Just For Today
A Daily Approach to Prayer and Scripture
Friday, December 14
“Honor…your leaders in the Lord’s work.”
1Th 5:12 NLT
ENCOURAGE YOUR PASTOR
If you want to encourage your pastor: (1) Cut the criticism. Most workers are evaluated each year based on their job performance; pastors are evaluated every week. Remember, if a particular sermon doesn’t scratch where you itch, chances are somebody else needs to hear it. (2) “Remember your leaders who taught you the word” (Heb 13:7 NLT), and pray for their spiritual growth. Goethe said, “If you treat a person as he is, he’ll stay that way. But if you treat him as what he ought to be, he’ll become what he ought to be and could be.” (3) Write a note. Especially when something your leader says or does ministers to you. Verbal encouragement is good, but a note can be read many times over. (4) Put your talents to work. For example, if you’re mechanically inclined, service the pastor’s car. If you’re technologically savvy, help them improve their computer skills. Instead of saying, “You need to do this,” say, “I’d like to help by doing.” Ask where your skills are most needed and become an active participant. (5) Squash gossip. James said, “If you…don’t control your tongue…your religion is worthless” (Jas 1:26 NLT). Counter negative talk with positive comments, and correct misinformation with truth. If all else fails—walk away! (6) Be openly responsive. Nothing encourages leaders like seeing people respond to their preaching and teaching. (7) Lose the measuring stick. Instead of expecting them to be a mirror image of their predecessor, thank God for your pastor’s individual style to minister to those in need.
Saturday, December 15
“I have been crucified with Christ.”
Gal 2:20 NIV
RADICAL COMMITMENT (1)
We live in a time of commitment-phobia. We want to get as much as we can while giving back as little as possible. We want to be there for others in good times but not bad ones. And our lack of commitment is reflected in the statistics. The marriage rate is down while the divorce rate is up. Involvement in church and participation in compassionate causes are both down. We’re becoming a society that fears putting itself on the line or being pinned down by responsibility and obligation. To escape the awkwardness and embarrassment of saying no, we avoid our obligations and responsibilities by simply being elsewhere when we’re needed. And we’re a “sound bite” generation with attention spans geared to fifteen-second commercials. We prefer our sermons simple, entertaining, and above all, short! Radical commitment is rare—but it’s what God wants from us! The Bible says, “It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it” (Ecc 5:5 NIV). How about commitment to marriage? God doesn’t see it as a 50/50 arrangement, but one where both sides give 100 percent. It’s a sacred covenant made before God between a man and woman, “for better or worse; for richer or poorer; in sickness and in health; until parted by death.” And it works best when both partners have learned to say with Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” That’s radical commitment, and it’s the way to a great marriage.