Thursday, August 1, 2013

My Purpose In Life

Occasionally, I receive from a dear sister one of her calendar devotionals that she reads each day. This one had to do with our purpose in life: “To know and love God, and everything else will fall into place if I make this my priority.”

How fitting and timely these often are for us.  Seeing the need always to work on me, I pray this will help us all develop into the type of people that God wants us to be.
Finding real purpose in life begins at the source: God and His Word.
While there are many psychologists and philosophers proclaiming through “self-helps” and “espoused doctrines” how to find purpose in life, the source of all life is God; therefore, it is imperative that we begin with Him.  John, the apostle, wrote of how we should view God and explains why we were created: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11). 
In most all philosophies and doctrines taught throughout history, there was a goal to reach such as self-worth, knowledge, etc., but we are reminded by the wise man, Solomon, that “in the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death” (Proverbs 12:28).  Solomon thus reminds us that there is a path to be chosen, and that will also determine our eternal destiny.  So, as sure as I need to realize my purpose in life, the choice I make will determine where I will spend eternity.  My eternal purpose in life is very important to consider!
The Psalmist wrote:
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers.  The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish” (Psalm 1:1-6, ESV). 
If we truly want to find our purpose, we must acknowledge that God has “a way” of life that is pleasing to Him.  As John wrote, “for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Therefore, we must consider that God’s way is “the” way, and it is a “better” way.  Consider what Isaiah wrote from God: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways may ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9, KJV).  
If our purpose is to bring honor, glory, and power according to John, then the way to do it will bring about blessings and prosperity according to the Psalmist. We honor Him when we obey (Hebrews 5:8-9). We glorify Him in the church (Ephesians 3:20-21). We are to submit to his power (authority) who is Christ, the head of the church (Ephesians 1:21-22).

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Be Patient, Establish Your Hearts

After the decision of the Supreme Court this week to overturn California’s Prop 8 and to rule DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) as unconstitutional, there is a definite "sigh" among those who want and desire to see this country take a stand for truth and morality. This is one more step along the way of the homosexual agenda to completely destroy the very fabric of God's design for the home.

Where does this leave the Christian?  What are we supposed to do now?  While evil is in our midst, does this really change the action and purpose of the church?  Absolutely not!  While James reminds us “be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the patient; stablish your hearts...” (James 5:7-8), we are also reminded by Paul the purpose of the church. 

“So that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him” (Ephesians 3:10-12).

Our purpose is also set by the Lord’s desire to seek and save that which is lost (Luke 19:10).  With these thoughts in mind, consider the following:

Orson F. Whitney wrote: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God...”[1]

Through our trials and tribulations, we are given opportunity to grow into the kind of people that God wants. The inspired writer, James, wrote: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

Establish Your Hearts
The apostle Paul sent Timothy to Thessalonica “to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith” (1 Thessalonians 3:2).  They had been warned that they would be tempted, and Paul worried about them sending Timothy to help teach, encourage, and comfort them.  Verse 13 (ASV) reads: to the end he may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.”  To the church at Rome, Paul wrote: 

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen” (Romans 16:25-27).

Through patience and establishing our hearts toward God and His Word, it is then only logical that we would begin to spread that Word.  After Jesus had told Nicodemus about His purpose of seeking and saving the lost, he spoke the Parable of the Pounds (minas).

“As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’  When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’ ” (Luke 19:11-27, ESV).

This great parable reminds us of the necessity of each to diligently use both the opportunities and abilities that God has given to us.  We must so establish our hearts being committed to the Lord enough to teach His Word to those who are “lost” (Luke 19:10).  We are also reminded of the judgment to come.  We will all “appear before the judgment seat of Christ...” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

With so much going on around us in this world, it is important to stay focussed on Christ and the goal of heaven (Philippians 3:14).  Never give up!  Be faithful to the end!  Endure, Establish Your Heart, & Evangelize The Lost.

[2] picture source:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

What Does Family Really Mean To Us?

It never ceases to amaze me how much family really means to us. Sometimes, it takes some absence to make us realize what we really have or are missing. The old adage often rings true: "absence makes the heart grow fonder;" but, only when there was a fondness to be missed. To me, it has become sweeter through the years to have my family closer to me, and I wonder if there is not a spiritual application to be seen in that. It seems that it is easier to be with family the more that we are with our families. We continue to grow in love toward each other.

It has been the case lately that as I study more about the family of God, I realize that it is much better for the family of God to be together than apart. The Hebrew's author wrote:

"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:19-25, ESV)

The idea that "closeness" not absence causes the heart to grow fonder may be more appropriate and truthful. 

