Stop and smell the roses

Word of the day

Giving is the only antidote to greed.

Jesus says, in Matthew 6:24, No one can serve two masters. Either 
he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and 

despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Jesus is making the point that our heart’s highest loyalty will be for only one thing. We can’t be equally devoted to two things; ultimately one will win out over the other.

If money is the most important thing to you (i.e., if you’re greedy), 
then you will serve your money more than you serve God. And you will find it 
very difficult to follow God’s instructions to give to others: If there is a poor 
man among your brothers … do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your 
poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he 
needs (Deuteronomy 15:7-8). If it’s true that no one can serve two 
masters, then the best way to fight against greed is to make sure that 
your master (your highest loyalty) is God—not money. Follow God above all else; that way your money will follow God, too.

John writes, If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in 
need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (1 John 
3:17). That sounds rather harsh at first, but it’s really no different than what 
Jesus said in Matthew 6:24. If you love your money more than God, then 
you’ll keep your money for yourself rather than giving it away to help others. 
The only way you’ll give generously to others is if you love God more than 
you love your money. So, how do you know if you love God more than 

By examining what you do with your money: Do you keep most of it, 
or give most of it?
If you want to fight against greed (that is, if you want to love God more than 
your money), then you’ll follow God’s instructions to give—give to the poor, 
give generously, give joyfully, give liberally, and give regularly. Giving is the 
best weapon against greed.

Fathers Day

Coming Sunday, We are Honoring and Celebrating all Men on Fathers Day.


Word Of the Day

We must embrace the Process into Greatness

Life is a process. It has its high and lows; victories and defeats; gains and losses. but if we stay on course, we will become what the Lord meant us to be. We must expect the falling and death of self to produce the fruit.

Most of the trees that we now harvest from were once SEEDS. The have gone through a process of growth.

John 12:24

24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

You will never have a cake without a process. Farming, Harvesting, Processing, Transportation, Retailing, Mixing, OVEN, and Decorating are all part of the Process.
If that is the case, what makes us feel we can become great without ever going through a process. Some of the stuff is painful but necessary to refine and beautify us.

God Positioning System

Word of the Day

The 7 benefits of serving others

What’s the big deal with getting everyone to serve others? 

The fact of the matter is this: God works this way (He serves others), and He wants us to do the same. He’s set it up so serving others accomplishes almost everything He wants for us.


Here’s how. Here are the seven big benefits of serving others. 

1. Serving creates meaningful thankfulness

Serving is a way to give back that’s actually meaningful and shows we’re really thankful.

Jesus died so we could hang out with God. We say we’re thankful for that. We say it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us. But if that’s the case, shouldn’t our live be totally different? I mean, what would happen if someone gave you a new house or a million dollars? Wouldn’t your life change?

Serving others is the result of truly realizing what Jesus did for us. We actually want to tell everyone in the world about it, not just through what we say but also through what we do.

Serving others is the result of our insane thankfulness. That’s the motivation behind serving. That’s why we serve. Because serving gives us a way to live thankfulness.


2. Serving blesses the person you’re serving

Perhaps the most obvious of obvious benefits, serving others actually serves others. Who knew!

Serving makes the world a better place. 

It’s the same reason so many world changers try to serve others too, or at least look like that’s what they’re doing. They know that pulling it off is world changing. Problem is, they don’t have the support to actually do it completely selflessly.

But we do. Or should.


3. Serving encourages other Christians

When other believers see you serving others, they get fired up. Don’t discount the power of peer pressure, or peer motivation.

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…” -Ephesians 4:11-12


4. Serving non-Christians opens them to Christ

As far as practical benefits go, this is probably the biggest. Serving others includes sharing the gospel, but that’s not what it’s all about. Serving others, as you might have noticed from the articles around here, includes mundane stuff like taking pictures, playing cards, or baking cookies.

All those mundane things add up. And someday someone somewhere will notice and ask about it. And you’ll have opened someone to the gospel. How much is that worth?


5. Serving glorifies God for other non-Christians

We can’t serve everyone. But almost everyone can see the example in the few people we can serve.

See, when Jesus came to earth, He taught that we’re supposed to build our reputation around serving others, caring for people, and loving them.

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:35

When we serve others, people notice. When they see us serving, they see part of God’s nature. They can still reject it, but it’s much harder to reject when they can see it at work, even if we’re not serving them directly.


6. Serving honors God

Even if no one else sees you, even if no one else cares, God sees and God cares. Yep, it’s cheesy and cliche, but that’s because we repeat it over and over again without really doing much about it.

“If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever…” -1 Peter 4:11

Serving is success whether anyone else cares or not.


