Christian Salt: How Much is Enough?

ChristianSalt

Jesus left His followers no doubt as to their role in this present life, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” (Matthew 5:13 ESV).

Read that again…You are the salt of the earth. You are what enhances and preserves the flavor of this entire planet. Not just your region, your nation, your city, or your family, but the EARTH! That’s a tall order to fill, but then again, we serve a God whose vocabulary does not include the word impossible. After all, nearly 75% of the Earth’s surface is covered in “salt water!” To shamelessly use a pun, God’s got you covered!

I’ll do you one better though friends, this salt is not just a “take-it-or-leave-it” optional condiment from the shelves of kitchen pantry, this is essential. Without this vital mineral, life as we know it could not exist. According to Harvard Medical School, The human body can’t live without some sodium (aka salt). It’s needed to transmit nerve impulses, contract and relax muscle fibers (including those in the heart and blood vessels), and maintain a proper fluid balance. It doesn’t take much to do this.

Did you catch that last bit, “It doesn’t take much to do this.” In other words, even at small doses, salt can make a big impact. See, we think we have to use massive doses of salt in order to have the impact Christ called us to have. To reinforce the idea that little is much when God is in it, think about the amount of faith Christ said was packed into a tiny little mustard seed? Still think it takes a lot to make a difference?

Feeling overwhelmed by this responsibility? Some of us struggle with this concept of saltiness how we could ever produce enough to make it count. In reality, it would all do us well to be reminded, our saltiness does not come from ourselves, but rather Christ’s love being shed abroad in our hearts is the true source. He knows best how much to add to each situation you face.

Have you ever watched a cooking program on Food Network? Those chef’s know just how much salt to add to their delicious dishes. A dash, a pinch, a cup or a tablespoon? Christ knows exactly the amount that’s needed and when we’re dialed into the Spirit’s leading, we’ll always have the proper amount no matter the situation we’re facing.

We’ll be visiting the subject of salt again soon, but for now, I challenge you today dear reader, do not forget our duty to be salty in this life, but not salty just for the sake of saltiness, salty in a way that enhances, blesses, strengthens, improves function, and preserves.

“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

A God Who Goes Before Us

A God Who Goes BeforeIn addition to pastoring, I work for Ford Motor Company. I tell people I work for Ford, but I labor for the Lord. This company has been around for nearly 120 years now. Recently my plant celebrated its 50th anniversary of being in operation having opened its doors in October 1968. Curiously enough, I was hired in October of 1996 and celebrated 22 years with Ford. I say “curiously enough” because as I joined my coworkers in celebrating our plant’s milestone, something powerful dawned on me.

I walked along the wall and observed them breaking ground in October 1966. I was intrigued by the large excavators, hundreds of construction workers, and new walls being poured. I really got emotional in that moment because I realized that even before I was born (1969) and before I was hired (1996), God was preparing a place for me to work and have a career. Sure, thousands of others have worked here, but I had a profound notion that God somehow prepared it just for me. Selfish you may say? Not hardly. God has a way of blessing many people in many ways at different times, but who could have known a little boy was going to be born and that he would work at a Ford plant 20 miles away from where I was born and nearly 50 miles from where I grew up?

Then, I was thinking of the house I now live in which was built in 1989. I graduated from high school in 1988. How could I have known that a family would be building a house 50 miles away for me to one day buy nearly 30 years later and where I would watch all four of my grandchildren take their first steps?

The same with the church I grew up in; the church my wife grew up in; the church I now pastor. All buildings that would have significance in my life. Buildings I did not build, yet had life-changing and long-reaching effects in my life.

I want to encourage someone today that your life is not left to chance. There is a loving and benevolent heavenly Father above who has meticulously prepared a life for you if you’re willing to walk in it. He did this with the children of Israel as He stated in Deuteronomy…

“And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (Deuteronomy 6:10-12 ESV)

So, as you lay your head down at night, or walk through the doors of your place of employment or worship, pause to give thanks and reflect upon the fact that your life is not an accident and that God has gone before you to ensure you have everything you need in your future to be a success and carry out the beautiful plans He’s tailor-made for you.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

“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

No Translation Required

no-translation-required.pngDating back as far as 1911 in the March 28th issue of the Syracuse Standard the cliché, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” was first used by the newspaper’s editor Tess Flanders. This fascinating cliché quite literally has stood the test of time. Regardless of the era in which it is used people understand its intent.

From incredibly creative works of art and sculpture, to cleverly captured photographs, millions have stood amazed and awed at an artist’s ability to portray a moment in time. Be it on the battlefield, in nature, or in everyday life, these pictures tell stories that defy the barriers of language, time, culture, or circumstance.

