Inspiration for Today's World

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To Inspire People Spiritually (TIPS)

NasaImaage-SmallLostpine publishes a short news letter called TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually). TIPS are useful for reminding others that we are all called to share the “Good News.” You can utilize the “translation” features of this website and by selecting the [PRINT] button in the upper right side of the page, the news letter can be printed, converted to a PDF file or emailed as an attachment.  Feel free to use any of them for personal and non-profit use. New ones are added periodically. The use of TIPS is subject to the Terms of Use of this website. Click here to view them all.

Where’s The Spirit?
Ephesians 6:10-19

Good People – Bad Things
Daniel 11:35; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Colossians 4:2-6

Creating Value
1 Peter 5:2-3

A New View of Prosperity
James 1:10-12

God’s House
1 Peter 1:23; Ephesians 4:11-12; 2 Timothy 2:2

Where is All the Help?
1 Corinthians 1:27, 12:7; Romans 12:4-8; John 2:5

Leading, Pulling or Just Following
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

The Factoid Syndrome
1 Timothy 4:13-16

What is a First Fruit Anyway?
James 1:18; Romans 1:21

Do We Really Need God?
Titus 1:9

A Sense of Urgency
Proverbs 1:26-28; 2 Samuel 22:2-12

How Did He Do That? Acts

Which Way To Go?
Revelations 3

That’s A Great Question
Micah 6:6-8

Who’s First?
John 2:11; Mark 7:3

There’s Fine Print!
James 3:1; Matthew 12:34

Building a 24 X 7 Community
Acts; 2 Corinthians 9:10-11

Finding Hope
Romans 12:12

Separation and Sacrifice
Genesis 3:6-21

So Now What To Do?
2 Timothy 4:2; 4

Priorities, Priorities
1 John 3:18; John 4:1-29

The Holiest Day
Psalm 1; Psalm 118:24

Got Power Steering?
2 Timothy 1:6-7

Social Media
Romans 1:20

Why Did Jesus Come?
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

It’s All or Nothing
Isaiah 29:13

Want More Blessings?
1 Peter 3:8-9

Is It Really That Simple
Romans 5:1-5

A Convenient Truth
2 Timothy 3:16

Do You Know For Sure?
John 20:17

The Teacher
Ecclesiastes 12:910; John 10:25-27

Stating The Obvious
Isaiah 65:1-3; Matthew 24:4-44

Why Is History Important?
Judges 2:10

Will There Ever Be Peace?
Deuteronomy 32:28-29; Luke 2:52

Did God Create Evil?
John 1:1-3; John 1:4-5

What are Heaven and Hell Like?
Genesis 1:3; Proverbs 15:30

Which Came First?
Job 42:10-13; 16-17

Can You Find the Real Miracle?
John 9:1-12; Isaiah 42:6-7

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 1

Where’s the Spirit?

Can you remember back when you first began to learn about Christ? Some will reflect back to their childhood, being involved in Christian youth programs or maybe reading the Bible as a family. Others will recall some milestone of life that drew them to Christ. No matter how you came to know Christ, those early times were no doubt exciting and memorable.

I remember those first years when I came to accept Christ as my Savior. They were filled with a hunger to know Him, a never-ending energy to serve Him and a deep joy that I found Him. The Holy Spirit’s whisper seemed so loud. Most people I talk to share similar stories. Unfortunately, as time went on, that child-like excitement has been replaced with a more mature understanding of one’s faith. Is this the normal road of every Christian? Another way to put this is, “Does the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives diminish with time?”

Of course, the answer NO! Our blessing of the Holy Spirit is a constant source of power. The problem: “We have met the enemy and it is us.”

As new Christians, most do not have the knowledge and understanding of the Bible, the doctrine, the rules so-to-speak, that make up the Christian Church. As true children in the Faith, new Christians have no alternative but to rely on their faith for everything. Their hearts are not blocked by knowledge and the Holy Spirit pours directly into the person.

