Archive for June, 2009

I think every man should memorize this

Posted in Randomness on June 17, 2009 by jaymallow

There is so much wisdom in every line…

“If”

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master,
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

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Called to Ministry Pt. 4

Posted in Devotions on June 15, 2009 by jaymallow

A Particular People- God’s “College of Character”

Envision a person that decides to pursue higher education by auditing only courses they are interested in, from professors they like, from different colleges and universities. Along the way they do learn and make friends in the various classes they attend. However, what would a Dean of Students say to that person if after four years that person came and demanded a degree? I think it would go something like this, “Well first you need to apply and identify yourself with this institution. This is so that we can track your courses and credit your progress. Secondly, you need to know that there are prerequisites that are necessary for a degree and you need to take them in order to show a level of proficiency.” “But you’re stifling the spirit of learning!” replies the student. “I just want to grow and learn.” The Dean replies, “Well if you want to continue that way you are free to do so, but don’t expect that you’ll ever graduate”

This too often is how “ministry” is viewed today, serving in various ministries, both outside and inside the local church, but really never fully committing to the church. The church is God’s College of Character. This is where the prerequisites and fundamentals are proven and accredited. This requires identification with a particular group of individuals. Just like attending a college or university, you have to apply and associate. Now the “local church” is very similar to higher education in that there are a multitude of options, location, atmosphere, student life, standards of education, etc., etc. The point is that you’ve got to commit, and commit to one institution for some length of time for accreditation to be awarded. It’s within a particular people that God works through the process to make a person “credible” for ministry. But far from associating with a cold impersonal institution we associate with a living organism, the body and bride of Christ. We fellowship with, minister to, and receive ministry from real people all of us experiencing the grace of God.

(Addendums, provisos, and quid pro quos: I’m not suggesting that “Para Church” ministry isn’t necessary in the Kingdom of God. Or that serving in such ministries isn’t serving the Kingdom. Nor am I suggesting that the local church possesses ALL the means of equipping for ministry. Seminaries, missions organizations, servant evangelism opportunities (like Crisis Pregnancy), all equip in their own way. But the equipment ultimately should buildup the local church, and the fruit of that equipment should be evaluated within the context of the local church. All these things may be a means of personal growth, but God has uniquely designated the local church as the arbiter of character.)

Called to Ministry Pt. 3

Posted in Devotions on June 11, 2009 by jaymallow

A Person

God doesn’t call us to a process as an end in itself; it’s the means to a person Jesus Christ. The character qualities Paul lists in 1st Timothy 3 aren’t “prerequisites” as if there’s a “leadership checklist”. Rather they are evidences of a mature and growing relationship with Jesus Christ. The call to ministry is a call to an ever deepening personal relationship that is reflected in the way we live. The “goal” isn’t to “arrive”, but to in the process become more like the Savior we profess to love and follow. The call to ministry isn’t so much a call to “get somewhere” as to “know someone”. Again the analogy of relationships is helpful. It’s easy to discern between friends, best friends, lovers, and married lovers. You can look at a relationship and tell fairly quickly by observing, where that relationship is. What they do, and how they act toward the other person reveals the relationship. Now the relationship may be progressing or not, that takes a bit more discernment and involvement, but it’s easy to tell between a “friend” and a “married lover”. The one called to leadership is a “married lover” of Jesus Christ. Not only is their love evident but it’s committed. In the call to ministry all of us should be in the process becoming more and more a “married lover” of Christ. What we do in growing and expressing that love, and how we get to that point really is less important than the one we love. What’s more important to a Bride and Groom on their wedding day? The fact, that they are getting married? Or is it that they are getting married to the person standing next to them? Are we called to “ministry”? Or called to be a minister of Jesus Christ?

