Sunday January 02, 2011
Greetings in the strong and sweet name of Jesus!
I am hoping this finds you blessed and eager to continue serving our Lord Jesus for another year.
I want to suggest to you that 2011 can be a great year as we labor in the work of the Lord. Please allow me to share from my heart (and from God’s heart through his servant Paul writing in 2 Timothy), a few helpful hints to stay ‘on track’ in your Christian service:
1. Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2:1) So often we want to produce the effort and achieve the results on our own. We know better! We know this is just plain stupid thinking, but we stumble on this dangerous path of self-reliance anyhow. This type of thinking is destructive; this type of thinking causes us to sink into exhaustion and failure. Effective ministry over the ‘long haul’ is knowing that it is not our deeds that impress – it is God’s grace! Effective ministry is sustained in the Lord’s strength. Mature leaders will accept Paul’s direction.
2. Endure hardship like a good soldier (2:3) I do not like this verse. It presumes or recognizes that ministry may not be all smooth sailing. How I wish it was easy! In my lifetime of ministry, I have experienced the most hardship, not from outside the church walls, but from inside. It may have been different in the early years of the New Testament Church, when the culture, the structures of government were antagonistic to believers. It may have been different in a country when the Church moved underground during communism. But I have seen the church at its best and I have seen the church at its worst. Conflict, hurt, ego, politics – and many a ministry leader bails. The pain and disappointment is just too much. Soldiers expect tough times. They know it is dangerous work. but they are trained and they have resources.
3. God’s word is not chained (2:10) There are so many ways to get the Scriptures into peoples hands, into their hearts and minds, even in their faces (LOL); experiment, pray, strategize, teach, preach, read, use drama, use Facebook and Twitter, use video, – whatever, just let it go in the Spirit! Don’t hold on to it, don’t box it too tightly: God’s Word can look after itself! Paul says “handle the Word correctly” (2:15), “continue and make use of the holy Scriptures” (3: 14,15), “preach the Word” (4:2)
You have had your life blessed and changed by God’s Word! Do whatever it takes to release it so that the Holy Spirit can take it and transform others. The Word will survive, and so will you, even in hard times. As long as you remember that the success and strength is a ‘grace thing’, God will keep growing His church in 2011. Praise, all praise, to Him!
Pastor Doug Johns
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