Although, I believe in all the gifts of the Holy Spirit I do not consider myself a Pentecostal, and immediately after saying that many ask me, then are you reformed? And, although I believe that we who are saved are saved by divine election, I am not reformed. It is much more common than you'd think; when someone finds out I'm a pastor the first thing they ask me is "what denomination?" I always answer "Christian" And almost always they emphasize, "Yes, Christian, but what denomination? As if people were trying to identify the type of Christian I am. Truly, I understand why that happens, but it’s not cool. Actually our largest alliance should not be to a movement, or a denomination or a preacher. Our largest alliance should be to Jesus.
Although there is nothing wrong with calling yourself a Baptist, or Reformed, or Charismatic, or Methodist, or in my case "Calvary"; but we have to understand that God does not divide His body that way. With God all Christianity is His body and it isn’t divided according to doctrine or belief but rather by function. The problem I have seen, and the reason I'm writing this is that there is a strong tendency to accept only teachings from people who think like you, and to doubt any assertion of people who are of another movement. In some extreme cases and cultures there are those who believe that their church is the only one that has truth.
That kind of proud attitude is not helpful. That's not discernment that's elitism, and we need to believe and live what Jesus prayed in John 17 that we be one as He and the Father are one. I'm not saying accept them all, because of course there are false teachers and false ministries, but what I am saying is that there is separatism within Christianity that is damaging the name of Christ and his church's reputation.
Perhaps Martin Luther said it best: "I pray you to leave my name alone, and call not yourselves Lutherans, but Christians. Who is Luther? My doctrine is not mine. I have not been crucified by anyone. How then does it befit me, a miserable bag of dust and ashes, to give my name to the children of God? Cease, my dear friends, to cling to these party names and distinctions; away with them all, and let us call ourselves only Christians after him from whom our doctrine comes.
You turn the radio on and listen to love songs that make your loneliness seem like a curse, or you listen to frustrated or even depressed people singing over losing their love. This has become quite common and even today there is incredible pressure to have a partner. In some cases, the identity of a person is found in a "boyfriend" and the thought of losing him is devastating. In our culture, being single is seen almost as a disease to be avoided and not a natural stage of life that we can enjoy.
One would think that this pressure would be less within a Christian church, but it can often be worse in the church, particularly if they follow a correct theology; a "virtuous wife" is from the Lord (Proverbs 19:14), and he who finds a wife finds a good thing (Proverbs 18:22).The pressure of being single can be great! Worse yet, it’s about to be the day of love and friendship!
I want to share with you some tips of the word of God as being single.
GOD is GLORIFIED when someone single serves HIM.
There are people in the Bible who were single and glorified God, probably the most famous are Paul and Jesus, however there are many more, for example Miriam (sister of Moses) Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, and John the Baptist. The Bible says that a single person can focus on the things of God (1 Corinthians 7:32).
When you marry, there is a limit to what you can do (speaking in terms of the ministry). However, being single you can devote all your focus to the things of God. The worst thing you can do in your years of singleness is to feed your natural self-centeredness, and ask yourself, how can I use this stage of my life when I have more time, strength, and freedom for my glory? What you should do is invest your singleness in service to God.
GOD is GLORIFIED when a Bachelor prepares himself.
Over 92% of people are going to get married at one time or another. So it's important to take the necessary steps to be, by the grace of God, prepared for marriage. The Bible says that man is the head (Ephesians 5:23). This means that the man is the one who takes the responsibility to provide spiritual, psychological, emotional, and physical needs for his family. In other words, the man has to be a shepherd, protector and provider. As a man, you have different responsibilities: the first is to have such an intimate relationship with God that you can guide a family. Afterwards comes a masculinity that will enable you to take full responsibility for your family so that they can trust your leadership. At the same time, you must have or do whatever it takes to get a job so that you can provide the financial needs of your family. This does not happen the day after tomorrow. The Bible says that man can’t do this alone, so women, are you ready to help a man to be a good leader? Support and advise him?
