Titus 2:14d – Zealous For Good Works

 

who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:14 ESV

This is the 22nd video in a series of teaching videos on the book of Titus. You can find the first video here.

What do you get excited about in your Christian life? The Bible teaches that we should be ‘red hot‘ about doing good works.

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Jump to the next post in this series…

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Reduce Reuse RecycleA few weeks ago, I was driving a van full of high school kids from Pennsylvania to Alabama for a leadership conference. During the drive, we listened to a bunch of different music. Some I recognized and some I didn’t. Being the driver, though, has its privileges and I got to choose most of the musical selections!

Not only was I shocked that high school kids knew the words to many of the songs which I chose (not all of the songs were faith-based), but I was shocked by how many songs I could sing word for word. I was very impressed with them, and with myself! Then it hit me. I knew more lyrics to secular songs than I do verses from the Bible! I spent more time singing songs in my head than reading, or even meditating, on God’s Word!

I had thought about this dilemma for the few hours of driving. I wondered about the time I had spent watching TV or listening to the radio, rather than being in God’s Word. I had been taking in a large amount of the secular forms of entertainment instead of taking in Truth and it reflects in my behavior and my perception. The old adage goes, “Garbage in, garbage out”; I had been taking in garbage, and even worse yet, exposing others to the stench!

Remaining in God’s Word and prayer daily provides me with a way to recycle the garbage which I’m exposed to and, through a change of perception, turn that garbage into something which is good and useful to others, something which I can use to build up others; exhort and encourage. In a way, I become a waste recycling plant, through a Biblical worldview, instead of a waste dump (a secular worldview).

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Click here for other posts by Long Vo

Photo credit creativefreedom

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What Is Your Prize?

A record was broken today that 10 years ago many thought would never happen. Roger Federer has now been ranked a total of 287 weeks at the top of the Tennis world (not consecutively).  The previous record holder, Pete Sampras, was sitting at 286 weeks and that was to most tennis fans, untouchable. Just like so many records before, what seems an impossibility is soon left behind.  For Federer of course he plans to keep adding to those weeks at #1 and only time will tell where he finishes.  The reality is that no one can stay #1 forever no matter the sport.  The glory that comes with it (even well deserved) fades and someone else comes along to take the top honours.

It’s not like that in the Christian life. I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 9:25,All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.” For the believer each one of us can obtain a prize that lasts forever. God has promised this. Paul says in Philippians 3:14, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

As I follow tennis it is clear that fans of one player are constantly comparing their favourite to others. For the Christian we should never get into the habit of comparing ourselves (or anyone for that matter) to others. Galatians 6:4 tells is, “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.”  Our focus must be on our own lives and service for the Lord.

So what is your prize? Are you training and striving for an eternal prize that will never fade or an earthly reward that is passing?

 

 

 

 

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Which Church? Does My Church Match The New Testament Pattern?

Which Church? New Testament Churches Had No Sectarian Title

As stated in the introduction, this series of posts have been framed with the newly saved person in mind, but we all have to take stock of our ecclesiastical position.

Ask the question, “does the group I am linked with match the New Testament pattern?” If not, you have a responsibility to respond to the teaching of Scripture and to meet with believers whose principles of gathering correspond to that biblical pattern.

Obviously this study has not been exhaustive, but be like the people of Berea, who “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so”, Acts 17:11.

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To be continued…

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Entry Level Theological Truth [24]

“And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die”.’” Genesis 3:2-3

God’s Word is a disclosure of His mind and a revelation of His character and will; therefore, it must be handled carefully. To be slipshod in one’s reading or interpretation of the Scriptures is to invite spiritual error and the disaster that inevitably ensues.

