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Posts Tagged ‘Carpenters for Christ’

Hiatus is over…back to task!

The following is the start of a new Bible study series that I’ll title For Your Information. I call it that, because the verses we’ll be covering in the New Testament are all chapter 4, verse 11…in other words, 4-1-1 (the number you dial for information on the phone). God pointed out some interesting observations to me on some of these verses thus far, not the least of which was the Scripture reference of 4:11. So come along with me as we start this study in Matthew; I pray God blesses you through it.

Matthew 4:11 “Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.”

“Oh, the devil doesn’t bother me.” Really? Then you must not be doing something right…

On our most recent Carpenters for Christ mission trip, we knew the devil was against us. Not on our most recent trips had we encountered ALL these distractions:
• Trouble with not all the materials being ready for the building
• Rain delays
• One Carpenter’s father-in-law died in a tragic truck accident not a couple of days before his son-in-law was to leave on the mission
• One Carpenter was delayed a day because his mother fell and had to be hospitalized for observation (she was later discharged, just banged up thank the Lord!)
• One Carpenter, who wasn’t able to come, went home to be with the Lord.
• One Carpenter had to leave early due to his daughter being hospitalized.
• One Carpenter had surgery on his foot at the last minute.
But despite all the devil threw at us, He who is with us is greater than he who was against us. Jesus blessed our mission and the building went up. He sent us just the number of men we needed, and even was in the rain to cool off some hot June temperatures. He was glorified!

You know, we can’t beat the devil by ourselves…but Jesus can. He already won that encounter in Matthew, and will never lose to the devil. You may be facing hardships right now yourself; I know of some good friends who are in Dallas consulting a specialist for the wife’s back injury that has been most debilitating. But they know God is there.

So, for your information, in the matchup of Jesus vs the devil…Jesus ALWAYS wins!

Something to think about today.

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Verses 11-12: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,”

I marvel at the miracles I get to see when I’m participating in Carpenters for Christ mission trips. You see, not everyone is a carpenter by trade; our main leaders on the jobsite are experienced contractors/builders. Some of us have specialized skills that God uses. For examples, most of our men can’t wire a building…that’s up to the electrician on our mission who has the skills, experience, and know-how to show others how to wire the building for electricity. Not all of us know how to hook up plumbing…that’s up to those men on our team who have that knowledge, experience, and skill. Some of us (like me) couldn’t drive a nail with a 10-pound hammer! 🙂 However, God uses my abilities with video equipment and computers to record the mission, assemble the story on a DVD, and use it to tell others about the mission purpose (whether it’s to those who benefitted from the mission or prospective churches in the future who have the right to ask, “do you know what you are doing?”)

God equips us as to His purpose. Not everyone is a Billy Graham. Not everyone is a Tony Evans. Not everyone is an Amy Grant or a Sandi Patti or a George Beverly Shea. Then again, not everyone is a Scott Smith or a Richie Ashburn or a Dexter James. Not everyone is a Gene Harden or a Rebecca Patrick or a Carlvin Shirah or a Wason Carroll or a Jeff Brogdon. And not everyone is my wife or is me. Do not envy others as to what they can do; it’s okay to compliment them on what they do (especially if they do it for the Lord), but praise God that they use their gifts for God. Thank God for the gifts He has given you, and make sure you use those gifts for “the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”.

Happy Easter!

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Verse 27: “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

On one of our Carpenters for Christ missions not too many years ago, we had some trouble with the showers where we were staying. Our host allowed some of us to use the local showers at the high school that day. After a hot day working, sweating all day long, we all eagerly and quickly grabbed shower stuff to hitch a ride on the truck going to the high school. Man, that hot shower felt good! (the problem with our showers where we were staying? Well, they had two temperatures: Arctic and Antarctic…oh, they were cold!)

Well, after the shower, I made a sad realization; although I took enough time to grab clean towels, clean washrag, and clean underwear, I forgot to grab a clean t-shirt and shorts! So, after the shower, I had to ride back to where we were staying in the same sweaty, stinky jeans and shirt I had peeled off earlier! Ugh, you can imagine how it felt to be clean and put on dirty clothes!

Yet, that’s what we do spiritually when we accept Christ and try to live in our old sinful ways. It’s akin to being baptized in Christ (the shower and His robes) and trying to put on our old self (the dirty clothes). The more we live for Christ and die to self, the more we reject trying to put on those old dirty clothes.

Make sure each day, you pray and ask Jesus to forgive your sins, and to try to live for Him and die to self. Best shower you’ll ever take!

Have a blessed day in Him!

