Living Water or Stagnant Pool?

Howard Hendricks shares this insight about the value of learning: When I
was a college student — I worked in the college dining hall, and on my way
to work at 5:30 every morning I walked past the home of one of my
professors. Through a window I could see the light on at his desk, morning
after morning.

At night I stayed late at the library to take advantage of evening study
hours, and returning home at 10:30 or 11 o’clock I would again see his desk
light on. He was always pouring over his books.
One day he invited me home for lunch, and after the meal I said to him,
“Would you mind if I asked you a question?”
“Of course not.”
“What keeps you studying? You never seem to stop.”
His answer, “Son, I would rather have my students drink from a running
stream than a stagnant pool.”

See:  Psa 1:1-3; Psa 119:97

A teacher is not there just to acquaint you with the tools of your
trade; a teacher is a tool of your trade, no matter what that trade is. You
never stop needing teachers. The great musicians never stop taking lessons,
never stop trying to improve. The great concert pianist, Arthur Rubinstein,
used to say that if he missed a day of practice, he noticed it in the
quality of his performance. If he missed two days, the critics noticed. And
if he missed three days, the audience noticed.

See:  Psa 25:4-5; Psa 143:8; Psa 143:10; 2 Tim 2:2

And Jesus Christ has provided us with the greatest of Teachers, the Spirit
of Truth who will lead us into all truth, one step at a time if we will but
open our hearts to him.  How often we are distracted by the cares of the
world and turn a deaf ear to the Holy Spirit?  Let us learn the lesson from
Arthur Rubinstein and practice hearing the Holy Spirit every day so that
the world can truly see we have been with the Master Teacher and have
learned our lessons. John 16:13

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The Purpose of Our Ministry

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (Col. 1:28-29 ESV)

Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32) signifying what kind of death he would die.

We have also given this the somewhat spiritual interpretation of meaning that we should only preach Jesus and him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2)–an interpretation that I am not against using. (Maybe it would be more accurate to call this an application, rather than an interpretation.) Anyway, the point is–Him we proclaim.

After 40 years of ministry, teaching the Bible to any who will listen, I am only beginning to understand what this means. I have not failed to preach Jesus and him crucified. I am still moved to tears anytime I talk of the wondrous work of the cross on my behalf. But I am just now coming to understand the fulness of what this means in my ministry and for my daily life.

I am beginning to sense an urgency in the Body of Christ, and I hear many preachers taking on a new tone of warning. This is something that has been lacking for the last two decades as we were lulled into a stupor with our eyes fixed on this world’s goods, listening to those who would sell us and tell us what we thought we wanted to hear.

Now, the emptiness of a self-centered, self-serving life is beginning to take its toll in the lives of many. They have achieved much, but gained little, and are beginning to realize the ledger is not balanced.

If you have any kind of a ministry at all–blogging, writing, talking on the phone, sharing on the street, speaking from the pulpit, whatever–I encourage you to “look on the fields, for they are white to harvest” (John 4:35). Seize every opportunity to speak the truth, to share what the Lord has done in your life, to warn those who are going astray, to encourage those who falling behind. (for an interesting and unique way to quickly encourage others, click here.)

Paul says here that he warns and teaches with all wisdom. I take that verse personally, and believe that I should be teaching and warning with wisdom. But, such is so often not the case. More often than not, I come on like gangbusters, sure that I have the answer for the situation, only to see someone hurt by my good intentions. As a result, I have learned to be quiet, waiting until I “know that I know that I know” that what I have is from the Lord. And I still make mistakes.

But, it’s not about me. It’s about the Lord, and when I can fully learn that lesson and live in its fulness, then I will be more able to see His wisdom as He flows through me in grace towards His people.

I gained an insight just last night while preparing this morning’s message from Phil. 2:13–I can’t get it wrong when serving the Lord. That is liberating for me.

My only goal in all that I do in ministry is “to present everyone mature in Christ.” Hopefully, something you read here will help you in your walk with the Master.

