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Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Name of God

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” -Matthew 28:19

These were some of Jesus’ final words to the disciples before ascending up into Heaven. 

These words have been repeated millions of times throughout history.

These words give a commandment: baptize people in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

What is the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost?

-In Acts 2:38 Peter instructs the people to be “baptized…in the name of Jesus Christ”

-In Acts 8:16 the believers in Samaria had all been “baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus”

-In Acts 10:48 Peter commanded the people to be “baptized in the name of the Lord”

-In Acts 19:5 Paul baptized believers in Ephesus “in the name of the Lord Jesus”

-In Acts 22:6 Paul is giving his testimony and recalls that Ananias told him to “arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

Go several verses back to Acts 22:8 and Paul (at the time named Saul) asks, “Who art thou, Lord?” And God replied, “I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.”

-Isaiah 9:6 says of the baby Jesus, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

-I Timothy 3:16 says “God was manifest in the flesh” (Who is God in the flesh? Jesus)

-John 14:9 Jesus tells Phillip, “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father”

-Acts 4:12 says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (This is in reference to the name of Jesus Christ which is pointed out in 4:10)

-Colossians 2:9 ” For in him [Jesus] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”

So the Godhead (Father, Son, and holy Ghost) is in Jesus. Isaiah said that Jesus would be called the Everlasting Father. Jesus told Phillip that by seeing Him he had seen the Father. Jesus commanded the disciples to baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost and all of the biblical accounts show they baptized in the name of Jesus.

The NAME of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost = JESUS

 

 

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Posted by on August 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Suicide: Know the Signs

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On the night of November 22, 2002, Cameron (pictured above), then 23 years old, stopped by his uncle’s house, played video games with his younger cousin for a while, then drove off without telling anyone where he was going.

Hours later his other cousin found his car parked at the family’s favorite swimming spot along the Clearwater River in Idaho. For years all of the cousins had gone to this place to swim, hang out and just have fun.

This night was different though. This night Cameron would be found in his car, no longer living. He had committed suicide.

He left no note, no messages anywhere. There was never any talk of suicide, no threats, no jokes. He actually seemed happy while he was playing video games. Nobody knew why he did it, though many blamed themselves.

Cameron is obviously not the only one who has ever done this. As of 2010, suicidology.org estimates that there are about 105 suicides per day in the United States. If there is ever a time to talk about suicide, it is now. There are people who need help.

What Can We Do To Help?

Look for Warning Signs:

Save.org has listed the following as warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawn or feeling isolated.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

While this is a good list, keep in mind that, like Cameron, not all individuals exhibit these signs.

Talk about it.

Because not all individuals talk about killing themselves before doing so, it is important to have an open dialogue about suicide even if no one is showing signs. Once your kids are old enough begin to have conversations about it with them. Be open to your teens when they talk as well. If we teach that, as the saying goes, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” we can teach effective ways to deal with stress, depression, anxiety, etc. long before they ever get bad enough that one would consider ending their life. If you are a youth, talk to your parents or other trusted adults. There are people who care.

What If I’m Considering Suicide?

If you are considering suicide please reach out to people around you. It may seem like you are all alone in this world but there are people who care about you. In all honesty, if someone stopped me on the street and told me they were considering it, I would drop everything I was doing and try to help them. It would be no different if you had to do something like that.

If you are considering suicide right now, please call 9-1-1 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

You can also reach out to teachers, pastors, youth leaders, friends, family, co-workers, etc.

I’m a survivor of suicide. Now what?

-Realize it is NOT your fault. It’s normal to feel like it is but you must remember that you are not responsible for anyone’s actions but your own. Furthermore, if someone you love has ended their life, rest assured that if you loved them, they loved you.

-Take it one day at a time. The first few months, even years are the hardest. It does get easier as time goes on, though. As the saying goes, “Time heals all wounds.” The wound may never heal completely but there is going to be a time where you will think about the person with fond memories instead of anguished thoughts.

-Pray. Remember that you are a child of God and that He will never forsake you. He is the closest friend one can have and is always there if you need to talk. Reach out to Him. He is there for you.

-Seek out friendships. It is imperative that you spend time with friends, family, church groups, ministers, etc. These people want to be here for you but you must reach out to them. Some days when it feels like you can’t go on, they will help you.

-Talk about it. In the first few months it may be easier to not talk about it and try and pretend it never happened but talking about it can be a huge help. Many people are curious about suicide and may not know what to say. However, if you want to talk, they will listen.

-Seek additional resources. There are numerous resources online, in libraries, at churches and at schools that can give more information on suicide and how to get help. I encourage you to seek them out.

AnCameron? I miss you, big brother. Love always, your baby sis.

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Lord, Teach Us To Pray

“Lord, teach us to pray,” a disciple requested of Jesus in Luke 11.

Jesus proceeds to give what is commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer as an outline (note, it is an outline of how to pray, not a prayer designed to be repeated out of habit). What does this outline teach us?