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Book Review: Look Straight Ahead

Look Straight Ahead - A Call To Men For Moral Purity

People face many temptations, especially in the area of moral purity. One of the most appealing lures to the fallen flesh is sexual lust. Pornography has become increasingly brazen, readily visible to the unguarded eye of one who is not even seeking it. It has become one of the most successful weapons against the child of God. Our church families are plagued with failed marriages as the enemy has rushed in to ruin the testimony of the saints. There has been casualties among public leaders, the last to be suspected of such moral sin. This all-too-common tragedy has burdened my heart to exhort and encourage men, in particular, to echo the plea of the psalmist as he stood before his Lord and cried out, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me,” Psalm 51:10

This is a quote from the introduction to the book Look Straight Ahead – A Call To Men For Moral Purity written by Sam Thorpe, Jr. and published by Everyday Publications of Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada. The book is a heart felt plea to the men of the church to intentionally live a life of moral purity. This is a timely book, dealing with a major issue in the church that few others are willing to address.

The author rightly recognizes the sin of pornography as a powerful

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Jottings – Will You Serve Others?

Jottings

The great person in the society of God is the humble person. The person who will serve others… will you be the servant of others?

Stephen Baker in a recent video podcast

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Running On Empty

Empty

Sometimes when my gas tank is near empty, I like to play a game. I like to see just how far I can go and not run out of gas. I’ve been playing this game ever since I’ve been driving, and I’ve never had the same experience twice. How many games have you ever played which you can say the same thing about? Achieving a certain level of fear, and excitement contributes to the overall attraction of playing such a dumb and dangerous game.

“What’s the worst that could happen?” I had imagined that the worst thing that could happen was that I’d run out of gas! That goes without saying. But, if I ran out of gas, I knew what to do- pull over to the shoulder of the road, and call for help. Seems quite simple I suppose. However, the first time I ran out of gas, the road had no emergency shoulder, I was on a very steep hill, and I was stopped on a blind corner! All of a sudden, the world got a lot bigger as I imagined how playing this stupid game could potentially harm someone else!

Pornography has a similar allure. It has an element of danger, excitement, and gratification. One big problem about these emotions is that none of them take into consideration how others would be affected. I had NEVER considered how my addiction to pornography would affect others. All that was important to me was how pornography made me feel.

Now, to finish off my story from an earlier post and to wrap up this series of posts about why I started being accountable…

It was my turn to answer the question, “Have you had any lustful thoughts, attitudes, or watched anything which does not glorify God?” My initial reaction was to lie about it to everyone, but I could tell by the other guys’ response’s that no one else had lied. I spilled my guts like the kid from the 80’s movie called, “The Goonies”, Chunk when he was captured by the bank robbers and their evil mother. I told them about the years and years of how pornography had been such a cancer to my spiritual growth.

I received an evenly mixed dose of rebuke and encouragement from the guys. I was comforted in knowing that so many men like me have this struggle, even in the Christian community. By shedding light on this dark area of my life, I’ve been humbled in remembering just how sinful and corrupt I am. The great part in being humbled by my own sinfulness is that I was reminded about just how much I really need Jesus in my life.

There is just something extremely therapeutic about confession- warm, emotional, fulfilling. There is also a danger into turning something very innocent, such as confessing, into something ritualistic and legalistic- cold and empty, as if it were a hospital recovery room. My very first experience with accountability could definitely be best described by the former, and not the later.

In opening up to this group of guys who were only acquaintances, at best, was a huge step for me. In choosing to be honest to them about my struggles with online pornography, I was able to drop the heavy yoke of deception, and expose an area of my life which I’ve kept in the dark from everyone. I’ve deceived myself for way too long about how far I could go on an empty tank of gas.

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Digital Sojourner would like to thank Long Vo for writing this guest post. Long’s first two posts in this series were An Ounce Of Prevention and SPAM (Some Parts Are Me). Digital Sojourner recently discussed the importance of Christian accountability with Long… you can listen to the podcast here.

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Photo flickr/journeyguy

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Thinking Like A Digital Missionary

Motherboard

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Over the last 25 years the world we live in has radically changed. Back in 1987 most people had never heard of the Internet, sent an email, or even made a call from a mobile phone. People regularly used a phonebook, not Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, was only 2 years old on this date in 1987!). In fact, if you are old enough to vote, the world of today neither looks nor functions like the world you were born into. The world is radically different.

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Jottings – What Part Of Go Don’t You Understand?

Jottings

What part of “go” don’t you understand?

A quote from a missionary to “other areas” in regards to our response to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). 2010 CMML Annual Fall Conference, Lincroft, NJ.

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