Psalm 100

Psalm 100:1-5 is a Processional Hymn – The people may have chanted this psalm as they entered the temple or began their worship.

1 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before him with joyful singing. 3 Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.

Thanking the Lord is something we must do with our lives as well as with our lips. How are we supposed to thank God with our lives?

By serving (Psalm 100:2). In some sanctuaries, there is a sign that reads, “Enter to worship—depart to serve.” The trouble with many congregations is that too many people serve themselves rather than serving the Lord. Another issue is that too often we don’t serve the Lord “with gladness.” Do you know any grumpy Christians? The Lord loves a cheerful servant, so let’s not be that church. This whole Essential series is about using our giftedness to serve the Lord and others.

By submitting (Psalm 100:3). As creatures, we submit to the Creator who fashioned the universe and made us as well. As sheep, we submit to the Shepherd who died for us and now leads us down His paths. He not only made us, but He is making us as we yield our lives and submit to Him (remember, we are his workmanship – Ephesians 2:10). For every believer, submission means fulfillment. As you have received a spiritual gift, submit to God’s leadership and use it to serve Him and others.

By sacrificing (Psalm 100:4–5). As a “holy priesthood, we are privileged to offer spiritual sacrifices to the Lord (1 Peter 2:5). Those sacrifices include our songs of praise (Hebrews 13:15), our good works (Hebrews 13:16), and our material gifts (Philippians 4:15–18). Following God in obedience (exercising your giftedness) will involve the sacrifice of your will and submitting to Him, but believe me, it is worth it because of who He is (Psalm 100:5) and what He does for us. Our God is certainly worthy of our joyful thanks.

The Origin of Work

Here is a devotional from the Lead Like Jesus group, for April 20, 2018.

From the world’s perspective, work is often viewed as a curse, something to get done so that we can get on to relaxing and having fun. In contrast, from God’s perspective, work is a gift that reflects His creativity and energy and life-giving nature. By inviting us to join Him in His work of caring for creation in all its facets, God gave human beings purpose and significance and an opportunity to experience the satisfaction He experienced in creation. What work has God given you to do?

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. — Genesis 2:15

Prayer: Creator God, giver of every good gift and the one who orders the days of our lives, thank You for inviting me into the work of caring for the world You created. Whatever You have given me to do, may I do it to honor You and join You in what You are doing. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Staff Renewal and Vision

On May 7 the staff got together to discuss the impact of our days of renewal, in hopes of embracing a compelling vision, or at least that we will begin the formation of a vision of “the next” for King’s Grant. Here are a few of my notes and thoughts…

If we are to be an equipping culture, we must decide if we are equipping people for a task/event or equipping them for a ministry (unleashing them for kingdom service).

Let’s remind ourselves of the working diagram for our renewal time:

When we speak of the kingdom, we are meaning the rule and reign of Christ in the lives of our people. This is why we exist, to equip believers for the work of service (Ephesians 4:12). It is as if God has given church leaders “only one job, you have 1 job, so don’t blow it by getting distracted with so many other good and worthwhile things.”

Working Vision Statement:

We exist to extend
    the love of Christ, and
    His kingdom
We exist to expand – His love and kingdom
    in Virginia Beach, and
    to the world
We exist to equip – God’s people; for their mission of…
    mending and restoring relationships
    laying and establishing a foundation
    preparing, training, and sending;the saints for the work of service

After this would come each individual ministry of the church, to do these things, by… (listing several ways that ministry will bring this vision into fruition). In the discipleship ministry we could say we do this by…

  • Providing small group experiences
  • Providing resources for spiritual growth
  • Providing opportunities to serve others
  • Providing equip and train opportunities to become more effective in ministry, in order to work toward the vision

We are called to make disciples, but just how does one measure that? How does one know that the goal has been reached? Perhaps by measuring church attendance, Bible and theological knowledge, prayer life, tithing, memorizing Scripture, zeal for God? Yet these look eerily similar, not to Jesus’s closest men, but to his chief opponents (the Pharisees).

