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Whatever You Do…Don’t Quit!

I Almost let go! I almost quit! Regina

Today I encourage you to keep moving forward in pursuit of your purpose and passion regardless of what life throws at you!

I encourage you to trust in the God that gave you the visions and dreams and believe that even though it’s taking or has taken a long time and you see very few results, keep forging ahead. It will pay off and you WILL begin to see the MANIFESTATIONS if you stay the course and do not quit.

Imagine starting something more than 16 years ago and only now beginning to see what was promised; what was prayed for and what was worked for! In sixteen years you know there have been a lot of challenges; a lot of losses; a lot of falling down; a lot of getting back up; a lot of mocking and ridicules…but when you know that you know that you know that God has placed something inside of you and it’s like fire shut up in your bones (Translation: It just doesn’t go way: you just can’t shake it.), the only option one has is to continue doing whatever they can and trust God to bring the rest to fruition.

I won’t bore you today with long discourse: I will just simply say again what was stated earlier: DO NOT GIVE UP! The good news is if it’s taken years, you are a lot closer now than you’ve ever been before.

The good news is that God is faithful!

The good news is you, as a visionary, although considered perhaps strange by some, are in the company of many great men and women that have gone before you. They too believed, worked, prayed, trusted in God,  and waited. I know, waiting is the hard part BUT you can do it!

I almost let go! I almost gave up! I almost quit! Today, I am extremely glad I didn’t and you will be too!

Anything built on a solid foundation and worth having; anything that lasts is worth the wait. In doing so, your gifts are being used to touch and change your life in positive ways as well as the lives of others and extending to the next generation. Legacy builders!!!

http://www.godsstorehouseministries.org

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Won’t you join us for our Meeting of the Minds Networking Event in Minden, LA.? Click on Link below for more information

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Pray for First Baptist Church, Fredericksburg

Location: Fredericksburg, Texas

Pastor: Tommy Russell

Weekly Worship: 8:30 & 11:00 AM, Central

Fast Facts: During the spring and summer, we have seen several horrific traffic accidents involving church vans and buses. FBC Fredericksburg, TX, is the latest church to experience this awful event. On Friday, June 9, their youth group was returning from camp and was involved in a terrible accident as one of their vans was hit head on. While the students have been released and are in good health and spirits, the driver, Jenny Loza—the pastor’s wife—is still in critical condition. Please pray that God will continue healing her broken body. Specifically, pray for the swelling on her brain to go down so the rest of her injuries can be addressed. Finally, be in prayer for your church and churches across the nation for safety as they travel this summer and in the future.

Website: FBCFbg.com


“Pray for . . .” is the Sunday blog series at ThomRainer.com. We encourage you to pray for these churches noted every Sunday. Please feel free to comment that you are praying as well.

If you would like to have your church featured in the “Pray for…” series, fill out this information form..

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How We Worshipped: A Sunday Morning at Grace Fellowship Church

I’ve been surprised at how much people are enjoying these little summaries of our worship services at Grace Fellowship Church. I probably shouldn’t be, though, because I rather enjoy experiencing worship in other churches and learning how different communities of Christians worship the same God in different contexts. So here is another explanation of how we worshipped, this one drawn from one week ago.

The service’s cast of characters included Paul as the preacher, Josh as the lead worshipper, and Peter as the Scripture-reader. Our band consisted of guitar, viola, and piano accompanying a male and female vocalist. The various elements of the service are in bold with the name of the person who led the element in parentheses. Items in quotes represent roughly what the person said to the congregation. Items not in quotes are explanatory. A few people have asked for time markers, but, unfortunately, I don’t have them for this service. In general, though, the first part of the service takes about 35 minutes, the sermon 45 minutes, and the closing part about 10 minutes.

Singing (Josh)

Response to Singing (Josh)

“We just sang, ‘All ye who hear, now to his temple draw near!’ I hope you intend to do that this morning because we draw near to the greater Temple, the greater meeting place between God and men, the Lord Jesus Christ! One day, all the redeemed will see Him and worship Him. Read aloud with me these words from Revelation 5 as they are printed in your bulletin…”

And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’

“We will praise God together… forever. Until then, we gather every week to remind us of what is to come. Please take a moment now to greet and encourage the folks standing around you and welcome them as a brief preview of eternity.”

