Thursday, January 10, 2008

On Being A Servant of God

Warren W. Wiersbe’s book, On Being A Servant of God, Thomas Nelson Publishers 1993, is not only be an encouragement, but it also, challenges you to be a better servant (leader). Below are several quotes from the book:

Chapter 1

Methods are many, principles are few; Methods always change, principles never do. p.2

God does not want us to have ministry by imitation. He wants us to have ministry by incarnation. p. 2

Ministry takes place when divine resources meet human needs through loving channels to the glory of God. P. 3

Chapter 2

God did not call us to be manufactures. He called us to be distributors. p. 5

Chapter 3

True servants of God help others whether they themselves get anything out of it or not.
p. 10

Chapter 4

God works not inspite of us or instead of us (Let go & let God!) but in us & through us! Serving God isn’t punishment; it’s nourishment. p. 14

When people we serve irritate us or disappoint us, we should pray for ourselves and ask God to increase our love. p. 14

God often allows problem people to come into your life so that you’ll learn to depend more on His power and not your own resources. p. 16

Don’t pray, “How can I get out of this?,” but pray, “What am I going to get out of this?” p. 16
Remember to always keep your chin up and knees down! p. 17

Chapter 5

Bob Cook says, “If you can explain what’s going on, God didn’t do it.” p. 20 When God blesses your work, you won’t be tempted to take the credit. P. 6
It’s possible to (Ps. 106:15) succeed in Christian work and be a failure in Christian ministry. p. 20
God is glorified when people see the Lord and not the servant. (Matt. 5:16) p.20
You have to decide whether you will be a servant or a celebrity, whether you will magnify Christ or promote self. p. 20

God is glorified when people see the Master and not the minister. p. 21

There is a difference between “fruit” and “results”. You can get “results” by following surefire formulas, manipulating people, or turning on your charisma; but “fruit” comes from life. p. 21

Chapter 6

Be yourself – your best self – and God will use you in a special way. p.26

…build on your strengths, and ask God for helpers who can compensate for your weaknesses. p. 26

Chapter 7

Focusing on serving the Lord can make a big difference in your ministry. For one thing, you will be motivated to do your work and not look for excuses. If you serve only to earn a salary, you never do your best as long as you think you’re underpaid. If you minister to get recognition, you will start doing less when people don’t show their appreciation. The only motivation that will take you through the storms and keep you on the job is, “I’m serving Jesus Christ.” p. 29

You can’t please everybody, so don’t even try. Just live and work in such a way that your Master will be able to say, “You are My beloved servant in whom I am well pleased.” p. 32

Chapter 8

If you’re serving in the will of God, you’re like Esther: “You have come to the kingdom for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14) p. 37

Chapter 9

A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God. Robert Murray M’Cheyne p. 40

There’s no substitute for Christian character. No matter how much talent and training we may have, if we don’t have character, we don’t have anything. pp. 40 - 41

Your … sermon lasts but an hour or two – your life preaches all the week. Robert Murray M’Cheyne p. 41

Chapter 10

Your purpose in serving isn’t to build the biggest church or Sunday school class, the greatest choir, or the most efficient band of ushers. Your purpose is to build people of Christian character whom God can bless and use to build others. You can use all kinds of gimmicks and techniques to gather a crowd or build an organization, but that’s not the same as building His church. pp. 45 - 46

The danger is that we exploit people to get things done instead of ministering to them so that what they’re doing helps them mature in Christ. Remember, in God’s eyes, the worker is more important than the work. If the worker is what he or she ought to be, the work will be done right and will please God. p. 46

Christian educator Dr. Ted Ward says it best: “Leadership is a serving relationship that has the effect of facilitating human development.” p. 47

Chapter 11

Thomas Merton said, “To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell.” p. 51

W.A. Tozer once said, “Never be afraid of honest criticism. If the critic is wrong, you can help him; and if you’re wrong he can help you. Either way, somebody’s helped.”
p. 52

Chapter 12

…laughter is also the lubricant that helps people work better together. p. 54

Chapter 13

…(1) our work is supposed to make us grow; (2) we’re always being measured; (3) each job prepares us for the next one; and (4) the Lord may move us when He sees we’re ready. Matt. 25:21 This outline goes with the quote by Marsden

“Make every occasion a great occasion, for you can never tell when someone may be taking your measure for a larger place.” p. 58

If our service for the Lord doesn’t make us grow, two things may be true: either we’re in the wrong place, or we have the wrong attitude toward the right places. p. 58

There’s no place in the Lord’s work for “pyramid climbers”…p. 61

Chapter 14

Let’s begin with the obvious fact that nobody except the Holy Spirit is indispensable in the Lord’s work. p. 61

It’s a law of the Medes and Persian’s that we never resign when (1) we’re tired and discouraged, (2) we aren’t getting our way, and (3) we feel unappreciated and we’re looking for some strokes. p. 66

When your best ideas are turned down, remember two things first, if the Lord wants to expedite your ideas, and if you wait and pray, He’ll start to change people’s minds. Second, your ideas may come to fruition after you’ve moved out into a different ministry. It’s amazing how much God can accomplish if His workers don’t care who gets the credit. pp. 67 – 68

Chapter 15

When your service is the most difficult, God may be doing His deepest work in your life, so don’t run away. p. 70

God uses you to build His work, but He also uses the work to build you as He prepares you for the next assignment as well as for eternal service in glory. p. 70

Chapter 16

How do we learn from our failures? The smart thing to do is to evaluate what we did and try to find out what went wrong. p. 76

Honest self-examination is one thing, but brutal introspection only opens the way for the devil to start accusing you. p. 77

Chapter 17

The older we get and the longer we serve the Lord, the more we need to work at being contemporary and not becoming dusty relics in a religious museum. p. 79

Chapter 18

1). Never take down a fence until you know why it was put up. p. 84

2). If you get too far ahead of the army, your soldiers may mistake you for the enemy. p. 84

3). Don’t complain about the bottom rungs of the ladder; they helped to get you higher. p. 84.

