“He….encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.” Acts 11:23
Failure Is An Event – Not A Person!
During Times of Failure We Must Remember The Greatness of God
Note: The greatness of God is the primary factor in ministry – it is not ministry if God is not in it!
– Psalm 145:3: “Great is the Lord…His greatness is unsearchable.”
– Daniel 3:17: “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us.”
– If we do not expect the greatness of God to be exhibited in our ministries, then we
have failed and should quit. We are only weak vessels.
– God always know what we need and when we need it. Through His greatness He
met each of the needs of Moses, Elijah and Moses, but not until He had them
where He wanted them.
– He had Moses in the desert, Elijah in a cave and Jonah in the belly of a great fish.
Is that any way to treat your star players? Sign them to a contract and then put
them on the bench? Only if you are a great God at work in the lives of your own.
1. The greatness of God in the life of Moses in giving him relief – a remedy for his feeling of failure. It only took three days for Moses to go into deep depression and feel like a failure. Israel was repeating their whining and murmuring. Last time they had no water or food. This time they had food (manna) but they wanted better food. His feelings of failure surfaced because nothing seemed to please the people. They weren’t getting fed! I have heard that in church a few times! Moses felt that the weight of the whole problem was solely on his shoulders (and he left the riches of Pharaoh’s house for this?). He had lost sight of God’s promise (ex. 33:14) that His presence would go with Him, and that he would drive out the enemies from the promised land (Ex. 34:11). But, at his lowest ebb, we see the greatness of God in giving Moses just what he needed – more help! God instructed Moses to select 70 men and He would give them a portion of Moses’ spirit to assist in bearing the burden of his leadership position. Sometimes we need to take a good look at the bigger picture and be reminded that the Lord’s work is not our work alone! We might just need to look around us and involve others to help us. God gives to the church just the help that is needed, eventhough we might have to train them.
2. The greatness of God in the life of Elijah in giving him rest and refreshment. Physical and spiritual exhaustion are often pre-emptors to feelings of failure. Great victories take great strength! Mount Carmel had drained Elijah of every ounce of energy that he had. Then he ran twelve miles to Jezreel. Then he traveled some 100 miles to Beersheba where he left his servant behind and traveled yet another day’s journey into the wilderness. In all he traveled some 135-140 miles and that makes me exhausted just to think of it, especially not having our means of travel today.
3. The greatness of God in Jonah’s life – in giving him restoration to ministry and renewed desires. Every servant of God should praise Him for this gracious accommodation by the heavenly Father because we all get off track occasionally. The miracle is that God doesn’t give to us what we deserve but still wants to use us even when we don’t want to be used! The greatness of God is revealed in how He DIDN’T let Jonah die but miraculously spared his life. In Chapter one it is mentioned three times that Jonah went “out from the presence of the Lord” (vs. 3,10). Jonah not only wanted to quit, he didn’t even want to start! he insisted on dying. He pleaded with the mariners to throw him overboard because he knew he was the reason for the storm. In running from God his whole life was a spiral downwards-he went down to Joppa, down into the ship, down into the fish’s belly, and finally, down into the sea! I never cease to be amazed at the means God uses to get us back on track. It also amazes me that God only had to speak to the fish once and he obeyed – but He had to speak to Jonah twice! I see the greatness of God in several miracles that took place in Jonah’s life: (a) there was a great fish to swallow him! (b) God had the fish pointing in the right direction when he threw Jonah up! (c) Jonah was special delivered alive – either the fish was close to shore or he was a good spitter! (d) Jonah’s sermon is still the shortest sermon on record with the greatest results ever – 100%! God had put Jonah right where He wanted him and made him willing! He prayed (2:1); he renewed his vow (2:9); and he arose and went (3:3). Only a great God could do this and sometimes he does the same to us!
– During times of failure we must not forget the purpose of our call.
– Helpful texts for desperate times.
Maynard H. Belt
Mich. Assoc. of Regular Baptist Churches
Andrew Murray (1828-1917), going through a very painful experience in his life, penned these words for himself. Maybe they can encourage you today:
“First, He brought me here, it is by His will I am in this strait place: in that fact I will rest. Next, He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace to behave as His child. Then, He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow. Last, in His good time He can bring me out again-how and when He knows. Let me say I am here….by God’s appointment, in His keeping, under His training, for His time!”
God goes deeper than our deepest valley, is larger than our largest trial, brings light to our darkest hours, and is always at His best when we are at our lowest. Stay in the Word, search and guard your heart, and trust in the days ahead as you have in days past. God may be up to something that you would have never thought. John 15:7 Psalm 57:1
We Don’t Have Enough Money To Take on Missionaries!
From: Volume 50, Number 8, September – 2004 Issue of the Baptist Testimony
Maynard H. Belt
MARBC State Representative
The World Factbook tells us, as of July, 2004, that we have a world population of approximately 6.4 billion souls, 28.2% of which are 14 years and under, 64.5% of which are 64 and under, and 7.2% 65 years of age and over. The estimated birth rate is 20.24 births per 1,000 population while the death rate is 8.86 per 1,000 population. Nearly one out of four over age 15 cannot read or write. The major religions are Christian 32.79% (consisting of Roman Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, and Anglicans); Muslims 19.6%’ Hindus 13.31%; Buddhists 5.88%; Sikhs 0.38%; Jews 0.24%; other religions 12.83%; non-religious 12.53% and atheists 2.44%.
When Jesus said in Matthew 9:37, “The fields are white unto harvest,” that was for our day also. There is no question the need is still there to present the gospel of Christ, yet there are thousands of languages with no Scriptures in their mother tongue. My, how it breaks my heart when I hear churches say that “we don’t have enough money to take on missionaries.” I know this may sound spiritual, but if it is God’s work, and the people in the church are truly born-again believers, there will always be enough money to do what God wants us to do, and having missionaries proclaim His Word to the uttermost parts of the World is what He wants us to do – it is part of His plan!
I began my first full time pastorate when I was 24 years of age. I was not there too long before I noticed that the missionary line in the budget was almost nil. Yet, there was money coming in every month and expended to several missionaries. When I inquired, the response was, “We do not have enough money in the general fund to take on missionaries, so individuals in the church support who they want and give it through the church.” It was not long before those monies, and more, were funneled into the budget of the church, and the church began supporting missionaries, not just individuals.
There are various ways in which a local body may support missions. Some do it through a given percentage of their annual church budget. Some have a separate budget for missions apart from the general budget. Still others, and this is my preference, follow a faith promise program for giving.
Regardless which plan you use, it needs to be increased on an annual basis, trusting that God will bring in that which is needed to not only sustain the church’s present missionary support, but also allow for increases as well as new support. Three of the churches I pastored were involved in the faith promise precept of giving to missions. Every year missionary giving increased and the general fund did also. The first year one of the churches implemented this program, missionary giving increased nearly 50% over the previous year. That was an exciting adventure. They really had to do something for nearly half of their supported missionaries were members of the church, and during the six years I was there five more units were commissioned. We either had to quit “praying the Lord of the Harvest to send out laborers into His harvest,” or start trusting God by faith to provide for their needs.
If your church wants to be one that makes financial giving to missions a priority, then people need to be made aware of two things: missions is the church’s Scriptural mandate, and financing missions is part of that mandate! Scripture calls us to live with a stewardship mentality (Matt. 6:19-21). The church needs to ask, “Where are we now in our missions giving, and where do we need to go?” A follow-up question to ask is, “What things can we do to increase interest in missions and in missions giving?”
Let me suggest just a few ways in which your church can become more missions-minded, and hopefully dismiss the myth that we don’t have enough money to take on new missionaries. First, create an interest among your people for missions: establish a well-written missions policy; have a functioning missions committee; have a monthly missionary emphasis (highlight a different field each month) with at least one service, maybe two, given specifically over to missions thus giving missionary exposure to the church family 12-24 times a year; print the missionary letters for your church to read; partner with a sister mission church either in the USA or overseas and interact with them on a regular basis; highlight missionary books in the church library; conduct teaching seminars/electives on missions; encourage annual mission trips for teens and adults; plan an annual missions conference including a Bible teacher along with furloughing missionaries; make MK’s (missionary kids) a priority; dedicate a section of the Sunday bulletin to a specific missionary family and their needs; have a special section on your church website listing your supported missionaries and their e-mail addresses; establish a church missions bulletin board and picture gallery of where your missionaries serve; pray specifically for a missionary in each of your church services; request videos from your missionaries of their work on the field; conduct telephone calls to your missionaries during service times, while flashing a picture of them on a screen.
Second, may I suggest a few ways in which to assist and help missionaries in a financial way: trust God and increase the missionary budget each year either through percentage increases, faith promise or separate missionary budget for specific missionary giving; include the children and youth in missionary giving, especially for projects, through coin folders, missionary banks, etc.; receive an annual missionary offering (Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas) to assist with missionary needs/projects over and above your regular support; use your fifth Sunday offerings for missions; have your men’s/ladies groups do a missionary equipment project (computer, power point projector, vehicle); give “love offerings” to visiting missionaries; provide pre-paid phone cards for furloughing missionaries; just give, give, give and watch God take care of both the missionary and the home church that cares. It’s our mandate and that is not a myth!