What would Jesus do

Parents, how would Jesus respond?

What would Jesus do
How many times do we hear the phrase practice what you preach?

As parents, one of our goals in life is to raise, godly, well-behaved, respectful and disciplined children. This task is a gift from God that we cannot handle by ourselves.

How many times do you find yourself doing exactly what you just told your child not to do? You know who will be the first to point it out too… them! As you sit there fuming with anger because of the disrespect and back talk about the issue, you have to breathe and ask yourself, “how would Jesus react?”

Wow…how would Jesus respond? That’s a stop-you-in-your-tracks moment. I would have to say that many times I have not responded how Jesus would.

How would we parent if we stopped in our tracks, and our first response was to pray for patience and direction? Then respond how Jesus would….in love! Use those moments to teach your children that we as humans are sinful and we need God’s grace each and every day.
 

Proverbs 22: 6 ESV
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

 

Show them you aren’t perfect but with God’s help, he can help us make the right choices. Teach them how to confess their sins and ask for forgiveness.
 

Proverbs 11: 2 ESV
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

When we hear “practice what you preach,” we often think of the moral decisions and guidance we speak of: be kind to others, share your toys, brush and floss your teeth, don’t litter. Those are all things that we should be practicing, but how can we tell our kids to do those things if we ourselves are not doing them?

What if we remember that same phrase when we mess up or sin? Let’s be an example to our children on how to react and respond to heartache, to family fights, to disappointed plans, to anger outbursts. Show them how to take responsibility for their actions no matter who was involved or whose fault it may have been. We as humans are sinful and not perfect, so until we reach heaven, all we can do is work toward honoring Christ.
 

Philippians 3: 14 NIV
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do; forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

 
Do your kids see you reading your Bible as much as they see your face in your phone? UGH… guilty.

Let’s challenge ourselves to focus on Christ. If we as parents are not focused on him and making him number one in our lives, then how in the world do we expect our children to do so?

Practice first, then they will see with their eyes what is important. Then preach it so they can be challenged to do the same. Again no one is perfect and bumps in the road will come, but how we respond and steer our children during those times will help them grow closer to Him.

 
Author:
Kids Ministry Lead, Faith Grand Detour

Read more...

What’s in your heart? Where is your treasure?

Scripture often reminds me of how much Jesus knew about what was in the hearts of people. Of course He did, He is God! The heart – the center of our being, not just physically but in a spiritual sense – is what motivates who we are and what we do. The Bible talks about the heart almost 1000 times. 

The Lord says that “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” Jeremiah 17:9.  This sounds pretty harsh, but God through Jeremiah was issuing a warning for us to be mindful of who we are in the natural….sinners.    

The best example of this can be seen in toddlers

I love my grandchildren, most of whom have not reached the age of accountability. So regardless of their actions, they would be a recipient of heaven if they died today. Praise God for that! It is amazing though how selfish and disobedient toddlers can be. This is the natural, undisciplined wickedness we are born with. It either grows into more rebellion as we mature, or changes once we enter into a relationship with the Lord, growing in love for God and spiritual discipline. Even then we are subject to relapses and failure, being human, which the Bible points out we need to learn from.

King David – an example of repentance and consequences

King David was identified as a man after God’s own heart. In Acts 13:22, the Lord said, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, he will do anything I want him to do.”

But wait, didn’t David fail in a big way when he committed adultery and murder to cover it up? Yes, he did. Here’s the thing though. In Psalm 51, King David pleads with God to create a clean heart in him after he commits these sins. Because of his repentance, he was restored but not without consequence.  

The good news? God restores us when we are honestly sorry, ask for forgiveness and learn from our sin. This means turning from that behavior in repentance, doing an about-face and choosing to walk in the light. But there are consequences to what we do, and it seems had David been using his time more wisely, practiced discipline and gone to battle with his men, this may not have happened.   

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also

I have heard it said that how a person spends their time and money tells others a lot about what matters to them. For the people of God, it should be obvious.  Jesus tells us, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moths nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”—Matthew 6:19-21 

This is pretty clear and there’s no ambiguity in this. Now, we are expected to be wise about taking care of and providing for our families which involves a certain level of planning, but it is planning with God at the center of it considering biblical principles. If our treasures are so earthly focused, making us no heavenly good in how we spend our time and money, there must be a realignment. In this me-focused world, it’s easy to get pulled into the “you deserve it” advertising, trying to keep up with what other family or friends have or are doing, or allowing social media platforms to consume too much of your time. 

If this is you – and admittedly over the years sometimes it has been me – we need to take a breath, pray, and remember tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. We can use this reminder to refocus our priorities on storing up treasures in heaven, where moth and rust can’t destroy and thieves can’t break in and steal. 

Today, let’s refocus our hearts on Christ, determine to have a heart after God and make His priorities our priorities. He knows your heart better than anyone, including all the good and the bad. It’s never too late to turn things around. With His help, you can.

If you would like to talk with someone about these things or know more about what it means to live life with Jesus, please contact us. We’d love to talk and pray with you.

Author:

Read more...

