8 Weeks – 10/12/2015 to 12/4/2015
Overview – Most of us know what it’s like to have someone who knows more than we do about a job, a task, or a place, showing us the “ropes”. Sometimes it’s a family member, a co-worker, or a mentor. The Apostle Paul was just such a person to a young minister named Timothy.
Timothy was the minister or pastor to a congregation in a place called Ephesus. He begins with telling Timothy of the importance of love in a church. Nothing makes up for a lack of love in a home, in a marriage, or in the body of Christ! He then gives instructions about worship, leaders in the church, dealing with “false teaching”, responsibility for widows, and warnings about getting too close to money!
Paul’s letter is both personal and church wide. It is timeless and completely appropriate for our lives today! He ends with the admonition, “guard what has been entrusted to your care.” We all have been entrusted with things and people by the Lord. We are accountable!
Week 8 – 11/30/2015
The Two-Word Blueprint
I Timothy 6:11-16
This Week – Have you ever had someone say something like this to you? “I’ve got three words for you, or I’ve just have two words for you.” Usually it’s said perhaps in jest or sarcasm, but sometimes there is a ring of truth in the admonition. Such is the case with the text today; Paul gives Timothy two words that can be something powerful in your life and mine today. Here they are: flee and pursue. One college instructor shares these two words as part of his lectures with students after hearing this message. Why? They’re good advice for us today in 2015!
Monday – The Apostle Paul is making his final statement to a young minister named Timothy who ministers in a place called Ephesus. He says to Timothy, “they’re things that you need to flee Timothy, and they’re things that you need to pursue.” If you and I are totally honest, that speaks to us in 2015. Most people know what it is that they need to flee. I think they also know what it is that they need to pursue. Think about your own life in light of those two words!
Tuesday – Paul addresses Timothy as a “man of God”. Did you know that when you and I are aware of the presence of God in every area of your life, both personal and professional, that indicates you are a man or woman of God? I really believe that! We talk about the words “fleeing” and “pursuing”. We personalize them for you and me.
Wednesday – Most of the fleeing in our lives involves a place or a person. It really does! Over the years I’ve talked to people who have said, “if only I hadn’t gone to that place” or “If only I hadn’t been with him or her.” That may seem simplistic, but as you think about it you realize that statement is true.
Thursday – Paul tells Timothy that we need to pursue ”righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.” In terms of what you pursue or go after in life, does that describe us at all? We describe what each term means in terms of real life. They are not hypothetical concepts; they are real life traits of believers in Jesus Christ.
Friday – We close with a true story of a woman from Grand Rapids, Michigan who “followed” a man to Dallas, Texas. In her own words, she worshiped the false god of Miller Lite Beer! The Lord did something life changing in her soul. She said she went from “hopeless addict” to someone “living in the full hope of Jesus”. God can do anything in your life that He wants to do, just like He did in hers!
Week 7 – 11/23/2015
The Blueprint for Money
I Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19
This Week – I used to think that sex was the touchiest subject matter I could ever cover in a message. It’s not! Money is the most sensitive issue of your life and in the lives of people you know.It really is! The Apostle Paul gives us a real blueprint for dealing with money in our lives. What he tells us is amazingly applicable to our generation today. Truth is timeless, so is this admonition from First Timothy 6.
Monday – Tim Keller of New York City was planning a series of messages on the “Seven Deadly Sins”. His wife asked him if he was going to announce the topics ahead of time. He answered in the affirmative. She told him, “When you speak about greed, expect the lowest attendance of the series.” She was right! Money (greed for money) is the most sensitive subject of them all. We read the text that includes the admonition, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”
Tuesday – We refer to a book by John Ortberg, “When the Game Over, It all goes Back into the Box.” Remember playing the board games like “Monopoly”? That book title is a parable for life. When our lives are over, everything goes back into the box. We brought nothing into this world, the Bible says. And we take nothing with us!
Wednesday – Paul says that those who want to get rich, fall into temptation and traps that can actually “plunge them into ruin and destruction.” If you think that statement is strong, listen to one of the most offensive comments you’ve ever heard in a message about money. It’s a quote that I share in today’s program that may even seem like a slap in the face!
Thursday – Has money ever caused problems in your family or extended family? Most people can tell multiple stories of those very things. Paul says money can cause arrogance and cause people to put their trust in their money as the source of everything. What has the love of money done in your family? Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
Friday – We close with a story about a woman losing her mother in a suburb of Chicago. It’s a story that you have experienced, are experiencing now, or will experience. It will touch your heart about our attachment to things, rather than our attachment to the Giver of everything! The problem isn’t our “stuff”; it’s our relationship to the “stuff” that causes problems.
Week 6 – 11/16/2015
The Blueprint for Example
I Timothy 4:9-16
This Week – Example is an important concept in life. Chances are, you have benefited personally and even professionally from the example of others in your life. I know I have. All this week on CrossHope, we talk about the Apostle Paul’s admonition to Timothy about the 5 areas of life he was to be an example in to the people of Ephesus. This is good advice for parents, employers, teachers, and anyone who has any influence at all on other people. That includes both of us!
