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Posts tagged ‘Christian Witness’

“Watch Me”? – Christian Witness

Christian WitnessThrough various sources, Paul in Ephesus (in modern Turkey) had received reports of problems in the church he had founded in Corinth (in modern Greece).

These included jealousy, divisiveness, sexual immorality, and failure to discipline members.

This letter confronted these issues head on. But Paul added the section we explore today to place his strong words in a broader perspective.

Interact with God’s Word

1 Corinthians 4:14-17

  1. How (v. 15) had Paul become spiritual father to the believers in Corinth?
  2. Do you think that Paul’s statement in verse 14 rang true? Why should the Corinthians sense that Paul’s tough words were motivated by love?
  3. What special privileges does being a spiritual role model bestow? What special responsibilities come with that?
  4. Paul was only human. So why was it appropriate for him (v. 16) to offer himself as an example to follow?
  5. Why (v. 17) would Timothy be able to help the Corin-thians follow Paul’s example? (See 1 Timothy 1:2.)
  6. If you have children, how are you functioning as a spiritual father to them?
  7. If you don’t have children, for whom might you serve as a discipleship pattern?

Spend Time in Prayer:  Ask God to enable you to walk so close to Him that your life becomes an authentic example to other Christians.

1 Corinthians 4:14-17:

14 I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children. 15 For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. 16 So I urge you to imitate me.

17 That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go.

Prayer for the Week: Lord, give me the resolve and stamina to become a living demonstration of godliness.

 

“Watch Me”? – Product Recall

Christian WitnessKey Bible Verse: Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your good example.  – 1 Peter 5:3

Bonus Reading: 1 Peter 5:1-4

A few days after Carl had finished his ordination council, I was reviewing his performance with another council member. As we discussed Carl’s presentation, I was critical of his seeming inability to quote the Scriptures from memory. When looking for a reason for this lack, I accused the seminary, and I blamed the campus organization he had been involved with in college.

My fellow reviewer listened calmly, and then replied, “But Paul, whose ministry has Carl been under for these past three years”

My accusations were silenced. Carl had been my protégé in ministry. If he seemed weak in his ability to accurately handle the Scriptures, who was to blame? All fingers now pointed at me. I hadn’t been an example of Scripture memory. I hadn’t been thorough in leading him by the example of my own life. His performance at that council was a reflection on the person he’d modeled himself after—me.

The greatest sermon any leader can preach is his life. Paul exhorted Timothy (in 1 Timothy 4:12) to pay attention to his life—his example—first. We are the “types” or “patterns” that others are looking to follow.

—Paul Borthwick in Leading the Way

My Response: I need to work on how I live out the values I endorse in the area of …

Thought to Apply: We preachers cannot expect to communicate from the pulpit if visually out of it we contradict ourselves. —John Stott

Adapted from Leading the Way(Gabriel Publishing, 1969)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, give me the resolve and stamina to become a living demonstration of godliness.

 

 

“Watch Me”? – Stay Sharp

Christian WitnessKey Bible Verse: So I ask you to follow my example and do as I do.  – 1 Corinthians 4:16

Bonus Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:14-17

In the dead of winter, while his fields slept, Monroe Dourte built things. I remember standing in my grandpa’s workshop as a nine-year-old boy, warming my backside at a little cast iron stove. I marveled at his meticulous craftsmanship, especially since he’d lost the fingers of his left hand in a corn shredder 40 years before. I treasured my time with him because of his quick wit and light heart. Most of all, I admired his unwavering love for God. The perpetual humming of old hymns, his spontaneous recall of psalms and poems, and the twinkle in his eye gave this impressionable youngster the idea that hard work and attention to detail were the marks of a great man.

On one of these early-morning vigils in his workshop, Grandpa Dourte showed me his tools. Pulling each from its assigned place, he told me what it was for.

“Wow!” I said, after touching one of the sharp knives, “isn’t this dangerous?”

“No, Bobby,” he explained, “sharp is what they’re supposed to be. Nothing is more dangerous than a dull knife.”