NOTE: This is the first in a weekly posting on the Epistle to the Colossians. I am not the only one who is writing on this book. There are others who will be posting something on their blog each day of the week. We are each bringing something that the Lord gives us from chapter one of the epistle. You will be greatly blessed and encouraged, and your heart will be filled if you will take the time to read each day’s posting from one of the other saints involved in this collective effort. Put the following link in your “favorites” or on your link bar at the top of your browser: http://www.philter48.com/bbs/ and make it a point to visit everyday.

The New Church

Philippians 1:1-10

We have been studying the first 10 verses of Philippians for this past week. You can find some of the insights gained and shared on the forum here. Others from around the country are participating in the study by adding their comments. You are invited to participate by posting your comments also.

What the blog world and this type of sharing has done is open for me another illustration of what the church is supposed to be–how it should function. We are all members of the Body of Christ with a particular and unique function. If one part of the body does not function properly, the body is deficient in that area. Paul addresses this plainly in his first letter to the Corinthian church, 12:12-27.

When we come together in most of today’s church meetings, it is mostly a spectator situation.

Pay close attention to the similarity of the following two words: spectator and spectacle.

Our spectator attitude has given way to needing spectacle to keep us involved. The larger the church, the greater the show. This may be what many desire, or think they need; but it is not for me.

I do not gather with the saints to be entertained.

I gather with the saints to be involved.

You might say, “That’s fine for you, Dale. You’re a teacher. So, of course you are going to be involved.”

No. The invovlement I am talking about is having everyone involved in some way, some form, some capacity. I am never satisfied if I am the only one who is funtioning.

Paul wrote further in the afore-mentioned letter that each one should have a “hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation.” (14:26) This cannot happen in our modern church of the one-man show. Neither should it be, though, a three-ring circus.

But, if we do not begin to move in the direction of a more open church, the one-man show will soon be replaced by the one-world church; and the true people of God will not be visible.

Blogging has enabled me to hear “every word of God” by which I am to live (Matthew 4:4). Blogging has given a voice to many who otherwise would not be heard. This has not, and will not, replace the local gathering of the saints.

But, I sure am enjoying this particular aspect of the new expression of the Bodyof Christ.

NOTE: Immediately after posting the above, I went ‘surfing’ by clicking on one of the hyperlinked tags at the bottom of this post. I found this, and was amazed how well it fit. I’ve copied it from the blog and added it below, but here is the link.

A Bible teacher gave a summary of Christian history’s movement in a class to beginning students:

“Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it then came to America and became an enterprise; an enterprise–that’s a business.”

After a few moments a young lady, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand, asking a simple question, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be a body?”

When the teacher said, “Yes,” the girl continued, “But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?”

The answer is yes; American professing Christendom is a prostitute, and any professing Christian, church, or organization that uses the message or the body for financial gain is guilty and will prove to be false.

But not the true church of Jesus Christ, who is continually becoming a holy bride, preparing for her Bridegroom. Don’t confuse the two- the true body of Jesus Christ is not Christendom.

Solid Foundation

1 Co 3:11-15
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.                                                                                                                                 KJV

This passage is usually taken to apply to our own life and what we do with it in the Lord. It is important that we pay attention to what we are doing with the gifts God has given us. But this passage does not directly address our individual walk with God.

Paul is writing about the work he has done among the Corinthians. He laid the foundation (v. 10). The foundation of all our endeavors is Jesus Christ. Any other foundation is built upon shifting sand and is destined to fail. Our hope is built on nothing less than the blood of Jesus. Make sure your foundation is solid.

Ps 11:3
 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?        KJV

Paul is addressing the work that we do with others. Each of us should be working with at least one other person, helping them to grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(You are discipling someone, aren’t you?)

Make sure that you are building something that will last, that will stand the test of fire. Our denominational doctrines about the right way to be baptized, or to take communion, or to get raptured, or any of the other things we rely on to make us different from other Christians will not help us or our disciples stand in the day of adversity.

Here’s the SHOCKER: when that person falls because the work was not solid, you are held accountable!

In an age of “no-fault” religion, that is not welcome news. I didn’t say that. It’s in the Bible. Read the passage for yourself.

No. Build something solid. Build upon the Word of God. Build upon the promises of God. Build upon the commands of the Lord. Teach people how to overcome the problems in their life. Teach them how to get control fo their anger. Teach them how to handle their finances. Teach them how to be good parents. Teach them how to be a good spouse. Teach them how to handle their business in a godly manner. Teach them how to be godly in all that they say, think, or do.

Teach them all that the Lord commanded us (Matt. 28:20).

Don’t forget to teach yourself at the same time.

~Learning to Speak the Word

Practicing the Presence of God
THE E-ZINE OF PRACTICAL BIBLE TEACHING
Part of the world-wide-web ministry of Dale Hill Ministries
Learning to Speak the Word
By
Gracie Hill

Greetings in the precious name of Jesus!

As you can see, there have been some changes in the way we are doing things. Take time to read Gracie’s article and then browse around the new Blog.

Hill’s Happenings is no longer a part of the newsletter, but is posted on this site under its own category. Whenever something worthwhile happens, we post it to that area. That way we don’t have to wait until something occurs; and neither do we have to struggle to find something to put into the newsletter. Besides, I don’t imagine everyone on this list cares about what is going on. (grin) For those who do want to keep up, you can subscribe to this blog and be notified when something is posted.

There is also the Prayer & Praise tab at the top of the page. Put your prayer requests here. Those who are subscribed to the blog will get your request in their inbox and will be praying on your behalf.

There are more changes coming, but, for now, enjoy and learn from Gracie as she writes about

Learning to Speak the Word.

Speaking the Word must begin with learning the word. That begins with reading the Word and placing it in our minds continually, until it filters down into our hearts as we continually repeat it. This process works so well that the advertising business has used it for their products. It changes the way we think.

James is a good place to start the renewing of your mind, with the goal of placing God’s word in your mouth.


Picture a teapot. God’s word, living water, is poured into the pot. It filters through the tea of your mind into the body of the pot, your heart, and is poured out the spout, your mouth, to refresh those around you.

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (KJV)


The words of the song come to mind: “Give us clean hands, give us pure hearts, let us not lift our soul to another, O Lord let us be a generation that seeks your face, O God of Jacob.”

Matthew Henry wrote the following for James 4:1-10:

“Draw nigh to God, in his worship and institutions, and in every duty he requires of you.” 2. Cleanse your hands. He who comes unto God must have clean hands. Paul therefore directs to lift up holy hands without wrath and doubting (1 Tim 2:8), hands free from blood, and bribes, and every thing that is unjust or cruel, and free from every defilement of sin: he is not subject to God who is a servant of sin. The hands must be cleansed by faith, repentance, and reformation, or it will be in vain for us to draw nigh to God in prayer, or in any of the exercises of devotion. 3. The hearts of the double-minded must be purified. Those who halt between God and the world are here meant by the double-minded. To purify the heart is to be sincere, and to act upon this single aim and principle, rather to please God than to seek after any thing in this world: hypocrisy is heart-impurity; but those who submit themselves to God aright will purify their hearts as well as cleanse their hands. (Emphasis added)

(from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, PC Study Bible Formatted Electronic Database Copyright © 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All Rights reserved.)

Drawing near to God requires faith, repentance, and reformation. It requires clean hands, free from wrath and doubting. It requires a pure heart, free from double-mindedness. It requires a single purpose, aim and principle. We believe, we turn from the present way of thinking, we change to a new way of thinking as we converse with God, we accept his way of thinking. We put it into action, denying doubts and WRATH {The Bible declares that all people are “by nature children of wrath” (Eph 2:3) (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)}. Sin is a translation of wrath. We keep a single purpose that has one aim, to please God, and one principle to be what he wants.

To summarize,

we believe,

we turn from the present way of thinking,

we change to a new way of thinking, [the renewing of our mind] as

we converse with God,

we accept his way of thinking,

we act by denying doubts and wrath (sin), and

we focus on a single purpose that has one aim—to please God,

and one principle—to

be what he wants.

Read the Word, learn the Word, speak the Word, share the Word.

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