Today's Word for Pastors...

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
1 Peter 3:15-17

Today's Preaching Insight...

Holiness into Happiness

Holiness is a state of heart, mind, and soul. Holiness or sanctification or consecration is a process beginning at conversion to Christ and continuing until we meet Him face to face after the last breath; praying and laboring to be different from the world as increasingly transformed by the Word in Jesus and the Bible.

Embracing and emulating holiness does not provide an escape from the world, but it does provoke a passionate determination to be in but not of the world:

  • Necessity prevails over materialism.
  • Food provides physical fuel and personal pleasure but does not feed gluttony.
  • Sleep restores the body but is not an excuse for laziness.
  • Sex is celebrated in but not apart from marriage.
  • Money is a tool to serve God not selfishness.
  • Position, prestige, and power are instruments for advancing the Kingdom rather than personal desire.
  • Work and play balance but don't dominate each other.

Holiness is separating ourselves from the ways of the world by devotion to God's will as exemplified in Jesus and explained in the Bible.

Particularly, holiness is nurtured through spiritual disciplines: worship, prayer, Bible study, fasting, sacrament, silence, stewardship, and fellowship with believers.

The payoff of holiness is happiness.

(To read the entire article "Holiness = Happiness" by Robert R. Kopp at Preaching.com, click here)

Today's Extra...

Perfection, Excellence

Stradivarius violins are known as the best violins in the world. Famous musicians love to play them. These violins can be strong and powerful, soft and expressive, energetic and brilliant. Said one performer: "It's like a great race car. There's more power than you need, and it responds to the slightest touch." Antonio Stradivari was a master artisan who lived in northern Italy about 300 years ago. Many people have tried to imitate his unique way of crafting stringed instruments, but none have succeeded. That's one reason why "Strad" violins today are often worth millions of dollars.

Many would say that Stradivarius violins come close to musical perfection. Perfection is a rare commodity.
(Today in the Word, June 2007)

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