On the point is where you and I are supposed to be with our children. Nothing is more dangerous for a child than a dad who refuses to do what he’s been called to do—be a leader.

—Robert Wolgemuth in Daddy@Work

My Response: How am I proactively modeling scriptural values to the next generation?

Thought to Apply: Precept guides, but example draws. —Proverb

Adapted from Daddy@Work (Zondervan, 1999)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, give me the resolve and stamina to become a living demonstration of godliness.

 

 

“Watch Me”? – Role Model?

Christian WitnessKey Bible Verse: But you must be careful with this freedom of yours. Do not cause a brother or sister with a weaker conscience to stumble.  – 1 Corinthians 8:9

Bonus Reading: Titus 2:6-8

When I was in high school, the mother of one of the girls in our church youth group stopped me after the evening service and said, “My daughter went to the movies the other night and was horrified at the terrible language in the film. She had never heard such language in her life.”

I couldn’t figure out why she was telling me about her daughter’s experience unless it was because she considered me to be such a spiritual giant in our group. So I took the bait and asked, “If the movie was so bad, why did your daughter go?” Once the mom had me hooked, she replied, “Well, a week earlier she was driving past the theater and saw you and your date waiting in line to see the film. She reasoned to herself, If this movie is okay for Robert Jeffress, then it must be okay for me.” I quickly looked for the nearest pew to crawl under.

None of us lives in a vacuum. The choices we make have a profound impact on others and therefore on the kingdom of God. They either encourage others to be fully devoted followers of Christ or discourage them. Realizing that provides most of the guidance we need when considering the gray areas of behavior.

—Robert Jeffress in Grace Gone Wild!

My Response: What activity have I foregone to avoid tripping up a friend?

Thought to Apply: We must not deceive ourselves: the eyes of all men are fixed on us.—Jacques Ellul

Adapted from Grace Gone Wild! (WaterBrook, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, give me the resolve and stamina to become a living demonstration of godliness.

 

“Watch Me”? – Memory Maker

Christian WitnessKey Bible Verse: Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. Philippians 3:17

Bonus Reading: Phil. 3:17-4:1

Years ago Howard Hendricks, one of my Dallas Seminary professors, told us in class about twin boys, former students, who stopped by his office after class one day to talk. During the course of the conversation, Hendricks asked them about their father, a prominent Christian leader, “Guys, what do you remember most about your dad as you were growing up?”

After a short pause, one of the young men said, “I’ll never forget the times he would spend wrestling with us on the floor. Even as teenagers, he would clear out the den furniture and roll around the floor laughing with us.”

The other son reflected, “What I remember most about my dad was, when we were in high school, I threw a paper route and I’d have to get up early in the morning to deliver the paper. Each morning, I’d walk past my dad’s bedroom door and it would be cracked open. I’d see him in there down on his knees and I knew he was praying for us. That’s what I remember most about my dad.”

Then “Prof” Hendricks delivered the punch. He leaned across the podium, peered over the top of his glasses, and asked the penetrating question, “By the way, what will your kids remember you for?”

—Steven Lawson in The Legacy

My Response: Here’s how I’d answer Prof Hendricks’s question: ____

Thought to Apply: Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.—James Baldwin (author)

Adapted from The Legacy (Multnomah, 1998)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, give me the resolve and stamina to become a living demonstration of godliness.

 

 

“Watch Me”? – Influence Peddler

Christian WitnessKey Bible Verse: But that isn’t what you were taught when you learned about Christ. Ephesians 4:20

Bonus Reading: Ephesians 4:17-20

Kid after kid was being hauled before a judge in a juvenile court, most from one inner-city neighborhood. Exasperated, he asked one young offender, “Where did you learn to do this stuff?”

The adolescent replied, ‘”Rocko taught me.”

When the next case came up, the judge asked, “Who taught you to steal?”

“Rocko did.”

Over the next three days, the judge found 33 juvenile delinquents who’d picked up their criminal skills from Rocko. Realizing that he was the key to cutting the crime rate, the judge instructed the district attorney to find him and bring him in. Two days later, Rocko stood before the bench.

“Well, what do you have to say for yourself?” the judge demanded. “I’ve got a jail full of minors whose lives you’ve corrupted. How could you do such a thing?”

“Eddie taught me,” the young man replied.

In a perverted but potent way, gangs do what the community of faith ought to have been doing all along—multiplying themselves by using the influence of personal relationships to affect attitudes and behavior.

—Howard Hendricks in Standing Together

My Response: An instance I’ve observed of modeling positive behaviors is …

Adapted from Standing Together (Vision, 1995)

 Prayer for the Week: Lord, give me the resolve and stamina to become a living demonstration of godliness.

 

“Watch Me”? – A Leader’s Best Ally

Christian WitnessWho Said It…John Wooden

John Wooden is the only person inducted into both the basketball Players’ and Coaches’ Halls of Fame. Before he retired in 1976, his UCLA Bruins had won 10 NCAA basketball championships. In one 1971-to-’74 stretch, they won 88 games straight!

“There has never been another coach like Wooden,” wrote Rick Reilly in Sports Illustrated, “quiet as an April snow and square as a game of checkers; loyal to one woman, one school, one way.”

What He Said…A Leader’s Best Ally

I began smoking during World War II. I’d quit during basketball season—stopping on my birthday in October and starting again when the season ended. I never smoked in front of the boys. I finally quit to improve my example. I was convicted. I couldn’t expect my players not to do what I was doing.

A leader’s most powerful ally is his own example. There’s hypocrisy to the phrase “Do as I say, not as I do.” I refused to make demands on my boys that I wasn’t willing to live out in my own life. Hypocrisy undermines respect, and if people don’t respect you, they won’t willingly follow you. One of my players complimented me greatly when he said, “Coach, you walked the talk.”

At the beginning of each season I’d give my players a letter. Part of it went like this: “Cleanliness, neatness, politeness, and good manners are qualities that should be characteristic of those who are of great influence on young people, and you certainly qualify for that category. Be a good example.”

Adapted from Coach Wooden: One-on-One (Regal, 2003)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, give me the resolve and stamina to become a living demonstration of godliness.

 

“Watch Me”? – Christian Witness

Christian WitnessThrough various sources, Paul in Ephesus (in modern Turkey) had received reports of problems in the church he had founded in Corinth (in modern Greece).

These included jealousy, divisiveness, sexual immorality, and failure to discipline members.

This letter confronted these issues head on. But Paul added the section we explore today to place his strong words in a broader perspective.

Interact with God’s Word

1 Corinthians 4:14-17

  1. How (v. 15) had Paul become spiritual father to the believers in Corinth?
  2. Do you think that Paul’s statement in verse 14 rang true? Why should the Corinthians sense that Paul’s tough words were motivated by love?
  3. What special privileges does being a spiritual role model bestow? What special responsibilities come with that?
  4. Paul was only human. So why was it appropriate for him (v. 16) to offer himself as an example to follow?
  5. Why (v. 17) would Timothy be able to help the Corin-thians follow Paul’s example? (See 1 Timothy 1:2.)
  6. If you have children, how are you functioning as a spiritual father to them?
  7. If you don’t have children, for whom might you serve as a discipleship pattern?

Spend Time in Prayer:  Ask God to enable you to walk so close to Him that your life becomes an authentic example to other Christians.

1 Corinthians 4:14-17:

14 I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children. 15 For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. 16 So I urge you to imitate me.

17 That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go.

Prayer for the Week: Lord, give me the resolve and stamina to become a living demonstration of godliness.

 

“Watch Me”? – Product Recall

Christian WitnessKey Bible Verse: Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your good example.  – 1 Peter 5:3

Bonus Reading: 1 Peter 5:1-4

A few days after Carl had finished his ordination council, I was reviewing his performance with another council member. As we discussed Carl’s presentation, I was critical of his seeming inability to quote the Scriptures from memory. When looking for a reason for this lack, I accused the seminary, and I blamed the campus organization he had been involved with in college.

My fellow reviewer listened calmly, and then replied, “But Paul, whose ministry has Carl been under for these past three years”

My accusations were silenced. Carl had been my protégé in ministry. If he seemed weak in his ability to accurately handle the Scriptures, who was to blame? All fingers now pointed at me. I hadn’t been an example of Scripture memory. I hadn’t been thorough in leading him by the example of my own life. His performance at that council was a reflection on the person he’d modeled himself after—me.

The greatest sermon any leader can preach is his life. Paul exhorted Timothy (in 1 Timothy 4:12) to pay attention to his life—his example—first. We are the “types” or “patterns” that others are looking to follow.

—Paul Borthwick in Leading the Way

My Response: I need to work on how I live out the values I endorse in the area of …

Thought to Apply: We preachers cannot expect to communicate from the pulpit if visually out of it we contradict ourselves. —John Stott

Adapted from Leading the Way(Gabriel Publishing, 1969)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, give me the resolve and stamina to become a living demonstration of godliness.

 

 

“Watch Me”? – Stay Sharp

Christian WitnessKey Bible Verse: So I ask you to follow my example and do as I do.  – 1 Corinthians 4:16

Bonus Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:14-17

In the dead of winter, while his fields slept, Monroe Dourte built things. I remember standing in my grandpa’s workshop as a nine-year-old boy, warming my backside at a little cast iron stove. I marveled at his meticulous craftsmanship, especially since he’d lost the fingers of his left hand in a corn shredder 40 years before. I treasured my time with him because of his quick wit and light heart. Most of all, I admired his unwavering love for God. The perpetual humming of old hymns, his spontaneous recall of psalms and poems, and the twinkle in his eye gave this impressionable youngster the idea that hard work and attention to detail were the marks of a great man.

On one of these early-morning vigils in his workshop, Grandpa Dourte showed me his tools. Pulling each from its assigned place, he told me what it was for.

“Wow!” I said, after touching one of the sharp knives, “isn’t this dangerous?”

“No, Bobby,” he explained, “sharp is what they’re supposed to be. Nothing is more dangerous than a dull knife.”

On the point is where you and I are supposed to be with our children. Nothing is more dangerous for a child than a dad who refuses to do what he’s been called to do—be a leader.

—Robert Wolgemuth in Daddy@Work

My Response: How am I proactively modeling scriptural values to the next generation?

Thought to Apply: Precept guides, but example draws. —Proverb

Adapted from Daddy@Work (Zondervan, 1999)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, give me the resolve and stamina to become a living demonstration of godliness.

 

 

“Watch Me”? – Role Model?

Christian WitnessKey Bible Verse: But you must be careful with this freedom of yours. Do not cause a brother or sister with a weaker conscience to stumble.  – 1 Corinthians 8:9

Bonus Reading: Titus 2:6-8

When I was in high school, the mother of one of the girls in our church youth group stopped me after the evening service and said, “My daughter went to the movies the other night and was horrified at the terrible language in the film. She had never heard such language in her life.”

I couldn’t figure out why she was telling me about her daughter’s experience unless it was because she considered me to be such a spiritual giant in our group. So I took the bait and asked, “If the movie was so bad, why did your daughter go?” Once the mom had me hooked, she replied, “Well, a week earlier she was driving past the theater and saw you and your date waiting in line to see the film. She reasoned to herself, If this movie is okay for Robert Jeffress, then it must be okay for me.” I quickly looked for the nearest pew to crawl under.

None of us lives in a vacuum. The choices we make have a profound impact on others and therefore on the kingdom of God. They either encourage others to be fully devoted followers of Christ or discourage them. Realizing that provides most of the guidance we need when considering the gray areas of behavior.

—Robert Jeffress in Grace Gone Wild!

My Response: What activity have I foregone to avoid tripping up a friend?

Thought to Apply: We must not deceive ourselves: the eyes of all men are fixed on us.—Jacques Ellul

Adapted from Grace Gone Wild! (WaterBrook, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, give me the resolve and stamina to become a living demonstration of godliness.

 

“Watch Me”? – Memory Maker

Christian WitnessKey Bible Verse: Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. Philippians 3:17

Bonus Reading: Phil. 3:17-4:1

Years ago Howard Hendricks, one of my Dallas Seminary professors, told us in class about twin boys, former students, who stopped by his office after class one day to talk. During the course of the conversation, Hendricks asked them about their father, a prominent Christian leader, “Guys, what do you remember most about your dad as you were growing up?”

After a short pause, one of the young men said, “I’ll never forget the times he would spend wrestling with us on the floor. Even as teenagers, he would clear out the den furniture and roll around the floor laughing with us.”

The other son reflected, “What I remember most about my dad was, when we were in high school, I threw a paper route and I’d have to get up early in the morning to deliver the paper. Each morning, I’d walk past my dad’s bedroom door and it would be cracked open. I’d see him in there down on his knees and I knew he was praying for us. That’s what I remember most about my dad.”

Then “Prof” Hendricks delivered the punch. He leaned across the podium, peered over the top of his glasses, and asked the penetrating question, “By the way, what will your kids remember you for?”

—Steven Lawson in The Legacy

My Response: Here’s how I’d answer Prof Hendricks’s question: ____

Thought to Apply: Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.—James Baldwin (author)

Adapted from The Legacy (Multnomah, 1998)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, give me the resolve and stamina to become a living demonstration of godliness.

 

 

“Watch Me”? – Influence Peddler

Christian WitnessKey Bible Verse: But that isn’t what you were taught when you learned about Christ. Ephesians 4:20

Bonus Reading: Ephesians 4:17-20

Kid after kid was being hauled before a judge in a juvenile court, most from one inner-city neighborhood. Exasperated, he asked one young offender, “Where did you learn to do this stuff?”

The adolescent replied, ‘”Rocko taught me.”

When the next case came up, the judge asked, “Who taught you to steal?”

“Rocko did.”

Over the next three days, the judge found 33 juvenile delinquents who’d picked up their criminal skills from Rocko. Realizing that he was the key to cutting the crime rate, the judge instructed the district attorney to find him and bring him in. Two days later, Rocko stood before the bench.

“Well, what do you have to say for yourself?” the judge demanded. “I’ve got a jail full of minors whose lives you’ve corrupted. How could you do such a thing?”

“Eddie taught me,” the young man replied.

In a perverted but potent way, gangs do what the community of faith ought to have been doing all along—multiplying themselves by using the influence of personal relationships to affect attitudes and behavior.

—Howard Hendricks in Standing Together

My Response: An instance I’ve observed of modeling positive behaviors is …

Adapted from Standing Together (Vision, 1995)

 Prayer for the Week: Lord, give me the resolve and stamina to become a living demonstration of godliness.

 

“Watch Me”? – A Leader’s Best Ally

Christian WitnessWho Said It…John Wooden

John Wooden is the only person inducted into both the basketball Players’ and Coaches’ Halls of Fame. Before he retired in 1976, his UCLA Bruins had won 10 NCAA basketball championships. In one 1971-to-’74 stretch, they won 88 games straight!

“There has never been another coach like Wooden,” wrote Rick Reilly in Sports Illustrated, “quiet as an April snow and square as a game of checkers; loyal to one woman, one school, one way.”

What He Said…A Leader’s Best Ally

I began smoking during World War II. I’d quit during basketball season—stopping on my birthday in October and starting again when the season ended. I never smoked in front of the boys. I finally quit to improve my example. I was convicted. I couldn’t expect my players not to do what I was doing.

A leader’s most powerful ally is his own example. There’s hypocrisy to the phrase “Do as I say, not as I do.” I refused to make demands on my boys that I wasn’t willing to live out in my own life. Hypocrisy undermines respect, and if people don’t respect you, they won’t willingly follow you. One of my players complimented me greatly when he said, “Coach, you walked the talk.”

At the beginning of each season I’d give my players a letter. Part of it went like this: “Cleanliness, neatness, politeness, and good manners are qualities that should be characteristic of those who are of great influence on young people, and you certainly qualify for that category. Be a good example.”

Adapted from Coach Wooden: One-on-One (Regal, 2003)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, give me the resolve and stamina to become a living demonstration of godliness.