RSS Robot

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RSS Robot last won the day on July 14 2016

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  1. The Job Description of a Good Shepherd By Roger Oakland Both the Old and New Testaments consist of numerous references that provide the guidelines required for a leader to be classified as a good shepherd. It makes sense that we would look to the Scriptures for guidance because the Bible is the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16) and should be […] The post The Job Description of a Good Shepherd appeared first on . View the full article
  2. “Their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” (2 Timothy 2:17-18) Many Christians decry the citing of actual names of those Christian leaders who teach heretical doctrines, saying that such an act is “unloving... More... View the full article
  3. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37) In this verse and the verses to follow, we find Christ using a marvelous teaching technique. Several times He makes a general, generic statement but quickly advances from the general and impersonal to the particular and personal. Note that ... More... View the full article
  4. Friday Church News Notes NEW STUDY FINDS THAT STAYING IN MARRIAGE USUALLY BRINGS HAPPINESS (Friday Church News Notes, February 17, 2017,, 866-295-4143) - The following is excerpted from “Staying in an unhappy marriage could be the best thing you do,” The Telegraph , Feb. 8, 2017: “Researchers found the majority of couples who are unhappy when their first child is born feel fulfilled a decade later. Research commissioned by the Marriage Foundation found that 68 per cent of the couples who stay together following the birth of their first child report being happy 10 years on. Moreover 27 per cent said they were ‘extremely happy,’ giving their relationships... Read More View the full article
  5. “He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. . . . and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.” (John 13:4-5) The Greek word usually translated humility occurs seven times in the New Testament, implying self-abasement and suggesting a meekness of spirit. In Gre... More... View the full article
  6. The Shack's Cool God T he Shack , authored by William Paul Young, is a novel that explores the issue of why God allows pain and evil. It is a fictional account of a man who is bitter against God for allowing his youngest daughter to be murdered and who returns to the scene of the murder, an old shack in the woods, to have a life-changing encounter with God. The “God” that he encounters, though, is not the God of the Bible. Published in 2007, The Shack was Number One on the New York Times bestseller list for 50 weeks. By 2012, it had sold 18 million copies internationally. It is being translated... Read More View the full article
  7. Letter to the Editor: Brennan Manning Book Review by John Caddock Saved Me From Years of Wandering in the Wilderness LTRP Note: This week, we received the following letter to the editor referring to a book review about Brennan Manning’s book, The Signature of Jesus. The review was written by John Caddock and was the first piece we ever read on the Internet refuting contemplative prayer shortly after we met Ray Yungen and read his […] The post Letter to the Editor: Brennan Manning Book Review by John Caddock Saved Me From Years of Wandering in the Wilderness appeared first on . View the full article
  8. A few years ago, my son, Larry, and I were on a preaching trip in Maine. I preached in the morning, and had a break in the afternoon, so we decided to have some “father/son time.” It was a very masculine thing—hang out, watch an action movie, and eat snacks. Total awesomeness. So on the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a grocery store—just a dad and son roving for snacks. This could be dangerous. We walked up and down the grocery aisles with great focus and hunger. Chips—check. Pretzels—check. Powdered donuts—check. Soft drinks—check. Salsa—check. Cheeze-its—check. Something healthy to salve the conscience—check. Then we headed toward the check-out. But on the way, we passed, of all things, the bakery! That’s when it happened. Larry, calmly paused, looked at me, looked at the bakery, then looked back at me. Then with a flat, low, monotone, trademark-Larry voice he said… “Wanna get a cake?” I belly laughed. He laughed, though he wasn’t sure why. The moment is forever etched in my mind. Why? Because, as a dad, if Larry wanted a cake—I was going to get him a cake. Why drop into your day with this random story? “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13) I don’t know what kind of week you’re having, but I know that cake makes any day a better day! So, go have some cake, and while you’re at it, don’t forget that your Heavenly Father loves you more than I love Larry! If there’s something on your heart—put it on His. View the full article
  9. “That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children.” (Psalm 78:6) Each generation of people tends to regard its own times as the most significant of all, toward which all past history has been merely a preparation. The fact is, however, that God has “been our dwelling plac... More... View the full article