Lessons in Practical Leadership

In our recent move to our new home, I discovered a book given to me by my late Mother-in-law, Janice Kessel, who has been with Jesus now for almost 14 years. The book is titled Leadership by Charles Swindoll. Janice gave me this book in 1985, fresh off the first printing as we were returning from Italy from our first tour of duty in the navy and getting ready to assume command of a Construction Battalion Unit back in the good old USA. A country we had come to love even more having been gone for 2 years. Janice’s handwritten note in the book included “I hope this little book will give you some insight into the responsibilities, the satisfaction and the source of good leadership abilities.” This was 36 years ago and 11 years before I became a Christian.

Although I am sure I must have opened the book back then, I don’t remember reading the book until this recent move. Since discovering this book again, I have read it and the associated scripture many times in the last 6 months. It’s an easy read and based entirely on the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.

In the last 36 years based on my career positions, and serving as a deacon and now elder for Faith Assembly, I can confidently say that the four leadership actions the book describes from Paul’s letter are absolutely right on, not so difficult to understand, but not quite as easy to put into action without loving people. 

Without Paul using titles for the four leadership actions he describes, the book calls these:

  1. Sensitivity to Needs
  2. Affection for People
  3. Authenticity of Life
  4. Enthusiastic in Affirmation

 The scripture verses for each follow:

Sensitivity to Needs. But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children (1 Thess. 2:7).

Affection for People. Having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us (I Thess. 2:8).

Authenticity of Life. Nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working day and night not to be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, that you might follow our example (I Thess. 2-9-10).

Enthusiastic in Affirmation. You are witnesses and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers, just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring you as a father would his own children, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory (1 Thess. 2:10-12).

The bottom line of these leadership actions for work, church, or home are:

  1. Treating and appreciating people as people
  2. Caring for them appropriately
  3. Allowing people to get to know the real you
  4. Encouraging them in the issues of life
  5. Being sensitive to promptings to keep wise boundaries as may be necessary  
When my mother-in-law wrote that I would have insight into “the satisfaction and source of good leadership abilities”, I am certain she was praying that one day I would discover it isn’t about me, it is about Jesus who modeled love and these leadership actions with great success as did many who followed including the apostle Paul! 
 
I am still working on it, and one day by the grace of God hope to get much closer to achieving it. Thank you Janice and thank you Jesus! may all of us continue to build our practical leadership skills to the glory of God. 
 
Author: 
Randy Ortgiesen
Elder, Faith Assembly

Read more...

The Servant Leadership Example of Jesus

For each Faith Elder meeting over the last several months we have devoted time for teaching from a book on “servant leadership”.  A book that features Jesus himself modeling various aspects of leadership while he walked on this earth. The deacon board and church staff are also doing the same and as with the elders, each deacon and staff member take their “teaching turn” on different weeks.
 
It has been a super good lesson and reminded me of two important truths. The first is that study has to be intentional by spending time in God’s word to really know him, and the second is the importance of prayer and discussion with like minded brothers and sisters in the Lord. Both are required for growth in relationship with the Lord and with each other – especially in times of turmoil and distraction.    

The “servant leadership” teaching focused on one’s heart, head, hands and behaviors. It was helpful to see how Jesus focused on these areas of teaching and application with His disciples in the gospels. The focus scriptures in each meeting were those with which we were all familiar, but this teaching helped to draw out the deeper purpose of what Jesus was doing. These were applications not just for servant leadership in and around the church (body of believers) but in all areas including jobs, neighborhoods and families. Jesus is our perfect example!

The Heart

The heart was the first topic of teaching since it is the center of one’s being as is stated many times in scripture. Heart change is what moves a person from what is inherently a self-serving lifestyle to a serving lifestyle out of thankfulness for what Jesus has done for us.  It is what drives one’s motivation and intent to lead by serving. It very simply is giving instead of getting.
   

The Head

After the critically important element of the heart, the head comes into play to shape our belief system and perspectives. It is the renewing of our minds by being transformed from the inside out and no longer conforming (or desiring to conform) to the things of this world (Romans 12:2).
 

The Hands

Once the heart and head are engaged correctly, the work of the hands follow since the actions are now aligned with and becomes one’s behaviors.  With the heart, head, and hands working together, it can now be about the “being” of relationship and serving out of thankfulness and not just about the “doing” of the work. 
 

The Habits

The habits in which one seeks to engage was the last area of servant leadership development that is super important to ensure positive and helpful disciplines are maintained. The battle of getting and doing for self (the wrong reason) instead of giving for the Lord can often lead us the wrong direction.  Godly habits that involve solitude, prayer, and scripture meditation – all of which Jesus practiced often throughout his life on this earth – are the example He left us to follow to keep us moving in the right direction.
 
Reading this material may make servant leadership seem fairly simple, but as with many things the application can be challenging. Remember, it took a while for the disciples to get it even though Jesus was the best teacher ever and modeled it perfectly. That said, we can be sure Jesus will be patient with us too as we seek to live the greatest commandment to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” as we seek to become all God created us to be. 
 
Author:
Elder, Faith Assembly 

 

 

 

 

 


Read more...