Monday – We begin by talking about a “hero” of mine in the ministry. He’s giving advice to a brand new minister who asked for his counsel. You will actually be blessed listening to what this man told a younger man. It will help you, it really will! This story sets up the reading of the text where Paul tells Timothy to be an example to the people with whom he ministers. Our example matters to the Lord, even if it doesn’t matter to us!
Tuesday – Paul begins by telling Timothy to put his hope in the Living God. Everyone puts their hope or trust in something or someone. It’s a dramatic moment in a man or woman’s life when they decide to truly put their hope in the Lord. That’s no small thing. Paul begins the list of areas to be an example in; the first is speech! Why? Speech reveals what kind of person we really are! Have you ever changed an opinion of someone, just by hearing them speak?
Wednesday – Speech not only reveals what’s inside our hearts, Jesus said we will either be condemned or acquitted by our words. It’s no accident speech was first in Paul’s list. Words have the power to “create reality” for people. Perhaps you carry emotional scars in your life because of the words of a parent or spouse. Then Paul mentions being an example in life, meaning day to day activity and behavior. The third area is love. How do you express love to those around you?
Thursday – The fourth area of example in life is faith. People notice what we say we believe and what we really believe. Sooner or later we reveal what we believe. Most people do. This may surprise you, but what you believe about the resurrection of Christ impacts how you treat people in your own family. The fifth area of life is personal purity. You won’t want to miss the story told at the end of this day’s program.
Friday – In every series I preach, there is usually one or two messages that stand out above the rest. This message is one of those to me. Your example is the way that you “hold the hands” of other people in your life. Paul closes by saying, watch your life and your belief system closely. Most people watch their Facebook page closely or perhaps their checkbook. What would happen if you and I really watched our life and beliefs closely?
Week 5 – 11/09/2015
The Blueprint for Discernment
I Timothy 4:1-8
This Week – The word “discernment” means the ability to perceive or distinguish things we encounter in life. On a spiritual level, discernment has to do with perceiving that which may be evil or the capacity to distinguish the spiritual forces around us. The Apostle Paul told a young minister named Timothy that everything in our world is “spirit driven”. That’s what we discuss this week on CrossHope!
Monday – We begin with an illustration of a fairly well-known American woman who states, “I have demons.” Although she didn’t mean it literally, it opens the discussion from our text about the demonic. In First Timothy 4, Paul tells Timothy that people will “abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons!” Really? We talk about what that means.
Tuesday – I talk about some of the best ministerial advice that I have ever received in my career, just 5 years ago. It was this: “If you’re going to talk to people about good, evil, and even the demonic, you better have an understanding of those things yourself.” Behind every teacher, preacher, author, and writer is a spirit. What would happen if we really believed that?
Wednesday – Have you ever thought about demons being responsible for curriculum or teaching? Paul says such teaching comes from “hypocritical liars whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” The word seared comes from the Greek word we get a medical term from, cauterize. People are able to teach falsehood without hesitancy because they lack the conscience to prohibit that. It would even carry over into what people ate and didn’t eat!
Thursday – Paul tells Timothy that if you warn the people of the church at Ephesus of these things regarding the demonic, you will be a good minister! He doesn’t tell Timothy to be successful, be an achiever etc., he tells him of the importance of warning believers of the spiritual ramifications of everything in our culture. Behind of every concept or philosophy in our culture is a sprit. It’s either a (the) Holy Spirit or an unholy spirit. That’s dramatic but true!
Friday – Rarely do I tell “animal stories” or illustrations. We close with a story told by a Christian attorney who works with people in conflict resolution. He witnessed a blind woman walking with a German shepherd dog. Out of frustration, she kicks the dog in the hind legs even though he was just trying to protect her. What happens next will touch your heart. We close with the refrain that everything in our culture is “spirit driven”. It really is!
Week 4 – 11/02/2015
The Blueprint for Relationships
I Timothy 5:1-8
This Week – It’s amazing that a book written nearly 2,000 years ago could speak to relationships in your life and mine, but it does in 2015! It’s the book called First Timothy, written by the apostle Paul to a young minister named Timothy who was serving in a place called Ephesus. In the passage we study this week on CrossHope, Paul tells Timothy how to relate to the older people and younger people in his life. I think it’s safe to say that you have older people and younger people in your life today. We all do!
Monday – It may seem odd to begin with an illustration about hell when talking about relationships, but maybe not. A professional counselor told me years ago that most people’s relationships can be described as one of three things: a blessing, a nuisance, or a hell on earth! That’s strong isn’t it? But is it possibly true as you think of the relationships in your life? We introduce the text today and talk about that very thought.
Tuesday – Paul divides the church demographically into four groups: older men, younger men, older women, and younger women. That’s pretty simple isn’t it? He then goes on to explain how you and I are to relate to those four groups. We treat older men as fathers and older women as mother’s, with the utmost respect. Then he says we treat younger men and women as brothers and sisters with absolute purity! What would happen if people really followed that admonition in 2015?
