RSS Robot

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  1. Oh, you have one. One that can be described with words mine asked us to do: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (Deuteronomy 6:5 KJV) Something in our lives will be loved with all our heart. It will be in our minds at all times. We will do things in service to what we have in our hearts and minds. I’d like to know more about yours. Here are some tidbits about mine: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 KJV) Yes, I believe in a singular creator who created everything we know today. I refer to Him because the Bible does and He appeared on the earth as a man. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11 KJV) I believe this man was a sacrifice Abraham mentioned: And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. (Genesis 22:8 KJV) I also believe this man born in Bethlehem is God: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3 KJV) That’s part all the counsel of God referred to by Paul as he explained what and why he preached: Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Acts 20:26-27 KJV) Except for scripture, I believe no man gives us all the counsel of God – yet it would take all the scriptures to understand just a part of what God has planned for mankind. So far, how does my God compare with yours? Mine loves: We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? (1 John 4:19-20 KJV) My God has requirements: For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:17-19 KJV) My God will divide those who believe upon Him from those who believeth not. My God lived as a perfect man, died as an ordinary man and was resurrected as proof He was more than a man. You can learn much more about mine from the Bible. Where may I learn of yours?View the full article
  2. Ministry involves a lot of meetings. We meet for church, for fellowship, for planning, for relationships, for outreach, for discipleship. We meet with church family, with staff, with guests. We meet for lots of reasons and in lots of contexts. How are your meetings? Do people want to attend? Are they well done? Well planned? Well executed? Well received? Are they successful? Do they engage people? Do they take ministry forward? Do they help people grow spiritually? A second-rate meeting (whether a church service or a staff meeting) will inevitably produce second-rate ministry. Meetings are “what we do.” Most effective ministry takes place, in one way or another, in a meeting. This post is a proposal that we “make meetings great again!” This is essentially that our team uses as a check-list for an effective meeting. It came from training with our staff at EBC. This list represents our goal to “make meetings great again!” 1. Plan a Great Meeting Get Together—Assemble the team responsible for the meeting (well in advance, weeks or months.) Brainstorm the Meeting—what should happen to make it effective, what could happen to make it great? Develop a Plan—create a list of categories or responsibilities such as: promotion, materials, technical support, food, hosting, facility prep., clean up, etc. Create an Action List—list all the items that need to happen for each area of oversight. Cleanly Delegate Responsibilities. Make sure the team knows who is responsible for every aspect of the meeting, and that everybody is committed to owning their particular responsibilities. Set a Follow-Up Meeting—get the team together a week later and evaluate every area, every task. Mark progress, answer questions, solve problems, assess forward momentum. Do this all over again, and again as you get closer to the meeting. As a Leader, Evaluate and Assess Progress. You must monitor “are we staying on track?” If not, you must act and provide solutions to getting on track. Make it Better. All of our meetings should be excellent. They should be excellent in planning, delegation, preparation, execution, follow through. People ought to attend these meetings and see preparation, competence, and excellence. 2. Prepare for a Great Meeting Who Needs to Come?—invite them, confirm them, remind them. What’s the Purpose?—plan the agenda and time schedule. What’s the Information?—write the handout, prepare the information, proof read it carefully, have others proof read it. Is there Food?—Plan the costs, shop for it, enlist help with it. What’s the Location?—communicate location and information. 3. Create a Great Environment Set Up the Space—tables, chairs, table cloths, trash, podium, sound, decor., etc. Clear Out the Clutter—nothing should be in this space that doesn’t belong there and serve a purpose for being there. Just to be clear—put away extra chairs, easels, toys, vacuums, junk, trash, extension chords, old papers, clutter. The space should be as neat and orderly as it can be for our facility and resources. Music—always, always, always, always, always have music playing at least twenty minutes before any service or meeting. Lights—turn on all the lights. Don’t light part of a room. Always light the space. (unless you’re having a film night.) Temperature—Every human being is the equipvalent of a 100 watt light bulb in terms of heat, so err to the cooler side. Consider how the room will feel with all the bodies that are coming into it. Air Movement—even in winter, it’s important for a room to always have air circulating. Still rooms get stifling and stuffy very quickly, and stuffy meetings are sheer misery. Nothing will kill a service faster than dead air. Technical Support—line up sound, recording, and projection help. That should all be set up and checked at least twenty minutes before the meeting begins. No checking mics right before the meeting starts. No last minute preparation. Ushers, Servers, Help—do we need help for this meeting? Enlist them and help them know how they can facilitate the meeting. Childcare—do we need to provide child care for this meeting? Review the Environment—before the meeting, stop and look around for a moment. Feel the whole environment. Walk through it. Look at the entry. Are things out of place? Are things missing? Develop an intuitive sense of environment—when there’s no light, no music, no air circulation—you should feel it and fix it. Ask yourself what’s wrong with this environment? How can it be better? 