Friday, March 7, 2014

Lesson 4 Philippians 2:12-30

Don’t you love to hear a child laugh? Most cannot keep from chuckling themselves. In moments of nostalgia I go through photos of my son and daughter when they were young, and of course my precious grandsons. I smile just looking at them exhibit JOY and unbridled happiness.
As Christians in this self-centered and pleasure-seeking world we must present something that others long for: meaning and purpose for their lives. If we are going to entice the world to desire the joy and peace that we possess, then we need display that full life, that contentment to others.
Friday, I received an email asking if I could volunteer at the Dairy Bar at Billy Graham Library to serve a group from Operation Christmas Child.  When I arrived I learned that we were serving regional managers from across the United States. These were not paid executives. The Samaritan’s Purse Connect Conference brought together 300 volunteers who coordinate the massive, international ministry that has distributed more than 100 million shoeboxes to children in 130 countries since 1993. The volunteers work so hard, they deserved a “thank you,” a time for them to come connect and be blessed,”
The volunteers arrived to a breakfast buffet at the Dairy Bar. We met teams from as far west as Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and Texas and as far north as NY and Michigan. All through the day they arrived for orientation many had never been to the Billy Graham Library and Executive Offices in Charlotte. What a pleasure to see this group intermingle and socialize with fellow volunteers from across the country. They were animated and excited to reunite with old friends and participate in training for God’s work.  The smiles, the laughter, the camaraderie made me want to be a part.
It took Ashvin Dhyriam 22 hours to travel from the southeast coast of India to Charlotte, N.C. He made the 9,000-mile journey to take part in the gathering of volunteers. Ashvin toured the Billy Graham Library with Charles Owori, OCC’s national coordinator for Uganda. Charles (second from left) and Ashvin (third from left) BTW they are listening to Bessie the Cow.
Both men, like most of the OCC volunteers around the world, have full-time jobs. Charles is a legislator in Uganda’s National Assembly; Ashvin works for two Christian television stations dedicated to reach India for Christ.
“That’s my JOY,” Charles said. “The happiness that [the children] exhibit, it’s life-changing. And sometimes kids get exactly what they pray for.”
Blessed to be a Blessing- Joy and abundant life was exhibited by this group’s passionate service to others.
Let us pray.

The second half of Philippians Chapter two is titled Workers in the Kingdom. (This photograph shows the church at Philippi.)
Lesson 4 Philippians 2:12-30 Workers in the Kingdom
         Exhortation to Unity
         Two Special Servants
Just as the writer of the Gospel of Mark was known for the word immediately, Paul can be counted on to use the word “therefore.” Strong’s concordance tells us the Greek word οὖν” (oon) is used 526 times in the NT and is translated as "therefore." It is used in drawing a conclusion and in connecting sentences together logically: meaning  then, accordingly, consequently, these things being so.
Paul uses “therefore” to transition from last week’s lesson of Jesus as the Perfect Model to practical instructions on Christian living.
Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13  for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

The phrase “work out” come from the Greek word “katergazomai” (kat-er-god'-zo-my) means ---
to perform, accomplish, achieve.

This is not an instruction to perform works to earn your salvation.
The work that Paul is alluding to is similar to working in a field to produce crops, or working in a mine to extract ore. God supplies the energy and the desire to do His will; we must be obedient to bring it to completion. We are to work out was God has planted in us. Let the fruit grow and show. You are blessed to be a blessing.
·        God gives; we receive.
·        God creates; we cultivate.
·        God initiates; we respond.
Paul and other writers of the epistles knew that immature Christians left unchecked would revert to a lazy lifestyle, easily swayed by false teachers and tempted by the influence of the world. 
Therefore they urge their readers to “exhort” each other daily to live up to the standard that was given to them through the life of Christ. Paul continues by giving his readers an exhortation to unity.
 14   Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15  that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish

Those who live in the world complain and grumble about things that cannot be changed. I agree with this quote by Katrina Mayer .

“If you look for something to criticize you will find it.
If you look for something to compliment you will find that, too. Your Choice.

As a school teacher I would write inspirational quotes on the board. One of my favorites:  Begin each day with a clean slate:  misery is optional! Some people choose to be miserable!

From the Acts of the Apostle, we learn that Christians were scattered throughout the region after of the persecution of Stephen. As great number of gentiles believed and turned to the Lord, Barnabas was sent to Antioch. “He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.” And a great many believers were added to the Lord.
He was blessed to be a blessing to others.

