Taking the Word to the World

Archive for January, 2013

2013: The Year of Increase

I never imagined the airport hall was so long. She purposely walked toward the security check; never looking back. When I yelled out, “I love you MORE” she threw her hand behind her head in acknowledgement but kept moving. My heart leap-frogged into my throat and I lightly pounded my chest a couple of times to hopefully knock things back in place. So, this is how parents and loved ones feel when letting go of their precious AIMers as they leave for the field! Thirty-years ago my own wife made such a journey. A trip of three or four months turned in to a lifetime of mission’s service. Things have come full circle. What will happen to our fledging AIMer? Time and God will tell!

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As our own missionary prepared, packed, repacked, and repacked I pondered what the next five or six months on the field would bring. She had purchased white mugs from the Dollar Tree (expensive shopper!). Special friends and family took colorful Sharpie markers and designed a special keepsake for her. (I’m not sure what she is going to do with eight coffee mugs in one hundred plus weather. She doesn’t even drink coffee!) To solidify the ink and art I guess you put the mugs in the oven, bake them, and the ink doesn’t come off. I thought of her time overseas as an opportunity for increase. I designed her mug with life’s purpose in mind and depicted her AIM tour as 2013, the year of increase. Increase of what, you might ask? Well, I will tell you since I think it also applies to you—whoever you are; wherever you are.

I pray that 2013 will be a year of increase for you. I’m sure this involves many things but here are a few I sketched on the mug:

Increased…

  • Vision
  • Purpose
  • Passion
  • Burden
  • Word-view
  • Worldview
  • Friendships
  • Cross-cultural Experience
  • Faith
  • …and last—but not least—souls!

Her time in all of these will increase. Like John the Baptist reminds me, her time with me will decrease. I’m a little bitter about that. Why must I increase? But, she will be a better person because of AIM and I’ll be a better father and leader in the process. So, I leave her and each of you to a time of increase.

I love the picture of her and one of her friends as she was about to step out and walk that long road to the security checkpoint. Her mother and I are in the background, tears in our eyes, smiles swelling in our hearts, backing her up, and cheering her on. So, the Poitras household is quieter this evening, lonelier tonight, but the mission team in Ghana is on the increase.

So, dear AIMer and friend, we back you up, and cheer you on, as you proceed down the path of increase in 2013.

My God Can Do Anything

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Hebrews 13:8 reminds us, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” From this Scripture we can conclude:

  1. Anything Jesus has done before He can do again.
  2. Anything Jesus is doing anywhere in the world, He can do it here.
  3. Anything He is doing for anyone else, He can do for me (because He is no respecter of persons) (Acts 10:43).
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When Can We Use the Name of Jesus?

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In Prayer…

“Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:12-14).

In Preaching…

“And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47).

When in Need…

“That whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you” (John 15:16).

To Receive Eternal Life…

“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31).

When Healing Is Needed…

“Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ rise up and walk.

And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong whom ye see and know” (Acts 3:6, 16).

“By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?…Be it known unto you all… that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole…But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.

And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:7,10, 17-18).

In Salvation…

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

In Deliverance from Demons…

“And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour” (Acts 16:18).

In Water Baptism…

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

“For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:16).

“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:5).

In Everything…

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17).

David Livingstone, the great pioneer missionary to Africa, declared concerning the name of Jesus: “It is the word of a Gentleman of the most strict and sacred honour.”

He came as the Word (John 1:1, 14)
and left the Word.
He came with a name and left His name.
Who shall proclaim His name if the
church fails to do it.

Wanted: Healer of the Hurt of the Human Soul

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

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Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible gave an interesting illustration concerning Jesus Christ (Page 187). “From the very dawn of history this wicked world has desperately sought to employ the services of someone (or something) who could heal the hurt of the human soul and usher in the long stream of universal righteousness. Many persons have applied for this position, and numerous methods have been employed, but all have led to bitter disappointment and despair. But here the prophet Isaiah introduces a special candidate. What are his qualifications? Can he satisfy the five key positions?

A. What about his personality and character? It is wonderful.

B. What about his education? He knows all things and is therefore the supreme Counselor.

C. What about his nationality? He is the Mighty God.

D. What about his previous work experience? He both planned for and carried out the creation of this universe and is therefore called the Father of Eternity.

E. What is his special talent? As the God-man, he is able to reconcile man with God, and is therefore the Prince of Peace.

