ANSWERS FOR PASTORS

Everything in public gatherings of Christians should aim to edify Christians (1 Corinthians 14:12-40). The primary, overarching concern governing Christian gatherings should be how each element contributes to Christian growth.

We should labor to put no offense in front of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:1-23). This doesn’t mean that we get rid of preaching if our non-Christian friends don’t want to hear preaching. It does mean we should strip away any unnecessary, distracting, and potentially offensive cultural practices that can get in the way of the gospel.

Our services should be evangelistic and intelligible to non-Christians (1 Corinthians 14:24-25). Even though building up believers should be primary, we should also be concerned to communicate intelligibly to non-Christians who come to church. This means that while non-Christians’ preferences shouldn’t dictate what is done or how it’s done, we should be sensitive to them so that our services are more intelligible, and therefore more evangelistic.

Find more great resources for church health from Mark Dever and 9Marks Ministries at www.9marks.org

 

 

VERSE OF THE DAY

English Standard Version

 

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

 

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The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV® Text Edition: 2016) Copyright ©2016 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

 

 

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New King James Version

 

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

 

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Read all of John 1

 

Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

 

 

NKJV Study Bible- Large Print Edition

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New King James Version

 

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

 

Read at Bible Gateway

Read all of John 1

 

Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

 

 

NKJV Study Bible- Large Print Edition

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King James Version

 

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

 

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Read all of John 1

 

Public Domain

 

 

KJV Beautiful Word Bible

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English Standard Version

 

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

 

Read at Bible Gateway

Read all of John 1

 

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV® Text Edition: 2016) Copyright ©2016 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

 

 

ESV MacArthur Study Bible

Buy Now

DAILY DEVOTION

 

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Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Unity or Truth?

He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (Ephesians 4:16 NLT)

It amazes me what people in the church will get upset about and even divide over. They don’t like a certain song or think the worship is too loud—or not loud enough. We’ve become worship critics and sermon connoisseurs. Meanwhile, we have brothers and sisters in Christ living in other parts of the world who would count it the highest privilege to sing any Christian song and hear any message from God’s Word.

It’s okay to have opinions, but we should never sow disunity. What a horrible witness it is to a lost world when Christians are divided and bickering. And what a powerful witness it is when people see Christians loving one another. There’s a great statement attributed to Augustine that says, “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity [love].”

There are essentials we can’t budge on. For example, if you were to say to me, “Greg, I don’t really believe the Bible is the Word of God or that Jesus Christ is the only way to God,” then we probably won’t be hanging out together all that much. We need unity in the essentials, in the basic truths of the Christian life. There is no fudging.

But then in nonessentials, there is liberty. Maybe you have a different view on end-times events. You don’t think the Rapture could happen at any time; you think it could happen halfway through the Tribulation period. That is a nonessential. I have friends who are pastors, and we don’t agree on every little theological point. But they’re very good friends of mine because we have a lot in common.

Unity is not as important as truth, however. I’m all for unity. But truth is more important than anything else, because if we lose that, we lose everything.

W.I.N. WORLD ISRAEL NEWS

https://worldisraelnews.com/idf-conducts-large-exercise-in-preparation-for-next-gaza-war/?utm_source=MadMimi&utm_medium=email&utm_content=IDF+Prepares+for+Gaza+War%3B+Can+Omar%E2%80%99s+Entry+to+Israel+be+Stopped%3F+Jordanian+Muslim+Secretly+Helped+by+Israelis+After+Discovering+Jewish+Identity&utm_campaign=20190731_m153000521_IDF+Prepares+for+Gaza+War%3B+Can+Omar%E2%80%99s+Entry+to+Israel+be+Stopped%3F+Jordanian+Muslim+Secretly+Helped+by+Israelis+After+Discovering+Jewish+Identity&utm_term=IDF+Conducts+Large+Exercise+in+Preparation+for+Next+Gaza+War

Biblical Wisdom Day 40 last post on it

40 DAY

Near the end of his life, Bonhoeffer was reported to have said the following:

What bothers me incessantly is the question…who Christ really is for us today?

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the son of Man is?” and they said, “some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets?” he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the messiah, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:13-16

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? Luke 6:46

Questions to Ponder

  • What is the relationship between who Jesus was two thousand years ago and “who Christ really is for us today”?
  • Is there a difference between asking who Christ is for us and who Christ is for me? Explain.
  • How do we go about answering the question about “who Christ really is for us today”?

Psalm Fragment

“Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

Journal Reflections

  • If someone asked you who Christ really is for you today, how would you answer?
  • You have finished a 40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer. How was the journey? What did you learn from Bonhoeffer? Has your understanding of what it means to be a Christian․to follow Jesus․changed? If so, how? What will be different in your life of faith for having taken this 40-day journey?

Intercessions

Pray for all those who will read this book, that their journey with Bonhoeffer might lead them closer to Christ.

Prayer for Today

Loving God, for where I have been and for where I am going on my journey with Jesus, I give you thanks and praise.