In our maturing process, it is easy to take on a belief that knowledge, organization and understanding alone will somehow improve our relationship with God. While knowledge can help us understand God’s character, His expectations, and our purpose, nothing can take the place of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is what brings people to Christ, equips them to do great works and builds great churches.

TIPS-1Accept the challenge and bring back your youthful energy and excitement. Better than vitamins, more invigorating than exercise, a commitment to prayer and to our Holy Spirit will truly let you leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Check List√

Spend time reflecting on your early years with Christ.

Focus on those moments of joy.

Pray with your eyes open.

Look for opportunities in your committees, in your ministry, in your homes and neighborhood to share your joy of Christ.

Always remember, a sword only becomes a weapon when it is grasped firmly by a trusting, skilled hand.

Step out boldly in all you do. Be different. Be creative. Be in the Spirit.

The Offense and the Defense

The Apostle Paul lays out our game plan in Ephesians 6:10-19. Here’s our defense:

• A belt of truth;
• A breastplate of righteousness;
• Shoes of the gospel;
• The shield of faith;
• A helmet of salvation.

However, Paul suggests only one offensive weapon to take on the world. Our offense is:

• The sword of the Spirit.

Yes, the only weapon is to go back to our child-like faith, relying on the Holy Spirit for inspiration and power. Paul states further, to also “Pray in the Spirit.” Yes, we are to always remember that we must ask for God’s help.

In Mark 13:33, we are also told to “Be on guard! Be alert!” This means, to pray with our eyes open, looking for opportunities to serve Christ. Unless we keep our eyes focused on our congregation and on the community, the master we serve could very well be Robert’s Rules of Order.

Your tip, therefore, is to pray daily that the Holy Spirit is active in your ministry, active at church and active in the world. This should be your first weapon of choice.

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 2

Good People – Bad Things

Its been a hard year on most churches. Accidents, illness, even death touches each congregation and the economy has worn even the most sturdy soul down. Is seems so unfair doesn’t it? Here we all are, volunteering our time, pouring out our hearts in support of our faith and things still go wrong. Why does God respond to us in this confusing way?

In Daniel 11:35, we are told that one reason for God allowing us to stumble is so that we “may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end.” Now most of us will agree that when it comes to faults, everyone is in need of some refinement. However, there are times that even the most detailed self-examination does not uncover a clear reason for the problems encountered in daily life.

Paul can be found in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, praying for the removal of “a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” Paul’s thorn was thought to be some type of eye trouble effecting him both physically and emotionally. What could God be trying to refine in Paul? Didn’t God do the job completely on the road to Damascus? Paul’s attitude is wonderful. He states God gave him the thorn to keep him from getting too proud. His weakness was his gift from God.

The real point here, however, is to reflect upon the unexpected problems of life and to draw some conclusions:

  • Spiritual blessings are more important than physical ones. Paul thought he would be a better Christian if he were relieved of his weakness. Just the opposite was true.
  • Unanswered prayer does not always mean the need is not met. Sometimes, the blessing is greater when it seems that God does not answer.
    • Weakness is strength if Christ is in it.
    • There is sufficient grace to meet every need.
    • We are promised never to be given a burden that is more that we can bear.

TIPS-2The problems that affect church goers and those their families are all part of God’s wonderful plan.   To withdraw is to admit defeat.    These are the times God has given us.  Let us make the most of His many blessings.

Check List√

Pray for each other and for the benefit of the Church.

Spend time in the fellowship of  others  during times of high stress and turmoil.

Remember, God may have placed someone in your proximity for the express purpose of learning how to rely one one’s faith in  a crisis.

Believe that even the unexpected problems, the times of high anxiety are all part of God’s plan for you.

Share your faith openly.

Opportunity for Chains

Can you imagine being in prison with Paul? He never missed an opportunity to share Christ with those around him. This was Paul’s key to evangelism. He shared Christ in any circumstance, believing that those gathered around him were there by Christ’s hand. Yes, God knows that human nature brings us together in comfort and that is not always the best environment for evangelism. However, when forced together in times of weakness, we often demonstrate the power of Christ to those who are most in need of hearing and seeing His message.

