Monday, June 24, 2013

Articles for Edification for June 24, 2013

Is a pastor a leader?  - Interesting thoughts here with much to ponder

Why you can't see your biggest flaws - very good article

4 things every man needs  - this is a great article!

Inerrancy is a good word - deep, but good

A quick guide to family worship

9 things you should know about the bible

Celebrity Status and the Kingdom of God

Yesterday with our church family, we spent our time in God's Word looking at 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 and Paul's corrective reminders to the church in Corinth about elevating the servants of God beyond measure to a status that was unhealthy for the church.

The five corrective reminders are these:
  • We are all just servants
  • We all have a role to play
  • God is the decisive worker
  • We are all on level ground in Christ
  • We will receive rewards based upon our labor (going to tackle this subject this coming Sunday)
Within the kingdom of God, we are all servants. There is not one servant who is more important or significant  than another. We all have a different role to fulfill within the work of the Kingdom of God.

The work of the Kingdom of God is the spreading of the reign of King Jesus by fulfilling the Great Commission. We are all responsible and privileged to be part of this grand story of God's grace. There are no elite Christians or super Christians based upon the world's standards of "celebrity". Jesus said that the greatest among is slave of all (Mark 10:35-45). 

May we all feel the pull of responsibility in kingdom work (not relegated to the "professionals") and the joy of the privilege of kingdom work.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Developing the Christ-like Mind, part 3

While we are given the "mind of Christ" at conversion, developing the Christ-like mind is a process that takes places over time as God works in us through his Word and by his Spirit.

This process is best summarized in Romans 12:1-2. It is the renewing of our minds toward God and his will that provides the basic blueprint of this process. 

"Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed (indicates change & development in a particular direction) by the renewing of your mind (indicates the way this happens) so that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (indicates the purpose for this renewal)".

Two corollary principles that are present in this process are the "setting" principle and the "filling" principle.

Colossians 3:2 says, "set your minds". This is the setting principle. It expresses a continual & consistent focusing & re-focusing of one’s mind to having a kingdom of God mindset. It refers staying in tune w/ our Heavenly Father and his desires for us.

The "filling" principle refers to the filling of our minds with the Word of God. It is consistently thinking and meditating on the Word of God. Since the Bible contains the very thoughts & words of God, our development of the Christ-like mind is directly related to our exposure to and engagement with the God’s word.

As we apply these principles in our walk with the Lord, we will begin to see the transformation of our character toward that of Christ. In so doing, we will be developing the mind of Christ.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Developing the Christ-like Mind, part 2

Last time, we looked at what the Christ-like mind and some of the characteristics of the Christ-like mind. Now, what is(are) the effect of possessing and developing the Christ-like mind? What does it look like in practice?

It seems the best place to find this is Philippians 2:1-11. Part of this passage is often called the "Christ Hymn", yet the whole passage gives us a picture of the Christ-like mind in practice. We can take note of several things that reflect a Christ-like mind in action from this passage with respect to its effects among the congregation of God's people:

  • being of the same mind
  • having the same love
  • being in full accord 
  • of one mind
  • no rivalry or competition
  • humility
  • counting others more significant than ourselves
  • looking out for the interests of others
  • servant lifestyle
  • obedience to the Father's will
How do you see these effects of the Christ-like mind being lived out among your church family?

Next time, we will look at the process of developing the Christ-like mind. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Developing the Christ-like Mind, part 1

Yesterday during the Sunday morning gathering, we dove into Paul's declaration in 1 Corinthians 2:16 where he says that "we have the mind of Christ". That is stunning declaration for us because many times we don't think of ourselves as having a Christ-like mind. Yet, having the Christ-like mind is kind of like having muscles in our body. When we are born, we have muscles. Those muscles are weak and undeveloped, but they are present. Similarly, when we are born from above by the Holy Spirit, by virtue of the Spirit's indwelling presence, we "have" the mind of Christ. It is undeveloped and immature, but it is present within us. This is one of the reasons why Paul rebukes the Corinthian congregation (1 Cor. 3:1-4) about their spiritual immaturity; they have not developed the Christ-like mind as Paul had expected of them.

What is the Christ-like mind?

The Christ-like mind encompasses the thought patterns, attitudes, lifestyle, and habits of Jesus. It includes the carrying out of the instructions that Jesus has given to us as his followers. The Christ-like mind is all about doing the will of our Heavenly Father. Jesus was oriented to the will of the Heavenly Father; he took his direction from his Heavenly Father.

What are some characteristics of the Christ-like mind?

TW Hunt and Claude King summarize the Christ-like mind in their study, The Mind of Christ. They use the following to describe the Christ-like mind: alive, single-minded, lowly, pure, responsive and peaceful.

The Christ-like mind is alive to the things of God and awakened to them.
The Christ-like mind is single-minded, pursuing with loyalty and devotion the will of the Father at all times.
The Christ-like mind is lowly; it is humble and meek.
The Christ-like mind is pure, free from those things that would contaminate it.
The Christ-like mind is responsive, responding to the voice of the Heavenly Father as He speaks through His Word, through prayer, through His people, and through circumstances.
The Christ-like mind is peaceful, resting in the hands of the Heavenly Father even when the circumstances are not "peaceful".

In view of a larger picture of the Christ-like mind, three passages of scripture would be helpful to study in greater detail:

  • Galatians 5:22-23 - The Fruit of the Spirit
  • Matthew 5:3-12 - The Beatitudes (really the whole Sermon on the Mount)
  • James 3:13-17 - The Virtues of Godly Wisdom
Coming later this week, part 2

Articles for Edification on June 17, 2013

Do we have a weak vision?

Dealing with Criticism - constructive or otherwise

20th Century Slide (very interesting article) - I hope that all churches will catch a vision for future generations rather than our own comfort

3 Things that churches rather than mission - tough words here, but in many cases, true

11 Traits of Churches that will Change the Future - these are some interesting thoughts

10 Reasons why Churches stay small (part 1)

10 Reasons why Churches stay small (part 2) - Both of these articles have good food for thought. How does your church match up with these points?