The Pastor\’s Pen

An Independent Baptist Preacher\’s Musings and Observations

Posts Tagged ‘Commitment’

Revival

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 19, 2008

WHAT IS IT? DO WE NEED IT? HOW CAN WE GET IT?

How would YOU answer these questions? I think before we can understand what revival IS, we must understand what revival IS NOT. Revival is not a series of evangelistic meetings. Revival is not an emotional experience that’s soon forgotten. Revival is not a popular fad or wave of change that comes and goes. None of this is revival. So what is it?

Revival defined by Webster is a restoration from a depressed, inactive, or unused state; the restoring of force or validity. With me personally, I’d like to think of revival as a rekindling of God’s fire in my heart. I’d like to think that when my heart doesn’t burn brightly for God as it once did and I catch myself just going through the motions and viewing my service more as duty than dedication and devotion, then I am primed for a personal revival. This is how I know I need revival. And to be honest with you, my reader, as I write this, I humbly confess that I need a personal revival…how about you? If you don’t, please pray for me; and if you are in need of a personal revival, let me know and I promise to pray for you.

How can we get revival? It can only come from God, and I believe God will only give us a true revival when we are truly determined to get it from God! 2 Chron 7:14, a very familiar but [I believe] applicable verse for our answer of “how can we get it“, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Did you notice God said, “IF…THEN”. God is a God of conditions. God WILL hear from Heaven, God WILL forgive sin, and God WILL heal the land IF God’s people humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from their wickedness. God will take you and me from a depressed, inactive and “just going through the motions” state and restore us – revive us – IF we would humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways. How bad do YOU want revival?

How do you know you’ve had revival from the Lord? Let me just briefly touch on 3 ways:

#1: WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW ATTITUDE

You’re “I” problem must go away. You need to have J.O.Y. again – that’s Jesus, Others, and then You. You must see the lost just like the Lord Jesus sees them – with compassion and as sheep having no shepherd…hopeless without God.

#2: WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW ENTHUSIASM

You won’t “have to” read your Bible and pray…You’ll “want to” read your Bible and pray. You may just start singing those old hymns…in the shower! You’ll look forward to telling others of the Saviour. You just may add “AMEN” and “HALLELUJAH” to your vocabulary…and rejoicing will become a must!

#3: WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW DETERMINATION

How determined are you to serve God? How determined are you to find out and follow what God says? How determined are you to be determined to do right?

IS REVIVAL NEEDED AMONG THE CHILDREN OF GOD? Many today who claim the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ have become complacent, volatile, inflammatory, lethargic, self-righteous, apathetic, self-centered, and accusatory. Many have become outright sinful and couldn’t care less about it!  Nuff said.

Ps 85:6, “Wilt thou [LORD] not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?”

Advertisements

Posted in Ramblings | Tagged: , , , | 9 Comments »

The MOTIVE of Giving

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 18, 2008

Through this study on the CONSIDERATIONS ON GIVING, we’ve looked at:

 

–The MATTER of our giving…It’s not an economic matter ~ it’s a heart matter! The WAY people gave mattered to the Lord – Mark 12:41, “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.”

 

–The MEASURE of our giving…WHAT people gave also mattered to the Lord – Mark 12:42-44, “And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. [vs43] And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: [vs44] For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”

 

In this final post on giving, I want us to think on the MOTIVE of our Giving.

 

Remember what was said about the Temple Treasury in the post, the MEASURE of Giving…“many that were rich” were casting in much and great noise echoed from those “Trumpet” chests. This outward show must have stirred the ones around! The crowd must have “oohed and ahhed” as the giving was going on.

 

BUT: what do you think happened when that poor widow woman threw in her two mites [2 mites = about one-fifth of a cent; to man, it was hardly worth it to give]? Can you imagine a silence? Was there a feeling of pity for the woman? Were there any praises from man? There may not have been any praises from man, but this woman had the praise of God! Read again Mark 12:43-44.

 

This woman’s HEART was in her gift unto God. Her motive for giving stemmed from her heart! Shouldn’t OUR MOTIVE for giving stem from the same? What should motivate a child of God to give from the treasure that God has blessed them with (as stewards)? Or basically…how should we give?