Learning About His Ways

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When Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples…He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities.  Matthew 11:1

He comes where He commands us to leave. If you stayed home when God told you to go because you were so concerned about your own people there, then you actually robbed them of the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself. When you obeyed and left all the consequences to God, the Lord went into your city to teach, but as long as you were disobedient, you blocked His way. Watch where you begin to debate with Him and put what you call your duty into competition with His commands. If you say, “I know that He told me to go, but my duty is here,” it simply means that you do not believe that Jesus means what He says.

He teaches where He instructs us not to teach. “Master…let us make three tabernacles…” (Luke 9:33).

Are we playing the part of an amateur providence, trying to play God’s role in the lives of others? Are we so noisy in our instruction of other people that God cannot get near them? We must learn to keep our mouths shut and our spirits alert. God wants to instruct us regarding His Son, and He wants to turn our times of prayer into mounts of transfiguration. When we become certain that God is going to work in a particular way, He will never work in that way again.

He works where He sends us to wait. “…tarry…until…” (Luke 24:49). “Wait on the Lord” and He will work (Psalm 37:34). But don’t wait sulking spiritually and feeling sorry for yourself, just because you can’t see one inch in front of you! Are we detached enough from our own spiritual fits of emotion to “wait patiently for Him”? (Psalm 37:7). Waiting is not sitting with folded hands doing nothing, but it is learning to do what we are told.

These are some of the facets of His ways that we rarely recognize. From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition

Bible in One Year: Psalms 57-59; Romans 4

 

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The message of the prophets is that although they have forsaken God, it has not altered God. The Apostle Paul emphasizes the same truth, that God remains God even when we are unfaithful (see 2 Timothy 2:13). Never interpret God as changing with our changes. He never does; there is no variableness in Him.

from Notes on Ezekiel, 1477 L

FAITH GATEWAY

The second half of your life can be
better than the first.
 ~Bob Buford
I read that line on the back of Halftime, a book written by Bob Buford.

My first thought was, “That’s easy for you to say, Bob! You don’t know what I’ve been through!”

As it turns out, other than the Bible, Halftime is the most impactful book I have ever read.

I discovered Halftime at a time in my life when I thought I was in a full-blown mid-life crisis.

Just thirty days before I discovered Halftime, I received a phone call that changed our lives.

It was a call from a pastor saying, “The van that Malori was riding in was involved in a rollover accident and she was thrown out of the van.  She’s not breathing.”

I asked the pastor where they were and he said, “Monterrey, Mexico,” a place I had never heard of before, but I was now buying a plane ticket to get there as soon as possible.

As I was backing out of the driveway to head to the airport, I received a second phone call from the Pastor saying, “Malori died, I’m so sorry.”

And that was the beginning of my Halftime journey.

My daughter, Malori Aslan Smith, was 17-years old.  She graduated early from high school to become a full-time missionary in Mexico.  So, when we got the news that she had died on the mission field, our faith-based lives were shaken to the core.

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “What am I supposed to do now?” then you know how I felt.

But, you don’t need to lose someone to feel this way.

All of us will ask, “what next?” at some point or another. For some that’s the season before retirement, for others it’s the empty next years, a spiritual or work rut, or even the old cliche, the mid-life crisis:  losing your identity, your confidence, feeling burnt out, and trying to fulfill that void by buying a sports car, getting a new spouse, taking an exotic vacation, etc.

Bob Buford destroys the mid-life crisis “myth” in his book.

Your “what next?” moment — your second half of life — can be defined by Halftime. It’s a time to regain control of your life, find your unique purpose, and to reallocate it in a way that is more about meaning, than money. 

“Odds are, you’ll live a whole adult lifetime that wasn’t available to your parents and grandparents. Their life expectancy at birth was fifty years. We have two lifetimes now. Life I is what occurs before halftime, and Life II comes afterward.” ~ Bob Bufford

For me and my wife, that meant focusing on eternal investments and stepping out into unchartered territory to live for something bigger than ourselves. We ended up starting Aslan’s Army, a non-profit that furthered the mission that Malori had started.  Since forming Aslan’s Army, we have supported hundreds of orphans and widows and trained hundreds of pastors who have gone on to launch over 500 churches in India, Africa, Mexico and South America. Plus, I’ve worked for and started new businesses, like FaithGateway, that have encouraged others to have a life of meaning and faith.

If you’re open to living the next season of your life full of meaning, adventure, and eternal perspective, then I highly recommend reading Halftime.

And to help make that possible, we put together a great way for your to get your own copy of Halftime —  way cheaper than Amazon 🙂  And, it includes free shipping!

In addition, we’re including with your purchase an exclusive FREE BONUS called Halftime for Couples, an ebook with video lessons in each chapter so you can discover your purpose as a couple.

So, just click on this link and join thousands of others who are part of the Halftime movement — working to create a life of meaning for ourselves and to help others do the same.

Sincerely,
Mark Smith
Founder, FaithGateway.com

Get Halftime and the FREE Bonus

 

P.S. Over 750,000 people have read Halftime and have set out on a journey to build a life full of joy, purpose and impact.  You can read a few of their stories (and the rest of my story) by clicking here.