4. Conduct a Great Meeting Details and Disruptions—Are there details happening during the meeting that need to be covered? How can we minimize disruptions? Materials—Hand out materials only when you are ready to go through it. This way people follow you through the meeting rather than reading ahead. Thanks—Thank people. Always thank great people for giving their time and sacrificing from their day to be a part of your meeting. Prayer and Time—Always start and end with prayer. Always be as concise as possible. Always be conscious of time. Lead—Look at people and speak up. Lift your head and project your voice. Speak as a Leader—Speak with clarity. Enunciate and project without mumbling. Even if you have a sound system, speak up with clarity and project your voice beyond yourself. Smile—if you look stoic the meeting will be stoic. Passion—If you care about the cause, then your leadership vision and energy will communicate that. Know Your Stuff—if you have to wonder what you are supposed to say, you didn’t prepare. Prepare Your Words—always have an agenda, list, etc, of things you need to cover. 5. Follow Up a Great Meeting Greet People—shake hands and thank people for coming. Clean Up—think through the clean up and tear down. The space should be left ready for the next meeting. Put Away—all equipment, etc. should be put back away. Thank People—write thank you notes to those who helped and those who attended. Think Follow Up—what response have you asked for? What calls need to be made? How will you communicate with people who weren’t there? Tickler File—after the meeting, make a list of improvements that you want to see happen next time. Make a file of all the things that went well, things that need to change, and store it in a place where you can recall it when you need to. Additional Questions to Consider: —Do we need greeters, ushers, smiling people to welcome people as they arrive? —Can we assemble packets to hand out rather than leave things to be picked up? —Can we personalize anything? Name tags? Names on folders? —Can we decorate? Balloons? Banners? Color? —Can we use a projector/slides?/title slide? (Always do this if possible.) —Can we serve light refreshments?—cookies and lemonade or coffee are easy and always a win! In Conclusion: How can you make your ministry meetings great again? If we would apply this list, every church service, every class, and every staff meeting would take a big step forward in effectiveness. May I implore you to not be content “doing ministry poorly.” May we forever say goodbye to “poor planning” “last minute thinking” and to our “tolerance of mediocrity.” It doesn’t take money or expensive resources to be well prepared, create a clean environment, and host an engaging, meaningful meeting. Start where you are, with what you have, and do your very best with what God has given to you. He honors faithful stewardship. If we aren’t doing our best with the little that we have, why should we ever expect God to give increase? What meetings will you be leading this week? How can this list help you make that meeting better? Should you have a staff meeting with your paid or volunteer teams and talk through this list? I hope this checklist will help you and your team to make those meetings better. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) View the full article
  3. Atheist Activist Group Objects to Public School Visits to Ken Ham’s Creation Museum By Heather Clark Christian News Network MADISON, Wisc. — A professing atheist activist organization is expressing its objection to three public schools that either have already or plan to visit Ken Ham’s Creation Museum in Kentucky. The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently sent letters to officials with Brookville High School in Dayton, Ohio, […] The post Atheist Activist Group Objects to Public School Visits to Ken Ham’s Creation Museum appeared first on . View the full article
  4. God Is Love

    “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love.” (1 John 4:16) It is said that the most quoted verse in all the Bible is the passage in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Surely that is a magnificent testimo... More... View the full article
  5. IMPORTANT NOTE: New Shopping Cart Platform for Lighthouse Trails And Instructions on Changes to Logging In Dear Lighthouse Trails reader, For over 13 years, Lighthouse Trails has used an online-store shopping-cart platform called Miva Merchant. It worked very well for us and was quite affordable. However, over the years, Miva began increasing their prices more and more. Then about a month ago, while we were making plans to renew our yearly […] The post IMPORTANT NOTE: New Shopping Cart Platform for Lighthouse Trails And Instructions on Changes to Logging In appeared first on . View the full article
  6. Son of the Living God

