Stewards defines ‘steward’ as the following…

“a person who manages another’s property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another or others”

And this is exactly what Paul is saying the Apostles are, “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God”.  (1 Cor 4:1)  Through proper discipleship, so are we.  We are ‘servants of Christ’ and His ‘stewards’.  This is no small task, no light duty.  In fact Paul goes on to point out the desperate position the Apostles were finding themselves.

To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. – (1 Cor 4:11-13)

To be a steward requires a significant humility.  As defined above, we are “agent of another”, the agent of Christ Jesus.  As His agent, our sole duty is to serve Him, to follow His instructions, on His behalf.  So what does that look like?

Christ Himself said that all of the Law (all of His instructions) could be summed up like this, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:30-31)  That’s our full marching orders, Love Him and Love others.

So how is that shown? Again, Jesus gave us the answer when talking directly to Peter and He told Peter to ‘feed my sheep‘.

It really is that simple.  As we love Him with everything we have, we will by default, love His sheep as well.  Truly loving His sheep means we will feed His sheep, care for them, tend to their needs.  King David had it right when he said that everything else is simply vanity.

I pray that you appreciate my blogs. They are my way of journaling as I read His word. If you do like them, please be sure to click the Follow Hisfamily Ministries button left of this post AND to spread the word. Share these posts with others and perhaps they will be blessed too.


Meaning Behind the Words

Meaning Behind the Words

Have you ever heard a song and thought one thing… but then heard the back story to the song from the artist themselves and saw a whole different thing in the song?  This is normal for a song with intense personal meaning to the artist.  Perhaps the most recent for me is “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” by Danny Gokey.  If you don’t already know, here’s the back story for that song.

The song by itself has a great message of hope from a struggle.  But not until you hear the pain in his heart from the level of struggle he faced, do you realize the painful place he traveled to in order to write this song.  It just comes to life knowing his heart behind the words.

The Bible works the same way.  But remember, even though there are 40 human authors, it’s the Holy Spirit who is the ultimate author of the Bible.  This means to truly grasp the meaning behind the words you have to come to know the heart of God.  Some will say that is impossible, but Paul has a different opinion.

For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
1 Cor 2:11-12

When you receive Christ into your heart, you welcome His Spirit into your soul.  It is with that Spirit that you can properly discern the meaning of His love letter to us, the Bible.  When you quiet your own soul enough to listen to His Spirit, the heart behind the words comes alive and their meaning jumps off the page.

Obviously the most important part is to have that Spirit inside you.  If you have never receive the Spirit of God into your heart, it’s not complicated.  “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom 10:9)  “Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.” (Acts 2:33)

Once you actually have the Spirit, the next vital part is to quite your own soul first, close off the distractions and listen to the Spirit within you.  Through the Spirit, you can see and hear the heart and meaning behind the words of the Bible.  No longer is it just a history book, but it becomes a love letter from your Abba Father.

I pray that you appreciate my blogs. They are my way of journaling as I read His word. If you do like them, please be sure to click the Follow Hisfamily Ministries button left of this post AND to spread the word. Share these posts with others and perhaps they will be blessed too.

First Impressions

First Impressions

How often have we all made a judgement from a first impression, only to be wrong?  No doubt, most of us have done this many times in our life.  It may not always be an extreme, but there’s a reason they say you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Near the end of Paul’s journey, just such a judgement occurred.

When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.  –  Acts 28:3-6

Perhaps they saw that he was under guard but we know he wasn’t in chains or anything, he was out gathering wood for the fire.  But simply because a poisonous snake had latched onto him from the wood, they instantly jumped to assuming he was a murderer (for only a murder would have such justice to escape the storm only to be killed by a random snake).

Ironically, just as fast as they made their first judgement of ‘he must be a murder’, they quickly changed to ‘he must be a god’.  It took only minutes to go from the worst of the worst, to the best of the best.

As we’ve gone through our day, how often do we make a quick judgement based on nothing but a first impression?  One area I have seen this happen over and over again is in judging a kid by their behavior.  Not knowing anything about them, you see how they act and start making assumptions about them or their parents.  We have witnessed just such a rash judgement on our kids on more than one occasion.

Five of our seven children are foster or adopted children.  Our little girl (about to turn three) has a bit of anxiety and nervousness.  One lady seeing this said would could possibly have gone on in a three year old’s life to create anxiety.  There was a combination of shock and judgement.  However, like the natives on Malta, she also quickly changed her thinking when she received one more piece of information.  She was a foster child.  This new news was enough to tell her, she had gone through significant trauma at such a young age.

It is natural for us to make rash judgments based on very little information.  It’s why we always focus on making the ‘right first impression’.  However, are we always just as quick to change that impression with new information?  The lady and the natives of Malta were both open to change their judgment quickly with new information.

It’s OK and normal for you to make a judgment based on your first information, but it’s vital that you are just as quick to alter that judgment once there is new information.  You just never know what’s behind the cover of that book unless you’re willing to open it and dive in.

