From Pastor Johnny

Ekk-le-si-a /Wise Choices in Crises/ Day 2

By Meeting a Specific Purpose: 1:15-20

“And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said,  “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.”  (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out. And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.) “For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his dwelling place be desolate, And let no one live in it’; and, ‘Let another take his office.’”

Basically what this account is saying is that leaders cannot be put in place w/o a specifically known purpose.  It is a waste of time and promotes inefficient ministry to put someone in a position just to keep them busy. 

Have you ever seen some of the ridiculous old laws on the books in cities and counties? 

  • Young girls are never allowed to walk a tightrope in Wheeler, Mississippi, unless it's in a church.
  • In Blackwater, Kentucky, tickling a woman under her chin with a feather duster while she's in church service carries a penalty of $10.00 and one day in jail.
  • No one can eat unshelled, roasted peanuts while attending church in Idanha, Oregon.
  • In Honey Creek, Iowa, no one is permitted to carry a slingshot to church except a policeman.
  • No citizen in Leecreek, Arkansas, is allowed to attend church in any red-colored garment.

These laws probably had a good purpose at one time, but now they are useless and without purpose.  Let us never allow someone to be placed as a leader w/o specific reason.  May the ministry of GABCPC never have areas that have become useless and w/o purpose.

 By Matching Biblical Priorities: 1.21-22

“Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”

The biblical priorities for a leader are not the same as the world’s. Let us be sure to make decisions that more accurately match biblical truth than cultural opinion. In addition, as we face critical choices, operating off of biblical precept is key for God’s people.

One time I was speaking with some church members of another church in another town.  They were searching for a pastor and had just called a new man for that position.  I asked them what they thought of him. They were extremely impressed with him and this was their response. The first person said, “The church he started years ago now runs three hundred.”  Another member said, “He has a lot of experience in building projects, so he’ll be able to take us where we want to go.”

My thought was, “If you want someone who can build a building, you should have hired a general contractor. But, if you want a pastor, look for someone who is ‘beyond reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach...’ and on down the list given in 1Timothy.  You see folks God’s priorities for His leaders are not the same as ours.  Let’s make sure that, as we seek out God’s leaders, we do it by His qualifications.

 The world says “Give us somebody with charisma.”  God says, “I want someone with holiness.”

The world says, “We want a leader who looks good.”  God says, “I want a leader who loves righteousness.”

The world says, “We want a leader with talent.”  God says, “I want a leader who is humble before Me.”

The world says, “We want a leader who is witty.”  God says, “I want a leader who knows and communicates the deep truths of My word.”

The human idea of leadership qualifications and God’s are two different things.  May we NEVER allow the worlds qualifications move into this church body. 

The Jesus Plan on Missions Sermon Blog Day 2

The Procedure that Organizes His Plan: v.6-8 

6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to  know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.  8 But you shall receive power  when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and  you shall be  witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the  end of the earth.” 

 Jesus establishes a procedure for organizing the plan of missions. The procedure involves a focus that is primarily preoccupied with the here and now.  Spending most of my time focusing on the future robs the ministry of now.   The primary purpose of understanding end times is as a motivator to persevere to the end and minister passionately now. 

The procedure also involves a function that starts here and works out to there.  It is a logical plan of missions that,  we will not reach the lost on. 

In the middle Georgia area, back in the 1990s, there was a restaurant Elissa and I used to eat at in Warner Robins. It was called Gabby’s Diner. They served good food and had an enjoyable atmosphere.  About the time this restaurant opened, we saw others open in Macon and in other parts of Georgia.  This chain of restaurants apparently expanded to multiple locations in a matter of months.  After about two years this restaurant in Warner Robins went out of business.  Later we saw all the others in the other locations were out of business.   

I found out later that the failed chain had tried to expand so fast that it bankrupted itself.  It outgrew its ability to be supported by the public.  If that failed chain had become very effective where it began, then grew out from there, then it probably would have succeeded.  It is a simple logical principle that we should become effective right where we are before we expand outward. 

Are you looking for ministry somewhere?  Have you taken advantage of opportunities right where you are?  Does your small group teacher need someone to help do outreach?  What about ministry in your office?  What about your ministry to your family?   HAVE YOU BEGUN MINISTERING RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE? 


Build Your Part Sermon Blog - Day 1 Nehemiah 3

           During the American Revolution a man in civilian clothes rode past a group of soldiers repairing a small defensive barrier. Their leader was shouting instructions, but making no attempt to help them. Asked why by the rider, he retorted with great dignity, Sir, I am a corporal! 

            The stranger apologized, dismounted, and proceeded to help the exhausted soldiers. The job done, he turned to the corporal and said, Mr. Corporal, next time you have a job like this and not enough men to do it, go to your commander-in-chief, and I will come and help you again.’   It was none other than George Washington. 

          When no one thinks that a job is beneath him, but each person steps up to do what is in front of him, everything is accomplished effectively and thoroughly. God does great things through His people as each of them steps up to do that which God has placed in front of them.  

          What a tremendous principle that is!  When each one of God’s people fully fulfills the calling and ministry God has given him/her, then magnificent things are accomplished. 

          How, then, does a group of people stand over a massive wall that is destroyed and devastated and figure out a way to re-build it again? Fulfilling God’s great calling to His people involves each person fulfilling God’s individual calling in their lives. 

          Nehemiah, a Jew and a high level official in the court of King Artaxerxes, received a report in Sushan, Persia that the walls of Jerusalem were still torn down and the city was in trouble. Because Nehemiah had a heart for God, he had a heart for the same things God did.  

          Nehemiah received permission from King Artaxerxes to travel to Jerusalem and help rebuild the city. Chapter three of Nehemiah is an explanation of each person who was involved in the building and the sections which they rebuilt. Each person did his part. In the same way, when God’s people each do their parts, great things happen. Great things can happen when each of God’s people builds his or her part in God’s calling and Kingdom. In the coming days, consider these encouraging thoughts of what can take place when each of God’s people builds his or her part.