On the other hand, what if we measured the progress of a disciple in less objective terms, like this:

Depending on the Holy Spirit (regeneration and dependence)
Interacting in Christian community (biblical knowledge and interdependence)
Submitting to the lordship of Christ (humility and obedience)
Communing with the Father (spiritual disciplines of prayer, devotion, worship)
Investing HIS resources (stewardship, investing in eternal matters)
Participating in acts of service (ministry to/with others and giving back)
Leading people to Christ (Christian witness in word and deed)
Expanding his kingdom (evangelism and missions)

All this to say, how can we get our people to think on a kingdom level? How do we help our people to find their calling?


On June 6, we got together and added more detail..

Mend and Restore – Gather
    Into the FAITH
    Into the FAMILY

Establish and Lay a Foundation – Grow
    In CONNECTION
    In COMMUNITY

Equip and Send – Go
    By SENDING
    By SERVING


This manifests itself in two ways: Personal and Communal  – in a linear process of movement on this journey through life together…

  1. Personally (Member) — Communally (Connection, with other members)
  2. Personally  (Ministry) — Communally (Community with whom we are connected)
  3. Personally (Mission) — Communally (Changing the world)

The Unity of the Faith

Our passage today was from Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church (Ephesians 4:11-13), regarding the Minister’s Goal.

There are Five Functions Listed (Ephesians 4:11)

  1. Apostles – Ephesians 4:11 – divinely appointed representatives
  2. Prophets – Ephesians 4:11 – proclaimers of God’s Word
  3. Evangelists – Ephesians 4:11 – bearers of the good news
  4. Pastor and Teachers – Ephesians 4:11 – caretakers for God’s people (these are listed as one office with two functions – notice the natural bonding of these two in the text)

The Nature of these Five Functions (Ephesians 4:11)

  1. Some are gifted to deal with situations
    1. Apostles – to guide the church in ways it ought to go
    2. Prophets – to guide the church in what it ought to know
  2. Some are gifted to deal with sinners – evangelists
  3. Some are gifted to deal with the saints
    1. Pastors – tending the flock of God
    2. Teachers – teaching the flock of God

The Need for these Five Functions  (Ephesians 4:12-13)

  1. Purpose  – Ephesians 4:12 – perfecting, completing, equipping
  2. Period  – Ephesians 4:13 – until such as time in the future
    1. Attaining unity of the faith
    2. Attaining the knowledge of the Son of God
    3. Attaining maturity
    4. Attaining the measure of the statue of Christ

Outline of Ephesians 4:1-16

  1. Spiritual Unity – Ephesians 4:1-6
    1. Calling – Ephesians 4:1
    2. Conduct – Ephesians 4:2-3
    3. Confession – Ephesians 4:4-6
  2. Spiritual Diversity – Ephesians 4:7-12
    1. Variety of gifts – Ephesians 4:7-10
    2. Variety of responsibilities – Ephesians 4:11-12
  3. Spiritual Maturity – Ephesians 4:13-16
    1. Christlikeness toward maturity – Ephesians 4:13
    2. Conviction toward doctrinal stability – Ephesians 4:13-14
    3. Conversation toward truth spoken in love – Ephesians 4:15
    4. Contribution of the saints working together – Ephesians 4:16

Personal Impressions:

  1. The challenge to build up the saints – Ephesians 4:12 – developing other is a pivotal priority. What will I do to build up the next generation who will replace me?
  2. The commitment to spiritual growth – Ephesians 4:13 – defining what a fully devoted disciple of Jesus looks like. This puts the end goal in front of us at the beginning.
  3. The conviction of sound doctrine – Ephesians 4:14 – stability, confidence, and correction.
  4. The command for genuine relationships – Ephesians 4:15 – speaking truth, growing up, recognizing the head of the body is Jesus.
  5. The community of faith working together – Ephesians 4:16 – all these gifted people properly working together, causing growth in the body.

