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John Shirk

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Being a caring friend

john : July 7, 2010 11:05 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

In the Golden Rule, Jesus challenges us to treat others in the way we would want to be treated.  So, if we don’t know how to handle a delicate situation like comforting a friend in their time of sadness, we can try to imagine what it would be like if we were in their shoes.  Maybe we never faced anything similar to their experience.  We don’t have to pretend that we know what they are going through.  We can simply come up alongside of them and listen to them, and make ourselves available to spend time with them. 

People also have a tendency to want their friends nearby in times of celebrations.  Maybe that is why we have graduation parties, and invite people to our weddings.  By being there, we also express care and support for our friends.  In both cases, through our tears of sadness and our smiles of celebration, we go beyond ourselves to enter the world of our friends.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Courage to Move Forward

john : July 2, 2010 9:40 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK-Have you ever needed encouragement to move forward and do the right thing?  In the Bible, Joshua had reached a defining moment as a leader for his people, Israel.  They were at the crossroads.  It was decision time.  God was calling Joshua to prepare to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the desert.  Years earlier, naysayers prevented the Israelites from taking the land that God called them to enter.  Now with God’s green light, would the same mistakes of the past be repeated, or would faith triumph over fear? 

The LORD says to Joshua in Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Why can we have confidence to move forward with God’s purposes?  The LORD is with us.  This is true when we go forward to tell others about Jesus.  Many years later, Jesus would instruct His disciples to preach the good news to all creation.  As they went, Jesus promised to be with them to the very end of the age. That means, Jesus is with His followers today, who continue to spread His good news.  His presence is why we can go forward with confidence.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Elisha-Moving forward in God’s plan

john : July 1, 2010 1:35 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – In First Kings 19, Elijah was called by God to anoint Elisha as his successor as prophet. He goes to Elisha and finds him plowing with twelve yoke of oxen.

After hearing God’s call to become the next prophet, Elisha took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant.

Elisha made a clear break from his past when he went into training for his next task. There was no turning back. He would not return to his occupation as a farmer. There was nothing wrong with his past occupation. However, God had something different for his future, and because it was God’s will for him to be a prophet, it was Elisha’s commitment to be what God called him to be. This is how we reach our potential in Christ-by answering His call on our lives with an obedient heart.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Honoring God with our bodies

john : June 28, 2010 9:41 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – First Corinthians 6:20 refers to the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins with these words-“You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

In light of Christ’s offering for us, we are taught to offer the various parts of our body to God as instruments of righteousness. This includes how we use our mind, which includes our thought life. This includes how we use our mouth, the words we use and how we say them. This includes how we use our hands, the ways in which we serve other people. This includes how we use our feet, the places we go, and the pathway we use to get there. This includes how we use our eyes, what we choose to focus on. This includes how we use our ears, the messages that we are tuning in to hear. This includes how we use our heart, our desires, ambitions, and emotions.

The Word of God is an excellent resource to teach us how to honor God with the various parts of our body. Romans 12:1 tells us that “in view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.”

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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The value of worship music

john : June 24, 2010 10:35 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – David said in Psalm 7:17, “I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.”

Worship music flows out of a heart that is in tune with the Lord.  David considered the righteousness of God, and was moved to offer Him thanks.  There are generally two reasons to praise God-for who He is, and what He has done.  Psalm 150, verse 2 says, “Praise Him for His acts of power.”  That fits under the category of what He has done.  “Praise Him for His surpassing greatness.”  That fits under the category of who He is.  Our experience of worshiping God is fuller and richer when we remember both reasons of why God is worthy of our worship. 

Jack Mooring of Leeland talks about the mission behind their music in this way:  “Through our songs we hope people experience God in such a new way they they are inspired to draw closer to Him.”  This is what can happen when we use music as a tool to share our love for God with others.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Courage for what lies ahead

john : June 22, 2010 9:52 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Just before the Israelites were to cross over into the Promised Land, Moses said to the people in Deuteronomy 31:6-“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Moses was reminding the people that taking possession of the land was God’s idea, and because of His favor, they could depend on God to go forward and remove the obstacles that stood before them.