While Paul was in prison, we can see the attitudes and actions of a productive witness (Colossians 4:2-6):

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful.” Look for opportunities to share the Gospel.

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” Those moments of sadness, pain and discomfort may very well be God’s gift for the day for someone.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt,…” No Bible thumping is necessary.

Your tip: Effective evangelism can be simply a visible reliance upon one’s faith.

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 3

Creating Value

As a young boy, I had an old wooden guitar that was worth about $10. Many years ago, I saw an article in the newspaper about a similar guitar that had just been sold for $50,000. To me this was quite amazing, an old guitar selling for so much more than it was worth. The article went on to say that this particular guitar had been used by Elvis Presley when he was young. Value, therefore, was created simply by the hands that it passed through. Just the touch of someone famous increased the intrinsic value of an old guitar some 3,000 fold.

Life, is not unlike the story about the guitar. While God places equal value on every human life, the value I am talking about is how we come to measure and determine the value of our ministry to the Great Church at large, to our families, and to the community around us.

Whether we think about it or not, every person can affect the body of the church. The lives of each congregational member pass through many hands and that makes a difference. My question to each of you is, “Who will you hold in your hands as they travel on their faith journey?”

To have one’s life pass through the hands of Christ is to me, the beginning point for building value. To be “played” by Christ is to follow His plan for your life, to respond to his calling, to be submissive to His will, to follow His road, His way. Sounds like something any church goer would claim. However, the value does not come just from Christ but also in the lives we affect, the people who are held in our “hands,” those receiving the benefits of our faith, our service, and our experience.

Without the participation of the many volunteers to support the day-to-day activities of life itself, our world could not gain the full leverage of God’s plan. It should be viewed as a privilege to support each other, to share both bread and to share faith.

TIPS-3An effective faith walk  requires each person to take time to reflect on their own journey.  Priorities are important.  How do you measure up?

Check List√

Regularly participate in the life of a church.

Attend a Bible Study to grow your knowledge of God’s Word.

Mentor young people through your wisdom and experience.

Volunteer in your community.

Take time to visit with those who are new, being open and friendly.

Be willing to be visible to your friends and neighbors even when life is tough—your example is everything.

Shepherds of the Flock

I Peter 5:2-3 tells us: “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not lording t over those entrusted to you but being examples to the flock.”

There is not a lot of maneuvering room in Peter’s words. As the head of the Church, Peter shares his experience and provides real insight as to the role expected of church leaders and congregational members. Peter knew the burdens better than most. As the first head of the Church, he was faced with every kind of organizational problem that we could imagine. And the economy was not all that good either.

Notice, however, that Peter’s emphasis is placed on “being examples” not manager, administrators, not heads of groups or committees. Peter seems to be saying here that if you start to focus only on worship or studies, or programs, and miss the simple opportunities of fellowship, you missed the point.  Effective evangelism begins with effective fellowship, the sharing of one’s life with the lives of others, the passing of one’s life through the hands of others.

Your tip:  Get involved with the areas of your church and community that expose you and your journey to Christ.


TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 4

New View of Prosperity

The early churches were a melting pot of diverse beliefs, cultural backgrounds, and economic positions. Both rich and poor worshiped in the assemblies to which the Apostle James wrote about. To this variety, he spoke to the poor reminding them that they should seek their identity in the realization that, in Christ, they have been raised to the position of a child of God. James reminds us that the danger of poverty is that a person might grow to envy the wealthy and feel inferior.

To the rich, James pointed to the fact that material wealth was not permanent. “Like a flower in the hot sun, it soon fades away.” Those who are wealthy should seek the Lord by abandoning their reliance on possessions and approaching God as a beggar seeking salvation. The danger to the wealthy is that a person might become proud and arrogant.

It is not so much that James tells us something new. What is interesting is that these verses, James 1:10-11, are directly followed by a verse that talks about “persevering under trial.”

