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John Shirk

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Power of Confession and Prayer

john : October 21, 2010 5:15 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

Dr. Alvin Vander Griend talks about two powerful forces at work in the world.  Sin and prayer.  He says, “Not only does sin hinder prayer; prayer hinders sin. The two are always opposed. The more careless we are about sin, the less we will pray.  The more we pray, the less careless we will be about sin. Which one is moving you?”

Jesus invites us to bring our sins into the light through confession.  This does not mean we necessarily have to share all our sins with everyone we know.  But there are proper occasions to confess our sins to others.  Perhaps we have wronged someone and want to make it right, or we seek support from another Christian to help us stay true to our commitment to follow Christ.  By dealing with our sins openly and honestly, the power of sin loses its grip over us, and the barriers to prayer are removed.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Compassion-Reaching children in Jesus’ name

john : October 19, 2010 3:46 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – In Matthew 18, Jesus called a little child to stand among the disciples.  In verse 5, He said, “Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”

One organization that has been an advocate for children for more than 55 years is Compassion International.  Their motto is “Releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.”  Through child sponsorship, more than one million children in 25 countries are benefiting from their outreach.  Child sponsors have an opportunity not just to help meet a child’s physical needs, but also to develop a meaningful relationship with the child through writing letters.

Compassion believes that when children see themselves as Jesus sees them, they will flourish, grow and develop in all areas of their lives. These are some ways that a Child Sponsor can touch the life of a child in Jesus’ name-by helping them to see themselves as Jesus sees them and by giving them an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty.  During 26 hours of Compassion you can be an instrument of God’s grace in the life of a child.  38 dollars a month makes such a huge difference for someone in poverty.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Never tire of doing what is right

john : October 15, 2010 11:01 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – There is a simple phrase in Second Thessalonians 3:13, which challenges us to keep doing those things that God wants us to be doing.  That phrase is this:  “Never tire of doing what is right.”

Paul the Apostle was addressing a church, where some people had too much time on their hands.  They were unfocused and undisciplined.  They were shirking their responsibilities, and as a result, ended up meddling into other people’s lives.  This is opposite from what Paul taught the church.  His instructions were “to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands.”  That was the daily life that would win the respect of outsiders. But there was a group in the Thessalonian church with the reputation of being busybodies rather than busy. Paul told them to settle down and earn their food.

Paul encourages us to use our time wisely. Develop a healthy work ethic. If there is opportunity, we are instructed to provide for our family. Take some time to rest, but don’t become lazy. Look for opportunities to do good for others.  If we do this for the sake of the Lord, we will reap the spiritual benefits. Never tire of doing what is right.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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The Rescue Mission is underway

john : October 13, 2010 9:30 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – In Chile, 33 miners were trapped when their mine collapsed on August 5th.  Rescue efforts have been happening at a place called Camp Hope, where the final stages are underway to bring the miners to the surface. According to Baptist Press, two of the trapped miners have come to faith in Christ during their ordeal.

Without outside intervention, those miners would have been left hopelessly in the dark. 

The result of sin can be compared to the result of a collapsed mine.  Without intervention from above, we are hopelessly in the dark.  The cross became our place of Camp Hope, where Jesus reached out to help us.  Romans 5:8 says, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The result is Colossians 1:13, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Through God’s dramatic rescue, we are free to walk in the light of His grace and truth.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Jesus-the ultimate example of service and sacrifice

john : October 12, 2010 3:03 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Jesus challenged His disciples with these words, “Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus not only taught us the way to live.  He showed us the way to live by His example of service and sacrifice. When we feed the poor or offer help to the orphan or widow in distress in Jesus’ name, we are touching people’s lives with God’s love.  His compassion shines through the obedient servant of Jesus Christ.

Outreach Magazine recently listed the fastest growing churches in America. Editor Lindy Lowry points out the common denominator of these growing churches.  They are “founded on relationships….They’re very focused on reaching their community and building bridges to their community.”  They ask questions like, “How do we meet their needs? How can we be Christ in our community? How can we be Christ in our world?” Colossians 4:5 tells us to be wise in the way we act toward outsiders and make the most of every opportunity.  One of those opportunities is to enter the world of peoples’ needs with the heart of a servant.

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

If you comment on this blog, I would love to hear how you or your church are reaching out to your  neighbors or communities with a servant’s heart.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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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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