Paul, not Saul

Welcome to our ministry mentoring module.  Over the next weeks and months, we will be spending some time sharing and learning together online.  There may be times when I invite you to join me for dinner & discussion around the table but for the most part we will do our work together online.  Hopefully, each week I will have a blog or lesson for you to deal with and I will be asking for your response whether that be in the form of questions or comments.  I’m really hoping we can all access my blog space called “from the kitchen table” which is a wordpress blog.  You can find that blog at kitchentableonlline.com.

 

My hope is that we can learn from each other but maybe even more importantly we can minister in agreement with each other.  I believe that agreement breeds confidence in ministry.  However, this isn’t about forcing agreement.  True agreement can only happen where there is the freedom to disagree.  I like the whole journey.  Discovering, Discussing and Deliberating the ideas and issues involved make for a great time around the table.  I hope you will feel free to share your thoughts and take the risk of being right or wrong so that we can find out together what is right.

 

I was hoping to get this experience off the ground a few weeks ago but I couldn’t decide where to start.  I mean, you have a starting point and I’m not sure I know where you’re ready to start so I’ve picked the 1st letter to Timothy as our jumping off place.  I’m going to encourage you to memorize the 1st letter to Timothy.  It’s going to take us a while to get through this so don’t sweat it.  Let’s get started.

 

Paul begins his letter to Timothy with…

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.                                                                                                           1Timothy 1:1-2

 

Let’s begin with this one name, Paul.  This letter begins with Paul, not Saul.  Paul has a new name that came from his new relationship with Jesus.  We catch a little insight into this name change in Acts 13:4-12.

So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Act 13:4-12

 

When we meet Jesus, the experience is so real that it leads to a name change.  O, I’m still Mike but Mike doesn’t mean what it used to mean.  The Holy Spirit has made that change in my life.  He has changed my mind, my mouth, my motives and my motions.  Praise God.  I know that to be true.  Hey, I grew up in the church and He still had a lot of changing to do in me and, even though it’s not a done deal yet, there has been a change in me by Him, praise God!  So, let’s start there.  Who are you?  Who are you now that you know Jesus and how did that happen.  I believe that when we minister the gospel, we must, speak and move from who we are on the inside.  That’s what makes the ministry so real.  I’m not telling you about something I heard about.  I’m speaking from something and someone I know.  How did you come to meet and know Jesus and what has that experience done in your life?  This week, take a few moments to write out your testimony on a 3X5 card so that you can tell others clearly and concisely who you are after meeting Jesus and you can do that without boring or lulling the other person to sleep.

 

Here’s your first assignment.  Write out your testimony on a 3X5 card and cover these three areas.  (1) Who were you before you met Jesus.  (2) How did you meet Jesus & why?  (3) What difference has Jesus made in your life?

 

Like I said earlier, I grew up in the church.  If being religious was the metric for following Jesus, I had that down.  In fact, I was afraid not to be religious.  Meeting Jesus, personally, changed me and that happens to every follower of Jesus I’ve ever met.  When, where, why and how did you meet Jesus?

 

Have a great week

Mike

Love & War Update

Love & War

We’re beginning our 3rd week of the 40 day devotional challenge today.  I hope you’ve been able to keep up.  I like this book!  Last week we were challenged to think about the responsibilities of marriage.  Last week the devotionals were focused on “The Two Shall Become One” and right away on day 1 of week 2 we read “In marriage we are entrusted with the heart of another human being.”  Whatever our great purpose or passion in this life might be, taking care of the heart next to ours will ALWAYS be a part of that great work.  Don’t you just love that?  And then on day two there was another statement that said, “Marriage is going to ask everything of you, and that is why you must have a vision for it.”  Wow!  That’s good stuff.  As we got to day 5 we found out that marriage is a divine conspiracy with a divine intention we discover through those divine disruptions along the way.  Give it a think!

Pastor Mike

From the kitchen table

I do a lot of my praying and pondering at the kitchen table.  I also enjoyed spending time with my kids as they grew up around the kitchen table.  A lot of things happened in us and with us while we sat around the table catching up with each other and talking about Jesus and His word together.  I guess I’m just pulling out a chair and inviting you to join me around the kitchen table.