Category Archives: Church Life

A 5×5 Approach to Ministry

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When we are trying to minister to others, there is always more that needs to be done. Whether we are on the staff at a congregation, or a member just trying to help others to heaven, there always seems to be more people to reach than we have time to devote.

So…too often, we do nothing.

Instead of trying to reach people, we often make up excuses, fill up our time with other things, and do not reach out to anyone.

With that in mind, I am trying something personally that I think might encourage you. I call it “5×5 Ministry.” It’s not a new idea, but it is something I am just starting to try, and so far I really like the way it helps me stay a bit more organized in the “ministry” part of, well, ministry.

What is “5×5 Ministry”? I’m glad you asked.

5×5 Ministry is simply this: there are 5 things I want to try to do 5 times each week.

Here are the areas:

  1. Five Visits. These can be in home, in a nursing home or hospital, or I also include having people over to our house. Basically, this is a way to track face-to-face interaction. Also, personal Bible studies would be under this heading (and I hope it is at least one each week!).
  2. Five Cards/Letters. Personally, I am terrible that this, and this is the catalyst for “5×5.” I am trying to send cards or letters to people I see do something well, but not something that often gets credit. You may choose to send cards to the sick or shut-in, or anyone else who just needs some encouragement.
  3. Five Phone Calls. For me, these are most often to check on the sick, but you may have a different group of people in mind. Maybe it is inviting others to worship.
  4. Five Emails. I try to email 5 people each week with just a note of encouragement of some type. Sometimes, these are invitations to worship, as well, but usually they are more just a quick pick-me-up, or a quick “just checking in” type note.
  5. Five “Other Messages.” I include text messages or private Facebook messages here. Each week, I utilize these technologies to invite people to worship, especially late in the week (Friday/Saturday).

Here is what I’m using to keep track each week (click on the image do download a pdf card for your own use):

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At least one of these areas (maybe making visits) probably causes you to cringe, while another (maybe phone calls) just comes naturally for you. Personally, sending cards or letters is my hardest one. I am not a letter writer, but this helps me track my effort in that area of ministry, and trying to do just five each week is not too much to ask.

You may not have time to do all of these each week, but could you pick just 3 or 4 areas? Or, could you do all five, but just try for three of each?

Think about if an entire Bible class tried to just have a “3 x 5 Ministry.” How many people would be encouraged weekly? If your Bible class has 12 people, that would be a total of 180 contacts made each week, by just one Bible class.

What if an eldership did something like a “5×3 Ministry.” If you have 4 elders, that would total sixty points of contact…every week by the elders!

Maybe your family could try a version of this ministry. Your kids might want to try a “2×5” or a “3×3.” Whatever you choose, this is a simple way to keep track of your effort.

In reality, “5×5” is not about 25 personal points of contact each week. It is just something I am trying to help me keep up with how well I am really reaching out to others, and in various ways. Some weeks, I won’t get to 25. Some weeks I might make 10 visits, but only send 2 emails. It’s not about being perfect with “the grid,” it’s about reaching people.

I just pray this encourages us all to do that.

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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

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An Important Tip from An Eight-Year-Old

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Some sermons are heard and some sermons are seen. Human behavior can be extraordinarily moving and thought provoking. There were even times in the life of the Son of God when He marveled at the actions of certain individuals. He marveled at the faith of the centurion (Matt. 8:10). He marveled at the unbelief of His own countrymen (Mark. 6:6). And I believe He marveled when He saw the widow give all her livelihood at the Jerusalem temple (Luke 21:1-4).

It is with this in mind that I recall last Wednesday evening. Returning home from Bible class my young daughter traveled with me as we stopped to get a smoothie. We went inside and as they were preparing what we had ordered she saw the tip jar on the counter. Seeing a host of one dollar bills in the transparent container she asked me if this is how people paid for their drinks. I explained to her that tips are something given as a courtesy to say “thank you” for a service that has been provided. I told her it was just like when we go to the restaurant and leave cash on the table.

