i have decided

I-Have-Decided-WEB

 

** Originally Posted here: http://bigdbentley.com/2012/12/14/sermon-notes-ordination-of-michael-monicaa-heart-set-apart/


 

 

John 12:26
If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me. Where I am, there My servant also will be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

The heart of the PASTOR
A Servant Heart

A Set Apart Heart

A Spiritual Heart

A Solid Heart
1 TIMOTHY 3.1-7

This saying is trustworthy: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.” An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy — one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a new convert, or he might become conceited and fall into the condemnation of the Devil. Furthermore, he must have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he does not fall into disgrace and the Devil’s trap.
A Servant Heart

One of the truths about a person with a servant heart is that, long before there is a title or office designating them as a servant, they find ways to serve. Serving includes noticing a need a meeting that need. For a minister this is one of the key ingredients in the toolbox of the pastor.
A Set-Apart Heart
0Part of the significance behind the ordination of a person for service in the kingdom is the recognition that they have been selected, called, and gifted by God for a specific purpose. In a sense, every believer is ordained and expected to fulfill a certain role in God’s plan and purpose for their lives.

Answering the call to ministry, however, carries with it the weight of being responsible for the care and life of the Bride of Christ, the church. The weight of that calling, and the accountability before the Lord for this role is not something everyone is capable of managing.
A Spiritual Heart

· The Disciplines of Ministry

Spending Time in Prayer
Scripture Reading/Study
Keeping a Clean Heart, Mind, and Walk
Confession and Repentance when Mess Up
Seeking God’s Direction
Living Yielded to the Holy Spirit
A Solid Heart

Notice that Paul instructs Timothy that the Overseer should be:

above reproach
husband of one wife (a “One Woman Man”)
self-controlled
sensible
respectable
hospitable
an able teacher
not addicted to wine
not a bully but gentle
not quarrelsome
not greedy
one who manages his own household competently
not be a new convert
have a good reputation among outsiders
In other words, the person must be grounded, having a firm foundation of faith on the bedrock of beliefs and the teaching of the Bible. This foundation must be visible through their life to those around them.

Consider a building with a poor foundation…how long before it is visible?

A person who is living with a poor foundation in life will be evident to others
What if all of us, pastors or not, were striving to live with a firm foundation?
Invitation
· Are there some who need to be saved and come to faith in Christ? The first step of the greatest journey of your life is to make your way to Jesus and find forgiveness for your sins and the promise and hope of eternal life.

· Is there anyone here who has felt the nudge into ministry, a deeper calling to something greater, an urging to serve the church and the Lord in a specific role that carries greater responsibility. For example a missionary, a pastor, a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have all been given gifts (Super Powers), and we all have a calling (reason/purpose), but not everyone is called to make a career out of those gifts and callings. That is what I’m talking about here. This person is like a soldier under command, and may be “called-up” to “go” and must be willing to follow those orders. Is that what you feel today?

Charges for the Ordination Ceremony
THE CHARGE TO THE CANDIDATE
Michael, on behalf of the Church of our Lord, Jesus Christ, in the power and authority of His name and by witness of the Holy Spirit, I charge you to…

Live up to a Standard set by Scripture
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize of Christ
Serve the Lord Jesus in His Body, the church, in accordance with your gifts and calling doing all things as though you were doing them unto the Lord.

THE CHARGE TO THE CHURCH

By laying our hands on Michael today we state with the blessing of the church that we believe that he is called and gifted by God to serve as a pastor, elder, and overseer in the church body. As Michael come forward to be ordained today I charge the church body …

Church, on behalf of the Church of our Lord, Jesus Christ, in the power and authority of His name and by witness of the Holy Spirit, I charge you to…

Pray for this man
Serve along side of this man in the ministry and service in the body
Hold this man accountable in love and grace, always encouraging him in his ministry and service and aiding him as you are able.


i have decided| written by dave bentley

 

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this is the end of my story

endofmystory

 

(this is my story)

I recently celebrated the one year anniversary of my blog. Over the past year I have written more content than ever before. There have been highs and lows throughout the entire process. I have loved creating content and sharing my insight and heart with others. Through it all, I’ve learned a lot about myself.