  10. My generation tends to think of a strong spiritual leader as someone who is authoritative and able to administrate from a position of command. Indeed, we see leaders like this throughout the Bible—Joshua, Nehemiah, perhaps Paul. Millennials, however, have a greater tendency to see a strong spiritual leader as someone who is relationally connected and able to persuade from a position of understanding. Sometimes, for all the chatter about generational preferences, we forget that the Bible not only has examples of both kinds of leaders, but it also teaches all of us to develop in both areas. Perhaps no area of a spiritual leader’s life demonstrates his Christlikeness or fleshliness like his relationships. This is because relationships aren’t as visible as pulpit ministry or administrative responsibilities. Additionally, the interaction of relationships has a way of scraping our pride and revealing fleshliness in ways preaching may not. Being a spiritual leader isn’t about having a commanding personality or having a winsome personality. It isn’t about powerful preaching or persuasive teaching. It is about being Spirit-filled, declaring the truth, and being gracious in relationships. In 1 Peter 3:8–9 we see six characteristics of a spiritual leader. Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.—1 Peter 3:8–9 1. Unity—be ye all of one mind If a relationship doesn’t share the same goals and direction, there is no way for it to be effective. We know from Philippians 2 that this is not achieved by conforming others’ minds to ours, but by all of us conforming our minds to Christ. Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind….Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:—Philippians 2:2, 5 2. Compassion—having compassion one of another Compassion is more than a feeling, but isn’t less than a feeling. It is a feeling with response and action. Without compassion as one of our motivators in ministry—such as the bus ministry or soulwinning or preaching—we will become self-focused in our efforts (or in our lack of effort). I always think of Nehemiah when I think of compassion. He saw the desolation of Jerusalem, and it moved him to intercessory prayer and causative leadership. And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven…Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.—Nehemiah 1:4, 2:17 3. Love—love as brethren Remember that this is a command for all Christians for any relationship. Everyone we interact with should see Christ’s love through us. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.—John 13:35 4. Pity—be pitiful The word pitiful literally means “full of pity.” It speaks of being tenderhearted. Sometimes we find it easier to be tenderhearted in an aspect of ministry than in the nitty gritty of daily relationships. (Sometimes we find it easier to have a soft heart toward a bus child than toward our spouse or co-laborers.) This should not be. God calls us to be pitiful in all of our relationships. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.—Ephesians 4:32 5. Courtesy—be courteous To be courteous requires us to be humble. When you are proud, you think highly of yourself and look down on others. When you are humble, you courteously place others before yourself. D. L. Moody wisely said, “Be humble or you’ll stumble.” Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.—Philippians 2:3 6. Blessing—Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing The Christians to whom Peter first penned these words would find it easy indeed to speak badly of others. They lived in a culture where the government and their neighbors could do them evil and rail on them for their faith. Even without that level of pressure, however, we so easily speak poorly of others. A spiritual leader, however, will speak well of others in or out of their presence. He will look for ways to bless and thank others. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.—Luke 6:28 Do these six characteristics describe your relationships? Would those closest to you say they describe your relationshsip? What about those you lead? If who you are in the visible aspects of your life is not the same as who you are in the relational aspects of your life, then you are not a truly spiritual leader. Related posts: 3 Characteristics of a Servant Leader Becoming a Team-Building Leader 8 Relationships Every Ministry Leader Should Cultivate View the full article
  11. Do you ever face criticism? Some critics are compassionate and purely motivated—I’ve written about which ones I receive here. I’ve also written about qualities of unjust criticism, here, and why leaders should care about criticism, here. Today I want to take a different view—and not because I’m presently receiving any criticism. I have in the past, but perhaps you are right now, and this post may encourage you. The title of this post seems so paradoxical! Should we really be thankful for criticism? Notice I didn’t say I like it, enjoy it, or relish it. I said I’m thankful for it. Honestly, most of the criticism I’ve received, I’m not aware of. I get “whiffs” of it from someone who relays a bit of it, but I’ve never investigated or pursued it. If it comes directly to me, I usually respond and thank the person for having the courage and integrity to come directly to me. That’s rarely the case. That said, looking back over many years of critics who have “come and gone” at the boundaries of my ministry world, I know you can be resilient in the face of unjust criticism. Here are a few quick thoughts about why we can be thankful for criticism: Criticism always helps me more thoroughly vet my decisions or direction. Whether credible or not, a critic always creates a moment of deeper thought and evaluation. Criticism doesn’t have to have emotional power over me, but it should always create a minute to “take heed” and just recheck, “God, am I still following you?” 1 Timothy 4:16 “16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” Criticism always develops a deeper motivation. Criticism presents an opportunity to examine and deepen my motivation. Unjust critics attempt to judge motives and usually misjudge them; but a heart anchored in pure motives will not live in “fear of men” and will always be strengthen by the test of criticism. Nehemiah 6:3 “3 And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” Criticism always disassociates me from caustic Christians. This one if my favorites! Unjust critics unwittingly do their victim a deeper favor. Their message sets them apart from the one they criticize. When criticism arrives from toxic temperaments, contentious Christians, or dysfunctional environments, it inversely says, “That guy isn’t like me.” Being mocked by a carnal person is not always a bad thing. While your unjust critic is attempting to build a constituency by erroneously discrediting you, he is also distinguishing