Ready, Willing, Able

Acts 9:10-12, 17

Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”  And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying,  and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” …So, Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 

As you dance with the LORD, He is going to move you around the ballroom floor of earth with unexpected turns and twists. Are you ready? When your assignment is given, are you going to be physically and mentally able to accept and follow through? Have you enough trust in the LORD to willingly accept your assignment without fanfare and doubt?

Ananias was a disciple of Jesus. When he received a vision from him, he didn’t run or hide. Instead he had such a relationship with our LORD that he immediately recognized His voice. Now Ananias didn’t quickly accept his assignment. At first, he needed clarification that the person God had in mind was the same person who the saints were avoiding because of the harm he was doing to them. Saul was causing havoc among the disciples believing their destruction was best for the Jewish community. But God had other plans. So, God communicated his purpose for Saul.

Then Ananias got up, went and found Saul, and prayed laying his hands on him following God’s instruction. Saul, who later changed his name to Paul, regained his sight and became full of the Holy Spirit. God took a zealous enemy of the church and open the door for his purpose to continue.

Saul, with the pre-notification vision that a man named Ananias will lay hands on him and he will regain his sight waited in prayer. So, what do you think went through Paul’s mind when a disciple showed up in his house, named Ananias, with instructions from the Lord to lay hands on him so his sight will be restored?

Are we ready, willing, and able to serve God according to his desires and not ours?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

How Can You Best Serve God?

Matthew 6:24

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord]. AMP.

Everyone has a master. This may be shocking for those who live in the “free world” where one boasts of their independence and freedom. Yet even in the countries of northern America or western Europe every person has a master. Most often their master is not the governmental system or leader but themselves.

The truth be told each one of us either serves our passions and dreams and desires rather than someone else’s dictates. Yet Jesus himself states that a person cannot truly serve two masters. One will be more effectively served than the other. So how do you know you are truly serving your Lord rather than yourself?

First there are those who serve Jesus for their own self-centered purpose. Generally, they want something and believe if they serve Jesus, he will grant them their wish. Then there are those who have emptied themselves from personal ambition and truly find joy serving Jesus without a personal agenda. These are the ones who have matured through life realizing the relationship with God is more valuable than any personal goal.

The first group looks for ways to “buy” God through favors by servicing others. The second group builds a relationship with God to become more aware of His presence and joins him with their hands and feet in serving others. Typically, they don’t even know what they are doing and the impact their service for others mean. They simply and gratefully appreciate the opportunity to work along their Master.

Typically, the second group doesn’t look for additional work to perform for God. Instead they know God is already involved in the work they do; their service is to perform their daily routine for God’s glory. A mother or father caring for their children is already glorifying God through their loving responsibility for their children. The receptionist in the office is already serving God by being a joyful representative of His kingdom with everyone he meets. Likewise, the mechanic repairing the client’s automobile as if it was his own, being truthful and fair in the exceptional work they perform, is already serving God by witnessing His values before others.

The list is endless. We serve God best by doing what we do every day for His glory. When we exercise the gifts he has bestowed upon us into good, productive work, and perform our service for others in a saintly manner, being transparent and caring for their well-being, you are being a profitable servant introducing God’s kingdom to the world as His faithful witness.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Wealth Creation Manifesto

Isaiah 48:17 (NASB)
Thus, says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go.

wealth2

BAM is a global Christian ministry focused on bringing people, communities, and nations out of poverty through business. BAM stands for Business as Mission. Recently they outlined their manifesto. They did in my opinion such an outstanding job summarizing God’s purpose for wealth that I just copied word by word to share for the benefit of others. The link to their paper is below.

Affirmations:

1. Wealth creation is rooted in God the Creator, who created a world that flourishes with abundance and diversity.

 2. We are created in God’s image, to co-create with Him and for Him, to create products and services for the common good.

 3. Wealth creation is a holy calling, and a God-given gift, which is commended in the Bible.

 4. Wealth creators should be affirmed by the Church, and equipped and deployed to serve in the marketplace among all peoples and nations.

 5. Wealth hoarding is wrong, and wealth sharing should be encouraged, but there is no wealth to be shared unless it has been created.

 6. There is a universal call to generosity, and contentment is a virtue, but material simplicity is a personal choice, and involuntary poverty should be alleviated.

 7. The purpose of wealth creation through business goes beyond giving generously, although that is to be commended; good business has intrinsic value as a means of material provision and can be an agent of positive transformation in society.

 8. Business has a special capacity to create financial wealth, but also has the potential to create different kinds of wealth for many stakeholders, including social, intellectual, physical and spiritual wealth.

 9. Wealth creation through business has proven power to lift people and nations out of poverty.

 10. Wealth creation must always be pursued with justice and a concern for the poor, and should be sensitive to each unique cultural context.

 11. Creation care is not optional. Stewardship of creation and business solutions to environmental challenges should be an integral part of wealth creation through business.

http://matstunehag.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Wealth-Creation-Manifesto-v-4.0-23-April-17.pdf

Wealth is the byproduct of providing services or products for the satisfaction of others. As stewards of God’s Kingdom on earth, our responsibility includes investing to help others flourish. As the old saying goes, “Give a man a fish today to eat, and you have to do it again tomorrow. Invest and teach a man to gather his own fish, he will eat today and tomorrow. Multiply the process with others and the entire community will do the same.

Go and Do Likewise…

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
Great Business Emulates a Good God
Be Radical…Follow Christ!
Simply The Messenger
Unequally Married

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2018 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

 

 

Doing Church

” For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20 ESV

do church 1

When I initially submitted my first dissertation proposal on “doing church,” the Chair turned me down. In his opinion, the subject matter was too vast and the research too difficult. His recommendation was to find another topic more easily digested. I did. However the subject of doing church still intrigues me.

When most of us think of church, we picture a building or an institution. In America we may even think of a legal corporation. Some of us may associate church with a specific denomination. Others are more open.

When we think of how church is conducted, most of us will associate a church service as the only way of doing church. Yes there are a variety. The Catholic and Greek Orthodox have their rituals and traditions with a short message. The Protestants have their contemporary music with a more lengthier message. The Amish and Mennonite’s have a more yesterday act. Yet, how many other ways are there to do church?

What has intrigued me is how Church is more than a meeting held in an official place. When one understands that Church is a Body of people (Eph. 1:22-23) who come together to worship God, the venues become worldwide.

When your immediate family comes together with an everyday heart and mind of worshiping God, isn’t Church in session? When two or more of you come together in the workplace in the Spirit of serving God and man, isn’t Church in session? When you are driving on the freeway with a fellow believer with a heart to glorify God, isn’t Church in session?

The fact Church is much larger than most of us ever contemplated, makes how Church is conducted even more than what most of us ever practice.

So the next time you are in the marketplace, ask yourself how can you best glorify God through your work, relationships, and deeds. In so behaving, are you not doing Church?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Founder & Executive Director
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married

Theology 101

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” 2 Timothy 3:9

theology 1

Why is theology important?

Recently we had a lively discussion regarding the importance of theology. The majority of the group believed that the Bible was all that they needed. That theology was man’s attempt to lead people astray. They looked at the Bible through the eyes of one simple worldview. They admitted that all they knew was what they initially learned. They didn’t want to take the time to understand why their brothers and sisters in other denominations believed what they do. As far as they were concern, what they believed was right and others were wrong. They didn’t realize that everyone already has a theological belief. The question is “what is yours?”

First, theology is simply the study of God. It studies the Bible from a wholesome point of view. Instead of extracting pieces of the Word at a time, it looks to bring all the pieces together to form a coherently understanding of God’s hand in the matter.

There is a study of God for a multitude of different subjects. For example, the theology of salvation, the theology of grace, the theology of creation, the theology of the Kingdom of God, the theology of (add whatever subject you can think of and there probably is already a formal study on the matter).

The thought that what one believes may not be absolutely correct bothers some people. The idea that others may have more truth on a subject matter may also be humbling for a few.
The relevancy of any theological belief is simply the Christ-like fruit it bears. If love, joy, and peace is the mainstay of a person’s life, then maybe one may want to listen and learn. We all have a theological belief system in play. The question comes to how close is the study to reality and truth. Of course reality and truth is measured through one person: Jesus Christ. And yes there is a theology of Christ, called Christology.

The more we come to know and understand God, the more we are humbled and at awe of His divine work and physical masterpiece. The better we understand the beliefs of others, the easier it becomes to communicate and relate with them. Therefore, when one’s theology is grounded in Christ, His Word, and Spirit, the journey through life becomes more immeasurable with gratitude, love, and joy.

I may not agree with others theological position at times, but I do love and respect them. My heart fully understands that whoever may be closer to the truth, God in His time will reveal that to us too. The important thing is to continue grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. That is a simple theological position that every mature believer I meet quickly agrees too. And so do I.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married

Learn. Integrate. Grow.