James is pointing out that no matter what the economic position of a person, each is going to struggle with the idea that wealth is to be measured by one’s attitude toward Christ and the strength of one’s faith.

The view of prosperity and success goes against all that the world teaches. The definition of success by James is hanging there when the going gets tough. The Hebrew word for success is barak, meaning to endow with power for success and prosperity. Barak is also the word for blessed. Yes, to be truly blessed, is to believe that the commands of God and His providence will try our hearts and expose the very nature of our soul, all for a good purpose. To preserver is to be blessed.

TIPS-4Both rich and poor struggle with stewardship. It takes practice, it takes faith, it takes involvement.

Check List√

Do you know the needs of your family, friends, neighbors and community?

What is your response in times of great need?

How do you respond when you see great injustices in our world?

Do you have a sense of mission?

Does your example encourage others to be generous?

How would your children define success?

Are you ready to receive God’s blessings?

Can you ask for God’s direction and help?

The Struggle

The nature of stewardship is not a measure of one’s generosity but a measure of one’s disposition toward God. It is a measure of one’s heart. No community can move its residents to increase their worldly generosity without also moving their hearts. The faithful community lives in a vital relationship with God and is obedient to His Word. Only then is God free to give His riches and His blessings.

There is no place within God’s Word that He commands the generosity of His people to be given over to government. God calls each of us to be stewards of the world’s resources and seek out those in need.

And what should we give? The struggle in today’s world is to understand that our communities need four things to survive. They need:

  1. Our Time
  2. Our Talent
  3. Our Treasure
  4. Our Testimony

We are called to be directly involved, using our skills and talents, sharing our riches including how our faith is strengthened by our relationship with our God.

Your tip: Think big, think broad, think about the four T’s of generosity.

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 5

God’s House

Evangelism programs can take many forms. Bible studies, youth programs, nurturing, even the good old fashion street corner evangelism all make up the many facets of our Great Commission. However, let’s take a look at some of the Apostle Paul’s commentary on sharing.

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he calls the local church the “household of God.” Webster defines a household as “a family, including servants.” It is interesting that Paul did not reference God’s church as an organization, or even a business or a club but a “household.” Paul saw the family of God meeting together for a holy purpose, for fellowship, worship and service.

How does one enter God’s special household? Membership is through the Word (1 Peter 1:23) and by being born of the Spirit (John 3:1-6). So what does all of this have to do with the sharing of one’s faith? To be effective, evangelism must be directed at activities that support God’s plan for building His household.

Paul saw the importance of sharing the Gospel’s message of hope and of building disciples for Christ. He also saw the importance of building churches that not only lived the truth but also preserved the truth. Churches capable of teaching the Word of God, not only for today, but for the generations to come. Paul states further in Ephesians, “It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…..”

Any outreach program must begin with people. It is not our task to preserve the TRUTH, as in a museum, but to develop the truth within the lives of our families, friends, co-workers and communities. This is done first by providing living examples, as if in a household, reflecting back to our world what God’s house looks like; a welcoming place, a joyful place, a place filled with hope. If it wasn’t, who would want to live in it?

TIPS-5Effective sharing is not about the numbers.  Small steps, small groups and faithful people are the formula for success. Disciples build disciples.

If each person shares there faith with just one person a year, the peace we all seek can become a reality in our children’s lifetime.

Check List√

Do you know a few people that you can spend time with as a mentor?

Do you know someone can hold you accountable to the task at hand?

Who is your mentor?

Do you know your gifts?

Does your “Household” reflect the Gospel?”

Do you pray often for God to clearly present His will to you?

Are you a good listener?

Preserving the Truth for the Future

In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he tells Timothy to deposit the truth with faithful people and not just any believer.  Paul is pointing out that we have two callings:

One to build disciples and the other to build disciplers.

In 2 Timothy 2:2, we find these words, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”  Without the disciplers, the teachers of our faith is but one generation away from extinction.