7. Serving encourages yourself

Encouragement is amazing like this. When you encourage someone else, the encouragement comes back around to you. It’s a side effect, and it works two ways.

First, serving others often means learning amazing things and reminding others of these amazing things. But guess what? In the process, you remind yourself, which builds you up too.

For example, if you share the Bible to encourage someone else, you’ll find you’re building yourself up because you’re in the Bible also.

Second, the response from others is infectious. Of course, it won’t always be outstanding – sometimes, people won’t care. But when they do, you’ll know you contributed, through God’s grace, to their growth. And that is totally encouraging.

For example, when you help someone overcome a temptation, you also end up with even more motivation to flee that temptation because you see the amazing results in your friend, to say nothing of the accountability that’s built in.

It’s a big cycle.

  • You’re encouraged, which means…
  • You’ll want to serve even more, which means…
  • You’ll get even more encouraged, which means…
  • You’ll want to serve even more, which means…

Well, you get the idea. The process repeats over and over again. Like a body healing itself, it’s just the way it’s designed.

We serve because of what God’s done, and the more we serve, the more God does. That’s why serving others is so, so amazing.

Serving Suggestion:

Serve others. Get caught in the serving cycle where serving leads to more serving and more serving.

Word of the Day


At the outset of any new year most people tend to evaluate their priorities. This of course is a good thing. In fact, I believe that one of our problems is that we do not assess ourselves often enough. Let me encourage you to evaluate the level at which you are involved in serving the Lord at your local church. The following list will provide some practical reasons for serving. Keep in mind that this list is far from exhaustive, but provides some compelling motivations for serving our great God! Why, then, should I involve myself in the ministry? In no particular order, here are some reasons to consider:

1. Glorifying God by serving in my local church ministry is the purpose of my salvation.

Sometimes in our evangelistic zeal to emphasize that salvation is not

byworks, we fail to fully appreciate that we have been saved unto

good works (Ephesians 2:10). In fact, God has placed you in your local church in order that you might be edified (built up) so that you might work for and serve Him. To remain sedentary is to neglect God’s very purpose for our salvation. By serving, I behave like Jesus and glorify Him.

2. I have been uniquely gifted to serve.

Several Bible passages help us to understand the concept of spiritual gifts. Among them are Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4. In these chapters we learn how God graciously and supernaturally favors each believer with his own distinct ministry gift! What a privilege is ours!

At our home we open Christmas presents on Christmas Eve. Don’t ask—it’s an old Norwegian tradition. No matter what size our tree is, it seems that it’s never big enough to shelter the number of presents beneath it. How bare that tree looks on Christmas morning after all of the presents have been removed and unwrapped! The gifts begin their life of usefulness only after they’ve been unwrapped.

In a peculiar way, many churches are like that tree on Christmas Eve. They shelter a number of beautifully wrapped, lovingly purchased presents that remain

unmoved and still wrapped

. We believers have been wonderfully gifted by our Lord for service, yet many are content to nestle themselves uselessly beneath the tree.

3. Ministry service will demonstrate the reality of my faith.

Nobody said it more poignantly than James when he taught us that faith is not primarily about what we know (or have heard), and it’s not primarily about what we say. Quite simply, faith without works is dead.

We love to have fun in the office at Harvest Baptist Church. Awhile ago I placed a fake cockroach conspicuously on the wall (one of those rubbery ones that looks remarkably real). The fact that my secretary is deathly afraid of all things “buggy” provided me no incentive at all—it was strictly coincidental. The prank produced the desired effect! The weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth took on biblical proportions. Good times. Anyway, the point is this: We left that cockroach on the wall to scare a few stragglers, but it had

no more effect

on our secretary.  Why? She now knew it was fake.

Sometimes our faith has zero—or minimal—effect because it is not the real, actionable, demonstrable faith of the Bible. Fake Christianity may temporarily move people, but upon close scrutiny, will have no long lasting influence.

4. The laborers are few.

You’ve heard it before: The Gospels only record one prayer request from our Lord Jesus. “Pray for laborers!” If you are not already involved, somebody somewhere is praying for you to become involved in the ministry. The need is greater than ever. The fields are whiter than ever. Laborers are as relatively few as ever.

A popular business principle is one called the 80/20 principle. Basically it goes like this: typically 20% of the people do 80% of the work. Myriad are the applications to this in the local church: 20% do 80% of the giving, 20% of the people do 80% of the outreach. You get the idea.

I don’t know how accurate the percentages are in any particular church. What I

do know

is that I’d like to be in the 20%.