Before the words were out of my mouth she was already opening her change purse. My daughter always has at least one purse of some kind that has something in it. And she probably has a book or two, and a doll, and a stuffed animal, and the kitchen sink. She said, “I am going to give them a dollar.” I told her that would be very nice. She was so happy to give it. She knew it was an extra, that it was not required. She knew it was an open expression of thanksgiving. She knew it was an opportunity to bring joy to someone else. She gave it so freely and openly. I know her well enough that if it had been her last dollar, or if I had told her that people usually give a twenty, it would have been the same story.

As we left I had a similar feeling to the feeling I believe our Savior experienced with the widow and her two mites. My daughter had made no comparable sacrifice to the poor widow, but there was a resemblance according to the level of their faith. What makes a widow give her last penny? What makes a child give everything she has only minutes after she receives it?

Faith.

Faith in God that he will provide. Faith that the giving of something does not determine that we are losing anything. Faith that understands the importance of doing the right thing and not worrying about the end result. Faith that says it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).

While my heart was overflowing with warmth for my daughter, there was also a part of me that felt ashamed. I wish I could find within myself the simplicity that exists within the heart of an eight-year-old. We grow up and we begin to think that we actually own things. But we don’t. And then one day we will leave this place and find that the only thing we ever owned was the opportunity to make a daily choice concerning the stewardship with which we had been entrusted. And it will be in those moments, the moments of our decisions, that we will determine the success of our existence. Our earthly impact, and our eternal destiny, may be defined in essence by something as basic as our attitude toward transparent containers filled with a few one dollar bills.

“…Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3

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A Great Free Resource for Bible Students [Video]

Here is a recent Periscope I did on a wonderful and free Bible resource from Polishing the Pulpit. Enjoy!

(Video not playing? Click here.)

How To Lose Young People (in Three Words)

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There comes a time when we have to loose young people. At some point in their lives, they have to be on their own. 

Parents have to “let go” and let their children start their own families, careers, etc. Some secondary school, trade school, college, or university will be the last place of formal education for them. Home congregations will have had the last opportunity to instill truths from God’s word (at least on a regular basis) as they move on in life.

However, the cry heard from many quarters has little to do with loosing young people. Instead the cry from families, educational systems, and churches is:

“We are losing our young people.”

Parents lose sleep and shed tears because of some of the things their children believe and do. School systems struggle to merely keep order in a classroom; much less help students prepare for the real world when they graduate (or quit). Church leaders go into panic mode when there seems to be fewer young people attending worship services and Bible classes as has been the case in former times. 

Sadly, the “solution” proposed and practiced by many is actually a sure-fire way to totally lose the next generation (and generations to come). This “solution” can, as has been suggested in the title, summed up in just three words:

Cater to them.

Instead of being parents and having guidelines and rules for your family, cater to your children. Make sure they are always happy. Make sure they have everything they could ever want. Make sure that they, instead of you, call the shots. If you follow this advice, you will be well on your way to losing your children–and having more heartache than you can imagine.

Instead of demanding a certain level of behavior and competence in the school system, cater to the students. Make learning exciting and fun. Before long, there will be no more learning; only excitement and fun. We may not only lose our children as far as making a contribution to society is concerned, we may lose the society in which we hoped they would compete.

Instead of teaching our children God’s plan for marriage, the home, the church, worship, etc., cater to the least knowledgeable members of a congregation — regardless of their age. Why should an old, dusty book matter as long as people are finding what they think they want out of life? Let’s teach that “the here and now” is really all that matters. Whatever comes after that (if anything) will take care of itself.

The Bible has many examples of young people who stood for and practiced what was right; even when they had to stand alone or as a part of a very, very small group. They did this because of a deep faith in God. We will not run the risk of truly losing our young people to the world and/or to Satan if we help them to have a faith like them.

May God help us to do just that.

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A Legacy of Faith at PtP 2015

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It is about time for a highlight of our year: Polishing the Pulpit. This is an event that quite a few of us here at A Legacy of Faith look forward to each year. Though we rarely all get to attend for the entire week, we still love it.

If you are not familiar, Polishing the Pulpit is not just for preachers. Rather, it is a gathering of well over 3000 Christians in Sevierville, Tennessee and it features classes and lessons for elders, deacons, members, preachers, ladies, youth ministers, and young people (and more). To say it is uplifting would be an understatement.

