Category Archives: SOAP

The Burden of Being a Leader

Jeremiah 28:15-16

15 And Jeremiah the prophet said to the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie.16 Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will remove you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have uttered rebellion against the Lord.'”

God calls leaders and teachers to a higher standard. It’s a responsibility, a calling and a burden.

Roughly 13 years ago I felt God calling me into ministry. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but I knew it’s what God was preparing me to do. As I learned more about what it meant to be a leader and what God’s standards are for leadership, the fact that leaders are called to higher standard.

The words that we speak as leaders  are words that people live by. As leaders in the church we are looked at as the mouthpiece of God, so when we speak people hear them as the word of God. Man, what a responsibility. What if I mess up, what if I’m wrong, what if that “feeling” from God that I had was just bad Chinese food?

My prayer is that by the grace of God, I will be sensitive to His voice and that the words that I speak would always be the words of God. I pray that I never forget the significance of the call that God has placed on my life and never take for granted the fact that God uses me to be his mouthpiece to His children. Thank you God for the grace you give and privilege of being your child.

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God Always Comes Through

Joshua 23:14

14 And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.

Some of Joshua’s final words to Israel were to remember that God’s promises always came true. None of God’s promises failed them.

I can imagine that the people of Israel were sitting there listening to Joshua and at first disagreed because God’s promises probably didn’t look like they came true. It’s like when we ask God to give us patience and God puts us in situations that we need to be patient. We get upset that God put us in those situations, but the reality was that God was fulfilling his promise to us.

In the same way the people of Israel at first probably looked back at how God and worked in their lives and then at a second look realized that Joshua was right. God did always follow through on his promises, even though it may have not looked like they had thought. In the same way it’s important to look back in our lives and remember where God has fulfilled his promises to us. It may not have turned out like we had originally imagined it would, but when we stop to look back, we’ll realize that God always keep His promises.

God, thank you for keeping your promises. Even though it may not look like it, you always come through. Thank you for loving me and faithful to me, even though I don’t deserve your love.

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Witnesses, Icons and Reminders

Joshua 22:26-27, 34

26 Therefore we said, Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice,27 but to be a witness between us and you, and between our generations after us, that we do perform the service of the Lord in his presence with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and peace offerings, so your children will not say to our children in time to come, You have no portion in the Lord.

34 The people of Reuben and the people of Gad called the altar Witness, For, they said, it is a witness between us that the Lord is God.

The people of Rueben and Gad created an altar, not to worship other god’s like the Israelites thought, but to be a reminder to everyone around them and future generations about their commitment  to follow and worship God.

I have several crosses, and a bunch of different youth ministry pictures in my office. They’re not just there for decoration, but they are there as witnesses and reminders of what God has done in my life.  I believe it’s important to set up different “altars” or witnesses in our lives, not as things to worship, but as reminders to ourselves and others about our worship and devotion to Christ.  I know that the church sometimes looks down on having these witnesses or icons because people can think that there is actually power in those icons. The reality is that the only power is in the God that they represent and remind us of. So what are some of your witnesses or reminders?

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Don’t Cause Stumbling

1 Corinthians 8:9-10

9 But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.10 For if others see you—with your “superior knowledge”—eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol?

Even if you believe that an act is not a sin, others may not interpret the scriptures like you do. So be careful to not cause others to lose faith and go against their beliefs in Christ through your actions.

I need to watch my actions.I don’t want to want others to get the wrong view of Christ or the wrong view of my perspective of Christ through my actions. It defeats the purpose of living out what you believe the Bible says, if you in turn make other go against their own beliefs in the Bible in order to do what you want. We want to work to draw other believers closer to Christ, not draw them away.

God, help me to be an encouragement to other believers. Help me to watch my actions so that I don’t cause another believer to stumble in their faith.

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Skin Disease, Mildew and A God of Second Chances

1 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 2 “If anyone has a swelling or a rash or discolored skin that might develop into a serious
skin disease, that person must be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons. 3 The priest will examine the affected area of the skin. If the hair in the affected area has turned white and the problem appears to be more than skin-deep, it is a serious skin disease, and the priest who examines it must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean.