GOD is GLORIFIED when A Bachelor is satisfied with JESUS.
Married or single, boyfriend or forever alone, you cannot put your hope in a person (Psalm 118: 8). If you are single and think that marriage will fill you; you are sadly mistaken. This reality hit me when I lived in England, I saw a woman alone at Starbucks with a stroller, she had a huge wedding ring, so you could see that she had married a very rich man, everything she had on was name brand, and instead of being happy she was crying and talking to a friend on the phone, telling her how lonely she felt.
BEING MARRIED DOESN’T MEAN THAT YOU WILL NEVER FEEL ALONE.
So what do we do? What did Jesus say to the woman who had five failed marriages and lived in solitude: he who drinks the water I give him will never thirst! (John 4:14) The filling and true satisfaction comes not from a person. It comes from receiving the gift of God. Jesus says in Revelation to come to Him he who thirsts and drink, and that means that he is our God and we are his children (Revelation 21: 6-7). In other words, if you are not happy being a single child of God, neither will you be happy being married.
If you do these things you will spend this February 14th too busy to worry about your singleness.
Most preachers and teachers want to do their work in the best, most effective way possible. There are a lot of helps available for them - better techniques, finding a better process in preparation and delivery. All that is good, but it isn't of prime importance. God-honoring, effective preaching and teaching comes from a certain type of life, not just from a process or techniques.
When I speak of it coming from a life, I don't mean only a moral and ethical life (as described in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1) - though that comes first. The kind of life that produces effective preaching and teaching has specific characteristics related to the work of a teacher. Here are seven character qualities I think that are important.
God-honoring teachers will be honest with the text. They will take it for what it says, not for what they wish it said. For example, when we come to 1 John 5:7-8 in the King James (or New King James translations), we must be honest with the difficulty of the text. Though the Trinity is definitely a Biblical truth, we must be honest and say that1 John 5:7-8 doesn't address the Trinity in the way many hoped. I might wish that it gave me an airtight statement of the Trinity, but the textual evidence says otherwise. If we are not honest as expositors we will be prejudiced, manipulative, and careless.
If we don't have a sense of security of who we are in Jesus and in the power of God's Word, we will never please God with our work as a preacher or teacher. Paul recognized that living to please men and living to please God don’t go together (Galatians 1:10).
To fulfill your ministry as a preacher and teacher will take many years of hard work. You can't be lazy or always look for the easy way out. You must be able to do the hard work of study and preparation time. It's not just a matter of time (though that is part of it), it is also a matter of focus and concentration.
The effective preacher and teacher will have a sense of boldness; not arrogance, but a genuine confidence in God and His word. The boldness does not come from any confidence in self, but from a justified confidence in God. The timid or hesitant preacher simply will never fulfill their ministry as they could.
If you don’t care much about what you are teaching, why should anyone else? God forbid that we should conjure up a fake passion or enthusiasm. God's word is filled with greatness on every page. If you can't see it and have a genuine sense of its goodness and significance, don't blame your hearers for their boredom.
The effective preacher and teacher will keep pressing on to learn. They will not have the sense that they have “arrived”. They won't have a sense of self-confidence, self-assurance, or self-satisfaction. Like Paul in Philippians 3:13-14 they will keep pressing on, pursuing the high call of God in Jesus Christ
In Hebrews chapter four, verse 15 describes the priestly ministry of Jesus towards His people, telling us that He can sympathize with our weaknesses. If Jesus has this sympathetic heart towards man, so should his messengers have this same heart when they preach and teach. They should think through how things will sound in the ears of those who hear them, and seek to persuade them. More than eight times the Book of Acts speaks of the persuading work of Paul, and you can't persuade unless you have some sense of how your hearer thinks and feels. The unsympathetic preacher will be perceived as being rude, hard-hearted, and harsh.
If someone has these seven characteristics, there is much they can learn and grow in as a teacher or preacher. Without them, all the best techniques or technologies will not be effective to fulfill one's ministry.