On August 4, 1991, the MTS Oceanos cruise ship ran into a terrible storm off the coast of South Africa. When the ship began to sink, the captain decided to abandon ship and left with his officers, failing to notify those onboard of any problem. Passenger Moss Hills, a British musician, noticed that something was wrong and sent out a Mayday signal to the South African coast guard. Then, taking matters into their own hands, Moss, his wife Tracy, and other entertainers on board helped organize the evacuation of all passengers by assisting them as they were lifted into helicopters.
The pastor of a megachurch quit providing content through social media—declaring his return to his original calling of pastoring his local church. He felt that the distraction of his popular online communications were detracting from His primary calling. Pastors and all of us struggle at times with our priorities.
I once had a boss who wielded the ultimate power in our organization. It was his goal to make sure we never forgot who was in charge. Though he was successful in gaining an iron grip within our office, the net result was that this man was very lonely. How different it could have been if he had humbled himself and formed friendly relationships with his employees!
The story is told that in the late 1800s a group of European pastors attended D. L. Moody’s Bible conference in Massachusetts. Following their custom, they put their shoes outside their room before they slept, expecting them to be cleaned by hotel workers. When Moody saw the shoes, he mentioned the …
Many believers long to find ways to better integrate their faith and work. Some feel as though they are in a second-class role because they were not called into full-time Christian ministry. Some struggle with identifying their purpose, calling, and giftedness; having no role model; knowing how to integrate faith and work; and knowing how to share and defend faith in the workplace. As a result, these believers are frustrated and can fall short of fully integrating their faith with their work.
If this has been your experience, get ready to be encouraged. These five lessons will help you reflect on…
Pastors make an easy target for criticism. Every week they are on display, carefully explaining God’s Word, challenging us toward Christlike living. But sometimes we look to find things to criticize. It’s easy to overlook all the good things a pastor does and focus on our personal opinions.
Reading the book of Judges, with its battles and mighty warriors, can sometimes feel like reading about comic book superheroes. We have Deborah, Barak, Gideon, and Samson. However, in the line of judges (or deliverers), we also find Othniel.
The account of his life is brief and straightforward (Judges 3:7-11).
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load. Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches” (Galatians 6:1-6).
IDEA: Another expression of the fruit of the Spirit is how we support those who teach us the Scriptures.
In 1959, when Lee Kuan Yew assumed the position of Prime Minister of Singapore, his leadership began a long process of national transformation. Initially, disagreements between ethnic groups and a weak economic base made the future of this tiny nation uncertain. By 1990, when Lee stepped down from his position, Singapore had become a model country for ethnic harmony and a thriving economy. After serving as Senior Minister, Lee became Minister Mentor in 2004. Since then he has been an invaluable resource to Singapore’s cabinet and to other leaders around the world.
The story of the rebellious prophet Jonah shows us how God desires to use both blessings and trials to challenge us and change us for the better. Five times in the book of Jonah it says that the Lord prepared circumstances for him—both good and bad.
In Jonah 1:4 we read that the Lord sent a storm. It says He “sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea.”
While visiting the campus of Purdue University on a frigid winter day, I came upon two young men chipping away thick ice on the sidewalk next to a fraternity house. Thinking they must be underclassmen who had been assigned the tough job by older fraternity brothers, I said, “They didn’t tell you about this when you joined, did they?” One looked up with a smile and said, “Well, we’re both upperclassmen. I’m the fraternity vice-president and my friend here is the president.” I thanked them for their hard work and went on my way having been reminded that serving others is the mark of a true leader.
When I think of my father, I think of this saying: “He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and he let me watch him do it.” During my youth, I watched my dad walk with God. He participated in Sunday morning church services, taught an adult Bible-study class, helped with counting the offering, and served as a deacon.
Stephen Ambrose’s book Band of Brothers follows the US Army’s Easy Company from training in Georgia through the Normandy Invasion of D-Day (June 6, 1944) and ultimately to the end of World War II in Europe.
Now in my sixties, I reflect back on wise spiritual leaders who had a positive impact on my life. In Bible school, God used my Old Testament professor to make the Word come alive. My Greek teacher relentlessly employed high standards to goad my study of the New Testament.