4). If you want to enjoy the rainbow, be prepared to endure the storm. p. 85

Chapter 19

Readers are leaders. Your heart grows by giving out, but your mind grows by taking in…p. 86

Readers are leaders only if they turn their learning into living. Assimilating what you read, relating it to what you already know, and practicing it where you serve put the treasure to work paying dividends. p. 88

Chapter 20

Marriage means a man and a woman must no longer say “mine” and “yours”; they should only say “ours”. If one of them has a ministry, they both have a ministry… p. 95

If you do get married and you want to serve the Lord, choose the kind of Christian mate who is pleased when you please the Lord. p. 95

…if your ministry is hurting your love, there’s something wrong with your home or your ministry or both. God doesn’t usually tear down one good thing to build up another good thing. Remember the best thing you can do for your ministry is build a godly family; and the best thing you can do for your family is build a ministry that glorifies God. p. 98

Chapter 21

M’Cheyne wrote, “It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus.” p. 101

…nothing happens to you except what God ordains. p. 102

…God’s servants have the privilege of investing their lives in what is eternal. p. 102

Chapter 22

We read the Bible to get to know the heart and mind of God. p. 105

One of the dangers in ministry is that we start thinking the way the world thinks and then doing things the way the world does them (Ps. 1: 1-3). To be sure, the children of this world can teach us some things (Luke 16:8); but note that their counsel is limited to “their generation” and doesn’t touch the eternal.

“For as the heaven’s are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:9) p.106

Your place of service may not be a big one, but it’s an important one; and God put you there because you’re the right person for the job right now. p. 109

Chapter 23

No matter what task God has called you to do, always remember that your ministry touches a whole world if you are truly serving the Lord. p. 113

You may not see how God is using your ministry, but that’s not important. You may think that your place in His vineyard is a small one, but it isn’t. p. 113

As far as we know, only 15 people in Bethany saw Mary’s act of worship when she anointed the feet of Jesus – and 12 of them criticized her for it! – but Jesus said that the message of what Mary did would travel around the world! (Mark 14:3 – 9; John 12: 1-8) p. 114

Chapter 24

Our English word “loyal” comes from the Latin word “legere”, which means, “to choose,” “to pick.” It also gives us the words “diligent”, “eligible”, and “allegiance”, all of which are good words to remember in ministry. p. 115

Many disagreements and divisions start when we focus on a minor detail and forget the big picture. p. 116

I know of one Christian ministry that reads its “ministry purpose” at the start of every board meeting. Then the directors look at the agenda to make sure everything on it relates in some way to that purpose. If during the meeting the discussion starts to digress, somebody will say, “Focus!” and the directors will move the discussion back on track. p. 117

If I’m determined to protect and promote only my small corner of the field, I’m bound to create problems. p. 117

Chapter 25

Philip Brooks said, “To be a true minister to men is always to accept new happiness and new distress, both of them forever deepening and entering into closer and more inseparable union with each other the more profound and spiritual the ministry becomes. The man who gives himself to other men can never be a-wholly sad man; but no more can he be a man of unclouded gladness.”…the next time a Lot or an Esau or even a Judas breaks your heart, and you wonder if it’s worth it all to serve the Lord, remember what Phillips Brooks: Ministry means deeper depths of sorrow and higher heights of joy, and they often come together. pp. 120 – 121

When Moses was discouraged because of what his people did, he communed with God and prayed, “Please, show me Your glory” (Ex. 33:18) No matter how much we fail or people fail, the only thing that really matters is the glory of God. The sin of Israel gave Moses the opportunity to glorify himself, but he refused to do so. p. 122

So, the next time people fail you and you feel like you’ve failed, go to the mount and ask God to show you His glory. Don’t focus on yourself or the people you serve; focus on God and His glory. p. 122

Chapter 26

The joy of the Lord grows primarily out of our relationship with Him, while the fear of the Lord grows out of our responsibility to Him. p. 125

Chapter 27

…acceptable Christian service isn’t based on feelings; it’s based on obedience - p. 130

In my devotional time each morning, I like to pray my way through the day’s schedule and turn every commitment over to the Lord. That means the day’s obligations and interruptions are in His hands, and I shouldn’t fret if He changes my plans. This little step of faith takes away a lot of the pressure that can be generated by a busy schedule. p. 131

Chapter 28

You aren’t responsible for the way others treat you, but you are responsible for the way you respond. p. 134

Chapter 29

…it’s good to have things that money can buy, provided we don’t lose the things that money can’t buy. p. 142

Chapter 30

…John Wesley’s dying words were right on target for today’s church: “The best of all is, God is with us!”

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