Ken Pruitt’s Observation and Challenge:

  1. Leadership Redefined – Ephesians 4:11
    1. Which office/ministry defines my heart?
    2. How is shepherding and teaching related?
    3. How am I equipping others for the work of ministry?
    4. How can I focus less on doing, and more on developing?
  2. Unity Redefined – Ephesians 4:12
    1. How can I participate in building up others?
    2. How am I equipping and preparing others for ministries in the future, not just for the immediate task at hand?
    3. Unity will occur when all of God’s people are fulfilling their personal and corporate callings.
  3. Goals Redefined – Ephesians 4:13
    1. How can we move forward in Christ?
    2. What does maturity look like?
  4. Processes Redefined – Ephesians 4:15-16 – speaking truth, growing up, fitting together, working together. This is what we will call a directional vision, putting an intentional emphasis on equipping the saints. Where do our volunteers fit in this triangle illustration? How will we invest in leaders more than investing in individual?
    1. Modify our vocabulary – be mindful of the way we describe things or label things.
      1. Make no distinction between laity and professional clergy, we are all ministers of the gospel.
      2. Train for managers more than for employees.
      3. Move toward multiplication over addition of leaders.
    2. Question our procedures – are we functioning in the best way possible? Are there things that can change? How will we best prepare and train others to carry on?
    3. Restate our purpose – these are the appointed expressions of church ministries given by Jesus himself. If culture become the rule (even for the church), how will we change culture?
    4. Embrace feedback – negotiate with others about what I can do in order to get better. Do not simply find and enlist people to fill slots, but share the vision and opportunity that is before them in this task or ministry.

The Pipeline Conference Observation: this is an interview with Todd Adkins on the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast – (find episode 133).

  1. Delegation: we have long talked about delegating leadership, not only the responsibility of the task but the authority that goes with it. Moses and Jethro are a foundational example.
  2. Dumping: what often happens is that we end up dumping the tasks that we just don’t have time to do or even want to do. It gets the task off your plate but no one is passionate about it.
  3. Development: the new standard is to develop leaders who will take your place; so who is a part of my next generation who will lead the ministry when I am gone?

We Do Not Lose Heart

Today we read through 2 Corinthians 4:1-18 in order to glean insight from Paul on our commitment for ministry.

First, I noticed the WE statements:

  1. We have renounced – 2 Corinthians 4:2 – disgraceful, underhanded ways
  2. We refuse – 2 Corinthians 4:2 – to practice cunning or tamper with God’s Word
  3. We would commend – 2 Corinthians 4:2 – ourselves to everyone’s conscience
  4. We proclaim – 2 Corinthians 4:5 – not ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord
  5. We possess – 2 Corinthians 4:7 – this treasure in earthen vessels
  6. We are – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 – afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, struck down
  7. We have – 2 Corinthians 4:13 – the same spirit of faith
  8. We believe – 2 Corinthians 4:13
  9. We speak – 2 Corinthians 4:13
  10. We do not lose heart – 2 Corinthians 4:1, 16
  11. We anticipate – 2 Corinthians 4:18 – look not at the see, but the unseen

Second, see the contrasts:

  1. Sight of God | Veiled – 2 Corinthians 4:2b-3
  2. Blinded | Seeing – 2 Corinthians 4:4
  3. proclaim self | Proclaim Jesus – 2 Corinthians 4:5
  4. Darkness | Light – 2 Corinthians 4:6
  5. Treasure | Jars of clay – 2 Corinthians 4:7
  6. Death | Life – 2 Corinthians 4:10-12 (three times)
  7. Momentary light affliction | Eternal weight of glory – 2 Corinthians 4:17
  8. Seen | Unseen – 2 Corinthians 4:18
  9. Institutionalism (business model) | Organism (body model)
    1. Since we like to bring order out of chaos, we tend to develop systems to solve problems, therefore institutionalism creeps into the church, too.
    2. How can we move from the sacred and acceptable institution toward the organic?

