Category Archives: Ministry

Whom Should You Follow?

Whom Should You Follow?

Read 1 Corinthians 1:10–17

After a two-week vacation with his family, Pastor Dave returned to the pulpit. It didn’t take long for negative reports to filter in. Some members stayed away from services because Pastor Dave was not preaching or they didn’t think his associate should perform the baptismal service during his absence.

Obviously, people have personal preferences and loyalties—there’s nothing wrong with such things—but following one person’s ministry exclusively while rejecting others can lead to divisions in the church.

What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:12, 13).

We are not saved in the name of a gifted evangelist, nor baptized in the name of our favorite pastor. Although church leaders are important, we should not center our attention upon them. Rather, we should focus on the Lord.

Challenge for Today: [Next Sunday] don’t dwell on the qualifications of the speaker, open your heart to receive from God.

—Charles Earl Harrel

Pray that God would give you a deeper understanding of the Bible.

God’s Word for Today © 2010 Gospel Publishing House. Used by permission.

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Both Good and Bad

many people invited

Both Good and Bad

Read Matthew 22:1–22

“Then [the king] said to his servants . . . ‘Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests (Matthew 22:8, 9, 10).

Inviting our friends and neighbors to church is a great idea. They might appreciate the Sunday sermon and enjoy the potluck after the service. Pastors welcome these efforts, but the command from Jesus goes deeper than just giving out invitations or persuading people to try our church. We need to invite them to eternal life.

We must reach out to nonbelievers, extending the invitation to nonfriends, even to the outcasts of this world. We should gather the unrighteous as well as the righteous. Both the good and the bad are invited to God’s kingdom. Both need His free gift of salvation.

It’s all too easy to let a busy schedule distract us from the all-inclusive call of the harvest. Don’t allow that to happen.

Thought for Today: God wants heaven filled, but He needs our help getting the invitations out.

Quicklook: Matthew 22:8–14

—Charles Earl Harrel

God’s Word for Today © 2007 Gospel Publishing House. Used by permission.

Order God’s Word for Today devotional guides.
Visit Gospel Publishing House.

Use It or Lose It! — Devotions for Teachers…

Labor Day is here, students are going back to school, and teachers are preparing for another year. This blog post is an important reminder, not just for teachers, but also for all of us.

God places us where we are to accomplish considerable exploits on His behalf. He has great expectations for us. It’s written in His word. Therefore, as Christians, and Christian teachers, we instinctively understand we are to increase what He puts in our hands. Amen? Matthew 25:14-30 New Living Translation (NLT) 14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can […]

via Use It or Lose It! — Devotions for Teachers…

Action Needed! — Devotions for Teachers…

What are you doing in your classroom to mirror Jesus? From Google: mir·ror ˈmirər/ noun noun: mirror; plural noun: mirrors 1. a reflective surface, now typically of glass coated with a metal amalgam, that reflects a clear image. synonyms: reflecting surface; More something regarded as accurately representing something else. “the stage is supposed to […]

via Action Needed! — Devotions for Teachers…

Prophets Still Needed

prophets of GodProphets Still Needed   

It was [Christ] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,  to prepare God’s people for works of service (Ephesians 4:11, 12).

Scripture: Ephesians 4:11–16
Song: “Chosen and Sent by the Father”

I grew accustomed to reading the witty sayings on a church sign over on Division Street. Sometimes they posted upcoming services or community news. One Friday, while driving home from work, I glanced over my shoulder to read the message for that day. Instead of a catchy quote, I found this announcement: “Prophet from Scotland preaching tonight—7 PM. Come hear God’s Word.”

I usually expect to hear ministers, teachers, and evangelists speaking from the pulpit. So when someone mentions prophet or apostle, I become a little skeptical. In retrospect, I can see that my perspective isn’t supported by today’s verse.

Old Testament believers needed prophets, and, according to Paul, we still need them today. The Holy Spirit engifted prophets to covey spiritual wisdom, point out iniquity, and edify the body of Christ with their words. Prophetic ministry helped the first century church grow and become an effective witness to a lost world.

Lord, since the laborers are few and the harvest great, please raise up people for the ministry, regardless of titles we give them. In Christ I pray. Amen.

“Prophets Still Needed” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2010 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

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All Pieces Necessary

jigsaw puzzle

ALL PIECES NECESSARY

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,  so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others (Romans 12:4, 5).

Scripture: Romans 12:3–8
Song: “Bind Us Together”

Long before video games, high-definition television, cell-phone text messaging, and surfing the World Wide Web, people entertained themselves with less technical pursuits. One of them was putting jigsaw puzzles together. My sister and I loved working on them: the more pieces, the better. If Mom and Dad joined in, then we each took a corner and worked toward the middle. Sometimes it took weeks to complete one—all the more fun.

Occasionally, pieces disappeared, no doubt chewed up by Whiskers, our dog. What a disappointment to work for weeks on a picture and not finish it because of missing pieces! It didn’t matter which ones were gone; without all of them, the picture was incomplete, fragmented.

The same holds true for the church. We need everyone and every ministry if Christ’s body is to be whole and healthy. Each jagged-edged member fits perfectly together when Christ becomes the focus of the picture. All members have their own specialty, each one complementing the other.

O Lord, I realize my contributions to the body of Christ are valuable. When I am absent from the body, an essential piece of the ministry is missing. Being needed feels good! Thank you, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“All Pieces Necessary” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2010 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Purchase current printed issue of Devotions or 365 Devotions.

It Works

It WorksConies        

It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe (1 Corinthians 1:21, Kings James Version).

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:20–25
Song: “Rescue the Perishing”

The minister sensed my interest in becoming a minister myself. So he asked me to share a short, 15-minute message for the vesper hour. Vespers were held an hour before the regular evening service and were normally attended by only a handful of people. Since I had never preached before, my mentor showed much wisdom in scheduling this inexperienced teenager for the early service.

For my text I chose Proverbs 30:26, a verse about conies being “a feeble folk.” Having no idea what conies were, I substituted squirrels. It was a monumental mistake. Half way into my message, a man raised his hand and blurted out that conies were rabbit-looking woodchucks that lived in high rocky crags, not pine trees.

I could feel my preaching career coming to an abrupt end. Flustered, I stumbled through the rest of my message and ended with a lengthy prayer—giving people ample time to leave the sanctuary. Instead, they lined up to thank me. And I discovered an interesting thing about the foolishness of preaching that day—it works.

Lord, help me to prepare well when I have to speak. But do make up the difference between my foolishness and Your wisdom. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“It Works” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2010 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Purchase current printed issue of Devotions or 365 Devotions.