God’s Yellow Pages
Monday, May 20, 2013
Men, we will never get anywhere in life without discipline, and doubly so in spiritual matters. None of us is inherently righteous, so Paul’s instructions regarding spiritual discipline in 1 Timothy 4:7-8 take on personal urgency: “Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
That word “train” comes from the Greek word from which we derive gymnasium. So, I invite you into God’s Gym—to some pain and great gain!
1) Discipline of Purity
A) Sensuality is the biggest obstacle to godliness among Christian men. The fall of King David should not only instruct us but scare the sensuality right out of us! Fill yourself with God’s Word—memorize passages like 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, Job 31:1, Proverbs 6:27, Ephesians 5:3-7, and 2 Timothy 2:22. Find someone who will help you keep your soul faithful to God.
B) A pure mind is impossible if you mindlessly watch TV and movies or visit pornographic web sites (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7). Develop the divine awareness that sustained Joseph: “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9).
2) Discipline of Relationships
A) To be all God wants you to be, put some holy sweat into your relationships! If you’re married, you need to live out Ephesians 5:25-31: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (v. 25). For those who are fathers, God provides a workout in one pungent sentence: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
B) Relationships are not optional (Hebrews 10:25); they enable us to develop into what God wants us to be and most effectively learn and live God’s truth.
3) Discipline of Mind
A) The potential of possessing the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) introduces the scandal of today’s church—Christians who do not think Christianly, leaving our minds undisciplined. The Apostle Paul understood this well: “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8). Each ingredient is a matter of personal choice.
B) You can never have a Christian mind without reading the Scriptures regularly because you cannot be influenced by that which you do not know.
4) Discipline of Devotion
A) Reading God’s Word is essential, but meditation internalizes the Word and responds, “I desire to do your will, O my God” (Psalm 40:8). Beyond instructions like Ephesians 6:18-20, there is one great reason to pray. The more we expose our lives to the white-hot sun of Christ’s righteous life, the more his image will be burned into our character.
B) Many men never have an effective devotional life because they never plan for it; most men are afraid of it, and they never honestly expose their lives to his pure light. There is nothing to fear, we need to leave that fear at the foot of the cross of Christ!
5) Discipline of Integrity
A) We can hardly overstate the importance of integrity to a generation of believers so much like the world in ethical conduct. But integrity’s benefits—character, a clear conscience, deep intimacy with God—argue its importance.
B) We must let God’s Word draw our lines of conduct. Our speech and actions must be intentionally true (Proverbs 12:22; Ephesians 4:15), backed by the courage to keep our word and stand up for our godly convictions (Psalm 15:4). An old saying sums it up: “Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap godliness.”(1)
6) Discipline of Tongue
A) “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26). The true test of a man’s spirituality is not his ability to speak, but rather his ability to bridle his tongue!
B) Offered to God on the altar, the tongue has awesome power for good. There must be an ongoing prayerfulness and resolve to discipline ourselves: “Who keeps the tongue doth keep his soul.”(2)
7) Discipline of Work
A) We meet God, the Creator, as a worker in Genesis 1:1–2:2. Since “God created man in his own image” (1:27), the way we work will reveal how much we allow the image of God to develop in us.
B) There is no secular/sacred distinction; all honest work ought to be done to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). We must recover the biblical truth that our vocation is a divine calling and thus be liberated to do it for the glory of God.
8 ) Discipline of Perseverance
Hebrews 12:1-3 presents a picture of perseverance in four commands.
A) Divest! “Lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely” (v. 1a). That includes besetting sin, and anything else that hinders.
B) Run! “…with endurance the race that is set before us” (v. 1b). Each of us can finish our race (see also 2 Timothy 4:7).
C) Focus! “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (v. 2). There never was a millisecond that he did not trust the Father.
D) Consider! Our life is to be spent considering how Jesus lived (v. 3).
9) Discipline of ChurchA) Yes you have to go to church. It is the means of grace that brings someone closer to Christ. Faithful, consistent church attendance is required of God's people because God has commanded it. None of God's commands are to be taken lightly or to be considered as optional. God is our Master, our Owner, our Ruler, and as such we ought to respectfully obey His commandments.