-We should begin with praise (Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name…)

-We should pray for lost souls (Thy kingdom come…)

-We should pray for God’s will (Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven…)

-We should pray for our needs (Give us this day our daily bread…)

-We should pray for forgiveness (Forgive us our debts…)

-We should ask God to help us forgive others (As we forgive our debtors…)

-We should ask Him to help us live right (And lead us not into temptation…)

-We should ask for protection (But deliver us from evil…)

-We should end in praise (For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever, amen.)

Now that we know what to pray, how can we more effectively pray?

The first step is to understand that God will answer prayers according to His design and purpose.

He either answers with Yes, No, or Wait. We may not see a response from Him immediately, and we may also not always get the response we want.

We should always keep praying, even when we don’t get a response right away.

Jesus spoke a parable in Luke 18 of a widow who continually approached a judge about a need and he eventually gave her what she wanted so she would quit asking. After telling the parable Jesus asks, “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?”

We sometimes need to put additional action behind our prayers.

In Mark 9 the disciples asked Jesus why they could not cast a demon out of a man and He said, “this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting”. We can pray but sometimes God wants to see us act on our faith by fasting as well. Not only is fasting a sacrifice but also a great way to spiritually discipline ourselves.

We need to be righteous.

How can that be though? Is not the only good thing in us the Holy Ghost? (Romans 7:18)

Let’s consider what the Bible has to say:

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” -James 5:16

-We can be righteous in the sense of the word that we are trying to live like Christ.

-We can be righteous in faith. Romans 4:3 says that Abraham’s faith was counted unto him as righteousness. If faith can be counted as righteousness, then could it be said that the effectual fervent prayer of a faithful man availeth much?

So we need faith, action, and persistence when it comes to prayer. Add those three to the outline of prayer Jesus gives and we will see our prayer lives transformed greatly.

Let’s continue to search the scriptures on the topic of prayer and see what else we can learn…

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Are You As Tired As I Am? -By Phillip Hampton (1999)

Side Note: I have recently noticed that ninetyandnine.com is no longer a running site. This used to be a favorite site of mine that featured many wonderful articles. I had reposted this one to my FB a while back as for many years it has encouraged me. Upon ninetyandnine.com shutting down, I have decided to repost it here. I hope it encourages you as it does me. 

Are You As Tired As I Am? 

By Phillip Hampton 
November 5, 1999 

Sometimes I get tired. I love the Lord with all of my heart and I am trying to give Him 100% of my life, but sometimes I just get tired. At times, I get so caught up doing good things that I neglect to replenish my own source of strength and power from the ultimate Source of strength and power. I’ve heard some people call it “burnout”. For me, it’s just “being tired”. 

Such was my state of mind one rare, free weekend in which I traveled to visit my family in my hometown. My family didn’t know it, but my visit was as much an attempt to escape the pressures of life as it was an opportunity to visit with them. The secular demands of running my own business (meeting client demands, working into the late hours of the night to finish a project), joined with my spiritual obligations (ministering in Sunday school every week, directing two choirs, leading worship services every Sunday, ministering in prison services, and just generally trying to be a nice guy), had begun to wear me down. I relished a weekend where I could ignore a ringing phone and attend a church service where I was responsible for absolutely nothing. 

The weekend came and went as quickly as an afternoon thundershower. I could feel the dread building within my spirit as I contemplated returning to the rat race I had left behind just a short while ago. My last stop before returning home was to visit my beloved grandfather, who at the age of 90 has seen his physical health decline considerably over the past few years. My grandfather has and always will be the model of Christianity to me. In years gone by, he was an active Apostolic Christian who never missed a service, delivered an inspired lesson to his class every Sunday morning, visited the sick, was a soul-winner, and spent many hours doing the ‘extras’ that so many Christians today seem to forget. 

So, thinking that I might be an encouragement to him, I bounded up the steps to the old house he has called home for over 50 years. As I settled onto the old sofa in the den that I can remember sleeping on as a child, Papa began peppering me with questions about my busy life back home: “How’s the church in Nashville doing?” “How’s your Sunday School class doing?” “Is it growing?”. As we settled into our familiar conversation about various aspects of the work of God, I noticed he became more passionate, animated, and emotional the longer we talked. 

With a faraway look in his eyes, he began to recount his past experiences working for the Lord. I had heard many of the stories before, but somehow I didn’t mind hearing them again. He started in 1933 when he was asked to be the Sunday School superintendent of the church in which he was saved. Astoundingly, he could recall the precise average attendance for the Sunday school during that time. Papa continued with his timeline, stopping not to mark such great historical events as World War II, the beginning of the atomic age, or the first man on the moon, but his markers were simply experiences he had witnessed and people he had touched while working in the kingdom of God. It wasn’t the stuff of an action-packed missionary adventure, but it was real life and he had lived it and had wrung every ounce of goodness out of it. 

As he got closer to the present, he talked more hesitantly and I could see that his well of experiences was beginning to run dry. Then, he stopped abruptly in mid-sentence. With tears flowing down his cheeks and his voice cracking with emotion, he looked at me and said, “I’d give anything to be active in the work of the Lord again.” I blurted out something that I thought would be encouraging to him and we talked on for a few more minutes before closing with the customary prayer. 

