Blog Archives

Speaking this weekend at Friendship Baptist Church

“Reviving our Fire for Kids and Families Weekend”

Join me this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Friendship Baptist Church in Chesterfield, VA for a weekend of Family-focused, Christ-centered equipping, encouragement, and exhortation.  Topics to include parenting, marriage, missions, and children’s ministry.  More information available at www.friendshipva.org 

BEING DOCTORS WHO MAKE HOUSE CALLS

What if Jesus had stayed in the temple courts or the synagogue teaching? What if He never ventured out into the community, never called old Zach down from the tree, never ate with tax collectors and sinners, never touched the sick and hurting? Why don’t doctors make house calls these days? I’m not sure, but wouldn’t it be interesting if suddenly people stopped going to a doctors office or hospital when they were ill?

What if they thought that was the last place to go to be healed? How long would it take for the docs to begin making house calls again? Not long I suspect. Is the church today, the body of Christ the great Physician, staying in the hospital building waiting for the sick to show up? Or, worse yet, staying in the hospital talking about the remedy but secretly hoping that the sick stay away?

I think Jesus was less like a physician as we know it today and more like a field medic or a country doctor of days past. He went out looking for the lost sheep. Let’s help give our children a heart for the lost and pray that the Lord would use them to make Christ known in the world!

(Excerpt from Extreme Makeover: Spiritual Edition, a children’s curriculum by Michael J. Meyers)

Equip Their Ship

sailing shipHave you ever asked yourself the question, “what exactly is my objective in training my children up in the faith?” I know I’ve thought to myself, “Leading them to Christ is my first and greatest objective but then what? Where should my focus be?”   Recently a good friend and mentor of mine pointed something out in Ephesians that I’d like to share with you.

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-12 (emphasis added)

I’ve read this passage in Ephesians many times and the word “equip” has always given me the sense that we were to be preparing the body, through spiritual training, to carry on the work of the kingdom. This I believe is true. But the mental picture that is communicated by the original Greek word is somewhat lost in our English. The word is “Katartizo” and it means to fit out, make sound, or complete. To fit out. Outfit. It is used in the sense of outfitting as one would think of outfitting a ship that has a journey to complete. First the ship must be seaworthy. The sails must be in good repair, the hull must be sound, all of the navigational tools must be present and working properly, charts maps, etc. Additionally the ship will need to be supplied with all of its provisions for the journey. Food, water, etc.

So as parents and the church, our role is that of a loving spiritual outfitter. What a wonderful picture. More important, yes MORE important, eternally more important than our roles as academic outfitter, athletic outfitter, financial outfitter, is our God given mission as our child’s spiritual outfitter.

I will close with a quote from Patrick Henry’s will, “I have disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I wish I could give to them, and that is the Christian religion. If they had that and I had not given them one cent, they would be rich. If they have not that, and I had given them the world, they would be poor.” I could not have said it any better. Equip their ship.

May you be blessed in your role as outfitter!

Last Man Standing – the eBook is now discounted at Amazon.com!

Available now on Amazon.com – http://amzn.com/B00K2NSZIE

Order via Amazon Smile and select Open Arms Worldwide as the beneficiary organization.

cover last man std

 

 

 

TRAIL GUIDE: Forgive and Pray

QUEST Trail Guide DevoThe “Trail Guide” devotional is used by our adult leaders of grade school groups in Quest as a way to prepare their hearts and minds for the topics we will be covering with the children on the weekend.  We have made them available here to help our parents of grade-schoolers engage with their children around the topics we are discussing and also for anyone else that might be blessed by following along.

EXTREME MAKEOVER, Unit 2, Section 2, Lesson 2: Forgive & Pray

The church is made up of people. As people being transformed into the image of Christ, we are by definition not finished products. This leaves us open to mistakes or offenses committed against one another. The question is not whether we offend one another but rather when it happens how do we respond in a way that is not of this world?

Forgiveness and prayer – this is the model we have in Christ. If we behave as the world behaves, we diminish our witness to the lost, inflict pain on the body of Christ, and damage our own walk with the Lord. As we take a look at the topic of forgiving one another and praying for one another, take personal inventory of your relationships in the church. Are you actively praying for those with whom God has brought you into relationship within the body? Are we keeping short accounts with our brothers and sisters in Christ? As you prepare for this week with the children, I encourage you to read the two articles on forgiveness and prayer, keep your kids before the Lord on your knees, and ask the Father to continue your extreme makeover in this critical area of our spiritual lives. (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE ARTICLES.)

