Got Worldliness?

Worldliness b

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2: 6

Key words for the Christian life: received, continue, live your lives, rooted and thankfulness! What is not a key word for Christian living and leadership? Worldliness!

Let’s look at what is going on in American society at this time. We have a former gold medal Olympian, 1976 decathlon, male, who thinks is a woman, and society cheers for him or is it her. Then, we have a major African American NAACP leader who as it turns out, is Caucasian, society jeers for her (really, no one noticed? A commentary that liberalism is not only stupid, it is blind). And the irony is missed as both want what they are not, and to be what they want to be, regardless of what they truly are. One is hailed the other is hated. Why can’t a white person be black if a man can be a woman, what is the difference? We have a society that is, what is, well, sin, steeped in sin. And church leaders who want us to take in that sin and own it as ours are missing the mark of the Gospel.

The Church must not take in the culture as its gospel; instead, the Church is to trust completely in the Gospel–the Word of God–and be examples of the Gospel.  We are to be countercultural!  Remember, anything that is of God will cause controversy; those who do not know the Truth will hate the Truth.

Paul wrote to correct and to instruct people to stay away from what is false and rather embrace God’s effectual empowerment and true Truth.  Thus, the overarching call of God is to have a correct view of Christ, so our lives are aligned with His precepts and character.  This way, we can be on guard, and live in a proper, pleasing way to glorify our Lord, so that people will see Christ exhibited in us. If we are worldly, what is the point of Christianity (2 Pet. 2: 12-16; Rev. 2: 1-7)?

Received Christ Jesus as Lord, means receiving God’s saving. Because the Gospel is our good news, which means ‘victory’ as in “God delivers,” and that salvation is from, and only from God, Christ as Lord.  We receive the benefit of the person and Work of Christ, how He delivered us out of sin and into our new life.  That by His life and sacrifice that we have the Kingdom and abundance of life here and forevermore. So, that is what we continue in (Rom. 10:9-10; 11:6; Eph. 2:8-9; Col. 2:6-8; Titus 3:5-7; Heb. 2:3; 4:6).

Continue in them refers to forming a good habit and being constant. In context, this is about taking God’s saving grace and trusting and obeying His precepts, not man’s sin, agendas and traditions!

Walk or Live in Him. Means going about the business of God or walking in righteousness, to “halakah” (Lev. 26:3; Ezek. 36:27) as to regulate your life to behave according to what you believe. It is to know Christ, live for Him, and pursue Christ further beyond our salvation. To abide in His strength and not ours. We are to be obedient and constant with our learning and growth in Christ, so it is the tradition of God empowers us, learning His precepts or living and relating to God, self, and others, not the traditions of men, who deceive us (Mark. 12:38; Rom. 6:4; 8:1; 13:13; 1 Cor. 7:1; 2 Cor. 5:7; 10:3; 12:18; Gal. 5:16-25; 6:16; Eph. 2:10; 4:1, 17; 5:2, 8-15; Phil. 3:10-18; Col. 3:17; 1 Thess. 2:12; 4:1, 12; 2 Thess. 3:11; 1 John 1:6-7; 2:6; 2 John 6; 3 John 3-4).

RootedThis is an agricultural image meaning God is the planter and Farmer; we are to take root in Him, meaning we are to obey Him. We have to grow by learning and applying and sharing God’s principles and love. This was also a Jewish metaphor for receiving God’s blessing for being obedient. If they followed God, He would allow the people to take root in the promised land (Ruth 4:11; Psalm 28:5; 51:18; 69:35; 147:2; Jer. 1:10; 18:7; 24:6; 31:4; 45:4; 1 Cor. 3:5-17; Eph. 3:17).

Let’s look at another key word, Worldliness is the attempt to make sin normal and righteousness strange.

Worldliness is an excuse to rationalize sin and evil and condemn goodness, and Who and what Christ is and came to do. That your heredity of sin has changed to His heredity? That Jesus has formed and renewed you (Gal. 1:15-16; 4:19; Titus 2:12)? If not, why?

The Church is called to be counter-cultural; we are NOT TO succumb to the ways and worldliness of the world.