Consider the following words and phrases from the text highlighted above:

  •   “enter” - We enter into the church by the blood of Jesus  who was sacrificed as our High Priest.
  •   “draw near” - We are admonished to draw near to Him with a true heart, having been washed (cleansed) by faith and baptism.
  •   “hold fast” - Cling to or hold close to the confession of our hope without doubting.
  •   “stir up one another” - Provoke one another to greater things like love and good works.
  •   “not neglecting to meet together” - This is where those who have entered in, drawn near, holding fast, and stirring one another have the opportunity to finally be close together in an assembly of a family worshipping together.
  •   “encouraging one another” - An amazing and needed result of such closeness and assembling together is the wonderful encouragement reciprocated to each other on each occasion we come together.

I have noticed over this last year especially that each time the church comes together, whether at worship services, fellowship meals, church outings, hospital visits, in-home visits, etc., we grow closer and closer with each other and with God as a result of our mutual encouragement and provoking.  When we apply verse 24, verse 25 is never a problem for those who love the Lord and each other.

Consider also 1 John 4:7-12, ESV:
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”

May we ever be drawn closer together with one another and to Him who first loved us.

~Wayne Rodgers

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Jesus, the Master Teacher

The book of John gives some insight as to the wonderful teaching of Jesus and the reaction of those around Him.  While He taught that His doctrine was from the Father, and He spoke by His authority, notice that chapter records the responses to that authority.

There were “his brethren” that did not believe in Him (John 7:5).
Those who murmured “among the people concerning Him” (7:12) and would not speak openly “of him” (7:13).
Those who marvelled (7:15) at His knowledge of Scripture.
Those who sought to kill Him (7:25).
Those who believed on Him (7:31).
Those who sent officers to capture Him (7:32).
Those who responded: “Of a truth this is the Prophet” (7:40).
Those who responded: “This is the Christ” (7:41).
Those who questioned: “Shall Christ come out of Galilee?” (7:41).
Those who knew the Scripture concerning the Christ (7:42).
Verse 43 shows that “there was a great division among the people because of him.”  Not much has changed today.  There are those who perceive Jesus as a good man, but will not follow Him.  There are those who say, “He was a prophet,” but will not listen to what He says.  There are those who know the Scripture concerning the Christ, and they logically can conclude that Jesus truly IS the Son of God.  Still there are those who would attempt to kill Him again, because Jesus exposes their error, as He did the Pharisees (7:33-34).
The truth is that there is much division, today. 
In this world, we need direction; Jesus is the Way (John 14:6).
In this world, we need knowledge; Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6).
In this world, we need salvation; Jesus is the Life (John 14:6). 
What is our reaction to the Master Teacher?
May it be like the officers who answered: “No one ever spoke like this man!” (John 7:46, ESV).  That should ever draw us to the fact that His words are meaningful to our lives.  May we ever respond properly to the Master Teacher when He calls us to obey His Word.
“The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me” (John 12:48-50, ESV).

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

MSOP Lectureship Day 2 & 3
It's been a busy 2 days, but I wanted to try to catch up on the MSOP Lectureship recap.  We have heard tremendous sermons from students preaching in chapel to start each day and ending with seasoned preachers like Dan Winkler & Tom Holland.  

Throughout the day, centered on the theme of what it means to be a New Testament Christian, we have heard numerous Gospel preachers present sermons on:

A New Testament Christian...
 Understands Restoration 
 Forgives Without Grudging
 Honors God In His Home
 Becomes God's Friend
 Trusts The Grace of God
 Worships In spirit and truth
 Loves Young People
 Respects The Authority of Young People
 Understands Prophecy
 Loves The Brotherhood

Dan Winkler's sermon: A New Testament Christian Believes The Simple Plan of Salvation is truly a gem of a lesson, as always.  Follow the link:

Tom Holland's sermon: The Church To Which  A Christian Is Added is a "Holland" masterpiece.  Follow the link:

All the sermons can be found at the following link:

These are just a few highlights from the last two days of lectures.  What a spiritual feasting and opportunity for refreshing and spiritual renewal.  May God bless you as you listen to these lessons, as well.

Monday, April 1, 2013

MSOP Lectureship Day 1

We are at the Memphis School of Preaching Lectureship this week, and it has truly been a wonderful day of worship, fellowship, and spiritual renewal.  We are so blessed to be able to be here this year.  The Gulf Breeze church of Christ has taken care of all of our needs so we could be at the Lectureship.  We are ever so blessed to be a part of that wonderful family of Christians on the Gulf Coast of Florida.  

The Day's recap:
David Sain began this morning with an amazing lesson introducing Jesus as "the Object of the Christian's Faith." 

Barry Grider preached during the morning's worship hour a lesson entitled: "Why I Am A Christian."  Brother Grider's lesson was very motivating for me as a Christian and a Gospel preacher being ever reminded of the responsibility to teach the Gospel to a lost and dying world.

