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Archive for January, 2013

Bible Reading Commitment, Encouragement, and Challenge

January 11 – Matthew 4-6

Observe with some (Interpretation in Parentheses)

  • Focusing on Matthew 4
  • There is just so much richness in these chapters, and so much could be meditated on and unpacked
  • As I was reading the Sermon on the Mount and being convicted and challenged by so much of what Jesus preached and taught, my heart was more and more thankful and amazed by chapter 4, especially Jesus’ temptations by Satan
  • I am so thankful that the Christian life is not simply the Sermon on the Mount and us just trying to live out the sermon in our own strength and according to our own will and power
  • I am so thankful that the Christian life begins with Jesus facing all forms of temptation and defeating all of them on our behalf
  • I am so thankful that Jesus is the One who perfectly lived His Sermon on the Mount and it is His life given to us through repentance and faith
  • I am so thankful that then, in Christ, He gives us the power to increasingly live out His sermon because of grace, not to earn grace

How Points to Christ

  • Jesus is the perfect Son of God with whom God is well pleased
  • Jesus stood in our place, so that in Him we too could be called sons of God

Apply

  • Please pray for a profound sense of gratitude in my life
  • All the ways that I struggle and often fail to live out the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ struggled and succeeded
  • Praise God!
  • Please pray that such undeserved grace from God and gratitude in my heart would move me to seek to passionately live out the Sermon on the Mount in my life

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May God increase our desire for His glory to spread to all nations and peoples – Operation World. and Joshua Project!

Unreached of the Day photo
Please pray for the …

Population: 581,000

Language: Aimaq

Religion: Islam

Evangelical: 0.00%

For more details…

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As a child growing up, I was an arrogant punk, constantly thinking I was right, especially compared to older people.   I don’t think I am the only one, but I often heard older people sharing with me their life and their regrets, to warn me so that I don’t need to experience the same grief from similar regrets.   But, sad to say, I was too arrogant to listen and heed their words.   Back then, I had thought I knew better then them, but now, I see that much of what they said was right.

With that said, as I continue to meet more college students in ministry, I know up front that many who read this will probably think they know better than me and won’t have the same regret later, but having done ministry to several generations of students, I know many will come back later and say similar regrets.   So, I pray sharing my regrets would be helpful.   Feel free to add yours to help and serve college students as well.

Some biggest regrets of college (not in any particular order, and I may add more later)

1) Evangelism and investing much more time seeking to make disciples.  After college, the amount of interaction with unbelievers drops dramatically.  And, the intentionality required to develop friendships with unbelievers goes up a lot.   College was such a great opportunity to invest much more time developing friendships with the lost with the prayers to share Christ with them.   I say this because my college group (and many college ministries I know of) spend a huge percentage of their time targeting primarily Christians and believers.   Mobilizing college students to prioritize mission as a lifestyle is not so big.   But, looking back, I regret all those missed opportunities.   Yes, I probably had more “fun” hanging out with people like me, but that’s not where true joy and fun for God’s people resides – there is more joy in heaven when we bring even one more sinner into God’s family than when we just hang out with God’s family being inwardly focused.

2) Being more invested in the local church learning from older people and being discipled by them and learning to love people not like me.   As someone working full-time, married, and with children now, I regret not spending more time with these types of people while in college to learn and prepare myself for these things.  Looking back, I regret how foolish I was seeking things like relationship advice and being a godly man mostly from people who didn’t have a committed relationship and weren’t really men yet either.   Entering college and being “independent,” I regret wasting much of that time instead of being more in the local church and observing and learning from people who live as godly adults and men, not simply as boys with a little more freedom.  And, after college, I am constantly surrounded by people not like me, and I regret not learning as many skills to practically and genuinely learning to love people not like me, whether it was helping elders, or serving in children’s ministry, or other interactions with people not like me.