While God prepares each of us for service, Paul reminds us that in order for evangelism to work, people are needed who know the truth, the Scriptural truth.  Each group of Christians, whether a formal church or an informal gathering of believers, must work to build teachers of the faith.  This requires a commitment of time and attention to nurture a few household members.  Before you plan for a hundred people, plan for just a few.  Look what Christ did with just twelve good men.

Your tip:  Start small, think big but most of all start and think.  God is calling all of us to do His good work.  A new world awaits and it can happen one person at a time.


TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 6

Where is All The Help?

In troubled times when the economy is bad, there is a world of hurting people to help. These are good times to examine the roots of our call for dedicating time and talent on behalf of the Church of Christ. The Apostle Paul sets the stage in 1 Corinthians 12:7 when he tells us that all have been given gifts for the purpose of our common good. Too many times, however, we confuse these gifts with our worldly skills, used primarily for our own benefit. Spiritual Gifts are different.

Spiritual Gifts, of course come from the Holy Spirit. They are not of our making and any credit is never ours for the taking. Another key point regarding Spiritual Gifts can be found in Romans 12:4-8. There is no room for self-choosing; Christian service is simply the ministry with such a gift or gifts as we have received. While diverse, all are equally honorable because they are bestowed by the same Spirit, administered under the same Lord and energized by the same God.

Spiritual Gifts were extraordinary powers given in the early years of the Church, to convince non-believers, and to spread the Gospel’s message. These special gifts were given in combination with grace. Hence comes the difference. There may be great gifts where there is no grace but where grace is present, we can find that the gifts are being used for the advantage and salvation of others.

What is this thing called grace you ask? Grace in is the spontaneous, unmerited gift of God’s favor in of our salvation. We did not earn it, we did not deserve it. It is a free gift from a loving God. Our response to grace should be unceasing generosity in the sharing of our Spiritual Gifts. The sharing of our worldly gifts wouldn’t hurt either.

So why is it that with such an overwhelming supply of gifted people and a clear directive from our Lord, the church at large has such a hard time finding people to help? Could it be that we do not know how to serve?

TIPS-6In tough times, everyone can make a big difference. Need is everywhere. Find it, fill it.

Check List√

Where is church on your priority list?

Are you willing to serve in any capacity where you are needed?

Do you view your efforts as working on behalf of Christ?

Are you sharing your treasure with your church, your community and your family?

Do you know your Spiritual Gifts?

Can you guide others to their Spiritual Gifts?

Do you have the Spirit to serve?

Are you willing to do what is seemingly foolish, fill someone’s water jars?

Mother Knows Best

Look back at Christ’s first miracle, turning water into wine.  Can you imagine the servants reaction to Mary’s words, “Do whatever He tells you,”  and then Christ tells the servants to fill the water jars with water?  In our world, by all logic and all standards, that was a foolish thing to do, a waste of time, of no benefit to anyone.  Yet, God uses foolish things to confound those who seem to have more knowledge and power (see 1 Corinthians 1:27).  If we all want to see our children, our neighbors, our friends feel the grace of our great God, then we too must follow Mary’s words, “Do whatever He tells you.”

“His mother said to the servants, “fill the jars with water; so they filled them to the brim.” John 2:5

To give of our time, to share our talents must be treated for what it is, a command from our God.  To work only for our own benefit means that we are focused on the blessings of this life and not focused on God’s wonderful gift of grace. To quote an old cliché, “when times are tough, the tough get going.”

Your tip:  Using your Spiritual Gifts and make sure you do something.  Like grapes on a vine or fruit on a tree, if it is never shared, it just drops to the ground and is useless.


TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 7

Leading, Pulling, or Just Following

The Apostle Paul makes a very bold recommendation. He says, “lead a quiet life, mind your own business, and work with your hands.” At first glance, there seems to be quite a conflict for all of us. Are we, the community of the faithful, really called to have a “quiet life?”

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody” ~1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

To the active Christian, it is important to focus on two other aspects of Paul’s recommendations. (a) working with our hands, and (b) winning the respect of outsiders. So what is the real point the Apostle Paul is making?