himself from you. I always appreciate the healthy distinction this creates, and I think Nehemiah did too. “But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews.” —Nehemiah 4:1 Criticism always strengthens a God-given call and resolve. Nehemiah knew He was doing what God told him to do, and therefore his carnal critics merely poured fuel on his fire. What a beautiful thing God’s Spirit does in using critics to fuel the fires of His call. Success is not “making everybody happy.” Success is obeying God. “And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.” —Nehemiah 6:11 Criticism always deepens dependence upon God. Loving critics are always trying to help you, but unloving and pharisaical critics are always trying to dishearten you and those you love or lead. Here’s the key—only you can give critics that kind of emotional power. Only you can allow your heart to become that emotionally vulnerable. God would strengthen both your heart and your hands, and He can use criticism to reveal His wonderful fortification in your life. In this, your critics help you by deepening you! “For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.” —Nehemiah 6:9 Criticism always grows my love for my only Lord. The only reason unjust criticism is influential or hurtful is if you somehow “need” your critic’s approval. You don’t. Jesus is my advocate, never my critic. He absorbed and crucified everything about me that’s truly worth criticizing (of which there is plenty!) and now He leads me forward in full acceptance and grace. In light of the gospel, unkind earthly critics are just not influential over God’s loving Lordship and leadership in my life. I love living in light of the truth that I answer to Jesus not to my critics. He is my only Lord. “Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.” —Nehemiah 5:19 “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” —Romans 14:4 “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?” —James 4:12 Criticism always increases my joy. Sounds bizarre, I know. But consider. The inevitable outcome of all of the above principles is that God’s will unfolds in my life as I refuse to allow criticism to discourage. His call is fulfilled. His word grows. His people are served and helped. Good things happen in others’ lives when I obey God rather than my critics—and this always gives greater reason to rejoice. So, yes, criticism can increase joy. Don’t you know Nehemiah’s joy was sweeter for having endured the assault on his soul, just as Jesus endured “for the joy that was set before Him…” “Now it came to pass, when the wall was built, and I had set up the doors, and the porters and the singers and the Levites were appointed,” —Nehemiah 7:1 In conclusion: Unjust or carnal critics are like minor, blustery snow storms—just a lot less beautiful. Their cold winds bluster through in a brief moment of uneventful pause. They fly in, dump stuff on you (or others), and time moves them on. Then the stuff they dump melts away in the warmth and light of God’s truth. It’s not worth being emotionally impacted or distracted by unjust or unfriendly criticism. But it is worth being thankful for! After the snow comes and goes, no harm is done, and your whole world is more clear, more fruitful, more stable, and more resolved by God’s call upon your life. You will flourish in God’s strength and grace, and your critics helped to produce that flourishing. That’s why you can be thankful. Press on in obedience to God. Soon enough the snow will melt. Until then, be thankful that God is allowing you to make enough of an impact, that someone feels the need to bluster about it. God will use their blustering to water the seeds you are planting. View the full article
  12. “What’s Next – Temple Prostitutes?” LTRP Note: This short article might be disturbing to read, but what is being described here is happening now in the church. Please take heed and pray for discernment as you listen to Christian speakers and read their books. The links below this article are to articles that substantiate what Lynn Lusby Pratt is saying. […] The post “What’s Next – Temple Prostitutes?” appeared first on . View the full article
  13. Bible Commentaries and Twittering Swallows by David Cloud TWO COMMON PROBLEMS IN USING COMMENTARIES: 1. Leaning on them too much. The Bible student should first go to the Bible and dig it out for himself. For this, he must get a good understanding of how to interpret the Bible. The equivalent of a Bible Institute education is the starting point to be able to use commentaries effectually and test them properly so as not to be led astray by any error that might be present. 2. Despising them. On several occasions I have heard people disdain commentaries, but I have learned to love good commentaries and I thank God for them often. I thank God that I... Read More View the full article
  14. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (Ephesians 3:20) The Bible portrays God as omnipotent—all-powerful, able even to create all things from nothing (Hebrews 11:3). The individual is portrayed as totally insufficien... More... View the full article
  15. He Who Was Rich Became Poor The following is from John Phillips’ commentary on 2 Corinthians: But the example of the saints of God, touching and compelling as it was, was eclipsed in Paul’s mind, by the example of the Son of God (8:9). There is, for instance, His supernatural grace: "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). What greater example of giving could we find than that? We know He was rich, but we have no idea how rich He really was. We get some idea, however, from what John tells us of the Celestial City. In His country they pave their streets with gold and build their walls of jasper. They make their gates of pearl and stud foundation’s rocks with gems. The great white throne of God is there, the crystal stream, the tree of life. Many crowns are placed upon His head in that celestial land. His ministers are flames of fire, comprised of countless angel hosts, beings of great beauty... Read More View the full article