An Iranian pastor once said, “If you have vision, nothing will frighten you. With His vision, God gives you power. You must not be afraid.”

In the midst of challenging circumstances, the temptation is to focus on how big the enemy is or how big the obstacle is. The words of Moses challenge us with a new perspective-to focus on God and to put our faith in Him. If He calls us to it, He will see us through it. There may be struggle, and there may be suffering for obeying the Lord. However, in the midst of trouble, God’s purposes prevail, and those purposes are redemptive in the obedience of His followers.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Growth beyond conversion to Christ

john : June 21, 2010 9:06 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Colossians 2:6 speaks to believers in Jesus Christ with this instruction: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

There is never a day that goes by when we don’t need the grace of the Lord Jesus. The day we receive Jesus as Lord is a defining moment of victory when we cross over from death to life. The burden of sin is released from our back and we are enabled to stand firm in the freedom of God’s grace. Beyond our conversion, God wants us to do life with Jesus as Savior and Lord. He wants us to welcome His presence into the midst of every day and every moment. There are some basic disciplines that can build strength to our faith. Studying the Bible, obeying His counsel, regular prayer, and consistent fellowship with other Christians, to name a few. As we follow Jesus faithfully, fruit will develop in the form of spiritual maturity. Qualities like love, joy, and peace will grow in our heart and overflow into our relationships as a witness that Jesus is alive and well.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Why is encouragement important?

john : June 15, 2010 9:39 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK-Encouragement is a positive word. Many people like to use it. The Bible uses the term. But what does it really mean? And what does it take for encouragement to take place? Two Scriptures give us understanding into the meaning of this word.

Hebrews 10:25 says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

God’s heart for believers is to be connected together. This is why going to a Bible-believing, grace-based church should be encouraged. Not because it makes us more spiritual. But because it is an atmosphere where the name of Jesus is honored and people have the opportunity to experience faith-building relationships.

Barnabas was a man in the early church who was gifted in encouragement. When he saw the evidence of God’s grace at the church in Antioch, the Bible says that he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. The example of Barnabas teaches us to encourage others to be fully devoted to the Lord, through our words, deeds, and attitudes.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Ways to tell others about Jesus-Service Approach

john : June 11, 2010 8:40 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – In our Missions reports this year, we are seeing a trend among Christian organizations that go into the world to share the Gospel. Whether it’s Compassion International helping children break out of poverty, or Living Waters International digging wells to provide clean water for an area, or a disaster relief organization helping people in a crisis, the pattern is the same. Gain a hearing of the Gospel by addressing tangible needs in a timely way. Our compassion is incomplete if we share the Gospel without addressing physical needs. Our witness is incomplete if we address physical needs without sharing the Gospel. Serving in Jesus’ name involves telling people that the love of Jesus is what moves us to serve them.

In Acts 9, Tabitha is a good example of someone whose love for God was evident in her service. She was always doing good and helping the poor. We can look for service opportunities as a way to show the love of Jesus to people in need.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Ways to tell others about Jesus-The Invitational Approach

john : June 10, 2010 10:03 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – In our excitement of becoming a new creation in Christ, we want others to share our experience of finding true and lasting satisfaction.
We recognize that this Gospel is too good to keep to ourselves. This is the solution for the whole human condition, not just a remedy for me.

In John 4, the woman at the well was refreshed when she drew the words of Jesus close to her heart. Leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” The Bible says they came out of the town and made their way toward him. As it turned out, many of them became believers in Jesus too.

The invitational approach is one way of sharing the Good News with others. We can invite our neighbors to a church function, or our co-workers to see a movie with us that presents the Gospel. Love for God and for people is what motivates us to invite people to taste and see that the Lord is good.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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