Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Handling Accurately God’s Word

Open Bible

In my daily Bible Reading I’m at the Book of Job, Chapter 9.  In particular verse 2 jumped out at me:

How can a man be righteous before God?  If one wished to contend with Him he could not answer Him one time out of a thousand.”  (New King James Version)

It’s so important for us to have a correct understanding of who God is and who we are. He is the potter and we are the clay.  We must honor Him for His awesomeness and don’t think for a moment we are equal to Him.  (Isaiah 64:8)

But now, O Lord, You are our Father,
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all of us are the work of Your hand.

That’s true, but on the other hand we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).

 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

We who are believers in Jesus Christ are not a worm, but His children whom He has raised up and given power and authority.  We are not those who grovel in our sin and unworthiness.  It’s important to understand how we were, but not how we are now.

The Apostle Paul admonishes us to “handle accurately the Word of Truth.”  (2 Timothy 2:15)

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

As we seek to understand God and His Ways and His Will for us, it’s essential that we not take one truth and emphasize that truth over another.  It’s important for us to not take one truth – like the righteousness of God and the unrighteousness of mankind – and emphasize only one side of the truth.  One truth in  God’s Word is often balanced by another truth.  We must take each teaching or Bible verse within it’s context.  We must understand the whole perspective of God on a subject (Acts 20:27).

For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.

How do we discover the balance in God’s Word?

Briefly, I can say:

  1. Read the Bible.  We must read the Bible a lot to gather much information about the whole Story of God.  We must read the Bible in small portions to think about it, pray about it and study it.  The first step is Read the Bible!
  2. Understand the Context of any one truth or Bible verse.

a.  First there is the Covenant Context.  Which covenant does that truth or             scripture belong in – the Old or the New?  Does the Old Covenant (Testament) truth apply to New Covenant (Testament) believers?  Can we find that Old Covenant Truth re-affirmed in the New Testament?

b.  What does the Bible say about that entire subject?  Compare that Bible verse with other Bible verses.  This takes study and it takes resources that will help you find the other Bible verses on that subject.  The internet is very helpful nowadays.  In the past I had to buy a lot of books, but now, those books are on the internet.

So here’s the point:  Read the Bible a lot for context.  Read the Bible in small portions for meditation and study.  Seek to find the Big Picture from God on that subject. I recommend having a good Study Bible with you to help you bridge these gaps for you.  In this way the Word of God in the Bible will become useful for our own lives and the lives of others.







The Most Dangerous Prayer to Pray 

J. Lee Grady

The Most Dangerous Prayer in the Bible

This is what I call a dangerous prayer. It should include a warning label! (Getty Images)

More than 19 years ago, I found myself at a church altar in Orlando, Florida. God had been dealing with me about leaving my comfort zone. I had a great job with nice benefits, yet I felt spiritually unfulfilled. I knew there was an amazing adventure in front of me, but I had placed serious limitations on my obedience.

As I buried my head in the carpet in that church, I realized God was requiring unconditional surrender. He wanted me to wave a white flag. I knew what I had to say, but it was difficult to form the words. Finally, I coughed them up. I said the same thing the prophet Isaiah prayed long ago: “Here I am, send me!” (Is. 6:8b).

This is what I call a dangerous prayer. It should include a warning label!

I believe when you utter these simple words, heaven takes a Polaroid picture of you with your hands up—and an amazing process begins. God closes in on us in order to crush our fears and demolish our selfishness. Then He gives us the holy boldness to speak what we were afraid to say.

  1. (I prayed this prayer in 1994 and have never regretted it! – Chuck McCaul) 

Learn to Pace Yourself in Life and Work

By Rick Warren

You don’t have to be a prophet to know that technology has ­­made the world smaller, more complex, and faster. You live a much faster lifestyle than your parents did. Your children will live an even faster lifestyle than you do.

