Check out my latest article on the Youth Specialties Blog – 5 Things I’m Glad I Did Last Summer!
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Your heart sinks to your stomach, you feel a little light-headed, sweaty, clammy…nope, it’s not the flu. You have just been asked to officiate your very first funeral. Are there some guidelines to work from? What are some do’s & don’ts so you don’t embarrass yourself? Don’t worry, I got you covered. With the help and guidance of my senior pastor, here are some protocols that will help ease your mind.
Hope this helps. What are some tips that you might have for the novice funeral officiant? Bottom line, make sure those who hear your message know how their story will end. Give a clear Gospel and invite the audience to make a choice in their lives before it is too late. All while giving a personal tribute to the deceased. You got this. Depend on the Lord and prayer, and to God be the glory.
I’ve Got a Story for You. Where does he find these illustrations? These are stories that seem to come from the deep annals of history, but are so very effective. Remarkable stories that I should have heard before, but are extraordinary and unique to the reader that introduces chapters masterfully.
Fresh & Biblical. Possibly what stands out the most in terms of his writing style is Greear’s ability to take a familiar text and draw out fresh, practical ideas. In so doing, he is able to stay true and Biblical, but still drive the point in fresh, powerful ways.
Fearless. This man is fearless. Sure, he admits times in the book where his faith was weak. But his faith stood the test and was fearless in his pursuit to plant churches and spread the Gospel. Honestly, it is as much inspirational as it is practical.
Gospel Living. This man believes in the power of the Gospel. It is a lifestyle, not a belief you put on your shelf and pull it out when you feel like perusing it’s pages. Gospel is central, and may be the best articulation of the practical aspects of living out the Gospel.
Buckle Up. More a warning than a “bad” review. Get ready to move in a direction that you ordinarily would fear. Don’t be surprised if you are inspired to do something great for God as a result of this book’s encouragement.
The Grade: A+. EVERY church leader should read this book. It takes you to a new level of faith leadership. What I mean by that is, it forces you to face your fears in ministry and pushes you to make that step of faith in your ministry. The pages are full of inspiration, practical methods, and challenges to make each page turn an exciting adventure. As William Carey said, “Expect great things of God, and then attempt great things for God!” This book will help you get there.
In the timeline of Mark, Jesus had just got done sleeping on the very first water bed in the bottom of the boat…before calming the storm. (Get it, because there was water in the bottom of the boat, and Jesus was sleeping, oh forget it.) He then steps off the boat and is immediately greeted by a demon possessed man.
This man had incredible strength – no chains or shackled could hold them down. It says these metal restrains were broken into pieces. Dude was strong. This poor man suffered day & night – crying out and cutting himself with stones
Just like earlier in Mark (1:24), we see the order of power. These demons knew right away who Jesus was, and declared His deity. The demons, who Jesus was calling out, asked Jesus’ permission to enter the pigs.
Verses 15, 18 – Look at the contrast here. This man goes from screaming & cutting himself to asking to follow Jesus. I love it. He was so excited to be free, he wanted to follow Jesus wherever he went. He was like, “Where can I get an application to be a disciple?” “Hey Peter, scoot over…John you mind if I sit there?” Then Jesus said, “Whoa, whoa…now hold on a minute”…obviously appreciating his new enthusiasm. And then gives the demon possessed-man some basic instructions.
Jesus’ Basic Instructions
Here’s what I want you to see…Look who Jesus sends out with the Good News:
And what does Jesus tell him to do? Go tell the people of this city how the Lord has changed you from the inside-out. Tell others about God’s mercy. And when this man told others about these things…what happened? At the end of our passage – it says people “marveled”.
3 things to remember from this passage:
Biblical. Imagine that! A devotional that is actually devoted to God’s Word. Not only does it provide additional Bible reading for each devotion, there was often passages of Scripture weaved in and out of each page. The Bible was the foundation for the writing. This was not simply thoughts of a writer for a daily pick-me-up. This was a devotional written how it should be.
Honest. Love the honesty of the writer throughout. Often, he would reveal how he fell short of the exact content of the devotional. The raw, honest struggles that were revealed allows the reader to connect with the author in a more personal way.
Deep. You won’t need a shovel to get depth on this one, but you may need to take a break before you climb out of the deep well of thinking. Man, this dude brings it in theological constructs, Biblical insight, and Christian life application. Good thing this is a daily devotion and can be taken one day at a time.
Lists. There is a pattern, outline, array, summary, framework…I think you get the point. The author enjoyed lists. He would often list out a description of something in multiple ways, and the reader had to wade through the list to get to the point. The good part of this is many times those lists contained some real gems that needed underlined and examined.
The Grade: A. One of my all-time favorite devotionals. Seriously, with the depth, insight, and challenge…Paul Tripp brings the thunder to help produce real growth and knowledge of your spiritual condition. It is worth your time and is valuable to your quiet time with the Lord.
Another year and more goals for the Lord to accomplish! It’s great to look forward to another year of serving in youth ministry and another year of God doing amazing things. This is just the tip of the iceberg…because I know God will do so much more. But still, it’s always good to put goals out there to aim at as the Lord directs our shots.
Hilarious parody of the “behind the scenes” of Christian music.
Athletics can be difficult. Recovering from a defeat, when you gave up the winning score. Trying to move on after being cut from the team, when all your hard work seemingly has gone down the drain. Or to see your season go up in smoke, just because of a simple twist or turn the wrong way, and your injury takes you out for the year. But what does God promise during these times? Let’s turn to a National Football Player who suffered one of these fates, and allow him to teach you through God’s Word and promises.