30
Jan
09

Points to Ponder…

Points to Ponder…
Here are a few thoughts that relate to my last article.
I pray these will help fix your thoughts on the beauty and the miracle of why God has called us and placed us individually into local churches.

“There is more informal ministry than formal ministry in any given week…
God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things in the lives of others. What mission board, what ministry, what local church would use the people God used in Scripture? There was Moses (an exiled murder), Gideon (fearful and hiding), David (the shepherd boy with no military training), Peter (who publicly denied Christ), and Paul (persecutor of the church), to name a few. Along with these are untold numbers of little people God used in big ways to fulfill His plan on earth. God never intended us to simply be the objects of His love. We are also called to be instruments of that love in the lives of others…

What is the best way to minister biblically to another person? (We are to minister in the Word)
(That ministry is powerful if it is correctly applied and lived out in community)
Many Christians simply don’t understand what the Bible is.
Many think of it as a spiritual encyclopedia: God’s complete catalog of human problems, coupled with a complete list of divine answers. If you turn to the right page, you can find answers for any struggle. A more sophisticated variation views the Bible as a systematic theology textbook, an outline of essential topics you must master to think and live God’s way. In either case, we tend to offer each other isolated pieces of Scripture (a command, a principle, a promise) that seems to fit the need of the moment. What we think of as ministering the Word is little more than a spiritual cut-and-paste system.

This kind of ministry rarely leads to lasting change because it does not bring the power of the Word to the places where change is really needed. In this kind of ministry, self is still at the center, personal need is the focus, and personal happiness remains the goal. But a truly effective ministry of the Word must confront our self-focus and self-absorption at its roots, opening us up to the vastness of a God-defined, God-centered world. Unless this happens, we will use the promises, principles, and commands of the Word to serve the thing we really love: ourselves. This may be why many people read and hear God’s Word regularly while their lives remain unchanged. Only when the rain of the Word penetrates the roots of the problem does lasting change occur.

Personal ministry brings the monsoon of God’s Word to the parched terrain of the heart.
Isaiah 55:10-13 (ESV)
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12 “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

God’s Word changes people this dramatically.
The rain that soaks the parched land always has an effect. It bathes soil, which feed roots, which nourishes plants, which produces flowers. So it is with the Word of God.
It changes what it touches, producing beauty and fruitfulness in people’s lives. These changes point to two wonderful realities. First, we are, in fact, God’s covenant children. He has promised to be our God, to be with us and to bless us. Second, these changes point us to His glory…

The King has come and sent His children to one another with His life-changing Word. People who were lost find their way; people once paralyzed with discouragement walk in hope; alienated people live in community as broken relationships are restored; confused minds think in ways that are true, pure, and right; and the person who once lived for his own power now rests in God’s…

An encyclopedic, problem-solving approach to Scripture is totally inadequate for the true depth of our need. We need something that will change us from the inside out- we need Christ! Only His person and work can free us from our slavery to self and our tendency to deify the creation. Only as we see our story enfolded in the larger story of redemption will we begin to live God-honoring lives. Lasting change begins when our identity, purpose, and sense of direction are defined by God’s story. When we bring this perspective to our relationships, we will have a dramatically different agenda. It will take the principle and commands of Scripture and use them as God intended. We will see how each principle, promise, and command finds its meaning and fulfillment in Christ. Separate them from Christ and they lose their God-intended meaning and get hijacked by other agendas…

The central work of God’s kingdom is change. God accomplishes this work as the Holy Spirit empowers people to bring His Word to others. We bring more than solutions, strategies, principles, and commands. We bring the greatest story ever told, the story of the Redeemer…This is the work of the kingdom of God: people in the hands of the Redeemer, daily functioning as His tools of lasting change…”

Paul David Tripp
Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands

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