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John Shirk

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God’s Surprising Ways to Accomplish His Big Picture Plan

john : December 22, 2010 2:51 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – The promise of the Messiah was recorded in Micah 5:2.  “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

God has a way of working out His redemptive plan in surprising ways.  He uses the cross, an instrument of execution to pardon the sins of those who would believe in Jesus.  During His earthly ministry, Jesus called ordinary, unschooled men to follow Him.  He spent time with them and trained them to become the early church leaders who would leave a lasting impact on this world.  And He picked Bethlehem to be the birthplace of Jesus. In the world’s eyes, these were probably unimpressive ways to accomplish big purposes.  Yet, He uses the painful, the ordinary, and the small and weaves them together to show His love to a world in need of His grace.  Do you ever feel small and insignificant?  Others might treat you that way, but God does not.  He made you.  And just like the little town of Bethlehem, He can raise you for a significant purpose as the love of Jesus transforms your heart to reflect His glory.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today. 

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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The Promise of Peace

john : December 20, 2010 2:35 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – The promise of peace is found in Micah 5 of the Old Testament.  Verse 4 refers to the one who will be ruler over Israel, the one who would be born in Bethlehem.  The LORD says, “He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace.”

Peace and security.  That is the yearning of Israel today, and not just Israel, but many nations today.  Jesus is described by the prophet Isaiah as the Prince of Peace.  He is also the One who was born in Bethlehem.  He is uniquely qualified to give us a secure peace with God today and put us in a place of heavenly peace forever. A day is coming when the nations will find relief from war. Swords will be turned into plowshares, and Jesus will be the One who puts away the weapons of warfare permanently.  Right now, armed conflict continues among the nations, but we can serve as peacemakers by proclaiming the good news of great joy for all the people: A Savior has been born to us.  He is Christ the Lord.  He is the reason for Christmas.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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God’s Love-Vast, Personal, and Eternal

john : December 17, 2010 9:40 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – The mission of Christ is found in places like John 3:16, which says that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

God’s love is a big picture love that reaches out to the world, and it is also a personal love, which has the power to transform individual lives like you and me.  It’s the kind of love that gives great attention to the details of our lives like the number of hairs on our head. His love is in tune with all our needs and familiar with all our ways. He knows what is best for us and teaches us and guides us with that in mind.  His love enables us to have a personal relationship with Him, whereby we can be called His friend.  This is made possible by the gift of Jesus to the world to become a sacrifice for our sins. 

This emphasis on the personal love of God for us was highlighted by A.W. Tozer, who said, “God does not love populations; He loves people.  He loves not masses, but men.” God’s love is vast and personal.  It is true that God loves the people of the world.  It is also true that God loves you.  This challenges us to be personal in the way we reach out to others.  First John 4:11 says, “Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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The Child Of Promise-An Eternal Gift

john : December 16, 2010 6:42 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Isaiah 9, verses 6 and 7 prophesied about the coming Messiah in this way:  “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”

The Christian links this passage with Jesus, whose wisdom as the Wonderful Counselor is supreme and guides us in the path of God’s will.  He is the Mighty God and is worthy of our worship.  He is the Everlasting Father.  He is our compassionate provider and protector forever. As the Prince of Peace, He will end all wars under His Kingdom, the nations will beat their swords into plowshares.  Instruments that were designed for violence will be used to grow crops and feed people instead.  His Kingdom will also be secure.  No one will overthrow His throne.  Today, the mission of Jesus continues to save souls and bring glory to His name.  We can depend on the word of the LORD to fulfill His promises.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today. 

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Help From Above

john : December 15, 2010 9:32 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – In Psalm 57, verse 2, David said, “I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me. He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me; God sends his love and his faithfulness.”