This time of greeting one another ended by singing again the first verse of “Praise to the Lord the Almighty.”

Opposite Text Reading (Peter)

“In today’s sermon we will hear of God’s discipline of Moses for his disobedience. Listen as I read to you the Word of God from the book of Hebrews as it speaks of God’s discipline of those he loves.”

[Peter read Hebrews 12:1-6]

“This reading was from Hebrews 12.”

Confession of Sin (Peter)

“Has God been disciplining you for your sins? Now is the time for all of us to confess our sins and renounce them before the Lord. Take a moment to do that privately in prayer before we sing.”

After a moment Peter prayed, “Lord, make Yourself known to us so that we feel our great need to be clean with You. Let no hidden sin remain, no hypocrisy, no insincerity. We stand before you God and say, ‘Search us. Know us. Forgive us.’ Amen.”

Singing (Josh)

Pastoral Prayer (Paul)

This pastoral prayer was perhaps 4-5 minutes long. Paul particularly prayed for our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and for the church’s Annual Business Meeting which was later that day. He also thanked God for the safe delivery of a child to one of the couples and prayed for a few other items of relevance to the church members.

Scripture Reading (Paul)

“Please take your Bible and turn to Exodus 4 verse 18. You will find that on page 47 if you are using one of our church Bibles. Just look for page 47, then for the big number 4, then the small number 18. That’s verse 18. We will read from that verse until the end of the chapter.”

“This is what Holy Scripture says…”

[Paul read Exodus 4:18-31]

“This is the world of the Lord,” to which the congregation replied, “Thanks be to God.”

“We are happy to provide our Early Years Ministry. We have a nursery for kids 0 to 24 months and a pre-school for 2 and 3 year olds. Both of those programs are already underway. We also have a kindergarten program for 4 and 5 years old that begins right now. If you would like your children to be part of it, just send them down to their teachers now as we stand to sing.”

Singing (Josh)

Sermon (Paul)

The sermon title was, “God Loves His Children” and was part of the series, “The God Who Saves, Speaks, and Stays: A Series on the Book of Exodus.” (Listen here)

  1.  God opens a way forward (18)
  2.  God commands (19-23)
  3.  God disciplines (24-26)
  4.  God provides (27-28)
  5.  God works (29-31)

Singing (Josh)

Silent Reflection (Josh)

“Take a moment to silently reflect on the Word of God and how you should respond to it.”

Singing (Josh)

Commission (Paul)

Paul built from one of the themes in the sermon to call people to live in light of the truth of God’s Word. This was the bridge to provide a few announcements about the week ahead.

Benediction (Paul)

“Receive this blessing of the Lord from His Word: ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.’ Amen.”

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You Need Friends Who Will Help You Succeed

Real friends bring out the best in each other. They encourage and motivate one another to reach their goals. Friends who will cheer you on to success are a critical part of getting healthy.
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How to Know God’s Will

Praying honestly and studying Scripture help Christians distinguish God’s will from their own motivations.
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Mid-Year Check Up: 4 Questions to Measure Your Progress

 

Can you believe we are already half way through the year?  It is the perfect time to check in with yourself – celebrate your accomplishments thus far and get back on track if you’ve been distracted.   Here are four powerful coaching questions to ask as you head into the second half of this year:

 

  1. What accomplishment are you most proud of so far this year? 

Resist the temptation to breeze by your milestones without acknowledging what it took for you to achieve them.  You’ve likely done a lot in six months, whether it’s personally or professionally.  Whether a shift in your thinking or the completion of a major goal, take a moment and ponder this question: What are you most proud of in the last six months?

 

  1. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far this year?

The most valuable part of aiming for and reaching a goal is who you become in the process. You learn lessons you would not learn otherwise. And those lessons sharpen you for future endeavors.  As your wisdom grows, so does your ability to set and reach meaningful goals.

