Thursday, March 19, 2009

What does it mean
to worship?

Well, it’s a Thursday. Two more days and then it will be Sunday. Where will you be on Sunday? Will you worship with your family in your church?

Recently, I received an e-mail from an acquaintance who shared that he had been thinking a lot lately about what it means to worship God. He asked me for my thoughts. This is what I wrote to him:

Worship represents one of the most important and most exciting activities we can pursue. Whenever I think about worship, I remember what the children of Israel experienced when they returned to Jerusalem from captivity and began to rebuild the city. You can find the record of an important part of their activity recorded in Nehemiah 8. I recommend that you turn in your Bible to that story and notice the power of God’s Word (in this case, the Law) and how the people responded.

One of the great passages of Scripture resides at the second part of verse 10: “This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

Worship brings us great joy. As we come apart from the trials and tribulations of daily life and gather together with our brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ, our worship becomes a source of great joy. And, we can draw strength from that joy: strength to meet the challenges of each day; strength to overcome those who would pull us down into what John Bunyan in Pilgrim’s Progress calls “the slough of despond.”

Do you find joy lacking in your life? Then go to a church this Sunday where you will find God’s people worshipping Him in the splendor of His holiness. In other words, by the power of the Holy Spirit, ask God to make the truth of Psalm 96:8-10 come alive in your heart and in your mind.

You will be very glad you did!
Copyright © 2009 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, March 13, 2009

When to say, “No!”

Everyone much prefers someone who always says, “Yes.”

But, let’s face it. Every person reaches a point in his or her life where saying “Yes” becomes too difficult. That point usually occurs when your emotional bank account nears empty.

Part of you wants to “go along to get along.” Part of you wants to “accentuate the positive.” Part of you wants to have others perceive you as a pleasant, helpful, supportive person. But, then there’s that other part of you; the part that has had enough, has suffered enough; has reached the end of the line. One more “yes” will put you over the edge.

Knowing when to say “No” has great importance. The Lord Jesus Christ condemned those who always punctuated their promises with an “I swear I will.” In Matthew 5:33-37 he instructed his disciples to “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (verse 37).

One way of saying “No” comes to light when you stop trying so hard to convince someone you are right and he or she is wrong. Sometimes, you just need to walk away and allow him or her to exist in the reality he or she has created.

A colleague at the insurance company where I used to work often quoted two sayings which he felt offered words to live by:

1. Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

2. Never wrestle with a pig. You get your clothes all dirty and the pig loves it.

So, give yourself permission to say “No.” Not every time and not all the time. But, when you have reached the point where those around you have fully withdrawn all they can from your emotional bank account, curl up in a comfortable place and put Jesus’ instructions to work. When the Holy Spirit refreshes you, make certain your ‘yes’ means ‘yes.’ Until then, let your ‘no’ be ‘no.’

I assure you that God—the One Who Loves You Most—understands. After all, He made you and He sent His only Son to die for you on the cross.
Copyright © 2009 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

What’s Your Brand?

As a student of advertising, I am always intrigued to see how the purveyors of various goods and services present themselves and their products to the buying public.

Sometimes I’ll see a great TV spot that makes me smile or laugh. But, when the spot ends, I have no idea what product or service the advertiser has offered. And, I do not know the name of the advertiser. I always feel sad. What a waste. They spent all that money to sell to me and I don’t even know the name of the company or the name of the product.

In contrast, all throughout the mid-morning hours of this business quarter, ConAgra Foods has run a TV Spot that is nothing short of delightful and outstandingly effective.

The spot shows a young elementary school-aged boy eating Chef Boyardee pasta. His dad stands next to him, picks up the empty can, and reads the label. The camera focuses on the part of the label that announces the product contains a full serving of vegetables. The dad then speaks loudly to the mom across the room and asks her if she realizes what the can of pasta contains.

The mom quickly turns on the garbage disposal to block the sound of her husband’s voice. When he tries to tell her again, she bangs on some hanging pots with a wooden spoon. She obviously doesn't want her son to hear about the vegetables.

As the scene ends, the announcer gives a voice-over that really pops: “Chef Boyardee...obviously delicious, secretly nutritious.”

Wow! What a great brand: “obviously delicious, secretly nutritious.” It started me thinking about what brand I project to the people who cross the pathway of my life. When people think about me, what brand pops into their minds?