As I got back in my car, set the cruise control, and headed back to Nashville and my busy life, my own tears began to flow. “Lord, give me the spirit of my grandfather,” I prayed, “Who, even after all these years of living, giving, and ministering, still has a passionate love and desire to work in Your kingdom”. 

A still, small, familiar voice whispered back to me, “You’re not tired, son. You’re just now getting started.” 

ninetyandnine.com 

© Phillip Hampton, 1999 

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

If only my church would ____ it would be the best church ever!

Fill in the following blanks:

 “If only my church would _______ it would be the best church ever!” “If our church did ____________ like Brother _______’s church then our church would be great, too.” “Their church does ______. I wish our church did that.”

Keep your answers in the back of your mind for a moment.

It’s time for a paradigm shift. (Thank you Stephen Covey for that term)

What is stopping you from fulfilling that first answer? If you think your church would be better if it were bigger, then why not go win a soul? If you think your church would be better if the building was nicer, what’s stopping you from cleaning it up, decorating it, or helping fix repairs? If you wish your youth group was bigger, do you invite your friends? And are you friendly to guests when they come or do you sit back and stare?

II Kings 22 says, “In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent the secretary, Shaphan son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, to the temple of the Lord. He said: “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest and have him get ready the money that has been brought into the temple of the Lord, which the doorkeepers have collected from the people. Have them entrust it to the men appointed to supervise the work on the temple. And have these men pay the workers who repair the temple of the Lord…” (NIV)

If 18 year-old Josiah could rally people together to make the House of the Lord what it ought to be, what’s stopping us?

“But Josiah was a king.”

Are we not children of THE King? Princes and Princesses?

That second statement: The church down the road has it goin’ on. Better than us.

Wrong.

God’s plan for that church may not be God’s plan for your church. They may have an outstanding Signing Ministry, but they have a group of deaf and hard-of-hearing people in their church. Yours does not. However, your church is bursting at the seams with children–and you guys have a pretty awesome puppet ministy. Why are your eyes on their specific ministry when you could be focused on the strength God has given your church?

“But we’ve had deaf and hard-of-hearing people at our church and we still have no signing ministry.”

Does anyone in your church sign? No? Then why haven’t you started learning ASL so you can minister to those individuals when they come?

Statement Three: “Their entire church shows up for mid-week service.” “Their church doesn’t believe in eating bananas on Thursdays before noon.”  “Their church has a bus ministry and brings lots of people to church.”

We have got to lose the idea that the church down the road is better. It’s a great church but remember that if the grass is greener there’s a lot more manure there, too. (Not to say the church down the road is full of poo–I’m saying that their church looks perfect but their people are likely looking at other churches and thinking that they have better programs too!)

Josiah rallied people together for a cause. Encourage people to participate in what you are wanting to see! Want people to pray before service? Be the first to the altar or prayer room. Want the entire church to be there on Wednesday night? How about calling those who didn’t show up and tell them you missed them and hope to see them next week. Wish your pastor preached against eating yellow fruit on random weekday mornings? Sorry, can’t help you there. Want a bus ministry? Start by offering to pick up people who don’t have cars.

In other words…the answers you put in those blanks? The first things that popped into your mind? Get to work.

You are a part of the church–you are just as responsible for making things happen as anyone else. We can’t sit back and expect the pastor, youth leaders, elders, etc. to do all the work. WE are the church. Every person ought to genuinely believe that their church is the best. That their pastor is the best. That doesn’t mean the other churches are less important or valuable, but it means that God has picked the church that is perfect for you.

“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” -I Corinthians 12:18

Get out there and make your church the best.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

If My Pastor Was an Evangelist…

If my pastor was an evangelist:

– I would be willing to drive for hours to hear him preach. I’d even book a hotel room so I could be at all of the services.

– Every time he said something I liked during a service, I’d say “Amen”. I would also ‘help him preach’ by standing when he makes a great point.

– After service, I would shake his hand and tell him what a great service he preached.

– I would ask him to sign my Bible

– I would post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram what a great service it was and how much I love his preaching

– I would also post how much I love his wife and kids

– I would want copies of the messages, listen to them in the car, and occasionally post a comment made by him so others could learn from his teaching, too

– I would tell others about what a great preacher he is

– I would want to financially bless him

– I would pray that God blesses him, his family, and his ministry

If my pastor was an evangelist, Google dictionary says he would be “a person who seeks to convert others to the Christian faith, esp. by public preaching.”

Wait…doesn’t that mean my pastor is an evangelist?

So if my pastor is the evangelist God put over my church:

– He was chosen by God for my church (Eph. 4:11-12)

– He was chosen by God to watch over my soul (Heb. 13:17)

– He is after God’s own heart (Jer. 3:15)

– I will want to honor him (I Tim. 5:17)

– I will want to hear him preach the Word (Rom. 10:14)

– I will want to treat him like I would an evangelist. Afterall, he is one.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 
 
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