I’ve glanced over my blogs and realized I have a major shortcoming. I am often worried and very insecure. I write about it pretty often as well. I have spent so much time thinking about and wondering about and worrying about where God wants me. I haven’t seen much change in the area where I serve. My community is sinking in despair, looking for hope in sex and drugs.

I’ve also noticed I grow more and more frustrated when my blog doesn’t see big numbers. Of course I always feel happy and content when the views are higher but that only shows my happiness is completely circumstantial to the how well the blog is doing.

I’ve met some really awesome people and I have been honored to step aside and allow a number of people share on my blog. The ride has been a roller coaster to say the least.

Not long ago, I felt this desire to church plant. I don’t know why though; church planting is hard work. It is something that continually keeps coming back to me, again and again and again. Recently, I shared the news that I was planning on moving to Texas but I didn’t have a set time when I would do so.

So began the process of asking God how and why things would work out. Questions became frustration and led to worry and insecurity. I came to wake up one morning, excited about the possibility of moving and then I would wake up the next day worried that I was making the wrong choice.

I’ve never really know the exact reason why I started to blog in the first place, just that I wanted to write. I finally have an answer to that question. In the most simple terms possible: I want to share my story with you.

(this is my confession)

I like reading. A lot. I love reading but i also read very little. Those sound like a contradiction but it isn’t. I have tons of books, tons of them. Yet, as many as I have, there are a handful at best which I have actually read. I like reading just not a lot of reading. That’s why I love blogs. Of course, I subscribe to so many that I am so far behind I doubt i’ll ever catch up.

Without fail, I tell myself, again and again, I need to read this or that because I think it will be for my own benefit. In addition, I love reading quotes from social media outlets (face book and twitter mainly).

So the issue that came up is that when ever I felt God saying something, I would read Scriptures and quotes. As far as church planting, i have one of the most unlikely stories ever. Most church planting stories go like this…
The planter is serving in a church.
The planter has experience in the church.
The planter is called to plant a church with a specific location in mind.
The planter’s call is confirmed by the church where he currently serves.
The church where he serves becomes the sending church.
The sending church acts as a mother church and sends him and often a small team out.
The rest is history.

I don’t share that story. Yes, I have served in the local church and have been ordained. Yes, I feel like God wants me to do something but I don’t always know what that is. I look at what he has called me to, I look at my gifts and pray and seek counsel. But I always struggle because i feel like I am in the middle hearing two voices, by reading endless quotes, blogs and books.

About a week and half ago, I felt God press on my heart, “Who are you listening to? Me or other people?”

I have freedom in Christ. With that freedom, I am letting go…

(this is my resignation)

I am NOT planting a church, I am following Jesus so he might build his church.

I am NOT moving to Texas, I am following Jesus to Texas.

I am NOT qualified to lead others, Jesus is my qualification for all he calls me to.

The great thing about my story is that its finally over. I am no longer the point of the story; Jesus is.


this is the end of my story| written by mike monica

in search of a new god

new god

 

John 6:29|

“Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” (NLT)

[the search for significance]
Context is vitally important in understanding any Scripture so here’s the background information we all need. A large group of people had followed Jesus and in the evening hours, sat down. The disciples urged Jesus to send these people away because they were hungry and the disciples felt they could become upset or frustrated. Jesus, being the cool guy he is and all, told the disciples to feed the people with five fish and two loaves of bread.

Jesus is always asking us to do the impossible!

As the story continues, Jesus blesses the food and it multiplies, again and again and again. The food is multiplied so that the entire crowd (5000 men at the very least) were fed by the hand of God. Over 5000 people witnesses and experienced a move of God.

The next day the crowd woke up and discovered Jesus and his disciples had left them and went to the opposite side of the lake. The crowd followed Jesus. When Jesus saw the crowd arrive, he pointed out the reason they were there; they had not come because he had performed miracles but because they were given something to eat.

I want to pause for a second to ask this question: Why are you looking for Jesus?

Jesus continues on and shares with these people that they were seeking something perishable but they should be seeking eternal life. The crowd, wanting to please Jesus, told him, we want to do the work of God as well.

Then Jesus reveals the truth about the work of God. That the only work God wants from us is this-to believe.

[the search for purpose]
Jesus has this way of breaking down walls and barriers and revealing truth and grace in a way that impacts those who are truly seeking him. You see, Jesus said something that sounds so simple but it’s deeper than we can imagine.

