Friday, October 5, 2007


Read Philippians 2:19 - 30

“I have no one else like him (Timothy), who takes a genuine interest
in your welfare.” Philippians 2:20 NIV

Paul loved Timothy! He was a spiritual father to this young pastor and invested much time in Timothy’s spiritual formation and growth. Likewise, we find in this passage, that Paul had a great deal of appreciation for Epaphroditus. He commends them both for their service both to him and to the church. But Paul did not lump them together – he recognized each of them for the specific ways they had proven themselves useful to God. One commentary said, “Timothy models serving the gospel by caring for the needs of others; Epaphroditus models the suffering that accompanies serving the gospel.” It is important that we understand how important different gifts are in the leadership of the church.

Have you ever noticed how different every member of our church staff is? Each one of our pastoral staff is completely different in almost every way. Each of these men has his own strengths and weaknesses. Each of them brings a different perspective to ministry and to our church. And each of them is equally called and used by God to accomplish His purpose.

It is important for us to be like Paul and be encouragers to those who are in leadership. Paul recognized something very important about how a church needs to function in order to be all that God desires for it to be – that leaders need encouragement. Paul probably had shared with both Timothy and Epaphroditus individually how much he appreciated what they did and how they served the Lord. And yet, in the midst of his letter to the church at Philippi, he again shares how important a role each of these men played in furthering the gospel of Christ.

What a powerful example for us as church members! We need to be visible encouragers to the pastors and leadership of our church. We must be defenders of their integrity, their love for Christ, and their service in our church and community. Paul models that encouraging spirit for us. We must affirm their leadership and giftedness, but we must also share how they have personally ministered to each of us.

The goal for today is ENCOURAGEMENT. Take time today to pray for each of our pastors. Lift up their families and pray for wholeness in their lives. Ask God to bless their ministries and their lives. Pray that the Holy Spirit will lead you in ways to encourage these men – both in their ministry and in how they live their lives. Commit to being an encourager of our church staff.

Pastor Tim, Senior Pastor
Pastor Scott, Associate Pastor
Pastor John, Children’s Pastor
Pastor Jessie, Student Pastor
Pastor David, Missions Pastor
Pastor Bob, Pastoral Ministries

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Read Philippians 2:5 - 18

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus”
Philippians 2:5 NIV

Slowly read the description of Christ in verses 6 through 11. What stands out to you? Perhaps it is the reminder that Christ IS God or the reality of Jesus being made nothing. Maybe what you see in this passage is the obedience of Christ or the glory of His seat next to God in heaven. Or, is it the amazing promise that one day EVERY tongue will confess the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The beauty of this passage is evident in every word. A perfect confession of Christ’s deity, power, and sacrifice.

But what about verse five? A specific command about our lives – that our attitude should be like that of Christ. What is that attitude that is to be our own? Look at verse 7, “…he took the humble position of a slave…” (NLT, emphasis added). Humble, humility – generally not one of mankind’s stronger attributes.

The picture of humility offered in this passage is the word “servant”. In the Greek it is “doulos” – a bondservant. This is one who places himself in the will or interests of others. Did you catch that? “One who PLACES himself” … it’s a choice. Ponder that for a moment. Humility is a choice – it doesn’t come naturally to the vast majority of us. It’s hard. It requires effort. It demands sacrifice. So, you’re wondering, what in the world does this mean to me?

Basically, it means we are called to a life of humility. If we are to follow the example of Christ, a vital component of our lives must be that we are humble. Consider this simple contrast: “Do nothing from selfish ambition …” (Philippians 2:3a, NIV) and “but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant …” (Philippians 2:7a, NIV). Selfish ambition vs. servanthood. This is the inherent battle for all of us – flesh against spirit.

The goal for today is HUMILITY. Learning to place others ahead of ourselves and seeing that trait become deeply ingrained in our nature, as it was in the nature of Christ. Consider the following passages and how Christ is calling each of us to a life of humility and an attitude that honors and models Him. Reflect on these passages and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you specific areas in your life where you need to show humility.

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is god, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true HUMILITY toward all men. Titus 3:2 NIV, emphasis added

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the HUMILITY that comes from wisdom. James 3:13 NIV, emphasis added

All of you, clothe yourselves with HUMILITY toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the HUMBLE. 1 Peter 5:5b NIV, emphasis added

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

We're All in This Together

** Wednesday's devotion for revival prep **

Read Philippians 1:27 - 2:4

“Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”
Philippians 2:3 – 4 MSG

Strong words for all of us in those verses. Let’s just look at each phrase individually for a moment.

• Don’t push your way to the front. Think about a group of children who have been offered ice cream. Everyone wants to be the first one to get it so they push and shove to be at the front of the line. Aren’t we sometimes a lot like children? We want to make sure we get to the front of the line for whatever blessing or honor or attention is available.
• Don’t sweet-talk your way to the front. Eddie Haskell – the consummate sweet-talker. People like that really drive us crazy – unless we are the people like that.
• Put yourself aside. Tough to do, huh? We live in a “ME” world where we are constantly bombarded with the message that what works best for me is the final consideration in any decision.
• Help others get ahead. Hmm, how often does this happen? When was the last time you or someone you know declined an opportunity in order to give someone else a chance – and did it not for recognition but because of a genuine desire to see another succeed?
• Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Isn’t that so like us? We want to schedule the Sunday School social on the day that best fits our calendar. We want everything to work out so that it is convenient for us.
• Forget about yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Church workdays. Volunteering in a community ministry or agency. Visiting a homebound member of the church. Working in the nursery. As Rick Warren says at the beginning of The Purpose-Filled Life, “It’s not about you!”