 

MINISTRY INSIGHTS FROM A TENT MAKER

 theology 6

Paul worked for 1 ½ years with a husband and wife team (Aquila and Priscilla) while conducting missionary work in Corinth (Acts 18:2).  While working as a tent maker, he continued to teach the Word in the local synagogue.  It is of interest how he employed the word “work” throughout his life and teachings, especially in relationship to what God is doing and what His people are doing.  The importance of work is highlighted throughout his letters.

Luke quotes Paul in Acts 20:32-35, ”You yourselves know that these hands of  mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give, than to receive.'”

In the letter from Ephesians 4:28 Paul writes, “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. In 1 Thess 4:11-12 he writes, “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

In the above scriptures Paul emphasized the point of working to support oneself and one’s family rather than live as a beggar dependent on others for necessities. Paul himself demonstrated the importance of having a skill (tent making) that provides a service to others (shelter) and a livelihood for oneself. A Christian is to gladly work “unto the Lord” (Col 3:22-24).  The work one does should not glorify oneself, but God.  In addition, the work should be a means to provide for those less fortunate – “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Also, as work relates to fulfilling God’s plan, He writes in Titus 1:7 that “an overseer is entrusted with God’s work.” Barnabas and Paul was set apart by the Holy Spirit for this work (Act 13:2-3). And not only were they commissioned for this work, but had to support themselves in the process (I Cor 9:6).  He again writes how one’s work for the Lord must stand the test of trials, difficulties, problems,  especially when we shall all be evaluated at the end of this age (I Cor 3:10-15).

He was primarily focused on the Lord’s work and only labored to support himself and his team, not to gain riches. He practiced what he preached.  The work of the Lord was the priority in his life and for all those that the Lord calls (I Cor 15:58, 16:9,10).  While working his craft, he contemplated and compared the physical craft of tent making to the spiritual work God is completing in us as a church and as an individual. His analogy of the body working together as a team with all its parts supporting one another is but one example of lessons learned while working (I Cor 12:12-13).

All tent-makers need to stand up and rejoice.  It is an example for all people everywhere that the craft, skill, profession, and work we perform is more than just to feed ourselves.  It’s a means of grace that we practice.  When we work, we are able to support those less fortunate than ourselves and therefore practice love of our neighbor.  When we work, we learn how God operates in our lives.  When we work, we are able to compare and better understand the spiritual realities we face each day.  When we work, we are able to express ourselves by the results of our labor.  When we work, we contribute to the community we reside in.  There are many valuable lessons we learn while we work. To paraphrase Jesus, “God works, and so do I.”

What other insights of ministry do you think Paul may have received while engaged as a tent maker?

Dr. Mike

WHAT ARE SOME MINISTRY ACTIVITIES THAT REFLECT A BELIEF IN THE APOSTLE’S CREED STATEMENT ABOUT “GOD, THE FATHER ALMIGHTY?”

There are a number of activities that turn belief in the Apostle’s Creed’s statement “God, the Father Almighty” into ministerial activities.  They include: 1):pro-life activities – from making decisions to keep ones baby to foster homes for the discarded child. 2) creation education – from Christian schools teaching creation to individual ministries emphasizing the factual account of creation rather than evolution. 3) exercising creativity – God is Creator and His creation reflects His artistic skills.  Ministries that emphasize the Arts in worship or the writing and development of music, books, film that glorifies God and His Life is an expression of creativity that focuses on God as Father and Creator. 4) Stewardship – God is a Steward of His creation.  He practices conservation and effective management of His creation.  Ministries that teach proper stewardship of ones resources is a prime example.  Also, ministries that focuses on the environment and conservation of our resources is another means of expressing these types of activities.  5) Restoring Father/Son relationships – Ministries that provide counseling or activities that improves the bond between Fathers and their children is another example of a ministry built on the belief of God as our Father.

father 1

All the above ministries are practiced by certain individuals in our local church.  Coming from a small church with very few formal church-wide ministries, most ministries are conducted by a few individuals motivated and led to fulfill their calling in life.  These ministries include all the above from one degree to another.

One approach to emphasis our God’s Authority is to conduct a series of sermons  about His relationship to us as a healthy Father.  Taking scriptures from Genesis, the Gospels, and Epistles, we can show His desire to have a close, intimate relationship with His children.

Isn’t it amazing the many activities we conduct only mimic our Heavenly Father God’s attributes?  What other ministry activities would you add to the list?

Dr. Mike