Wednesday, May 17, 2006

To Mend and Bring to Maturity

There is a great deal of conversation and commotion in the Body of Christ today about the reality of having Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors and Teachers as described in
Ephesians 4:11-13.

Some say these gifts do not all function today while others believe they are still functioning in the church today but under different names. You’re Wineskin (church government and structure) along with the point in history and context of the birth of your fellowship, or church group will greatly determine how you understand the meaning and function of these gifts.

It is not my objective to argue this point today. Instead, I would like to look at the purpose or responsibility of these 'gifts to the church' and all who are called into the leadership of God's people. These verses when examined in a variety of translations and the Greek in which it was originally written help us to understand that 'the gifts' God has given have the responsibility to 'Equip believers to do the work of the ministry(taking the good news to others outside of the church) and to build up the believers and bring them into a place of full maturity.'

When we examine the words and their meaning in context we see that a part of this equipping is the mending or making whole of individual believer.

We also see that another part of being equipped, is to be properly fit (taking ones proper and unique place) into the body of Christ according to the individual’s, gifts, skills, maturity and experience.

The death and resurrection of Jesus was designed to make us whole and make maturity in Him possible

Artwork, The Road to the Cross by Graham Braddock

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Jesus is The Way at Turning Points

We often encounter turning points in life. When we come to these turning points we are tempted to waver or we have our faith and hope challenged.
In the Old Testament when the people of God encountered overwhelming enemies or situations where their faith and hope were challenged there is a consistent pattern of victory in these times and a pattern that leads to defeat.
The pattern for victory includes calling out to God while humbling oneself and even calling the nation to times of fasting and humbling themselves before God.
Those who did so out of an honest and contrite or repentant heart received the victory. They were given God’s solution or plan. Within this victory or plan there are two key elements; God timing and God’s strategy.
When we come to such turning points or crises in our lives these principles work for us today. We must humble ourselves and call out to God. When we do, we can expect him to bring us the answer we need by His strategy and in His time.
Queen Ester’s story is one example of following this pattern to victory.King Saul on the other hand did not follow this pattern, but took things into his own hands and lost not only the battle but his kingdom. Today, if you are at a turning point, humble yourself (fasting is a way to do that), call out to God and He will hear your voice and give you the victory with His strategy and His timing! Picture by Graham Braddock's Christian art works.
The artwork, featured above is Manifold Majesty by Graham Braddock