5. Children tend to emulate what they see, not what they hear.

When Jesus selected His apostles, He chose them to be “with Him.” How significant. It’s not trite: ministry is more often “caught” than “taught.” Perhaps this principle is what motivated Luke to write of all that Jesus began both “to do and to teach.”

Teaching is most effective when doing

on the part of the teacher precedes it.
When my oldest son got his driver’s license a number of years ago, I found myself riding shotgun on occasion. One day, as we traveled along a local highway I noticed that he was committing two fatal flaws: (1) He was not wearing a seatbelt, and (2) he was driving 80 mph. Appalling! Where did he learn to be so reckless? Certainly not from the driver’s manual. And definitely not from what I


to him. Oh, yeah, but then there’s the nasty little thing about my example—oops.

What are your children learning about positive, heart-motivated ministry by watching you? Someday soon you’ll be riding shotgun.

6. The commission is great.

Remember, what Jesus commissioned us to do is what He demonstrated Himself time and again in His personal ministry. Jesus always saw people. In the desperation of their need and in the fragility of their faith, He saw them. Social status, ethnic background, sullied reputation, gender, race, or age—nothing precluded Jesus’ involvement in the lives of others.

Until we contextualize what we do (including the places we go and the jobs we perform) in terms of the gospel, we are missing out on a big part of the reason we’re even here on this planet.

The woman at the well, blind Bartimaeus, and the man by the Pool of Bethesda—they all occupy places on our journey too. Oh, they may have different names and different problems, but they all need Jesus. And we have been commissioned to tell them.

If we are to reach

every creature with the gospel, then we need every Christian

to embrace the Great Commission.

7. Ministry involvement enhances biblical understanding.

Hermeneutics is the science of Bible interpretation. Obviously the Bible is an important book, and we ought to interpret it in its literal, grammatical, and historical context. Careful attention should be given to the words employed and to the themes surrounding them.

But understanding the Bible also involves a commitment to obey it. Jesus was careful to point this out to His over-educated critics,

“If any man will do his [God’s] will, he shall know of the doctrine…”

(John 7:17). As we put the Word of God to practice in our lives, the Lord brings His purposes and His will/Word into focus.
At the wedding in Cana, the participating servants understood Jesus and His ways better than the others in attendance:

“But the servants which drew the water knew”

(John 2:9b). Service to God enhances one’s knowledge of God.

Loosely stated, the Chinese proverb says, “Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I’ll understand.”

Basketball point guards with “game intelligence” and “good court sense” didn’t gain that body of knowledge by memorizing countless schematics of x’s and o’s on some locker room dry-erase board. They developed it over time and in countless game situations on the practice court.

For better understanding of God and His Word, lace up your sneakers and step on to the court.

8. Doing anonymous or little-noticed things for the Lord is like whispering, “I love You” in His ear.

I’m not a big fan of performance-based Christianity. We don’t

do in order to measure up. We do because

we measure up! Already we are accepted by Him. God can’t love you any more than He already does! You are His peculiar treasure, and His thoughts toward you are precious and innumerable.
Here’s how it’s supposed to work. Focus on Him. See the unconditionality of His favor. Rest in His unwavering love. Allow that grace to foster in you a revitalized energy to please Him, serve Him, and love Him.

Contextualize everything you do by the God whom you love.

With this mindset, mundane duties became majestic acts of service. Anonymous gifts become yours and God’s little secret. Serving becomes its own reward.

Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;—Ephesians 6:6

One of my jobs as a teenager was to work at a local hospital. While there I met many different types of people and many different types of workers. One young man named Vince was a particularly hard worker in that he worked hard to avoid work! On one particular afternoon, I ran into Vince “hiding” by the loading dock. In his hand was a broom. Now, mind you, he wasn’t using the broom, he was just holding it. Curious, I asked him, “Vince, why did you bring the broom with you to the loading dock?” To which he replied, “Oh, this? Just in case the boss shows up!”

Maybe Vince has changed since those days, but at that point in his life Vince focused on avoiding responsibility, only feigning work when the boss happened to be looking. His thinking betrayed his wrong view of the nature of work itself (that it was somehow a bad thing) and of the motivation to work (the taskmaster might show up).

For us believers, the boss is always watching. But our motivation is not one of duty or fear. He loves us, and we love Him! What we do is of inestimable value because He orders us to it, energizes us in it, and rewards us for it!

9. I will forge long-lasting and valuable friendships.

One of the major fringe benefits of working for the Lord is the culturing of genuine friendships. Those to whom we feel the closest in life are typically those with whom we work. Adam and Eve began their marriage side by side, working together—he the garden worker and she his helper. The close connection we have with our coworkers often surpasses even that which we share with our own neighbors.

