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John Shirk

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Concern

john : April 18, 2011 4:01 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Concern can be defined as a matter of personal interest or importance.  Concern is expressed in various ways, including caring, sharing, and praying.  A person who is concerned is willing to enter the world of someone else, even if it means hearing about the mess of their lives.

If we sense someone having a difficult day, we can raise some questions to give them the opportunity to open up, and then give them our attention.

What is getting you down? Are you all right? Is there anything I can do to help?

According to First Corinthians 12:25, God’s will for the church is that each “part should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”

Concern is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

 

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Transparency

john : April 15, 2011 3:07 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Transparency is defined by openness, frankness, and candor.  There are no hidden agendas in a transparent person. They don’t wear masks, or use deception.  Transparency gives others a window into our joys, sorrows, concerns, and shortcomings.  Yes, there is risk, and yes, transparency is a vulnerable place to be.

Transparency is also a place of spiritual breakthroughs.  This happens in a supportive atmosphere. James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”

Leadership sets the tone for transparency to thrive. The Apostle Paul told the Thessalonian church, “You know we never used flattery, nor did we put up a mask to cover up greed-God is our witness.”  He also said, “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.”

Transparency is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

 

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Godly Perspective

john : April 14, 2011 4:25 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Developing a godly perspective comes about as we see the world in the way that God sees the world.  With a godly perspective, our interpretation of events and circumstances flows out of seeking to understand how God sees the picture.  We don’t need human reasoning to develop a godly perspective.  We need Divine revelation.  James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

Seeking God in prayer and seeking God in the Bible are essentials for better understanding how God views the world.

Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  With God’s perspective, we learn of His love for lost souls to the degree that He “so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  That is a godly perspective on the world. God teaches us to hate the sin in the world and to love the people in the world, so that they might be saved from their sins through faith in Jesus Christ.

A Godly Perspective is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

 

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Temperance

john : April 12, 2011 5:36 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Temperance can be described as using restraint with the expression of our thoughts, actions, or feelings.  This character quality surfaces in the form of either moderation or abstinence of certain activities.

Ned Holmgren said, “Temperance means the abstinence from all that is evil, and the moderate use of all that is good.” Just because we can do something does not mean it is beneficial or constructive.

Even good things can become a hindrance to spiritual growth if it becomes too important or violates someone else’s conscience.  Temperance appears in the list of qualities of the fruit of the Spirit in the King James version of the Bible.  Other translations use the word “self-control” instead.  With temperance, we are careful not to be sidetracked by anything that threatens to derail us from doing God’s will.  The overindulgence of alcohol, food, sports activities, or computer-time can have a negative effect on our well-being and hinder the development of healthy relationships. Temperance challenges us to make time for different activities under the sun, and for those activities to bring glory to God.

Temperance is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

 

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Conviction

john : April 11, 2011 5:38 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – With conviction, we are devoted to following the precepts of Scripture with zeal.  Some time ago, Josh McDowell wrote a book entitled, “Beyond Beliefs to Convictions.” The general aim of the book was to equip followers of Christ to know what they believe and why they believe it. The value of a deep seeded conviction is that we are not easily swayed by deceptive teachings.

Jesus said, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”  Just because someone dresses the part of a Christian teacher does not make them one.  We need to be ready to evaluate what is being said and compare it with what the Bible says.

Knowledge and acceptance of the Bible as God’s Word is the best way to discern the difference between what is true and what is false.

It helps us to understand who Jesus is and become fully convinced that He is the Son of God who was sent by God the Father to die for the sins of the world. Conviction also gives us confidence to proclaim the Gospel as the truth. First Thessalonians 1:5 says, “Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit, and with deep conviction.”

Conviction is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

 

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Edification

john : April 6, 2011 2:28 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – To edify someone is to build their moral values and to strengthen their faith in God. Edification can happen through words of instruction or encouragement. Proverbs 10:21 tells us that the lips of the righteous nourish many.

When God’s people are consistent in building up each other, the results are uplifting.  The church grows in unity with each other and in faith in the Lord Jesus.

What can we do to edify someone today?  If we are committed to this form of ministry, we will be promoting spiritual growth.  We will become a helpful influence, not a hindrance. We will become a motivator to spur love and good deeds that spring from a heart of faith. Romans 14:19 says, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”

Edification is a quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk 

john@wjtl.com

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Empathy

john : April 5, 2011 4:55 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Earlier this year, we talked about the value of sympathy.  There is a significant difference between sympathy and empathy.  With sympathy, we are stirred to feelings of compassion for someone who is mourning.  We are willing to come alongside and mourn with those who mourn.

With empathy, we can FEEL the pain of the mourner. We can identify with their emotions because we have been there.  We understand. We have experienced the same kind of event. Empathy is sympathy taken to a deeper level.

Jesus not only feels sympathy for us in our times of weakness, but He empathizes with us.  He knows what it is like to be a man.  He knows what it is like to feel pain, and to suffer rejection, betrayal, and be falsely accused.  He knows what it’s like to feel the brutal treatment of the cross and pay the price for our sins. He was there. He took our place.  An example of His ability to empathize with us is found in Hebrews 2:18: “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

Empathy is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Tactfulness

john : March 31, 2011 4:39 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – With tactfulness in place, we are sensitive to what might be proper or appropriate in dealing with others.  We are careful not to be offensive in the way we approach a delicate matter.  There are various situations where tactfulness can be extremely helpful in resolving outstanding problems: Mediation in conflict, dealing with a customer complaint, or approaching someone who is making unwise choices with their lives.  With tactfulness, we care about the way we deliver the truth so that words of wisdom might fall on receptive hearts.  Tactfulness sends a tough message with a tender touch.

There are several examples of this in the Bible.  Proverbs 15:4 tells us that a tongue that brings healing is a tree of life.  Ephesians 4:15 tells us that spiritual growth happens in relationships when we speak the truth in love.  And our witness for Christ to unbelievers is more likely to be heard when we share the reason for our hope with gentleness and respect.

Tactfulness is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Alertness

john : March 30, 2011 3:18 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Alertness can be described as being attentive and watchful.  Our senses are heightened to be in tune with what is going on around us.

To be alert is to be aware of potential hidden dangers.  In the spiritual realm, the Bible challenges us to be aware of dangers, which wage war against our soul.

First Peter 5:8 instructs us to “be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.”

Alertness teaches us to avoid the pitfalls of laziness and complacency. We are in a spiritual battle.  We can prepare for each day’s challenges with a time of worship that includes prayer and Bible study. This will awaken our soul to be in tune with God’s will for our lives.

Alertness is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Cooperative Spirit

john : March 28, 2011 3:01 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Cooperation can be defined as working together or acting together for a common purpose.  Teamwork is involved.  This does not mean we go along with activity that violates our convictions, but with a cooperative spirit, we demonstrate a servant’s attitude to work with others to get the job done.  We show flexibility to the ideas of others. We show respect for our co-laborers. We show a willingness to help where help is requested.  Cooperation is particularly important in the church.

Jesus said, “A house divided against itself will fall.”  This is the result of members working against each other instead of with each other.  Ephesians 4:16 shows us how a cooperative spirit moves the ministry of a church forward. Speaking of Christ, “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

A cooperative spirit is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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