Acts 11:23“(Barnabas) came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose,” Paul and Barnabas worked together for a while. But even the godliest of men can have a disagreement. Because of a difference of opinion Barnabas toured with John Mark (author of Gospel of Mark.) and Timothy continued on Missionary trips with Paul.

Romans 8:28 God used this to double His missionary efforts.
 What can we say about Timothy?
   No one like him, no one else was willing to go
   Genuinely concerned for the welfare of the Philippians
   Seeks interests of Jesus Christ not his own
   Proven his worth
   As a son with a father, came with Paul as a young man
   Served with Paul in the gospel

Timothy was blessed to be a blessing  but Paul unselfishly let him go to Philippi to bless the church and continue the LORD’s work.

This Persian Proverb seems appropriate in this situation. "It is better to be in chains with friends, than to be in a garden with strangers." 

Both Timothy and Epaphroditus exemplify the picture of faithful Christians, the kind of Christian modeled by Jesus Christ himself.

Walter Winchell “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out."

was a messenger the church at Philippi and ended up staying longer than expected. He nearly died in service to Christ.. As Paul remarks, v.26 “He has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill.”
Not concerned about himself but putting the feelings of others ahead of his own.
Paul called him my brother and fellow soldier in the first for Christ.
Epaphroditus was fellow worker and ministered to Paul.
Paul encourages the church v. 29 “to receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor,”

As I read these verses at the end of the second chapter in Philippians, my mind went to my relationships and many friendships in the community of God. 
Bernard Meltzer says, “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”
Do you have friends like that? I certainly do. Are you blessed to be a blessing to others?
Christ is the head of the church and each of us has a purpose in the body.
1 Corinthians 12:  18, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.   20As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

Item 14 in your lesson this week was for personal thought. “Are there people you could build up by genuinely thanking them for being themselves?” I took this to heart and want to share our ST with you. Early this year Mary Alice introduced each Servant Team member, but now I want to thank each one for the distinct person that they are.
Our Servant Team is built of many parts, different personalities with different functions in the body. As a whole our Servant’s Team possesses many gifts of the Spirit.   As Teaching Director I am responsible and accountable to National for the integrity of our class. I am the teacher and an exhorter. I uphold the banner of excellence in all areas of our class.
Mary Alice is our Associate Teaching Director. Raised in a Christian home and many years of teaching school has made her an excellent choice for her position. An ATD must be flexible and willing to step in at a moment notice when the TD must be  absent. She can’t panic if I call her one night with a stomach virus. Mary Alice is competent and ready to serve. She also does our leadership development each week and follows up with the Core Leaders.
Debbie Horvath as our Coordinator is exact and precise in her organization of the registrations and input of data into the National system. Her expertise in ordering and bookkeeping makes her essential on our team. She handles the money. (Anyone trying to give me money outside of this building, payment for books etc. will meet with uplifted hands. I recognize my weakness to keep up with money and remember where I “put things” like my car keys.) Debbie is the keeper of the keys. She opens the building and locks up maintaining the security of the church and the preservation of its condition. In addition, Debbie has her own team of leaders who oversee the kitchen, the greeters and the secretaries. Sandra Pearson assists her as our CBS treasurer.
Diane is our Prayer Chairman and keeps us in the presence of God. Her spiritual connection to our Father reminds us to take everything before throne of God; our prayer requests from you ladies, our supplications as well as our praise and adoration of the LORD. Every leader’s council is prefaced with prayer. Diane is fervently praying for our team, our leaders, and our class. She operates the prayer chain for our Core.
Jean Falls is our Senior Leader, a substitute, and a support person for our core leaders. She is a constant provider of mercy and grace to my harried soul. Jean provides transportation and encouragement for so many. She keeps no record of wrong and does not easily offend. Her sweet, sweet spirit blesses others. She exemplifies this quote: "A friend is one who believes in you when you have ceased to believe in yourself."
Thank you team for your support and encouragement. We are blessed to be a blessing.  “Will you choose to be a blessing to someone today?”
TODAY is a blessing from Almighty God.
Today will never come again.
Be a friend.
Be an inspiration.
Encourage someone.
Be a Blessing to others.
Take time to care.
Let the words you speak brings healing.
Let us pray

         For happy moments, we praise you God. In difficult moments, we seek you LORD. During painful moments, we will trust you Father God. At every moment and in every situation, we will Thank You Jesus. Amen