February 14

Do you know what today is?

I’m sure everyone’s been reminding you…

It’s the day that Captain Cook was killed here at the Big Island back in 1779.

Oh, yeah… it’s also Valentines Day.

You and I have been called to ministry. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church has programmed us to separate our Christianity into Clergy and Laity—a concept never found in the Bible anywhere. This programming has infiltrated Protestants with an attitude that the pastors do ministry, and the rest of the church just comes together each Sunday to support the work of the church with a little money and a crowd.

But, when God called you for salvation He also called you to ministry. He did not save you to sit, but to serve. He even equipped you with spiritual gifts for the edification of the saints, and for the spreading of the Gospel. This is the priesthood of believers that is mentioned in I. Peter 2:5. We are all in this together regardless of our intelligence, our education, our income, our social status, our race or cultural background. God called you!

  • Corinthians 1:26-29 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.

Now, our calling is to serve and exalt him, but we often do it for the wrong reasons. The Bible speaks very often about the sin of pride and our desire to have preeminence. We all want recognition, compliments, and affirmation. Society has sold us on this idea that we deserve to be celebrated. Yet the biblical example of laboring anonymously has been spurned. To our culture, that isn’t very friendly, and doesn’t make us feel important. We’re sold on the idea that it isn’t psychologically healthy if we don’t have continual positive praise. We fail to have noble hearts that seek to exalt Jesus rather than ourselves, just as Simon the Sorcerer did (who, by the way, before he was saved he would go around “claiming to be someone great”):

  • Acts 10:14-22 14Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15who came down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.18Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.”

To cap off our week, I want to reemphasize again that John the Baptist lived to promote Jesus. You and I are to do the same, even if we die and no one remembers our name (which in a world of 7+ billion people won’t take long). There are names of people written in the Bible for all eternity, but occasionally you will find an unnamed prophet showing up somewhere, serving God, and never getting his name or lineage listed in the Bible. In fact, I even had an old book on knowing the will of God wherein the author stated early on that he didn’t want his name identified so that people would focus on God and not him. But, God sees us and God will reward us.

We serve Jesus’ church, not our own. We serve His will, not our own. We live to make His name great among the nations, not our own.

Is that your testimony today?

  • John 1:9 I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say.
    • Or, as the King James states it, “but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them”
  1. We’re either seeking first God’s Kingdom or our own. If you are a blood bought, born-again Christian, then you have no right seeking your own kingdom.
    1. Alicia and I visited one of our church couples a week ago. On the outside of their house is Joshua 24:15. Inside are books, tracts, Bibles, wall hangings, all proclaiming to any who visit that this family loves Jesus. Capital One likes to ask, “What’s in your wallet?” Well, I’m going to ask, “What’s in your house?” ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
      1. Each person has different tastes, and nowhere are there requirements that people have the same types or amounts of Christian decorations, Bible verses, or whatnot on hand. The question here is, if someone were to visit you, would they see anything that proclaimed Jesus, or would your house only point to your sports god, or your hobbies, your love for art, or whatever else? ____________________________________________________________________________________________
    2. When you go out to eat somewhere, especially at a sit-down restaurant, would those around see you pray? Would they hear any conversations that point to Jesus? Do you leave Gospel tracts or engage in spiritual and personal conversations with the waitress or waiter? ________________________________________________________
      1. Now, one of the real battles of having a family of kids is bringing them to a restaurant and not having it look like I’m herding a goat circus. Sometimes our outings have been failures at being a testimony and other times I’ve had people compliment us and even pay for our meals. If you have kids, think of ways you can work maintain your testimony when you are out and about.
    3. Have you ever seen a car plastered with some sort of Christian bumper sticker in front of you that blows off the stoplight, or cuts you off, or drives in any other ways that are poor examples of being a Christian? (we could say here that it was driving “like a bat out of Hell”) ________________________________________________________
  • Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,
    1. What areas of your life are secretly inconsistent (i.e. when no one is looking or when no one knows you’re a Christian, you live in a way that is not God-honoring)? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
      1. Confess these now and turn away from them.
      2. Think about it, if you died instantly of a heart attack while engaged in such sinful behavior, and people came in and found you dead, how in any way would that point to Jesus? How would that benefit your testimony of Him? ______________________________________________
    2. What areas of your life are openly inconsistent (maybe you gossip and slander, or lie, or brag about your family, or proclaim, “Where is God” and “How could He allow this to happen?” when bad things happen to you. Maybe you’re an alcoholic, or love to argue and get into fights. Maybe you just never even talk about Jesus except at church): _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
      1. Confess these now and turn away from them.
      2. More than once I’ve had lost people complain about those who claimed to be saved (I’m sure you’ve things like, “And he calls himself a Christian!”).
    3. The goal for this devotional is to evaluate your life and look at how you can improve pointing people to Jesus. John the Baptist preached hard and strong against sin, and proclaimed Christ. We all fail miserably at being like the greatest man to live (Jesus’ words about John), but he should be an example to us of what God expects. We know he heard, “Well done, good and faithful servant” when he died:
      1. Ask God to create in you convictions so that you will be a testimony in your context (which right here is Waikoloa and the surrounding areas).
        1. The goal is to eliminate sins or practices in your life that are not God-honoring or that point people away from Jesus.
      2. Ask God to work through you to live in the power of His Holy Spirit, to have His wisdom, and to walk carefully in this lost and dying world so that people will see Jesus in your life and hear Him on your lips.
      3. Ask God to bring you into contact with the people on your BlessEveryHome prayer list so that you can share the wondrous Gospel with them!
      4. And ask God to continue working in Waikoloa Baptist as He purifies us, refines us, and changes us to being submissive vessels fit for the Master’s work. John 15 tells us that He prunes the branches so that we can bear fruit for His glory!

Occupy– Petra Song by John Slick (based on I. Peter 5:8-11; Mark 13:13; Revelation 14:12; Isaiah 14:24 & I. Corinthians 16:13-14)

The enemy surrounds the perimeter

Searching for an op’ning

Sneaking ’round, tryin’ to gain some ground

He’s laying down a smokescreen

Never full, he prowls about

For someone to devour

Blind with rage, his reign is threatened

By a greater power

[Chorus:]

Occupy, occupy

Standing firm, lifting high the holy standard

Occupy, occupy

‘Till out captain marches in

 

He’ll catch your eye with some cheap disguise

Or innocent distraction

Then he’ll infiltrate the ranks

And split you into factions

He never sleeps, but constantly

Is planning some new angle

A soldier must be diligent

To keep from getting tangled

 

He shall return with the armies of the Lord

The King of Kings, in vengeance wielding His sword

Gotta draw His power – watching for that hour

We are His people and He’s our great reward