Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Erntedankfest/ Thanksgiving

The first thing you learn when you begin researching Thanksgiving traditions — in the Americas, in Germany, or elsewhere — is that most of what we "know" about the holiday is bunk.
For starters, where was the first thanksgiving celebration in North America? Most people assume it was the well-known 1621 harvest celebration (Erntedankfest) of the Pilgrims in New England. But beyond the many myths associated with that event, there are other claims to the first American thanksgiving celebration. These include Juan Ponce De Leon's landing in Florida in 1513, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado's service of thanksgiving in the Texas Panhandle in 1541, as well as two claims for thanksgiving observances in Jamestown, Virginia — in 1607 and 1610. Canadians claim that Martin Frobisher's 1576 thanksgiving on Baffin Island was the first. Of course, Native Americans (Indianer), very much involved in the New England events, have their own perspective on all of this.
But the offering of thanks at harvest time is not unique to America. Such observances are known to have been held by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and many other cultures throughout history. The American celebration itself is an historically recent development, in fact connected only tenuously to any of the so-called "first" thanksgivings. The American thanksgiving of 1621 was all but forgotten until the 19th century. The 1621 event was not repeated, and what many consider the first authentic Calvinist, religious thanksgiving did not take place until 1623 in Plymouth Colony. Even then it was celebrated only occasionally in some regions for decades, and has only been a U.S. national holiday on the fourth Thursday in November since the 1940s. President Lincoln declared a national Day of Thanksgiving on October 3, 1863. But it was a one-time event, and future Thanksgiving observances were based on the whims of various presidents until President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill creating the current holiday in 1941.
Canadians began their second-Monday-in-October Thanksgiving observance in 1957, although the official holiday actually goes back to 1879, making it a much older national observance than the U.S. holiday. Canada's Dankfest was celebrated annually on November 6th until it was moved to Monday, giving Canadians a long weekend. Canadians (Kanadier) adamently deny any connection between their Thanksgiving and the American Pilgrim tradition. They prefer to claim the English explorer Martin Frobisher and his 1576 Thanksgiving on what is now Baffin Island – which they assert was the "real" first Thanksgiving in North America, beating the Pilgrims by 45 years (but not the Florida or Texas claims).
Thanksgiving in German Europe has a long tradition, but one that is different in many ways from that in North America. First of all, the Germanic Erntedankfest ("harvest festival of thanks") is primarily a rural and a religious celebration. When it is celebrated in larger cities, it is usually part of a church service and not anything like the big traditional family holiday in North America. Although it is celebrated locally and regionally, none of the German-speaking countries observes an official national Thanksgiving holiday on a particular day, as in Canada or the U.S.

In German-speaking countries, Erntedankfest is often celebrated on the first Sunday in October, which is usually also the first Sunday following Michaelistag or Michaelmas (29 Sept.), but various locales may give thanks at different times during September and October. This puts the Germanic thanksgiving closer to Canada's Thanksgiving holiday in early October.
A typical Erntedankfest celebration at Berlin'sEvangelisches Johannesstift Berlin (the Protestant/evangelische Johannesstift Church) is an all-day affair held in late September. A typical Festbegins with a service at 10:00 am. A Thanksgiving procession is held at 2:00 pm and concludes with the presenting of the traditional "harvest crown" (Erntekrone). At 3:00 pm there's music ("von Blasmusik bis Jazz"), dancing, and food inside and outside the church. A 6:00 pm evening service is followed by a lantern and torch parade (Laternenumzug) for the kids — with fireworks! The ceremonies end around 7:00 pm. The church's Web site has photos and video of the latest celebration.
Some aspects of the New World's Thanksgiving celebration have caught on in Europe. Over the past few decades, Truthahn (turkey) has become a popular dish, widely available in German-speaking countries. The New World bird is valued for its tender, juicy meat, slowly usurping the more traditional goose (Gans) on special occasions. (And like the goose, it can be stuffed and prepared in similar fashion.) But the Germanic Erntedankfest is still not a big day of family get-togethers and feasting like it is in America.
There are some turkey substitutes, usually so-called Masthühnchen, or chickens bred to be fattened up for more meat. Der Kapaun is a castrated rooster that is fed until he's heavier than the average rooster and ready for a feast. Die Poularde is the hen equivalent, a sterlilized pullet that is also fattened up (gemästet). But this is not something done just for Erntedankfest.
While Thanksgiving in the U.S. is the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season, in Germany the unofficial starting date is Martinstag on November 11. (It used to be more significant as the start of 40 days of fasting before Christmas.) But things really don't get started for Weihnachten until the first Adventsonntag (Advent Sunday) around December 1. (For more about German Christmas customs, see our article entitled A German Christmas.)

