From the Lab to Life

LabLifeWe may talk a good game. We may be able to trash-talk with the best of ’em. We may even be able for a brief time talk so much smack we believe it ourselves. But, there’s coming a day when God is going to filter all of the fluff in our lives and demand that we put up, or shut up!

In Christ’s teaching about that great day in which we will appear before His Judgment Seat, He makes a distinction between those who SAY and those who DO.

Matthew 7:21 – 22, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (BOLD added for emphasis)

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Jesus went on to say we will be known by the fruit, or evidence, we produce. Did you get that? We will not be measured by our professions or confessions, we will be measured by the completion of the mission!

Let’s face it, too often our churches can resemble a laboratory. We run experiments in controlled environments. We measure, we scrutinize; we theorize and hypothesize! We sanitize, and organize. We’re dead-set on our protocols, policies and procedures. We’re never quite ready to pull the trigger on the findings of our experiments or theories. We’re just content to remain, much like lab rats in their cages, trapped in the lab.

God never intended for us to remain in the lab never to step out into real life where things can get messy and unpredictable. Jesus specialized in the messy didn’t He? Sinners, lepers, tax collectors, and prostitutes…oh my!

If studying is your thing, research will reveal churches that are growing are the ones that go from the lab to real life. They’re shedding their proverbial lab coats and throwing out their clipboards. They’ve quit crunching the numbers and they’ve stepped into a new realm of power and demonstration. A new world of influence and impact.

Everyday churches are closing their doors and pastors are moving on to other jobs and vocations because their church was too content running experiments in the safety of a sanitized environment rather than getting out there, doing something meaningful and impactful, with real-life examples of people’s lives being transformed by the renewing, life-giving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

You can’t grow a church in a petri-dish folks! As gross as this sounds, we can’t artificially inseminate this world with the Gospel!

  • It’s time for some real reproductive power!
  • Some real fruit-bearing power!
  • Some real Holy Ghost power!

It’s time we shed the lab coats, safety goggles, and clipboards, roll up our sleeves and do whatever it takes to get the job done!

We need to move beyond the hypothetical and theoretical to the practical and powerful! One of the most frustrating feelings in my current role as a quality coordinator at my company is whenever there’s an audit, those in charge of preparing for it seem casual and so distracted. There’s no sense of urgency! Dare I say, the church can be just as apathetic at times about her role in these Last Days!

One day soon we’re all going to stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. One day we’re going to be put in the very precarious situation where we too will be judged on the deeds done in our body.

Will we be those who “say” we did this in your name Lord with no fruit, or proof, to substantiate our case? Or, will we be numbered among those who actually had the boldness, the courage, the urgency to step out of the lab and make a real difference in our generation!

My closing questions for you:

• Do you see yourself as a person of action or a person who is content to allow others to do what needs to be done?
• Do you do more planning than executing?
• Maybe you’re already sharing Christ with this world, so is there an undeveloped talent God has given you, an unanswered calling on your life, an unsung song inside you, an unwritten book you’ve put off for awhile?
• What one or two things will you begin to do right away, perhaps even today, that will set you up to begin to bring forth fruit in these undeveloped areas of your life?

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold

Reference vs. Reverence

RefVSREv

Thomas Jefferson wrote one of the most pivotal documents in all of American History, if not human history. The Declaration of Independence is viewed by many as almost a sacred mandate upon all humanity. Even as I read the words Jefferson penned in 1776, I still get goose-bumps, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

What you may not realize however is that Jefferson created another not-so inspirational document called the “Jefferson Bible.” In this unofficial bible, Jefferson edited the Holy Bible, specifically the New Testament, to remove the parts of Christ’s Life that he felt were not necessary, namely the miracles of Christ. He literally went through and physically cut those portions of scripture he disagreed with, and kept others like the teachings of Christ for reference purposes only.

Entitled, “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth,” was completed in 1820 by cutting and pasting with a razor and glue numerous sections from the New Testament as extractions of the doctrine of Jesus. Jefferson’s condensed composition is especially notable for its exclusion of all miracles by Jesus and most mentions of the supernatural, including sections of the four gospels that contain the Resurrection and most other miracles, and passages that portray Jesus as divine. (Wikipedia citations [2][3][4][5])

For obvious reasons this has disturbing implications, to say the least, but sometimes one letter and its placement can make all of the difference in a word. The words “Reference” and “Reverence” are great examples of this principle. As it turns out, one letter, an F or a V has the potential to be an effective barometer in our walk with Christ.

Our lives can be lived in “reference” to Christ i.e. His teachings, His principles, His ideas, His values, and incredible insight. Much of the world has a “reference only” view of Christ’s earthly life and teachings. While admirable and even inspirational, this narrow view lacks a vital component. A view of the Life of Christ as merely a good reference for living our lives places a dangerous distinction between the characteristics of Christ versus the character of Christ.

To extrapolate Christ’s teachings from His Life, without allowing for His Divine Presence to enable, equip, and empower us, sets us up for some unrealistic expectations because much of what Christ taught ran counter to the culture of His day and even ours. In other words, His teachings were not popular, and to exercise His teachings without His empowering Spirit, can set us up for discouragement. Christ did not just teach, He embodied His teachings which provided His followers with not just instruction, but demonstration of how those teachings should be lived out.

John states it this way in the his account of Christ’s words, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (15:4-5)

While a life lived in “reverence” to Christ does so as a way of elevating Christ’s teaching in our lives to a place of Holy Reverence and Honor. A perspective of reverence enables and empowers us to embody the life-giving teachings, principles, and most importantly, commandments of Christ. We live our lives as a way of allowing Christ’s true character and nature to shine through us.

From a cold dark prison cell in Philippi, the Apostle Paul penned these very famous words, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).

