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John Shirk

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Praise and Thanksgiving

john : August 10, 2010 10:14 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Psalm 100, verse 4 invites us to “enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

There are many reasons to praise God in our personal time with Him and in our worship gatherings with other believers.  Among them,

the sacrificial love of Jesus at the cross.

His mercy, which withholds the judgement that we deserve because of our sins.

His faithfulness, which assures the fulfillment of His promises.

His power.  No one can match His strength and overtake His throne.

The gift of salvation, which provides a place in heaven for the person who trusts in Jesus as the forgiver of sins and Lord of their lives. He extends forgiveness for our past, help for our present, and hope for our future. Our hearts overflow with praise for God when we remember the many ways He blesses us with His goodness and enduring love.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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True Greatness

john : August 9, 2010 2:22 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – The teachings of Jesus are flipped upside down from many of the values in our world’s system.  Take greatness for example.  What are some qualities of a great person?  The answers will vary depending on who you ask.  Some may define greatness in terms of their sense of humor, or being talented, or being successful in business pursuits.

Some may define greatness in terms of leadership or being intelligent or having a charming personality.

There are many factors people will use to define “greatness.”  Jesus defined greatness by service.  In Mark 9:35, while sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

Our culture has a way of equating status with being first in the world.  We use such phrases as “climbing the corporate ladder.”  But Jesus left his royal position in heaven to walk among us.  Philippians 2 explains that Jesus “though being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.”  The path to greatness and honor in God’s kingdom comes through a servant’s heart that follows in the footsteps of Jesus.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Love Like A River

john : August 6, 2010 11:12 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Romans 13:8 reminds us to keep love flowing like a river with these words, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. “

The writer, the Apostle Paul goes on to explain how the specific commandments of the Bible like “Do not commit adultery”, “Do not murder”, “Do not steal”, and “Do not covet”, are actually summed up in the rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Here we see an important quality of love.  Love does no harm to its neighbor.  Love also reaches out with a helping hand.

To live a life of love involves waking up each day to look for ways to bless someone else with the love of God.  When it comes down to love, we never get to the point when we are paid up.  We always have more love to give.  Talking about love, First Thessalonians 4:10 urges us to do so more and more.  So, today is another day to let God’s love grow by letting God’s love flow through us.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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The influence of a good mentor

john : August 5, 2010 9:00 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Proverbs 6:20 says, “My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you.”

John Wooden recently passed away at the age of 99.  Many will remember him for his 10 national basketball championships at UCLA.  Many will know him as the greatest basketball coach of all time.  Yet, there was something more important to him than basketball.  He is quoted as having said, “There is only one kind of life that truly wins, and that is the one that places faith in the hands of the Savior.” 

His character was influenced by his father. According to Dennis Rainey, his father once gave him a card and urged him to live up to what was on the card.  It said, “Four things a man must learn to do if he would make his life more true:

To think without confusion clearly, 

To love his fellow man sincerely,

To act from honest motives purely,

To trust in God and heaven securely.

Parents today can be influential mentors by gaining wisdom from above and passing it along to their sons and daughters.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Fulfilled Purpose

john : August 4, 2010 9:54 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – In Psalm 138:8, David wrote, “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever-do not abandon the works of your hands.”

We are the works of His hands, and so, David is praying that the Lord of eternity will not let us down.  The first part of the verse affirms confidence in the LORD’s ability to complete what He starts in us.

This verse teaches us to seek God’s favor and to trust in His plan to carry out His purpose in us.  God often uses our desires, abilities, and opportunities to guide us in His will.  Sometimes, our desires can lead us astray.  That is why the first step to living out God’s will is to delight in God’s love.  Once that is established in our lives, He gives us the desires that motivate us to live for the glory of God.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Aiming For The Goal

john : August 3, 2010 9:57 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – In soccer, the goal of the team is to kick the ball into the other team’s net.  If a soccer team loses sight of this goal, they can anticipate not making any goals.  If we don’t have a goal in life, we are sure to wander about aimlessly.  If our goals are not in alignment with God’s goals, we will miss the mark every time.  But if our aim is God’s goal for us, then we are moving in the right direction in the midst of growing to be like Jesus.

This is what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:12, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

Paul’s goal was Christ’s goal for him.  This is the kind of attitude that is necessary for doing what God wants us to do.  Get to know His heart and what matters to God.  Then we will see more clearly where He is leading us and He will give us the resources we need to carry out His plan 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 value of Compassion AND Wisdom

john : August 2, 2010 9:56 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – It was Paul’s prayer for the church in Philippians 1:9 that our love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that we may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ.

What do we need for helping a friend in need?  What do we need to raise godly children?  We need the grace of God to give us compassion and wisdom to provide what they need. 

Combining compassion with wisdom, we have the desire to help someone in need, and we learn to discern what a person really needs, not just what they say they want.  What someone wants may not be what they need. 

The demonstration of wise compassion is used of God to draw others to Jesus.  It was His demonstration of love at the cross which gives us what we really need-forgiveness of sins, saving grace, and eternal hope.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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A meaningful way to start the day-Time with God

john : July 30, 2010 9:48 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – In Psalm 5:3, David prayed, “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”

Mornings have the potential to set the tone for a day depending on what happens.  One way to clarify our purpose is time well spent with God.  This is what Jesus did on one occasion in the Gospel of Mark.  He got up early, while it was still dark, and prayed with His Heavenly Father.  Then, when others around him tried to set the agenda for His day, Jesus knew that He was to go somewhere else, because He was tuned in to the purposes that His Father had for Him.

There is greater clarity to our plans and priorities when we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.  E.M. Bounds once said, “The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day.”  Tomorrow, we can wake up refreshed by remembering that God’s compassions are new every morning.  With our thoughts on God each morning, each sunrise can seem like a holy kiss from heaven.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Stewardship of the earth and our heart

john : July 29, 2010 9:13 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – When the man and woman was created in the garden of Eden, the LORD blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number.  Fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

The LORD has called humans to take care of His creation.  We are meant to be wise managers of the environment that we live in.  In a recent Probe feature, Patrick Zukerin noted in an article that “we are not to exploit the earth, nor are we to worship the earth.” We have been entrusted with the responsibility of exercising care and guardianship over what God has created.

He noted sound ecological principles like recycling, using cleaner energy sources, and the conservation of energy.  That is not the only place where God wants us to fight against pollution.  He also wants us to guard our heart and keep it clean.  The most effective way for this to happen is to call on the name of Jesus for forgiveness of past sins, and a willing heart to live a pure life today. The righteousness of Christ is able to purify a polluted heart and restore our fallen nature to God.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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A Legacy that outlasts our lives

john : July 27, 2010 10:58 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – If we follow Jesus with an upright heart, our influence will most likely extend well beyond our living years.

Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

This message is directed toward those who were engaged in partnership in the gospel, working with the Apostle Paul to share the good news of God’s grace through Jesus Christ.

Notice that the good work that is begun in us will be carried to completion not at the end of our lives, but when Christ returns in glory. The writings of Christian authors influence people for Christ beyond their lives. The songs of Christian artists influence people for Christ beyond their lives.  The recordings and quotes of faithful pastors will influence people for Christ beyond their lives. And the influence of faithful parents often live on through their children and children’s children.  These are some of the ways that God works redemptively through our testimony even after our physical death.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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