David was anointed to be a future king.  His purpose was clear.  Yet, between the time of the anointing and the time he became king, David ran for his life.  Why did he live under constant threat?  The obvious reason is that the present king was jealous of David.  The spiritual reason might be harder to understand, but God may very well have used the king’s jealousy toward David to groom him for leadership.  We tend to be humbled by difficult circumstances.  Times of isolation and danger are also opportunities to seek God, and place our confidence in Him. He is stronger than our greatest adversaries.  He has a plan for us, and in His wisdom, knows how to guide us through times of trouble. 

From heaven, God saves us.  He sends His love and faithfulness. He did this when He sent Jesus to the world.  We can trust Him to save us from our sins and guide us to fulfill His purpose while we live on the earth.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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The Joy Of John the Baptist before Birth

john : December 13, 2010 3:38 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Even before his birth, John the Baptist leaped for joy in his mother’s womb when she heard Mary’s greeting, who was carrying Jesus. This indicates that John was full of life even before seeing the light of day.

John’s response offers a thoughtful challenge to us.  What is our response to the sound of Jesus’ name?  Do our hearts leap for joy?  Are we moved by the thought that Jesus has come to earth as a gift of God? 

This Christmas season is a reminder that Jesus comes to us as proof of God’s love.  We can respond with receptive hearts that welcome His presence, and move us to expressions of thanksgiving and praise to God.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Reason Number Five To Celebrate Christ at Christmas-Eternal Life

john : December 10, 2010 4:17 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – In His own words, Jesus said in John 6:38, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

If you believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord, then you belong to God. That is good news to the extreme. Not one of Jesus’ truly devoted followers will perish in the realm of eternity.  Death will be but a mere bump in the road that leads to streets of gold.  The grace of the Lord Jesus is strong enough to prove God’s promises faithful. 

This means that we can live with encouragement and hope, as we live with confidence that nothing in all of creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Reason Number Four To Celebrate Christ At Christmas-Opportunity To Turn Around

john : December 9, 2010 11:32 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – About Jesus, Acts 3:26 says, “When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

One of Jesus’ first recorded statements as an adult was this:  “The time has come. The kingdom of God is near.  Repent and believe the good news!”

The Gospel is a picture of a ship sailing in the wrong direction, and heading toward disaster.  Maybe a tidal wave.  Maybe an iceberg. Maybe a deadly hurricane.  But before the ship reaches the place of its breaking point, Jesus intervenes.  He becomes the turning point that saves the ship.  Likewise, Jesus is the turning point of human history, showing us the way to God through Himself.  When we follow Him by faith, He becomes our turning point from our wicked ways to His righteous paths, from our bad news to His good news.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Reason Number Three To Celebrate Christ At Christmas-Family Membership

john : December 8, 2010 2:32 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Galatians 4:4 says, “when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.”  

The passage further states that “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba Father.”  The term “Abba Father” refers to a childlike intimacy and trust.  It’s a family term that Jesus used in prayer when addressing God, the Father.

The coming of Christ brings us to an age of maturity where we can enjoy the full privileges of being a child of God.  That includes having a relationship with God and having the inheritance of eternal life along with the blessings that are waiting in heaven. The coming of Jesus means that we can belong to God’s family through faith in His name to save us from our sins.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Reason Number Two To Celebrate Christ At Christmas-Abundant Life

john : December 7, 2010 5:04 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

There is a big contrast between Satan’s agenda for our lives, and the Lord’s agenda for our lives.  Satan seeks to deceive us.  Jesus describes Satan as the father of lies.  Jesus is the truth.  He speaks the truth, and fills us with His truth when we are receptive to His words.

Satan wants to rob us of God’s love, joy, and peace.  Jesus came to fill us with these enduring qualities. Satan’s agenda is to destroy us.  Jesus describes Satan as a murderer.  Jesus came with God’s breath so that we might be born spiritually, not just physically.  Spiritual re-birth leads to eternal life. 

There will be voices that tell us that we need to have toys and presents in order to have a meaningful Christmas.  However, Jesus is our greatest need. He is the reason why we celebrate. Through His presence, we can have a life of abundant spiritual blessing that fills us with truth, grace, and the hope of eternal life with God.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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