So often we are completely unaware of the self-centeredness of our lives. We don’t take time to consider how we can be investing in the lives of others, how we can be ministering in the life of our church, how we can be used in our community. We are just caught up in the “ME” mentality of our culture. But, we are called to something higher – to invest in others, to put other ahead of ourselves. Perhaps the words of Jesus say it best, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35 NIV). When we love each other, we work together. When we love each other, we put others needs ahead of our own. When we love each other, the world will notice.

The goal for today is UNITY. Loving one another, putting each other’s needs ahead of our own, ministering to one another, setting ME aside – the result of all of these is unity. Being bound together by a genuine selflessness. Where do you stand today? Do you have a heart to see others succeed? Do you work to help others grow? Is your life marked by helpful service? Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can grow in love and produce unity among believers.

Big Living

**Tuesday's devotional from our revival prep packet. **

Read Philippians 1:12 - 26.

"For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ, whether I live or die." Philippian 1:20 NLT

Paul's passion for the spread of the Gospel is rarely more evident in his writings than in this passage. And that same passion should be an integral part of all our lives. But, too often, it is not. Ever wonder why that is? What happens between the sermon on Sunday morning when we are ignited and ready to move mountains fo the sake of Christ adn Sunday night when we find ourselves dreading the week ahead?

What happens is simply this ... LIFE! Life happens and we forget that very compelling part of verse 21 - "to live is Christ." What would happen in your home, at your job, in your relationships if you lived all day, as the New Living Translation says in verse 22, in "fruitful service for Christ"? And, the bigger question is, why don't we even consider that we can actually do this? Again, the simple answer is life.

Too often, as Christians, we are caught up in a drab, colorless existance. We focus on the tasks at hand each day and fail to recognize the wonder of God at work in, through, and around us. Christ calls us into life "to the full" (John 10:10, NIV). Full, overflowing, BIG life! And yet, we live in smallness. A conference speaker once said that Christians should be the most joyful, victorious people in any room because we always have reason celebrate.

One commentator said of this passage, "Once can scarely miss the focus of Paul's concern, here and always: Christ and the gospel." What about us? What would be said of our focus an concern? Our goal must be to point others to Christ in all things, at all times. We mut live in the reality of "life to the full" and show a lost and dying world the BIG life that Christ offers to all of us. We are called to be bold for Christ not just in our words but in the way we live. To sum up, we hear from the Gospel of Matthew this call to big living - "in the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may SEE your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (5:16, NIV, emphasis added).

The goal for today is EXAMINATION. What do other see in your life? Our lives should be living examples of the grace and mercy of God. There must be a boldness in how we live that reflects the passionate love of Christ for each of us. Do you live big? Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you to see yourself as others see you. We must learn to desire to look like Christ and be willing to lay aside those things that keep us in our small worlds and move into the enormity of all God has for us.

Lord, teach me to LIVE BIG for You! I get caught up in the smallness of my life and fail to see the bigness of all that is around me. I want tht big life in You.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Pure and Blameless

** Had the wonderful opportunity to write the preparation guide for our upcoming revival. Part of it is daily devotionals for the week preceding. Thought I'd share them! This is yesterday's. **

Read Philippians 1:1 - 11

"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ." Philippians 1:9 - 10 NIV

Pure and blameless ... a noble goal for all of us. But, to be honest, doesn't it seem quite out of reach. After all, we know that "We are all messed up!" We don't even need our pastor to remind us of that truth each week, for most of us are acutely aware of tht reality every single day. Paul's admonition to the church at Philippi is a call to our church as well. So, what is that direction? What does it mean? And, most importantly, HOW do we follow it?

Consider first the word "pure." Pure can be defined as guileless, sincere, transparent, acting in full disclosure. Perhaps the easiest way to understand what Paul is encouraging us to be is to think about holding something up to the light of the sun and finding no foreign elements, no particles of contamination. Wow! When our heart are held up to the SON, what shows in that perfect light? In order to experience purity, we must be willing to hold up those things inside of us that are hidden to others, and let the convicting power of the Light of the World show us what is there. Being pure, then, is about what is in the inside.

So, if purity is about what is on the inside, what about being blameless? Blameless, in the context of this verse, refers to the following: Not causing others to stumble morally, not giving occasion to fall into sin, being unobjectionable and inoffensive, not creating feelings of repugnance or disgust, not being an affront. Ouch! Blameslessness is all about what we DO and how we BEHAVE. Sometimes, we manage to convince ourselves that others don't notice those "little things" we do, or even worse, that we are somehow not responsible for our behavior because "that's just the way God made me." Nothing could be farther from the truth of God's Word. We are to be "transformed by the renewing of our minds" (Romans 12:2). As we engage in our relationship with Christ, we find ourselves changing - and we must be actively seeking that transformation, not simply waiting around for it to happen. That being the case, being blameless is a serious calling in our lives and it is a calling that is seen by others.

The goal for today is EXAMINATION. Where are you today in these two areas? Are you willing to allow the Holy Spirit to move in you - to check your attitudes to move you into purity and to check your behaviors to guide you into blamelessness? Take time today to allow God to search your heart and your life and be open to what He shows you. Take action to make specific and immediate changes in both your attitudes and beahviors in order that you "may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ."