August 27, 2015
I want to thank my church family for having the confidence in me to invest in me as an Elder. God knows we needed Elders; God knows we need more Elders “for the fields are ripe, but the workers are few.”
For years I cruised along as a Christian, trying to be good, trying to raise my boys to know God, loving my wife, avoiding sin and occasionally telling folks about Christ. When younger I viewed Elders with mixed emotions. I saw their wisdom and love for God, but I chose to focus on their humanity, mostly their shortcomings. “What makes them think they are better than me I thought; why should I follow them?” My focus on their weaknesses allowed me to feel a little better about my own flaws. One former Elder at Ventura devoted a great deal of time in me only to come to the conclusion I either wasn’t Elder material or I wasn’t ready.
I did not aspire to be an Elder, but as I matured as a Christian, I realized I wanted to really serve God and win hearts for Christ. Like many of you, I just wasn’t sure of how to do that. Now as an Elder...
August 27, 2015
This month Joe Tipps and I have preached about building bridges of relationships and trust. These are to urge us: 1.) to get to know and love our fellow Christians; and, 2.) to better know and love non-Christians, in the hope of bringing them to faith in Christ. This is a high priority of our Elders.
To build bridges, we must use seven building blocks. First, we must love people. We must be concerned about their well-being – especially their eternal spiritual well-being. We must develop genuine friendships with people, which we nurture into loving relationships. (Philippians 2:2-4)
Second, we must encourage people. We’re not called to be messengers of criticism and discouragement. Instead,......
May 28, 2015
Jesus began to stretch and challenge his chosen followers soon after the death of his cousin John the Baptist. It was now solely and exclusively Christ’s ministry.
Mourning the loss of John, Jesus went to be alone. However, it was not the will of his Father for Jesus to grieve. Hurting, needy, inquisitive, people constantly besieged him. With compassion, Jesus met their needs.
Later in the day towards evening, reality began to set in with his disciples. It was late; they were most likely hungry and tired from the long day of loss and activity. Logic urged them to send all these people away; it was time for them to find shelter and food. They expressed this to Jesus and he said, “”They don’t need to go away. You give them something to eat!”
No easy task! There were 5,000 men to feed along with women and children. His followers replied, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish.” I have no doubt Jesus already knew this. Never passing up the opportunity for a teachable moment, He took the bread and fish, gave thanks to his Father and divided it among the hungry crowd.
Having met the needs of the many, once again Jesus longed to be alone. He made his followers get into the boat. He wanted them to ....