 

A.  THANKFULLY

 

The Motive of Thankfulness. This motive says that “we are so thankful to give unto God because God gave it all for us and to us.” Can you list 10 things that would cause a child of God to have a thankful heart before God and motivate him to give? As a Christian, you should AT LEAST be able to list 10 things from God that gives you a thankful heart. Remember them, and the next time you give to God of the treasure He has given you, you WILL BE motivated by thankfulness!

 

B.  CHEERFULLY

 

The Motive of Cheerfulness. This motive says that “our spirit and attitude of giving is good, pleasant, and even joyful because we know the Recipient of our giving.”

 

–We know how God accepts our giving. In 2 Cor 9:7 the Bible says, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver”. God loves it when we give cheerfully, and this motive is acceptable before Him!

 

I like this – the word cheerful in 2 Cor 9:7 means merry or hilarious. What are you like during offering time at your church? God loves a merry, HILARIOUS giver…one who expresses true happiness about giving unto the Lord!

 

–We know how He uses our giving. We ought to come to God with a cheerful heart in giving because He takes what we bring unto Him and multiplies it for the work of His Kingdom!

 

–We know how He is honored by our giving! Heb 13:15-16 says, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. [vs16] But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” We ought to come to God with a cheerful heart in giving because we have the opportunity to honor, bless, and please God Almighty!

 

C.  LIBERALLY

 

The only time I want to be known as a liberal is in my giving 🙂

 

The Motive of Liberal Giving. This motive says that “we want to give back generously and bountifully (i.e. liberally) because we’ve experienced God’s generous Hand and bounty in our lives”. Can you give specific examples of God’s generous Hand and bounty in your life?

 

And let me ask you this: Can we ever “out-give” God? Not by what these verses tell us:

 

Mal 3:10, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

 

Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

 

 2 Cor 9:6, “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”

 

Just a thought: How many people do you know who went penniless and starved to death because of they gave to God? How many people can you name that “out-gave” God? BUT: How many people can you name that have a testimony of a lack of God’s provision because they failed to put into practice Biblical giving?

 

Ps 37:25, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread”.

 

D.  SACRIFICIALLY

 

The Motive of Sacrificial Giving. This motive says that “we deprive ourselves for an express need that God has laid on our hearts.” Here are some examples of sacrificial giving: Mark 12:44 [see above] / Acts 4:32-37.

 

When it comes to the giving of our treasure, our method of giving is doctrinal and our motivation for giving is love! A love for God is a heart for God…and that’s a heart of: thankfulness, cheerfulness, liberality, and sacrifice. These motives can ONLY be manifested and plentiful if there’s a heart for God!

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

The MEASURE of Giving

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 16, 2008

And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” Mark 12:41-44

 

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself cared about HOW people were giving their treasure [vs41]…but also, The Lord Jesus cared about WHAT was being given [vs42-44]. 

 

DID YOU KNOW that the Temple Treasury consisted of 13 brass chests, or boxes, to cast in offerings. These chests were called “Trumpets” due to them being shaped like a trumpet, or the “bell” of the trumpet. As metal coins were cast into the “Trumpets” a loud noise would be heard by those around the Temple Treasury…the more someone gave, the louder the noise!

 

If someone wanted to “put on a show”, it wouldn’t be too difficult. IN FACT, the Lord Jesus rebuked the ones who did put on a show in this way…Jesus said in Matt 6:1-2, “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. [vs2] Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

 

When this poor, widow woman “threw in two mites” [Mark 12:42], they sounded “mighty small” in comparison to the other offerings being made. HOWEVER: What kind of sound did it make in the Lord’s ears? Mark 12:43-44 again says, “…Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” From what we read here, we can definitely figure out how man would measure her giving verses how the Lord did measure her giving!

 

HOW IS OUR GIVING TO BE MEASURED? HOW ARE WE TO GIVE?

 

A.  We are to give PROPORTIONALLY

 

In the measure of the giving of what God has given to us, we can give the same amount “proportionally”. For example: One person’s income is $2,000/month and another person’s income is $9,000/month. If Biblical, proportionate giving is practiced, BOTH would give the same amount proportionally! Both would “bring back a tenth part to God’s storehouse”!