B) You will never attain your full spiritual manhood, nor will your family reach its spiritual maturity without commitment to the church. Find a good WELS church that has it's priorities for YOUTH MINISTRY at the top of it's priority list. (Sunday school, or K-8 school is great, but that's not what I'm talking about. Commit you and your family to it's membership wholeheartedly. Your participation should include financial support, but it should also include giving your time, talents, expertise, and creativity to the glory of God.
10) Discipline of Giving
A) How can we escape the power of materialism? By giving from a heart overflowing with God’s grace, like the believers in Macedonia who “gave themselves first to the Lord” (2 Corinthians 8:5): this is where grace giving must begin.
B) Giving disarms the power of money. Though giving should be regular, it should also be spontaneous and responsive to needs. And it should be joyous—“God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). And Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
As we sweat out the disciplines of a godly man, remember, with Paul, what energizes us to live them out—“not I, but the grace of God that is with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Thank you to St John's Lutheran Church Wauwatosa
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
- Philippians 4:6
- Philippians 4:6
No one will care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
Text: John 11:25-26
Theme: Easter = Contentment
For the people of God, the Festival of the Resurrection of our Lord needs little introduction. This morning we gather to hear the glorious news that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. Because he lives, we will live…forever. And because our Lord has triumphed over the grave, “alleluia” makes a triumphant return to our worship today after a six-week absence during Lent and Holy Week. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
THE FIRST LESSON: Isaiah 12:1-6
Isaiah leads us in an Easter song of praise. We sing to the LORD
with joyful and contented hearts because of what he has done for us this day.
THE SECOND LESSON: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
St. Paul gives an excellent summary of our Christian faith. Christ Jesus lived, died, and rose again for us. He appeared to many people, proving that he had indeed risen from the dead and is our Savior.
THE GOSPEL LESSON: Luke 24:1-12
The first witnesses of the empty tomb were the women who went to anoint Jesus’ body with spices. The angels announced to them the great good news: “He is not here; he has risen!” They, in turn, told the disciples – who were not immediately convinced that Christ had indeed risen.
(numbered hymns are from "Christian Worship" unless otherwise noted)
156 - Awake, My Heart, With Gladness
341 (v. 3) - Crown Him with Many Crowns
160 - This Joyful Eastertide
158 - I Am Content! My Jesus Lives Again
152 (vs. 1,2,6,7,8) - I Know that My Redeemer Lives
Readings for the Week of Easter
M Acts 10:34-43
T Acts 13:16a, 26-33
W Acts 3:12-20
TH Acts 8:26-40
F 1 Peter 3:18-22
S 1 Peter 2:1-10
March 30, 2013
Write down your thoughts about the verses:
Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24_________________________________________
Psalm 31:1-4 ______________________________________________
1 Peter 4:1-8____________________________________________________
Holy Week invites us into a world full of betrayal, abandonment, mockery, violence, and ultimately death. Those three sacred days which constitute one unfolding liturgy, call us to experience communion, loss, and the border spaces of unknowing. In my opinion Holy Saturday is a personal invitation for the believer while at home to make a conscious passage through the liminal realm of in-between.
The wide space of Holy Saturday that lingers between the suffering and death of Jesus and His For me, Holy Saturday evokes much about the human condition—the ways we are called to let go of things or people, identities or securities and then wonder what will rise up out of the ashes of our lives.
The suffering that we experience because of pain or grief or great sorrow and we don't know if we will ever grasp joy again. Much of our lives rest in that space between loss, hope, and that awesome gift of Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Family Devotion for Holy Week
The sign of the cross T may be made by all in remembrance of our Baptism.
Family - In the name of the Father and of the T Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.Matthew 28:19b; [18:20]
Dad - If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
Family - But if we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our
sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8–9
Silence for reflection on God’s Word and for self-examination.
Dad - Let us then confess our sins to God our Father.
Family - Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. We
have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved You with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We justly deserve Your present and eternal punishment. For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways to the glory of Your holy name. Amen.
Dad - In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for His sake God forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in Jesus Christ He gives the power to become the children of God and bestows on them the Holy Spirit. May the Lord, who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
John 1:12; Philippians 1:6
Family - Amen.
READING - from the Book of Exodus 12:1-8,11-14
Dad -: There is no week more important no time of the year that
re-orients our life, work, and faith towards Christ than this week.
