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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Short Term Service Prepares You For Bible College

So, you want to know whether you have what it takes?

Volunteer to work on a short ter mission project. Help out at a children's camp during your vacation. Work with an evangelistic outreach team.

If you don't know where to start, ask someone experienced, who knows your gifts, who can point you in the direction of the right organisation.

The time you invest in a vnture ike this will yield great dividends. It will enable you to see what you have an aptitude for, and also where your gifting doesn't lie. It will give you an opportunity to experiment and reach out in faith amongst peers who feel the same andwho have similar goals. You will be allowed to fail. There will be no shame in it, it's all part of the process of ironing out the awkward parts of your personality that need to be sanctified.

Spell it out like that, and it sounds like there will be no takers. But the good news is that more and more young people like yourself rise to a challenge like this. Will you?

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Planning for Future Success

Perhaps Jesus will reurn before I've finished at Bible college. Perhaps I'd be more effective ministering now without a formal education.

It's a risk we take with any long-term plans. It's not just the Second Coming that should concern you. Your lifespan is limited, and only the Almighty knows for certain when He will call you home.

There is one clear standard - do you have Christ's peace concerning any major decision like this? Other factors would include other scriptural principles that might come into play when considering your vocation.

In any case. It's a cop out - similar to the lazy man in Proverbs who refuses to leave his home, just in case there's a lion outside. To avoid hard work and self discipline that would make you a more effective worker for Christ is not an attitude of faith.

Faith knows that if God has called you to serve, He will also call you to study and prepare. Faith knows that the most important thing for you to do is to be in the centre of His will for you. You do not know what ministry He has prepared for you participate in while you are studying at Bible college. But you can be sure that it will be the most effective use of your time and your effort. God is not wasteful - and even if you die or Jesus returns while you're still studying for a life of service, you can be certain that you will have fulfilled all He has set you apart to achieve.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Greetings!

A quick thank you to everyone who passes by and takes the trouble to read my musings and suggestions. I enjoy the challenge of writing - deep down inside I have a compulsion to share what little I have that the Good Lord has blessed me with.

In the meantime, I have big plans for the coming year. Watch out for some new resources I'll be mentioning here.

I'll be praying for you, my readers - particularly those of you struggling with the thought of whether you should go to bible college or not - whether you have heard a clear call from God, or whether you're just experiencing the emotional tug of a situation of great need. Be patient. God will make His will clear to you in good time.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Bible Student at Christmas

It's a busy time for everyone. It's an opportunity to share the true meanng of Christmas to a wide circle of people who, at one time of the year are more open to hearing the message of Jesus - who want to experience the love of God, who want to come home spiritually to the One ho i waiting for them with open arms; or who just want to find out what the mystery behind all the trappings realy amounts to.

As a growing leader in the Christian community, this is an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you are faithful, dependable, flexible.

Anything you can do to support those in leadership who have shared their lives with you will be a great help. No job is too great or small. It is a busy time for all, and it is a time for you to show that you do not buckle under stress and that your attitude is one of excellence in all things.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

The Desire to Study

A longing to sped time in the Word of God is an entirely natural result of a life-changing encounter with the Holy Spirit. We have experienced a complete transformation, a new birth into a life where our goal is now to see God's Kingdom in all its glory in the worl we live in.

It should come as no surprise therefore that the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead, who is capable of healing broken bodies and revealing hiddent truth to those who would listen to Him; this same Spirit wishes to re-energise our desire to study the Word of God in order to speak to us more clearly.

The converse is also true. For when we cut ourselves off from Him, turning to our own desires and trying to blot out His call through pre-occupying ourselves with the distractions of the orld - then we see our desire to study diminish.

Recognising this is the first key to returning to full fellowship with Him. For a prospective pastor it is essential that you become sensitive to promptings of this nature; your responsibility is not only to feed yourself, but to study to provide food for those entrusted into your care.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Follow Me?

If we see someone able to do something well, we like to imitate, emulate it. There is a simple scientific principle in there. Hypothesis and testing. We want to kno if we can duplicate the same result by doing exactly the same as our mentor.

Sowing and reaping - works exactly the same way. There is a science to it.

But people, and God, are not scientific experiments. Individuality breaks through unpredictably. As Jesus said, "The wind blows where it wants to..."

But there is another danger we're not so quick to warnabout, because we like to see results. You've seen them before, the trainee pastor who models himself after his mentor down to dressing the same, the same annerisms, affectations when preaching. It's as if they want to become that preacher.

It brings results.

Better than they had before.

But not the best.

If the Good Lord wanted preacher clones, He culd have created them, in an instant.

Yes, it is our responsibility to learn from the best, assimilate and build upon what we catch from them. But we ere made as individuals - uniquely able to reflect God's infinite creativity through expressing ourselves in a way that no-one else can.

