DTS

06/30/2014

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It really is true: the health and success of your ministry really are a matter of death and life. If you are ever going to be an ambassador in the hands of a God of glorious and powerful grace, you must die.

You must die to your plans for your own life. You must die to your self-focused dreams of success. You must die to your demands for comfort and ease. You must die to your individual definition of the good life. You must die to your demands for pleasure, acclaim,  prominence, and respect. You must die to your desire to be in control. You must die to your hope for independent righteousness. You must die to your plans for others.  You must die to your cravings for a certain lifestyle or particular location. 
You must die to your own kingship.  You must die to the pursuit of your own glory in order to take up the cause of the glory of Another.  You must die to your control over your own time.  You must die to your maintenance of your reputation.  You must die to having the final answer and getting your own way.  You must die to your unfaltering confidence in you. You must die.

 -Paul Tripp, Dangerous Calling, pp. 189-190

 

Wake Up

06/26/2014

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Luke 19:41 (HCSB)
41  As He approached and saw the city, He wept over it,

2 Chronicles 7:14 (HCSB)
14  and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

When God is about to do something He will call His church to pray.  Let’s ask God for a great outpouring of His grace and supplication.  Pray that He will open the windows of heaven and pour out His Spirit.

You will know you are experiencing a fresh touch of God when you stop confessing everyone else’s sin and start with your own.

May the Holy Spirit fall on us.  May He unleash His power through us to fulfill the Father’s will.

 
 
The following is from the ministry of Thom Rainer:

Me First = Death

When a church ceases to have a heart and ministry for its community, it is on the
path toward death.

Whenever local churches are mentioned in the New Testament, they are always exhorted to be other-centered.  Paul told the church at Philippi to look after the interests of others even as it considered its own interests (Phil. 2:1–4).

But dying churches are concerned with self-preservation. They are concerned with a certain way of doing church. They are all about self. Their doors are closed to the community. And even more sadly, most of the members in the dying church would not admit they are closed to those God has called them to reach and minister.


My prayer for us:
Father, give us a heart for this community. 
Empower us to be other-centered. 
Show all of us that we each have a part. 
May we continue to seek out others before our own interests. 
Give us a burden to pray for those You want us to reach and minister. 
How do you want us to open our doors?    

 
 
3 Ways to Battle the Frustration of Sanctification
By Michael  Kelley
  
In 2003, I was closing up my third semester of Hebrew at Beeson
Divinity School in Birmingham, Ala., and frankly, I was glad to be done. I had
worn my fingertips raw on notecards and parsed enough verbs (I thought) for a
lifetime.

 One day, as the semester was getting close to the end, my
professor blindsided me with one of the greatest pieces of wisdom I was able to
accumulate throughout those years of graduate school. And it actually had very
little to do with Hebrews.

 As such things often are with the wise, it was a kind of off hand
comment that didn’t relate much to the subject at hand; one of those sayings he
probably has no recollection of, but it has rung in my head in the decade since
he said it:
 “You know what seminary is, students? It’s passing from
unconscious to conscious ignorance.” And he was right. I came out of that Hebrew
class alone with a few vocabulary words that have stuck with me, but greater and
more lasting than that, I came out with a greater sense of how much I do not
know.

 Sanctification is a little like that, I think. This process that
all of us Christians are engaged in – the process by which we grow more and more
like Jesus – is at once moving forward and moving backward. It seems to me that
the closer you come to Jesus, paradoxically, the more conscious you are of how
far you have yet to go. The Holy Spirit exposes one element of your sinfulness
only for you to see a hundred more in which you fall short.

 Daily you come face to face with your good works only to discover
that you’re motivated by selfishness. And you realize at an ever-increasing
frequency the truth of this statement: even the tears of the saints must be
washed in the blood of the lamb.

 So how do you keep going and not fall into despair when you
realize how far you still have to go? And how can we, as church leaders, help
others to do the same? I would suggest three ways:

 1. Celebrate progress rather than perfection.
Everyone who is growing in Jesus wants to be free from sin. Everyone wants to
have an aligned heart that is free from duplicity. All of us know what it’s like
to be frustrated at our inability to conquer temptation. But even in the midst
of the struggle, we can choose to celebrate progress. Think of it practically in
a very simple scenario:

 You challenge others to read their Bibles every day. Specifically,
there’s one person you are mentoring closely and holding accountable. Things go
well for a while, but then this person “falls off the wagon.” He read his Bible
only three times that week, not seven. There’s a choice to make here. Either you
heap guilt and shame on that person for not living up to their commitment or you
can choose to celebrate the progress:

 “Brother, do you remember when you didn’t want to read the Bible
at all? And now look at you! You are grieved because you missed four days! What
great evidence of the work of God in your life!” And suddenly you are
celebrating not perfection, but the gradual process that’s happening.

 2. Emphasize the value of the fight.
Sanctification is work. It’s a fight moment-by-moment and day-by-day. If we want
to take heart instead of being discouraged in the process, then we must learn to
value the fight itself.

 Sure, some battles will be lost. It’s inevitable. But the question
is what happens next. Will you or someone close to you be defeated or will they
continue to fight on? If they are in the fight, then they are in the process, so
emphasize the fight itself rather than the victory.

 3. Remember the finished work of Christ.
 I take great encouragement from what Paul says in Romans 8. In that passage, he uses
the past tense form of sanctification. To Him, the work of Jesus is so final
that those who are in Him are already, in an eternal sense, sanctified and
glorified. That’s good news for all of us who get discouraged at our seeming
lack of progress.

 When we remember the finished work of Jesus, we will remember that
there is no pride for us in the process of sanctification. We are working out
what He has already worked in. We can keep going not because we are strong but
because our position has already been secured in Him.

 That’s how we keep going. That’s how we get in the fight. That’s
how we celebrate the progress. It’s because we know that no matter what happens
in the individual battles, the war has already been won.