Psalm 62:10 – “if riches increase, set not your heart upon them”
Many times in life, God blesses us – spiritually, physically, with friends, family, … and yes even materially. I don’t think anyone would turn down a raise at work, a bonus or a big financial gift, in fact, it makes it a pretty good day when God chooses to increase what we have. Although every person should be careful to not set their hearts upon the increase, I want to take this view from the point of someone in the ministry who receives increase in life. There are some grave dangers that can occur when the Lord chooses to give material increase in our lives, and I hope these simple thoughts can provoke strong reactions of carefulness as we minister for the Lord. Read More
Whether serving as a missionary, pastorate, assistant or lay person, we have probably all at one time felt like we have “plateaued” in our ministry or life. It is exciting when you are advancing, growing, and clearly seeing the Lord work, but what do you do when you feel you have hit a certain spot and have plateaued? This brief article has the intention of helping you see that there is still room to grow, go forward and see wonderful things accomplished in your life and ministry. God is still interested in your life and ministry. Below are some simple ideas to help you break the mediocrity and begin to advance once again. Read More
Every Friday from 9am to 1pm we hold classes at the Vision Baptist Church to discuss missions and ministry. Our pastor, Austin Gardner, moderates it and many of the OGTC students, VBM missionaries and other missionaries drive in to participate in these Friday classes. If you are ever in the area and want to be challenged about missions and ministry, this class is for you! Today, specifically, we had a wonderful class and I was inspired to write this blog about Self Motivation as a result. I personally believe that being self-motivated could be the break point for many missionaries and ministries. Being self-motivated has EVERYTHING to do with missions and ministry! Read More
A long while back I read this stat and although I don’t know that the numbers are accurate, I do think it is pretty interesting:
100 young people walk an isle at mission conference, only 6 go to Bible college, 4 graduate and go to the field, and only one goes back for the second term!
Wow! Think about that, only a few really finish what they start. The truth is that we can apply this to any area of life… very few people finish what they start. When I was in Argentina, there were crazy amounts of people that would enter in the local university as lawyers (or accountants, medical, etc.) and the second year the number would be less than half, third year would be fewer and those that graduated many times were just a handful of those who started. Probably all of us could mention examples of how people quit and don’t follow through, but the sad thing is that this same mindset is happening in the ministry just as much as it is in the secular world. We must enter this subject taking the wise counsel given to us by God in I Corinthians 10:12 – “let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall”. We should be very careful before looking at other situations with a judgmental attitude, but we can be wise and try to learn some things, we can try to strive with all our might to finish what we start. Remember that serving God will almost guarantee the devil’s attacks, so we might want to set our hearts and minds on finishing what we start. Here are a few ideas that may help all of us to continue on and not quit. Read More
We don’t have to live very long to find out that some people offend us and things do not always go as we wished or planned. A common mistake, in my opinion, is our reaction to people or problems with things happen to us – whether on a mission field, on deputation, in a church, work place, with friends, etc. When something does not go our way, we are prone to cut the person off or just walk out… but burning bridges only makes it more difficult to return if ever needed. The Biblical way to handle problems is not to burn bridges but to be humble and just keep going. It hurts, but when someone belittles you, offends you, treats you unjustly or shoots any negative vibe your way, it is best to respond humbly and not hatefully. Many times I have been hurt via email or phone conversations but later I was very glad that I didn’t decide to burn the bridges. Here are some simple reasons why not to burn bridges in life.
- You may need them one day
If you do ever need the person one day, it will be very hard to return back to them if you previously burned the bridges. If the last time you met with the person you concluded in a good manner, you will be happy you responded correctly when the you come to the time that you need the person.
- We are told to not respond in hate
A soft answer will appease the fire and fight but the strong words will only add fuel to the fire. The Bible commands us to respond correctly, not react sharply and burn the bridges.
- You might have been the one who was wrong
Have you ever been mad, stormed off totally disgusted only to find out later that it was you who was the mistaken one? Try going back and saying sorry after making a fool of yourself – that takes a lot of swallowing of the pride. Just in case you are wrong, which happens more often than we want to admit, it would be best to act kindly and not harshly.
- Others are watching
Whether kids, friends, other Christians or whoever it may be, there is always someone watching our lives. Even though someone hurts us, getting mad and burning the bridges will sure not let us win in other people’s eyes… even if you think it makes you feel better doing so. It is much better for someone to look at you and say, “they mistreated you, but that was amazing how you reacted in a mature manner towards them”, instead of someone seeing you react badly and burn all the bridges to future possibilities. You not only burn the future possibilities of recuperating relationships with the other party, but you now are closing doors to the person who was watching you and once thought good of you. Burning bridges is usually a lose-lose situation when it comes with working with people.
Here to Serve,
General Director of Vision Baptist Missions
A big mistake we make many times in ministry is that we think we know enough or have learned enough to be successful. It is interesting that the best sports players out there (Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, etc.) all have a coach and realize they need a coach, yet us “average” guys think we are ok. A coach is one who instructs you, tells you how to improve, corrects you when you are not doing it the best way, etc. Yes, professional players have natural talent but they also know that it can and must be perfected; they need someone to “coach” them. Here are a few thoughts if you are going to become good at what you do or want to do: Read More
- Are you faithful to your local church (regular weekly services as well as any special services such as conferences)?
- Do you participate in evangelism in your local church as well as in your personal life?
- Have you ever lead anyone to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ?
- Are you involved in one or more ministries in your local church?
- Have you ever built a Sunday School class or another ministry to the point that your pastor and church family can clearly see God’s hand is on you?
- Have you ever discipled anyone to the point that they are now serving faithful in church?
- Can you stand-alone spiritually or do you need to be pumped up and propped up spiritually?
- Do you have a problem finishing what you start?
- Have you ever read your Bible completely (from Genesis to Revelation) at least one time? It is surprising that many want to enter into the ministry to teach others the Bible but themselves have never read it more than once (if that) in its entirety.
- Do you have a problem submitting to authority? The common thought is that when you are in charge (pastor, missionary, teacher), no one will question or correct you, but the truth of the matter is that a spiritual leader has God and his congregation to whom he is accountable.
Here to Serve,
General Director of Vision Baptist Missions