A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Home About Us Archives Free email subscription Listen to these messages
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Click here to listen to us read this message on your audio player.
"Preach The Word!"
"For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring Word of God" (1 Peter 1:23). "Preach the Word" (2 Timothy 4:2).
Yesterday I had a meeting with a group of Christian businessmen I associate with in an organization known as CBMC. One of the members solemnly commented about the dearth of God's Word in our land and even in so many of our churches. I spoke to him briefly this morning and we will discuss this matter further but he was addressing his observation regarding the state of so much of the visible church.
I have spent hours and hours the last several weeks in studying current trends in the "popular" church. In my current role I am out of the loop on these matters and even when I did pastor I was always quite wary of popular fads and trends. I suppose I always resisted whatever new thing was coming around unless I found its foundation to be solidly scriptural. My commission is clear: "Preach the Word" and that is what I sought to do and still do as I have opportunity.
"The need of the hour for today’s ministry is believing scholarship joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire." Charles Spurgeon (1887)
Thirty-six years ago today I placed my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. Several months earlier I had been confronted with the Gospel through the witness of my older brother. At that time he urged me to accept Christ, but I initially rejected Christ's claims on my life. Those were rather miserable months but the Holy Spirit worked in my life to convict me of my sin and need for Christ. On Sunday evening August 22, 1971 I reluctantly went to an evangelistic service in a convention hall in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The preacher proclaimed the Word of God, the Holy Spirit dealt with my heart, and I accepted Jesus Christ into my life and became "born again".
In our daily text Peter is writing to the believers in the first century church. Like us, they had never seen Christ during His earthly ministry (1 Peter 1:8) but at the proclamation of the gospel they had believed in Him for their salvation. Peter says they had been "born again", a term first used by Jesus when He witnessed to Nicodemus (John 3). This is one of the Biblical terms used for conversion.
This new birth was "not of perishable seed, but of imperishable." This indicates the spiritual, eternal dimension of the work of the Spirit and Word of God in our lives.
Note these two powerful qualities of God's Word:
1) The Word of God is living. The writer of Hebrews uses this very phrase when he says the "Word of God is living" (4:12). The living God imparts spiritual life through His living Word. I once read the story of a street evangelist who had placed his hat on the ground and drew a crowd by pointing at it and shouting, "It's alive". When a group had gathered around him he lifted up his hat to reveal a Bible!
2) The Word of God is enduring. The Psalmist wrote, "All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal" (119:160). No other written work comes even remotely close to the Bible in its enduring qualities. Peter concludes the chapter with this powerful truth: "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever." And this is the word that was preached to you.
Today we join hundreds of millions of believers around the world who are reading and applying the truths of Scripture to their lives. Many will be proclaiming this life-giving Word to others as I am through this encouragement message. And today scores of highly dedicated translators will be working in the remotest areas of the world to translate God's Word so that all might know of God's love.
Praise God for the "living and enduring Word of God"! Continue to subject yourself to its life-giving qualities and present them to others! We must be very careful not to dilute or "dress up" the Word to make it more appealing to the masses. It is the individual's heart that Christ is most concerned about, not the impressive stats that we might glowingly report to others used often to measure "our success."
Preach the Word, my friend, and continue to "declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world… live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us" (I Peter 2:9,11,12).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen C. Weber
Daily Prayer: "O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come! How powerful and enduring Your Word is. It is ever-living, ever-relevant and ever-active in the lives of believers all over the globe. It is more than print on a page, for the Word of God penetrates the heart; guiding, instructing, convicting, delighting, comforting and performing the supernatural work of God in our lives. Increase our love and passion for reading Your Word faithfully so that we may grow in understanding and appreciation for all You have to show us. In Jesus' Name, Amen."
I am aware that most readers have already placed their faith in Christ and accepted Him as their personal Savior. However you may be reading this and realize that this is a step you need to take. I pray that every reader will be a faithful follower of Christ!
Yesterday morning I met with the CBMC Lancaster leadership team at Lancaster Bible College to discuss plans. CBMC is an organization of Christian businessmen committed to serving Christ in the marketplace. I have been a part of the Lancaster chapter since 2001 shortly after I moved to Pennsylvania. In my role as a corporate chaplain I find this association valuable, although I am not a businessman.
I could write so much, much more today due to my research the last several weeks. It has really been heavy on my heart. My research was initially prompted by trends in the organization in which I am ordained but it is an issue the church at large faces. Here are several sites that I have found especially insightful. There are many more and several have extensive blog rolls with related information. Of course I have not read everything on every site so don't assume I would be in full agreement but they sure give some interesting perspective.
The Dangers of the Emerging Church
The Emergent Church - A new wave of evangelical identity (This is written by a local pastor here in Lancaster County) His excellent blog.
Slice of Laodicea
A Little Leaven
The Great Apostasy
"Four Mistakes I Hope You Don't Make" John Piper (audio message)
I have also spent hours examining the websites and blogs of current "cool" pastors, particularly those identifying with the emergent church movement and this spoof is all too true. How To Make Your Own "Relevant Pastor Blog"
I am also reading this book but I warn you it is not for the faint of heart or mind!
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception By John MacArthur / Thomas Nelson
Right now, Truth is under attack, and much is at stake. In a postmodern culture, Christians are caught in the crossfire of alternative Christian histories, emerging faulty texts, and a cultural push to eliminate absolute Truth altogether. As a result, many churches and Christians have been deceived. Worse still, they propagate the deception that poses itself as Truth! In The Truth War, John MacArthur reclaims the unwavering certainty of God's Truth and anchors Christians in the eternal, immovable promises found in His Word. You can order here for more information or to order.
A word to my pastor friends:
Heed the ancient call that as Christ's servants we are to give attention to the public reading of Scripture and preach the Word.
Some music for today:
"How Firm A Foundation"
(Traditional version from Moore's Chapel
(Contemporary version) from Cedarhome Church
"He Leadeth Me" I suppose this came to mind because of the phrase, "His faithful follower I would be"
A clip by a "neighbor"
I sure like the fiddle that comes in about 1/2 way through. Sorry that only this short clip is available!
Yesterday we shared a photo of a butterfly on the Sedum in front of our home. Here's a photo of the Sedum taken early this morning before it is covered with flying insects! The Sedum generally is covered with not only butterflies but also bees and will soon be changing to a rosy autumn color, thus the name, "Autumn Joy."
PS: The preacher on that Sunday evening meeting I gave my heart to the Lord was an evangelist by the name of Lowell Lundstrom. Thankfully his ministry is still reaching people for Christ! I see from the website that this year he is celebrating 50 years of ministry.
Sign up for the free daily email encouragement at www.dailyencouragement.net
New subscribers receive a link to free computer desktop background photos with Scriptures!
Permissions: Please feel free to pass on, reproduce and distribute any material on Daily Encouragement Net, in part or in whole, in any format, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way or charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. It is our desire to spread this material, not protect or restrict it. I do request that you keep the contact, copyright and subscription information intact.
Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
Daily Encouragement Net is an affiliate of Christianbook.com
"Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation"