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John Shirk

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The Call of Jonah

john : October 11, 2010 3:16 pm : John Shirk

The call of Jonah comes at the beginning of the book of Jonah.  “The word of the LORD came to Jonah, ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’”

Jonah’s response was to run away from the LORD.  Why might we run away from God when He calls us to serve Him?  Perhaps we don’t like the mission.  Perhaps we are afraid of failure, or in Jonah’s case, we might be afraid of success. 

It becomes clear as the story goes that Jonah lacked love for the people of Nineveh.  When Jonah eventually went to Nineveh and proclaimed impending judgment, the Ninevites believed God. They actually heeded Jonah’s words and repented.  God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways. He had compassion on them and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened. 

Jonah then becomes angry instead of rejoicing like the angels of heaven.  His lack of love for the Ninevites was exposed.

The story of Jonah is a lesson of faith for us to repent of our sins now, while we have time and trust in Jesus for salvation. Church leaders also are challenged to develop God’s heart of compassion for an unbelieving world that has drifted from God.

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

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Building Bridges with Kindness and Gentle Instruction

john : October 8, 2010 5:49 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Many times, it is tempting to fight back when we are offended or to react in anger when someone gets argumentative with us.  But this is not what spiritual leaders are called to do in the face of a skeptical response. We need to step back and take a look at the bigger picture.  We are not going to change anyone’s mind about Jesus.  That is the work of the Holy Spirit.  Our job is to faithfully represent the Lord in our words, actions, and attitudes. 

Second Timothy 2:24 says, “the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance, leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to his will.”

Do you notice here how kindness, gentleness and instruction are the bridge builders?  Quarreling and resentfulness are the bridge burners.  As we engage a skeptical world with the Gospel, we can keep the conversation going by approaching them in love rather than confronting them with an argumentative attitude.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Seizing Opportunities-Wise Use Of Our Time

john : October 7, 2010 3:47 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Ephesians 5:15 instructs us with these words: “Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”

Stephen Grellet once said, “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good that I can do or any kindness that I can show any human being, let me do it now and not defer it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

The older we get, the more we realize how short life can be.  The life we have is a gift from God.  As we pass through this world each day, we have an opportunity to enjoy life and cherish the giver of life.  With gratitude in our hearts to God, we can reflect a taste of His goodness with a cheerful attitude and loving gestures of kindness.

We are very wise to remember that each moment of our lives matters to God, and every soul that we meet matters to God.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Heeding the Warnings of History

john : October 6, 2010 9:44 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Just as positive role models are good examples for us to follow, negative role models show us the dangers of walking in the wrong paths.  We can learn from their example by avoiding the same mistakes. 

This is what the Apostle Paul was emphasizing in First Corinthians 10:6, when he spoke of the bodies of Israel’s forefathers being scattered over the desert. He said, “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.”  He lists four ways in which they grieved the heart of God.

They committed idolatry and sexual immorality.  They tested the Lord. They also grumbled against God.

Verse 11 says, “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us.”  If we heed the warnings of history, we can make better choices in the present that will make an impact on people’s lives for the future, including our own lives. The key is to be guided by Jesus and not by selfish desires.  That is one of the lessons that we can learn from history.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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The Half Marathon Race

john : October 4, 2010 4:11 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – This past weekend, I did something I never did before in my life. I ran 13.1 miles in a half marathon race.  I was glad to have a friend along with me. Radio Friend Phil and I jogged together for about eight miles before he eventually pulled away ahead of me.  However, he was within view most of the race, until I slowed down at the end. 

The half marathon race was a lot of fun.  It left me both exhilarated and exhausted.  There was also an important spiritual lesson that this race taught me as well.  Just as it requires endurance to finish a half marathon, so the Lord calls me to have a persevering faith, one that never quits the race marked out for me.

There were some motivating moments along the way.