 

  1. What is the most meaningful milestone you could accomplish by the end of this year?

I word it that way for a very specific reason because there are lots of goals that we can set, but it’s important to understand the goal that will be most meaningful and gratifying to you.  That’s often quite different from the one that you quickly write down on New Year’s Day.  If you really dig deep and say, ‘if I could accomplish just one thing the remainder of this year, one that would hold the most meaning for me, what would it be’? Whatever it is, get clarity about why it matters so much to you. The deeper the meaning, the more likely you are to persevere on the path to reaching it. So ask yourself:  Why is it so meaningful to you?  What will it mean to you to be able to accomplish that particular milestone?

 

  1. What would make it easier for you to reach that milestone?

The reason that most people don’t reach their goals is because they have not set themselves up for success.  If reaching the goal is cumbersome –  if there are scheduling conflicts, things that really make it hard to be consistent, for example – you’ll decrease your chances of getting to the goal unless you remove or reduce the effect of those obstacles. So ask yourself: What can I move out of the way?  Who can I invite into the process? Or what can I drop from my schedule that would free up some space, energy and time?

 

My challenge to you:

 

Do a quick mid-year review of your progress and establish your focus for the second half of the year.

 

Journal about it:

Answer these four powerful questions:

  1. What accomplishment are you most proud of so far this year?
  2. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far this year?
  3. What is the most meaningful milestone that you could accomplish by the end of this year?
  4. What would make it easier for you to reach that milestone?

The post Mid-Year Check Up: 4 Questions to Measure Your Progress appeared first on Valorie Burton.

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How the Reformation Rediscovered Happiness

How the Reformation Rediscovered Happiness

Imagine facing Judgment Day every week.

Near to where I grew up, in the Oxfordshire village of South Leigh, is the parish church of St. James the Great. Over the chancel arch is a medieval wall painting depicting the final judgment.

To the left, the righteous rose from their graves to be welcomed into paradise. To the right, the damned were roped together to be dragged towards the gaping mouth of a huge red dragon. This is what the churchgoers of South Leigh saw every Sunday. And they would find no relief, even if they turned away. For on the wall of the south aisle, another wall painting depicted St. Michael weighing souls in a balance. More demons hover, ready to carry away those found wanting.

Heaven was a possibility for the churchgoers of South Leigh — but so was hell. And the church offered no assurance of salvation. Perhaps you might be righteous enough for God with boosts offered by the sacraments. Perhaps you might not. No one could be sure. Indeed, to claim any assurance was an act of pride. How could anyone consider himself good enough for the holy God? The best you could hope for was that the sanctifying torments of purgatory to get you into heaven.

Scrupulous, Joyless Monk

What was it like to live in this environment? Most people hoped for the best and had to get on with life. But one man refused to avoid the logic of the medieval church.

In 1505, when Luther was still a student, he was walking back to his university after a visit to his parents when a bolt of lightning narrowly missed him. This near-death experience changed his life. Ten days later, he applied to join the Augustinian order of monks.

Luther quickly gained a reputation for the zeal with which he pursued his new calling. Believing that he could only receive absolution for sins he confessed to a priest, he became obsessed with visiting the confessional. It drove his superior up the wall. At one point, his superior allegedly exclaimed, “Look here, Brother Martin, if you’re going to confess so much, why don’t you go do something worth confessing? Kill your mother or father! Commit adultery! Stop coming in here with such flummery and fake sins!”

But all Luther’s zealous endeavors brought him no joy.

Discovering Good News, Great Joy

In 1512, at age 26, Luther was sent to lecture in biblical studies at the new University at Wittenberg. It was studying Augustine and lecturing on the Psalms, Romans, and Galatians that eventually brought joy to Luther’s heart. Luther discovered a righteousness that would unlock joy that would serve generations to come.

In German, as in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, justice and righteousness are the same word. For Luther, “the justice of God” had meant one thing: the standard by which God finds us guilty. “I hated that word ‘justice of God,’ which, by the use and custom of all my teachers, I had been taught to understand philosophically as . . . that justice by which God is just and by which he punishes sinners and the unjust.” Paul’s claim in Romans 1:17 that the justice or righteousness of God is “gospel” or “good news” merely taunted Luther. “I did not love — no, rather I hated — the just God who punishes sinners.”