Where We’ll Be Leading

This year, four members of A Legacy of Faith will be leading various sessions during the week. If you are coming to PtP, here are the sessions we will be leading (in chronological order):

SATURDAY, August 22

8:00AM: Donna Faughn, “Feel Like a Failing Mother? Throw Away that Perfect Mom Scorecard” (ladies only; Ballroom A)

10:00AM: Leah Faughn, “Parenting in the Pews: Training Your Children in Worship, from Newborn Up” (ladies only; Meeting Room A)

SUNDAY, August 23

9:30AM: Donna Faughn, “Heaven Will Surely be Worth it All” (ladies only; Ballroom A)

10:30AM: Adam Faughn, leading congregational singing at Sunday worship (Exhibit Hall 1)

5:30PM: Adam Faughn, leading congregational singing, “Old Favorites” (Exhibit Hall 1)

MONDAY, August 24

8:00AM: Adam Faughn, leading congregational “early morning worship in song” (Ballroom D)

1:30PM: Donna Faughn, “I’m Innocent! How to Deal with People Who Don’t Like You or Disagree when You Stand for What’s Right” (ladies only; Ballroom A)

1:30PM: Jim Faughn (as part of a “2-for-1” class), “Elders and Preachers–Rivals or Teammates?” (Ballroom D)

TUESDAY, August 25

1:30PM: Jim Faughn (as part of “Seven Minutes of Wisdom” session), “Employer-Employee or Shepherd-Flock?” (Ballroom D)

3:30PM: Donna Faughn (as part of “Seven Minutes of Wisdom for Preachers’s Wives” session), “Can You Give Me Some Pointers on Keeping My Toddler Quiet in Worship?” (Ballroom A)

6:25PM: Adam Faughn, leading congregational singing, “Learn Some New Songs” (Exhibit Hall 1)

WEDNESDAY, August 26

9:30AM: Donna Faughn, “Training Yourself to be an Effective Elder’s Wife” (ladies only, Hotel Deep Creek)

3:30PM: Donna Faughn, “Commitment is Key!” (ladies only, Ballroom B)

Follow Us on Social Media

Even if you are not attending PtP, we would love to let you know some of the things that are going on, and one of the best ways of doing that is to follow us on various social media platforms. We will send our pictures, quotes, and (hopefully) even live streams at various times.

Adam, Jim, Donna, Amber, and Jeremiah are all on Facebook. Search for us there.

On Twitter, follow Jim Faughn, Leah Faughn, Jeremiah Tatum, and Adam Faughn.

On Periscope, follow Adam Faughn (@faughn4).

For more information about Polishing the Pulpit, visit their website, or follow them on Twitter.

Using Periscope in Ministry

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I like technology. I am rarely an “early adopter,” but when I come across a particular technology that I like, I do my best to learn it and use it as best I can.

Recently, I have become enamored with Periscope, and today I want to share what it is and how it can be effectively used in ministry.

What is Periscope?

Periscope is, basically, a live-streaming app for your smartphone. Wherever you have your smartphone with you and have a signal, you can turn on the app and stream to anyone who would like to watch your broadcast.

The app is owned by Twitter, so the two are highly integrated. In fact, when you open a Periscope account (which is free, as is the app), you are asked if you would like to follow the same people on Periscope that you are following on Twitter. Unless you follow a very small number of people on Twitter, I would not recommend this.

When you follow someone on Periscope and that person gets ready to do a broadcast, you get a notification. If you would like to view their broadcast live, you simply click on the notification and there you go. You are watching the person live. If you cannot view the broadcast live, it remains available for 24 hours, so you can view it later.

During the broadcast, there is a social aspect to Periscope. Those who are viewing can leave a comment or question. In fact, those who are the best at Periscope interact with those who do these things. Also, viewers can tap their screen to give a “heart” to the broadcaster. This is similar to the “like” button on Facebook, but serves almost as a type of applause. Viewers can give as many hearts during a broadcast as they like, and the comments and hearts help motivate the broadcaster.

The app is smartphone only. In other words, you cannot view it on a computer. That is a major thing, in my view. The smartphone-to-smartphone connection makes the broadcast feel very intimate and relational, and since we are so often moving around, it makes sense to have such a technology only “on our hip” instead of on every device we own.

