By the Command of God

Week #4
By the Command of God Our Savior
There are a couple of questions that I like to ask people because I’ve asked these questions of myself. 1. Why do you believe what you believe? 2. Who is God to you? Those questions push us to consider what we think and know about God and how He works in this universe. Sometimes the question is just too big and we run from spending the time necessary to come to our own conclusions. When we neglect the work of coming to our own conclusions we find ourselves living on the conclusions of another or worse yet, the conclusion of others who may not even agree. This situation brings us back to the life principle that where there is agreement there is authority. To live in authority, we need to come to conclusions that we own for our own lives.

So, let’s begin with “Who is God?” Who is God to you? Paul seems to be rather clear that there is a God who has a plan and a will for life and from that place He calls us to obey His command in life. Now, if you see God as loving, then that perspective isn’t so bad. But, if you see God as angry, unable to spend time or share space with sin and sinners, who is ready to judge harshly those who fail to live up to His expectations, then that perspective of God is scary.

Paul says that he is an apostle of Jesus Christ by the command of God. We’re beginning to get a picture of God from Paul’s perspective. God is in charge, working to reach the world with His love which He demonstrated through Jesus Christ and now has called Paul to the same mission in his lifetime. God cares! God has a plan or mission for this world and He has called Paul to work in the mission of bringing the world into agreement with God’s word, work and will. Paul has accepted the call of God on his life and now he is extending the calling to Timothy and through Timothy to us. God loves the world (men & all of creation). Man, however, is different than the rest of creation. Man is made in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27). There’s no doubt that man is more valuable to God than the rest of creation. God came for man through Jesus, living, dying, rising from the dead and coming back for man. But then, man is the one who sinned and because of man’s sin all of creation was made subject to this fallen situation (Romans 8:20-21).

So, who is God. God is love (1 John 4:8). There are a lot of people who struggle with that definition. Those people will argue that if God is good or is love, then why is there sin, shame and suffering in this life? There is sin, shame and suffering in this world because God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, choose in love, to create a world and a life where He could share His love with us. (We will talk more about the Trinity of Father, Son & Holy Spirit later but what you need to know that love cannot exist in one, it’s a community thing.) God is love and in His love, He choose to have you and me to share this love and life with Him (Ephesians 1:4). But, love only works through agreement and that agreement cannot by forced. Love gives us the choice to come into agreement with God. God then demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). God choose to create this life, this universe, so that He could share this love and life with us but we (man) choose to disagree with God and agreed instead with a fallen angel named Lucifer. In this decision, man chose to no longer believe in God’s love and to disobey God’s will for man which left man in a state of sin and death. Because Adam sinned, we, who share his fallen DNA, are born with a propensity to sin (Romans 3:23) and the wages (result) of that sin is death (Rom 6:23). We can see that God created a life and a world where we could share His love and His life with Him if we choose that life (Joshua 24:14-15).

Here’s something else to think about. We believe that there is one God who created the heavens and the earth, man and everything that lives in the universe from a heart of love. God is infinite (Job 11:7-9; 37:23); we are finite and the only way we can know God is that He chooses to make Himself known to us. God is spirit (John 4:24). God, is light (1 John 1:5). God is Holy so He is always faithful and true to His Word and there is no fault or sin in Him (1 Peter 1:13-16). God is eternal (IS 40:28). God is immutable in that He never changes (Heb 1:12). God is independent, self-sufficient (John 1:1-3). God is omnipotent, all powerful (Matt 19:26). God is all-knowing or omniscient (Rom 11:33). God is omni sapient, possessing all wisdom (Rom 16:27). His is omnipresent (Jer 23:23-24) absolutely righteous and just (Dan 9:14) being full of mercy (Deut 4:31; Ps 103:8).

So why do you believe what you believe about God? Paul says that he is an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God. Paul has placed his life under the command and will of God. We can’t place all our trust in someone or something that we don’t know. It’s that trust that birth the passion and purpose that burns in our hearts. So, here’s your assignment for this week. Who is God to you and why do you believe what you believe about God? And what has God called you to do in your lifetime for Him? Think about your giftings and relate them to the answer of this question. Write out your response and send it to me.

Have a great week


Of Christ Jesus


Well, it’s taken us two weeks to get through the first three words in this letter to Timothy.  Today we will take on three more words.  So, here’s where we are, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus…”  Last week we began to look at the giftings God has given us, and it’s important to know who we are in Christ, but it’s just as important to know whose we are in Christ and who whose we are really is.

Who is Jesus Christ?  I mean, He’s the who in whose we are.  Well, this is a huge topic that can’t be fully dealt with in a one page letter.  The important thing to know is that Jesus is God.  (Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” Jn 8:58)   Jesus is God come in the flesh. (If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Jn 14:7)   Jesus is the exact image and revelation of God.  (Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power Hebrews 1:1-3)   And we need to understand that God came in the flesh, set aside His privilege to rule and reign as God in this life and lived this live just like you and I have to live this life.  And Jesus went to the cross for our sins and to rescue our lives. (Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Phi 2:5-8)   And it’s important to understand that God exalted Jesus, after His obedient service, to a place and position of authority to rule and reign over all creation in and through us.  (Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Phi 2:9-13)   That’s just a start in dealing with this subject but remember this.  We cannot reveal Jesus in and through our lives if we don’t know who Jesus is.  In fact, beginning to know who God is begins with knowing who Jesus is.  By the way, our enemy knows who Jesus is and thrives on our ignorance of who Jesus is.