Wednesday – Knofel Staton is a man who went from being an air traffic controller at O’Hare Airport in Chicago to serving as a minister, college professor, and eventually college president! He believes that 85% of our difficulties in dealing with other people stem from a lack of knowing how to relate to people, including those in our own families! Listen to what he says about this issue. It may surprise you.
Thursday – Have you ever been on a cruise ship? I haven’t, but many of you have. We share a true story of a Trans-Atlantic cruise years ago where mealtimes were a specific 2-hour time frame. The author tells of a couple that would eat breakfast, sit in the dining hall lobby waiting for lunch, then go back to the lobby and do the same until dinner. They never left the dining room or its lobby the entire journey. He makes an application to people’s lives today! It may surprise you.
Friday – Relationships should matter to you and me, because they matter to the Lord! Max Lucado says the only things we will take to heaven are our relationships! He’s right. We close with a story of the greatest compliment a woman ever gave to a husband. No joke! You and I need to hear it and apply it to our lives. It may change your life to embrace this story into your life.
Week 3 – 10/26/2015
The Blueprint for Prayer
I Timothy 2:1-8
This Week – Most people look at prayer as something “religious” people do. It fits the template of what we call spiritual. And yet prayer is not just a religious activity, it’s communication with the Creator of the universe through His Son, Jesus Christ. That’s more than just a rite or ritual! The Apostle Paul gives us the blueprint for prayer by using four terms: requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving. Let it speak to you regarding your prayer life.
Monday – We begin with a story of Norman Vincent Peale visiting his grandmother’s house as a child with his brother. She would kneel at their bedside with a kerosene lantern in her hands. She prayed over her grandsons in a way that made a profound impression on his life. Who would remember your prayers? We read the text where Paul discusses prayer in a way that most people have never heard!
Tuesday – We share an illustration of a professional counselor talking about families having a need for “critical values”. He defined them as values that they won’t give up, no matter what happens in the culture. When asked for an example, he said, “prayer”. Unfortunately, many families in 2015 would never think of prayer as a critical value in their home. We look at the four words the apostle Paul uses to describe prayer.
Wednesday – The first word Paul uses is “requests”. That has to do with an acknowledgement of need. Is it ever difficult for you to admit a need in your life? The third word he uses is the word “intercession”. Intercession is when we pray on behalf of someone else. It’s the most important thing we do for our families. We explain why.
Thursday – The last word Paul uses is the word “thanksgiving”. It’s not a reference to a holiday in November; it’s an attitude of your heart! To give thanks is humbling! That’s why some people cannot say thank you to anyone. To say thanks means I acknowledge the role of other people and the Lord Himself in providing things in my life! Are you able to do that?
Friday – Paul closes the passage with asking people to pray without “anger and disputing”. Why? What does anger have to do with praying? You can’t pray as a chronically angry man or woman. Anger is that which blocks our capacity to pray to the Giver of life! Hidden anger and open hostility may have more to do with prayerlessness than anything else! Look at your own life to see that.
Week 2 – 10/19/2015
The Blueprint for Life Change
I Timothy 1:12-17
Life change is a term bandied about on the internet. There are many who offer suggestions for life change in a concept or philosophy. Some offer it in a product or an experience. Still others suggest it comes from a guru or modern day teacher. The Apostle Paul said it comes through the recognition of sin and the acknowledgment of the One who forgives! Have you experienced that kind of life change?
Monday – We begin with the story of a pride filled executive and his equally proud wife. It’s a funny story with serious implications. There is no room for pride in your life or mine when it comes to our need for forgiveness. We don’t come to the Lord saying, “Lord, You’re lucky to have me in the Kingdom of God”. We all come in humility or not at all.
Tuesday – Have you ever spoken of someone with a “past”? Every adult comes to the Lord with a past. In verse 13 of First Timothy 1, Paul speaks of his past before coming to Christ. It wasn’t very pretty. He said he was a blasphemer, a persecutor of the early church, and a violent man! He admitted he was a great sinner, but that Christ is the great Savior! Have you ever acknowledged those two realities in your life?
Wednesday – Even though the Apostle Paul acknowledged his sinful past, he also gratefully acknowledged the “grace of God” that was poured out on him along with faith and love that are IN Christ Jesus. That’s no small thing! Most people would like money, success, and things “poured” into their lives, but what we need more than anything is the grace of God!
Thursday – In Paul’s recollection of his past, he mentions that he was a “violent man”. Rarely, will anyone admit to be violent in their past. It’s just too embarrassing. And yet Paul admits to that and more, referring to himself as the “worst of sinners”. In the same verse though, he states that “Jesus came into the world for the purpose of saving sinners.” That verse includes you and me! If Christ could save Paul, why can’t He work in your life or mine?
Friday – We close with a powerful story from India how the God who forgives, also enables us to share with others and bless them. When God forgives us, He equips us to share that message with other people. Forgiven people want to share that forgiveness with others! It’s the most natural thing in the world. Radical life change is being forgiven and then sharing that blessing with the world around us.
Week 1 – 10/12/2015
The Blueprint for Love
I Timothy 1:1-5