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 12.42.42 PMAmazingly, though Periscope is only a few months old, there are already 10,000,000 users. Many of those, however, only watch broadcasts, instead of creating their own broadcasts, or “scopes,” as they are sometimes called. I have nothing to base this on, but I think 2016 will be the year that this technology (whether it is Periscope specifically, or another app that does the same thing) takes off. Why? 2016 includes the Summer Olympics, and my prediction is that we will see a major growth of this technology integrated with coverage of the Rio de Janerio Olympics in late Summer.

Using Periscope in Ministry

Of course, a lot of people use this app for drivel. That’s the way it is with nearly any technology. But as Christians, I firmly believe there are a number of ways we can leverage this technology for ministry. Of course, some of these things overlap somewhat with social media outlets like Facebook or Twitter, but Periscope offers a much more personal touch, since you are seeing the person’s face in real-time.

Here are some ideas I have either done, seen done, or would like to see done utilizing Periscope:

1. Live-streaming Sermons/Classes. Many congregations look for ways to live-stream their services, but are not sure of either the technology needed or the cost. Periscipe answers both questions. It is free, and all the preacher or teacher has to do is turn on his app. (Just make sure you are using Wi-Fi, as Periscope is very heavy on a data plan.)

2. Baptisms. What a wonderful way to share the good news of a baptism from a youth retreat, Bible camp, mission trip, or other “off-site” event! Instead of only seeing pictures after the fact, people could actually watch the baptism as it happens.

3. Devotionals. Many preachers or elders send out daily or weekly devotionals to members of the congregation through email or Facebook. Periscope would let this be done, but the people could provide immediate feedback through comments and questions while he is speaking.

4. Previews and Reviews of Church Activities. I have used Periscope for this purpose already. When there is a big event or activity coming up at your congregation, jump on Periscope and give a “live” preview, or when the event is over, jump on a do a review of the day or the weekend. People are able to interact with you and share questions or share their own excitement about what is about to happen, or what has been done.

5. Missionary Reports. Want a free way to see the face of a missionary with no cost? Periscope provides a way for a missionary to report, and those who are viewing can leave comments or questions in real time.

There are, of course, many others ways this technology could be used, but these are few to get your gears turning in your mind.

One Word of Warning

Periscope is a great app. I really believe that this technology (whether it is specifically the Periscope app or not) is here to stay.

However, just because it is close to personal does not make it personal. Periscope, nor any other media outlet, can take the place of face-to-face conversation. In other words, use this technology, but don’t use it as an excuse to avoid hands-on ministry!

Resources

Periscope Website

“What I Love about Periscope” [blog post by Michael Hyatt]

“What I Hate about Periscope” [blog post by Michael Hyatt]. Hey, no technology is perfect!

“Top 10 Books” [YouTube video of a recent Periscope I broadcast]

“No Guilt Visitation” [YouTube video of another scope I have done]

…Oh, and if you are on Periscope, follow me @faughn4. See you there!

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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Receiving the Gift

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We have all heard the phrase, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Historically, it originates from the Bible. The apostle Paul was quoting the words of Jesus in his farewell to the Ephesian elders, and Luke by the guidance of the Holy Spirit wrote it down for our benefit. It would be hard to argue with this sentiment. For one, Jesus said it. And what’s more, as we get older we understand that there is much more joy that comes from being able to bless others than from serving self.

But every gift must have a recipient. Unless a gift is accepted graciously and thankfully, it cannot be given as the giver intends. Pride keeps so many people from being able to receive gifts from others. We think that anything we don’t earn is a sign of weakness. We want to be givers, but we won’t allow ourselves enough humility to admit that help is not only wonderful at times, but it is also necessary. Have you ever noticed how some Christians can no longer be instructed? Have you ever witnessed a child of God refuse a gesture of kindness? Not being able to receive a gift given freely and lovingly can be an indication that the person who is refusing has a heart problem.

So here are a few reasons to receive the gifts that come to us with thanksgiving and grace:

1. Because everything we have is a gift in the first place. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Gift getting is not new. It is nothing more than existing. God gave us the gift of life, which is why we are here. All material blessings come from Him. All spiritual blessings are in Him (2 Pet. 1:3).