As you and I know, pastors aren’t immune to time pressures. With meetings, ever-shrinking sermon preparation, and a crowded pastoral care schedule, our office calendar can stay full if we’re not careful. Then we get home and rush our kids to after-school events, grab a quick dinner, run to the hospital, go home, jump in bed, and hope there are no late-night phone calls.

We can identify with what a USA Today article said about life for many people“Today people are souped up, stressed out, and over scheduled. In this brave new world boundaries between work and family are disappearing. Everybody is mobile and every moment is scheduled.”

The Bible tells us that hurry and worry and scurry have dramatic negative effects on our life and ministries. If you’re serious about slowing your life down to a more humane pace of life, you’re going to have to make five countercultural changes in your lifestyle.

1. Learn contentment.

It starts in the heart. Paul says this about contentment in Philippians 4:12: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (NIV). Whether we’re pastors or not, it’s not in our nature to be content. We want life to be different – better. But we can’t slow down our lives unless we start being content with what we have.

Contentment doesn’t mean you don’t want your church to grow. Contentment doesn’t mean you don’t go after your God-given vision for your church. It just means a bigger church won’t make you any happier. Your relationship with Christ is where you find your true joy. Until you come to that conclusion, you won’t slow down.

2. Obey the fourth commandment.

Most of us would bristle if we were told that we were consistently breaking the Ten Commandments. But, pastor, many of us are. Remember the fourth commandment? We’re to take one day off every week. Are you doing that? For most of us, that’s not Sunday. We’re preaching, meeting with people, and overseeing the worship services – we’re not resting. It doesn’t matter which day it is, but we need a day off.

There have been times when I thought I was too busy to take time off. It never worked. I became more irritated with my family. I became more tired. And I didn’t get as much done. It was so prideful of me to think that what I was doing at that moment was more important than listening to what God said about how he made me.

I live a very fast life. But every Monday I slow down. I’m not available on Monday. I know a pastor who had a member get mad at him because he tried to call him several times on Monday and couldn’t get a hold of him. The pastor said, “Sorry, but that’s my day off.” The member said, “The devil doesn’t take a day off.” And the pastor said, “You’re right. And if I didn’t, I’d be just like the devil.”

3. Pause and pray before deciding.

Stop and pray about the decisions you make on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean you wait a year before deciding something. I’m talking about 10 to 15 seconds. As you sit in an elders meeting or a counseling session, ask, “God, what do you want me to do in this instance?”

How does this help you slow down? You’re pausing to get perspective. Perspective is what helps you make wise decisions. Most of us just want to make decisions faster, but it’s perspective that really makes better decisions.

4. Learn to say no.

You can’t keep adding things to your schedule without eliminating some. Every time you add a new activity to your schedule, you need to take something off. Whenever I used to see one of my mentors, Peter Drucker, he would say, “Don’t tell me what new thing you’re doing. Tell me what you’ve stopped doing.” The mark of leadership is knowing what not to do.

Most of us have a hard time saying no to opportunities. So ask yourself two questions every time you’re given a new opportunity.

    • Is it worth it? With every opportunity you’re given, you need to ask yourself whether it’s worth your energy, effort, reputation, and ultimately, your time. Your time is your life. And you need to decide whether the new opportunity is worth a portion of your life.
    • What am I going to give up? You can’t just keep adding, adding, and adding. You have to give something up to take hold of an opportunity. What will it be?

5. Trust God’s timing.

Impatience is often why we hurry. It’s simply a lack of trust. When you’re impatient you’re saying, “God, I don’t really trust you. I don’t think you have my best interest at heart. You don’t know when I need it, and I’m in a hurry.” Is fast always better? No. It is not. Not always.

God has a plan for your life. You know that. But he also has a timetable for your life – and a timetable for your church, for that matter. Unfortunately, God never explains his timetable. And that can be frustrating! At Saddleback we waited for years to get our own land and our own building. I couldn’t understand God’s timing. But God knew exactly what he was doing. Our church campus is visible from one of the busiest freeways in our community. It was a freeway that didn’t exist when we first started looking for land. That’s God’s timing.

