Monday, November 24, 2008

Willing and able

Jesus has made it very clear that He is willing and able to physically heal us. Will He always do it the way we think it should be done or when we want it to be done? Not necessarily, but let's not get hung up on that. Rather, let's be assured that God is sovereign and His Word is true. 

During His earthly ministry, Jesus said on on a number of occasions that He is willing to heal and He showed us time and time again that He is definitely able to heal.  

Take Matthew 8:3 as an example:
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.
Here's the kicker, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God is a God of healing. I have read about it in His Word and I have seen it with my own eyes. He is willing and able. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ghana Updates

I wanted to remind all Transformed Daily readers that you can get relatively frequent updates of our ministry activities in Ghana, Africa at www.jonesteamupdates.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Friends

I found out just how easy it is to make a friend. Today, while waiting at the gate in New York for my flight to Ghana, Africa, a man named Amaning approached me to say hi. He was on our flight from Phoenix to NY and was also flying to Ghana - his native country. He just wanted to say hi. We struck up a conversation and I found out he was traveling with his two brothers back to Ghana to attend their sister's funeral. About 45 minutes later, I walked across the room to again say hi to Amaning and also to meet his his brothers. The four of us talked for 30 minutes about life and about the Arizona Cardinals. I made some new friends today.


Amaning was so kind and it was a blessing to meet him. May the Lord reveal Himself to Amaning and his family during this time of loss. Please pray for Amaning and his family. 


But, that was just the first experience at how easy it is to make friends. My son, Ben (age 5) met a young African boy on the airplane and immediately they hit it off. Ben simply referred to him as "Friend". It was beautiful. They spent time sitting next to each other and just being friends. 


Why do we make relationships so difficult? In America we live such isolated and guarded lives. It is really sad. 


Lord, please help me show care, compassion, and interest in others. As you have given us the privilege of calling you friend, may I show friendship to others. 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Men go for greatness

Friday night and Saturday, we had our church's men's conference. It was an incredible time with hundreds of men praising God - arms raised and hearts open.

On Friday night, we saw nearly 200 guys go for greatness as they came forward and fell on their knees in repentance and surrender to the King of kings. It was their time to go to a whole new level! 

God is at work and His kingdom is advancing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ghana Updates

Do you want to receive updates about our ministry in Ghana? If so, you need to visit a new blog I created specifically for this purpose. It is located at http://jonesteamupdates.blogspot.com/. (Note: You can also sign up for automatic email updates on this site.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A little ditty about The King

I did something yesterday morning that I haven't done for years - I wrote a song. This is a simple worship tune that I hope to play with my family. If we get a chance to record it, I'll post it online. In the meantime, we'll have to see if it makes it past my kids. They can be a pretty tough crowd.  The song doesn't have an official name yet, but here you go...
Intro:

Verse 1:
You are God alone
You are King on the throne

You are Lord of Lords
You are the One I adore

Chorus:
You are God, You are King, You are Lord of everything
You are God, You are King - Jesus    (repeat)

Verse 2:
You spoke the universe to be
You saved my soul on Calvary

You freed me from my sinful ways
You gave me new life, so I will say...

Chorus:

OK, I think it needs a bridge in there somewhere.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What is success?

This week, my small group curriculum challenges us to look at success from God's perspective.

Big Idea:
How do you define success? What drives you? The world has its explanation and prescription, but as Christ followers we must embrace the definition and truth of success presented to us by the View Master – God.

Summary:
What is success? Is it the accumulation of things? Is it simply about achieving more, acquiring more, and possessing more? Your answer will be based on the source of your worldview. The world’s view of success is really quite straightforward: getting what you want while gaining fame or prosperity. However, the ultimate view master, God Himself, reveals to us that the purpose of life does not exist in the abundance of things. There is more to life than what you own, where you live, what you drive, and who you know. But for many people, even some Christians, having more is the prime motivation in their lives. Why do people exchange what is eternal for what is temporary? It is so sad and frustrating to see people giving up the victory, freedom, joy, and peace found in Christ for the trappings of this world. It is heartbreaking to watch the destruction of holy matrimony over the pursuit of momentary pleasure.

God has provided us with several criteria for determining whether or not we are living a successful life. He tells us that relationship matters. Our relationship with Jesus Christ must matter more than anything else. He tells us that serving others and putting the interests of others above our own is a measurement of successful living. God tells us that living lives of faithfulness to Him, our families, our church, and our kingdom assignment is success. Finally, maintaining a credible and relevant witness to a lost world is a component of success in the eyes of God. We cannot forget what matters most to God. We must allow God, through His Word, to be our View Master and the definer of success in our lives.

Discussion Questions: (read the scriptures & discuss)

Matthew 13:44-46
What does Jesus say we must be willing to give up as we pursue true success? Give examples of false success. Discuss how we can stay focused on the prize and not get trapped in the pursuit of temporal success.

