BETA

Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women

Archive for April, 2005

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

HERE ARE TEN QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU EVALUATE YOUR LIFE AND MINISTRY:

(Part #2)

Last week we discussed the first five questions

:

1. Is the pursuit of the knowledge of God the main focus of your life?

2. Is your life dictated by Biblical priorities?

3. Is your family life a healthy and attractive model of your broader ministry outside the home?

4. Are there fears you have not been able to release to God?

5. Do you have a fresh, crisp, compelling vision for your life? Your ministry?

6. Is there a healthy balance in your ministry between relating to and cultivating the lost, and discipling the saved?

"So everywhere we go we talk about Christ to all who will listen, warning them and teaching them as well as we know how. We want to be able to present each one to God, perfect because of what Christ has done for each of them."

(Col. 1:28 Living)

7. Is there a sense of "movement" in your ministry? Or are you stagnated?

"On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles."

(Act. 14:27) (See Act. 15:4; 1 Thess. 1:6-10)

8. Are you fruitful? Or just busy?

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."

(Jn. 15:16) (See 1 Cor. 3:10-15)

9. Is your life characterized by love? That is, by the fruit of the Spirit? (Gal. 5:22,23) Or by frustration, anger, disappointment and cynicism?

"Everything you do must be done with love."

(I Cor. 16:14b NLT) (See Heb. 12:15)

10. If you died today, would the Lord greet you with, "Well done, good and faithful servant"? (Matt. 25:23b)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

HERE ARE TEN QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU EVALUATE YOUR LIFE AND MINISTRY:

(Part #2)

Last week we discussed the first five questions

:

1. Is the pursuit of the knowledge of God the main focus of your life?

2. Is your life dictated by Biblical priorities?

3. Is your family life a healthy and attractive model of your broader ministry outside the home?

4. Are there fears you have not been able to release to God?

5. Do you have a fresh, crisp, compelling vision for your life? Your ministry?

6. Is there a healthy balance in your ministry between relating to and cultivating the lost, and discipling the saved?

"So everywhere we go we talk about Christ to all who will listen, warning them and teaching them as well as we know how. We want to be able to present each one to God, perfect because of what Christ has done for each of them."

(Col. 1:28 Living)

7. Is there a sense of "movement" in your ministry? Or are you stagnated?

"On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles."

(Act. 14:27) (See Act. 15:4; 1 Thess. 1:6-10)

8. Are you fruitful? Or just busy?

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."

(Jn. 15:16) (See 1 Cor. 3:10-15)

9. Is your life characterized by love? That is, by the fruit of the Spirit? (Gal. 5:22,23) Or by frustration, anger, disappointment and cynicism?

"Everything you do must be done with love."

(I Cor. 16:14b NLT) (See Heb. 12:15)

10. If you died today, would the Lord greet you with, "Well done, good and faithful servant"? (Matt. 25:23b)

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

HERE ARE TEN QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU EVALUATE YOUR LIFE AND MINISTRY

: (Part #1)

1. Is the pursuit of the knowledge of God the main focus of your life? Would those closest to you draw that conclusion?

"Everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have put aside all else, counting it worthless than nothing, in order that I can have Christ."

(Phil. 3:8 Living)

2. Is your life dictated by Biblical priorities? Have you made peace with the fact that because you are human, you have limited resources (time, money, energy, etc.)? Are your children attracted to or repelled by the tone, focus, and tempo of your life? Your ministry? Do they – and will they want to emulate you?

"My son, give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways."

(Pro. 23:26)

3. Is your family life a healthy and attractive Biblical model for your broader ministry outside the home? How is the quality of your relationship with your spouse? How is the quality of training, instruction and discipline you are giving your children?

"[An elder] must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)

(I Tim. 3:4,5) (See Eph. 6:1-4; Col. 18-21; I Pet. 3:1-11)

4. Are there fears you have not been able to release to God? Why? What effect is this having on your walk with God? Marriage? Ministry? Are there other crippling bondages in your life? Do you believe God can heal? Deliver? Whom are you allowing into your life to help you?

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed…I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears."

(Jn. 8:36; Psa. 34:4) (See Psa. 103:2-5; Jms. 5:16; Ecc. 4:9,10)

5. Do you have a fresh, crisp, compelling vision for your life? Your ministry? Or are you simply muddling through?

"Where there is no vision, the people perish"

(Pro. 29:18a KJV) (See Eph. 5:15-17)

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

“WILL HAS PANCREATIC CANCER AND A FEW MONTHS

"

Yesterday I called an old buddy of mine, and his son answered the phone. "May I speak with your Dad, please," I asked. "Hes resting," came the reply. Jestingly I said, "Good grief! Hes acting like an ole man. Let me talk to him!" Will came on the line and I soon learned that he has pancreatic cancer. (Ive since been informed that he probably has only a few months to live.) "Hows Mary," I quarried? "Fine. Well, shesstruggling." Groping for words, I said, "Will, Im here when you need me."

Will is about 50 years young and has always been alive with life! Fun-loving. Dynamic family. And has profoundly touched scores of people for Christ. And now, cancer. And a few months.

As I write, Im at the beach very early on a Saturday morning. Surfers are just starting to negotiate the waves. A guy with rolled up trousers digs for bait for his fishing line. The seagulls strut their stuff in front of me. And the incessant waves expend their restless energy as they roll and crash. I love coming here because the place pulsates with life and beauty. Here, the thought of death is light years away. But Will gnaws at my gut. A few months

As Mary and Will now face the grueling specter of waning energy and death, is it sure defeat? Is it the end? Sure seems like it to me. Yet, not according to St. Paul: "This perishable nature of ours must be wrapped in imperishability, these bodies which are mortal must be wrapped in immortality. So when the perishable is lost in the imperishable, the mortal lost in the immortal, this saying will come true: Death is swallowed up in victory. For where now, O death, is your power to hurt us? Where now, O grave, is the victory you hoped to win?All thanks to God, then, who gives us the victory over these things through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Cor. 15:54-57 selected Phillips Translation)

Contrary to popular perception, we, and Christs redeemed ones, are not in the land of the living, going to the land of the dead. Rather, we are in the land of the dying, going to the land of the living.

Breathing in the cool ocean breeze, I sought to process the reality and the implication of Wills illness. Finally I opened my Bible and meditated through a portion of Psalm 18. From this passage it becomes apparent that whatever our lifes battles may be, God promises to furnish us with:

Courage

to move ahead against the enemy: "With your help I can advance against a troop." (vs. 29)

Protection

as God becomes our shield and our refuge: "You give me your shield of victory." (vss. 30,35)

Strength

as He fortifies us with His power: "You armed me with strength for battle." (vss.32,34,39)

Agility

like that of a deer on the mountain: "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer." (vs. 33)

Preparation

for the battle: "He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze." (vs. 34)

Sustenance

as we draw from Him: "Your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great." (vs. 35)

Victory

as "Godsaves me from my enemies." (vss. 37, 45,47,48)

My friend, I have no idea what you may be facing. But God does. Consider Psalm 18:28, "You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light." Put your hand in His. Relax in His promises and sufficiency and let Him walk you through the darkness into light. Today. Right now. In Jesus Name, amen.