The Apostle Paul struggled with how the people in the church at Corinth were thinking about him. In 1 Corinthians 3 he tries to deal with how the Corinthians are thinking about and talking about the various spiritual leaders of the day. He urges them to stop boasting about men; to stop identifying themselves with a particular leader. Rather, they should place their identity with the Lord Jesus Christ. ( vs. 21-23)

In 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, Paul asserts: “So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” The Greek word translated “servant” can also refer to a slave who has been pressed into service. It can also refer to someone who has placed himself or herself into bond service: a bond-servant or bond-slave.

It is quite possible that Paul was thinking about the passage in Deuteronomy 15:12-17. In that passage, God gives instructions to His chosen people how to set free a fellow Hebrew who has sold himself or herself into slavery in the seventh year of indenture. In verses 16 and 17, God describes how a servant can choose to remain with his or her master “because he loves you and your family and is well off with you.” Thus, a servant or slave becomes a bond-slave or bond-servant for life.

When the Holy Spirit prompts us to respond to God’s gift of love and grace through the redeeming blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and we acknowledge God’s claim on our lives, we become a bond-slave or bond-servant of Christ.

As I have heard my dear friend, Dr. David R. Mains teach many times, a steward is a slave elevated to a position of responsibility in his or her master’s household. Still a slave, the steward has overall responsibility for the possessions of his or her master. He or she has no interest in her own reputation, possessions, or success. Rather, he or she is fully devoted only to those matters that concern his or her master.

So, Paul seems to say that the “brand” by which he wishes to be known consists of being a “bond-slave of Christ and a steward of the mysteries of God.” And, he goes on to say in 1 Corinthians 4:2, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”

What’s your brand? How will you choose to be known to your family, to your friends, and to anyone who crosses your pathway?

As for me, I really like: “obviously delicious, secretly nutritious.” But, I like even better: “bond-slave of Christ and a steward of the mysteries of God.”
Copyright © 2009 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Tool for Team Building:
the Gregorc Style Delineator™

One “adventure” that every church staff, every church board or group of church leaders, as well as every committee, task group, or ministry body within a church must face: “How to build a cohesive team.”

Teamwork in leadership forms an essential element of success in carrying out God’s work in this world. The Scripture asserts that each church contains the full range of spiritual gifts that, working together, can provide a fully functional body of believers. This body can become energized by the Holy Spirit to minister in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in the local area, the state, the nation, and to the far reaches of the world.

Yet virtually every working group within a church has unnecessary conflicts, misunderstandings, and difficulties that interfere with their efforts to minister. The only way to remove this interference is to build a cohesive, interdependent, respectful, Christ-honoring team. To build such a team, the team members must learn to understand each other. One terrific tool to help gain that understanding: the Gregorc Style Delineator™.

Succinctly as possible, Dr. Anthony F. Gregorc asserts that God has “pre-wired” every individual with certain characteristics that pervade that person’s body, soul, mind, and spirit. These characteristics can be observed. And, in adults, these characteristics can also be disclosed through the use of the Gregorc Style Delineator™.

The God-given pre-wiring creates within every person certain innate preferences in how the individual takes in or perceives information—as life unfolds around him or her—and certain natural preferences in how the individual “processes” or “orders” that information into a useful form.

The two ways people perceive: Concretely (Physical Reality) or Abstractly (Non-physical—e.g., thought and emotional—Reality).

The two ways people “process” or “order”: Sequentially (“Step One, Step Two, Step Three ...”) or Randomly (“Chunk...Chunk...Chunk”).

These two characteristics join to form four basic Mind Styles™: Concrete-Sequential, Abstract-Sequential, Abstract-Random, and Concrete-Random.

Every person has all four of these preference combinations at work within him or her. But, most people exhibit a dominant preference. Their pre-wiring tends to pull that dominant preference up onto the “stage of life” in the face of daily interactions with other people, things, or circumstances.

Said another way, every person has some measure of all four Styles as a part of the wiring that God has given him or her. Every day each person draws on the characteristics and abilities expressed in all four of the Styles in order to make his or her way along the road of life. But, most people have a dominant preference for one, and sometimes two, Styles. The dominant Style tends to produce many observable characteristics that can help describe a person’s behavior or anticipated behavior in the vast majority of life’s circumstances and interactions.

Once a group of individuals working together in ministry learn about their own Mind Styles™ and also about each other’s Mind Styles™, they can use that information to learn how to better relate with each other. This understanding helps further bond them together and dramatically increases their effectiveness as a team.