Instead, the whole Church–the entire body of Christ–is to be the example of Truth and live out the faith.  That means the leaders too! It is imperative we heed the instructions of God’s Word, live worthy, grow in our faith, never compromise the Word and pass it on to others!  How much are we influenced by our culture and new or old philosophical ideas and trends?  Do they influence our churches?  If so, what are we to do?  God’s Word is not outdated, it is for us now and needed more than ever! The Bible does apply to us today just as it did to the original audience and the situation (Col. 2:18)!

If a Christian leader states it is OK to accept the ways of the world, two things are happening. One, they are not Christian in theme, as they are not following Christ as Lord. Two, they are not a leader, as a real Christian leader points people to Christ, not to themselves and not to the world!

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What do we do when Leaders Fail?

failedWhat can we learn from churches that have failures or are disconnected from their purpose?

These articles will explore what God calls, how we are and what we can do with practical and biblical insights to prevent breakdowns and major problems from happening. We will look how to recover if breakdowns do occur.

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” James 1:16-18

After over 25 years of research, this is what we found:  Leaders fail when we forget who we are called to be.  We overlook Who Christ Is; as a result, we neglect what He really has called us to.

Ministry and life are candy stores of temptations. To be a successful pastor or church leader, one who seeks to glorify the Lord, we must have our priorities in order:  the Lord, our families, and the call.  If we get that wrong or out of order, we will derail, fail, and fall.  All kinds of bad things will come knocking on the door of our hearts, minds, and lives.  It all starts off with pride.  Pride reorders our priorities, first shifting the focus away from the Lord, forgetting our families, and ignoring our calling.  How does this happen?   Pride is fostered by having no accountability to another while we sacrifice Truth, follow bad trends, and begin comparing our church/ministry to others.  Blinded by pride, we begin to abuse power and lose complete sight of Christ as LORD.

Catch this series here:

What to do when Leaders Fail? Part I

What can we learn from churches that have failures or are disconnected from their purpose? 

This article will explore what God calls, how we are and what we can do with practical and biblical insights to prevent breakdowns and major problems from happening.

What to do when Leaders leave or fail? P II

How to recover your church after a pastor leaves, even in a fall 

The statistics for pastors who fall is about 20%. Nearly 50% of pastors starting out will not last beyond five years in ministry for reasons of burnout and frustration. Just 1 out of every 10 pastors will actually retire as a minister in some form.

What to do when Leaders Leave or Fail? Part III

How to rebuild after a pastor leaves, even in a fall from grace. 

To rebuild any church, whether it is from the retirement of a great pastor, the fall of another, a history of spiritual neglect from its leaders, or the slow backslide of apathy or liberalism, we have to be willing to reset. If there is no reset, the congregation will die off.

Leading the Church in the Midst of Chaos

Motives and desires all at a convergence and many without an eye to the Word or an ear to the Spirit!

More here:

http://www.churchleadership.org/apps/pages/web/pageid/66929/default.asp

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A Theology of Vocation

work for Jesus “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:1-6 

Looking at research and the needs of church goers, there is a topic rarely covered and yet coveted at the same time. Pastors will rarely preach on it because we tend to not know, usually, what it means to work, as my wife says, “the real world.” And the average church attender desperately wants to hear and know what am I supposed to do at work as a Christian. Thus, it is my attempt to dispense a “theology of vocation.” In other words, what is God’s will and call for us Monday through Friday when we are at work. And make it understandable.

Why do pastors not preach on it? Most of us have worked very sparingly in ‘regular’ jobs. We went from High School to college to seminary. Did internships, academia, and church work. We held some part time jobs, but mostly, no significant time in the blue collar or while collar world. Thus, no experience or real hard knowledge and thus no material for sermons. On top of that there have been few books or topic to guide a pastor and, I hate to say this, most of us do not know our Bibles well enough to exegete a study on vocation.

What brings me to this? I have been asked by a few pastors who know I work full time as a pastor and full time in the ‘world.’ As a missionary an on staff at churches that do not pay much, it has been a necessity. I worked for 5 years in a union blue color job through high school and college. Was “white collar,” as a corporate trainer for a major banking institution for 5 years while in grad school and seminary. I was also a police chaplain and of course on the board of 4 nonprofit organizations besides pastoring. So, I got a lot of work experience. Then I have done sermons series on work and in my book a Field Guide to Building Relationships is a couple of chapters on how to build relationships at work. So, I got game on this subject. Enough about me, what does the Bible say on work?

Hint, it is a place not just to earn money or further one’s profession, it is a place to worship Christ by being an example of His Word in our work. Remember, your whole life, character of who and how you are matters to God!

Cut and paste the passages below into https://www.biblegateway.com/

Key Bible Passages for Christians in the Workplace: Genesis 1-3; Psalm 24:1; 1 Corinthians 7:23; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15; 10:1-6; 11:1-3; Romans 8:17; Ephesians 4:1-6; 6:5-8; Colossians 1:21-23; 3:17-24; 1 Peter 2:9-21

“Slaves (fellow servants in Col 1:7; Rev. 19:10), obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.” Ephesians 6:5-8

·         God’s Call For the Employee: Genesis 1:26-28; Exodus 23:12; 35:2; Proverbs 10: 4, 26; 22:29; 24:30-34; 25:13; Ecclesiastes 2:4; 5:12; 10:10; Matthew 18: 23-34; Luke 16:10-12; 1 Corinthians 7:23; Romans 12:11; Ephesians 4:28; 6:5-8; Philippians 2:1-11; Colossians 3: 17, 22-25; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1 Timothy 6:2, 17; Titus 2:9-10; 1 Peter 2:18-20

·         God’s Call For the Employer: Leviticus 19:13; Deuteronomy 24:4, 4-15; Proverbs 27:18; Malachi 3:5; Luke 10:7; 1 Corinthians 9:6-12; Ephesians 6:8-9; Colossians 3:17; 4:1-2; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; James 5:4-5

·         God’s Call For the Workplace: Ecclesiastes 2:4; 4:7-8; Colossians 3:22-25

o   We are called to work with respect and honor to God and others: Genesis 2: 15; 3: 15; Proverbs 6:6-8; 10:4-5,26; 12:9; 13:4; 14:23; 18:9; 22:29; 31:11-31; Ecclesiastes 3:22; 5:12; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Timothy 5: 8!

o   We Are Called to Work with Integrity: Proverbs 10:2; 15:27; Jeremiah 22: 13; Ephesians 4:28!

o   We Are Warned About Laziness: Exodus 20:9-11; 23:12; 34:21; Proverbs 16:27; 18:9; 19: 15; 22:13; 24:30-34; 1Thessalonians 4: 11, 12; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-15!

o   We Are Called to Honor Just Remuneration: Proverbs 3:27, 28; 27:18; Luke 10:7; 1Timothy 5: 18; James 5:1-5

o   The Dangers: Romans 12:1-2; 2 Peter 1:3-4

·         Building Better Relationships: Proverbs 10:4, 5, 2:11; 12:24; 13:4; 15:19; 18:9; 19:15; 24:30-32; Galatians 6:9; Colossians 3:23-25; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2: 9-20; James 1:8

o   Emotional Stress: Proverbs 12:24; 13:4; 19:15; 24:30-32; Jeremiah 29:10-14; Colossians 3:23; Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 6:9; Philippians 4:11-13; Titus 2: 9-20; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; James 1:8; 2 Peter 1:3-4

o   Fear: 1 Kings 19: 1-18

o   Fatigue: Numbers 11:10-17

o   Frustration: Jonah 1-4

o   Excited: Genesis 1: 26-28; Proverbs 22:29; Ecclesiastes 10: 10; Isaiah 40:31; Luke 16:10-12; Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Galatians 5:22-23; Philippians 3: 13-16; Colossians 3:23; 1 Timothy 6:17-19; Hebrews 10:25; 1 Peter 1:3-4; 1 John 1: 9

Putting it all together: Psalm 1; 15; 40:8; John, chapters 13-15; Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 13; Galatians 5:22-23; Colossians 3:15

Coming soon an extensive look into work for sermons and the edification of Christ’s children at work.  At http://www.churchleadership.org/

Previous work on “work” is here: http://70030.netministry.com/apps/articles/default.asp?articleid=32519&columnid=3844

My book, Building Healthy Relationships: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1413771793?tag=intothywordmi-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=1413771793&adid=088S0T3RQ2FVF88TCH55&

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Maundy Thursday Service

Maundy Thursday“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34 (NIV).