    “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) This ringing affirmation of faith came from Peter as spokesman but undoubtedly was shared by all the disciples, since Jesus had asked the question “Whom say ye that I am?” of them all. Actually, they had probably all been disciples of John the Baptis... More... View the full article
  7. Bruising the Devil

    “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” (Romans 16:20) This is an intriguing promise, suggesting that believers can somehow inflict bruises on the devil, who is perpetually seeking to “devour” them (1 Peter 5:8). This promise... More... View the full article
  8. I don’t believe the response to every social evil is a boycott. But when a company publically and forcefully comes out on the wrong side of a moral issue, I don’t believe the correct response is to do nothing either. Especially in America, where we have freedom and our choices—whether they be at the voting polls or where we spend our money—make a difference. By now, you’ve heard of Target’s decision to open their gender-specific restrooms and fitting rooms to the opposite gender. The stated reason for this is to be inclusive toward transgender individuals. But considering that the transgender population makes up 0.03 percent of the American population, I would submit that their reasoning has more to do with “tolerance” being in vogue in America today. Regardless of the reason, however, the result is that my granddaughter can be in the restroom at Target and have some guy walk in. And that’s not okay with me. I know there are some people who say, “Fine, then use the single-stall family restroom.” But the point is there are men’s and women’s restrooms for a reason. The extra single-stall restroom (in stores that have it, and not all do) is supposed to be for people with an exceptional situation—not the norm. Yet, Target’s new policy is treating normalcy as abnormal. And it’s putting people, women and children in particular, in a place of compromised safety. Additionally, I’m not only concerned about the safety of those in my family, but I care about decency and protection for women and children in general—especially in public places where they should expect it. I know that our culture is shifting as it willfully turns its back on God. And, as I wrote in a recent book, I know that the big-picture response of Christians is to lovingly hold to the truth while living a consistent testimony, praying for revival, and sharing the gospel. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t also respond otherwise. That doesn’t mean we should roll over and do nothing when a company, in this case Target, makes a public statement of a policy that flies in the face of Christianity, not to mention common sense. I don’t think we should lash out in anger. But we should be decisive. And we should be willing to do something. One organization, the American Family Association, has already collected over a million signatures on their pledge to boycott Target. (On the same page, they also provide several news articles of how sexual predators exploit policies like Target’s.) Personally, I’m not shopping at Target anymore, and I encourage others to make that decision as well. I can’t say there will never be a day in my life when I go into a Target. There may be a time in the not-too-distant future when there is no corporate entity that honors the posted gender of restrooms and fitting rooms and protects those inside. But I believe that day will come sooner if no one pushes back right now. So, for the foreseeable future, I’m shopping other places than Target. Additionally, I’m writing a letter to the managers of our nearby Target stores. (If you would like to write a letter as well, feel free to download and edit this one.) Whatever you choose to do, could I encourage you? Don’t do nothing. Don’t assume you can’t make a difference. And don’t care more about convenience than speaking out. As Edmond Burke famously observed, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” So yes, be gracious, live a godly testimony, pray for revival… But consider boycotting and writing letters too. Related posts: Abercrombie & Fitch Display Obscene Imagery How I Vote New Book: In Desert Places View the full article
  9. Jehovah

    “And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands.” (Hebrews 1:10) The primary name for God in Scripture is the majestic name Jehovah, occurring nearly seven thousand times. The early Jews were reluctant to use that name, for fear of using it lightly (... More... View the full article
  10. God Is Omniscient

    “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” (Acts 15:18) Although the concept of absolute knowledge is general to almost all ideas of God, it is perhaps the most difficult for any human being to understand. Most of us work very hard to obtain knowledge and, in most cases, even harder to retain it. The practical issue with this teaching is w... More... View the full article