But then Luther realized Paul was describing righteousness as a gift God gives, which we receive by faith. Speaking of Romans 1:17, Luther says, “I began to understand that in this verse the justice of God is that by which the just person lives by a gift of God, that is, by faith.” God credits us with the perfect righteousness of Christ while Christ endures the punishment deserved by our unrighteousness. “All at once,” he continues, “I felt that I had been born again and entered into paradise itself through open gates.” A little later he writes, “I exalted this sweetest word of mine, ‘the justice of God,’ with as much love as before I had hated it with hate. This phrase of Paul was for me the very gate of paradise.”

Here was a message that could bring assurance. Why? Because here was a confidence which was based not on our merits, but on Christ’s. The righteousness of Christ, credited to us through faith, promised God’s children heaven — no need for purgatory or fear of hell. The gospel moved Luther from fear to faith, from despair to joy.

Gospel Makes Glad

One of the key men responsible for introducing Luther’s rediscovery of joy into England was William Tyndale. In 1526, Tyndale published the New Testament in English. It was his second attempt to do so.

The first time around he had been forced to flee when the authorities raided the press where it was being printed. He was living in exile and would eventually be martyred for his passion to make an English Bible available to everyone in the land. He included a preface to that first edition which he later expanded into A Pathway into the Holy Scripture. In it, he beautifully describes the joy-bringing power of the gospel.

Evangelion (what we call “the gospel”) is a Greek word; and signifies good, merry, glad, and joyful tidings, that make a man’s heart glad, and make him sing, dance, and leap for joy. . . . Christ before his death commanded and appointed that such evangelion, gospel or tidings, should be declared throughout all the world, and thereby to give to all that believe all his goods, that is to say: his life, through which he swallowed and devoured up death; his righteousness, through which he banished sin; his salvation, through which he overcame eternal damnation. Now can the wretched man (that is wrapped in sin, and is in danger to death and hell) hear no more joyous a thing, than such glad and comfortable tidings of Christ? So he cannot but be glad and laugh from the low bottom of his heart if he believes that the tidings are true.

Leap for Joy

It is a message we need to keep on hearing. Even if we trust Christ for our acquittal on the final day, we can all too easily seek to establish our own identity today. Even as we preach justification by faith, we can be practicing justification by preaching instead, where our sense of well-being depends on how our sermons are received. We can think our approval before the Father depends on our behavior. And if you fear God’s disapproval, then you will not approach him with joy.

But the gospel “signifies merry, glad, and joyful tidings, that make a man’s heart glad, and make him sing, dance, and leap for joy.” For “since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Romans 5:1–2). And so, we can join with Tyndale and Luther as they laugh from the bottom of their hearts — as they rejoice in their righteousness.

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How the Reformation Rediscovered Happiness

How the Reformation Rediscovered Happiness

Imagine facing Judgment Day every week.

Near to where I grew up, in the Oxfordshire village of South Leigh, is the parish church of St. James the Great. Over the chancel arch is a medieval wall painting depicting the final judgment.

To the left, the righteous rose from their graves to be welcomed into paradise. To the right, the damned were roped together to be dragged towards the gaping mouth of a huge red dragon. This is what the churchgoers of South Leigh saw every Sunday. And they would find no relief, even if they turned away. For on the wall of the south aisle, another wall painting depicted St. Michael weighing souls in a balance. More demons hover, ready to carry away those found wanting.

Heaven was a possibility for the churchgoers of South Leigh — but so was hell. And the church offered no assurance of salvation. Perhaps you might be righteous enough for God with boosts offered by the sacraments. Perhaps you might not. No one could be sure. Indeed, to claim any assurance was an act of pride. How could anyone consider himself good enough for the holy God? The best you could hope for was that the sanctifying torments of purgatory to get you into heaven.

Scrupulous, Joyless Monk

What was it like to live in this environment? Most people hoped for the best and had to get on with life. But one man refused to avoid the logic of the medieval church.

In 1505, when Luther was still a student, he was walking back to his university after a visit to his parents when a bolt of lightning narrowly missed him. This near-death experience changed his life. Ten days later, he applied to join the Augustinian order of monks.