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Verse 10: “They only asked us to remember the poor – the very thing I also was eager to do.”

We often ask church candidates (when our Carpenters for Christ interview team is asking about their mission needs), “Would you do this project without our help?” Most times, if they say “Yes.”, that’s an indication that they can afford the labor costs. One of the goals of our Carpenters group is “constructing church buildings to the Glory of God for churches in pioneer areas that can afford the materials, but not the labor, for much needed facilities to reach people for Christ.” (from the About page at http://www.eastalcfc.org/ ). Many of these Christian building ministries (Carpenters for Christ, Builders for Christ) and other Christian ministries help churches who are not as financially well-off as others. They aren’t poor in spirit…just poorer in the pocketbook sometimes.

Paul and the Jerusalem leadership both had the poor in mind. The Jerusalem’s leadership only request of Paul was to remember the poor. Paul did that through the offerings raised in the Gentile churches, thus “Such giving promoted love and unity among the Gentile and Jewish Christians.” (from the Holman New Testament Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, & Colossians, page 22).

Financially, Jesus walked this earth with just the clothes on His back. He was very cognizant and aware of the needs of the poor, and ministered thusly. It’s a responsibility we Christians have: ministering to the poor. It’s something we need to remember daily, wherever we go.

Something to think about.

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verses 30-34: “I passed by the field of the sluggard, And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense; And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles, Its surface was covered with nettles, And its stone wall was broken down. When I saw, I reflected upon it; I looked, and received instruction. “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest,” Then your poverty will come as a robber, And your want like an armed man.”

In the sci-fi classic The Thing from Another World, the head scientist of the polar expedition, Dr. Carrington, is pleading an argument with his fellow scientists and the military supply unit; they are beset by an alien from another world that has crashed nearby. The being feeds on blood, and has killed sled dogs and 2 of the scientific team. Carrington wants to save it, despite its aggressive murderous intentions. He argues, “think of what we can learn from it”. I think the classic reply came from the reporter, Ned Scott, who tagged along with the military, when he said, “what can we learn from that thing, except a quicker way to die?”

In reading the above passage from Proverbs 24…what can we learn from the sluggard?

God made us to work, to do. There is a satisfaction gained from work and labor, even more so when it’s done for our Lord. My father, who is the foreman of our Carpenters for Christ group, once mentioned in testimony of his ability to get up without an alarm clock and get to work, no matter how early it might be. “That doesn’t normally set well with most people”, he joked. “I figure, if we’re supposed to get 8 hours of sleep…well, that’s 1/3 of your life you slept away.” His point, of course, was, when there is work to be done, it’s best to get up and do it.

This is not to say rest isn’t important, or that leisure is to be totally done away with. It is good, all in its place and time. But when it is time to work, it’s best to put our hands to the plow, and get going. So, is there work you need to do for the Lord today?

Something to think about.

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verses 3-4: “By wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; And by knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches.”

One of the things that amazes people when our Carpenters for Christ group goes on a church building mission trip, is when they find out that not all of our mission crew are carpenters. Our leaders are experienced carpenters/builders, from the foreman to our individual team group leaders. The bulk of our group come from many other non-builder walks of life. So we are reliant on their experience and building knowledge to “put the house up right”.

Even when a young couple gets married and starts out establishing a home, they have sources of wisdom to rely on, such as parents and the families they came from. It is key that you rely on the proper sources of wisdom to build a house (whether a home or a church building). So who is your architect? 🙂

Something to think about.

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verses 1-3: “Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.”

I had mentioned earlier the missions I go on every year with the Carpenters for Christ. My particular job is being the videographer (or as they have called me, the picture-taker!) I record the progress of the mission, from start to finish. I also do interviews and shoot footage that will help “tell the story”. I assemble and edit this all together into a presentation, which is normally ready by our end-of-year banquet. Besides being a keepsake of the mission, it also serves as “proof” to show others what we do. A church that our interview group talks to for the following year’s mission has just as much right to ask, “What have you done?” or “what do you do?”…”Here, let us show you,” and then they play the presentation.

I could easily talk about our missions every time someone asks about them. For those who live close to the particular church building we helped to build, they can see the evidence in front of them. But, for those who may never get to physically travel to the church buildings we help build, they can see the proof through the presentation.

That’s similar to our Christian lives. Paul is telling the Corinthians “you are our letter”; they are the proof of the ministry. As living proof, we need to be true to Jesus’ call to “make disciple makers” so that the whole world will know the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is one thing to say you are a Christian…it is quite another to live it…every day.

Have a blessed day!

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