Got Story?

two-and-five-loaves-of-bread-fish-cq4iqsbju2ocqy9qPhilip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? (Joh 6:7-9)

We all love to hear stories of how God does great things through His people. From the pulpit we hear amazing stories of God’s provision and protection that can only be described as truly miraculous.

Have you ever wished that YOU had such a story?  That you had an amazing story that would allow you to brag on the power of our mighty God in your life.  A story that would give you the opportunity to testify to the lost on the existence and effectual moving of God in this present world. A story that you could rehearse often to your children to build their faith in God.  Perhaps you too can have such a story.

In the feeding of the five thousand men, the one who got to take home a great surplus of food as well a such a story, was the young lad that gave his lunch to the Lord.  Here are a few thoughts on how we, like him, might find ourselves with such a story.

To get such a story He had to be present

There is a lad HERE.  As simplistic as this thought is, it is also implicitly obvious for God to use us in a particular situation, we must be present.  How many opportunities to have a story have we missed because we were not where God was working?  How many miracles and truly amazing life changes have we missed simply because we did not make it to church?

Let’s start by being there! The saying is that the greatest ability any Christian can have is availability.

To get such a story he had been provided for

Most likely the young boy did not have a job to purchase the ingredients for his lunch.  He probably did not assemble his lunch.  In other words, what he had to give to Christ was provided by someone else.  Similarly, all we have to give has been provided by God.

The spoiling of the Egyptians by the Jews as their left Egypt provided them the means to give an offering to Moses in the wilderness to build the tabernacle.  As the lad and the Israelites learned, “God will always provide US with all HE needs”.

If we want to have a story, we must know that what we have has been given to us for God’s purposes.

To get such a story He had to be a presenter

The lad presented himself and his lunch. It was not a large lunch, but it was all Jesus wanted and needed!  We all have a “lunch” to present to Jesus. Our lunch may be a talent, skill, or a financial resource. It may seem small, but when given to Jesus, it is enough! When we give what we have, Jesus accepts it, blesses it, and multiples it.

If the boy had kept his lunch, he would have been fed, but by giving Jesus his lunch, a great host of folks were filled.

Set yourself up for a story today!


Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church

 

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And those that walk in pride…

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The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws. …Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. (Dan 4:33-37)

Pride is the a wicked and destructive sin that is present in every heart.  Satan was cast out of heaven for his pride and the plans that ensued. In the life of Nebuchadnezzar we see the destructiveness of pride.

God warns us of the problems and results of pride.

Pride Controls

 Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain;  (Psa 73:6)

Pride can control our decisions. Many poor decisions are made because we make our decisions based upon how it will make us look in the eyes of the world instead or our standing with God.

Pride can control the course we follow . Pride directs us into courses not based upon the Bible nor from the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Pride can prevent us from receiving needed corrections.  Our pride prevents us from accepting lifesaving discipline and council.

Pride Brings Contention

Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom. (Pro 13:10)

Fights, strife, and hurt feelings all stem from our pride.  When our pride is hurt, we lash out. We are unable to forgive or demonstrate Christian mercy.

This fruit of pride brings strife between church members, between members and pastors, and between spouses. Pride and its consequential contentions, makes us judgmental, condescending, and bitter.

Pride Causes Collapse

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (Pro 16:18) – 

Nebuchadnezzar is our example. As we read the story in Daniel, we see it was his pride that caused God to send him into mental collapse and ruin.  God knew his pride would prevent him from repenting for seven years. It was only when humility arose in Nebuchadnezzar’s heart that his clear reasoning returned.  Humility will keep our thinking clear and rational.

Pride Brings Condemnation

Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. (1Ti 3:6)

The word condemnation used here in the Greek implies “a judgment or sentence passed”. In this text God is giving the qualifications for a pastor. He warns a new Christian or young leader placed into the position of lead pastor is apt to be lifted up in the pride of position and fall.

God is also warning all of us that the devil will be around to make sure we fall if we begin to think we are more than we are.

Let us guard our hearts against pride and seek a heart of humility from the Lord.


Visit us on line at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay

Answer The Next Call

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Peter’s Sequential Callings

Christian growth is a process.  In the calling of Peter we have a great example of how a new Christian can put themselves on the path for a sustained life of growth and service.

How can we grow?  We can begin to grow as Peter did by following his example of answering every sequential call to service and growth with a YES.

First call: A call to loan (Luke 5:2-3)

This is the lowest level of calling and service. It is where you still hold onto our possessions and maintain control of all we have, but loan them to the Lord. I will let God use me when I feel like it and when not too inconvenient.

There is no long-term commitment at this level.  No permanent life change. Just temporally letting God use our possessions, time, body, or talent.  Sadly, this is where many Christians life their entire life.