Paul Sain preached this evening reminding us and challenging us that A New Testament Christian ... "Contends For The Faith."  This was a powerful lesson from Jude. 

We look forward to a great week at the Lectureship!

Helpful Links:

Watch the Lectureship live or check out the archives here:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Teaching His Truth In Love

In the letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul writes of unity based on a platform of seven “ones” (Eph. 4:1-6) and the purpose and length of spiritual gifts (vs. 7-16) for the benefit of the early church in its work.  In verse fifteen, we find a passage coupling the idea of truth and love together.  “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”
Ephesians 4:15
While the phrase “speaking the truth” is found in the original to be “truthing in love,” it is the opposite of what is found by deceivers lying in wait (v. 14).  “Truthing in love” brings forth the idea that not only what we speak, but how we deal with one another as Christians is important to God.  In verse fifteen, the apostle Paul joins Truth and Love together.  There have been plenty of examples where truth without love & compassion for a soul has been expressed with a harshness that has left the hearer (whether a Christian or not) repelled, revolted, and now “hell-bound” as a result.  On the other hand, there have certainly been instances where because of love (so-called) trying not to hurt one’s feelings, the truth was never stated, taught, preached, or even seen in example.  Both extremes should be avoided and a healthy balance should be sought.  

Near the end of this chapter, Paul writes: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (v. 29).  Paul continues to admonish his readers with: “and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (v. 32).

In the next chapter, Paul sums up his thoughts and writes: “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love...”  So, not only our speaking, but our walking must be coupled together with love.  We do so for the spiritual maturing of the church, as well to be a “sweet-smelling savour” unto God.
~Wayne Rodgers

Thursday, January 24, 2013


A man deviously joined the orchestra of the emperor of China. For years, he posed as a flute player even though he couldn’t play a note.  Then the emperor requested a solo performance from each of his musicians.  The imposter tried everything to evade the king’s request.  Seeing no way out, on the day he was to perform, he committed suicide, giving rise to the saying, “He refused to face the music.” (Excerpt from Pure Religion: A Study of James by David Bragg.)  

This reminds me of many, today, who refuse to face the facts:
Ephesians 4:4-6 teaches us that…

…There is ONE Body
  • This is obviously the church as listed in Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23.  Christ promised to build His church (Matthew 16:18-19) and accomplished it on the 1st Pentecost after His resurrection, adding the saved to it (Acts 2:47).

…There is ONE Spirit
  • The third member of the Godhead who dwells in the church (1 Corinthians 3:16) giving it life (John 6:63). One Spirit means only one Word and one Doctrine revealed to man through the apostles and inspired writers (2 Peter 1:20-21).

…There is ONE Hope
  • The hope of the world is eternal life (Titus 1:2) and salvation through Jesus Christ.  He has promised eternal life (1 John 2:25), and we can have assurance of it by the writing of the apostles (1 John 5:13, 20). 

…There is ONE Lord
  • Jesus Christ is Lord of all (Acts 10:36) made such by God (Acts 2:36).  He has been given all authority in heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18).  Paul acknowledged Jesus as Lord (Acts 9:5-6) and then later referred to him as “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15).

…There is ONE Faith
  • While there are many “faiths” in the world in which man believes, there is only one Faith that can and will ever save him.  Faith in Jesus Christ is not someone’s personal faith, but rather a system of faith (Ephesians 2:8; Jude 3) (the Gospel) whereby man may appropriate the grace of God by obedience to the words, commands, etc. of Jesus Christ (Acts 6:7; John 14:15).

…There is ONE Baptism
  • There had been other baptisms in past times: Unto Moses (1 Corinthians 10:1-3); John’s baptism (Acts 19:1-5); Of suffering (Matthew 20:22-23); Of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11) fulfilled in Acts 2, 10.  There will be a baptism in the future of fire (judgment, Matthew 3:10-12).  But, at the time of Paul’s writing (approximately 62 A.D.), there was but one baptism: Jesus commanded it (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16); It is in water and for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 8:36-39; 22:16); It is a burial (Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:3-4); and it is for salvation (1 Peter 3:20-21).

…There is ONE God, Father of all
  • One God, the Creator (Father) who is the basis for all unity “above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:6).  He must be known and acknowledged as “the only true God” (John 17:3).  He is the God of the Jews and the Gentiles (all of mankind) (Romans 3:29-30). “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever.” (1 Timothy 1:17).

There is also coming a day that we must each face.  Try as one may, there is no way to escape it.  “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).  Each must appear before “the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10).  While the facts above are certain as evidenced by Scripture, we must believe them and practice them.

God has for all a plan of redemption that includes the above-mentioned verses from Ephesians.  May we ever be obedient and proclaim it wherever we go, motivated by the fact that we must face the music!
~Wayne Rodgers