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John Shirk

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A faith lesson about worship from 2 Kings 17

john : September 8, 2010 3:51 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Second Kings 17 is a rich chapter that helps us to understand the captivity that follows false worship and the freedom that is connected with true worship.

Verse 12 talks about the Israelites in the times of the kings in this way: “They worshiped idols, though the LORD had said, ‘You shall not do this.’ The LORD warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: ‘Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your fathers to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets.”  One of the saddest verses of the Bible comes next.  “But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their fathers, who did not trust in the LORD their God.”

The message of the Gospel has been delivered to us so that we might be delivered from the captivity of our sin.  The truth of the Gospel has the power to give us a freedom that is a testimony of saving grace.  That testimony is this:  “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  When we are restored to God, we are right where we belong.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Responding to Questions from a searching heart

john : September 7, 2010 9:45 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Christians have been called by Jesus to represent Him while we live on the earth.  That is why the Bible says we are ambassadors for Christ.  When we consider that God has a mission for us, we are sensitized to the souls around us who live apart from God’s grace, and need Him desperately.  One of the ways we can be a witness for Jesus is by listening carefully to the questions people are asking.  What are they searching for?  Are there indications that they are open to following Jesus as the Lord of their life.

This is what Philip faced in Acts 8:34.  An Ethiopian official was reading the Bible, from the pages of Isaiah.  He was reading, but not understanding.  So, he asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.  Philip used the question of the Ethiopian official to explain the relevance of Jesus to his searching heart.  This is one way we can be a witness for the Lord in 2010.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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God is our Power Source

john : September 1, 2010 10:05 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK-In Second Thessalonians, chapter 1, verse 11, Paul the Apostle said to the church, “We constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.”

God is the One who can take our good intentions and turn them into redemptive opportunities.  His strength is the key to opening up those doors of opportunity.  When we walk through those doors of service, people see the love of Jesus in us.  God can use our labor of love to help someone respond to God’s love for them.  It happens when we represent Jesus in our words and deeds.

Paul prayed for God’s power to fulfill the purposes of the church, so that the name of the Lord Jesus may be glorified in our lives.  Every act of faith is an expression of worship that tells the world what a mighty God we serve.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Faith over fear-A plan for moving forward

john : August 31, 2010 8:37 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Moving forward in God’s plan requires faith in His Word more than fear of unfavorable circumstances. In Numbers 13, the Israelites were faced with that choice.  Heed the voice of God or listen to their fears.

12 spies were sent out to explore the Promised Land. After 40 days of exploration, 10 of the spies came back with the report: We can’t attack these people; they are stronger than we are.” Joshua and Caleb dared to disagree.  They said, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up.”

As it turned out, the people embraced the viewpoint of the 10 spies, and in their unbelief, that generation of adults perished in the desert with the exception of Joshua and Caleb.  They never made it to the Promised Land.  The people in Canaan were not the major hindrance for the Israelites.  Their lack of faith was.  God has a plan for our lives to glorify His name.  That plan is exceedingly good.  We can go forward with that plan by trusting and obeying God.  Our faith in God is strengthened when we remember His words and His miracles of the past.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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God’s Power Within Us, Productive Accomplishments Beyond Us

john : August 30, 2010 9:21 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK-Ephesians 3:20 is an inspiring exclamation of praise, giving credit where credit is due.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

What is amazing is that God’s power just doesn’t work out there, but also within the heart of the believer in Christ.  Henry Blackaby would identify with a verse like this.  He is author of the classic “Experiencing God” study, which has awakened many people to the reality that God is always at work around us and invites us to join Him in His work.  He says in his book, “What’s So Spiritual About Your Gifts?”, “Nobody is more surprised at what God is doing through my life than I am.  I know my limitations, but have also come to know the unlimited resources of the Holy Spirit.”  When we see the hand of God at work in our lives, we can marvel at His grace and praise Him for the strength He provides to carry out His purposes.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Abraham-A Journey of Faith

john : August 26, 2010 2:17 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – A summary of Abraham’s faith is found in Hebrews 11:8, which says, “By faith, Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country.”

God was calling Abraham out of a place where false gods were worshiped.  Members of his own family participated in the worship of these false gods. By calling Abraham to a new land, God was pulling him away from idolatry to a place of promise and blessing.  There is no indication that Abraham hesitated.  The Bible simply says in Genesis 12:4, “So Abram left, as the LORD had told him.” 

From Abraham’s life, we learn some significant things about faith.

Faith comes from hearing God’s Word.  Sometimes, God calls us out of our comfort zone into unfamiliar territory.  Yet, He does not send us on our own. He goes with us. What God promises, He is faithful to fulfill. Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend.  Abraham is a powerful testimony to show us what God can do through a heart that is willing to trust and obey Him.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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The shortsightedness of self-righteousness

john : August 24, 2010 4:13 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – In the first few verses of Matthew 7, Jesus gave a serious warning for us to heed:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

The context of the word “judged” in this passage is condemnation.  It is out of place for the follower of Jesus to act like we have the final word on someone’s salvation, when in fact, that is God’s job.  This passage does NOT mean that we are supposed to approve of sinful lifestyles or accept false teachings.  What Jesus is attacking is the self-righteous tendencies in us to look for the negatives and prey upon people’s weaknesses.  According to Jesus, the measure of judgment we use will be measured to us.  There is such a double standard to a self-righteous attitude. Mercy for me. Judgment for them.  Jesus asks the question, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  Self-righteous hypocrisy hurts our witness for Christ.  It is one of the most cited reasons by unbelievers as to why they stay away from church.  Jesus challenges us to evaluate if we are using a double standard in the way we treat people.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Love and the Ten Commandments

john : August 23, 2010 2:08 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – According to First Corinthians 16:14, everything we do should be done in love. When we hear the Ten Commandments, we might be misled into thinking that God is being negative. Some people believe that God wants to spoil our fun. But this is far from God’s purpose for giving us the Ten Commandments.  These commandments are grounded in love.  God’s love for us, and when we obey Him, our love for God and others. This is confirmed in Romans 13:9 and 10.

“The commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery’, ‘Do not murder’, ‘Do not steal’, ‘Do not covet’, and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.”  We all have violated at least one of the commandments at some point in our lives.  That is why we need Jesus. When we disobey God, He invites us to approach Him with a humble heart and confess our need for the blood of Jesus to cover our sins. His grace is available to forgive us and to teach us to grow in love.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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In, Not Of The World. What does that look like?

john : August 20, 2010 4:43 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – David Kinnaman recently wrote a book examining attitudes of the younger generation toward Christianity.  In that book titled, “UnChristian” he points out the dangers of two extremes for Christians: Being overly sheltered in a Christian bubble or trying to fit into the world.  We know God loves the people of the world, but opposes the values of the world, which are built on pride, greed, and lust. So, if we are going to be salt and light in the world, we must be careful to engage lovingly with the people in the world without compromising Biblical values.  As David Kinnaman notes, “We should pursue both goals: Purity and Proximity-living in a way that honors God, but doing so in a way that can influence outsiders.”

On the night before His death, Jesus prayed for His followers in this way in John 17:15: “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”  As we go into the world, God uses compassionate hearts and godly character to show people that Jesus is real, and so is His love.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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A Plainclothes Superhero

john : August 19, 2010 3:17 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Keith McVey has saved three people’s lives while he was doing his job.  No, Keith is not a lifeguard.  He is a mailman.  Over the course of his 29 years as a mail carrier, he has built a reputation of a plainclothes superhero in his hometown community.

The Associated Press reports that nearly 20 years ago, Keith preserved the life of a teenager who tried to commit suicide.  2 years ago, he pulled a drowning girl from a lake.  And just this summer, he performed CPR on an unconscious man on the side of the road.  This all happened while he was on his mail route. Keith McVey saw the need, and did what he could to save them. 

Spiritually, there are people all around us who need Jesus. When someone turns to the Lord through our witness, they are saved from their sins and brought into the Kingdom of God’s eternal grace. Jude, verse 22 says, “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them.” God can use our witness to be a plainclothes superhero for someone who needs salvation.

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

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_lifesaving_mailman
John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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