Rembrandt and Van Gogh were Dutch. Picasso was Spanish. Monet French. Da Vinci was Italian. Yet, when we view their works, we’re mystified by how much they transcend human language to tell stories through their works. Why is that? Some things don’t require translation.

Pictures taken from 9/11 tell the horrific story at times even better than eyewitness accounts, because sometimes a picture is indeed worth a thousand words.

Prior to the Vietnam War, the American public had spent the better part of a century insulated from the atrocities of combat, while soldiers witnessed first-hand the barbaric bloodshed. But the moment the public was provided with pictures and video of the horrors of war, their conscience was assaulted as they viewed the violence from the comfort of their living rooms.

Some things do not require a translation.

While these examples spell out stories of tragedy and hardship, there are other things in life we experience everyday that require no translation but have immediate and profound implications upon our lives and those with whom we interact.

Kindness, courtesy, compassion, mercy, and care seldom if ever require translation – they’re known as love in virtually an language.

A smile, a firm handshake, a warm embrace, eyes welled up with tears – no real translation necessary. With very few exceptions, we can all relate on some level to these feelings and moments. They speak to us in ways no human language ever could.

Now, I point you to a blood-soaked tree with the remnants of a brutally beaten and battered innocent man who was precariously nailed and pierced through, leaving a fountain of blood and water streaming out of his side splashing on the ground below; no translation required.

But three days later, a miracle of monumental and galactic proportions took place that defied description. A sight no one had ever witnessed before; This same man who had been carefully laid to rest had triumphantly risen from that grave by the resurrection power of God! An empty tomb where once the very much dead Christ laid? No translation required.

Peter attempts to describe a state of joy as “unspeakable,” defying description, a joy so profound and so powerful that the human language falls short every single time. This is what we can enjoy in the life of the Risen Savior Jesus Christ.

His unwavering love, His unending mercy, His boundless compassion toward His children? Mortal words fail us.

Whom having not seen, we love; in whom, though now we see him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: (1 Peter 1:8)

Some things not only do not require a translation. They defy description altogether.

“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

An Audience of ONE

AudienceofONEThere is an incredibly understated theme all throughout biblical history that I’ve recently uncovered. It’s gone virtually unnoticed because we live in a culture that believes if we are not popular, loved, or accepted by everyone, we’re not popular, loved, and accepted by anyone.

We underestimate the impact our influence can have even on a small scale. With celebrities, performers, and athletes drawing crowds of thousands, and having social media followers in the millions, we undervalue the importance of small-scale interactions; the up-close and personal, one-on-one encounters we have almost all of the time. We can tend to feel if we can’t do it on a grand-scale, it’s simply not worth doing.

I’m so glad God never felt this way about us! While we were yet sinners, Christ loved us and gave His life for us. When we had nothing to offer in return, Christ chose the route of making the first move toward our redemption. But, before He died for the world, take note of the interactions Christ had during His earthly ministry.

  • Just Jesus and a woman at the well
  • Just Jesus and a woman caught in adultery, after the crowd scatters
  • Just Jesus and Nicodemus under the cover of night
  • Just Jesus and a little girl healed as they were already mourning her death
  • Just Jesus and Peter walking on the water
  • Just Jesus and Zacchaeus
  • He even faced down Satan one-on-one in the wilderness
  • Mary Magdalene mistakes the risen Christ for the Gardner

This theme is not unique to Jesus’ day. God chose to have these encounters with individuals from the dawn of time:

  • Adam in the cool of the day
  • Enoch walked with God, but God took Him because Enoch pleased God
  • Noah, all by his lonesome found grace in the eyes of the Lord
  • Abraham, called out of the family idol-making business to become the Father of Many Nations
  • Jacob wrestling his “Angel” all night long became the father of the Israelite Nation.
  • Moses met God one-on-one at the burning bush

This theme is important because many of these seemingly small inconsequential interactions resulted in transformational and pivotal moments in people’s lives. I call these encounters, An Audience of ONE.

No large crowds. No big venues. Just a one-on-one, up-close and personal, intimate Audience of ONE that would go on to have a huge ripple effect!

  • Mary had an audience of one with the Angel Gabriel and went on to become the Mother of Christ!
  • Zechariah had an audience of one with the Angel and he and Elizabeth became the elderly parents of John the Baptist, of whom Jesus said there was none greater!
  • Peter’s conversation with Jesus after His resurrection, later resulted in Peter preaching on the Day of Pentecost that saved thousands in one day!
  • Saul on his way to kill Christians was blinded and sent to Damascus where he had an audience of one with Ananias that resulted in Saul becoming Paul, the greatest missionary of the Bible!