 

BTW: What proportion, or what percentage, did the poor, widow women give in Mark 12? She gave 100% of all her living!!! Jesus said in Mark 12:43, “That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury”!

 

Notice, too, that the Apostle Paul endorsed proportional (or proportionate) giving: 1 Cor 16:2, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” What Paul was saying here is: “When you bring all the tithes and offerings into God’s storehouse, give in proportion to your income or to your increase”…as God hath prospered you!

 

HOW IS OUR GIVING TO BE MEASURED? HOW ARE WE TO GIVE?

 

B.  We are to give PROPERLY

 

Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” From this verse and 1 Corinthians 16:2, we can clearly see that God has appointed a “proper place” to bring the tithes and offerings. That proper place is His New Testament Institution and Storehouse, the Church.

 

HOW IS OUR GIVING TO BE MEASURED? HOW ARE WE TO GIVE?

 

C. We are to give PERPETUALLY

 

God has designed our giving to be systematic. Giving ought to be a regular part of our livesProverbs 3:9-10 says, “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” Every time we have increase, we need to honor God with the “firstfruits” of that increase.

 

We’ve already looked at 1 Cor 16:2 more than once: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” When did Paul instruct the church at Corinth to “lay by him in store as God hath prospered him”? …upon the first day of the week, or the Lord’s Day!

 

Sadly today, many only give when they have “left-overs” or when moved by conviction or guilt, but this is not God’s plan and this isn’t how God measures our giving. Many miss the blessings of God in their MEASURE of giving.

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , , , | 11 Comments »

The MATTER of Giving – Part 2

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 14, 2008

Let me ask you this: From where should our giving stem?

FILL IN THE BLANK: “Your giving will start with your ___________”

The answer is your heart. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Cor 8:5 that the churches of Macedonia – churches with very little – took on the fellowship of the ministering to the saints, i.e. they took part in giving to other churches in need. “And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.”

“…but first gave their own selves to the Lord…” That’s a heart-issue and not an economic one! SO: I believe it’s fair to say that your giving is a good indicator of your heart’s spiritual condition.

SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED OR CARE ABOUT YOUR GIVING, OR THE LACK THEREOF?

Mark 12:41-44, “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. [vs42] And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. [vs43] And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: [vs44] For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself cared about WHAT was being given [vs42-44]…BUT ALSO, the Lord Jesus cared about HOW people were giving their treasure [vs41]! It’s evident from this text that the Lord cares about HOW we give.

Q) Do YOU think the Lord Jesus observes YOUR GIVING? Do you think He CARES about your giving? And why would He care? It is because giving is a matter of the HEART! Again, your giving IS a good indicator of your heart’s spiritual condition.

IF THE LORD JESUS CARES ABOUT OUR GIVING, THEN WHAT IS GIVING? HOW IS THE GIVING OF OUR TREASURE ACTUALLY DEFINED?

Simply stated, the giving of our treasure that stems from our heart is defined in TITHES and OFFERINGS.

WHAT IS A TITHE? Well, the Bible defines this word for us when we compare the following Scripture texts:

Gen 14:18-20, “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. [vs19] And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: [vs20] And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.”

Heb 7:1-2a, “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; [vs2a] To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all

From comparing these verses we see that the tithe is a tenth part…and a tenth part of all…of your whole increase. So if you’re increased with $1,000 you’re tithe is a tenth part, or $100.

Oh“, but you might say, “tithing is Old Testament and not for today“…but that is a WRONG STATEMENT. Tithing is throughout the Bible! I got the following illustration from “The ABCs of Christian Growth“, Bible Baptist Church Publications, Pastor Robert J. Sargent. This is a list that shows tithing throughout the Word of God:

Abraham COMMENCED it – Gen 14:18-20

Jacob CONTINUED it – Gen 28:20-22

Moses CONFIRMED it – Lev 27:30

Malachi COMMANDED it – Mal 3:8-10

Jesus COMMENDED it – Matt 23:23

God COMMISSIONED it – 1 Cor 9:13-14

Paul CONFORMED it – 1 Cor 16:2

 

Tithing IS a SCRIPTURAL PRINCIPLE! Abraham and Jacob tithed 500 years before the Law was instituted; Moses, Malachi, and the Lord Jesus spoke of tithing during the period of the Law; and Paul explained tithing after the Law in the New Testament. So should a Christian tithe? YES. Is tithing optional? NO. BTW: Too often, we get hung up on the tithe and forget that every penny we have is the Lord’s. All of our treasure, not just the tithe, is to be used as God leads and directs us. As stewards, it isn’t 10% that belongs to God, it is 100%!