But there is a second point to this lesson; we must know who we are in Christ.  Our enemy will thrive on that ignorance also.  We are not necessarily who others say we are, what life’s experiences say we are or even who we say we are.  We are who God says we are and that is so critical to living in the giftings that God has created and blessed us with in this life.  God says we are:

LOVED  (We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19)

BLESSED  (Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, Eph 1:3)

FORGIVEN  (In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, Eph 1:7)

SAVED  (In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. Eph 1:11-12)

SEALED  (In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Eph 1:13-14)

SEATED WITH CHRIST  (But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him  in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Eph 2:4-7)

Again, this is just a beginning, but it’s a start.  It’s important to our witness and our work and every false religion and every demonic spirit is focused on diminishing our concept and confidence in Jesus because He is Lord and at His name every knee will bow.  It’s who He is, what He did and what He says that matters.  Here’s your assignment for this week.  Who do you say Jesus is?

Be Blessed!

An Apostle

Welcome back!

Last week we took the first step in this ministry mentoring journey by contemplating who we are in Christ.  I have this belief that people want to know who we are before they want to know what we believe.  Hopefully you have given last week’s assignment some thought.  Who are you?  Paul was Paul, not Saul.  His encounter with Jesus had made him a new man, a different man.  This world isn’t looking for more religion, it’s looking for real people and real relationships.  What change has Jesus made in your life?  Know it!  Share it!  Be clear, concise and speak about it with conviction.  If we possess a clear concise understanding of how we met Jesus and what that encounter has done in our lives we will be able to work that understanding into all sorts of conversations with people who are looking for the “real” thing.

An Apostle

Paul, introducing himself to Timothy in this letter says, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus our hope.”  An apostle, someone with delegated authority, a messenger with a mission.  God had called Him and commissioned him.  That might sound insignificant but it’s not.  Where there is agreement, there is authority. Paul was walking in agreement with God about His mission and ministry on this earth and because he was walking in agreement with God, he was working in the authority of God.  Paul was an apostle.  Now there were all sorts of apostles in the day but Paul was ministering in his gifting, mission and purpose in the kingdom of God.  That might sound appropriate for Paul but maybe not for you.  However, everyone of us has giftings and callings for this life and ministry that God has saved and called us to in this life.  Yeah, get ready to think about how God has gifted and called you.

First, let me say that I believe that there are at least three different types of gifting.  (1) Creational (motivational) Gifts.  (2) Charismatic gifts.  (3) Church gifts.  So, there are giftings and callings associated with serving and ministering in this kingdom of God.  You are going to be able to tap into a number of different assessments that will help you better understand those giftings but first let’s get a little understanding about these gifts.  Let’s start with what I call creational gifts.  Most people call these motivational gifts but I like creational because I believe that God created us with certain motivational gifts and I like that the idea of labels these gifts with a “C” word.  It’s part of my creational gifting.  When we come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and surrender our lives to His grace these gifts He created us with come to life. I believe that they were always there but just waiting to have the Spirit of God motivate them for God’s glory.  A lot of these gifts can be found in Romans 12 and in 1 Peter.  These creational gifts help determine how we interact with life and the people in it.  For instance, you might have the motivational gift of “mercy” and when you hear of someone’s troubles or pain, you feel with them.  You might have the motivational gift of administration and it’s just in you to organize and manage life and the activities in life.  It’s just you and it’s just the way you respond to life.  But when you came to Jesus those gifts became tools of the Holy Spirit.  God has made me this way to fulfill His life and calling for Him in this life time.

The next set of gifts are what I call “charismatic gifts” and these gifts are exercised in and through our lives as the Holy Spirit moves in and through us to do the ministry of Jesus on earth.  You can find a list of those giftings in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14.  These gifts operate in and through our lives as we allow the Holy Spirit to use our lives for His will and work.  We don’t always understand these gifts and just why and when they work in our lives but these gifts are revealed by the inspiration of God and He knows what these gifts are for and why we need them.  I like to think of the charismatic gifts as those gifts God gives us to do the ministry of Jesus on this planet during this lifetime.

The third set of gifts are what I call the “church” gifts.  These are gifts that God raises up in us and through us to build His church.  You’ll find a list of those gifts in Ephesians 4.  When Paul introduces himself as an apostle he is revealing this gifting that Holy Spirit had place on him and in him to work through him.

So, before I give you a link to assess some spiritual gifts assessments, let me tell you this.  Not all giftings can be discovered through manmade assessments.  I believe these giftings are given for the church to be the church and are best discovered with the church.  I think it’s important to understand how God has created us and called us if we are going to be satisfied in the work He has laid out for us.  So, let’s begin the journey.  Let’s discover our giftings together.  If you have signed up for this group you should receive an email from me for accessing this website.   Take the assessments and your results will be recorded for me to see as the administrator of our site.  Have a go at it and enjoy the ride.

Keep up the good work

Pastor Mike

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


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


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.