Over the years, Dr. Gregorc’s extensive research has created a body of knowledge much like a very deep well. One can draw off some water from the very top of the surface of the water in the well and find that it satisfies a particular thirst. Or, over time, if one desires to do so, he or she can plumb the depths of the well and find an even cooler, more refreshing repast.

In other words, you can gain some valuable insight into yourself and others by simply becoming aware of the existence of Mind Styles™ and by learning about your own Mind Style™ and the Style of those on your staff, board, committee, working group, or other team. Or, you can delve into the information Dr. Gregorc has made available and learn a great deal more about yourself and others. It’s really your choice.

When one layers a recognition and understanding of one’s Spiritual Gifts on top of an understanding of Mind Styles™, one can develop a very insightful view of the people on a church staff, a church board, a committee, a task group, or even in an entire congregation.

I can testify that Dr. Gregorc’s excellent materials have greatly helped many individuals and groups, both within the church and outside the church, with whom I have had the privilege of sharing this information. During a typical presentation of Mind Styles™, many people have significant “Aha!” moments.

Often, a great deal of healing takes place among people’s relationships that have become scarred by unnecessary conflicts, disagreements, and misunderstandings. I strongly urge every church leader to consider obtaining this valuable material and using it to improve the relationships and teamwork at his or her church.

You will find a great deal of additional information regarding Mind Styles™ at I will also gladly answer any questions you may have. Simply send me an e-mail.
Copyright © 2009 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Stepping Stones Along the Pathway of Obedience: Part 5

One last meander along the stepping stones of 1 Timothy 5:1-25. Ready?

Finally, notice how Paul ends this part of his letter to Timothy in verses 24 and 25.

Good deeds or sins, neither can remain hidden. Might I be so bold as to suggest that we strive to focus on those godly deeds that the Holy Spirit prompts us to perform in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

“Yeah,” you may respond. “But, how? How do we do that?”

Let me offer a couple of suggestions.

First of all, when you spend time with God in prayer today, invite the Holy Spirit to empower you to put into practice the four Principles that Paul has shared with Timothy:

1) always speak respectfully to your fellow believers with God-breathed love;

2) care for those who have real needs in the best possible way;

3) treat leaders with respect, but hold them accountable; and

4) do all things without partiality, do them equally to all believers.

Then, ask God to bring circumstances into your life that will help you develop the use of these four Principles. Ask Him to help you apply them to your relationships with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

I don’t know which Principle will be the hardest one for you to enflesh. But, again, when you pray, ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to make these four Principles come alive in your heart and mind. And, ask Him to bring you opportunities to put these four Principles into practice, as you relate to your fellow believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Okay. It’s a little scary to ask God to take charge of your life in such a way. But, after all, you already belong to Him, don’t you? Why not surrender your will to Him in this way?

When you’ve earnestly prayed and made these requests known to God, let me suggest that you keep your eyes open. And, wait expectantly to see how God will answer your prayers and fill your relationships with your fellow Christians with an overwhelming measure of His marvelous grace.

With all my heart, I believe if we would start following these four Principles, the people who populate our lives would begin to observe Christ’s Presence within us in a new and fresh and very attractive way.

And, isn’t that what living for Christ is all about?

“Thoughtfully and prayerfully building respectful, caring relationships with fellow believers, helps expose the world to the power of Christ within His children.”
Copyright © 2009 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Stepping Stones Along the Pathway of Obedience: Part 4

Ready to walk onto the next stepping stone as we follow the Scriptures found in 1 Timothy 5:1-25.?

Principle No. 4 (verse 21): “Employ these foregoing three Principles without partiality. In fact, lead without partiality. Said another way, as you lead, treat everyone the same.”

Now you may think that would be a very easy instruction to follow. But, please, think about this more closely for a minute. Examine your own heart. In your daily life and relationships, do you treat everyone the same? Do you really?

Most people tend to categorize the other people in their lives. As a result, they modify their behavior toward a particular person, either inwardly or outwardly, to match the category into which they have placed that person.

The categories can result from a variety of observed variables. Some categorize people by their nationality, or by the color of their skin, or by they way they look, or by the way they dress, eat, or speak, or by their level of education, or by the kind of work they do, or by the neighborhood in which they live, or by their relative poverty, or by their relative wealth, or by how agreeable they are, or by how disagreeable they are, or by their arrogance, or by their pomposity, or by their humility, or by their generosity, or by their greed, or by a host of other personal characteristics.