First, to work with one’s hands is to labor and participate in the everyday life of our community. It means we interact with the lives of those around us. Paul meant that we would do the common work, the duties that need doing, and not think that labor was beneath us. Paul said nothing about meetings, committees, and even long planning sessions. He did not condemn the latter but placed his focus on the basics of good old fashion hard work.

Visibility is also a necessary component of faith. When people see you doing hard work in support of your beliefs, their hearts and minds will understand who Christ was and why He came. The Apostle Paul points out that outsiders are won over only when there is mutual respect gained through their observations of your behavior. Effective leadership is not necessarily measured through the effectiveness of fluent apologetics or pure growth in numbers. To be a leader is to make a difference − we are being called to guide the hearts and beliefs of our community. This means that everyone needs to see the “good works” in action if they are to mean anything.

TIPS-7Being active in your community is all about “doing something.” Too many times, the task of helping others is left to others.

Check List√

When was the last time you pulled up your sleeves and helped wash dishes at a community center or church activity?

Do the children in your church know who you are? Have they met you or watched you work on a project with them?

When was the last time you donated food or clothing to your community sharing center?

If you are a leader, do you know who is following you?

Does your labor gain the respect of outsiders, those who see your “Good Works?”

How many strangers do you meet each week?

What Does it Take?

The Apostle Paul was, in a sense, talking about stewardship. He was showing us that the unselfish sharing of one’s time, talents, treasures, and the willingness to verbalize one’s faith (testimony) would make a difference if others saw us doing “Good Works” because we love our God.

If you are leading, look back, who is following you? If no one this there, then maybe it is time to start pulling and getting actively engaged in making a difference. And if all of this doesn’t yet make sense, then maybe it is time to start following those who you see around you that are living the “Good News.”

Generosity, empathy, forgiveness, and discernment, for example, are not found in a newborn. We learn these things from our families, our communities, and especially from our churches. Would our world be a better place if there was more generosity, empathy, forgiveness, and discernment? Only you can answer that question. However, one only needs to look at the headlines of a newspaper or an evening news show to understand that our society is missing something. The Apostle Paul says to give it a try. There is nothing to lose and an eternity of hope and peace to gain.

Your tip: Start making a difference today and if necessary, even use words.

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 8

The Factoid Syndrome

There is a great misunderstanding about the Great Commission, the call to share one’s faith with others. The misunderstanding comes from a belief that Biblical knowledge is somehow a prerequisite to becoming an effective voice for God. “I never say the right thing at the right time,” or “If I know the Bible better, I could be more productive at evangelism.” These are often the positions taken by those who do not understand the true burden of one’s intellect with respect to the Christian faith.

A saving faith does not come from knowledge. No amount of Biblical knowledge can replace the strength of a “child-like” faith in Christ. To help with this point, consider the two men crucified with Christ. One man was assured his place in the eternal presence of God by two simple acts: he acknowledged Christ for who He was; and was repentant for his life of sin. This man’s saving faith was formed by his knowledge of Christ, not of Scriptures. Mocking Christ, the other criminal challenged Christ to prove He was God by saving all of them.

Nowhere in this documented act of salvation was there a necessity for prior Biblical knowledge. If Biblical knowledge, therefore, is not for the benefit of the lost, then who is it for? Could the Bible be for the benefit of the saved? Knowledge of the Bible is necessary to focus one’s priorities of life. In doing so, the very act of sharing one’s faith becomes as natural as taking a breath.

Each of us must continue to grow in the Word of God but not for more knowledge. God’s Word allows God to work in our lives, to change our priorities and to teach us about Christ. When people spend time in Scriptures, lives change and changed lives get noticed. People begin to understand that faith in Christ is much more than a warm feeling, much more than an intellectual understanding of history. The people around us begin to see a little bit of Christ in us. Show people Christ and you have effective evangelism.

fact-vs-factoidTo make a difference, each of us must step out and become a visible example of our families and communities. The Word of God represents the strongest option for equipping everyone for the task. If we bring others to God, He has promised to do the rest.