In view of all this, Isaiah (along with Peter, Paul, John, and a host of others) earnestly exhorts all sinners to hire this heavenly Candidate immediately” (See Isaiah 1:18).

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Avoid the Ministry Fizzle

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG).

Dave Wiedis in “Ten Rules to Avoid Ministry Burnout” writes, “When burnout runs its course, pastors often report that they have no initiative or drive, little energy, don’t want to visit with people, and just want to be left alone. Other symptoms include depression, anxiety, irritability, and disillusionment with people, loss of confidence, a feeling of being mistreated, and feelings of detachment. Of course, with the intense and unrelenting demands of ministry, there is a spiral effect: Burnout causes inefficiency, inefficiency creates increasing demands, demands create pressure and concomitant guilt for not achieving desired goals, added pressure and guilt causes stress, stress causes a depletion of energy and drive, which in turns causes inefficiency.”

Here’s his ten rules:

  1. Take heed to yourself.
  2. Cultivate dependence on God. Your ministry and calling come from Him. Maintain your personal disciplines.
  3. Lower your expectations. Learn to say, “No.” Delegate.
  4. Learn to balance your life and pace yourself.
  5. Create time to get away for refreshing. Factor solitude, recreation, and refreshment into work. Put them on your calendar. When asked for a meeting at that time honestly say, “I have an appointment.” That’s exercising good stewardship.
  6. Cultivate interests that are not directly related to your work as a minister.
  7. Develop a sense of humor.
  8. Cultivate proper diet, exercise, and sleep patterns.
  9. Seek close fellowship with pastors and others with whom you can share your burdens and concerns. Oftentimes, it takes a pastor to help a minster. Yet, we often to see ourselves in competition with one another rather than on the same team. Remember, the ministerial body is not designed to compete with one another but to complete one another.
  10. Get help if needed. Meet with a biblical counselor to get insight on your life.

Satan is fully aware that “if you smite the shepherd, the sheep will be scattered” (Zechariah 13:7).

Avoid ministry fizzle today!

photo credit: .robbie via photopin cc

Checklist on Ministry Pressure Releasers

Bill Scheidler in “The Pressures of Ministry Life” feels ministers should be involved in:

  1. Pacing
  2. Balance
  3. Delegation
  4. Rest
  5. Peer-level relationships
  6. Prayer support
  7. Accountability
  8. Growth opportunities
  9. Maintenance of personal disciplines

Minister, go through the checklist and score how well you are doing with pressure releasers. Looks like a good place to start making some serious new year’s resolutions.

photo credit: CowGummy via photopin cc

Wanted: The Perfect Pastor

Let’s look at what it takes to be a perfect pastor or minister.

  1. He pleases everyone.
  2. Preaches exactly twenty minutes and follows it with an invitation in which everyone is convicted but no one is offended.
  3. Works from 7 AM to midnight in every aspect of work from counseling to janitorial work.
  4. 27 years old with 30 years of experience.
  5. Tall and short.
  6. Thin and heavy set.
  7. Handsome but not overpowering.
  8. One brown eye and one blue.
  9. Hair parted in the middle and straight on one side and wavy on the other, with a balding spot on top revealing his maturity.
  10. Has a burning desire to work with teenagers and spends all his time with senior citizens.
  11. He smiles constantly with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously at his work.
  12. Invests 25 hours a week in sermon preparation, 20 hours in pastoral counseling, 10 hours in meetings, 5 hours in emergencies, 20 hours in visitation and evangelism, 6 hours in funerals and weddings, 30 hours in prayer, 12 hours in correspondence, and 10 hours in creative thinking.
  13. Is always available in his office.
  14. He always has time for all committees and activities of the church. He never misses the meeting of any church organization and is always busy evangelizing the un-churched.
  15. Has perfect kids.
  16. Spouse plays the keyboard.
  17. The perfect pastor is always the next town over.
  18. He is talented, gifted, scholarly, practical, popular, compassionate, understanding, patient, level-headed, dependable, loving, caring, neat, organized, cheerful, and above all, humble.
  19. Many versions of this are found on the Internet and several have this added “If your pastors does not measure up, simply send this notice to six other churches that are tired of their pastor too. Then bundle up your pastor and send him to the church at the top of your list. If everyone cooperates, in one week you will receive 1,643 pastors. One of them should be perfect. Have faith in this letter. One church broke the chain and got its’ old pastor back in less than three months.”
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