Archive for March 2009

Is There a Difference Between Prosperity and Success in Ministry? (based on Joshua 1:8)

[This article began as a response to a question asked about God I don't want to be Isaiah. As I am incapable of being short-winded, it grew into a separate article.]

The matter of the difference between prosperity and success is really going to be semantic. If you are basing the discussion on modern usage of the words while applying biblical principles, I would say yes, there is a difference. For instance, in the modern vernacular, "prosperous" overlaps with success, but generally includes monetary gain. M-W.com lists prosperous as "a: marked by success or economic well-being b: enjoying vigorous and healthy growth c: flourishing. However, "success" is defined as a "favorable or desired outcome." Therefore, you may "succeed" in an endeavor in your ministry without "prospering." Example: if your teens decide to take up a project to feed the homeless, they may take donations, do fundraisers, and orchestrate a food drive. As the day of the event get closer, they haven't met the goal, so the church kicks in $200 from the general budget. Well, on that day they feed 500 homeless people, and as that was their goal, they have "success." However, the church is set back $200. So, by those definitions they did not "prosper." Obviously, if you use a more Christo-centric Biblical outlook and say that the kids succeeded (by feeding the homeless) and prospered (by laying up treasure in heaven) you also fulfill both definitions. As I said-semantics.Read more ...

Published on March 21, 2009 at 10:00 pm |

God, I Don’t Want To Be Isaiah (is that OK?)

I recently got a call from a young pastor who was trying to decide if his attitude was wrong concerning his desire to see his church experience serious growth. The answer, of course, is...it depends. There is no doubt that it is possible to "do ministry" from improper motives. In his letter to the Philippians Paul says that he is aware that some are preaching the gospel out of a sense of selfish ambition (1:15-17). If a pastor desires for his ministry to grow so that he will be recognized as a great leader, and so that his latest book will sell more copies, yes, that is a problem. I don't think we need to spend much time arguing that point. It is legitimate, however, to consider whether it is wrong to desire ardently to see one's ministry opportunities grow and expand.Read more ...

Published on March 19, 2009 at 10:00 pm |

Bitterness is Destructive

In the last two articles, we defined bitterness as the anger and hatred that we direct at other people because of our own selfish ambition and pride.  We also looked at two examples of bitterness.  The first was Simon the Magician's bitterness against other people.  Simon's ambition drove him to be poisoned with bitterness against the apostles.  We also examined the life of Job and his bitterness against God.  This has been, in many ways, preparatory for this final installment-the destructive nature of bitterness.  It is imperative that we realize that bitterness is an incredibly dangerous vice to toy with, and it must be rooted from our lives.Read more ...

Published on March 14, 2009 at 10:00 pm |

Bitterness Against God: Job

The story of Job could be described as a "riches to rags" story. In the beginning of the book we learn that Job has what many would call the American Dream. He is an incredibly wealthy man. He has a large family that enjoys spending time together. He also was a very godly man. God's description of Job is that he "was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil" (Job 1:1). He was also very concerned about the spiritual well-being of his family. He prayed for them and offered sacrifices for them (Job 1:5). He seemed to have it all-a fact that Satan was quick to point out to God. Satan claimed that Job's faithfulness to God was the result of unparalleled blessing on his life, and the removal of this blessing would result in Job's cursing God and forsaking Him (Job 1:11). God agreed to put Job to the test. He allowed Satan to take his wealth and the lives of his family all in one day, and Job's response was stunning: "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21). Many of us would have crumpled under the crushing weight of such a blow, but Job's faith remained untouched. The divine commentary on Job's faith is also remarkable: "In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong" (Job 1:22).Read more ...

Published on March 8, 2009 at 10:00 pm |

Personal Convictions

Personal convictions are the template, pattern, or framework for decision-making in each person's life. We arrive at personal convictions in a variety of ways, but there are similarities in each of us. Most of us rely heavily on our upbringing. The values of our parents or guardians are interwoven in all we do. Also, major life experiences and crucial interactions further color our life choices. For the believer, though, there must be a higher standard by which we make our life choices; our personal convictions must be based on Biblical truth.

Not many are likely to deny the above statements. Most professing believers would claim that they base their life framework on Biblical commandments and principles. How is it, then, that the lives of believers unfold in such an amazing variety of ways?Read more ...

Published on March 5, 2009 at 10:00 pm |

Full Articles

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