Called to Mintstry Pt. 2

Posted in Devotions on June 10, 2009 by jaymallow

A Process, a Person, and Particular People not a Profession

The funny thing about listening to the messages was that Dave Harvey kept replacing the phrase “Noble Task” with “Good thing”. This brought to my mind Proverbs 18: 22 “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.” The verses do seem a little similar and in my imagination who knows? Could this be an in-joke between Paul, and the “Single Elder” Timothy? (Especially since the root Greek word for “Noble” is “Beautiful?) Probably not, but the parallel between marriage and ministry is real. Imagine a young man coming to our church. He’s attractive, well spoken, and well dressed. From all outward appearances this guy looks like a good guy. However, imagine if on the third Sunday, this guy pulled aside one of the single ladies and said this, “God’s given me a vision and desire for marriage. Furthermore, I’ve got a great job so I’m a good provider, and there are many other things that God’s done in my life that would make me a great husband and father. I feel God calling you to marry me so I can pursue God’s will in my life.” (Don’t laugh I’ve known guys that have actually done this.) At this point a father or pastor needs to take that man aside and say, “Um, you’re missing a part of the process here, if not the whole point.” Sadly, this is how we normally view our gifting and callings within the church. That the church is supposed to supply the fulfillment of our gifts because, isn’t being fulfilled our American Christian God given right? The problem really isn’t that we’re prideful (though we are) it’s that we impose a secular process in seeking a vocation where God has a different process and agenda. In seeking a secular profession you start with a “dream”, go to school, work hard, and achieve your goal. In Gods paradigm He starts with character.(1 Tim. 3:2-7) The trouble is that character isn’t something you learn from a book, you can’t tell a person’s character from a degree. It’s something proven through the process. Think back to the relationship analogy. If two people are attracted to each other they can observe from afar, get counsel, and talk to every other person in the world, but sooner or later they just have to start dating to really get to know each other, to really discern each others character. (Yes I didn’t use the “c” word and I’m not apologizing.) In the broader church context the only way you and I really know where and to what ministries you and I are called in the church is to start serving. Get involved in the process, because ultimately God isn’t just calling you and me to the process for the process sake. He’s not calling us to build and display character for character’s sake. He isn’t calling us for our sake and the sake of the gifts He’s given. He isn’t even calling us for the sake of those we serve.

A bigger God

Posted in Randomness on June 10, 2009 by jaymallow

I’ve been reflecting this evening on a comforting quote that I wrote a while ago.  “God is bigger than what I happen to think He is doing in my life.”  It’s so easy to begin to obsess over what I think God might be doing, over what I’m doing ot not doing in His will, and where He ultamately will lead that I lose perpective that God ultamately is in control and that He has a purpose for my good.  God is bigger than my efforts.  God is bigger than my giftings.  God is bigger than finances, future, relational struggles, and even scary totally new future ramifications.  God holds hearts, minds, and acceptences.  God one way or another has good in store.  He is the one illuminating the minds reading my essays for application.  it’s not my skill as a writer that commends me but the Holy Spirit.  If He approves, who cares?

Called to ministry Pt 1

Posted in Devotions on June 9, 2009 by jaymallow

I was apart of Sovereign Grace Chesapeake back when the Pastor’s College was first started. Back then, it seemed that every guy wanted to go to the Pastor’s College. Now to be honest, that desire really didn’t spring up from a real sense of “calling” to be a pastor, it was more of an expectation that if you were really spiritual and loved God that’s where you were supposed to end up. That and Sovereign Grace Girls dig “leaders”. (And no you don’t have my permission to make t-shirts.) I shared this with Ron not too long ago and His response went something like this (referring to the leadership desire not the girl part) , “I almost wish we had that problem. It seems to me that most young guys don’t see the ministry as a desirable vocation.” In encouraging me in perusing a desire for ministry, Ron encouraged me to read the “Are You Called?” pamphlet put out by Sovereign Grace and listen to the messages from the conference of the same name. He also asked me to write and share what insights I’d gained and summarize both the Pamphlet and Messages to encourage and exhort the rest of the church through this article. What I hope is that not only will I spur thought in those that might be thinking about a call to vocational ministry, but also to exhort everyone because everyone in the church is called to “ministry” within the church in one form or another.

Desiring the “Noble Task”-Why not you?

:1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.

The call to ministry begins, of all places, with a desire for ministry. That desire in and of itself isn’t arrogance or presumption but rather, it is a good desire to have. Too often the desire for vocational ministry is immediately dismissed as pride, when God often does place that desire in our hearts. Bidding the question, “Why not you?” Before you think of why you shouldn’t pursue ministry, a great place to start is why you should. Do you have a desire? Ok that’s the start point. We tend to think that the “call to ministry” involves parting heavens, the audible voice of God, and maybe a dove. However, the vocational call to ministry is just like every other “calling” God places in our lives. (1Cor. 7:17-24) The ones we are free to actively pursue are the ones that we desire to pursue. (The “callings” that we don’t want to pursue, that God still calls us to, normally are the callings that pursue us.) Within the broader context of the church as well, in almost all ministry opportunities the question, “Am I called to serve here?”, can initially be answered by the question, “Do I desire to serve?” But it’s not just about desire. And what is it that we’re supposed to desire, anyway?

Christian Ethics

Posted in Randomness on June 4, 2009 by jaymallow

If anyone want’s to know why I feel the desire to pursue college here it is:  http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/016/571vhyvx.asp?pg=1

Excellent, thought provoking, and timely.  I have a vision to be able to write like this.

(Thanks again to Kevin DeYoung for this excellent article)