First, Jesus plainly told the crowd, “I know why you’re here! You didn’t come because I have the ability to heal the sick, raise the dead and change water into wine; you came because you were hungry and you were given something to eat.”

Sometimes people seek Jesus because of what he offers in the temporary settings of this world. Sometimes all we are seeking is the blessings of a future with hope, we throw our lives towards a God who is all about us and is willing to give us what we need. Make no mistake, food was something this crowd needed but the focus was wrong, their hearts were wrong. They were seeking, not what Jesus wanted to give them but what they wanted him to provide.

Sometimes, personal satisfaction is the catalyst for following Jesus.

Jesus’ response not only expels people who seek him for their own purpose but also for the religious minded as well. In Jesus’ time, the religious leaders had built themselves into a society of demigod’s who believed that God was for them because of their religious activities.

Jesus made it more simple. What does God want from us? Faith in Christ.

True faith rests on the person and work of Christ alone.
True faith always seeks after Christ.
True faith abides in Christ and through grace produces obedience.
True faith leads us to live a life worthy of the calling we have already received.

When we seek after Jesus because of temporary needs fulfilled, we are in search for a new god. Yes, we are already loved by God. Yes, he cares about us and he will provide for our needs. Prosperity is not what we think though; prosperity is what God gives us, even if that doesn’t lead to much.

When we seek after Jesus because we believe he approves of our activities, we are in search of a new god. We are not seeking to worship Christ but simply to work and we work for ourselves when we do that. Working for God flows out of our worship for God.

Follow Jesus for who he is and what he has done for you.

in search of a new god| written by mike monica

you hide, i seek

HideandSeek-Series-Graphic1

[the games we play]

I recall a number of years ago, I spent some time with some friends over the weekend. My friends were actually visiting family and had invited me to go with them and so I tagged along. Their family lived in a huge house and i mean, HUGE! We are talking three bathrooms and ten bedrooms. A weekend wasn’t even enough time to explore the entire place!

We all knew Sunday was the day we would go out to eat and rent some movies, which of course left Saturday for us to find something to do which would be entertaining. We decided to play the game, “Hide and Seek.”

One of my friends had located a really cool hideout spot and suggested that we hide in three together. I obliged with this request and we went into a closet on the very top floor of this house. The problem was this: the closet door locked automatically from the outside and so when the door was shut behind us, we were trapped.

It was a great bidding place but we valued our lives a bit more so we spent about five minutes banging on the door and yelling for help. We were rescued of course.

[finding God in the games we play]

Newsflash: if you keep in touch with this blog (and I hope you do) then you already know how often I deal with my own insecurity and my calling. It’s not only an issue of who I am but this age old question of where I am going or more accurately, where is God calling me to?

Hide and seek is a really awesome game when we consider the will of God for our lives. It’s sort of like this: God the Father begins counting and we run off with Jesus to go and find a place to hide. Jesus leads us into a closet and we follow him in there because we trust him. Of course, Jesus closes the door and it locks from the outside.

With everything in me, i want to scream as loud as I can and break the door down. Since I cannot do that, I yell so I can rescued. Jesus, on the other hand, would whisper, “Be still.”

[remember this]

i. When you or I are so wrapped up in seeking God’s will for our lives, we can easily forget that our most basic call is to pursue Him. (Jeremiah 29:13)

ii. When you or I are wrapped up in working for God, we can easily forget that we should cultivate a life centered on intimacy. (Luke 10:38-42)

iii. When you or I are wrapped up in going where Jesus is, the storms in our lives can shake our faith as we forget the most important thing is that, regardless of what we are going through, we are with Jesus. (Matthew 8:23-27)

iv. Everything we need in life is provided to us following our response to God’s call to seek his kingdom and his righteousness first. (Matthew 6:33)

don’t call me a christian

Dont-Call-Me-a-Christian

 

[A Broken Image]

When I was a kid, my parents would take us down to the local beach. It was a small little place but we enjoyed going there from time to time. No one in my immediate family was a great swimmer nor were we enthusiastic about it either. But, at least three times during the summer, we would travel the 20 minutes it took to go down there and enjoy our day at the beach.

Since we were not big on swimming, we often found other ways of entertaining ourselves. My older brother and I would often build sandcastles. If you are a brother, then you know that you live in constant competition with your brother. I don’t know why that is but I know there is some unspoken law about that. That being said, my sandcastle always had to be bigger than his.