In my own life, to my shame, I confess to you that I have a very, very hard time treating everyone the same. In fact, I’m embarrassed to admit that I generally place people into one of three categories: those I love, those I feel neutral about, and those I don’ like very much. I find it easier to interact consistently well with those I love. The main criterion for categorization in my life is “trust.” Can I truly “trust” this person? Can I trust him or her to accept me as I am? Can I trust him or her to consistently support me when he or she talks about me to others? Can I trust him or her with my own unique brand of loyalty?

All those other reasons for putting someone into a category don’t mean much to me. But, “trust”—well “trust” means a lot to me. In fact, it means far more than it should.

But, so much for me and my sin. What’s your hang up? What keeps you from living a life of impartiality? You may not even be able to conceive that you function with partiality in your life. Let me assure you that you do. In fact, if you are having trouble figuring out where you draw a line of partiality in your life, just invite the Holy Spirit to reveal the partiality that plagues your life. He will gladly help you work through a process of self-discovery.

Our partiality, our living our lives in a way that treats different people differently, resides in us as a direct result of our sin nature. Only through life-transforming power from the Holy Spirit can we hope to enflesh the truth that Paul shares with Timothy in verse 21,

In the last few verses of this chapter, Paul gives some random closing thoughts.

First, let's look at verse 22.

Before ordaining a pastor, an elder, or a deacon, take the time to examine them to make certain they meet the qualifications that Paul has listed previously. Always bring someone into leadership very, very carefully.

And, do not allow yourself to share in the sins of others. If you observe someone around you sinning, don’t allow yourself to be drawn into that sin. Walk away. Or, said another way, “Keep yourself pure.” It takes a volitional act of your will to respond to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit warns you to turn from the sins of others, so you won’t be drawn in, by all means turn and walk away.

And, then we come to verse 23.

This is a particularly tough verse for me. I was raised in deep evangelical fundamentalism. Drinking alcohol in any form was absolutely forbidden. My godly grandmother served for over 30 years as a leader of the WCTU. That’s the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, for those of you too young to have ever heard of that organization. I grew up hearing story after story of lives ruined by drinking alcoholic beverages.

So, while I must strive to deal with a host of other types of sins in my own life, it seems a great deal more fair if I leave the appropriate exposition of verse 23 to some lifelong Presbyterian or Episcopalian, or Roman Catholic, or whatever. (chuckle) It seems to me that many of the Presbyterians in my current church just love Paul’s advice in verse 23.

Perhaps we will wrap up our walk tomorrow. How 'bout it? Does that sound like a plan?
Copyright © 2009 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stepping Stones Along the Pathway of Obedience: Part 3

In this post, we continue to walk on the "Stepping Stones Along the Pathway of Obedience" found in 1 Timothy 5:1-25..

Principal No. 2 (verses 3-16): “Extend care to people who have real needs. But, make certain you wisely assess each individual situation to consider the genuineness of the need and the best way in which to respond to that need.”

We like to think of ourselves as people who readily care for others. But, I wonder? Do we spend more time talking about meeting the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ than we actually spend meeting those needs?

In order to follow the nature of the instructions that Paul gives to Timothy, we must continually assess whether or not we are truly identifying the needs of our fellow believers and meeting those needs in an appropriate way. And, when I say “fellow believers” I don’t just mean our fellow believers here in our local area. I mean we need to identify and meet the needs of all believers. Those who live where we live, as well as those in our county, state, nation, and even around the world.

Once we have made certain we have met the needs of our fellow believers, we must not forget the needs outside the Household of Faith. We have a responsibility to extend God's love by reaching out to touch the lives of everyone in need. We must do so with the same care that we reach out to our fellow believers. Here too, we must do our best to identify the needs in our circle of influence and then meet those needs in the most appropriate way. That takes a real effort. It takes a "community of faith" to take on such a task. We must link arms and hearts, pool our resources, and choose wisely to maximize the effectiveness of those resources.

Oh, yeah. There is a lot of need. “How can we possibly meet all those needs?” you may ask. I’ll tell you how: one need at a time. That’s how. One need at a time.

Principle No. 3 (verses 17-20): “Give proper respect to leaders in the church. In fact, give double honor to those who lead well. But, don’t tolerate any sin among them. Rather, publicly rebuke them for their sin in order to serve as an example to others.”

Okay, then. We need to give “proper respect” to those who serve well in leadership among us. But, we also need to adopt a “zero tolerance policy” in regard to their sins.