Luther quickly gained a reputation for the zeal with which he pursued his new calling. Believing that he could only receive absolution for sins he confessed to a priest, he became obsessed with visiting the confessional. It drove his superior up the wall. At one point, his superior allegedly exclaimed, “Look here, Brother Martin, if you’re going to confess so much, why don’t you go do something worth confessing? Kill your mother or father! Commit adultery! Stop coming in here with such flummery and fake sins!”

But all Luther’s zealous endeavors brought him no joy.

Discovering Good News, Great Joy

In 1512, at age 26, Luther was sent to lecture in biblical studies at the new University at Wittenberg. It was studying Augustine and lecturing on the Psalms, Romans, and Galatians that eventually brought joy to Luther’s heart. Luther discovered a righteousness that would unlock joy that would serve generations to come.

In German, as in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, justice and righteousness are the same word. For Luther, “the justice of God” had meant one thing: the standard by which God finds us guilty. “I hated that word ‘justice of God,’ which, by the use and custom of all my teachers, I had been taught to understand philosophically as . . . that justice by which God is just and by which he punishes sinners and the unjust.” Paul’s claim in Romans 1:17 that the justice or righteousness of God is “gospel” or “good news” merely taunted Luther. “I did not love — no, rather I hated — the just God who punishes sinners.”

But then Luther realized Paul was describing righteousness as a gift God gives, which we receive by faith. Speaking of Romans 1:17, Luther says, “I began to understand that in this verse the justice of God is that by which the just person lives by a gift of God, that is, by faith.” God credits us with the perfect righteousness of Christ while Christ endures the punishment deserved by our unrighteousness. “All at once,” he continues, “I felt that I had been born again and entered into paradise itself through open gates.” A little later he writes, “I exalted this sweetest word of mine, ‘the justice of God,’ with as much love as before I had hated it with hate. This phrase of Paul was for me the very gate of paradise.”

Here was a message that could bring assurance. Why? Because here was a confidence which was based not on our merits, but on Christ’s. The righteousness of Christ, credited to us through faith, promised God’s children heaven — no need for purgatory or fear of hell. The gospel moved Luther from fear to faith, from despair to joy.

Gospel Makes Glad

One of the key men responsible for introducing Luther’s rediscovery of joy into England was William Tyndale. In 1526, Tyndale published the New Testament in English. It was his second attempt to do so.

The first time around he had been forced to flee when the authorities raided the press where it was being printed. He was living in exile and would eventually be martyred for his passion to make an English Bible available to everyone in the land. He included a preface to that first edition which he later expanded into A Pathway into the Holy Scripture. In it, he beautifully describes the joy-bringing power of the gospel.

Evangelion (what we call “the gospel”) is a Greek word; and signifies good, merry, glad, and joyful tidings, that make a man’s heart glad, and make him sing, dance, and leap for joy. . . . Christ before his death commanded and appointed that such evangelion, gospel or tidings, should be declared throughout all the world, and thereby to give to all that believe all his goods, that is to say: his life, through which he swallowed and devoured up death; his righteousness, through which he banished sin; his salvation, through which he overcame eternal damnation. Now can the wretched man (that is wrapped in sin, and is in danger to death and hell) hear no more joyous a thing, than such glad and comfortable tidings of Christ? So he cannot but be glad and laugh from the low bottom of his heart if he believes that the tidings are true.

Leap for Joy

It is a message we need to keep on hearing. Even if we trust Christ for our acquittal on the final day, we can all too easily seek to establish our own identity today. Even as we preach justification by faith, we can be practicing justification by preaching instead, where our sense of well-being depends on how our sermons are received. We can think our approval before the Father depends on our behavior. And if you fear God’s disapproval, then you will not approach him with joy.

But the gospel “signifies merry, glad, and joyful tidings, that make a man’s heart glad, and make him sing, dance, and leap for joy.” For “since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Romans 5:1–2). And so, we can join with Tyndale and Luther as they laugh from the bottom of their hearts — as they rejoice in their righteousness.

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God Is With Us in Hard Times

Joseph’s life reminds us that suffering often causes our faith, our character, and God’s kingdom to grow.
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Husbands Who Love Like Christ and the Wives Who Submit to Them

Husbands Who Love Like Christ and the Wives Who Submit to Them

Marriage points beyond an earthly reality to a heavenly one. Husbands and wives are a living drama of Jesus and the church.

Listen Now

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Husbands Who Love Like Christ and the Wives Who Submit to Them

Husbands Who Love Like Christ and the Wives Who Submit to Them

Marriage points beyond an earthly reality to a heavenly one. Husbands and wives are a living drama of Jesus and the church.

Listen Now

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Do Mission Trips Really Make a Difference?

Any project like this needs to be carefully planned, of course—but I strongly support such efforts. I hope you’ll openly encourage those who are going, and that you’ll be praying both for them and the people they’ll be with.

What can projects like this accomplish? First, they will be an encouragement to the people in that church. They probably have very limited resources, and even a small amount of help can accomplish much. They also may feel isolated, and they need to know that they are not alone. In addition, meeting young people from another part of the world who take their faith seriously will be a good example to them.

But I predict that this project mainly will have a great impact on your young people (and your whole church). Many of them have never seen the hardships and poverty that millions face every day, and witnessing it firsthand could be a life-changing experience for them. Remember: Christ gave His life for “persons from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9).

Pray that this experience will deepen the commitment of these young people to Christ, and that God will put within them a strong desire to seek His will for their lives. Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37-38).

Have you made Christ your Lord and Savior?

The post Do Mission Trips Really Make a Difference? appeared first on Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

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No Greater Accolade (Christian Men and their Godly Moms)

What would it be like to spend time with history’s greatest theologian? Imagine if you had access to the greatest theological mind since Christ, not just for an hour or a day, but for years. Think of all the questions you might ask. Think of all the ways you could observe and imitate a life lived full-out for the glory of God.

There is one young man who had the remarkable privilege of being the protégé of none other than the Apostle Paul. He traveled, pastored, prayed, worshipped, and suffered alongside the man who wrote nearly half of the books in the New Testament. The two grew so close that Paul considered him a son and referred to him as “my true child in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). Truly, Timothy was a man who enjoyed a remarkable opportunity, an opportunity for which many in his day would have longed.

So what made Timothy stand out? Paul pointed to Timothy’s genuine concern for others’ welfare and sincere faith (Philippians 2:20; 2 Timothy 1:5). Yet when he spoke of his protégé’s faith, he gave credit to those who had influenced Timothy long before they had met: his mother and grandmother. As we come to the close of this collection of articles on “Christian Men and Their Godly Moms,” it is only fitting that we turn to the earliest example of a Christian man whose most formative influence was his mother.

Meeting His Mentor

Paul was always deliberate in his approach to evangelism and church planting. He would prayerfully plot out a route, then embark on long missionary journeys, stopping in town after town to preach the gospel, plant churches, and establish leadership. His first journey began in Antioch, where he and Barnabas were set apart by the Lord for the missionary work. They first sailed to Cyprus, then back to the mainland where they journeyed through several regions and planted a number of churches. Then they at last returned home to encourage their sending church with news of how God had worked.

Quite a long time passed before Paul said, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are” (Acts 15:36). Sadly, he and Barnabas had an argument, so Paul set out with Silas instead, traveling through the regions of Syria and Cilicia, visiting the fledgling churches there. When they arrived in Lystra they discovered an unexpected joy: “A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium” (Acts 16:1-2). What a joy it must have been to find a young man who was, by consensus, especially godly and mature in his faith. Paul was immediately impressed by this young man and convinced that God had called him to the ministry. In fact, Paul soon wanted Timothy to join him in his travels.

Yet there was one matter he felt he needed to attend to in order to prepare Timothy for the unique time and culture in which they ministered. “Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek” (Acts 16:3). Because Timothy’s father was non-Jewish, he had never been circumcised. While circumcision was not necessary to mark Timothy as a Christian, it would be important for effective ministry to Jews. Hence, Paul circumcised his new friend, then ordained him to gospel ministry. When Paul finally set out from Lystra, he was accompanied by both Silas and Timothy.

