JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What is the role of spiritual leadership in the church?”
Ephesians 4:11 tells us that it was Jesus who gave gifts for “some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service.”
The purpose of teachers and preachers is to proclaim God’s word in a way that accurately represents God’s character and mobilizes God’s people to live out the Christian faith in acts of service.
As God’s word is faithfully proclaimed, the church body will grow in a number of ways:
According to Ephesians 4:12, the body of Christ will be built up. This implies that the faith of the church will grow stronger.
According to verse 13, the church will be unified in the faith.
And according to the same verse, the church will become mature in the faith so that we can reflect Jesus in our witness.
Leadership sets the tone for the church to grow together in faith and to express our faith through love in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from First Corinthians 12:21-23.
The church is compared to a body, with various functions of the body working together for a common purpose. Trouble begins when we start making comparisons with other parts of the body. If we respond with superior thoughts that we are more important than other parts, the unity breaks down. The Apostle Paul wanted to stop that from happening. This is what he said:
“The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.”
When you think of the people in the body of Christ that you serve beside, who comes to mind? They have an important part of helping you to serve effectively. One way we can build that part of the body of Christ is by recognizing their contribution and showing our appreciation for what they do.
Recognizing the contributions of others is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK -Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Joshua 1:14 and 15.
As the Israelites were about to cross the Jordan River to go into the Promised Land, Joshua had a few words with two and a half of the tribes. These were the tribes who were planning to settle east of the Jordan, and were already in possession of their land.
He said, “Remember the command that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you. ‘The LORD your God is giving you rest and has granted you this land. Your wives, your children, and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, fully armed, must cross over ahead of your brothers. You are to help your brothers until the LORD gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land that the LORD your God is giving them.”
These tribes complied with Joshua’s instructions and the nation went forward together into the Promised Land. Victories are fully shared where struggles are fully shared. This principle can apply not just to nations, but common challenges facing sports teams, family units, businesses, and churches. Unity and celebration is the outcome of victory where there is evidence of full team support in the struggle.
Teamwork and a spirit of cooperation through the challenges of life is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Psalm 133:1.
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.”
Unity is not the same as uniformity. If we think about music, uniformity would be like everyone singing the same note, and playing the same instruments.
Unity blends different voices, singing different notes, using different instruments to turn harmony into a beautiful song.
In the body of Christ, unity is good and pleasant when each person is on the same page, acknowledging Jesus as Lord, and when His name is the anthem of our song. This song becomes a masterpiece of praise when God’s people keep their eyes on the conductor and exercise various forms of service as instruments of His grace.
Romans 12:16 instructs us to “live in harmony with one another.”
Living together in unity is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the united voice of God’s family.
In Romans 15:5 and 6, the Apostle Paul said to the church, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This is the official verse for the National Day of Prayer observance tomorrow (Thursday, May 1st 2014). The official theme is “One Voice, United In Prayer.” Prayer is a significant and powerful opportunity for God’s people to come together and acknowledge our nation’s need for God’s grace. Prayer brings God’s people closer together.
According to the National Day of Prayer website, millions of people will gather to pray at thousands of events facilitated by volunteer coordinators. As we come together, we will take our concerns for this nation to God’s throne of grace. According to Second Chronicles 7:14, when God’s people get serious about prayer with personal humility and repentance, God responds with His healing hand on that nation.
The united voice of God’s family is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.