  11. This post is a bit outside of my normal subject matter, but I invite you to hang with me! (This is a simplified view of old Testament offerings, not designed to be a comprehensive study.) Have you ever been mind-boggled by all the terms and varying kinds of sacrifices and offerings in the Old Testament? I have! So let’s break it down for minds like mine that appreciate simplicity. Good news! There were FOUR basic reasons that God invited His people to worship Him through offerings and sacrifices in the Old Testament. Just four! There are many Old Testament terms and processes that expand on these four basic purposes, but these same four purposes carry forward in a marvelous way in New Testament Christian living—your life and mine. There’s a direct parallel between what God invited the nation of Israel to do, and what God invites you to do in terms of sacrificial worship. The Old Testament sacrificial system provides an amazing gospel-oriented view of our Christian walk and worship today. Let’s take a closer look. Here’s how the Old Testament sacrifices and offerings break down into four major categories or pictures: 1. REDEMPTION—Some Sacrifices/Offerings Pictured Redemption. They provided a picture of God’s plan of salvation. They pictured being reconciled to God’s heart by the shedding of blood. These sacrifices didn’t actually “save the soul” or “remove sin” but they did picture the coming Saviour who would be the final sacrifice for sins forever. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:4) “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:” (Hebrews 10:11) These sacrifices were mandatory and communicated to men that they were hopelessly separated from God, apart from a substitutionary sacrifice. These offerings were called “sin” and “trespass” offerings. Without them, there was no relating to God. These offerings taught a primitive people about the principle of atonement. TODAY: Good news! Jesus is our final sin and trespass offering—once and for all! All the sacrifices of the Old Testament simply pointed to the coming suffering of Jesus in our place. You never have to offer for your sins! Jesus already did! Today, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” (Hebrews 4:9) “…there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,” (Hebrews 10:26) We don’t do this type of sacrificial worship today because Jesus was the final and ultimate sacrifice forever! He is our sin offering and trespass offering! “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;” (Hebrews 10:12) Important—This first offering, accomplished by Jesus, is what trips the trigger of motivation in our hearts to participate willingly and lovingly in all the other opportunities to offer worship to God! 2. RELATIONSHIP—Some Sacrifices/Offerings Pictured Love for God. These offerings were voluntary expressions of worship and love—they were about relating with God and enjoying Him personally. These were not required as much as they were invited! These were God’s way of giving His people a way to say “thank you” and “I love you!” They were designed to flow from willing hearts, not from mindless or heartless obligation. In fact, when it became mindless and heartless God said, “STOP IT!” (See Isaiah 1:11-20, and 29:13) It’s aways about the heart first! These offerings were called “burnt offerings” and “grain offerings” and they pictured a heart that was returning to God, or a heart of devotion and commitment to Him. These offerings were significant because they were offered willingly, freely, and gladly. They were acts of worship. This would have included, but was not limited to the “tithe” (which was commanded as a way to maintain the national function of Irael’s Theocracy. It was almost like a tax that funded the political and spiritual structure of Hebrew life.) TODAY: Anything you give to and through your local church on a regular basis could be considered a modern parallel to these types of Old Testament worship offerings. In like manner, our New Testament systematic giving should be consistent, glad hearted, joyful, willing, and driven by generous grace. Our giving should be sincere expressions of love and worship—never out of grudging or necessity, but cheerful. “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8) “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” (1 Corinthians 16:1, 2) 3. COMMUNITY—Some Sacrifices/Offerings Fostered Fellowship/Celebration. This third category of giving provided for fellowship and the celebratory worship of God. They fostered community amongst God’s people through meals, feasts, family time, and celebrations that brought people together in remembrance and worship. These offerings were called “peace offerings” “wave offerings” “heave offerings” “vow offerings” “thanksgiving offerings” and “freewill offerings.” They were always expressions of thanksgiving and celebration—often combined with a feast that God appointed for celebration, rest, and worship. Isn’t this cool?! God actually provided enough for His people to take extra time off, bring their abundance together, offer to Him with joyful hearts, and then have a feast together (sometimes a celebration lasting days!) What a joyful and loving God! He asked for these offerings, and then He gave them back to be enjoyed by His people. TODAY: In many ways we do this sort of thing today. First, we come together every Sunday to worship and celebrate a resurrected Saviour and the grace of the gospel that has rescued us from condemnation. Then, any time a local church comes together with a celebration offering, or to enjoy a meal, or commemorate God’s goodness, this would, in some ways, parallel God’s practice for Old Testament Israel not only to worship Him, but also to celebrate Him in community and fellowship. Who knew that potlucks had such biblical roots?! 