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John Shirk

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The blessing of forgiveness

john : September 13, 2010 3:27 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – David wrote in Psalm 32, “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.”

The path to forgiveness comes through confession; agreeing with God that we are sinners who need a Savior.  With a humble heart we plead for His mercy.  In His faithfulness, God answers our prayers.  Some people try to sweep their sins under the rug, but we are called by God to place them under the blood of Christ. This requires utter dependence on God, trusting in the sacrifice of Jesus to pardon us from the death penalty that we deserve.  First John 1:8 says that “if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins, and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

So, if there is something to get right with the Lord, now is a good time to bring it out into the open at His throne of grace.  He does not despise a broken and contrite spirit.  David said in Psalm 32:5, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’-and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”  Confession breaks down the barriers that interfere with God’s purpose for our lives.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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The Bible-A Reliable Source for Guidance

john : September 10, 2010 3:04 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – When we rightly apply God’s Word in our lives, it never leads us down the wrong road, never breaks a promise, and never grows outdated. It does have the power to set us free from sin and change us from the inside out so that we become more like Jesus in the way we live and love. As we grow mature in the faith, God increases our platform to become an effective witness for Jesus.

Second Timothy 3:15 and 16 says that the holy Scriptures “are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

The words of Scripture are more than just words on a printed page.  They are words of truth that become our spiritual food, compass and lifeline.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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The Love of God-Reaching Out Globally, Touching People Personally

john : September 9, 2010 4:49 pm : 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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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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