Matthew 16:24-26
Again, what must we give up in order to gain ultimate success? What is the result of pursuing worldly success? Share with the group an area of success in your life that doesn’t have anything to do with money and fame.

Matthew 25:14-30
How does the faithful exercise and use of the talents God has given us contribute to ultimate success? How does Jesus describe people who aren’t faithful with what God has entrusted to them? Share examples of how selfish living, the pursuit o personal gain, and unfaithfulness have ultimately brought defeat rather than success. Discuss some of the talents God has given us that we must put into use for His glory.

Taking Action: What is your definition of success? What are you pouring your life into? Honestly assess your life and determine if you are investing in temporal success or eternal success. Make the necessary corrections today. Don’t know what to do? Start by reading God’s instruction book – The Bible.

Ministry Time

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The result of faith

Paul opens his Roman letter by stating that obedience is the result of true saving faith. In other words, obedience is the evidence of faith; it is the fruit of faith; it is the necessary outcome of a faith that saves. Therefore, lack of obedience indicates a faith that is broken or possibly all-together dead (James 2). If our lives are characterized by ongoing and perpetual disobedience (especially willful disobedience), then we must go back to the cross, back to repentance, and back to Jesus. 

Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. - Romans 1:5


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Famous Faith

In the introduction of his letter to the Christians in Rome, Paul tells them that their faith is "being reported all over the world." In other words, their faith is so strong and obvious that it is being discussed and held in high regard around the entire globe. Their faith is famous. 

Is our faith famous? Are we living a life of such abandonment and obedience to Christ that people are talking about it on the other side of the world? Ok, does that seem like a stretch. How about across the street? Let's be men and women who put our faith into action in the good times and the bad times. Let's be the people of God who really live it out. Let's be the real deal and lift up the name of Christ in such a way that our faith becomes famous. Not for our glory, but for the glory of the Famous One - Christ Jesus.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Got Truth?

This week, my small group curriculum focuses on the important issue of truth and worldview. As Christians, our worldview must be shaped and formed by the Word of God.

Big Idea:
How do you view reality and make sense of life and the world? Do absolute moral truths exist or is everything relative? What determines truth? How you answer these questions matters greatly.

Summary:
Everyone has a worldview. Whether or not we realize it, we all have certain presuppositions and biases that affect the way we view all of life. What have you allowed to influence and shape your worldview? Many Christians profess to build their lives on absolute truth, but they have allowed themselves to be influenced by a postmodern culture that tells them everything is relative. This leads to interpreting truth on a case-by-case basis. However, truth is ultimate reality and is framed by the Creator of the universe – God. In fact, absolute truth exists because truth is the person Jesus Christ, who Himself declared, “I am Truth.” Jesus does not claim to be just one truth or one reality among many. Rather, He claims to be the ultimate reality; the foundation and framework for all that we can see, know, and understand. Just as Christ is the one-and-only Way, He is also the one-and-only Truth.

Additionally, the Apostle John tells us that Jesus is the Word. In other words, to know Jesus is to know the Word of God. And thus, to know the Word of God is to know Jesus. Furthermore, to believe Jesus is to believe the Word of God and to believe the Word of God is to believe Jesus. There is perfect correspondence between the two because the two are somehow one. If Jesus is Truth and Jesus is the Word, then the Word of God (The Bible) is ultimate Truth.

Thus, the worldview of a Christ follower is based on the infallible Word of God. When you believe the Bible is entirely true, then you allow it to be the foundation of everything you say and do. We must embrace Truth with confidence. We cannot think that anything apart from Christ and His Word is a solution. We have one life, and we must quickly eradicate every compromise of Truth and allow Jesus Christ to fully reign in our lives. GOT TRUTH?

Discussion Questions: (read the scriptures & discuss)

John 14:6
How does the character of Christ depict truth as absolute? Is there any other way to God apart from Jesus? What does this scripture tell us about the ultimate source of truth? Discuss why it is dangerous to look elsewhere for truth.

2 Timothy 3:14-17
Where does this passage state that all scripture comes from? Do you consider all scripture, the whole Bible, to be trustworthy? Why is it important to know God’s Word? Discuss your motivation to be in God’s Word.

Romans 12:2
Why is the Bible essential to the transformation of our minds? What is the result of a transformed mind? Discuss how the Bible has changed your way of viewing the world around you and affected what you do and who you are. Give examples.

Taking Action: Examine your worldview. Is it rooted in the truth of Jesus Christ – The Word? Do you have a biblical worldview or is your worldview skewed and polluted by the influences of this fallen world? Make time in God’s Word a priority. Schedule a daily time of Bible study and prayer; not to be religious, but to allow God’s Word to transform your mind and your view of truth.

Ministry Time