“What? Are you kidding?” you respond. “Hold leaders accountable? Do you think I’m a nut case?”

Nut case or not, what do you suppose would happen if the people in, well, your church actually followed Paul’s instructions? Between the list of requirements for leaders that Paul offers in 1 Timothy chapter 3 and in Titus chapter 1, and this concept of giving double honor to those who serve well, but holding them to a rigorous standard of righteousness, do you think the folks in your church might end up with some amazing people leading their congregation? Yeah. They would.

In the next post we will continue our journey. So, rest up.
Copyright © 2009 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Stepping Stones Along the Pathway of Obedience: Part 2

In the last post, I set the stage for taking a walk on the "Stepping Stones Along the Pathway of Obedience" found in 1 Timothy 5:1-25. It’s just possible that some of the problems that Timothy faced in Ephesus might well be the same kind of problems that you will face. In fact, your brothers and sisters in Christ up in Buffalo, or over in Cleveland, or down in Pittsburgh, or wherever you live, have to face these same kinds of problems, as they labor on behalf of Christ and His Kingdom.

In this Scripture passage, Paul concentrates on relationships within the Body of Christ. Paul grabs Timothy’s attention and tries to guide his thinking on how to deal with issues that will surely arise, as he leads the church in Ephesus.

Paul has already acknowledged in the previous chapter that Timothy has his youth as a potential liability. And, he urges Timothy to not allow anyone to despise him—or set aside what Timothy may say—simply because he is young.

Now in this chapter, Paul sharpens Timothy’s focus on developing a level of caring that will appropriately mark his ministry among the Ephesians. Part of the solution to problem solving within the Church, Paul asserts, is to care appropriately for one’s fellow believers.

If I were to try to put into a sentence what Paul shares with Timothy, it might sound something like this: “Thoughtfully and prayerfully building respectful, caring relationships with fellow believers, helps expose the world to the power of Christ within His children.”

Let me say that again. “Thoughtfully and prayerfully building respectful, caring relationships with fellow believers, helps expose the world to the power of Christ within His children.”

Let’s take a look at four very specific Principles that form the basis for what Paul has to say.

Principle No. 1 (verses 1 and 2): “When making a point with someone, speak respectfully. Let the deep kind of God-breathed love temper your words. Speak as if you were speaking to your father, or mother, or sister, or brother.”

Right off the bat with this first Principle we enter a realm in our modern culture where listeners respond with a universal, “Huh?”

In our culture, we’re just not in the habit of extending respect to other people. And, our culture particularly doesn’t extend respect to older people. In fact, our culture has pretty much relegated anyone who has reached his or her senior years to a position seen as virtually irrelevant on every level.

I mean, after all, come on, older people are set in their ways, always living in the past, always talking about the good old days, always trying to get you to move backward, not forward; always resisting change.

Hey! Wait a minute. I’m one of those older people! Last August, I celebrated my 61st birthday. I’m set in my ways. I’m living in the past. I’m always talking about the good old days. I’m always resisting change.

Our culture does not generally respect what older people have to say. And, the truth is that, just like people of all ages, older people can find themselves stuck on this idea or that one. Sometimes being stuck on a particular idea stands in the way of valid progress, or valid action.

Nevertheless, Paul instructs Timothy to speak respectfully and with God-breathed love to the older men he might encounter.

When it comes to dealing with women, Paul urges Timothy to treat older women as he would treat his mother and to treat younger women as he would treat his sister. Notice how Paul emphasizes that, in his relationship with younger women, Timothy must maintain purity.

Purity. Now there’s a concept that our culture would never support. Why I could spend the rest of today, all day tomorrow, and most of the next day talking about issues of purity among members of opposite gender within the church. Everything from the way we dress to the way we speak. But, I think I will leave that for another time.

Paul knew that Timothy might encounter some resistance from the people in his congregation in Ephesus, so he offered him a key: “speak kindly, speak respectfully, and speak out of a heart of God-breathed (agape) love.”

In the next post, we'll examine another of the four Principles. Will you stay tuned? I certainly hope so.
Copyright © 2009 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Stepping Stones Along the Pathway of Obedience: Part 1

Today, I begin a series of posts entitled “Stepping Stones Along the Pathway of Obedience.” The posts will deal with the passage of Scripture found in the Apostle Paul's letter to Timothy: 1 Timothy 5:1-25. If you wish, you might want to take a moment and read that passage before you read further.

