Monday, March 18, 2013

Who’s Next?
By: Charles Steiner

I read a book recently called The Death of WCW. In the book the authors share how World Championship Wrestling, owned by billionaire Ted Turner, went from being the most popular wrestling company ever in 1998, to going out of business and being bought by it’s competition in 2001. One of the reasons the authors gave for the companies collapse was older wrestlers who were past their prime like Hulk Hogan refused to give up the spot light to younger wrestlers who were entering their prime. One of the wrestlers who should have carried the torch for WCW into the future was named Bill Goldberg. His catch phrase was “who’s next?” That’s exactly the question that WCW failed to answer. Who would be the next stars to follow the older guys on the brink of retirement?

Could what happened to WCW also happen in the church? More personally I ask could it happen to you and your family? We know through history that the church of the New Testament, which had rapidly grown in just a few short years, was almost non-existent just a few hundred years after it begun and had to be restored to its original form over a thousand years later. It can happen. We need to be asking ourselves “Who’s Next?” Who will be the adult church of tomorrow? And most importantly, what are we doing to ensure that there will be a church of tomorrow? Here are 3 things you can do to help increase the chances of your young loved ones being faithful Christian adults.

Pray. Pray with your children and grandchildren. Pray for them. Pray in every instance imaginable (happy, sad, mad, grateful, depressed). By doing so, you put your life into the hands of almighty God, and teach the young ones that you love to do the same. I Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”

Apply the Bible to every day life. Reading the Bible is great and needs to be done. But scripture will never come alive more than when you apply it directly to the way your child behaves. If your child complains that someone is being mean to them at school and they don’t know what to do. The Bible comes alive when you explain that Jesus said to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44).

Put the Kingdom first. “Jesus said seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness (Mt. 6:33).” Your children notice what is really the most important to you. If you sacrifice the extra hour of sleep to come to Sunday school, they will notice. If you choose to skip something that would have been really fun to do something spiritual they will notice that too.

Who’s next? It’s a question we all need to be asking to help our young loved ones get to heaven. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Classic Help for Today: Why “Help for Today”
Text: Hebrews 3:12-15

I did not know what I wanted to call this daily devotional. I was struggling trying to come up with just the right name. In time, though, I settled on a theme that would provide me the help I really need. I settled on an emphasis on today. My hope is that as my need for daily encouragement is addressed, you, too, will receive a benefit. I'm a procrastinator from way back. I'm a good planner and list maker. I should be the President of the "I'm Going to Start Tomorrow" club. Intentions promote favorable discovery, but, in reality, they get you nowhere. I remind you of the Fred Sanford quote that I've shared many times. "Never put off 'till tomorrow what you can do day after tomorrow." The Bible contrasts that way of thinking over and over. I'd like to direct your attention this morning to Hebrews 3:12-15. "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another dailywhile it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”" Wake up! Our mission is clear. Use today. it is all we know we have. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow will never come. But is precious.

All the best and I hope this gives you “Help for Today”

~  Clark Sims

Help for Today: The Enemy
Text: Matthew 2

King Herod was the absolute counter to the wise men we talked about yesterday. While they searched to find and worship Him, Herod had a very different view. A young child he had never seen posed a threat to Herod that, basically, consumed him. His actions directed toward the threatening one were drastic and cruel. Compassion did not seem to be high on Herod’s priority list. His actions, from lying to killing, were wicked and worldly. His focus was clear and obvious. No matter what it takes. No matter who it hurts. I must get rid of the “King of the Jews.”

On the surface, I would think it would be hard for any of you good people reading this e-mail to relate to the sentiment of Herod. But wait a second. Remember that same Jesus said, “He that is not with Me is against Me.” He also said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” While Herod’s efforts seem to be so extreme and physical, what word would you use to describe someone who did not do what He said. Could it be that I, like Herod, am an enemy of Jesus? How does that question grad you today? If I do not obey Him, I make myself to be His enemy. If I do not obey Him, I do not love Him. Herod, and his evil intentions, seems to be so far removed from anything we know. I’m afraid we need to look deeper. Today. I’m not an enemy of Jesus, am I?

All the best and I hope this gives you “Help for Today”.

~ Clark Sims 

Help for Today: Wise Men
Text: Matthew 2:1-12

You can learn a great deal from those men the scriptures identify as wise. What did they do? They searched for Him with a desire to worship Him. They found Him and rejoiced to be in His presence. They humbled themselves and worshipped Him. They sacrificed what they had. They presented their “gifts” to Him. Wise men, don’t you think?

While I know physical circumstances have changed, the reality of identifying marks of a “wise man” remains the same. Check yourself today matched with the “standard” given in scripture. How much effort do you put into the search to find Him? How much time are you willing to put into the process? Is it your desire to worship Him? Where is “worship” on the “totem pole” of your priorities? If you can take it or leave it, it does not have the proper place. If there are things you choose over it, it does not have the proper place. Does the search for Him and reality of finding Him bring you joy, real, abundant joy? Do you know your place in His presence? The wise men of Matthew 2 made quite a statement as they bowed in the presence of this newborn baby. “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord…” What are you willing to give to Him? What part of “self” are you ready to give for Him? I remember Wendell Winkler observing the only kind of acceptable giving is sacrificial giving. So I ask again, what part of “self” are you ready to give for Him? Your time, money, effort seem like precious commodities. They are. And they are His. Right? Have you found yourself to be a “wise man?” Think about it. Today!

All the best and I hope this gives you “Help for Today”.

~ Clark Sims

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Help for Today: Thank You
Text: Luke 17

He had been lumped in to a basket with a group of men suffering the same affliction, leprosy. This group of men had found a common bond in this terrible disease. Frankly, it was a bond forged by isolation. They were living their lives as outsiders, not able to function in normal society. They had a disease and they could not get rid of it. Then, along came Jesus. They saw Him as hope, in fact, their one and only hope. They cried out to Him. When I say they cried out, I mean it. Loud. Drawing attention. Causing all eyes to focus on them. As you would expect, He was completely drawn in to giving them help. He gave them help, while testing their faith and giving them something to do. As they made their way to the priests, as Jesus directed them to do, the leprosy was gone. What faith! Clean, as a newborn baby. Now, what the nine did, I do not know. But this one, I absolutely know. This Samaritan that Jesus identified as a foreigner came back to Him and said thank you! Appreciation. Gratitude. Hold high today an unnamed foreigner who had a level of gratitude toward his Master that he just had to express. To that same Master, I, too, owe a word of thanks, right? Today.

All the best and I hope this gives you "Help for Today”

Clark Sims

Monday, March 4, 2013

Help for Today: Rejoice and Run
Text: Psalm 118:24

This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. These words are found in Psalm 118:24. Clearly, there is something for you to do today. An opportunity will present itself for you to serve. What? I can’t answer that for you. When? You’ll just have to keep your eyes open and be alert. Who? Where? Again, that will be up to you to identify. The details seem to be up in the air but the reality is right in front of us. There is something to do today. A dedicated preacher named Phillip showed us the standard in Acts 8. He knew there was something for him “today.” He didn’t know what or who, but he did know he had a purpose and reason for today. When the opportunity was identified, when he saw the “crack in the door,” he made an aggressive move toward his “reason for today.” He did not know what he was going to find or who would be occupying that chariot, but he knew it was his target. What did he do with this “day the Lord has made?” He ran to it. Run. Running. Get there quickly. No time to waste. He ran. See what today has to offer and run to it.

All the best and I hope this gives you "Help for Today”

~ Clark Sims