Heritage Holiday Traditions of Germany

Holiday Traditions of Germany
"Froehliche Weihnachten"

According to legend, on Christmas Eve in Germany rivers turn to wine, animals speak to each other, tree blossoms bear fruit, mountains open up to reveal precious gems, and church bells can be heard ringing from the bottom of the sea. Of course, only the pure in heart can witness this Christmas magic. All others must content themselves with traditional German celebrating, of which there is plenty. As a matter of fact, there is so much celebrating that is has to begin on December 6th, St. Nicholas Day.

As in many other European countries, on the eve of Dec. 6th children place a shoe or boot by the fireplace. During the night, St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, hops from house to house carrying a book of sins in which all of the misdeeds of the children are written. If they have been good, he fills the shoe or boot with delicious holiday edibles. If they have not been good, their shoe is filled with twigs.

December 21st, supposedly the shortest day (longest night) of the year, is dubbed St. Thomas Day. In parts of the Sauerland, whoever wakes up late or arrives late to work on that day is issued the title "Thomas Donkey." They are given a cardboard donkey and are the subject of numerous jokes throughout the day. But this gentle abuse ends deliciously with round, iced currant buns called "Thomasplitzchen."

This is all preliminary to the excitement of Christmas Eve. Prior to the evening feast, is the presentation of the tree. The Christmas tree, as we know it, originated in Germany. It has a mysterious magic for the young because they are not allowed to see it until Christmas Eve. While the children are occupied with another room (usually by Father) Mother brings out the Christmas tree and decorates it with apples, candy, nuts, cookies, cars, trains, angels, tinsel, family treasures and candles or lights. The presents are placed under the tree. Somewhere, close to the bright display are laid brilliantly decorated plates for each family member, loaded with fruits, nuts, marzipan, chocolate and biscuits. When all is ready a bell is rung as a signal for the children to enter this Christmas fantasy room. Carols are sung, sometimes sparklers are lit, the Christmas story is read and gifts are opened.

"Dickbauch" means "fat stomach" and is a name given to the Christmas Eve because of the tradition that those who do not eat well on Christmas Eve will be haunted by demons during the night. So the opportunity is given to enjoy dishes such as suckling pig, "reisbrei" (a sweet cinnamon), white sausage, macaroni salad, and many regional dishes.

Christmas Day brings with it a banquet of plump roast goose, "Christstollen" (long loaves of bread bursting with nuts, raisins, citron and dried fruit), "Lebkuchen" (spice bars), marzipan, and "Dresden Stollen" ( a moist, heavy bread filled with fruit).

Of Special Note...

The custom of trimming and lighting a Christmas tree had its origin in pre-Christian Germany, the tree symbolizing the Garden of Eden. It was called the "Paradise Baum," or tree of Paradise. Gradually, the custom of decorating the tree with cookies, fruit and eventually candles evolved. Other countries soon adapted the custom. Charles Dickens called it "The Pretty German Toy."


Reisbrei (Rice Porridge)

½ converted rice
1 quart milk
Pinch of salt
4 tbls. sugar
1 tbl. butter
¼ cup raisins, optional
Cook rice in milk with salt and butter, very slowly until kernels are tender but have not lost their shape. If you have patience, do this in the top of a double broiler. It will take 1 ½ to 2 hours but will be worth it. The mixture should be very thick and can be stirred several times during cooking. When done, flavor with sugar, cinnamon and add raisins--if you are using them. This may be served hot or cold.