As John ended his letter - dear children, keep yourselves from idols...

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

How badly do you want it?

Just how badly do you want to respond to God's call? How important is it to you?

It is very easy to say, "It's the most important thing in my life!" But this is why we're warned to ensure that our actions match our words. If further training to handle the ord of God is your priority right now, what are you doing about it?

Praying for doors to open, for wisdom to choose the rght Bible college?
Seeking God for the finance you will need to pay for your tuition?
Studying your Bible now, putting together the study tools that you will need?
Spending time with those whose local ministries you respect?

It is not my place to condemn, but to provoke you into action. If you are convinced that the Almighty has a plan for your life that involves serving Him to the exclusion of all other pursuits, then this should be evident from the way you live your life now.

I am not calling for a legalistic moulding of your habits into a lifestyle you cannot maintain nor thrive under. The Good Lord provides both the desire and the ability to discipline yourself as an integral part of your calling. Respond to Him with faith, and you will find the freedom to flourish; and receive your heart's desire.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Students of Victory?

For a prospective student at a Bible college, one important criteria must be the ethos of any school under consideration. hat is their outlook on essential matters of faith?

Another issue is the mindset. After you have finished your course, will you leave with an attitude that is quietly confident of Christ's ultimate victory? Will you have a clear vision of your part to play in the fulfillment of his inescpable triumph over all?

What do the other graduates look like? In what ways have thy been envisioned?

Most importantly, what does Father say?

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Do others recognise your call?

It's an important question. How do you know that you have a call from God to lead others?

Do others follow you now?

It may sound trite, but think about it this way. We know from Romans ch.12 that God will not call you to do something that He will not equip and prepare you for. Otherwise, His will would not be good, pleasing or perfect. So, if the Good Lord is not going to call you to a life of frustration and disappointment, there should be evidence already of what He has set you aside for.

1. Frst: and most important - internal evidence, within your own spirit. It was no accident that Gideon was fist called a Mighty Man of Valour by the Angel of the Lord in Judges ch.6 v.12, long before there was any external evidence of this - but Gideon acted on the revelation he was given, thus demonstrating the truth of Hebrews ch.11 v.3 and Romans ch.4 v.17 - that God calls into reality whatever was not already in existence to fulfill His words.

2. Acting on the Revelation - it would have done Gideon no good to go around confessing "I am a mighty man of valour" if he didn't also act on this word from God. The same is as true for us as it was for the Israeites in the Wilderness. The revelaed Word will only be of benefit to you if you combine it with faith. Fortunately for us, that faith is also a gift available for all of us if we ask.

Of course there is a question related to this. How do you know it is God speaking and not just the after-effects of a rich meal and a good nap? Remember, all the answer you need to questions like this can be found in one Book. In James ch.1 we are told that at times like this when we are questioning which route to take, rather than being double-minded in a state of indecision or attempting to do two things and being distracted from our purpose - we can act for wisdom, and be confident that we will receive it.

In Colossians ch.3 v.15 the Apostle Paul reminds us that we can let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts - that when faced with a choice, if one option will give us no peace inside, then it would be folly to go don that route.

Another obvious test is that the Good Lord will never call you to do something that contravenes the principles He has already laid down in his Word. Another good reason to know your Bible - so you can be thoroughly equipped.

3. Assuming you acted in obedience to the revelation you have; there should be some evidence for other more mature believers to assess. Be careful. We in the church are often far too nice, too diplomatic - we don't want to upset people. There is a reason why Proverbs ch.27 v.6 tells us that the wounds from a friend are faithful. Sometimes it hurts to be told that you are wasting your time.

Particularly value feedback from someone already in leadership who is doing what you would like to do - they have already experienced and acted on a similar call. They will know what you are going through. Their honest advice should be sought after and acted upon.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Properly handling the word of truth

2 Timothy ch.2 v.15 puts it this way: Give diligence to present yourself approved by God, a workman who doesn't need to be ashamed, properly handling the Word of Truth.

A few thoughts to ponder. If there is a proper way to handle the Word of Truth, then there must also be an improper way to do so - which ought to shame those who do so for such a thing is most certainly not approved of by the Good Lord.

2 Timothy gives us some clues to the improper misuse of the Word that Paul had in mind. Worthy of a study in itself, if only to help you guard against what you should not do by focusing your attention on the positive call of God.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Building into peoples' lives

As an aspiring Bible teacher, one important question to ask is why?

Why are you doing this? What is your motivation? We aren't just doing this to try to curry favour from others. If that's the case, the first hint of opposition and your resolve would melt away. Nether is this an ego trip disguised as personal development for ourselves.

We have a sacred trust to have the same motivation as the one who sent us. God loved, therefore He gave. We are to be the same, reflecting Him. We love, therefore we give - building a life of power and love in those we come into contact with.

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