Friday, August 10, 2012

To Word or Not to Word

The Beyond Evangelical blog had a post, today, listing the author’s top five books for ministry.  Although the ones I recognized were good, I had what I considered a better list  and I explained why.  But it only focuses on the main point I wanted to deal with today.  Here’s what I said: 

“There are three ‘must have’ books/authors that I'd add to the list, to fully be ‘in the know’ about ministry.

1) Richard Wurmbrand, particularly ‘100 Prison Meditations’ and ‘Reaching Toward the Heights’.  If you don't know how to show and give God's love, even to your enemies, how can you say you minister?

2) I like John Maxwell's writings, particularly ‘Leadership Promises for Every Day’ and the ‘Maxwell Daily Reader’.  He defines leadership by saying that it comes down to influencing people and we all influence someone.  I'd suggest that, if you're heard and not listened to, how can you say you're in ministry?  The whole function of ministry is helping people change their lives.

3) The Bible should be at the top of any list.  Without it, there is no ministry.  We get every aspect of ministry (including how not to do it) given to us in the Bible.  If there's no rain, even a deep well runs out of water.  We have to take in from the Word or we'll run out of what we need to give out.”

It’s my third point I want to look at further, here.  During the recent leadership conference I attended, the senior pastor at Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church made a point of saying that we need to be in the Word in order to properly live and minister.  At a recent Bible study, Joe d’Entremont commented that we need to hear the Word, not about the Word.  Then Pastor Jason Moore, the head of our Pastoral Care Department, did a devotional that hit on 1Corinthians 9:14.  Here’s how it reads in the Amplified version: [On the same principle] the Lord directed that those who publish the good news (the Gospel) should live (get their maintenance) by the Gospel.

That all combined in a brief span of time to confirm my own thoughts.  And it got me thinking about things I’ve heard and absorbed over the years.  Or, sometimes, not.  Starting with the earlier part of my life.

I grew up Roman Catholic.  Because of some surgery in my youth, my parents got me special tutoring from one of the nuns for catechism classes.  The thing that actually got me to pay attention was her obvious love for Jesus.  But, without the Word, her emotions and the content of the books weren’t enough to make that stick in me.  Somewhere in my teens, it became very easy to not only drift away from Catholicism, but from God.  And it would take several decades of doing things my way before the results of that would make it evident I’d been headed in the wrong direction.

Still surrounded by Catholics, I was later introduced to a group in the church called Cursillo and went on one of their weekend retreats.  Which was led by a team of men who all were very strong on personal Bible study, as well as Catholic doctrine.  It was that focus that started to really change my life.  Skipping the personal fluff, that led to finding a church that believed, like I do, that the Word was essential.  And a Bible college that taught more from the Word than from books about the Word.

Here are some of the things the Word does:
  1. Exodus 18:20  And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do. – It teaches and trains.
  2. Exodus 18:19  Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: – It counsels.
  3. Luke 4:18  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, – It heals.
  4. 1Thessalonians 1:6  And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: – It brings joy.
  5. Isaiah 39:8  Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days. – It gives peace.
  6. Job 22:22-23  Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart.  If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. – It builds up and edifies.

I could go on for a long time with that list, but that should be enough to chew on for quite awhile.  Yes, there are parts of Scripture that we need to learn more about to get the full meaning.  But it’s more important to jump right into it and let it do its work on our body, heart, mind, spirit and soul.  What other things does the Word do for us?  And what are you doing, today, to let the Word work in you?

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