It’s my sincerest belief friends that Jesus still desires these one-on-one intimate conversations with His followers. I believe He still invites us to have an Audience of ONE with Him on a daily basis. Without these small interactions, this Audience of ONE, how can we ever expect to have the monumental impact our predecessors did? It’s just not possible.

Before David ever strummed a calming note on his harp for a tormented King Saul, David had an Audience of ONE with God while tending his father’s sheep.

Before David slew the giant in front of thousands in the Valley of Elah, David had an Audience of ONE with a lion and another with a bear!

Today, do not underestimate the impact your Audience of ONE can have with God. It’s like to become the most transformational moment of your entire life and could potentially have an impact upon you, your family, and those you lead, for generations to come.

“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

Undercover Sinner

UCSinnerThe world we live in has created a generation of people who always have their defenses up. For our generation it’s become a survival mechanism. We have identity thieves, terrorists, human trafficking, and very real demonic forces that are out to destroy us and our family. And that enemy will use any means necessary to bring us down.

But, when it comes to our Heavenly Father defenses are both not needed and a complete waste. First because He sees us for who we really are, and second, there is no hiding anything from God…PERIOD! Our attempts to hide, mask, or shield ourselves is an insult to the One who created us and knows us inside out.

Like armchair quarterbacks, we sit back with a critical eye on the likes of Adam and Eve, Achan, Ananias and Sapphira, and even King David, and think how naive they must have been to think they could conceal their sin from God.

Yes, they were all feeble attempts at covering up their sin, but really in addition to hiding for fear of punishment, weren’t they responding out of shame as well?

Adam and Eve’s eyes had been opened by the fruit they wrongfully ate and they tried to cover up with fig leaves they haphazardly sewed together to hide the shame of their nakedness.

Certainly, God was angered by their sin, but His first question was, “Who told you, you were naked?” Then, God asked about the fruit. God bemoans the loss of openness before He does the actual sin of eating the fruit.

Why? Because God wants openness, honesty, and purity when it comes to His relationship with you.

No pretense. No shame. No guilt. No fear.

Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

Does any of this sound like God wants us to shy away from His Holy Presence? In fact, when do we need God the most? When we have sinned and fallen short; When we have messed up; when we are feeling suffocated by shame.

Satan knows, just like he did back in the Garden, if he can create a wedge or a wall between us and God, our relationship with God is vulnerable and will severely suffer.

The WORST thing we can do when we sin is try to hide it, cover it up, and allow it to be a constant source of guilt and shame for us and inhibit the flow of God’s Love in our lives.

Pure and simple – God wants a relationship with His Children and has traveled galaxies to make that a reality in our lives.

In fact, God has given us all an opportunity to be open and honest with Him.

1 John 1:8 – 10 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

God has no tolerance for people that try to cover up their sin. He takes it very seriously because it is sin that separates us from Divine Communion with Him.

Friend, sin is a disease that destroys the most valuable commodity we have in eternity, our soul. It will destroy the greatest relationship we could ever have here or in eternity, our relationship with our Creator. Sin destroys relationships both with each other, and with God.

The biggest source of hatred for God against sin isn’t the fact that we’ve sinned, it’s what we do when we do sin, and what sin does to us when it tightens its grip. 

God’s strolling through your life even now looking for Divine Communion with you. Will He find you? Or, will you be hiding in shame, tucked behind the tree, haphazardly wrapped up in fig leaves, cowering in shame because you’re naked, alone, and afraid?

Yes, God’s angry with the sin, but not for the reason you think He is. He’s angered by your loss of innocence; your loss of openness, honesty, and purity. He’s angered that sin has robbed you of the greatest relationship you’ll ever know – His relationship with you.

Today, ask yourself the question, are things as open as they used to be between you and God, or have fig leaves and fruit trees stood in the way of God have complete access to your heart, and you having complete access to His Love, Grace, and Mercy?

  • Don’t try and cover up your sin.
  • Don’t try and avoid what you’ve done.
  • Don’t try and defend what you’ve done.
  • Don’t simply be ashamed of what you’ve done.
  • Don’t live a life of guilt and separation from the One who loves you the most.

Take it all to God today. Enter boldly before His throne.

  • Confess
  • Repent
  • Release
  • Accept forgiveness
  • Never do it again!

Move toward the open and loving arms of a merciful and compassion Savior.

“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

The Storm Chasers

ChasersStorm Chasers…racers into the wind,
The fearful seek shelter, the Chasers dive right in.