Called to be Servants

Have you noticed how affectionately the followers of Jesus were described in the Bible? Many warm names were used to describe God’s children, here are just a few: brothers and sisters, children, believers, disciples, the elect (I like that one), sons and daughters, and one of my favorites – SERVANT.
 
Sadly, many don’t appear to appreciate or have the desire to accept the role of someone who serves. I have to admit; how I act, what I think, what I talk about, and many times the content of my prayers center around my needs and wants – not someone else’s.

Jesus lived and taught something different to those around Him. He gave His life so we could experience freedom from sin and have eternal life with Him, quite the act of a servant. For us salvation not only includes forgiveness and eternal life, it also means taking on the character of Christ and becoming servants of the Father.

This, however, is not the way it shall be among you.  If one of you wants to be great, you must be the servant of the rest; and if one of you wants to be first, you must be the slave of the others – like the Son of Man, who did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life to redeem many people.  Matt 20:26-28 (GNT)

 

Even though Christ had a huge following, He didn’t look for power, status, or admiration. He came to serve, and He never lost sight of that during His time on earth. The Bible tells us Jesus is our example. It also tells us He was equal to God but humbled Himself to become a man. Just like Jesus, we are one with the Father. Add to that the truth of how we are made in God’s image. It seems reasonable then that serving is a part of our new nature and make-up.

God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus He has created us for a life of good deeds, which He has already prepared for us to do. Eph 2:10 (GNT)

If we struggle with the idea of serving others and are honest with ourselves, it looks like the only thing that stands between us being who God designed us to be and who we are today is… ourselves.

 

Anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal. John 12:25 (MSG)
 
Without a doubt, the Father will honor our hearts and actions when we move from concentrating on ourselves to focusing on how each of us can help a hurting world. Jesus is our Savior AND the Lord of our life. We have one purpose and that is to be His servant to glorify Him.
 

What might be the result of giving ourselves to a life of service as our Savior did? I think it’s this: when we, the body of Christ, share His love and give of ourselves to others, we give God an open door, through us, to affect the world in an amazing way.

 

As for you, my friends, you were called to be free.  But do not let this freedom become an excuse for letting your physical desires control you. Instead, let love make you serve one another. For the whole Law is summed up on one commandment; ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself’. Galatians 5: 13-14 (GNT)
 
This topic is near and dear to my heart so I could go on, but I’ll leave you with a few thoughts to ponder instead.
 
From My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers:

If we believe in Jesus, it is not what we gain but what He pours through us that really counts. God’s purpose is not simply to make us beautiful, plump grapes, but to make us grapes so that He may squeeze the sweetness out of us. Our spiritual life cannot be measured by success as the world measure it, but only by what God pours through it — and we cannot measure that at all.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 1 Peter 4:10 (ESV)

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 1 Corinthians 9:19 (ESV)

 
Servanthood has an eternal impact on lives. It willingly involves itself in the needs of others as the Holy Spirit leads us, leaving God to work the results. God is asking us if we are willing to do a servant’s work for Him. What is He calling you to do today?
 
Author:
Church Development

Read more...

New Wine – God Pouring New Life into Us

In our church, we sing a song called New Wine. It has a lot to do with the condition of our heart. Jesus said in Mark that new wine is never placed into old wine skins because as the aggressive fermentation process permeates the skin – a previously used skin that is already worn and saturated will burst with the pressure.
 
Mark 2:21 – 22 (NASB) “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; otherwise the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear results. No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”

Mark’s implication is that our hearts are like wine skins, and God is always looking to pour new life from Himself into them. If our hearts are worn and saturated with an older fragrance, an older fermentation, we are not able to receive the new life He wants to pour into us.

Lamentations 3:22 – 23 reminds us, “The Lord’s lovingkindness indeed never ceases, for His compassions (mercies) never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (NASB)
In Isaiah He says, Isaiah 43:19 (KJV) Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
 
As creatures of habit, it’s easy to slip into even spiritual patterns that eventually become stale. While we may be content with the stale condition of our hearts, that sentiment may not be shared by the One who knows us and loves us most.

What God is looking for from us is a soft openness to His continual outpouring of His mercies (Lam. 3). That softness is actually what creates a new wine skin in us.

David said in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me”.
 
Paul put it this way, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. Behold, old things have passed away all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

That softness before Him gives Him the perfect conditions for creating something new in you and me. He pours in His newness of life and we are able to grow in Him as His Spirit permeates through the walls of our heart permanently becoming part of us down to the smallest fiber.

 
He instills in us a flavor and an aroma of His personal presence in us, and His character begins to flow from us as it matures into the fine quality of His vintage or timeless Holiness.
 
But, if we are stubborn, selfish, arrogant, rebellious or sullied by addiction to what we personally want, then He is unable to pour in Himself since the skins – our hearts- are too weak to sustain or withstand Him.

Today is a good day to start over… fresh.

 
Ask Him to create in you a new heart… to do something new in you… and show you how His mercies are new every morning.
 
check out The song, make it your prayer, and surrender to the work He is doing in your life today..
 

 
Author:
Lead Pastor, Faith Assembly

Read more...