It’s painful when you’re in a hurry and God’s not. But it’s part of maturing, part of growing up. Children have to learn the difference between “no” and “not yet.” God knows the right time and the right way. He has a plan and a timetable.

Ministry is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. God doesn’t want you to burn out. Whether you’re 30 or 70, he doesn’t want to wear you out before he can complete his purposes through you. Learning to slow down might be the most important ministry skill you learn this year.


Unconditional Love 

In the Sixth Chapter of the Bible Book of Job, Mr. Job has just listened to his friend, Mr. Eliphaz, rebuke him for what appears to be sin, wrong-doing or foolishness. However, Job responds by saying, “My friend, right now I don’t need your rebuke or correction. Don’t try to reason with me with your mind. Right now I need you to show compassion and try to understand me.” 

Read Job 6:8-15 yourself. 

“Oh that I might have my request, that God would grant me one thing I long for. That it would please God to crush me. That He would loose His hand and cut me off. To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend. Even though he forsakes the fear of The Almighty.”

Job was in such a depressed state of emotions he wanted to die. He didn’t need someone to try to connect with him “mind-to-mind” but “emotion-to-emotion.” 

When someone is under the influence of a strong emotion such as anger, grief or fear we cannot connect with them by reason. We must seek to understand and listen first. 

This is not to say there is not a place for reasoning, correction and instruction… there is. But Reason never wins over emotion. Emotion is soothed and redirected by emotion. 

So when it comes to trying to connect with people, remember – there is a time to connect by reason, correction and instruction and there is a time to connect by emotion. 

Let’s show unconditional love, even to those who are in the wrong… just as This Lord dies to us. 


Be a People – Builder

You can be a homebuilder, bodybuilder, reputation builder, or a retirement-nest-egg builder. None of those things will last, but there is something that’s going to last for eternity, something you can put your efforts into now that will last forever.

You can be a people builder.

The Bible encourages us to do just that in Romans 15:2, where it says, “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up” (NIV).

How do you build your people? The key is kindness – giving people what they need, not what they deserve . . .

Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

The Value of Listening to Understand

Listening 1God gave us two ears and one mouth…that should be a clue to us.  Many people use their mouth more than their ears.  They don’t listen to others to understand, but only to reply.  These people miss out on opportunities to learn, grow and affirm others in their life.

In the book of Job, after Job’s calamities, his three friends came to visit and sat with him for 7 days without saying a word.  They just let Job speak and share.  Sometimes it is a time just to listen, not correct, not give our ideas or not even respond…just let the other person share.

John Maxwell says, “People don’t loose intimacy when they stop talking, but when they stop listening.  Leaders (people) seldom realize how much their listening empowers the other person.  Because they are leaders the sheer act of listening speaks volumes that even a great speech can’t communicate.”

Again, John Maxwell suggests:

  1.   Listening communicates the value of the other person and his or her thoughts.
  2.   Listening communicates love and understanding and care for their needs.
  3.   Listening communicates a desire to grow, learn and remain teachable.

Why not practice just listening to someone for a change and reflecting back to them what you hear them saying, and affirming them rather than sharing your ideas or solving the problem?  It might do a lot to make your relationship with them even stronger.  Listening creates a relationship where your input is valued.  Another time will arise for you to share your thoughts on their issue.


God made you unique! 

God formed every creature on this planet with a special area of expertise. Some animals run, some hop, some swim, some burrow, and some fly. Each has a particular role to play based on the way it was shaped by God. The same is true with humans. Each of us was uniquely designed, or shaped, to do certain things.

Before architects design any new building, they first ask, “What will be its purpose? How will it be used?” The intended function always determines the form of the building. Before God created you, he decided what role he wanted you to play on earth. He planned exactly how he wanted you to serve him, and then he shaped you for those tasks. You are the way you are because you were made for a specific ministry . . .