I pray that you appreciate my blogs.  They are my way of journaling as I read His word.  If you do like them, please be sure to click the Follow Hisfamily Ministries button left of this post AND to spread the word.  Share these posts with others and perhaps they will be blessed too.

Position of Influence

Position of Influence

When you think of a position of influence, you typically think of some kind of leader.  Could be a political or military figure, or perhaps a famous celebrity, or even a Pastor.  The common theme for just about anyone that quickly comes to mind has something to do with their particular ‘rank’ in their area of life.  Chances are you typically don’t think of a prisoner.

Yet that is exactly what is going on with Paul in Acts 27.  Paul was a prisoner being delivered to stand before Cesar. “And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius.” (Acts 27:1)  Luke was his personal physician and traveled along with him.  We learn later that between the crew, prisoners and other passengers, it was a large group.  “We were in all 276 persons in the ship.” (v 37)

Despite the fact that Paul was a prisoner, he still held an elevated position some how.  “The next day we put in at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him leave to go to his friends and be cared for.” (v 3)  Even after Paul and Luke were transferred to another ship (under other guards and leadership), his unusual favor still continued.  He was even in a position to advise the crew and other prisoners (although they did not fully listen to him at first).  This lack of respect was expected considering he was a prisoner.  “But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said.” (v 11)  But the lack of respect did not dissuade Paul.

Paul was not in a ‘position’ of influence, but he was a ‘man’ of influence, not because of who he was, but because of whom he served.  “For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship” (v 23).  Paul did not require a ‘position’ to be an influence among men, 275 other men in this case.  Rather than gaining influence through his position, he was granted influence through his Lord.

The end of the story ends with “not a hair is to perish from the head” of any of these men traveling with Paul.  His endless worship of the Lord gave him the influence to impact people, even when he was a mere prisoner.

What is your current lot in life?  Does it offer less influence than perhaps you had hoped or dreamed of?  There is temporary influence in position, but eternal influence by serving the one true Lord and Savior.  By serving Him always, you will be given influence over others.  By always seeking to glorify God in everything you do, that influence may even give you the opportunity to witness to others and see their life impacted for eternity.

I pray that you appreciate my blogs.  They are my way of journaling as I read His word.  If you do like them, please be sure to click the Follow Hisfamily Ministries button left of this post AND to spread the word.  Share these posts with others and perhaps they will be blessed too.

Matching Word and Deed

Matching Word and Deed

Who hasn’t heard the old phrase, do as I say, not as I do.  It’s a common ‘excuse’ some parents make in teaching their children… that somehow their words are worth following but their actions should be ignored.  Obviously most of us realized the error in this statement.  Your words only hold value if your actions support them.

Sherman Smith (of ’76 Seahawks) tells a story about how his words and deeds were not matching up.  Ken Hutcherson had led him to Christ but his conversion had failed to actually change Sherman’s actions and attitudes.  So one day Ken comes to Sherman’s home and asks him in almost a hush hush voice… “Are you a Christian?”  “Of course” Sherman responded.  But Ken’s response shocked Sherman.  He said, “Well stop telling people that!” and walked off.  Hutch’s point was that Sherman was ‘telling’ people he was a Christian but his ‘actions’ were not confirming his words, therefore his testimony was not helping anyone.

It’s critical that we let our “manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Phil 1:27a), this way when we do share the Gospel verbally, our actions support it.  This was Paul’s case in giving his ‘defense’ before Agrippa.  He first points out his life before meeting Jesus, shared about his meeting Jesus experience, and then tells of his life after meeting Jesus.  His life was a living testimony of the Gospel.

Before meeting Jesus, he was ‘just like’ the Jews who were charging him now.  In fact, he was so zealous that he was actively persecuting Christians himself.  However once he met Jesus on the road to Damascus, his conversion was pure and genuine.  From there, his life’s actions were in full support of his words, sharing the Gospel of Grace, the Good News of Jesus’s death paying the price for all sins.

Paul’s deeds were in full alignment of his words, therefore his words had value.  When was the last time you check the match between your words and deeds?  Neither should be all you focus on.  If you have wonderful deeds but never speak the gospel, nobody knows the source of your deeds and they have no value.  Likewise if you speak beautifully about the Gospel of Christ but have not deeds to back it up, your words fall of deaf ears for good reason.

Only by have BOTH words and deeds will your testimony hold water.  Your deeds are there to support your words.  Your words should tell of the good news of Christ, but your deeds should demonstrate you believe your own words.

I pray that you appreciate my blogs.  They are my way of journaling as I read His word.  If you do like them, please be sure to click the Follow Hisfamily Ministries button left of this post AND to spread the word.  Share these posts with others and perhaps they will be blessed too.

