Ministry Leadership

Learn to Discern Spiritual Junk Food

womanwithlolip-joseareyesWe live in a day in which we are continually being made aware of what we eat. We can hardly pick up a magazine or newspaper without seeing articles and ads that remind us to eat wisely, avoid junk food, and read the labels on cans and boxes before we purchase them to confirm that the contents will be healthy for us.

But how many of us are as concerned about our spiritual diets as we are about our natural ones? Are we using discernment in choosing the material we read, the Christian programs we watch and the ministers we listen to? Are we able to distinguish between the meat and the mixture, the holy and the profane?

Many people are so used to mixture that they have lost a taste for what is pure. Lavish displays and methods of presentation have come to be more important than what is being served, and the servers more important than what they serve. Those sitting down at the spiritual “table” reason: If it looks good and multitudes are eating it, then it must be OK.

Sadly, this is often not the case. Some of what we are eating is frighteningly unhealthy. Here are a few examples of the types of spiritual junk food we are being served, along with the meat from God’s Word that we should be eating instead.

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David Lamb: Is God Really ‘Angry, Sexist and Racist’?

david-lambEvangelical theologian David Lamb tackles some of the Bible’s most troubling passages in his book, God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament Angry, Sexist and Racist? His answer: yes and no.

The book has received mixed reviews in the Christian blogosphere, but Lamb was well-received when he recently spoke at a church here. Religion News Service sat down with Lamb, an Old Testament scholar at Biblical Seminary in Hatfield, Pa., to find out how believers’ long-held views of a wrathful Old Testament God might waver with his findings.

Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

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Heal Your Servant: Pastors Deserve Grace Too

Pastor-Prayer-Man- In-The-MirrorIn any city on this globe, a young man finds his way to an altar, committing his life to Christ. His genuine salvation develops into a deep heart desire to become a servant to both God and humanity.

After a season he feels divinely directed to a wonderful bible college, he later graduates and is on his way to answer the cry of a lost and dying world. Blessed with a beautiful wife, he works his way up the ministry ranks finding himself with his own pastorate.

Courageously, he takes on all of the challenges presented to him and soon, with no one to really talk to, he is encompassed by a nagging sense of isolation and insulation. As a leader, he can’t be totally candid with anyone. He loves serving others, but people begin to see him as super human.

Our adversary is ever so cunning.

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That Painful Thorn in Our Flesh Serves a Purpose

1f-trimm-prayforcefully istockphoto-juanmonino“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me...” (2 Cor. 12:7)

A thorn in the flesh is not the same for every person. But if you are a Christian worth your salt, you probably have a thorn in the flesh.

What may be yours may not be mine. What may be mine may not be yours. For some it is a handicap or disability. For some it could be unhappy employment—or even lack of employment.

It could be an enemy. It could be coping with unhappy living conditions. It could be a sexual misgiving. The list is endless.

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Take Authority and Declare God's Word

bible-bigBe proactive and decisive as you declare God's Word over your life.

“‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jer. 29:11, NKJV). God’s thoughts are of abundance and not lack. He wants you to live large and to bring you into a good life. Toward this end, He gives you divine inspirational thoughts and the ability to speak them into existence so that you will grow to fulfill His best plan for your life.

He wants you to mature in wisdom, authority and supernatural ability so that you can bear witness to the splendor of His kingdom. Your miracle is already in existence, but it is up to you to learn to see it and to call it out.

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Combat the Enemy With God's Heart

mike bickle1Deep within our hearts, where only heaven's eyes witness, we long to experience the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. We long to be lovers of God. This has been my dream and consuming desire for many years.

When I first heard God's promise to make me a fervent lover, it seemed too good ever to be fulfilled. Yet Jesus' words gave me hope: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind" (Matt. 22:37, NKJV, emphasis added).

He was saying that my heart could burn with love for Him. This is the supernatural power we long for that He has promised to give.

We often see ourselves as failures. But Jesus does not define us by our immaturity. He sees us as genuine lovers of God.

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