We pray for God to send the Holy Spirit to increase the awareness
in the hearts of those who believe, and those who choose not to
believe in Jesus. We have begun our Holy Week observances.
We have celebrated Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and watched the
mood change from joy to sadness and fear. Yet in
hope, we present our needs before our God.
Family – Lord hear our prayer
Mom -: For Christian people everywhere...At the beginning of
this Holy Week we pray for all our Christian sisters
and brothers that we may follow the example of Jesus,
who emptied himself for us that we might learn to be
of service to all.
Family - Lord, hear our prayer.
Lindsey -: For those who suffer for what they believe in Jesus.
We pray for those in our world who, like Jesus, are unjustly
persecuted. By our prayers and actions, may we be in
solidarity with those who suffer for justice and truth.
Family - Lord, hear our prayer
Dad -: For a sense of peace in the midst of suffering...May we
be granted the gift of inner peace when we experience
pain at the hands of others. And may Christians
everywhere support those who are suffering by our
prayers, compassion, and love.
Family -: Lord, hear our prayer
Mom -: For a fruitful observance of Holy Week… May we use
this week well for reflection and prayer, for renewal
and repentance, for acts of charity, and for worship,
Family - Lord, hear our prayer
Dad - Lord, remember us in Your kingdom and continue to teach us to pray:
Family - Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;
give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us
our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass
against us; and lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom
and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Family - Amen
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Six Goals of Satan in Getting You to Hold Grudges
Perhaps it starts with hurt feelings over what was said, another’s actions, or even a lack of response. We mull it over, and over. It festers in our gut. Our spirit can be crushed. We can get hard feelings about the person that we feel offended us. Perhaps those hurt want to get “even” at the other person. Before long, hurt feelings can lead to a host of other actions, including slander against the offending person, or avoidance of that person.
The hurt accomplished may not even be recognized by the offender. They may not even have a clue as to how one is reacting to their remarks or actions; yet the offendee’s bitterness digs deeper and deeper into their life.
Holding a grudge against another can be so devastating to some that it affects their health. Anger can be a result of bitterness. When angry, adrenaline and other hormones are released into the bloodstream, causing high blood pressure and a faster beating heart. Depression, ulcers, heart attack, and stroke have also been linked to those that are controlled by the stress of bitterness and unforgiveness. Not forgiving, and not attempting to forget the offense, can also lead people to do or say things to the offender that they would never think of doing or saying.
A) Personal Story
1) 1. To Make Us Put Ourselves in the Place of God
How did I get here?
1) Identify a situation of an offense.________________________________________________
- How did you handle it? ___________________________________________________
3) What did you do to resolve it?___________________________________________ _
* When we speak, we speak out of what is in our hearts.
Matt. 12:34 is where Jesus said that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
Satan tried to place doubt in the mind of Jesus with the words "If you are the Son of God." Matthew shows that the devil came at the end of Jesus' fast.
The real peril lay in Satan's proposed reason for creating bread. That reason being "If you are the Son of God." Satan was challenging Christ's credentials.
Jesus immediately perceived the real danger, and responded with a passage from Deuteronomy 8:3. But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" - Matthew 4:4
B) The Second Temptation
Satan took Jesus to Jerusalem to stand on the temple. There Satan challenged Jesus to throw himself down.
Satan quotes scripture
Having lost the first challenge, Satan appeals to scripture by quoting Psalm 91:11-12. When isolated from other passages, this proposal seems reasonable. If Jesus were God's Son, then scripture promised to save Him.
Deceptively, Satan tried inciting Jesus to test the Scripture. Jesus addressed the real issue by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16. Jesus said to him, "On the other hand it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" - Matthew 4:7
C) The Third Temptation
Since no mountain stands high enough to view all the world's kingdoms, it's likely that Satan exercised some supernatural power to show Christ "all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time" (Luke 4:5).
Jesus did not question Satan's authority to grant the world's kingdoms. Bear in mind, however, that Jesus did not directly address Satan's apparent deceptions in the first two temptations. Either Satan possessed this authority, or he was validating his reputation as "the father of lies" (John 8:44). In either case, Satan's authority was not the issue. His suggestion violated the first commandment, "You shall have no other gods before Me" (Exodus 20:3).
Matthew 4:10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only