Tornado, typhoon, hurricane, their courage and bravery unfettered.
Torrential rains, blustery winds, they’re undaunted by the weather.

Their quest for danger cannot be swayed, for them it’s a burning desire.
They’re on a mission to chase each storm, the floods, the rain, and fire.

They know as they brave the elements, there’s a sister or brother in need,
To build our faith, and quell our fears is a Storm Chaser’s trusted creed.

The Chasers know each storm differs, and no one suffers the same,
These storm-hungry souls find solace in the power of Jesus Name.

As you board up your windows, and bar your doors, seeking refuge, safety and warmth,
There are a quiet few courageous Chasers who have weathered life’s calamitous storms.

Chasers do not cower in self-pity, or recoil in the dark of the night,
Their gaze is fixed, their minds made up, no thought to tuck tail and take flight!

Pelted by rain, sideways at times, a Chaser is bound to get drenched,
Tenacity says, “Dig in deeper,” as their teeth and their fists remain clinched.

They’ve seen many vessels capsize in the Seas of Despair and Doubt,
Ever faithful, ever mighty, the Lord always brings them out.

Excess cargo is abandoned, so much is lost, their sails tattered from gale force gusts,
They’ve found a place to drop anchor, solid in the bedrock of God’s Word they trust.

For the Chasers the thrill of the storm matters not to them in the end,
But in getting a personal audience with the Maker of the Wind.

Let this be a call to all those who are safe and content in the comfort of their sleepy harbors,
Storm Chasers are rare, but if you dare, you’ll see the Light of God’s Love, even in your darkest hours.

Storm Chasers know trust is a must, without it they’re at the whim of the weather,
We’re reaching out to you, right now my friend, because we know we’re stronger together. ~ RD Mangold

“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

Book Review: The Life Giving Leader by Tyler Reagin

LGLAn all-new feature of “Serminutes” will be occasional book reviews that I feel stand out and should be strongly considered by those who follow this blog. I am not compensated by the publisher for my reviews and I assure my readers that I will do my best to provide honest and objective feedback. Thanks for reading. 

The Life Giving Leader

A Life Giving Book for Life Giving Leaders and Their Teams

DISCLAIMER: As an avid reader and follower of leadership books, I enrolled in an opportunity to be given a preview copy of this book by the publisher. I assure you the following review will provide you with an objective synopsis of what you can expect to find in this title. I was so inspired and challenged by this book that I ordered a hard-copy for my personal leadership library. And, I will be sharing this book with leaders I have the opportunity to serve with across the globe.

Tyler Reagin packs this book with practical, insightful and immediately replicable leadership concepts for you, your team, and those you influence.

While I’ve never attended a Catalyst Conference, I have reaped great benefits from the resources they provide, but this book by Tyler Reagin ranks among one of the most insightful outflows from this organization. Tyler has rubbed shoulders with some of the world’s most progressive leaders, Christian and otherwise, and he’s embracing and embodying the best of the best. Therein lies the strength of this book, they’re not just intangible concepts, these have been lived out by Tyler and his team at Catalyst. The powerful principles he shares come from a place of sincerity and transparency, but they are applicable to mainstream leadership too, meaning you do not have to be a Christian to realize how essential integrity is to leadership. Your team knows the difference. They will know when you’re operating from a place of sincerity or selfishness, and that mindset flows throughout your leadership style. Tyler reveals that as leaders we have the privilege and responsibility of establishing a culture of trust, transparency, and time.

A couple of standout concepts from this book are the practical aspects of leadership in which most books fall short. Tyler is not afraid to tell his readers leadership requires sweat, hard-work, and being willing to be the example to those you inspire. Face it, before we lead we must inspire. Tyler gives you the secrets to inspiring those whom you lead.

The other incredibly difficult but powerful pill to swallow in this book that will transform your leadership is what Tyler calls doing a “360” where you allow those who love you, and those whom you trust to expose for you your potential blind spots. This is next level leadership stuff that many leaders will balk at because the thrust of this concept requires you to listen to honest and transparent feedback about how people perceive you and your leadership. We make too many assumptions about how people perceive and receive our direction as a leader. This is a revolutionary concept and enables those who embrace it to truly, as Reagin describes, to lead from their “truest selves.”

This book reveals many more ground-breaking truths. Get your highlighter ready, get your mind ready, and most importantly your heart ready to learn what it takes to truly become a life giving leader.

If you’re interested in this book you can find it on Tyler Reagin’s Website https://www.tylerreagin.com/lifegivingleader or on Amazon

For more information about Tyler Reagin visit his website https://www.tylerreagin.com/

“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