ministry

The Mission Mind “Let this kind be in you...”

photo: Tim Marshall, https://unsplash.com/@timmarshall

photo: Tim Marshall, https://unsplash.com/@timmarshall

A frequently remembered and quoted text is the apostle Paul’s encouragement to have the mind of Christ. But do we grasp the totality of his words? 

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:5-8

Likely when reading this verse you raise up praise for what he did to make possible your salvation.  This would be a just response.  However, the words are not written to induce praise but a change of mind following the servant character of Jesus.  

So the question must follow, “How did Jesus demonstrate what a servant is?  Paul answers, “...humbled himself (though equal to God) and became obedient (to God his Father), so much so that he was willing to sacrifice himself , even to the point of death.  Humility was the mind of Christ and the manifestation of this mind was his leaving his home in heaven and coming to this world as a man to give himself for the undeserving. Jesus the great missionary fulfilled the great commandment to love God and love others (Matt.  22:37-40). 

So to have his mind is to have his ministry of service to sacrifice for the spiritual benefit of others.  This is the foundation of all ministry and missions. Our life given for the lives of others.  You can’t have his mind without the other. 

I pray that you would give yourself to Paul’s encouragement to join our Lord in service and perpetuate his mission. 

Blessings 

Pastor Bob 

My discussion with an Iranian doctor 

Me - I heard someone say you are Armenian? ( I had an Armenian professor in college I really liked).

Dr - Oh no (chuckled), I'm Iranian

Me - I'm sorry (spoken nervously for the mistake).  I heard someone speaking to another commenting you were Armenian. There are differences.

Dr -  Oh, but there are really similarities, in features

Me - Yes, but big differences in cultures. 

Dr - That is true. Did you know that there is a very large population of Armenians in Iran? 

Me - I didn't realize that. 

Dr - Yes, centuries ago they migrated south to Iran and today there are over 150,000 in Iran. They are Christian and are a happy people. They follow the Muslim requirements publicly, their women cover with the hijab. But when they are together or have their own events they don't.  Their events,  likeweddings, are so wonderful, so happy. You know, young Iranian people always want to know the Armenians because they enjoy life and are so happy.  

Our discussion was then interrupted and I was not able to continue my inquiry or to interject my faith. But consider the simple witness of these Armenian Christians. "They are happy people." Even in Iran.  

Reminds me of the words of the psalmist, "Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!"  Psalms 144:15

Jesus also said: "These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full."  John 15:11

Be happy, be joyful, for your God is the LORD! You just don't know who is watching.

pastor Bob

Mama Maggie - Living like Christ

Every once in a while I am surprisingly informed by secular radio programs.  Today I heard a doctor share about Mama Maggie on a KFI radio program.  The doctor was a surgeon that travel to Egypt with a medical team as he has done in many countries before.  There he met Mamma Maggie who has for many years ministered to the pour or the pour who live among the garbage. God is truly glorified by her testimony.  

Her ministry is called Stephen's Children. I'll let her speak for herself in the attached video from 2011. 

The following are interviews with Doctor Marty Makary, author of a book on Mama Maggie just broadcast today, 4/29/15.

Humble Service - A week of VBS

There is no better way to be humbled as a pastor than to see 50+ members of your congregation give of themselves to serve 80-90 children, many of whom do not attend our fellowship.  It is Vacation Bible School week and for the past five nights a contingent of volunteers have been shepherding a flock of children with remarkable energy and enthusiasm.  They have done it with such joy it's hard to tell who had more fun, the servants or the kids.

But the work began over a month ago with many of the leaders planning, preparing, and training. Decorators searched for materials, created props and over the weekend before transformed the church into the VBS theme.  Volunteers prepared all the supplies needed for crafts.  Drama performers spent hours practicing their lines and scenes for their five skits.  Dancers practiced their steps and hand motions.  Servants joyfully prepared to register the kids, feed the kids and teach the kids for five nights.  All so that they may learn and know Jesus.  

Words simply cannot express my appreciation for these dedicated and humble servants.  They have honored The Lord by following his example of cherishing and serving the children who have attended this years VBS. Most importantly, to The Lord Jesus be all the glory, for these giving people have done this work for Him and through Him.  My prayer is that He abundantly bless them and that their labor not be in vain but that all that they have shared and taught the children will produce much fruit in their young lives. 

Blessings

pBob

Study Book on Grace is in the works - learn more

Yes, with the help of my nephew, I have a study book on the doctrine of Grace in the works.  Here is a tentative outline of the chapters:

Chapter 1: The Law- God's Conviction

     Christ wants us to know we were sinners.

Chapter 2: The Sacrifice- God's Covering

     Christ wants us to know He died for those sins.

Chapter 3: The Deliverance- God's Consolation

     Christ wants us to know He died not to shame us, but to set us free.

Chapter 4: The Fullness- God's Calling

     Christ wants us to fill us and complete us for his service.

Chapter 5: The Glory - God's Intention

     Christ wants us to use our freedom in ways that bring Him glory.

The intent is to provide simple and consise teaching in booklet form and as an Ebook that will provide a strait forward and beneficial understanding of the doctine of God's Grace.  It will liley be used in our Dscipleship and Intern programs.

The format will fit between the simple information card and a full size book on the subject, that is suitable to be handed to any believer or unbeliever to study on their own. So it will have questions at the end of each chapter.  As my nephew put it, "Not a reader interacting with the author, but the reader interacting with God."  

What I do need is some book art.  If you are gifted artistically and would like to contribute a book cover I am happy to consider it.  If it includes a photograph please be sure you own the rights to the photograph.  I will glady review and even post your submissions.  

Blessings

pBob

 

It's Congregation Appreciation month!

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Yes, I know there is no such thing as "Congregation Appreciation Month."  In fact, it is apparently pastor Appreciation Month.  Why?  

I couldn't find who started it, so I suspect it may have been Hallmark or some other greeting card company to promote their revenue or by some pastor needing to be validated.

Personally, I see no need for a month or a day to be designated for me to be appreciated.  My reason is simple and will let the words of Paul the apostle explain it.  He wrote to the Thessalonians:

But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness--God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.  1Thes. 2:4-6

I'm with Paul. I have been approved by God in my ministry as well, therefore I speak and serve to please Him, for He will be the one that I will have to stand before and give account.  Therefore, the glory of men (being praised and exhalted by men), or by my congregation is not needed or expected, nor demanded.

Paul also has taught me that my joy in ministry is not found by being recognized and applauded by my congregation but by their lives lived for the Lord consistently until His return.

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.  1Thes 2:19-20

I can sincerely say, for me to watch my congregation, those God has given to me to serve and teach, take hold of God's truth, to apply it and grow in their relationship with the Lord Jesus, is of great joy to me.  The apostle John made similar statements in his 3rd letter.

For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.  3John 3-4

My congregation is a source of "great Joy" to me for they continually demonstrate a walk in God's truth and so demonstrate their appreciation of me as they glorify the Lord in their lives.  Lord bless them and keep them.

Blessings

pBob

 

Being a Life Saver

You will be touched by this video because of the little kitten being saved by the fire fighter but there is another aspect to this rescue that is not seen.  

I served as a fire chaplain for several years and would be called to debrief fire fighters after they experienced a tough incident that was very traumatic, as when there was a loss of life.  Fire fighters are not simply trained to put out fires but are trained and have the focus to save lives. When they are not able to do so it can be demoralizing and emotionally traumatic.  So whenever they can save a life, even a kitten's, it has a very uplifting and beneficial affect on them. 

Their is something very rewarding and satisfying about saving a life even for those of us who are pastors.  To be able to lead a person out of their troubles, to deliver a marriage from destruction, to comfort a family who is grieving, is very rewarding and benefits our own souls because that is why we are in ministry.  But when the opposite result happens, though he has poured out his heart and used every bit of experience and wisdom, it can be devastating to a pastor's moral and weigh heavily upon him.  This is why Paul the apostle listed his burden for the church along with other challenges he experienced in ministry (2Cor 11:28).

But praise be to our LORD that he has not called us to carry that burden but to fulfill our ministry faithfully and do our ministry to our utmost while trusting him with the outcome.  Still, every victory counts, every life saved no matter how insignificant the issue, is uplifting and beneficial to the soul.  

Blessings

pBob

Sunday sharing about pastor Churck Smith

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Being that pastor Chruck went home to the Lord on Thursday October 3, 2013, I was moved to share the story of pastor Chuck to my congregation on Sunday, October 6.   There are many in my congregation who have come to the Lord through our ministry and know some of the story or maybe none of the story of how the Lord used pastor Chuck sending him to pastor a small gongreagation of 25 people in Costa Mesa.  So it was a a good time to share his story and my experience knowing him as my pastor.