The day before Good Friday is called “Maundy  Thursday,” or “Holy Thursday.” It comes from the Latin mandatum, meaning commandment.

It was the day, which Jesus celebrated His last Passover with His Disciples before the Cross and what will become our celebration or the ordinance of Communion. This is also known as the Last Supper. What is often missed, is in this day in which over the centuries the Church has given such credence too, are three commands. One of example to serve, as Jesus in humility and service washed His Disciples’ feet. Then the command of communion, where Jesus calls us to remember that we are a part of a new covenant paid by His life, death and resurrection that depicts our allegiance and faith. This is about our fellowship and togetherness, and in all this He gives us the command to love one another (Matt, 26:26-28; Luke 22:19-20; John 13:1-17; 1 Cor. 11:17).

Illustration 

I read about how the “King of Abyssinia who once took a British subject named Cameron prisoner and incarcerated him in the high fortress of Magdala. No cause was stated for his confinement. When Great Britain found out, she demanded an immediate release of her citizen. King Theodore refused.

“According to the story, within days Great Britain sent several thousand soldiers by ship to Magdala. After marching across unfriendly country for many miles, they attacked the fortress and rescued that one British subject. “The expedition took several months and cost the English government twenty-five million dollars. The entire resources of the government were made available in the rescue of only one citizen.”

Similarly, because of God’s great love for us, He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, from heaven to earth to rescue you and me from the prison of eternal death (that we actually deserved) by dying in our place to pay the judgment price for our sins.

However, on the day before Jesus suffered an excruciating and agonizing death by being crucified, he gave his disciples and followers a new commandment and that was “that we love one another.” This he demonstrated for us on the cross at Calvary.

With tireless regularity Easter comes around year after year as a powerful reminder to all the world that Jesus, the Son of God, loved us so much that he gave his life as a ransom for our sins, so that we could be given a full and free pardon and the gift of eternal life.

There is no greater gift in all of life. There is no greater love in all the world. And because Jesus loved us so much, may God help us to love and forgive others as he has so freely loved and forgiven us. This is his new commandment to you and to me.

Lesson

What Jesus shows us in John 13 is sated in the key word, “Full extent of his love. The “full extent” is what Jesus was about to show—His sacrifice for our sins!

Jesus took on the righteous wrath of God for sin and paid the penalty, sacrificing Himself for us. Jesus not only set the example, but more importantly, also redeemed us. In addition, this refers to the “substitutionary atonement,” also known as “propitiation.” Christ was the innocent, sacrificial lamb who died for the guilty—for our sins, something which we could not do. The sacrifice of Christ was for us (Isa 53:4-12; Mark 10:45; Rom. 3:21-26; 1Cor. 1:23-25; 1 Tim. 2:6; Heb. 9:15). 1 Pet. 2:18-25)!

Wash one another’s feet. Meaning “imitation,” as in doing as you have seen me do and as I have instructed you. This was not to be a foot-washing ordinance; rather, it was an example of humble service. Real, effective leadership, whether meant to lead a person of the faith or to lead a church of the faithful is all about servant leadership. Ministry is not about what I want, it is about following Christ’s example and as a showcase for others to see and follow (Mark 10:35-45; Luke 22:26; John 1:27; 1 Cor. 3 – 4; Eph. 4; 2 Pet. 2:1-3).

We are called to be the “Example!”  To show others and influence and shepherd them (not just tell them.

Ordnance: Foot washing service 

Just look how our LORD God, the Creator and Sustainer did. Jesus took a towel and washed His disciples’ feet. (This can be an act we can simply use for a “Maundy Thursday” service, a reflection before Easter) Take a basin and towels and gently wash one another’s feet. It is best for the pastor and our leaders to do the washing. Do this with reverence and quiet with a prayer or blessing upon each person. I personally use Numbers 6:24-25.

Reflection 

Christian leaders are responsible to care for God’s people with faithfulness and honor, and never out of harsh or improper motivations! Jesus is our archetype and pattern for who we are and what we are to do—all in love and humility. We can trust Christ to lead us, and thus we can lead others in the same manner (Matt. 23).

Be blessed!  God desires to bestow upon us a significant favor and grace! 