Radio Friend Phil brought out the best in me with his jogging performance on Saturday.  He was a motivating influence to run faster than I would have run on my own.  Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”  There were also water stops along the way to keep me from getting weak and dehydrated.  With our Christian faith, we are strengthened in the faith when we drink from God’s Word.  Regular Bible study can keep our spiritual being from getting dehydrated.  And then, there is the finish line.  I was getting tired near the end, but some runners who were passing me were offering encouragement with the assurance that we were close to the finish line. For the Christ-follower, heaven awaits us at the finish line of life.  Let’s run well on this earth today. Then, we can say with the Apostle Paul at the end of his journey, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Childlike Faith-Profound Simplicity

john : October 4, 2010 3:39 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – In Matthew 18, the disciples came to Jesus and asked him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

The disciples went through a stage when they were preoccupied with “Kingdom status.”  Who would receive the places of honor in God’s kingdom? Jesus places a little child among them to show that greatness came through humility. A little child depends on their parents to take care of their needs, and leans on them for support. In a similar way, Jesus invites us to lean on Him with our concerns.  He affirms His love for us over and over again.

The story is told of Karl Barth, who was a theologian with a deep knowledge of the Scriptures. Someone asked him, “what was the greatest theological discovery of your time?” His answer came from a song that he learned as a child.  “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”  This is the kind of statement that transforms lives from the inside out.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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The Energizing Effect of Follow Up Reports

john : October 1, 2010 3:56 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK-When missionaries come home for a furlough, one of their common tasks is to report to the local church how God is working through their outreach.  This stirs enthusiasm in the church for missions when the Lord is honored this way.  Follow up reports go back to the early church.

In Acts 21:19, the setting was Jerusalem, and Paul greeted the church elders and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.  “When they heard this, they praised God.”

There are times when follow up reports can be beneficial today.  When God works through us to touch someone else in a meaningful way, that is an occasion to praise God.  The church can rejoice together when we share testimonies of God’s grace enabling us to reach out to others with the Gospel.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Waiting-A Dimension of Faith

john : September 30, 2010 2:56 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – In First Samuel 22, verse 3, David made this statement to the king of Moab: “Would you let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God will do for me?”

David was anointed to be the next king of Israel, but was on the run from the current king who was seeking to take his life.  David makes provisions for his parents to stay with one of King Saul’s adversaries. David also affirms that God has a plan for his life.  He just does not know how God will work out that plan for him, but he believes that one day God will reveal it to him as he trusts God with each step.  God has a plan for our lives to be His workmanship while we live on the earth.  We don’t know where the Lord will take us 20 years from now.   By faith, we might not see the future clearly, but we can trust in the One who does see our future clearly, and loves us sincerely. We can go forward with the confidence that He works out His redemptive purposes in the lives of those who follow Him.  We might not become a famous king, but by His grace, we can live a life that brings honor to the name of Jesus, the King of Kings.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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A Life That Counts For God

john : September 28, 2010 4:50 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – The Apostle Paul had a desire to be home in heaven with the Lord, but while he remained on the earth, he also celebrated the opportunity to represent the Lord.

He said in Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”  When he died, he knew he was getting a promotion in the form of a new body that was made to last in the presence of the Lord he loved. Yet, he knew that God had placed him on the earth for an important mission, and he would continue that mission with faithful service to build the church and bring souls into God’s kingdom.

Hans Moetteli has gone the way of the Apostle Paul.  He died this year on May 31st.  Before he died, his life counted for God. He was a volunteer, taking calls for the NEED HIM ministry.  During his nine years as a volunteer, he spoke with over 14,000 people about their relationship with Jesus Christ.  He was known for offering this advice, “Make Jesus number one in your life.”  That is essential for living a life that counts for God.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Carrying On With The Mission

john : September 27, 2010 2:21 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – The book of Acts ends with an open-ended statement. 

“For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.”

This is the last of the early church narrative in the Bible. There is something to be said about lasting impressions.  Our farewell picture of Paul in the book of Acts is carrying on the work of the Lord in the form of preaching and teaching.  He used what freedoms he had to be an influence on others for the sake of the Kingdom.

Could it be that the book ends this way to impress on us that our mission picks up where Paul’s mission ended? Like a relay race, the baton has been passed along to followers of Jesus today to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ boldly and without hindrance. This is how the church serves as a redemptive influence in the world. Paul gladly welcomed all who came to him. By doing the same, we can keep avenues of communication open so that others might come to faith in Jesus.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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