Together they traveled through Macedonia, preaching the gospel and establishing new churches. Timothy witnessed Paul and Silas being beaten and thrown in prison in Philippi, he watched the Philippian jailer come to faith, he saw a great number of Thessalonians believe the gospel while a great many more instigated a fierce riot. With Paul and Silas he slipped out of the city by night to venture to Berea, where they met noble people who eagerly listened to them and diligently compared their words to Scripture. Then, to avoid causing even more trouble, Paul departed to Athens, leaving Timothy and Silas to carry on the work in Berea. All of that in only the first few months of Timothy’s ministry!

Timothy’s name appears again and again in the New Testament as one of Paul’s most loyal friends and most trusted companions. He was there when Paul wrote his magnum opus, the book of Romans, and at the conclusion Paul says, “Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you” (Romans 16:21). He was with Paul when he wrote 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, and both letters to the Thessalonians. At some point he was imprisoned, for the book of Hebrews celebrates his release: “You should know that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom I shall see you if he comes soon” (Hebrews 13:23). Timothy was a stalwart defender of the faith against early heresies, a man whose character set an example of godliness, and indisputably one of the most important leaders of the first-century church.

A Sincere Faith

What was it that suited Timothy for such a ministry? Did he have a towering intellect and a world-class education? Did he have a wealthy and powerful father who padded a few pockets to ensure his son got a step up on the competition? The Bible highlights just one great privilege: The faith of his mother and grandmother. Timothy had the immense privilege of being raised in a Christian home.

In Paul’s second letter to Timothy he reminds him of this: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15). From childhood, Timothy had been acquainted with the Scriptures through the care and attention of his godly mother and grandmother. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well” (2 Timothy 1:5).

Timothy had the privilege of being raised in a home that was distinguished by a commitment to Scripture. It is important to consider: What was it that Timothy’s mother had done that earned Paul’s praise? It was not having Timothy study and memorize his catechism, though that is a very good thing for a mother to do. It was not teaching him systematic theology, though that, too, is important.

Paul says only this: that Timothy’s mother and grandmother had introduced him to the Bible. And the Bible had done its work in him. The Bible had made Timothy “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” It had saved his soul and transformed him into the man he had become. Timothy was a man of the Word because he had been raised by a woman of the Word. Her trust in Scripture had become his trust in Scripture. Her love for truth had given him a deep love of truth. The faith of a godly mother (and grandmother) had become the faith of this young man.

No Greater Accolade

It seems fitting to conclude this series with so simple and straightforward an example of a godly mother. We know nothing more of Eunice than her commitment to Scripture and her willingness to share it with Timothy. The Bible leaves no other record of her life. She has gone down in history as a godly mother who was privileged to see her son grow up to be a great Christian man, as a true woman of the Word. There is no greater accolade than that.

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Weekend A La Carte (June 24)

Westminster Books has discounted a selection of new books from Crossway.

The Success Affair

“Working with such couples, I’ve found it interesting to note when the affairs happen. Often pastors get into an affair when ministry is going well, when they are achieving their ministerial career goals and dreams. Why is this so? Why would someone have an affair when everything seems to be going well?”

Ecumenical vs. Evangelical

This is a fantastic little overview of the history of ecumenism. “One of the most devastating attacks on the life and health of the church throughout all of church history has been what is known as the ecumenical movement—the downplaying of doctrine in order to foster partnership in ministry between (a) genuine Christians and (b) people who were willing to call themselves Christians but who rejected fundamental Christian doctrines.”

Will All People Be Equal in Heaven?

Randy Alcorn takes on a question with important implications. “Because God promises to reward people differently according to their differing levels of faithfulness in this life, we should not expect equality of possessions and positions in Heaven.”

9 Things You Should Know About North Korea

Here is another of Joe Carter’s helpful FAQ articles.

India’s Dangerous Trend on Religious Liberty

ERLC tells how religious liberty in India is on the decline. This is background to how Compassion and other organizations were kicked out.

Andy’s Dad and Woody’s Origin (Video)

Here’s an answer to one of cinema’s great questions: What happened to Andy’s dad in Toy Story?

Does Conservative Theology Empower Abuse?