How could Paul write such things facing such dire circumstances? Paul knew that it was only “through Christ” which gives us strength, and in another place, the all-sufficient grace to face unthinkable trials, tests, and even power to live up to the self-sacrificing, counter-intuitive and counter-cultural teachings of Christ.

With a mere reference view, we have the option of taking or leaving things as the world does. But, maintaining a reverence for both Christ and His teaching, it will provide us a holy compulsion drawing us into a relationship with the originator of the principles, teachings, and ultimately commandments of Christ.

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold

Coffeemakers vs. Coffee Drinkers

cmvscd (1)In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) John 7:37-39

There’s something almost intoxicating about entering Starbucks. Freshly brewed coffee, espressos, and the sounds of the froth machine; Starbucks isn’t selling just a cup of coffee, their selling an experience! Their baristas may enjoy the beverages they make, but they set aside their enjoyment to cater to the customer. Their service is “coffee making” not “coffee drinking.”

It’s time for us to take our evangelism efforts to the next level. We must move beyond the level of coming into our churches and enjoying a great move of the Holy Ghost. We have to be about our “Father’s Business!” He’s in the “winning souls business!”

When someone comes into our churches there needs to be an atmosphere so powerful and intoxicating the sinner can’t help but want a drink of what we have.

  • They may not know what to order
  • They may not know the lingo
  • All they know is they want a hot fresh cup of something and God’s got it all prepared for them…we need Holy Ghost filled “Baristas” to be passionate for the hurting and hungry souls of mankind!

There’s nothing wrong with coming to the house of God and enjoying a good dose of the Holy Ghost, but we need some folks that aren’t just Coffee Drinkers…We need some Coffeemakers too!

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute. A one minute spiritual pick-me-up for busy Christians! Visit this POST for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you. Rodger Mangold

You Are Who You Are

You are who you are for a reason.

You’re part of an intricate plan.

You’re a precious and perfect unique design,

Called God’s special woman or man.

 

You look like you look for a reason.

Our God made no mistake.

He knit you together within the womb,

You’re just what he wanted to make.

 

The parents you had were the ones He chose,

And no matter how you may feel,

They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind,

And they bear the Master’s seal.

 

No, that trauma you faced was not easy.

And God wept that it hurt you so;

But it was allowed to shape your heart

So that into his likeness you’d grow.

 

You are who you are for a reason,

You’ve been formed by the Master’s Rod.

You are who you are, beloved,

Because there is a God!

 

Poem by Russell Kelfer 1933 – 2000. He was a layman and business man who taught for over 25 years. His timeless lessons on living the Christian life major on practical application and continue today to be heard, seen, read, and taught by others around the world.

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Spiritual Sermonettes and Sermon Ideas  for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  Rev. RD Mangold

Protect the Source

If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young: 7 But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days. Deut. 22:6-7

Why would God even bother to include such a seemingly trivial commandment in the law that Moses was to deliver to the people? Because, protecting Mama means protecting the source of new life – the birth, protection, and continuation of the species.

In God’s wisdom, protection of the source of life is paramount. There will be casualties, and there will hard decisions to be made, but ultimately we are commanded to protect the source…the source of life. Destroying the source means the elimination of a generation, the elimination of a species, and possible extinction. We MUST protect the source.

Because this isn’t just about me getting what I need in my life time, this is about the continuation of the species…

  • There must be future Christians
  • There must be future Sunday School Teachers
  • Worship Leaders
  • Musicians
  • Preachers and Teachers

By protecting the source, we ensure the procreation and the propagation of another generation…THIS MUST OUTLIVE US!

God commanded Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply.” That is our duty – we must give birth to another generation of believers, another generation of life givers, another generation of truth!

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Spiritual Sermonettes and Sermon Ideas  for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  Rev. RD Mangold

The Thread of Resilience

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. I Peter 5:10

Throughout the rough course that is our life, there is a thread of resilience carefully woven into the fabric of our existence. Viewed in the right light, that is the light of God’s love and grace, that thread takes on a hue of compassion and tenderness. In the absence of God’s light, that very same thread of resilience exhibits bitterness and resentment.

Resilience is borne out of resistance, hardship, and even tragedy. Some of what we endure is brought on by our own selfishness, but other times we are being chastened, or corrected by the Lord. Hebrews 12:11 encourages us that, “Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Were it not for God’s loving, yet firm Hand, we would be as a fatherless child Hebrews tells us. In fact, God corrects those He loves. Were we left to our own devices, appetites, and affections, we would find ourselves miserable and lost. Knowing, that when God corrects us it builds resilience, should bring us peace of mind. Because God’s motive for correcting us is borne out of love, not some selfish desire to manipulate. God is ultimately cultivating us, if we allow Him, so that one day we can spend eternity with Him.

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Spiritual Sermonettes and Sermon Ideas  for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  Rev. RD Mangold

What if Church…

…was not about me?

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4

What if…

Instead of going to be encouraged…we went to encourage others…

Instead of hoping to sing my favorite song…we hoped to sing “their” favorite song…

Instead of looking to be served…we intentionally served others…

Instead of waiting to be welcomed…we welcomed others first…

Instead of asking to be prayed for…if we sought to pray for others…

Instead of going to receive a blessing…we went to be a blessing…

What difference would it make in our church experience?

Of course, church is ultimately not about either of us…it’s about Jesus…

But, church is also where people who want to make much of Jesus gather to grow, fellowship and worship Jesus…

So, I wonder how our church experience would be made different, if we approached it considering the interest of others…

Just wondering…

Special thanks to  Pastor Ron Edmondson for allowing me to re-post this article

For more by Pastor Ron Edmundson visit www.ronedmondson.com

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute. A one minute spiritual pick-me-up for busy Christians!  Visit this POST for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you. Rodger Mangold