Observations:

  1. Chose relationships over protocol, policies, and procedures.
  2. The purpose of our ministry – 2 Corinthians 4:15 – for your sake, that as grace extends to more people, it may increase thanksgiving and glory to God.
  3. It may be hard serving where we are, but we are able to overcome.
  4. There is a difference between ministry as our calling and ministry are our career – we can retire from a career, but we cannot retire from a calling.
  5. Life may be hard, and persecution may come, but as a sinner, hell really is better than I deserve.
  6. The god of this word has blinded people, so their salvation is beyond my control.
  7. We must proclaim Jesus as Lord, and leave the results to God.
  8. Paul challenges us to believe and then speak – 2 Corinthians 4:13
  9. Always remember that Christ comes before the church – raise your kids in Christ, do not raise them in church.
  10. Our service involves sacrifice: we are in this together – same faith, same ministry, same purpose, same hardship – our people will also need encouragement in ministry.
  11. Who is the WE? (Plural, Paul, other leaders, KGBC). Who is the YOU? (Corinthians and all believers, KGBC). Paul challenges all of us to be involved in ministry, even when it gets hard.

Application (from pastor Ken):

  1. Foundation of God’s Word: the truth and light of his word, that knowledge was in the glory of God in the face of Christ, drives out commitment.
  2. Incarnational Ministry: that Christ is in me and he is seen in my life, mercy, ministry, death works in us, while we have human deficits, Christ is being made known through our frailty.
  3. Integrity of Genuine Faith: don’t lose heart, be encouraged – persevere since we don’t want to disappoint our Father.

Outline:

  1. How to Handle the Scripture – 2 Corinthians 4:1-7
    1. Practiced by Paul the Apostle – 2 Corinthians 4:1-2, 5-7
      1. Not using secret or shameful methods – 2 Corinthians 4:1-2
      2. Not distorting the message – 2 Corinthians 4:2
      3. Not preaching himself, but Christ – 2 Corinthians 4:5
      4. Not as a vase but a jar of clay – 2 Corinthians 4:6-7
      5. Not from us, but from God alone – 2 Corinthians 4:7
    2. Practiced by Satan the Accuser – 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 – blinding people, preventing them from seeing the light of the gospel
  2. How to Handle Suffering – 2 Corinthians 4:8-18
    1. The Reality of Suffering – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
      1. Pressured but not distressed – 2 Corinthians 4:8a
      2. Perplexed but not desperate – 2 Corinthians 4:8b
      3. Persecuted but not disowned – 2 Corinthians 4:9a
      4. Prostrated but not defeated – 2 Corinthians 4:9b
    2. The Reaction to Suffering – 2 Corinthians 4:10-13
      1. Experiencing the death and life of Christ – 2 Corinthians 4:10-12
      2. Expressing the same faith – 2 Corinthians 4:13
    3. The Rewards of Suffering – 2 Corinthians 4:14-18
      1. The Future: a resurrected body – 2 Corinthians 4:14
        1. Raised with him – 2 Corinthians 4:14a
        2. Presented with him – 2 Corinthians 4:14b
      2. The Present: a renewed body – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
        1. Outer decay | inner men renewed – 2 Corinthians 4:16
        2. Momentary affliction | Eternal weight of Glory – 2 Corinthians 4:17 (focus on Preparing us)
        3. The seen | the Unseen – 2 Corinthians 4:18

From Warren Wiersbe:

The Glory of Salvation (2 Corinthians 4:1–6). Unlike the legalists who had invaded the church, Paul had nothing to hide. The Jewish religious system veiled the gospel, but Paul sought to reveal the gospel. The image is taken from Genesis 1:1-3 and transferred from the old creation to the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The Glory of Service (2 Corinthians 4:7–12). Paul paid a price for his ministry, but the legalists went about collecting honors (2 Corinthians 4:3:1). We are vessels; the treasure of the gospel life within is important. As vessels, we must be clean and available for His use (2 Timothy 2:20-21).

The Glory of Suffering (2 Corinthians 4:13-18). Jesus suffered and turned that suffering into glory; by faith, we can do the same thing. It is not wrong to care for the outward person, so long as you recognize that it is perishing. Concentrate on the inner person. It is the invisible that is imperishable. The best is yet to come