Tag Archives: ministry

Opportunities to Minister

Opportunities to Minister 

When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. So he asked Pharaoh’s officials . . . “Why are your faces so sad today?” (Genesis 40:6, 7).

Scripture: Genesis 40:1–8
Song: “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” (by Joseph M. Scriven)

While her brother rested, Lonora wandered out into the waiting area at Portland VA Medical Center, looking for a quiet place to sort out her thoughts. Anguish filled her heart. Her brother, Ken, lay nearby in the critical care unit. Just weeks before, her other brother had died tragically.

Lonora located a vacant seat and sat down. She needed solitude. Instead, she heard loud, crude remarks being directed at an already distraught woman. Like Lonora, this woman was deeply concerned about a loved one. Comments from insensitive relatives had only made the situation worse. Moved by compassion, Lonora approached her. She spoke words of comfort, offered a short prayer, and then gave her a tender hug. The embrace released tears of healing for both women.

In today’s passage Joseph encounters jailed servants who had offended Pharaoh. Thankfully for them, providence had placed Joseph in the same jail to offer encouragement. And God will put needful people in our paths as well. Discouraging circumstances provide the perfect opportunity for ministry.

Spirit of the Living God, many people today face difficulties in their lives. Please lead me to those who need Your encouragement. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

“Opportunities to Minister” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2012 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Purchase printed issue of Devotions or 365 Devotions.

 

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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…

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.

Purchase current printed issue of Devotions or 365 Devotions.

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.

Hey, Preacher!

helping othersHey, Preacher!    

We do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake (2 Corinthians 4:5).

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:1–6
Song: “Make Me a Servant”

“Hey preacher, I thought you only worked on Sundays.” I nodded my head and smiled back, wishing he knew the half of it. Gene ran the lumberyard in town. I’d come in that morning to purchase building materials for a benevolent outreach project: a widow needed repairs on her leaking roof. Not getting an answer from me, Gene teasingly pressed the issue. “So, why are you here on your week off?”

After whispering a short prayer for direction, I told Gene about today’s itinerary. “After I fix a neighbor’s roof, I will sort food at the food bank, then visit shut-ins at the retirement center. If there’s time, I’ll work on Sunday’s sermon.” Gene didn’t say much after that.

The following week, I made another trip to the lumberyard. Gene met me at the door: “Hey preacher, who are you helping today? Let me know if you need an extra hand.”

When we preach Christ by serving others, the world will take notice. Often, the best sermon is the example we set by our deeds.

Dear God, not everyone attends my church or listens when I preach Your Word. Many stand on the sidelines, watching, judging my actions. And this I welcome—for if they see me as Your servant, they might respond by opening their hearts to the Master. In the name of Jesus, amen.

“Hey, Preacher!” 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.

You Are Not Alone

prisonerYou Are Not Alone                          

Read Genesis 37:1 through 41:57

Robbie waited his turn at the counter. A man there handed him two of everything. The khaki uniforms smelled clean but looked like hand-me-downs. Everyone staying here wore the same clothes—the colors drab, the look depressing.

He searched the hallway, hoping to make eye contact. One person smiled at him but with mocking intent. A lump stuck in Robbie’s throat; moisture filled each eye. He hated this place. He felt trapped, deserted, and afraid. Robbie lived in prison.

While Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden (Genesis 39:20, 21).

Prisons are not designed for hospitality. Some think of them as godforsaken places; rather, they are high on God’s list of ministry priorities (see Matthew 25:36). To God, prisons are places where God’s people can go to reach out to others with the message of His mercy, forgiveness, and eternal salvation.

Challenge for Today: Get involved with a visitation ministry. Those in prisons, nursing homes, and treatment centers need Christian encouragement.

Quicklook: Genesis 39:13–23
—Charles Earl Harrel

Pray that God would enable Christians to speak the gospel with great boldness.

God’s Word for Today © 2008 Gospel Publishing House (used by permission).

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