BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for March, 2017

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

IN DISCIPLING PEOPLE, WHAT ARE THE PRIMARY VALUES WE SHOULD SEEK TO BUILD INTO THEIR LIVES?

WHAT IS OUR ROLE IN WINNING THE LOST TO CHRIST?

Good Morning!

 

Mark 4:26 – 29 gives us four helpful insights:

 

I. WE ARE TO FAITHFULLY SOW THE SEED ON ALL KINDS OF SOIL:

 

In the parable of the sower (Mk. 4:1-8, 14-20), Christ told of the person who threw the seed (the Gospel) on various types of soil (men’s hearts): hard, shallow, weed-infested, and “good.”

The sower’s job was not to inspect the condition of the soil, but to faithfully “scatter seed on the ground…” (Mk. 4:26b)

II. WE ARE TO STEP BACK AND ALLOW THE GOSPEL TO DO ITS WORK:

 

The inner-working of the Gospel upon a person’s heart is mysterious, God-directed, and beyond our control or efforts:

“Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain …” (Mk. 4:27)

 

III WE ARE TO OBSERVE THE SOIL:

It important for us to understand that before reaping the harvest, an orderly and timely growth process must first transpire:

“…First the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.” (Mk. 4:28)

IV WE ARE TO REAP THE HARVEST:

Because of our inclination toward procrastination, we could easily miss the opportune time to reap the harvest: “ Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months and then comes the harvest’?…I tell you…the fields are ripe for harvest. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (Jn. 4:35; Mk. 4:29)

I am intrigued with the fact that when Christ spoke of the partnership between sower and reaper He only offered a reward to the reaper: “One sows and another reaps…The reaper draws…wages…” (Jn. 4:37, 36)

Perhaps He knew that reapers were in scarce supply and needed the added incentive!

At any rate, let’s get out there and sow the seed, step back, observe, and…harvest!

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

R. Dwight Hill

* (Original release date October 15th, 1997)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Good Morning!

HERE ARE THREE SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO GET STARTED IN MINISTERING TO OTHERS :

#1 Start Where You Are:

“Bloom where you are planted.”

Prayerfully ask God, “Who in my network of acquaintances could use a kind word, a helping hand, or a listening ear?

“Wisdom is in the presence of the one who has understanding, , but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.” (Prov. 17:24)

Don’t think so much of “having a ministry” with people as simply loving them in the name of Christ.

#2 Do What You Can

Look for a need in some one’s life and seek to meet it:

Love unconditionally.

Serve without reservation.

Share the word of God when they are ready to receive it.

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due…” (Prov. 3:27)

#3 Use What You’ve Got

The Lord used: Moses’ rod

Peter’s boat

A stranger’s donkey

So…utilize you gifts, talents, and resources in communicating Christ’s’ love.

“…We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren…Let us not love with word or tongue, but in deed and truth (I Jn. 3:16a, 18b)

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

R. Dwight Hill

* (Original release date January 24th, 1996)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

PRINCIPLES OF DISCIPLESHIP FROM JOHN 17 : (Part 1 of 2)

JESUS CHRIST CALLED US TO FISH FOR MEN: “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)

Good Morning!

 

Fishermen are a unique breed. They’re not always understood by the nonfishing fraternity. More often than not, they are looked at kind of oddly. Likewise, fishers of men don’t lend themselves toward neat ecclesiastical job descriptions.

Fishermen are passionate. They are willing to rise at godforsaken hours to pursue their love. Likewise, fishers of men are passionate about their devotional life and are not deterred by their need for sleep.

Fishermen are people of knowledge and skill. They know the terrain of the stream and where fish like to hide out and what they like to feed on. Likewise, fishers of men know the world people live in and the things they’re being attracted to.

Fishermen are characterized by singleness of purpose. They are focused and concentrated on the task at hand, consumed by one simple overarching concern, catching fish. Likewise, fishers of men are highly singular, driven by one desire, to see people become mature disciples. That is, spending personal time daily with God, growing in prayer and understanding the Word (and as a result, living in profound dependence upon Christ), sharing Christ with others, and not only that, but going on to invest time and work in them until they too are reproducing those traits in others.

Fishermen are people of adventure. They are always looking for the next bend in the stream, never content with a fished-out hole but always on the lookout for the next productive place in the river. Likewise, fishers of men are never content with maintenance but are always on the lookout for the next opportune spot in the world.

Fishermen stick to the basics. Oldfishermen aren’t particularly captivated by the latest fads and techniques. Likewise, fishers of men are not easily drawn away from the basics of discipleship, prayer, Scripture and evangelism.

 

Fishermen are eager to share their knowledge and skill with others. They are only too eager to share their passion with someone of like passion. Likewise, fishers of men know the great joy and exhilaration of catching men and are genuinely excited to share that joy with others.

Fishermen catch fish. True fishermen don’t use the line, “You should have seen the one that got away.” They, without commenting, just hold up their full stringer. Likewise, fishers of men don’t have any excuses or empty words, just a legacy of men who have been caught for Christ. No bull here. +

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

R. Dwight Hill

+ Compliments of Mr. Billy Steen * (Original release date July 26th, 1995)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Jesus’ High Priestly prayer in John 17 reveals principles of discipleship he practiced with the Eleven. These principles are exemplary and instructive for us, as we seek to emulate Jesus in the discipleship process:

PRINCIPLES OF DISCIPLESHIP FROM JOHN 17: (Part 2 of 2)

My primary focus in prayer is for my God-assigned protgs, and secondly for those who will believe in Christ through their message:

“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours…My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.” (vv. 9, 20) (See Lk. 22:31, 32; Heb. 7:25; 9:24; 1 Jn. 2:1)

We are to pray for our disciples’ unity, knowing that their unity with each other and with God profoundly affects (1) the world’s belief in Christ’s incarnation, and (2) belief in the Father’s love for them:

”[My prayer is] that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (vvs. 21-23) (See Jer. 32:39; Act. 2:46; 4:32; Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 1:12; 12:12, 25-27; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 4:3-6; Phil. 1:27; 2:1-5; Col. 3:11-14; 1 Pet.3:8)

One goal for my protgs is that they experience the full measure of Jesus’ joy and the Father’s love:

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them…I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (vvs. 13, 26) (See Neh. 8:10; Psa. 43:4; 126:5,6; Jn. 15:11; 16:22-24, 33; Act. 13:52; Rom.14:17; Gal. 5:22; 1 Jn. 1:4; Jn. 15:9; Eph. 1:4-6; 2:4; 3:16-19)

It is my responsibility to give God’s word to my disciples. One effect will be their separation from the world’s values, while continuing to engage with the people of the world:

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it…As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. ” (vv.14-16,18) (Matt. 10:24, 25; Jn. 15:18-21; 2 Thes. 3:3; 1 Jn. 5:18; Jn. 20:21; 2 Cor. 5:20)

I am to pray for my disciples’ sanctification through God’s word. I also am to be sanctified, recognizing that my sanctification profoundly affects theirs:

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth…For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” (vvs. 17, 19) (See Psa. 19:17-19; 119:9,11; Jn. 8:31,32; 15:3; 2 Cor. 3:17,k18; Eph. 5:26; 2 Th. 2:13; Jms. 1:21; 1 Pet. 1:22,23; 1 Cor. 1:2; Tit. 2:14; Heb. 2:11; 9:26; 10:5-10)

This week may you experience His grace, peace and protection!

R. Dwight Hill

* (Original release date December 15th, 2010)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Jesus’ High Priestly prayer in John 17 reveals principles of discipleship he practiced with the Eleven. These principles are exemplary and instructive for us, as we seek to emulate Jesus in the discipleship process:

PRINCIPLES OF DISCIPLESHIP FROM JOHN 17 : (Part 1 of 2)

Ultimately, the goal in discipleship is the glory of the Father and Son:

”After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you…I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began…All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them…I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one…Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” (vv. 1, 4, 5, 10, 22, 24) (See Jn. 5:23; 11:28; 12:32; 13:31, 32; Act. 3:13; Phil. 2:9-11; Heb. 1:3; 1 Pet. 1:21; Rev. 5:8-14)

God gives us the people to disciple who are destined for eternal life:

“For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.” (vs. 2) (See Jn. 6:37, 39; 10:28,29)

The primary focus of discipleship is fostering intimacy with the Father and Son:

“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (vs. 3) (See I Ch. 28:9; Psa. 9:23, 24; 31:33; Heb. 8:11, 12; I Jn. 4:6;5:20)

It is God’s intention that we complete the work of discipleship assigned to us by God:

“I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” (vs. 4) (See Jn. 4:34; 5:36; 19:30; Act. 20:24; I Cor. 9:24-27; Phil. 3:13-15; 2 Tim. 4:7)

My responsibility is to reveal God to the people he has assigned to me. The validation that they are getting to know God is evidenced by their obedience to His word:

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.” (vs. 6) (See Ex. 9:16; Psa. 22:22; 71:17,18; Isa. 52:7; Mk. 16:15,16; Rom. 10:15; 2 Cor. 5:18, 19; Heb 2:12)

My protgs are to be aware that what I reveal to them originates from God, not me. The net effect will be their belief in Christ’s incarnation:

Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me” (vvs. 7, 8) (See Jn. 7:16,17; 14:7-10, 20; 16:27-30; 8:28; 12:49, 50; 16:15)

This week may you experience His grace, peace and protection!

R. Dwight Hill

* (Original release date December 8th, 2010)