Lebkuchen (Spice Bars)

2 cups honey
5 ½ cups flour
¾ cup grated unblanched almonds
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. powdered cloves
¾ cup mixed candied fruits (orange, lemon and citron peel)
½ tsp. baking powder
Egg White Icing (see recipe below)
Heat honey until thin; do not boil. Mix in all other ingredients except icing. Turn onto floured board and knead until smooth, adding a little flour if necessary. Roll with a floured rolling pin to ½" thickness. Grease and flour a baking sheet and lay rolled dough on it. Bake in pre-heated 350 degrees oven about 20 minutes. Spread with icing while hot; cool before cutting into rectangles.

Egg White Icing

2 egg whites
1 ¼ cups confectioner's sugar, shifted
1 tbl. lemon juice
Whip egg whites until they stand in stiff peaks. Add sugar and lemon and juice and continue beating until thick and glossy. Spread on cake or cookies with a spatula.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Leave room for God's grace

I have recently learned that sometimes God will use disappointments, disagreements, and circumstances to humble, teach, or prepare for us the next opportunity He has prepared for us in advance to do.

This is a hard discipline to practice. During our trials or test of faith do we remember to leave room for God and His grace to use those as teachable moments?

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” John 10:27.

The best coaches build opportunities for character education into their program, creating, recognizing and capitalizing on teachable moments. They think about the following questions when it comes to their players:
  • When you fail, will you repent, and try again through Christ?

  • Do you have the character necessary to persist?

  • Will you be committed to glorifying God better?

  • In life our character is constantly tested. The endless procession of teachable moments are available in God's Word. Responsible Christians who constantly use God's Word will find life lessons about persistence, teamwork, sacrifice, effort, empathy, discipline, leadership and overcoming adversity.

The term “sola Scriptura” or “the Bible alone” is a short phrase that represents the simple truth that there is only one special revelation from God that man possesses today, the written Scriptures or the Bible. Scripture states this concept repeatedly and emphatically. The very phrase “It is written” means exclusively transcribed, and not hearsay. The command to believe what is written means to believe only the pure word of God. What is at stake before the All Holy God is His incorruptible truth.

In the very last commandment in the Bible God resolutely tells us not to add to nor take away from His Word.

“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book”
       —Revelation 22:18-19

His Word is absolutely sufficient in itself (Psalm 119:160).

The events, actions, commandments, and truths from God are given to us in propositional form, i.e. logical, written sentences. God’s declaration in Scripture is that it and it alone, is this final authority in all matters of faith and morals.

Thus, there is only one written source from God, and there is only one basis of truth for the Lord’s people in the His Church.

Stay in God's Word!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Working for the Lord, not for human masters

Colossians 3:23-24 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

The interaction with between men come from different walks of life ... vocation, families, occupation, addiction, debts etc.... He is to be used for God's Kingdom purpose. 

The spiritual man does things that appear to be contrary to reason. The closer, and cleaner in Christ the more our separation unto God the greater the mis-understandings we create. 

Patience is needed always. If we lean on personal feelings, or emotions and don't ask God for guidance, we make the wrong decision. 

1 Corinthians 2:15-16

15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject 
 to merely human judgments,16 for “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?”[a But  we have the mind of Christ.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.                                             John 15:7

God is concerned about even the small things in our lives. Talk to Him about them.

Action Plan: Today I  will talk to God about every detail of my life and trust Him with the answers I find in His Word.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, that You care about my every need. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me Trust You to take care of every detail.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Men who have little strength

Revelation 3:8 - "Behold, I have set before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little strength, and have kept My Word and have not denied My name."

The biblical promise of an open door which no one can shut sounds almost too good to be true. And yet this is exactly what is promised in Revelation 3:8. Wow! 

Does this mean God is promising me an open door to that better job or position I've been looking for?

Does it mean my practically non-existent love-life is about to open up in answer to my prayers?

Does it mean I can claim an entrance into any "closed door" in front of me?

Unfortunately, the answer to all these hypothetical questions is simply, No! The promise of an open door in Revelation 3:8 has nothing to do with better jobs or love-lives, etc. Now it may appear that the questions above contain overstated examples. It is a fact, however, that Revelation 3:8 has been wrongly applied to all kinds of "doors" by well-meaning Christians. This kind of improper application of Bible promises has left some believers disappointed when the "open doors" they claimed did not materialize. Well then, what is the open door that is promised in Revelation 3:8, and how should this definite promise be applied to growing Christians today?

