December 16, 2014

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Philippian Right-mindedness: The Single Mind

When our focus changes, so does the big picture.

When our focus changes, so does the big picture.

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel… – Philippians 1:27

It wasn’t an accident that Paul spent some time talking about the imperial guardsmen that had to takes turns chaining themselves to Paul. (Philippians 1:12-14)

Paul knew things were going to get tough for Christians, (Philippians 1:29-30) so he began preparing the readers of his epistle for a change of mind. It was encouraging to think that even those guardsmen could be saved. It was very encouraging to think that Christian brothers and sisters were emboldened to teach the gospel based on Paul’s success in prison. That change of mind was going to be needed to get through those times.

It was Isaiah that said:

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. – Isaiah 26:3

No matter how tough life gets, focusing on Christ is the solution. How firm we stand with Christ is a measure of our worthiness for his gospel. (Philippians 1:27) Jesus never made any bones about this. In fact he said we were to count the cost before making the decision to follow him. (Luke 14:28)

Christ doesn’t accept second place! (Luke 9:62, 14:26)

Paul demonstrated this when he wrote one of the key verses in Philippians:

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain – Philippians 1:21

He showed us how the single mind focused on Christ thinks. If he lived, he would be able to save more souls. If he died, he would finally be with Christ. A Christian, focused on the right things, not letting his mind wander, and serving doesn’t have to fear death.

And he doesn’t have to worry about worldly things:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Consider the state of the non-believer. He has no hope in death. Life is a chain of events chasing worldly things. His attempts to focus on elusive things leaves him wanting.

Single mindedness. When Christ is first, the rest takes care of itself.

… seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:33

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December 15, 2014

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How to Take Advantage of Our Bonds

 

As we progress through our day, we often have a captive audience.

As we progress through our day, we often have a captive audience.

…faith comes from hearing… – Romans 10:17

When Paul wrote the “prison epistles,” he wasn’t imprisoned in some deep dark dungeon cutoff from the world.

Paul was living in his own rent house – he even had visitors coming and going and was teaching them the Gospel! (Philippians 1:12) Since he was under arrest, he had a Pretorian (or imperial) guard connected to him at all times.

Imagine being chained to the apostle Paul a few hours a day, getting to hear God’s word directly from him!

When Paul wrote about that event, his attitude wasn’t that he was captive – in fact, the guards seemed to be the captives. He saw it as an advantage that resulted in the knowledge of Christ spreading throughout the troops. (Philippians 1:13) Paul’s success from that time encouraged the other brothers to teach Christ without fear of what the government might do to them. (Philippians 1:14)

Imagine how many guards must have been saved through the repetition of Paul teaching his visitors. He didn’t record any numbers, but if faith comes from hearing God’s word, then enough faith to respond must have eventually been present among those men.

Most of us in our era will never have to suffer imprisonment for Christ’s cause, but think about the situations where we are virtually bonded to others:

Our family.

Our co-workers.

Our club meetings.

What if we took advantage of those captive audiences?

Don’t be obnoxious … with a little planning and practice, this could be done right. Gentle and opportunistic mention of godly things is plenty in the beginning.

If we are following Paul’s example like he taught in 2 Timothy 2:2, this is something we should be doing – It’s not just a good idea.

Goal idea for the new year: Take advantage of times we are in “bonded” situations and cause X people to ask to hear more.

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September 3, 2014

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5 Goals That Will Develop a Winning Attitude

We can make ourselves winners in God’s kingdom with these characteristics

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August 24, 2014

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Refreshing and Renewing

I have been taking some downtime in August. Right now, I am actually on my first real vacation in a long time and spending it with the brethren at Polishing the Pulpit. If you are here, look for me!  

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August 7, 2014

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How NOT to Build a House

Building a house on a shaky foundation is never a good idea

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