My brother, being older and wiser, would build his sandcastle much closer to where our parents would be relaxing, bathing in the sun. I, without fail, would build mine close to the waters edge. The sand was close enough to the water to be a little more muddy and as such, a bit more stable and so I could always out build him. My sandcastle was always bigger.

It is also without fail, my brother would warn me against not building so close to the water but I always ignored the advice. Then, after completion, I would mock his sandcastle and we would go for a quick swim. When we returned, my sandcastle was gone. The tide had come in just enough to wash it away and there was my brothers sandcastle, still standing tall.

I was, of course, devastated!

My beautiful creation was destroyed and my hard work was for nothing! That being said, I cannot begin to imagine how God felt when he walked through the garden, calling for the man, only to find his created beings hiding from his presence. They had fallen into sin. God’s creation, it seemed, to crash down, right before his eyes.

While I was growing up in the church, the christian world had its share of “shocks.” I still vaguely remember the suicide from a Christian musician artist and later two more christian artists who had engaged in an extra marital affair.

Here’s the thing, over the past month, I have read more “shocking news reports” than ever before! Here’s a small snap shot of what I have seen and read…
1] Mark Driscoll and Acts 29|
Mark Driscoll is the lead founder and lead pastor of Mars Hill Church and also began a church planting network, Acts 29 several years ago. Over the past few years, a high number of interns and elders have left Mars Hill citing Driscoll’s leadership as a concern. Driscoll has been flagged for plagiarism, leadership abuse and mishandling church finances.
Due to the concerns, Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church have been removed from the Acts 29 Network and Driscoll has since stepped down while an internal investigation is being conducted into the reports concerning him.

2] Vicky Beeching|
Vicky Beeching is a well known and well established worship leader, She has come out as being a lesbian. She has gone on record to inform the Christian world that she believes God loves her the way she is. This of course has led many to question whether or not to support any of her ministry, present or past.

3] Victoria Osteen|
The co-pastor and wife of Joel Osteen has made the announcement that when we go to church and worship God we should do it for ourselves. If taken at face value, it is a message of entitlement and happiness.

As a writer/blogger, I have already come across the numerous blogs that have been written about ALL of these issues. If, for any reason, you think this blog is going to launch into a debate about these people, move on.

I’ve come to find that when Christian leaders say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing, there comes a flood of responses. This leads to the question, how does God feel when his children fall and what should our response be?

[Should We Call Christians out?]

[Yes]
If we believe it is right to call out leaders for moral failures or sharing a “watered down gospel” then our theology is built around the idea that we need to “guard the truth” and “exposing the darkness.” (1 Tim. 6:20)

[No]
If we believe we don’t have that right, our theology is often built around “Not judging others.” (Matthew 7:1-2)

[WWJD]
A biblical approach is outlined in the gospel of Matthew 18:15-17
Go to the person IN PRIVATE!
If they are unrepentant, take the matter to them again with 2-3 witnesses.
If they continue to be unrepentant, bring the matter to the church.
If they are still unrepentant, remove them from the body and treat them as unbelievers.

Now here is the point, we do have the right to judge other believers. However, I wonder how many of us have actually personally met Joel Osteen and or Mark Driscoll and discussed these matters with them. If you are not one of those people who have done this, then you’re ignoring the Scriptures call, which could place you yourself in the same category as a “false teacher.”

Guarding the truth should occur within the confines of your own church and congregation as these matters arise. The disciples and early church fathers dealt with false teachings and false teachers as they arose.

Some people will call out Christian leaders left and right for preaching a “watered down gospel.” I’m not really sure what that means because, let’s be real, there is only ONE GOSPEL. If you can water down the gospel then its not the gospel so that should tell you right away that you should stop calling it a watered down anything.

Defending the truth does not mean we start with false teachings; rather the Gospel of Jesus is the starting point!

[Don’t Call Me A Christian}

As believers, we can easily get wrapped up in our own theology and allow our theology to be our starting point and our guide for life. Make no mistake-what you and i believe about God will ultimately determine how our lives are lived. How we respond to God is how we will respond to others!

The way we respond to God is how we will respond to people!

It is, without a doubt, a touchy and tricky topic when dealing with moral failures of leaders and false teachings. As Christians, we are representing Christ at all times. With that in mind, let’s remember these two things…

Who’s Getting the Glory?
Philippians 1:15-18|
“It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me.But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.”