2. Because the giver deserves to experience the joy of giving. Denying the gift is the same thing as denying the giver. Every gift comes at some cost to the one who has offered it. The giver had to desire to bless the recipient enough to make a sacrifice. To reject the gift is to ignore the effort of the body and the extension of the heart that has freely provided in order to bless.

3. Because receiving reminds us that we are imperfect. We have needs. We cannot meet all of our needs without help from someone else. You did not get your education on your own, someone taught you. You did not get your vocation on your own, someone hired you. You did not get your salvation on your own, Someone saved you! We need to remember that we are less alone and more with others. God made us in such a way that we are dependent. Our dependency helps us to appreciate His unfailing love and His matchless grace.

4. Because being a receiver turns one into being a giver. Of course, this depends on our attitude. If receiving creates entitlement we are lost. But if receiving breeds appreciation we are transformed. The ability we have to count our blessings can translate into a heart of service. This will lead to a supreme love for God and a sincere love for others, and ultimately to a healthy love for self.

The saddest thing that heaven ever witnessed was not the cross. It was not sin. It was not the degradation of the moral fiber of humanity that led to hatred and war and human destruction. The saddest thing that heaven ever witnessed was the rejection of Jesus. God loved. God gave. God sacrificed. God died. And the world said, “No.”

“He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” – John 1:11-13

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Tired of Carrying

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I am writing this as Donna and I are (hopefully) in the home stretch of moving from one house to another. By the time you read this, we will (once again–hopefully) be settled in at our new location. [Editor’s note: they are!]

As I write this, Donna and I are both very tired. We are tired physically, emotionally, and in other ways I’m probably too tired to think about. 

Before I got to my office this morning, I mentioned to Donna that I was looking forward to being able to walk somewhere without carrying something with me. For days now, I’ve been lifting, lugging, and tugging. At first, I didn’t think much about what the extra baggage was doing to me. As this continues to wear on, it continues to wear on me. 

I just want to be able to relax. If total relaxation is not in the picture (and it rarely is for us), at least I would like to be able to go about my business without carrying all of the extra stuff I’m having to carry now.

It occurs to me that the majority of people with whom I come into contact and the majority of people in the world have a similar, but much more serious, issue. Their lives are weighed down by sin. It may be, that at first, their particular sin and/or lifestyle did not seem to be that big of a deal. Now, however, they feel a constant burden. They would just like to be able to rest from the guilt they feel; the shame and embarrassment they have caused; and a general feeling of despondency and helplessness.

Some have tried dull the effects of their burdens with alcohol and/or other substances. To their dismay, when the effects of those substances wear off, the burdens are still there. In fact, they come to realize that they now have added another burden; the burden of dependency and/or addiction. 

Others have tried other means to find rest, comfort, and peace of mind. Some seem to have worked for the short term. None have or will work for the long term.

Are you one who is tired of carrying? Do you know somebody who is?

May I make some suggestions about the only way to find what you or they are looking for?

The Holy Spirit inspired the writer of Hebrews to challenge God’s people to “…lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely…” (Heb. 12:1).

The apostle Peter was inspired to those who had been “…born again to a living hope…” (1 Peter 1:3). He encouraged them to “[cast] all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

It was the Lord, Himself, who said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30, emphasis added).

During our time of transition, some good people have helped Donna and me by pointing us to ways in which the load was not as heavy as it otherwise could have been. They will never know how valuable that is or how special they are to us.

This experience has helped me to understand even more clearly my role as a Christian. If there is any way that I can help anybody see his or her need for a relationship with Jesus, I want to point them to Him. 

After all, it is only after a life of serving Him, that I can benefit from this wonderful promise that was recorded by the apostle John:

“And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds do follow them’” (Rev. 14:13).

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Reversing James 1:22

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It has been the subject of countless sermons and devotionals. It is simple in its wording, but profound in its meaning. It is James 1:22, where the half-brother of our Lord wrote, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

I do not want to detract from that verse one bit, but I want to suggest that we are living in times where we might be seeing the reverse of James 1:22 be the problem. We have a generation among us now who–rightly or wrongly–believe that the older generations have not been living out their faith. This younger generation is tired of meeting in church buildings and talking about reaching the world, but then not actually doing so, at least not consistently.