4 “But if the affected area of the skin is only a white discoloration and does not appear to be more than skin-deep, and if the hair on the spot has not turned white, the priest will quarantine the person for seven days. 5 On the seventh day the priest will make another examination. If he finds the affected area has not changed and the problem has not spread on the skin, the priest will quarantine the person for seven more days. 6 On the seventh day the priest will make another examination. If he finds the affected area has faded and has not spread, the priest will pronounce the person ceremonially clean. It was only a rash. The person’s clothing must be washed, and the person will be ceremonially clean. 7 But if the rash continues to spread after the person has been examined by the priest and has been pronounced clean, the infected person must return to be examined
again.
8 If the priest finds that the rash has spread, he must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean, for it is indeed a skin disease. Leviticus 13:1-8

If someone was found to have a skin disease or later on in the chapter have mildew on their clothes it was to be brought to the priest to determine if it was unclean or clean. If it was determined unclean then that person or piece of clothing was put into

quarantine to see if it got better, if it did, it was clean, if it didn’t it was deemed unclean.

Usually when I read the book of Leviticus, this is one of the chapters that I skip over. Really, who wants to read about skin disease and mildew? But today I decided to read it and something huge struck me. in each case whether it was a rash, or skin disease or

mildew, when the item or person was brought to the priest for inspection and determined unclean it wasn’t immediately destroyed. Instead it was taken out of it’s normal environment for a period of seven days and put into quarantine. If at the end of the seven days it was better or healed, it was said to be clean.

This got me thinking about how God deals with us. When we come to God we dirty, unclean people, looking for God to give us a sense of belonging and assurance that we are ok. It isn’t until God helps us identify what is wrong in our lives and pulls us out of those situations that the healing begins. Once the healing begins we are God deems us clean and we able to participate in community. We are no longer put into isolation, but we given another chance.

God, thank you for being a God of second chances. You could easily destroy us for all we have done, but you have chosen to love us and give us another chance. Help me to use the time you have given me to be a blessing to others and to you.


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Faith In Unstable Times

isaiah-scroll.lS – 14 “You have said, ‘What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands or by trying to show the Lord of Heaven’s Armies that we are sorry for our sins? 15 From now on we will call the arrogant blessed. For those who do evil get rich, and those who dare God to punish them suffer no harm.’”16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name. 17 “They will be my people,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “On the day when I act in judgment, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child. 18 Then you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” (Malachi 3:14-18)

O – The blessings for those who fear and honor God are eternal treasures, not physical wants.

A – We’re living in an unstable time right now. It seems that the best laid plans of the most righteous and honest people are falling apart while the dishonest and immoral are flourishing. We all know people in this situation, I can name three four or five without really even thinking about it. As we look to God to make sense of it, all we get is a story about Him having a list of the righteous and how we will be blessed. On one hand it’s encouraging to know that God has eternal blessings for us, on the other hand, it’s hard to watch others prosper.

P – God, I try to have faith that you’re in control. Help me to keep doing your will. It’s hard, but I know that your way is ultimately the best. Thank you for providing for me, not necessarily all of my wants, but all of my needs.

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Good Leader/Bad Leader

LEADSS – 22 For the third time he demanded, “Why? What crime has he committed? I have found no reason to sentence him to death. So I will have him flogged, and then I will release him.” 23 But the mob shouted louder and louder, demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their voices prevailed. 24 So Pilate sentenced Jesus to die as they demanded. (Luke 23:22-24)

O- Pilate went against the decision that he knew was right because of the pressure of the crowd.

A – When I think of a sign of a strong leader, I think of someone who makes the decisions no one else wants to make and sticking with the reasons for those convictions. A leader does what they know is right regardless of the view of others. Strong leadership is blessed when it is used, weak leadership is not.

Pilate was put to the test in his life as a leader when Jesus was brought before him. He had the choice whether to stick to his convictions and make the decision no one else wanted to make, or to follow the crowd. Pilate failed and we don’t really hear anything else about him in history.

Jesus on the other hand said the things that no one else wanted to say and his name is forever in history for it. It’s interesting when that strong leadership is remembered it’s for the good decisions, weak leadership is remembered for the bad decisions.

P – God, help me to make the decisions that make me a strong leader. Help me to not follow the crowd, but follow the heart and mind that you gave me.

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