 

WHAT IS AN OFFERING? An offering is something that is presented for acceptance; oblation; sacrifice; can also mean a treat or gift. To get an understanding of an offering, read these verses from the Book of Ezra:

 

1:4, “And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”

3:5, “And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the LORD.”

7:16, “And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem

8:28, “And I said unto them, Ye are holy unto the LORD; the vessels are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering unto the LORD God of your fathers.”

What we get from these verses is the offering was a freewill gift given for the LORD’S acceptance. The offering IS DIFFERENT FROM the tithe. The tithe is a required amounta tenth part – given obediently. The offering is an unspecified amount given devotedly.

We ought to be concerned about this matter of our giving…God is. Our giving is a matter of the heart. The giving of our treasure consists of tithes and offerings, and God has ordained those tithes and offerings to be used to finance His work.

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , , , | 10 Comments »

The MATTER of Giving – Part 1

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 12, 2008

This post is the beginning of a detailed series of posts I’ll call, “CONSIDERATIONS ON GIVING“. I’ll break up into a few parts this first subject, the MATTER of Giving, then we’ll delve into the MEASURE and MOTIVE of the giving of a believer…and as always, your responses and comments are valued and appreciated.

Thanks for following along, and stay tuned!

 

There are many things that we ought to be giving back unto the Lord…for example:

 

TIME – Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, [vs16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

God’s saying that He wants you and me to ‘redeem the time’, or to ‘rescue the time that He’s given to us from waste and evil’, so that it can be used for Him…think about this: God has given us time so that we may give God our time!

 

TALENTS (Abilities) – If God has blessed you with the ability and talent to play an instrument, sing, teach, write, manage finances, sew, weld, communicate with others, or WHATEVER talents and abilities God has blessed you with…YOU NEED TO USE THEM! 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us, “…whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

Use your talents for God – Give them back to God!

This ought to be a ruling motive in the life of a believer!

 

TESTIMONYPsalm 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so”! I truly believe God can use a testimony that we’re willing to give when there’s an opportunity to witness and to minister to others…Let the redeemed of the LORD say so!

 

SO…In knowing all this, remember 1 Corinthians 4:2: “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”  The word Steward means Overseer; Manager. A Christian is an owner of nothing that he has, but he is a steward of everything he has!

 

Christians are [supposed to be] stewards of their time, talents, and of their testimony. We as believers don’t actually own anything, and we’re supposed to manage and give back what we have unto the Lord for His Glory. Well…wouldn’t this also apply to our TREASURE?

 

How we are as stewards of the treasure that God has entrusted to us is truly important and it demands our thoughtful and prayerful consideration. Each one of us as stewards ought to really be thinking and praying on how we oversee God’s treasure!

 

A friend of mine a while back sent me this article…the title of it is, “Five Habits of Millionaires”. This article found consistent patterns among millionaires, or those people who “have treasure”…I really think it’s interesting to take note of their patterns:

 

#1 – Avoid The “Earn-to-Spend” Mentality

Many millionaires view money as something to save and invest rather than income to spend. How spiritually wealthy would we be if we saved and invested in the work of God?

 

#2 – Focus

Millionaires resist the impulse to be scattered in their efforts and interests…they clearly write down their goals, making it easier to keep in focus. Basically, they have a plan. What’s your plan as a steward  of what God has given you?

 

#3 – Do Whatever Is Necessary to Meet Your Goal

People who earn their millions are able not only to focus but persevere in the pursuit of their goals. They press toward their mark. Paul said in Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Are you pursuing with a passion to be a blessing with what God has blessed you with?

