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John Shirk

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Vitality

john : July 21, 2011 2:14 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Vitality can be described as having mental vigor and physical energy.

There is a spring in the step of someone who walks around with vitality.

God’s grace refreshes our spirit, so we are wise to remember His grace daily. His love is a vital source of encouragement each day.

You probably have spiritual vitality if you wake up with a sense of purpose to do God’s will faithfully.

You probably have spiritual vitality if there is devotion to God in your acts of service.

You probably have spiritual vitality if you are eager to learn and grow to become the person God wants you to become.

You probably have spiritual vitality if you have a song of praise to God that resonates in your heart.

In Colossians 1:10 and 11, the Apostle Paul prayed that the church would live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that they may have great endurance and patience, giving thanks to the Father….”

Vitality 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-Diplomacy

john : July 20, 2011 5:10 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Diplomacy is defined as the practice of conducting international relations. One of the diplomat’s big assignments is to negotiate alliances, treaties, and agreements. The international diplomat is on a peacemaking mission, representing their leader in a foreign land.

There are some parallels with the role of an international diplomat and the follower of Jesus as an ambassador for Christ. This world is not our home.  We are citizens of heaven, and we represent our King who is in heaven while we live on the earth.  And God has a message  for us to share with the world. That message is a peacemaking mission, found in Second Corinthians 5:20: “Be reconciled to God.”

This is possible through faith in Jesus Christ, who gives us peace and equips us to be peacemakers.

Diplomacy 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-Dependability

john : July 6, 2011 5:38 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – To be dependable is to be consistent in performance and behavior.  This is vitally important for friendships to thrive.  If someone is consistently supportive day after day, our relationship has the opportunity to grow in trust and affection.  If someone is only a fair-weather friend, then that relationship is in trouble when the storms of life approach.

Jesus shows us by example how to be a dependable friend on good days and bad days. His love is a constant anchor whether times are stable or chaotic.

In a time of turmoil, Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  We can learn a lot about being a dependable friend by examining the life of Jesus.

Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”  That means, that true friends support one another in times of trouble and celebrate with each other in times of triumph.

Dependability 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-Allegiance

john : July 5, 2011 3:39 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Allegiance is defined by devotion or loyalty.  As our pledge of allegiance to the flag demonstrates patriotism for our nation, so our pledge of allegiance to Jesus expresses a different type of loyalty.

If we follow Jesus, our citizenship is in heaven, but currently we live on the earth as Christ’s ambassadors.  We are here to represent Him as a matter of first priority.  Part of representing Jesus well is to be loyal and responsible citizens to our governments. Romans 13:6 urges us to pay taxes for those who give their full time to governing.  “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

Jesus said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”  Caesar may have our taxes, but only God deserves our worship.  We are wise to set apart Christ as Lord, and have that firmly established in our mind and heart.  That way, if there is ever a conflict between what the government tells us to do and what Jesus tells us to do, we know which voice to heed.

Allegiance 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-Freedom

john : July 1, 2011 11:13 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – There is generally a different view of freedom in our culture from what the Bible says.

For some people today, freedom means the right to do your own thing.  But this view of freedom leads to using other people for one’s own advantage, immoral conduct, and lawlessness.  People get hurt if this view of freedom is pursued. A train may be confined by railroad tracks, but those rails liberate the train to go forward and fulfill its purpose. If the train is derailed, the result is a train wreck.  The good news about Jesus is that if we get off track, His grace provides a way for us to get back on track, and to be liberated from “doing our own thing.”

In the Bible, freedom is connected with the truth of Jesus Christ.  Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

If the Son sets us free, we will be free indeed.  So, the key to living a life of freedom is following Jesus.

Freedom 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-Assurance

john : June 28, 2011 2:21 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Assurance can be described as confidence in a guarantee. To be assured is to be sure and secure. This is what it’s like to be in the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

With assurance, we have the faith to believe that God is true to His word.  He fulfills His promises.  When He says that He loves us, He means it.  They are not just empty words, but are backed up and proven by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

One of the hymn writers captured the awe and wonder of this word in these lyrics:  “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh what a foretaste of glory divine. Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit washed in His blood.”

Hebrews 10:19-22 says, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

Assurance 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-Eagerness

john : June 23, 2011 2:14 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Eagerness can be defined as enthusiastic desire or interest.

With eagerness, we want to push ahead with something.  We want something to get done or be fulfilled. God’s grace feeds us with eagerness to glorify Him.

There are a number of ways that we can tell if we have truly been set free by the grace and truth of Jesus Christ.  We lose interest in the values of the world like getting rich and being famous.  We gain interest in the virtues of God’s Kingdom.  His priority becomes our pursuit. One of those priorities is to purify our faith, so that we are responsive to His words. Titus 2:14 tells us that Jesus gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Eagerness is one of the ways that God motivates us to get things done.

Eagerness 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-Worship

john : June 21, 2011 2:17 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Worship comes from an old English word “Worthship”, which indicates the worthiness of the one receiving the special honor or devotion.

Jesus is acknowledged in this way in Revelation 5:12, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.”  He is worthy of our worship.

Sometimes, worship is put into a category limited to a Sunday morning church service or a certain type of music.  But in reality, worship is a way of life that seeks to bring glory to God with our daily activity. Warren Wiersbe has defined worship this way:

“Worship is the believer’s response of all that they are-mind, emotions, will, body-to what God is and says and does.”  This is what we find in Romans 12:1, “In view of God’s mercy…, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.”  With words that praise God, hands of service, and a heart of gratitude, we can express our worship for Jesus as Lord and Savior each and every day.

Worship 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-Transformation

john : June 17, 2011 8:54 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Transformation is a dramatic change in the form, appearance, or character of. Oftentimes, our culture uses the word “transformation” to describe a dramatic change of appearance. The Bible talks a lot about the transformation of the heart in connection with the Christian life.

When Jesus touches our lives with His grace, our character becomes different.  This process of changing character takes place in different ways in different people, at different paces. For some people, the transformation of the heart is instantly noticeable by other people.  At other times, the transformation moves gradually to the surface.

Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Much like the dramatic change of bullfrogs and butterflies, a metamorphosis takes place where we are born again to experience new life in Christ.

One of those key transformations in a growing disciple is a renewed mind. Deceitful desires give way to holy ambitions when our mind stays focused on Christ.

Transformation 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-Peacefulness

john : June 15, 2011 2:11 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Peacefulness is a state of freedom from storm or disturbance. In a peaceful state, there is the presence of calmness and tranquility in our heart, mind, and soul. What is absent is mental stress or anxiety. This does not mean that our circumstances will be calm and tranquil.  The Christian experience might be compared to the eye of a hurricane, where trouble surrounds us. And trouble might affect us.  In fact, Jesus said that we would experience trouble in this world.

There will be tornadoes, floods, unexpected losses, times of grief, and family conflict. Jesus was about to die on a cross, and He said to His disciples, “In this world, you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  Why did He share this with His disciples? So that in Jesus they may have peace.

Peacefulness depends on a relationship with Jesus more than favorable circumstances.  If Jesus overcame sin, death, and Satan, then the record reflects that He is able to help us overcome the troubles of this world in the picture of eternity.  Nothing can separate us from His love. Our lives are in His hands. And His grace is sufficient to provide for us an abundant and eternal life as we follow Jesus with a devoted heart.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

 

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