Bible in 5 Minutes

Bible in 5 Minutes

As a Foster Dad with my fifth child in the home, I’m in new territory.  Until recently, the youngest I had come into my home was 4 (literally on her 4th birthday actually).  So welcoming an 8 1/2 year old a month ago has been a new experience.  She’s been a joy to have and has loved coming to church with us on Sundays.  She’s even anxious to serve because she sees her older brothers and sisters serving already.  But the new experience is actually about how to explain the Bible.  Her experience has put her a little behind in reading (although she’s very intelligent) so I need to keep this simple enough.  She’s also already had a tough life with trauma, at such a young age, so I need to make it relate-able to her experience too.  So here’s my challenge.  How to tell the entire Bible summary in under 5 minutes or 650 words.  Here goes (above words not counted).

The Bible is a book of both History and Instruction.  The first section called the Old Testament is all about the history of the world as it relates to God.  Here is the summary of the Old Testament.

God it timeless.  He had no beginning and has no end.  Because of this, thousands of years can go by on earth and it would be just a blink of an eye to Him.  First He created Angels who were very powerful (not as powerful as Him though).  One named Lucifer thought he was better than God so he and 1/3 of the other angels fought him.  They became bad and we’ll see more from them later.

Then God made humans, a man named Adam and a woman named Eve.  He put them in a beautiful garden where they could live forever with God.  Lucifer tricked them into disobeying God.  Since they were no longer perfect, they could not be with God anymore.  This also meant they could not live forever anymore, they would eventually die.  Back then, people would live for hundreds of years but now we only live for around 80 years or so (some longer and some shorter).

For thousands of years, people tried all kinds of ways to be good enough to be with God again.  God kept trying to guide his people (called the Jews) to learn more about him but they kept messing up over and over again.  God wanted the Jews to learn about Him so much and then to teach everyone else about Him too, but they couldn’t do it on their own.  God continued to guide them.  Even when someone did something terrible, God would eventually use it for wonderful things.  Sometimes it took years, but God always took care of His people.

The second part of the Bible (New Testament) has two parts.  The Gospel is the story about Jesus and the rest is the story about how the church began after Jesus.

God sent His Son Jesus to live among the Jews (starting as a baby and growing up with them).  When He was 30 years old, He began to teach people about how to be with God again.  He told them the two most important things are this.  First they had to love God with everything they had.  Second they had to show love to everyone else too.  Loving God seemed to be easy for them but showing love to others was the hard part.  They kept messing that up too.

After three years of trying to teach the Jews (and other people too) about how to live for God, Jesus went to the next part of His plan.  If people kept making mistakes (or sinning) then they couldn’t live forever.  If they couldn’t live forever, they couldn’t be with God.  So Jesus decided to die for them.  Every one of us deserves punishment for not living as God tells us, but Jesus said He would take the punishment for us.

Although Jesus had never sinned (He was perfect), He was killed as punishment for all of us.  Anyone who believes that Jesus is God’s Son and that He died for them, can then be adopted into God’s family.  Once they are adopted into His family, they are His forever.  This means that after their body dies on earth, they go to be with God forever and ever.

Today, many people still try to figure out what they have to do to make it into Heaven with God.  But they can never do enough.  The only way is to believe that Jesus died so they could get into Heaven.

And what should we do now?  Even though we will still make mistakes, Jesus said we should do our best to love God with everything we have and do our best to show love to everyone else.

There we go.  Not the most scholarly way to tell the story, but it’s done in simple words and in 5 minutes or less.

False Accusations

False Accusations

We’ve all been falsely accused of something at some point, but very few have been falsely accused to the point where our very life depended upon the outcome.  This was the case for Paul on more than one occasion.  However it is his response to Felix that we focus on today.

Knowing that for many years you have been a judge over this nation, I cheerfully make my defense.” (Acts 24:10b)  Paul was so confident in the fallacy of these accusations that he was prepared to make his defense “cheerfully”.  Rather than being defensive, he cheerfully gave an account of his actions.  Part of his response gives a clear explanation as to his attitude.  “So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.” (v 16)  When you are absolutely confident you have done everything to be right with both God and man, then you should have nothing to fear.

I’ve dealt with the exact opposite situation with my kids.  If there’s an accusation towards them and they get extremely defensive, then odds are, they are at least partly guilty.  I have never seen this fail actually.  The more agitated the response, the more defensive the child is, the more likely they are not being forth right in their response.

The clearest difference is that the child feared repercussion for their actions and Paul had nothing to fear.  His lack of fear is what empowered him to have the cheerful response.  That lack of fear came from the fact that he believed what he wrote to the Philippians, to let his “manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (Phil 1:27)  By always living in that manner, always having a clear conscience toward both God and man, he is able to defend himself cheerfully.

No doubt a time will come where you face another false accusation.  However if between now and then you have lived in a way that is worthy of the Gospel, then you will have nothing to fear in your response either. Remember, “whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Col 3:23-24)

I pray that you appreciate my blogs.  They are my way of journaling as I read His word.  If you do like them, please be sure to click the Follow Hisfamily Ministries button left of this post AND to spread the word.  Share these posts with others and perhaps they will be blessed too.