 

#4 – Take Calculated Risks

These folks had to take strategic risks to earn and grow money. They had to put some faith in what they were doing…not blind-faith, but a trust in certain methods and teachings. Are YOU ready to step out in faith with the finances God has given you? It’s not “blind-faith”, but a trust in the One whose blessed you and desires your obedience in the matter of giving.

 

#5 – Be Generous

 

Many millionaires give much and are truly generous. We may not know the motives of their generosity, but our motives ought to be the Love of the Lord Jesus Christ and HIS generosity – JESUS PAID IT ALL! 2 Corinthians 9:6, “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully“. May we be generous!

 

In the world of “high finance”, we see by their habits that these people take great consideration in their treasure. So should we! We are the ones who are involved in “the finances of the Most High”, and we ought to really give our thoughtful and prayerful consideration when it comes to the giving of the treasure that God’s given to us as stewards!

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Everyone Teach Someone

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 4, 2008

The title of this post was born from 2 Timothy 2:1-4, “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. [vs2] And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. [vs3] Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. [vs4] No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

The Book of 2 Timothy is Paul’s farewell and final epistle in the Bible. Now there are many interesting things about this Book, but did you know that there are TWENTY-NINE different people named in this Book? Most of these named were a blessing unto Paul, and the thought of these ones ought to remind us that God does His work through people.

In my last post, Witnessing IS NOT a gift, I stated that “no one is excluded from being a vocal witness for Christ“. It is our responsibility to not only be a vocal witness for Christ, but it is also our responsibility to teach others the things that have been committed to us.

It’s not only, Everyone REACH Someone, but it’s also, Everyone TEACH Someone!!!

In our Scripture text above, we know this is the Apostle Paul speaking to Timothy. Paul called Timothy, “my own son in the faith” (1 Tim 1:2). Timothy grew up with strong Christian influences in his mother [Eunice] and grandmother [Lois] (2 Tim 1:5; 3:15). Although these influences were vital to Timothy, I believe he was lead to the Lord by Paul, his “father in the faith“.

Paul not only was the one to reach Timothy, he also would be the one to teach Timothy. Paul taught Timothy, and Timothy was supposed to commit what was taught to him to faithful men who would teach others also. WOW! WHAT A GREAT EXAMPLE AND MODEL FOR ALL OF US TO APPLY!

As a laborer for our Lord and Saviour, it is your responsibility to do your very best with God’s help in teaching someone else who will then be able and go teach someone else. Just look at your own life in Christ. Is there a hand print of others in your life who have made an impact, a difference, and an investment? I truly believe all of us who name the Precious Name of Jesus can say with affection, “YES”. So then let me ask you this: Are you investing your life in the life of someone else?

This PRINCIPLE again is found in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” It is essential that you and I pass on to someone else the things that we’ve learned of God. As someone once said, “Those who know must tell those who do not know“.

But be aware, for in teaching someone else, there is always a PRICE to pay: [vs3] “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Time, effort, prayer, expenses, and sacrifices are just some of the costs of teaching God’s Truth to someone else. It’s not easy – it’s hard. This is why many believers just aren’t teaching or aren’t being taught. Having a godly heritage to go on after us demands a price to be paid. Question is: Are YOU willing to pay the price?

If you’re willing, then you’ll be thankful to know that there’s only One PERSON to please! [vs4] “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” This PERSON is the One who has chosen us to be His soldiers – the Lord Jesus Christ! Keep your eyes upon Jesus. Why will you follow this principle laid out by Paul for Timothy and for us? You want to please the Lord Jesus. Why will you invest so much, even your whole life in the life of someone else and pay the price? You want to please the Lord Jesus.

Friends, Jesus is why everyone should teach someone! Take your eyes of yourself and the seemingly monumental tasks of teaching, training, and the discipleship of others, and turn your eyes upon Jesus. Know that God does His work through people and He is pleased when you and I commit what has been taught to us to faithful men who will then teach others also.

DEDICATE TO DISCIPLE!

And it will surprise you what the Lord will do!

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Witnessing IS NOT a Gift

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 1, 2008

Have you heard something like this before, “I don’t think everyone of us is responsible to witness for Christ…I believe it’s only the pastor’s job and maybe a few others who have some special ability to witness. It’s not everyone’s job“.

IS IT TRUE THAT GREAT NUMBERS OF BELIEVERS ARE EXEMPT FROM THIS AREA OF SERVICE?

Certainly, there are many believers who do not really think they should be a vocal witness for their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Just take a peek into our churches that are supposed to be New Testament Bible-believing, evangelistic churches, and what will you find? Sadly, you’ll discover multitudes of believers who’ve NEVER reached and led a soul to the Lord Jesus Christ. Isn’t it odd that this great number of “unevangelistic” brethren are members of “evangelistic” churches?

As Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter“…

NO ONE CHRISTIAN IS EXCLUDED FROM BEING A VOCAL WITNESS FOR CHRIST!

What does the Bible have to say about this vital matter of witnessing? Well, the Bible DOES NOT teach that witnessing for Christ is a gift that is possessed by only a few choice folk. The Bible never says that only those who have “the gift” to witness are to witness for Jesus.

WITNESSING IS NOT A GIFT ~ IT IS A COMMAND!

 Matt 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Mark 16:15, “And he {that’s Jesus, friends} said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” {NOTE: These are Christ’s last words on earth before ascending to the Father!}

Anyone who says that “only a select few” are to witness is simply not acquainted with the plain teaching of God’s Holy Word. That’s putting it nicely, don’t you think? How about this: If you think that there’s only a “select few” who have the responsibility to witness, you’re hiding behind a shallow excuse.

Stop clutching to your weaknesses, shyness, lack of training, fear, or any other excuse and start believing the God of the impossible who specializes in using weak vessels! There is not a single Christian who cannot become an effective revolutionary witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Witnessing IS NOT a gift; it is a COMMAND. God did not excuse the majority of His children from the most urgent task in all the world.

ARE YOU UP FOR THE TASK?

WITH GOD YOU ARE!

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Preaching Against Sin

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 9, 2008

“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression…” Isaiah 58:1

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4:2

As long as preachers preach against sin in generalities, no one really gets too upset or offended. It’s only when specific sins are named (drinking alcohol, pornography, robbing God, not witnessing or soul-winning, skipping church) that people become uncomfortable.  People don’t mind preaching against sin as long as it’s not their own pet sin. We just don’t like to have our toes stepped on.

Preachers of God’s Word have always denounced sin in no uncertain terms. Lets’ just name a few…there was:

SAMUEL – He was explicit about the sin of King Saul: “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” 1 Sam 15:22-23

JEHU – He didn’t mince words about Jehoshaphat’s sin: “And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.” 2 Chron 19:2 

NEHEMIAH – He literally “grappled” with some over their sins: “Then I contended [‘grappled’] with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath.” Neh 13:17-18

JEREMIAH – God had him to be very pointed on Israel’s sins: “And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.” Jer 1:16; “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Jer 2:13

JOHN THE BAPTIST – He was really specific on Herod’s sin: “For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.” Mark 6:18

PAUL – He named names in preaching against sin: “Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” 1 Tim 1:20; “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.” 2 Tim 4:14-15

THE LORD JESUS CHRIST – He scathed the religious hypocrites of His day calling them serpents and vipers and blind guides! See Matt 23

SO…the next time your preacher “rubs the fur the wrong way” [as they say], don’t blame him…

JUST TURN THE CAT AROUND!

Posted in Ramblings | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

A Man of Conviction

Posted by Pastor Szekely on June 29, 2008

Elijah on CarmelBefore church this morning I was reading in 1 Kings 17, and verse one is where we first read of God’s man, the prophet Elijah, on the scene before the wicked King Ahab and Jezebel. The first verse and the first words of Elijah the Tishbite are very powerful and they show to us that this man of God was truly convinced of some things…just read verse one:

And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.”

What a man of conviction! Elijah was convinced that 1) God was really real– “As the LORD God of Israel liveth”; 2) He was going to give an account of his daily living to God – “before whom I stand”; and 3) God was All-Sufficient for what lie ahead – “there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word”.

