Today's Word for Pastors...
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
1 Timothy 6:18
Today's Preaching Insight...
To the Disgruntled Preacher
For every preacher whose ministry has been destroyed because of sexual indiscretions, I wonder how many more have had their ministries spoiled by a sulky, dissatisfied spirit? I know from experience how easy it is to fall victim to this sin. You feel the Lord's call upon your life. You surrender. Filled with ambition for the Kingdom, you prepare yourself for ministry. Then one day while you're out there in the vineyard, toiling away, you look up and see another brother who started later and prepared less enjoying greater success than you. Before you realize what has happened, you have become a disgruntled minister.
In Acts 9, Luke records the Lord's conversation with one such servant, a man dealing with his own mixed feelings. Having struck Saul blind on the road leading to Damascus, the Lord turns His attention to Ananias. (Acts 9:10-19a.)
You can excuse Ananias for being a bit hesitant when he first heard God's command to go to Saul's bedside. Through the grapevine he'd heard about what Saul had done to the church in Jerusalem, how he'd been as destructive as a bull in a china shop. Ananias also had it on good authority that Saul was coming to Damascus to continue his bloody crusade. But was there something more than fear behind his objection? Did the very thought that the Lord wished to heal Saul and a sneaking suspicion that He was willing to accept and use him just like anyone else take Ananias aback? It's possible.
Slide yourself into Ananias's sandals for a minute. By the standard of the Law you're a devout man, respected in the community. That's how Paul describes Ananias later in Acts 22:12. For Paul to call anyone "devout" by the Law's standard was not faint praise. For years you've devoted yourself to Yahweh and have been one of the few Jews you know to accept Jesus as Yahweh's Son. Now He wants you to go and welcome the butcherous Saul into the Christian community. How would you feel?
Looking back we see that Saul's entrance into the Church forever affected the face of Christianity. This was a watershed event, but Ananias couldn't see it then. His uncertainty, his mixed feelings about the whole matter were hindering the Kingdom's progress.
(To read the entire article "To the Disgruntled Preacher" by Gregory K. Hollifield at Preaching.com, click here)
The oldest synagogue in the western hemisphere is the Mikve synagogue on the island of Curacao. It dates to the year 1732. Every day they sprinkle sand on the floor as a reminder of the years their ancestors wandered in the Desert of Sinai on their way from bondage in Egypt to the freedom of the Promised Land. They thought a visible symbol would aid the memory. So it is for us in communion. We believe the visible symbols of the bread and the cup keep fresh for us the memory of our freedom from sin and our hope for a better promised land made possible by the torn body and shed blood of Jesus Christ.
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