This is a Jewish blessing, and means the God who blesses us—to be deeply happy and content because we are enjoying God and His special favor. There is a direct correlation between following Him and receiving His blessedness and contentment, and following ourselves, pride, and evil to be self-destructive and miserable (Deut. 27:11-28:6; Jer. 1:11-12; Ezek. 36:24-27; Mic. 1:10-15; Matt. 5:3-11; John 3; 7:37-39; 1 Peter 1: 3-12).

Suggested prayer: “Dear Jesus God, how can I ever thank you enough for all you have done for me. . . For dying for my sins and for rescuing me from the pit of hell and giving me the gift of eternal life to be in heaven forever with you. Help me to love others as you have loved me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer, Gratefully in Jesus’ name, amen.”

Leader’s devotional beforehand: Jesus was demonstrating what the Disciples must do to participate in and spread the kingdom of God, focusing and developing others for Him by service, example, and humility. What this tells us that we must get our direction “form and mold” after Christ rather than trends, the latest ideas, or what we may think will work. Purely and simply, leadership is learned by first being a child and a servant of Christ. Neither an intellectual awareness nor Christian activity means anything without Christ. We must be His to do as He wills; this takes our acceptance of Christ first, then our commitment and continual faith (example: Ezek. 34: 1-10; Luke 15:3-7; John 10:1-18; 21:15-17; 1 Pet. 2:25; 5:3; love: Gal. 5:22-23; Col. 3:12-17; 1 Thess. 4:9-10; 5:8-13; 1 John 4:7-11; humility: 1 Kings 8:58; Psalm 25; Luke 22:27; Col. 1:18; Phil. 2:8; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:3-5)!

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Here is our Latest Newsletter!

ITW at LAC4Due to the sensitivity of the places we serve at Into Thy Word go to, we cannot give details for people’s safety, but just to tell you, wow, God is at work!

It is because having God called us, equipped us and sent us and is powerfully using us. Will you join up to partner with this vital mission!? Why? We train and equip pastors and church leaders all over the world online and in person.

http://files.stablerack.com/webfiles/70030/Krejnewsletter1214.pdf

Here is the previous newsletter to catch up with us….

http://files.stablerack.com/webfiles/70030/Krejnewsletter0714.pdf

http://files.stablerack.com/webfiles/70030/Krejnewsletter1213.pdf

I am teaching an in-depth verse by verse Bible Study in So Cal, join us…. “An Overview of the Bible” or “A Walk through Scripture.” A two year study through the Bible, year 1, the Old Testament, year 2 New Testament, a basic overview of each book and its main themes’… currently we are in the passion week of Jesus….

Purpose: It is the endeavor of this study to do a cursory walk through the main streams of God’s Word the Bible. Gain a deeper understanding of the themes, main thoughts, calls, commands and applications to know Christ and live for His glory. It will follow an inductive format with notes and outlines too.

Come join us for a challenging and friendly study environment, with a goal to pursue the heart of God and fellowship together. Led by Dr. Richard Krejcir from Into Thy Word Ministries. For information, email me or call Richard at intothyword.com.

More info here: https://www.lakeave.org/events-calendar/journey-mid-week-bible-study/11250/

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What is Incarnational Leadership?

Incarnational leadership is rooted in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, as “He took a towel” (John 13:2-5).

He was efficient with people, had goals in sight, but was also relational over being task-driven.

This kind of leadership produces a church filled with real purpose and motivation as people are called, appreciated, loved, encouraged, discipled, involved by mentoring and discipleship before they are deployed in ministry. This is “Christ life” before “ministry life.” Thus, the leadership of Christ is producing a church of spiritual maturity and involvement so that the people are inspired to be devolved, as in caught up in Christ and with one another to be more admirable in the faith and in the world making Him known. After they are deployed, the equipping and encouraging are to continue. Manipulation, conniving, and posturing are to be absent, as God’s Love is the fuel.

This kind of leadership sees Christ glorified as our tempers and temperaments come in line with His precepts. It means being imitators of Christ so we go in the direction of the possibilities; we stretch beyond what we think we can do or go, and seek where and what He has for us, even with our limitations and frailty.

More here: http://www.churchleadership.org/pages.asp?pageid=66920

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