What a great example of what we who name the Precious Name of the Lord Jesus Christ need to be! Oh where are the people of God with conviction? Too many have opinions, but not many convictions. What’s the difference between an opinion and a conviction? Simply put:

OPINIONSWhat we hold / CONVICTIONSWhat hold us!

What’s holding you today? What so thoroughly convinces you that no matter what you were up against you could not deny it…in fact, you would even give yourself for it? Someone once said, “If you don’t have anything you’d be willing to die for, you may not have anything worth living for!” That sounds like being held to something more than an opinion!

Be a man or a woman of conviction. Remember Elijah, as he stood before the king and his Court, being thoroughly convinced that God was really real, that he would give an account of his life before God, and that God was All-Sufficient for what lie ahead. He was held by those beliefs.

Think of the Apostle Paul who was fully convinced, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39

Be held by God and His Word. We all can have preferences and opinions, but oh how there needs to be more children of God with some firm convictions founded upon God’s Holy Word! Have the Bible build you. Too many times I hear, “Well I think that God…” and then comes some homespun philosophy. Opinions are like noses – most everybody has one! Take what God says about Himself, about Salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ, and about our daily holy living, and let it hold you. Be a person of conviction!

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , , , , | 10 Comments »

Obadiah Holmes – Unmercifully Whipped

Posted by Pastor Szekely on May 14, 2008

Pastor Obadiah Holmes sufferingPastor Obadiah Holmes was the second pastor of the Newport Church in Rhode Island, the first Baptist Church in America.  In the following [copied from History of the Baptists, Armitage, BSB Publishers, 1887. pg 687-688] he and two of the brethren suffer much for the cause of Christ, but it was the blood of Brother Holmes that was the first to be shed in America for the sake of our Saviour.

On Monday they were removed to Boston an cast into prison, the charges against them being for ‘disturbing the congregation in the afternoon, for drawing aside others after their erroneous judgments and practices, and for suspicion of rebaptizing one or more amongst us’.

Clarke [this is John Clarke, first pastor of the Newport Church] was fined 20 pounds sterling, Holmes 30, and [James] Crandall 5 pounds sterling; and on refusal to pay they were ‘to be well whipped’, although [Governor] Winslow had told the English Government that they had no law ‘to whip in that kind’.

Edwards [historian] says that while ‘Mr. Clarke stood stripped at the whipping post, some humane person was so affected with the sight of a scholar, a gentleman, and reverend divine, in such a situation, that he, with a sum of money, redeemed him from his bloody tormentors’. Before this he had asked the Court, ‘What law of God or man had he broken, that his back must be given to the tormentors for it, or he be despoiled of his goods to the amount of 20 pounds sterling?’ To the which Endicott replied, ‘You have denied infant baptism and deserve death, going up and down, and secretly insinuating into them that be weak, but cannot maintain it before our ministers’.

Clarke tells us that ‘indulgent and tenderhearted friends, without my consent and contrary to my judgment, paid the fine’. Thus somenone paid the fine of Clarke and Crandall, and proposed to pay that of Holmes. The first two were released, whether they assented or not, but Holmes who was a man of learning, and who afterward succeeded Dr. Clarke as pastor of the Newport Church, would not consent to the paying of his fine, and because he refused, he was whipped thirty stripes, September 6, 1651. He said that he ‘durst not accept of deliverance in such a way’.

He was found guilty of ‘hearing a sermon in a private manner…and for suspicion of their having their hands in rebaptizing of one or more’. Bancroft [historian] says that he was whipped ‘unmercifully’, and ‘that for many days, if no some weeks, he could take no rest but upon his knees and elbows, not being able to sufferany part of his body to touch the bed whereon he lay’.

While enduring his torture, he joined his Lord on the cross and Stephen in praying that this sin might not be laid to the charge of his persecutors; and when his lacerated flesh quivered and blood streamed from his body, so powerfully did the Grace of the Crucified sustain him that he cheerfully said to his tormentors:

YOU HAVE STRUCK ME AS WITH ROSES!

Posted in Baptist Echoes | Tagged: , , , , | 45 Comments »