4. MISSION—Some Sacrifices/Offerings Advanced God’s Name in Special Ways. These offerings were willing-hearted worship that allowed for occasional special offerings for missional purposes. These offerings were periodic in scripture and usually involved some significant missional advancement of God’s name and glory. For instance, special offerings were taken to construct the tabernacle and all of its furnishings. Again special offerings were received to build the temple in Jerusalem. Again, they were received to repair and restore God’s temple and worship. These offerings were always willing-hearted, free-will, special offerings for the purpose of corporate mission and the greater worship of God. Amazingly, God always provided for the people to participate in these offerings (as in “spoiling the Egyptians” before being delivered from Egypt.) More importantly, these offerings were not coerced, but rather they were the product of God stirring up the hearts of the people to have a willingness to give. “And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the LORD’S offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments.” (Exodus 35:21) Today: Any time a local church receives a special offering for a special project to advance the gospel, this would parallel these Old Testament purposes. This may include when a church builds a building, restores a work for God’s glory, or engages in a missions project to advance the gospel in some significant way. “Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. 15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. 16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. 17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.” (Philippians 4:14-17) To Summarize: The Old Testament gives four primary purposes of offerings: —The purpose of redemption (a picture of Jesus one day removing sin) —The purpose of relationship (expressing love to God from a grateful heart.) —The purpose of community (worshipful celebration of God in fellowship) —The purpose of mission (funding projects that advance God’s name.) So, today, our New Testament Church life should model these four values—Jesus was our final sin offering. Our tithe and additional offerings express our love for and relationship with God from joyful and cheerful hearts—and they make possible the ministry of the gospel through your local church. Our fellowship together and giving to one another celebrates community and the local church family. And occasional special offerings advance God’s work at home and around the world. There’s no doubt, in both Old and New Testament life, that God calls His people to worship Him through the regular, generous, cheerful, willing, and celebratory sacrifices of our hearts and our resources to Him and His people. And, He always provides for us to do so by His grace! If we trust Him and live generously, we will find that He will not only meet our needs, but often exceed them by His grace. Give because you “get to”, not because you “have to.” Give because you “want to” not because you “ought to.” Give to love, not to get. Give gladly, not greedily. Give in delight, not in fear or guilt. (Remember your guilt offering is already made by Jesus!) Give willingly, voluntarily, worshipfully because the greatest GIVER of all time is on your side, in your corner, promising to meet your needs from the vastness of His unsearchable riches and grace. Give because you can celebrate that you are the redeemed child of the Greatest Giver ever! “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21) “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” (John 6:27) “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) View the full article
  12. The Oracles of God

    “Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?” (Romans 3:2-3) This striking synonym for the Scriptures (“the oracles of God”) occurs just three times in the Bible. In our text, Paul is emphasizing the great privilege and ... More... View the full article
  13. NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Ten Word of Faith Doctrines Weighed Against Scripture Introducing the newest Lighthouse Trails author, Danny Frigulti and his Ten Word of Faith Doctrines Weighed Against Scripture Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 16 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others […] The post NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Ten Word of Faith Doctrines Weighed Against Scripture appeared first on . View the full article
  14. Hope for Our Hurt

    Nearly every Christian I meet has been hurt on some level in some context, and many have been hurt in spiritual contexts—environments and relationships that promised to be a haven from hurt. Hurt is not the exception, hurt is the norm. Everyone has a story of someone who hurt them at some point, or many points in life. In a fallen world, we should expect hurt and expect the need to process hurt biblically by God’s grace. Perhaps you are a ministry leader who has been hurt in ministry. Perhaps you are a Christian who was hurt by another Christian. Whatever the case, how we process hurt will, in many ways, determine the path and outcomes of our lives. Let’s explore how to process hurt biblically… Victim or Perpetrator? The first place to stop in “processing hurt” is to see myself is not only victim but also a perpetrator. You see, I haven’t only “been hurt”—I have also “hurt others.” Sure the scales and magnitude vary—perhaps someone has deeply hurt you, and you have not returned that magnitude of hurt upon another. But the fact remains, just as you have a story of being hurt by someone else, someone else has a story of being hurt by you in some way. This is the human condition in a fallen world. We hurt. We are hurt. And we perpetuate hurt. Hurt people hurt people. Only seeing myself as “being hurt” will cause me to play the victim. It will slant my perspective and my response. But seeing myself as one who has also “hurt another” will humble me to see the real problem of my sinful heart. It will remind me of my own deep need of grace and the power of the gospel to heal my hurt, and