Have you ever wondered what God actually requires of us? Oh, I know that some people may think God wants them to be kind to others, to speak well, never get into trouble, be on their best behavior, do good and charitable deeds, go to church, keep a smile on their faces, all to earn their way into His favor.

But, God really doesn't have those things as His first priority for us. Why? The truth: we can't earn God's favor. Our sin always gets in the way. That's why God sent His precious son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die on Calvary's cruel cross. It's the blood of Jesus that covers our sins. He has paid the penalty for every sin we have ever committed and every sin we will yet commit.

Once we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, God really only requires one thing of us: obedience. And, that, of course, is the hardest thing of all.

So, how do we do that? How do we obediently fulfill the two great purposes God has for us on this earth as recorded in Mark 12:28-31: to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength; and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

In these next few posts, I want to help us to “listen in” on a written conversation between the Apostle Paul and his son in the faith, Timothy. It’s the kind of conversation that comes from a wiser older man—who has labored long and hard at a task—and now takes the time to share with a younger man. And, not just any younger man, but a younger man who he believes may well have to, some day soon, take his place.

Paul, you see, was currently in Macedonia. Very soon he would find himself under arrest and on his way to Rome. As a Roman citizen, a very rare status for someone of Paul’s heritage, Paul would exercise the right to request a hearing in Rome to answer the charges brought against him.

Some folks of significance would accuse Paul of promoting anti-government ideas. Actually, Paul was simply urging people to become citizens of Christ’s Kingdom. Some thought this was most inappropriate. The best way to silence Paul: have him arrested.

Of course, in hindsight, we can look on these events as they unfolded and see the Hand of God taking charge of the situation. God would use this seemingly dire occurrence to move Paul to Rome at the government’s expense. This would then allow Paul to minister to the growing church there. Out of that experience, the exponential growth of the numbers of people who would place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ would eventually cause Christianity to propagate throughout the then known world.

So, Paul writes to Timothy, who he has left in Ephesus, a city on the western coast of the land we now call Turkey. He gives this young man instruction in how to devote himself effectively to the cause of serving the Lord Jesus Christ.

You may wonder what in the world such instructions might have to do with you. “After all,” you may say, “I have quite enough to do right now just trying to make my way through this troubled world. Why I have hassles at work; hassles at home; and even hassles at my church. At least whenever I try to accomplish something that I believe God has laid on my heart, it seems way harder than it ought to be.”

But you see, dear one, that’s exactly the point.

When you heard the soft whispering—or the loud shouting—of the Holy Spirit that penetrated your mind and heart, and when you responded by receiving God’s gift of eternal life through the transforming power of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, you joined the “Jesus Gang.” You became a part of Christ’s Kingdom, not in the “sweet by and by,” but in the here and now.

That sets the stage.

In the next post, I will share more from what Paul says to Timothy. Let's see if together we can learn some helpful tips on how to become obedient servants of God. Okay?
Copyright © 2009 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

What is a trillion dollars?

In the face of the recent financial "baleout" actions by Congress and the new President of the United States, many people ask, "What is a trillion dollars?"

A few Sundays ago, during his sermon at Saddleback Church in Forest Hills, California, Pastor Rick Warren answered that question by giving a very clever explanation. I have taken the liberty to expand Pastor Rick's explanation a bit, as follows:

What is a trillion dollars? A trillion dollars is one million-million dollars. That’s a “1” followed by 12 zeros.
If you started a business on the day that the Lord Jesus Christ was born;
And if you were a really poor business person and lost $1 million every day you ran your business;
By next Sunday, March 8, 2009, you would have only lost $733 billion 475 million.
In other words, you would not yet have lost $1 trillion.
In order to eventually lose $1 trillion, you would have to continue to lose $1 million each day for 266,153 more days, or until November 20, 2737.
That’s right, you would have to keep losing $1 million each day for the next 737 years!

When you consider that, after Congress and the current President put into effect all their spending programs, the United States will be $12 trillion in debit, it totally staggers the mind.

It seems quite reasonable to react to such news with fear and dread. Fortunately, we—who belong to God, through the resurrection power of the Living Lord Jesus Christ—have access to all of God's riches. We know that God, our Father, created all things. He is the ultimate owner of "the cattle on a thousand hills and the wealth in every mine; He is the owner of the rocks and rills, the sun and the stars that shine."

So, whether we can comprehend how much money constitutes $1 trillion or not, we can rest without fear in the center of His will, knowing that He will care for us. We can face today and tomorrow unafraid.

Copyright © 2009 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.