One of the basic rules of applying any Scripture to ourselves is always to move from the question, "What did it mean then?" to the question, "How do we apply it now?" In other words, we cannot just jump into any promise of the Bible and indiscriminately apply it to any situation facing us today. We must first see from the Bible to whom the promise was originally made and under what exact conditions the promise was given. Then from that historical frame-work we can move to a well-grounded and properly "controlled" application for ourselves today.

The promise of the open door is contained in one of the letters addressed to the seven churches found in the second and third chapters of Revelation. These first century churches were located in the province of Asia (called Asia Minor today) of the Roman Empire. In the seven letters the Lord directly addressed these churches and spoke to them of their spiritual condition. He commended them for their good points and rebuked them for their shortcomings. He gave the promise of the open door to the church of Philadelphia. Although this church was just a small feeble church, they had kept the Lord's Word and they had not denied the Lord's name. They had been obedient to the Word of God in the face of increasing external pressures and persecutions from the pagan Roman world. And they had not been contaminated internally with the watered-down view of the work of Christ such as the early gnostics were propagating.

 On the basis of their faithfulness, the Lord promised the church of Philadelphia an open door of opportunity to advance God's kingdom.

I don't know all the historical details of how the church of Philadelphia took advantage of its God-given opportunity to witness to the surrounding pagan region. However, we do know that a vigorous Christian testimony continued at Philadelphia when the lights of many other early churches were snuffed out. 

Throughout Church history individual Christians, as well as whole congregations of God's people, have found conviction and strength in this portion of the Word of God. The promise of the open door has challenged many godly believers over the years to take advantage of the definite opportunities the Lord has given them to serve Him. This verse is the foundation of which CEO Ministries was founded on.

 God leads Christians to specific churches to learn about Jesus. In God's time they are to grow stronger, and get equipped to lovingly serve our Triune God for His Kingdom efforts. The members of the congregation are all part of the blessings of the open door that the Lord gave and continues to give His Church.

What about the personal application of the open door promise?

Is it valid for individual growing Christians to claim this promise today and look for the open doors that God has personally given them? Yes! But remember that it is a door of opportunity to serve the Lord, not a guarantee of a better job or love-life or whatever. The open door is a God-given opportunity for you personally to advance His Kingdom in your early life as a Christian. 

Leaving room for God's grace talk to your Pastor and together talk about if God is calling you into the full-time ministry. All roads don't lead to being a called worker. Ask your Pastor:

Q) How do I get equipped for God's Kingdom purpose while working a full-time job?

Q) Is there a Bible study that will help me become a godly father to my children?

Q) Is there a small group that can assist me to be a godly husband obedient to God's Word?

Your door of opportunity right now may be the un-glamorous one-on-one campus or office faith-sharing that is open before you. Your open door may be the opportunity to evangelize, starting with your own family. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Combat discontentment

A Passionate Life Before God.

It is God’s heart desire to manifest His awesome presence as glory among His people. Throughout Scripture and  history, God’s manifest presence and spiritual fullness are always the sources of powerful blessing, sweeping evangelism through God's Holy Spirit.

It is by God’s awesome mercy that He raises up a standard and restraining evil forces. Indeed, it is “not by might nor by power but by My Spirit says the Lord.” (Zechariah 4:6) 

Through His people, God desires to touch the whole earth. No doubt, it greatly disappoints and saddens God’s heart when His people do not hunger and seek for more of a one on one relationship through Christ. A lack of hunger and active seeking says we are content to continue religious activities and studies without much effort or passion. Sadly, many today have substituted the one hour weekly worship service as "seeking God." Leaving room for God's grace and work most modern saints know far too little about the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, many Christians live a life unbalanced, and unbiblical.   

The Old Testament story of David—a boy who by faith, courage, and divine appointment was thrust into the kingship of Israel. He was king, warrior, psalmist, prophet, and one who foreshadowed the coming of Christ. And he was flawed. But the Book of Acts describes David as “a man after [God’s] own heart” (Acts 13:22). 

Although David was flawed, he lived a passionate life of trusting, seeking, and worshiping God.

1 Samuel 17; 2 Samuel 6; 11:1–12:14; Psalm 51

    • A Man's World: 

—What would it look like to be a person “after God’s own heart”?
—In what ways does David’s life point us to Christ?
    • A Man's Word
—Teaching point one: A life lived before God includes passionate trust.
—Teaching point two: A life lived before God involves passionate seeking.
—Teaching point three: A life lived before God involves passionate worship.

    • A Man's Work: Action Point - 
Express your passionate heart toward God.

           A) A life lived before God includes passionate trust. Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all  
                 your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him,  
                and he will make  your paths straight.

 B) A life lived before God involves passionate seeking. The Old Testament and New Testament 
              words for "seek" to seek the face of God; to desire ; to examine or explore ; to seek earnestly  
              ; to diligently search for ; to wish for ;  to crave ; to investigate ; to pursue.

            Only God can touch our hearts and give us the desire to seek and to know Him, and to want His will & plans & ways above our own: Intimacy with God and the fullest possible 
fellowship and partnership with Him comes as you desire and seek to know Him & 
His plans and will and His ways. Prayer and spending time with God is all about desire & 
passion for God ; it is not a "religious" discipline in your Christian walk.

"I will give them a heart to know me."   - Jeremiah 24:7
" O Lord, God of our fathers, keep this desire in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you. And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, requirements, and decrees..."   - I Chronicles 29:18-19

"For it is God who works in you to will and act according to His good purpose."  - Phil. 2:13

       C)  A life lived before God involves passionate worship. The word passionate expresses an intense 
             desire, an ardent spirit, strong feelings, and the sense of heightened importance. 

Through the personal practice of Passionate Worship, we learn to love God in return. Followers of Christ develop patterns of listening to God, allowing God to shape our hearts and minds through prayer, personal devotion, and community worship. We love God.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Back To Jesus

Back To Jesus

The Bible tells us of a very special story. In Luke 15 we read the parable of The Prodigal Son. It is so special ... While the son was in the far off land his father waited patiently for him to come home. This is Jesus' call for those who are lost. 

Right now regardless of what you have done, your life circumstances, or if haven't been to church in a while, Jesus open invitation is for you. His open arms of grace and love invites you to give Him all your burdens, and rest in His caring arms. 

Reach out to Him: 

Holy and merciful Father, I confess that I am by nature sinful, and that I have disobeyed you in my thoughts, words, and actions. I have done what is evil and failed to do what is good. For this I deserve your punishment both now and in eternity. But I am truly sorry for my sins, and trusting in my Savior Jesus Christ, I pray: Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner...Amen.

The Sweet Gospel message of Christ.

Jesus did something really special for each of us. He was beaten bloody, died on a cross to take the place of our sin, rose three days later and ascended into heaven sitting at the right hand of God our Heavenly Father. 

This incredible message has two main uses. The first is for internal purposes—for you personally. It’s for comfort for your own heart, for instruction and encouragement within your family, and for spiritual strength in your congregation. 

The second use for this incredible rescue story is to provide you, your family, with its message for external purposes—evangelism. God has placed you in a context where you have relationships with people who still walk in darkness. Only those who hear the message and believe it will receive its wonderful blessings.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Benefits of a regular, study

You are invited to share in all the benefits of a regular, study of God's Word. The Word of God can benefit us in more ways than we can possibly imagine. “The Word of God is alive and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12). What’s so great about the Bible is it’s not just some ordinary book, but the living Word — inspired by God almighty. It is literally “God breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). It will do for you what no other book or anything else can.You can make the commitment to Christ to engage the Bible on a regular basis. 

We must read the Bible. “Blessed is he that reads” (Revelations 1:3). 

We must listen to the Word being taught and preached. Luke 11:28 He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."
We must be doers of the Word. “Blessed is he that reads and they that hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written therein, for the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:3). In order to have the Word of God be of full benefit in our lives we have to put it into practice. 
We must meditate on the Word. We are to make the Word of God our meditation day and night (Psalms 1:2-3 and Joshua 1:8). The only meditation we are encouraged to do is on God and His Word. 
We must memorize the Word.  “Thy word have I hid in mine heart” (Psalms 119:11); “I have written unto you young men because you are strong and the Word of God abides in you” (1 John 2:14); “If you abide in me and my words abide in you” (John 15:7). 
We must use the Word. The bible likens itself to a sword (Hebrews 4:12 and Ephesians 6:17). It is part of the armor of God.

1)Make God's Word a regular part of your day. Partner up with a fellow brother in the faith via calls, texts 
   or emails. This is a simple, a great way to help you stay engaged in the Bible each day. 

Readings for the Week of Pentecost 15

M       Mark 1:40-45
          Isaiah 40:25-31

T        1 Timothy 1:12-17
          1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

W       2 Corinthians 9:10-15
          1 Chronicles 17:16-27

TH      1 Thessalonians 1:2-10
          2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

F        Philippians 1:12-18
          Mark 14:3-9

S        Philippians 1:19-26
          Revelation 4:1-11

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Welcome to the ninth annual CEO Ministries Fearless Faith Mens workshop. 

Who are you, and why are you here? 

It seems so many guys want that answered as no one has ever told them. That is the job of a father, but today many otherwise good men do not seem to have fathers. Far too many of our brothers live day to day by accident, and have no real spiritual objectives in their lives. 


When asked WHO ARE YOU??, A Christian with a Fearless Faith might answer - I Am A Mighty Man Of God, bought by the blood shed by my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and I Am motivated by God's Holy Spirit to Fight And Resist Evil Wherever I Find It, or it finds me. 

This answer demonstrates a confidence in Christ, and communicates a simple matter of clarity of mission and purity of focus. 
To serve our Triune God with distinction, you must serve with your heart and your mind....all of it.

The next question may be WHAT DO YOU WANT?

A common secular man may ask for a Plasma TV, or to do something be fuel his shallow, lost, confused spirit?  

The Spiritual man may ask HOW CAN I GLORIFY GOD TODAY? 

Do not fall to the lie brothers...embrace the Lion's ferocity. And if you are skilled and you are strong, never forget that it is by His hand that you are these things. Being proud of what God has called you to do is one thing...being lazy and arrogant is quite another.

Psalm 144;1 Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.

Those are the answers of a clear mind, a clear mission and a pure focus. If that is you wake up! Snap out of the mundane, and laziness of the modern age and awake to your Christian Fearless Faith

Monday, August 20, 2012

                      Seeking God Through Christ

1. Growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ requires...
   a. The development of a daily relationship with Jesus Christ
   b. In conjunction with each other
   c. With all diligence
   What does it do for you?  It will gradually produce a Christ-like character.

2. Reasons to grow in this knowledge include...
   a. Grace and peace are multiplied in the knowledge of the Gospel of Christ
   b. All things pertaining to life and godliness are provided through the knowledge of the 
          Gospel of Christ
   c. Spiritual laziness and amnesia are avoided by this knowledge
   d. When we stumble, God will show us a way out if can abound in this knowledge
   What does it do for you? An abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom will be ours 
   through Christ!

3. Thus the development of a Christ-like character...
   a. Begins with the foundation of faith in Jesus (conviction and trust)
   b. To which we add the quality of virtue (striving for excellence)
   c. Increasing in knowledge (regarding God's will)
   d. To which we add the grace of self-control (mastering one's desires
     and passions)
   What does it do for you? It will help strengthen our perseverance to bear up trials and 

If a man know not how to rule - A church resembles a family. It is, indeed, larger, and there is a greater variety of dispositions in it than there is in a family. The minister of the gospel in a church is also less absolute than that of a father. Yet there is a striking resemblance. The church is made up of an assemblage of brothers and sisters. They are banded together for the same purposes, and have a common object to aim at. They have common feelings and common needs. They have sympathy, like a family, with each other in their distresses and afflictions. The government of the church - Board of Elders  also are designed to be "paternal." It should be felt that he who presides over it has the feelings of a father; that he loves all the members of the great family; that he has no prejudices, no partialities, no selfish aims to gratify.

Now, if a man cannot govern his own family well; if he is severe, partial, neglectful in teaching the God's Word, or tyrannical at home, how can he be expected to take charge of the more numerous "household of faith" church with proper views and feelings? 