Thank you for giving to the Lord by serving His children. Your offering is making an eternal impact.


”Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship.”
 ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Here is my command. Love each other, just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than the one who gives his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” – John 15:12-14

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:

Acts 4:33-35 | Phil 2:25
1 Corinthians 16:13-18

Actions & Words

Whether it be the crisis of fatherlessness or failing marriages or violence or drug abuse or any of the other social ills on the front page today, Jesus’ church is the only institution with the complete answer.  Jesus is the “last man standing.”  As His people, the children of the King of kings, we are called to imitate His character in a world gone wrong, to share His good news and grace with a world in need. That is the ultimate message of this blog.  One of the ways in which my family and I have chosen to put our actions where our words are is through the ministry of an organization we founded in 2006 called, “Open Arms Worldwide.”

OAW partners with Christian churches to implement and maintain gospel-based programs to reach at-risk children in the church’s local community.  Their vision for the future is a world where all children grow up understanding that they are beautiful and precious in God’s eyes and are enabled to discover the Hope and future that He has for them.

We have been blessed to be a part of this organization as full-time missionaries as well as Board members over the years.  If you haven’t heard of OAW then I invite you this Christmas season to check out their 2014 Year in Review which just came out.  It is an encouraging read and I pray it will be a motivating one as well.  Enjoy!  http://www.openarmsworldwide.org/2014-year-review/

Merry Christmas and a blessed 2015 to you and yours,

Mike

TRAIL GUIDE: Strength Training

QUEST-Trail-Guide-DevoThe “Trail Guide” devotional is used by our adult leaders of grade school groups in Quest as a way to prepare their hearts and minds for the topics we will be covering with the children on the weekend.  We have made them available here to help our parents of grade-schoolers engage with their children around the topics we are discussing and also for anyone else that might be blessed by following along.

EXTREME MAKEOVER, Section 4, Lesson 1: Strength Training

What is strength? How is the word used in scripture? It can mean our physical strength or energy, strength of character, strength of the will, perseverance, capacity or ability to perform work, or emotional strength. These are all different aspects of strength, but they all have two things in common: their source and their purpose.

“You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)

“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides” (1 Peter 4:11)

So what is it that God teaches us about strength? First, He is the fountainhead of our strength. Second, He stands ready to renew our strength if we will seek Him, trust Him, and wait on Him. Third, God gives us strength not for our own selfish interests or nonsense but to glorify Him and do the good works of the Kingdom that He has prepared in advance for us to walk in. In the coming weeks, let us help the children to understand that God, and only God, deserves all of our strength.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield. My
heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.””   
-Psalm 28:7a

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:

Deut 8:17 |1 Chron. 29:12
Phil 4:13 | Is. 41:10
2 Thess 3:3 | Is.40:27-31

TRAIL GUIDE: Teach Well

QUEST Trail Guide Devo

The “Trail Guide” devotional is used by our adult leaders of grade school groups in Quest as a way to prepare their hearts and minds for the topics we will be covering with the children on the weekend.  We have made them available here to help our parents of grade-schoolers engage with their children around the topics we are discussing and also for anyone else that might be blessed by following along.

EXTREME MAKEOVER, Section 3, Lesson 2: Teach the Children Well

When we think of Daniel we think bravery, good looks, government leader, survivor of the lion’s den, prisoner of war, advisor to kings, child… What? Where did childcome in? Let’s think about it for a moment. We know from Scripture that Daniel was a youth, probably about 14 years old (think 8th grader), when he was taken from his home in Israel and into captivity in Babylon. Upon his arrival he was offered the best food and wine in the palace, but thought of a plan to keep himself kosher.

Already as a young teenager, Daniel was knowledgeable about his God and his faith. I’m fairly sure that the King of Babylon didn’t have any Hebrew schools at the palace. So Daniel had to have had a very solid understanding of his faith, the food laws, the teachings regarding the worship of Yahweh alone, and most importantly a deep respect for the Lord BEFORE arriving in Babylon. When he came to Babylon he then was taught about, “all kinds of literature and learning,” but what he knew about his faith was already so ingrained that he held steadfast to the God of his fathers.