Paul knew in his heart some preachers and teachers were sharing the gospel for false purposes. Some of them liked the idea of exerting authority over people and knew that authority allowed them the opportunity to manipulate them. Others saw the gospel as a way to become financially stable because they could appeal to the commands of tithing. What Paul saw in the midst of this turmoil was Jesus’ name being preached and through that, the Spirit’s work of regeneration was changing lives.

Follow the Leader.
John 21:20-22
“Peter turned around and saw behind him the disciple Jesus loved…Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”

A quick context lesson is this-Jesus reinstated Peter following his denials of Christ. Peter was then called to care and feed the flock of Christ and then Christ, in essence, informed Peter he would die a terrible death. Peter got fixated on John (the disciple Jesus loved) and asked, what about him? Or we could say, “Is it fair for me to die and not John?”

Jesus redirected Peter’s attention. Don’t worry about him, don’t worry about the plans I have for others; you need to do one thing, follow me. As Christians that is our call-to follow Jesus.

Jesus is in the midst of his people, redeeming, restoring and transforming us into his own image.

don’t call me a christian| written by mike monica

 

Check out these resources|

8 Things Christians Should Be Known For

http://jarridwilson.com/8-things-christians/
Was Victoria Osteen Really That Off Base?

http://chadashby.com/2014/09/04/was-victoria-osteen-really-that-off-base/

marks of a movement

Marks-of-Movement-WEB

[Marks of A Movement]

Gen. 12:1“The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go the land I will show you.”

– Sometimes God tells us to go without telling us where. This is so we trust in the Person of God and not the plan.

Ex. 2:25 | “He (God) looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act.”

– Our calling always begins with God’s love and his desire to reveal himself through us.

Joshua 1:9| “This is my commandment-be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 – The promise we are given is the promise we need, that God is with us.

I Sam. 16:11-12| “Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied, “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.” …”So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes. And the LORD said, “This is the one, anoint him.”

God not only looks upon the hearts of those he calls, he will give them opportunities to serve as he prepares them to lead. Look for those opportunities as you seek God’s calling.

Isaiah 6:8|Then I heard the LORD asking “Whom shall I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am, send me.”

– There are times in our lives we need to stop asking God where he wants us to go and we need to start asking God who he wants us to serve! 

[Prayer]

Today I share a special and specific prayer request. On the topic of God calling us out, my dear friends Dennis and Rachael LeCouffe have felt the call of God on their lives to serve as missionaries. Recently, Dennis and Rachael have been accepted as part of the ministry team for YWAM (Youth with a Mission).

Currently, Rachael and Dennis reside in Vermont and have begun a fundraising campaign to help raise the funds necessary to serve as missionaries. The Missions Trip in January 2015 and they will serve for six months in Mexico. The funds raised will cover the costs of travel, living expenses and medical coverage.

Please pray for them and if you would like to donate, you can do so here|

http://www.youcaring.com/mission-trip-fundraiser/missionary-outreach-program-fundraiser/203871

[Quotes]

1. If there is one thing that sets the life in the Spirit apart from the one trying to live by human effort it’s this, to recognize that everything comes from God and nothing comes from ourselves.

2. Rest in what Christ has done and let the Spirit transform your outward life into His finished work.

3. The reason the Old Covenant couldn’t succeed is because it was dependent upon people performing the work of God and remaining sinless.

4. The fact is that God established His works completely, and then formed creation around His completed work.

5. Yet God doesn’t measure faithfulness by accomplishments but by obedience by faith.

6. Grace is the completed work of Christ offered to us as the fulfillment of all that God desires for us to do and to be.

7. My most feeble effort, if it is a work of faith in God’s power, can accomplish wonders if God enters that work to accomplish His purpose. When we trust in His works, we will experience

8. The message of scripture is to rest fully on the assurance that our promise is dependent on Christ alone.

9. To walk in the Spirit is to walk by faith – trusting completely in the work of God.

10. The call of the gospel is to trust completely in Christ and allow Him to transform us into His likeness.

All quotes taken from, “It Is Finished.”  By Eddie Snipes (GES Book Publishing Carrollton, GA Copyright © 2013)

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

marks of a movement| written by mike monica.