Some chapters of the Bible are more difficult to read than others. One of them is Romans 16, mainly because some of the names are impossible to pronounce! But what a tender passage it is. Paul takes time to assign value to his coworkers in ministry. Read it. Sense his heart.

Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Silas, Aquila and Priscilla, Peter and John—and the partnerships go on. With fondness I remember those with whom I conducted ministry way back in college, and then as a young man in Connecticut, and now for these many years in western Pennsylvania.

Ministry partners are the best lifetime friends and great sources of encouragement.

10. I will stand before the Lord.

He loves me. He died for me. He has given me purpose. Only what’s done for Him matters. I will meet Him face to face. Someday. Maybe today.

Involvement in ministry is a life of service for Jesus, like Jesus, and with Jesus. In fact, it’s all about Jesus. Now if that doesn’t incentivize service, I don’t know what will!

Word of the Day


“And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes and their net brake.” – Luke 5:5-6.
Peter’s fishing attempt had failed and they had caught nothing. But through the Lord’s miraculous intervention they tried again and had the catch of their lives. It is possible to come back from failure even when it seems impossible. Peter and his fellow fisherman knew that after trying all night to catch fish in the best fishing spots it would be impossible to catch anything on that day. But what man calls impossible God calls possible. It is possible for us to come back from failure through the power of God.
No one today thinks of Thomas Edison as a failure even though he failed 10,000 times before finally inventing the light bulb. Failure is not when we have been knocked down. Failure is when we stay down. Through failure we can gain an education. There is a country song that talks about a working man’s Ph.D.. And as I
was growing up I heard it mentioned from time to time about the school of life’s hard knocks. Proverbs 26:11 tells us, “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” In other words we ought to learn from our mistakes.
Whatever the problems we face, problems force us to examine our lives. Peter and the other fishermen had caught nothing after fishing all night. Jesus doesn’t tell them it is time to put up the nets. No! instead Jesus tells them in Luke 5:4, “…Launch out into the deep…” When we experience failure that’s what we need to do. Instead of giving up and refusing to try again we need to boldly “launch out into the deep.”
Let us “launch out into the deep” and go boldly where no man or woman has ever gone before.

Word of the Day

You can rise again.

“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again.…” – Proverbs 24:16.
What do you do when the deal you hoped for falls through, when the love of your life walks out and slams the door, when the house of your dreams burns down and you don’t have insurance, when the policeman comes to your door and tells you your child is in jail for selling cocaine or even worse? What do you do when your dreams fall apart and there’s no way to put them back together again?
The natural response after we lose a job, we lose a loved one or some bad thing happens in our life is to
become angry with God or even to turn away from Him. Many, many have chosen that response. But the
just person rises up again. When things are falling apart around us we must remember God’s love never fails and Jesus continued on even to and through the cross. Jesus rose from the dead, triumphant!
When our dreams fall apart we need to hold onto God’s love and believe that no matter what this old world may throw at us things will work out for the very best for us in the eternal end. The just man may fall, may encounter obstacles, may experience tragedies but the just man through Christ will rise again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again (Seven is a number symbolizing perfection which would mean that no matter how many times a just man falls he will rise again.).

Word of the Day

Got An Attitude?
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” – Philippians 4:4.
Paul had an attitude! His attitude was one of rejoicing no matter what. When the letter to Philippi was written Paul was under house arrest in Rome knowing that he could very well be executed. In addition, there were those who were trying to add to Paul’s troubles. But Paul was able to rejoice in spite of his circumstances. How? With each difficulty Paul was able to see good coming out of them (Philippians 1:13-18).
Paul could also have joy in spite of people. There were people in the church at Philippi that were causing
trouble. There was a false teacher (Philippians 3:1-3) and a division in the church (Philippians 4:1-3). Paul
could have joy because he followed the example of Jesus (2:5). Paul said to have an humble spirit (2:3),
think about the other person’s situation (Walk a mile in their shoes – 2:4), don’t murmur and complain (2:14). 
Paul had joy too in spite of the lack of the things of this world. Before Paul was a Christian he had “arrived” in the Jewish world. He was the “Hebrew of Hebrews” (Philippians 3:4-8). Those things were actually
robbing Paul of true joy. Jesus says in Luke 12:15, “… for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance
of the things which he possesseth.”
Worry was another problem that could have kept Paul from having joy. In Philippians 4:6-9, Paul tells us
how to cope with worry. We cope with worry by praying right (4:6-7). We cope with worry by thinking right
(4:8). We not only need to pray right and think right but we also need to live right to be free of worry (4:9).
Got an attitude? I hope it is an attitude like Paul’s!

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