Focus on the Fundamentals
A Godly Balance between Relationships, Work and Rest
God has been placing a number of things on my heart to share with you at the end of your MTS training.
You have received a lot. You have also experienced a lot. All of this is an entry that God has placed in your spiritual bank account. What will you do with it now? Two possibilities:
- Either you will gain interest in this spiritual (heavenly) bank account by investing these truths in the lives of others,
- Or your account will experience devaluation by your keeping all these good things to yourself.
My intention is not to introduce new subjects but rather to look back together as we look forward and to reflect on fundamental issues of life and ministry using especially a wide-angle lens (= to get a panoramic view) though at times we’ll also use a zoom lens (= to look close-up at some particular issues). When we can see the big picture, it is much easier for us to then understand how the smaller parts fit into the larger picture.
Another way to describe our topic is: “Getting Our Christian Ministry Survival Packs Ready”. What do I need to take with me wherever I go in order to survive in the hard world of Christian ministry? What do I need to hold on to at all costs? Anytime, anywhere? What are the essential I must have with me if I am to survive and also run well and finish the marathon race of Christian ministry?
Scriptural foundation: 1 John 2: 24 “See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.”
Basic conviction: God has established a certain order and rhythm for and in life. All of this is for the good and well-being of all that He has made – as God is a good God.
One of the secrets to joy-filled and fruitful living and service for God is to understand that God who created all things established His order for our good. Our part is to discover His order and to submit to it. When we do, we experience/taste true “blessedness”:
- our lives are marked by a sense of order (instead of disarray), by a wholeness (instead of brokenness), by a deep sense of joy in living (ie we genuinely enjoy life instead of misery and discontent);
- our work is done efficiently and we are “successful” in what we do; and
- above all, God is pleased and honoured through who we are and what we accomplish in life.
The fundamental parts of elements of our lives in God’s plan and order: Relationships, Work and Rest. These are all inter-connected and related. One key to effective living and serving God is to find and maintain a careful balance between these three parts.
Relationships . . .
- with God the Father, God the Son & God the Spirit = the priority of daily fellowship with God, of worship, adoration and thanksgiving, (= Quiet Times); listening to the voice of the Shepherd (through the Spirit = discerning His will); consistent and continual taking in and meditating upon God’s truth
- with fellow-OMers (team-mates) = loving the brethren; forgiveness
- with fellow-believers (national believers & supporters) = communication via prayer letters
- with people of the opposite sex = “relationships” including with other cultures/nationalities
- with unbelievers = reaching out, developing friendships
Work/Ministry . . .
- for God = giving yourself to do the work of the Father each day (like Jesus); sowing the seed and bringing in the harvest
- for the mission (ie the work that you will be asked to do and other ministries God will lay as burdens upon your heart) = understanding the breadth of “ministry”; open to what God sets out for us through our leaders, not our own agenda
- for the church of Jesus Christ (on the field and at home) = strengthening and building up the saints/the body of Christ
- for the growth of God’s work through us = praying for the world
- for ourselves = physical exercise
Rest . . .
- time off to rest (daily & weekly) = discipline of daily rest; including a day off each week (i.e. principle of one day in seven given over to rest and recuperation of basic emotional and physical energies)
- time to recharge my batteries (refresh my emotional energies) = a hobby
- time for myself = regular times for prayer, fasting, reflection and self-examination rather than filling my life with non-stop motion and commotion
- time to nurture my mind, to develop my for own personal development (eg mental stimulation)
- to submit daily to God’s order
- to discipline ourselves
What does the Bible teach us about the top priorities God has set down for our lives?
- The priority of setting our hearts on knowing and enjoying God
- The priority of loving God
- The priority of fellowshipping with God
- The priority of following Christ
- The priority of listening to and following the Spirit’s guidance
- The priority of living by the Spirit
- The priority of living by faith
- The priority of prayer and intercession
- The priority of meditating upon the Scriptures
- The priority of accepting who I am in God’s plan and purpose
- The priority of living a grace-filled life
- The priority of loving my fellow-Christians
- The priority of daily repenting
- The priority of forgiving others
- The priority of living a holy, obedient life
- The priority of serving others in love
- The priority of building up the saints
- The priority of the telling the world about the Good News of Jesus
- The priority of faithfulness in Christian ministry
- The priority of fighting in God’s fight to the end
New Testament Scriptures focusing on
“faithful” and “faithfulness”
(Taken from the NIV)
(Mat 23:23 NIV) "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
(Mat 24:45 NIV) "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?
(Mat 25:21 NIV) "His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Mat 25:23 NIV) "His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Luke 12:42 NIV) The Lord answered, "Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?
(Rom 3:3 NIV) What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness?
(Rom 12:12 NIV) Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(1 Cor 1:9 NIV) God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
(1 Cor 4:2 NIV) Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
(1 Cor 4:17 NIV) For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
(1 Cor 10:13 NIV) No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
(2 Cor 1:18 NIV) But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No."
(Gal 5:22 NIV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
(Eph 1:1 NIV) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
(Eph 6:21 NIV) Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing.
(Col 1:2 NIV) To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
(Col 1:7 NIV) You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf,
(Col 4:7 NIV) Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.
(Col 4:9 NIV) He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.
(1 Th 5:24 NIV) The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
(2 Th 3:3 NIV) But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
(1 Tim 1:12 NIV) I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.
(1 Tim 5:9 NIV) No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband,
(2 Tim 2:13 NIV) if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
(Heb 2:17 NIV) For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
(Heb 3:2 NIV) He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house.
(Heb 3:5 NIV) Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future.
(Heb 3:6 NIV) But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.
(Heb 8:9 NIV) It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.
(Heb 10:23 NIV) Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
(Heb 11:11 NIV) By faith Abraham, even though he was past age–and Sarah herself was barren–was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.
(1 Pet 4:10 NIV) Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
(1 Pet 4:19 NIV) So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
(1 Pet 5:12 NIV) With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.
(1 John 1:9 NIV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
(3 John 1:3 NIV) It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth.
(3 John 1:5 NIV) Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you.
(Rev 1:5 NIV) and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
(Rev 2:10 NIV) Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.
(Rev 2:13 NIV) I know where you live–where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city–where Satan lives.
(Rev 3:14 NIV) "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.
(Rev 13:10 NIV) If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.
(Rev 14:12 NIV) This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.
(Rev 17:14 NIV) They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings–and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers."
(Rev 19:11 NIV) I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.