Samuel James discusses a statement many people seem to take as truth: “Because theologically conservative institutions and people have been guilty of this abuse, it follows that theologically conservative doctrine empowers and facilitates such abuse.”

Flashback: 7 Good Reasons To Stop Looking at Porn Right Now

Pornography is a topic I return to again and again because I see the damage it is doing and I see the despair of those who are caught up in it. I want to give you 7 good reasons you need to stop looking at porn right now.

Charles Spurgeon’s Dangerous Mission

Thanks to MBTS for sponsoring the blog this week…

It is not great talents that God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. —Robert Murray M’Cheyne

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Notable Voices and the Week in Review: June 24, 2017

Earlier this week at ThomRainer.com:

 


The Top Three Reasons Church Growth Ideas Usually Fail in Smaller ChurchesKarl Vaters

Thousands of faithful, godly pastors are leading healthy, vibrant churches with no skeletons in their closets, yet they continue to struggle numerically. Something else must be going on. From my decades of study, pastoral experience and conversations with hundreds of small church pastors, I’ve discovered three primary reasons church growth principles fail in small churches more often than they succeed.

 


6 Six-Month Bible Reading Plans to Finish the YearArt Rainer

If you are like most, you’ve probably drifted away from your New Year resolutions. In fact, prior to reading this, you may have forgotten that you had set a few goals to begin with. Oops. Maybe developing consistency in reading the Bible was one of your goals. Or, maybe it wasn’t a goal, but you desire to make it a goal. Either way, July 1 provides a great opportunity start afresh. Regularly diving into the Bible is essential for our ability to thrive as Christ-followers. There are several great, 6-month Bible reading plans out there. Today, I want to provide you with a few to consider.

 


7 Rules for Keeping Pastoral SanityChris Hefner

These seven rules for keeping pastoral sanity are not intended to be legalistic. Rather, I hope they will assist us in our leadership interactions with others. I’ve listed them in the negative for effect and hope they will stick out to you as they have to me.

 


12 Ways to Recognize Mediocrity in Your Ministry — Tony Morgan

How do you recognize mediocrity in your ministry? I asked the team at The Unstuck Group to share some ideas based on what they see in the churches we’ve served.

 


10 Quick Things You Can Do To Improve Your Church WebsiteSteven Kryger

Here are 10 quick things you can do today to continue to improve your church website and serve the people who use it.

 


10 Signs You Are Burning OutJim Essian

Burnout has nothing to do with capacity: whether you are a Ferrari or a Volvo you still need maintenance and fuel. Burnout is not about your workload: how much work you have doesn’t change the time allotted to you in a day, the energy you have, or the priority of going to the Father first. Make these lists for yourself and share them with a few people, and then run to the Lord of Rest.

 


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Your Body: Don’t Reject It; Don’t Neglect It

God made you in an amazing and wonderful way! Psalm 139:13-14 says, “You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother’s body. I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well” (NCV).
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Your Worldview in Action, Part 2 of 2

Do your actions match what you said you believe? What is the foundation of your faith built on? Can you live out your faith when things get tough? Ravi Zacharias looks at the challenges Christians face in living out their faith during the difficult times. That’s this week on Let My People Think.
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NewsOne Now Audio Podcast: Rev. William Barber, Clergy Challenge The GOP On Voting Rights, Senate Republicans Unveil Their Health Care Plan, Dick Gregory Honored At This Year’s Power Series

• The fight for voting rights continues as lawmakers introduce new legislation. Rev. William Barber and members of the clergy will march on the US Capitol today to mark the Shelby vs. Holder anniversary and challenge Republicans on voting rights. • Senate Republicans have finally released a draft of their plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act. […]
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Whyte House Family Devotions: A Prayer for the Family, the Church, the Nation and the World #33 (06/23/17)

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Join us in prayer for our families, the church, America, and the world. Help us pray for the revival of the family, the revival of the church, and the awakening of the nation.

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Whyte House Family Devotions: A Prayer for the Family, the Church, the Nation and the World #32 (06/22/17)

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

Join us in prayer for our families, the church, America, and the world. Help us pray for the revival of the family, the revival of the church, and the awakening of the nation.

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