Leading a family requires so much resolution, prudence, care, and thought. God has charged each man to preside over it, rule in it, provide for it, and see that everything is in its proper place, and done according to the will of God.

Even when your children leave the household it is still your responsibility to encourage them spiritually. 

Your Action Step's

1) Gaining a better understanding of what and who Jesus Christ is.

2) Help your family make a connection with God's Word.

3) Encourage your family member's to attend Sunday school, and Bible studies. 

There is always time to start. So lead by example, and patterns of spiritual laziness will change. The amount of freedom and opportunities are endless as the Devil lures us away from faithfully fulfilling our role as head of the household. He tempts us, and encourages us to wrestle with doubt, the mysteries of scripture and its applicability to the problems in own lives. Satan plays an active role in our thought process when it comes to attending Bible study, and is related to the holding us back in the maturity of our faith. 

God through His grace remains patient with us. The Christian life should be lived in "self-control, uprightness, and godliness." Again, the knowledge of the Word of God and the filling of the Holy Spirit is the key, not the legalistic teaching of many churches. Morality is not the issue, the controlling ministry of the Holy Spirit and the knowledge of Bible doctrine is the real issue.

The Christian life should be lived in the "great expectation of the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ." The knowledge of the Word of God and the filling of the Holy Spirit is the only way to obtain this attitude of "great expectation." and all of this is the product of grace.

So what are you waiting for? 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What is the legacy of God's Word in your family?

We live in times where God is "respected" but not "revered"; where people trust in the supernatural but not the supernatural God of Scriptures; where feelings outweigh faith; hope has been usurped by hopelessness; where religious devotion is practiced more like a picnic than the knee-knocking, heart-pricking experience of Scripture. 

Q) What practices have you exampled in your home regarding God's Word? 

Q) Have you carved time into your busy schedule and spent time in God's Word together? 

Q) Did your actions help pass down the legacy of God's Word? 

Throughout my years of attending worship, Bible study, and having the unique privilege of leading teens to closer to Christ at our families home church. God be praised through the youth ministry we were able to encourage 50-60 teens every Sunday morning. Churches currently have a consistent low turn out for Bible study. The most common excuse is I don't really get anything out of Bible study. I used that excuse all of the time, but now struggle with it.  We have a serious problem if we get nothing out of it! 

Stay in God's Word
You can NOT separate God from His Word. He is the Word. God's Word which is Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ transforms us into His image as it replaces the deception in our hearts. 

John 1:1-4 (NIV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

God's Word was so revealed that we might, through diligent study, understand it:

We can know the truth (John. 8:22). 

We can understand Paul's knowledge of the mystery (Eph 3:3-4).

We are to study to be approved (2 Tim. 2:15). 

We are to give attendance unto reading (1 Tim. 4:13).

We can train ourselves to distinguish between good and evil ( Hebrews 5:14)

It is my opinion that every believer including called workers are students of Jesus Christ, until God calls us home. We should be encouraging each other to be more responsible and responsive in meditating on God's Word daily. 
Job wrote (Job 23:12) that he “treasured the words of [God], more than my portion of food.” 1 Timothy 3:8 tells us that “godliness is of value in every way,” and such godliness is only attainable through God’s Word (2 Cor. 3:18). 1 Peter 1:3 explains that God’s power “has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us,” such knowledge only being available through the Bible.

Not intending to be rude, and leaving room for God's grace, believers need to be cautious about their personal laziness, and excuses when it comes to the lack of giving attention to God's Word.  Year after year most  Christians may attend weekly worship or Bible study "like a dead fish" and then complain, "I don't get anything out of it." 
Q) What kind of an effort did you honestly make? 

Q Where is the reverence for God's Word? 
Without the help of God's Holy Spirit believers may live in the continual state of confusion that their such unjustified criticisms seem justified to them. It seems to me that we need to exercise care, yet still  increase the importance of daily use of God's Word in our families homes. We men need to set the example for those God has entrusted to us to care for. Above all, let us each do everything possible to enhance the effectiveness of  God's Kingdom work together.
1 Peter 1:3-11
3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Stay in God's Word and add to your faith through the means of grace!