So, many in this generation are boldly stepping out and doing some amazing things. It is often breathtaking to consider the work that many in their teens and twenties are doing in the name of faith, and the places they are willing to go to help others.

However, too many of these workers are also basically saying that we need to be doers of the word and not hearers. In other words, they do not care about doctrine–even basic tenets of the faith–at all. So long as we are serving our fellow man in the name of Christ, He is pleased.

Certainly, we need to be serving our fellow man. The reaction of this generation is, in many ways, right. Christians have a tendency to get a bit too comfortable with just being around other Christians and never going where the true needs of lost people are. We need to be willing to learn from the example of this generation in that way.

But, there is another side to this. There is a key word from the words of James that this generation needs to keep in mind. Read the verse again, only this time one word will be emphasized: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

What is James saying? Is he only writing that we need to do the work that God has called His people to? While working is the major thrust of the verse, there is still hearing involved. There is still a doctrine to be held to and taught (cf. Jude 3). We cannot just do and teach anything we might like and be pleasing to the Lord.

The key is balance. Do we need to work more–and in more difficult places–in the name of our Lord God? There can be no doubt. But there is also a set of teachings that cannot be ignored. This should be a chance to avoid a generational clash; it should be an opportunity to learn more deeply and get about doing all the good we can.

Think of how the world will be changed when we get the hearing and the doing right!

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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

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“Wholesome Negativism”

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This past week while attending a ministers’ workshop I heard a preacher deliver a message on the Lordship of Christ. This brother, who is older and wiser and who has served in the kingdom for over 50 years, introduced to me a term that I had never heard before. After he first reminded us that saying, “Yes” to Jesus also means saying, “No” to self, he included that Christians need a good helping of “wholesome negativism.” Like I said, I have never heard it put exactly that way before. But after a few moments I began to understand what he meant.

We often shy away from anything that we deem as negative. We don’t like to hear negative comments or criticism. We don’t gravitate toward negative personalities. We don’t enjoy negative preaching or instruction. Let’s face it, human beings don’t like being told what to do, and this is especially true if the word “no” is involved. But we need boundaries. We need discipline. We need a love that sometimes says no.

Eight of the Ten Commandments are negative. 365 of the 613 laws of Moses’ day were negative. Right and wrong, yes and no, are just a part of life. We have to say no every day to: lying, cheating, stealing, pornography, filthy entertainment, immodesty, drunkenness, fornication, and everything else that is immoral or questionable. A distinguishing mark in God’s people, the church, is our willingness to say no when the rest of the world says yes.

Notice that negativism is not alone here, but it is qualified and aided by the word “wholesome.” Webster defines this as, “conducive to moral or general well-being; salutary; beneficial; helping to improve or keep the body in good condition; healthy for the mind or morals.” Negativity can be good for us if the reason behind it is pure. What a novel idea! Especially since we have gotten used to the objection in our culture that exclaims, “I have my rights!” I am frankly tired of the tenor of such statements. There is nothing attractive about selfishness. But the genuine discipleship of Jesus is attractive because it is the recognition that we willingly gave up our rights when we made Jesus both Lord and Christ (Luke 6:46).

No to self, however, does not mean less of self. There are no qualifiers in surrender. No to self can only ever mean giving up full control to someone else. That someone else is the One who first gave Himself completely on the cross. He is worthy of our sacrifice. We are not just submitting to anyone. We are surrendering all to our wonderful Savior. We are laying ourselves down at the precious wounded feet of the Son of God.

If the cross of Christ ever taught us anything, it taught us that what God’s grace wants is better and lovelier than what we want. And that is what makes Christianity the most beautiful thing we will ever do.

“Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. I ask today that you will help me to say no. Help me say no when I am tempted. Help me to say no to those things that draw me away from You and attach me to the world. Help me to say no to those who may cause me to stumble or fail in time and energy. Help me to say no to those who are under my direction who require Your guidance. Help me above all to say no to what I want and yes to want you want. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing…” – (1 Tim. 6:3-4a)

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