There are two important lessons for us here. 1.) The mind of a child is more than capable of taking in and assimilating deep truths about God, and 2.) What we believe about God and the world around us, our “worldview” and morality, are pretty well set in stone by the age of 14 and will not easily be changed. In short, we are working with young people in the most crucial time of life for the mind. Let’s help the children this week understand the aspects and power of the mind in our lives. How can each be renewed by the power of Christ?

“Don’t live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely  changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect.”    -Romans 12:2

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:

Dan 5:12 & 14 | Col 3:2 ! 1 Sam.3 | Ecc.7:25 ! 2 Corinthians 10:5

TRAIL GUIDE: Mind Marinade

QUEST Trail Guide DevoThe “Trail Guide” devotional is used by our adult leaders of grade school groups in Quest as a way to prepare their hearts and minds for the topics we will be covering with the children on the weekend.  We have made them available here to help our parents of grade-schoolers engage with their children around the topics we are discussing and also for anyone else that might be blessed by following along.

EXTREME MAKEOVER, Section 3, Lesson 1: Mind Marinade

When we talk about our mind, what exactly do we mean? What are the functions of the mind? When we talk about the mind in the Bible we are talking thoughts, attitudes, imagination, will, purposes, convictions, intelligence, understanding, and memory. In the Bible, the mind and the heart are closely tied together. Many times they are used interchangeably. They communicate and work together to influence our actions.

What would the mind of a Jesus follower increasingly look like? The transformed and renewed mind of the Christian will love God, seeking Him with the intellect, meditating on His Word in prayer, taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ, deciding to fix its thoughts on Christ and the things of heaven, serving with the will, remembering who God is and what He has done, and employing all its power of imagination and creativity to glorify God. Worshiping God with the mind will have repercussions in the heart and soul.

Help the children understand that the life of a follower of Jesus is more than good works and nice words. It is a life of integrity that includes your way of thinking. This renewal happens as we marinate our minds in the Word of God.

“Don’t live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely  changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect.”    -Romans 12:2

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:

2 Corinthians 10:5 | Numbers 15:40 | Col 3:2 | 1 Chron. 28:9

TRAIL GUIDE: My Gift of Love

QUEST Trail Guide Devo

The “Trail Guide” devotional is used by our adult leaders of grade school groups in Quest as a way to prepare their hearts and minds for the topics we will be covering with the children on the weekend.  We have made them available here to help our parents of grade-schoolers engage with their children around the topics we are discussing and also for anyone else that might be blessed by following along.

EXTREME MAKEOVER, Section 1, Lesson 3: My Gift of Love

“So what’s on your heart this week?” Hopefully you have taken some time during our study to reflect on how to use your interests and passions for God. But what about when you see things in yourself that fall short of God’s standard? Do we assume we’re a lost cause and of no use to God? We cannot hide our good qualities or our failures from Him. He “alone knows every human heart.” (1 Kings 8:39). But be of good cheer, the ungodly things I find in my heart bring me to Him in a special way, a humble way. I wish I could bring to Him a Great Commandment Christian, fully assembled and ready to serve. But I came broken, and though I’m not a slave to sin, my flesh still fights against my makeover. When I recognize this and grieve my sin, then I am in a position for God to transform my heart. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but the Lord promises that He is near to the brokenhearted.

In Psalm 147 we are reminded that it is fitting to praise God. The best way to praise God is to think about His actions and his attributes. The Psalm tells us:

God heals the brokenhearted. He names the stars.
He sends rain to the earth.
He delights in those who fear him.
He has unfailing love.
He sends us his protection.
He shares his commands with us.
He controls all nature.
He communicates his word to Israel and eventually to us!
Praise the Lord.

Loving God has many facets, praising Him for all He has done is one of them. Aligning our lifestyles with His word is another. What kind of heart does God want me to have? A pure heart, a clean heart, a kind heart and of course a heart that loves Him above all else. The kind of heart that Jesus displayed for us.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for
everything you do flows from it.”   
-Proverbs 4:23

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:

1 Kings 8:61 | Joshua 22:5
Psalm 37:4 | Psalm 57:7!
Luke 6:45 | Psalm 51:10