Check List√

Bring a Bible to church every Sunday.

Be a regular attendee at Bible studies both on Sunday and during the week.

Volunteer to lead a Bible Study for either children or adults.

Read supplemental study materials to expand your understanding of Scripture.

Truly believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, given to us as our guide for this world.

Progressing In the Word

In the Apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy, he writes some of the direct instruction with regard to the Word of God.  If you are a church officer , these should be especially meaningful to you.  However, Paul’s words are for everyone.

In 1 Timothy 4:13-16, Paul states, “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.  Do not neglect your gift, which was given to you through prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.  Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.  Watch your life and doctrine closely.  Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

Paul’s message goes right to the point.  Public Reading means that it is not enough to sit at home or in the evening and read your Bible.  God expects more.  Paul knew that the ability to teach the true doctrine of Christ is formed upon a foundation of continued growth in the Word of God.  Paul states further that even evangelism is dependent upon one’s public reading (and teaching) of Scripture.

Your tip: Attend a Bible Study regularly and find time to read your Bible.


TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 9

What Are First Fruits Anyway?

The church at large struggles to involve its members in worship and peripheral activities such as stewardship. Many churches lack the necessary volunteers to support their many programs such as missions or outreach. What probably has the most immediate impact on programs is when financial support is weak. However, what hurts the Church at large the most is when its members remain reluctant to even share the good news of the Gospel. If you need convincing, just turn on the television, read your local newspaper or check the Internet. Can we rest on our laurels when the extinction of Christianity is just one generation away? There are many other religions ready to claim their place in the world and step in to fill any void.

One answer lies in the meaning assigned to the term “First Fruits.” The concept of First Fruits comes from the Old Testament and refers to the tithing of the early harvest and choicest crops before they were stored or sold. In modern times, however, people typically give out of their surplus and/or abundance, unwilling to share their extra time unless their commitment is small. Many only share their faith when there is no risk.

He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruit of all he created.”  ~James 1:18

Why is this simple concept of First Fruits so important? James tells us that God has set us apart from all other creation and did so at the very beginning of this world. We are not by-products of evolutionary chance but of a Master’s beautiful design, thoughtful purpose and skilled hand. To be a first fruit is to gain the love and grace of our Creator, as an artist loves His masterpiece.

We are not a part of the surplus of a cosmic cloud, the tailings of an unknown sculpture’s work. Each of us is the result of an unselfish Creator, who has shared everything with us, even His Son.

TIPS-9What we do with our resources is important. So are the roots of our generosity. Are you generous with your First Fruits?

Check List√

Do you participate in the stewardship of God’s resources?

What would you consider your First Fruits?

Are you comfortable with the concepts of pledging or tithing?

Do you help teach the responsibilities of stewardship to children?

Will you take a risk to share your faith with someone who is curious?

Do you participate in the stewardship of our earth’s resources?

Does your generosity with time, talent, treasure and testimony motivate others to do the same?

Who Owns the World?

Today, our society responds to God’s calling by failing to understand the meaning of First Fruits.  Nowhere in the Bible will you find meaningful stewardship resulting from returning leftovers to God.

Regardless of one’s attitude toward giving, the attitude of a Christian steward should recognize that for their faith to strengthen and to maintain a healthy relationship with God, giving must be first.  Giving first is also a recognition of God’s sovereignty over us.  The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 1:21, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” A frightening thought, losing sight of our Creator. Paul clearly shows that if we ever lose sight of God, we will lack the discernment to survive in our world.

If your goal is to reach your full potential in this universe,  include a vision of community outreach.  Our world must strengthen its children and give them hope.  The next generation must survive holding on to Christ.   It is a great responsibility, an ardent task, one commanded from above.  Will the next generation of believers know the joy of sharing First Fruits?  Let us all hope so and work so to that end.

Your tip: Share a first fruit today.


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