mature my tendency to inflict hurt. The Gospel Applied to My Hurt The second place to stop in “processing hurt” is to see Jesus on the cross being hurt by me, being hurt for me, absorbing all the hurt I’ve ever inflicted on others, and absorbing all the hurt I’ve ever experienced personally. The gospel of grace—the inexhaustible love of God displayed in Jesus suffering—shines a bright light on the topic of hurt. It gives all of my hurt a very different context. (See Hebrews 12:2-3) Jesus suffered for me. Jesus suffered like me. Jesus suffered with me. Jesus absorbed my suffering. Jesus suffered to rescue me from hurt, heal me from the wounds of hurt, and redeem me from the living death that hurt creates. He suffered to restore within me a whole heart—capable of forgiving hurt and growing in maturity—that I might bless others and hurt less. This is one reason of many that the gospel is more than simply the way to be saved. The gospel is God’s power of transformation in every area of our lives! Healing or Hiding? The third place to stop in “processing hurt” is to come out of hiding and face the mirror of God’s grace. These first two positions—seeing myself as a perpetrator; and seeing my Saviour as the one who absorbed my sin and my suffering—force me to reckon differently with hurt. These are transforming realizations. Because of Jesus, I no longer need to coddle my hurt or return hurt on others. Because of Jesus, when I’m hurt, I am able to forgive others as Jesus forgives me. I can allow His grace to heal my hurt rather than to go on hurting others and holding on to my hurt. His grace gives the ability to be “tenderhearted, forgiving one another.” (Eph. 4:32) When I hurt someone else, if I’m aware of it, I can repent and seek forgiveness from the one I hurt, because Jesus’ love and grace makes me secure enough to seek the healing of those I’ve hurt. His grace humbles and give the ability to “confess our faults one to another” which is a part of God’s process of healing! (James 5:16) Hiding Hurt, or Healing Hurt? In light of the gospel, nursing hurt is not an option. How often do we cultivate or harbor our hurt; when God makes His grace available for healing? Cultivating hurt is a choice—a terribly self-destructive one. Processing my hurt in light of my sinfulness, Jesus suffering, and the healing of God’s grace is the only way to turn hurt into fruit. (See Hebrews 12:11-13) Through the gospel of grace, God takes the bad things that happen to me, and the bad things that happened through me—and He turns them into the peaceable fruit of righteousness. It is only the power of the gospel that can make this happen. Hurt—Expect It, Resolve It, Grow Through It We can’t ever expect to fully escape hurt until we get to Heaven. As long as we are engaged with people in real community and ministry, we face the possibility of being hurt. Yet, we can hope to hurt less, and more importantly, we can have the maturity and wholeness to understand how to process hurt through grace. We can learn how to allow God’s grace to heal our hurt and to simultaneously crush our fleshly tendencies to be hurtful. God’s heart for my hurt is to heal it. God’s heart for my tendency to hurt is to mature it. This only happens as I yield to the daily power of God’s Spirit as He uses the power of the gospel to transform my heart. As long as there are Christians on earth, gathering together in local churches, there will be hurt; hence there must be forgiveness, grace, growth, and patience. There must be maturing Christians who value the gospel enough to process hurt with grace. Mature Christians know they will be hurt. They also know that they are capable of inflicting hurt. Therefore they forgive those who hurt them, and they repent when they inflict hurt. On both sides of the equation, they respond in grace and process hurt God’s way—with humility. Not Processing Hurt… Unresolved hurt results in anger, bitterness, resentment, faithlessness, self-segregation, and self-preservation. We can’t go there. The world needs to gospel too much for us to hide out in leper colonies of hurt! Withdrawal from gospel ministry and from Christian community is not an option. Courage calls us out of hiding and into humility and grace, where hurt can be healed. If you become a hiding leper, your suffering will continue, your hurt will multiply, and your heart will grow increasingly numb and self-destructive. This very decision inflicts more hurt upon the cause of Christ. When Christians walk away from church, refusing the allow healing, the whole church is hurt. On the other hand, when Christians courageously mature in grace, the gospel advances, the church thrives, and hearts heal! When you are hurting you have three options… —Hide it—bury it and let it eat you from the inside. —Hurt others—compound the hurt by reacting and striking back. —Heal it—at the cross and through the gospel, allow God to heal it. Spiritual immaturity hides or hurts. Spiritual maturity heals in grace. Spiritual maturity absorbs like Jesus did, and because Jesus did! We don’t have to hide or hurt—we can let God HEAL! Let the gospel of grace do a work in your heart that nothing else can! You will find that God’s grace is still quite amazing! View the full article
  15. Christ the King

    “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.” (1 Timothy 6:15) Of the many descriptive titles of the Lord Jesus Christ, perhaps the most significant is that of King, because this speaks of His universal dominion. The day is coming when “every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and ... More... View the full article