College students, I pray that you would learn from my regrets before similar ones become yours.    God has entrusted us with one mission to make disciples to make it simple for us to remember.  And, God has designed one institution to visibly display His Kingdom on this earth, the local church, to make it simple for us to remember as well.  Let us follow God’s plan, which will not lead to regret later.  =)

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Bible Reading Commitment, Encouragement, and Challenge

January 10 – Isaiah 4-6

Observe with some (Interpretation in Parentheses)

  • Focusing on Isaiah 6
  • Enough of our man-centered way of teaching and living!
  • Many times, I hear leaders lament how people (even people in the church for a long time) don’t have a passion for holiness, a humble spirit, and a passion for evangelism
  • I often hear leaders lament how people (often times people in the church) have some level of self-righteousness in them
  • But, when I ask them how they are leading and their “methodology,” I am often unsure why they are surprised by these things when we do more man-centered, seeker-sensitive approaches than God-centered, bringing-people-into-the-holiness of God approaches
  • Among all the people in Israel, Isaiah was probably the only man who could potentially feel good about his life compared to the rest of the Israelites (he was a prophet of God)
  • He spoke the very Words of God given to him
  • Among all the people, he should not have been the one who cried out verse 5, all the woes and curses upon himself
  • He cried, “Woe is me!  For I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips” (coming from a prophet, this is huge)
  • Why?  What is the reason he cries this way?
  • FOR my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts – in His holy, holy, holy state
  • (The Bible’s method to lead people to repentance, humility, and service is simply to bring sinners into the presence of the Holy King, and everything else follows)

How Points to Christ

  • The Gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ makes no sense unless and until people understand the bad news, of sin and eternal wrath before a holy, holy, holy God
  • Isaiah could only stand before God’s presence having been cleansed – this foreshadows the work of Christ and His perfect cleansing work

Apply

  • Please pray that in life and ministry, that I would seek to have a God-centered approach to everything
  • Please pray that I won’t seek to compare people to others, but to keep pointing their gaze to see the holy character of God
  • Only a high view of God will produce in my heart and in the church humility, gratitude, and a passion for service and evangelism, where once a need comes up, all of God’s people would fight to be the first to say, “Here am I, send me!”

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May God increase our desire for His glory to spread to all nations and peoples – Operation World. and Joshua Project!

Population: 1,895,000

Language: Rakhine

Religion: Buddhism

Evangelical: 0.04%

For more details…

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January 9 – Job 1-3

Bible Reading Commitment, Encouragement, and Challenge

January 9 – Job 1-3

Observe with some (Interpretation in Parentheses)

  • Focusing on Job 1
  • As I was reading and meditating on this chapter, I was reminded of something I read in a book
  • I can’t remember which book it was, but the author said something like, “Too often, we get too accustomed to God’s blessing”
  • Because of God’s common grace, I know in my own heart that this is true
  • I get too easily accustomed to God’s blessing
  • I start to presume upon God’s blessing
  • I start to assume I deserve God’s blessing
  • And many times, I narrow and isolate God’s true blessing and redefine God’s blessing merely to things on this earth
  • With that said, I praise God for Job
  • I praise God that Job was not deceived like I so often am
  • I praise God that after God’s blessed him with so many earthly blessings and then allowed them to be taken away by the enemy, that Job recognized, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return”
  • “The Lord gave, and the Lord (has the right) to take away”
  • So in everything, “Blessed be the name of the Lord”

How Points to Christ

  • The greatest of God’s blessings is union with Him, conformity to Christ, and the inheritance that awaits all His adopted children
  • All of these things are rooted and secure in the Gospel of Jesus Christ
  • And God’s infinite, eternal, incomparable blessings cannot be taken away by God’s enemy
  • They are secured and sealed by the Spirit and bought by Christ’s blood

Apply

  • Please pray that I would have the right perspective of earthly things
  • They are not MINE
  • They are God’s, and I am merely His steward
  • The Lord can give and the Lord can take away
  • Please pray that I would remember this and rejoice in the Gospel that can never be lost
  • And please pray that I would joyfully call sinners in this world to live in and for this unshakable hope in the Gospel

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May God increase our desire for His glory to spread to all nations and peoples – Operation World. and Joshua Project!

Unreached of the Day photo
Please pray for the …

Population: 290,000

Language: Tamazight, Central Atla

Religion: Islam

Evangelical: 0.00%

For more details…

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