Not About to Quit
While ministering to a dying man in World War II, an army Chaplin asked if there was any message he’d like to send home. The young man replied, "Yes, tell mom and dad, I died happy. Also, tell my Bible class teacher that I died a Christian, and I have never forgotten his teaching."
A few weeks later the army Chaplin received a letter from the Bible class teacher. The letter read, "God have mercy upon me. Only last month I resigned from teaching Bible classes, for I felt that my teaching was not doing any good; and scarcely had I, through my cowardly, faithless heart, given up my appointed work. I got your letter telling me that my teaching had been the means of winning a soul to God. I'm taking up my work again, and in Christ's name, I'll be faithful to the end."
Oh, how the devil seeks to defeat us through discouragement and doubt. Oh, how we daily need to ask God for strength that we might be “instant in season and out of season.” Teaching others the gospel of Christ is a sobering task, but surely one that yields a great spiritual harvest. May God help us to persevere as we plant the seeds of the kingdom! I’m not about to quit…how about you?
- Paul White
What Can I Do To Help This Church Grow?
Let me just emphasize in the beginning, when I speak of growth in this article, I have in mind both numerical and spiritual growth while fully acknowledging that both are sourced in God. God both enables and empowers us to grow spiritual, but we must avail ourselves of His help. And God alone gives the increase. So when we speak of growth, we must first acknowledge God’s activity and accept His providential rule. This surely will help keep us inside His will, honoring His word.
But my title suggests that there is something each Christian here at Cedar Park can do to help bring about growth. Regardless of your age or how long you’ve been a Christian, there are some specific things each can do to help this local church grow. So rather than talking about, thinking about, theorizing about what can’t be done, it’s time to consider what each can and must be doing to help this church grow.
First, every member should set a righteous example. Peter admonishes us, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY" (1 Pet.1:13-16). Living lives of holiness says we’ve risen above sin, and have consecrated ourselves to God and His service. Peter says we are to be holy in all our conduct. Each is to be a righteous example. When you struggle with the issue of a right example, just ask yourself the question, “What would Jesus do?” Think about it…would Jesus use such language? Would Jesus treat others this way? Would Jesus put pride before principle? If we’ll be honest, we know how Jesus would have us live before others. We just need to do a better job at times letting our light shine before men. We perhaps need to take more seriously our responsibility in the area of influencing others for good and not evil (Matt.5:13-16). People need to see the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control), and not the carnality of our own stubborn will. We can “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” (Tit.2:10). Each can let the beauty of Jesus be seen. This is something every member can and must do…set a righteous example.
Secondly, every member can be more positive. More positive in our conversations with others about the God we serve and trust. More positive in our conversations about our Bible classes; leadership; our worship assemblies, and about those men who take an active part in leading us in worship. Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not recommending that we ignore those areas where improvement is needed. Nor am I suggesting that every comment being made must be positive. However, what should be present in every member is a readiness to encourage the good, commend the effort, and praise the noble heart, before we seek to correct or criticize. Otherwise, the needed criticism offered at times fails to be constructive. We must not dwell on the few areas of mediocrity, while ignoring the many things that are done really well. Let us look first at what’s being done right before we complain about or criticize what we think is being done wrong. Each member should be more positive, and exercise patience in those areas where improvement is needed.
Finally, every member must remain focused. Jesus said it this way, “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matt.6:22-24). Simply put, we must give ourselves in full surrender to Christ. So that when He tells us to seek the lost, we will commit ourselves to doing just that. And when He tells us to be controlled by His word and not by greed, we will set our affections on things above, and not on the material things of this life (Col.3:1-3). And when He tells us to put the interests of others ahead of ourselves, we will find it easier to swallow our pride, and yield ourselves for the good of others.
You see, these are things we all can do, and must be doing if we desire growth in the kingdom. What will you do?