHABLE BY DEATH IN THE OLD TESTAMENT:  'If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.  (Lev 20:13)

- IT IS PERVERSION:  And there were also perverted persons in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. (1 Kings 14:24)

- IT IS UNCLEAN AND DISHONORING TO YOUR OWN BODY:  Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, (Rom 1:24)

- IT IS A VILE PASSION AND UNNATURAL:  For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. {27} Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful…(Rom 1:26‑27)

- IT IS SHAMEFUL:  …men with men committing what is shameful…(Rom 1:27)  

- IT IS SINFUL:  …men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. (Rom 1:27)

- IT IS A SIN JUDGED BY GOD:  Then he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain; and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace. (Gen 19:28) 

- HOMOSEXUALITY IS A SINFUL LIFESTYLE THAT WILL KEEP A PERSON FROM HEAVEN:  Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, {10} nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 6:9‑10) 

God created male and female (Genesis 1:27-28) and brought them together in marriage to be one flesh (Genesis 2:18-25).  So you can say he made Adam and Eve…not Adam and Steve!  And nowhere in the Bible does it say homosexuality is genetic.  It says it is a sin that you choose to do.  But the good news is that Jesus can set a person free from this sinful lifestyle!  And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor 6:11)  Hallelujah!   

Some people say it is impossible to get out of the gay lifestyle but don’t believe it!  Jesus died to cancel sin and it’s power.  When a person accepts Jesus his sins are washed away and under the blood of the Lamb.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Cor 5:17)  We’ve seen God pull people out of drugs and alcohol, and God can save from this lifestyle too!  What great news that is!  And one you can share with one caught up in this unhappy lifestyle.  That’s right.  Gays are not gay (happy).  You are only happy when your sins are forgiven (Psalm 32:1).  Let’s love the sinner but hate the sin and seek to win the lost to Jesus.  They are souls for whom Christ died.  He loves them!!   

Let’s pray that many in these last days will turn to the truth of Scripture and be set free!  Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed!! (John 8:36)