“Me help?”  “Ok, when?” “How long do I have to commit?”  “I cannot promise, but I will try.”  These are comments from those Christians at the “loan” stage.

If this is where you are, do not be afraid of higher levels of commitment.  Aspire to greater usefulness to Jesus.

Second call: A call to launch (Luke 5:4-6)

Here Peter is challenged by God to take the next step.  It is still not yet a call to permanent change. It is not a call to permanent commitment.  It is a call to a little greater effort and sacrifice.  Is this your next step?  Can you hear the Lord asking you to launch out into a little more service and obedience?  Say yes.  Launch out!

Third call: A call to leave (Luke 5:10-11)

Here is a call to great commitment. A lifelong dedication to Christ. This is a call every Christian should accept in their life. Unfortunately, very few accept this call.

It is a call to change masters.  It is a call to change occupations. A call to change our priorities.

Fourth call: A call to love (John 21:15-22)

After Peter had accepted the call to loan, the call to launch, and the call to leave, Christ called Peter to the greatest motive for service. Jesus called him to confirm his love for the Lord.  We cannot truly know how much we love the Lord until we have learned to serve Him.

Fifth call: A call to learn (Acts 10:9-28)

Later in his life and ministry, God gave another challenging call to Peter. A call to “change”.  We must learn how to grow and learn to make the necessary changes in our lives and perspectives to expand to ever greater and diverse service. God was calling him to make a huge step.

A call to learn a new way of thinking. Not a new way to violate the Scriptures or operate outside of God’s principles, but to be open to receive a new vision.

Do you want to have a life of growth?  A life of usefulness to God?  If so, answer in the affirmative to the sequential calls of God in your life.

Loan, launch, leave, love, and learn.


 

Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay

Make SMART Goals to Succeed in 2016

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Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom. (Pro 18:1)

The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul…(Pro 13:19)

If you want a better chance of accomplishing what you would like in this year, make a list of goals and not a list of wishes.

Below is a list of SMART qualifiers that make the difference between wishes and goals.

The idea of “SMART” goals is not new, but what is new here is a little broader spectrum and means to make your goals truly energizing and effective.

Here are the high points of making our goals SMART

S =

Specific – What exactly do you want accomplished?  “To be a more disciplined person” is not specific.  “To get out of bed and exercise” is more specific.

Stretching – It needs to take you out of your comfort zone.  Growth only comes from stretching and pushing our limits.

Significant – Our goals should accomplish something positive, meaningful, or life changing.  I do not want to waste time, energy, or planning on something that really does not matter.

M =

Measurable – It has been said, “what gets measured gets done”.  If you do not measure it, how do you know if it is accomplished?  In truth, this is one reason we do not set SMART goals.  We do not want to fail, so if we not measure it, we not sure we have.

Motivating –  The goal should be exciting to us.  Thinking about life after accomplishing the goal should be energizing to us.  This is very individually specific.  Only YOU know what motivates you.

A =

Actionable – A goal most often needs to start with an action verb.  In the previous example “to be a more disciplined person” is not actionable, while “to get out of bed and exercise” is actionable.

Achievable – Goals should stretch us and get us out of our comfort zones. But the goal must be in the realm of possibility. “To break the worlds weight lifting record” is a specific goal, but if we are a sickly and in our 80’s it is not honestly achievable.  Stretch, put the goal on the outer limits of our abilities, but it must be doable.

Accountability assigned – This is for a team setting.  This team may be a church, business, or even a family.  Yes, you can have (and probably should) family goals for 2016. If you are not the one to be held responsible for the goal, then who?

Agreed upon – This also is for a team setting.  The team member may not want to do the job, but they must agree to it if the goal is to be reached.  You must get their buy in.

R =

Relevant – It must be relevant to your vision or the vision and purpose of your organization and team.  It needs to be relevant to your time in life.

Results orientated – Why have a goal if there are no clear results or there is no reward or benefit.  If no reward or benefit, why waste your time?

T =

Time activated – ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT qualifiers. Along with specific and measurable, time based goals are absolutely critical if you are going to be sure to be effective in 2016. When must it be done?  How often will it be done?  Time based!

Timely – Set the time so it is done before it is too late.  It is one thing to be a dollar short, but it is entirely a different matter to be a day late.

 

Much of this was theoretical and business based – but the keys for any goal is that they are:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Actionable

R – Relevant

T – Time activated

 

Wish = I want to get skinny

Goal = I will lose 20 pounds by May 1 by reducing my caloric intake to 1200 calories a day and rising at 6AM and walking 30 min. on the treadmill 3 days a week.

 

Wish = I want to be a better soul winner

Goal = I will hand out 5 tracts every day and witness to at least one person every day.


Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay