Sunday, August 30, 2009

JOURNEY THROUGH ISAIAH (1)

Here are some things I picked up in my read through the book of Isaiah from The Message Bible. Too long of a book to do in one blog. One of my favorite books of the OT.

Isaiah is a book about salvation. It is like a symphony that repeats three common themes: judgment (ch. 1-39), comfort (ch. 40-55), and hope (ch. 56-66).

  1. As wicked and sinful as God's people may become, He is always ready, willing, and able to forgive and wipe the slate clean.
  2. I love Peterson's paraphrase early in the chapter: "He'll show us the way He works so we can live the way we're made." That's what I want--to live the way He made me to live.
  3. Unfortunately, some of Isaiah's descriptions of the condition of the hearts of God's people resemble the hearts of Christians today.
  4. Three adjectives to describe someone touched by God--holy, alive, precious.
  5. People can live as wickedly as they so desire. But God always has the final say.
  6. One of the greatest chapters in the Bible. Reading it never grows old. "Lord, here am I, send me" should be a prayer every Christian prays.
  7. Ongoing debate--is it okay to ask God for a sign? God challenged King Ahaz to ask for a sign. It's interesting, however, the previous verse stresses the importance of faith.
  8. No matter what happens in my life and in this world, the last word is always Immanuel.
  9. Reading the prophetic words about the coming Messiah in verses 6-7 never grows old.
  10. Beware of using the first person pronoun as if "I" can do this or that. Arrogance certainly will lead to a downfall.
  11. God's reign on earth blows my mind--all is at peace. Kids crawling over rattlesnake dens; no animal or human will kill or hurt.
  12. When we sing in worship, we should raise the roof.
  13. God is sovereign over every kingdom. He will use one wicked country to destroy a "good" country if He so chooses.
  14. Satan's fall from heaven is in this chapter. Notice how many times Satan says, "I." Pride was his main problem.
  15. Isaiah is not just about judgment of God's people--but about His judgment of enemy nations as well.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Emerging Leaders

I've been looking forward to this evening for a few months. In my years of ministry one of the most fulfilling things I've done is to spend time with young, emerging leaders. It's been a while since I've led such a class (no fault but my own). But tonight I have around eight couples who've said yes to the challenge to take part in an eight-week journey on Wednesday evenings.

One of the things I'm doing this time is including a few "older" couples to encourage and mentor the younger ones. This is one of those no-brainers I should have done a long time ago.

There will be no fill in the blanks and no homework (although we may end up reading a book together). My plan is to show a video from one of the Leadership Summits and then talk about it. If you're familiar with the Summit, you know how jam packed these events are. Tonight I'll show Bill Hybels' "Holy Discontent" message.

One thing I've discovered about equipping young leaders is that the time hanging out together in class is just as valuable as the content. Don't get me wrong. You better have something that interests them enough to come back. But the relationship building aspect is huge.

That's it for today...except to say that I'm ready for some football!

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

JOURNEY THROUGH 1 PETER

I promise I know the books of the Bible by heart. But somehow I skipped over 1 and 2 Peter in my blogs. I blog an OT book, NT, OT, etc. Anyway I need to back up a little and write on some insights through my 1 Peter read from the Message Bible.

Chapter 1

  • We all should be "on assignment by Jesus."
  • Believers have everything to live for and a future. And the future begins now.
  • Faith is proven to be genuine during times of suffering.

Chapter 2

  • Are there areas of my life where I need to invite God to do a clean sweep?
  • If you're a Christian, you have a "before and after" story to tell. So tell it every day and everywhere.
  • This world is not my true home.
  • Lord, let me know when I need to speak up and defend and when I need to shut up and let you make things rights.

Chapter 3

  • Great words for couples. Be a good husband. Honor your wife. Be a good wife. Respond to his needs. If things aren't right at home, your prayer life will be messed up.
  • Christ coming to this earth was not an afterthought. God had it planned all along.
  • Believers should love one another as if our lives depended on it.

Chapter 4

  • Think like Jesus thinks.
  • Suffering positions us to have the freedom to pursue what God wants and not what we want.
  • Be quick to give a meal to the hungry--the verse says nothing about whether the person is deserving or not.
  • Love goes a long way. Love as if life depended on it (I believe I just said that in chapter 3).

Chapter 5

  • As a pastor I must never lose sight that sheep must be tenderly led and not bossily told what to do.
  • God takes great delight in just plain, simple people.
  • The devil loves to catch you napping. He's always ready to pounce on you.
  • God always has the last word.Peter had key people around him to multiply his ministry--like Silas and Mark.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lake Baptism

It's that time of the year. Every August our friends at Macedonian Lutheran Church allow us to use their lakeside picnic and worship area to conduct an evening worship service. I'm not sure how many years we've done this; but it's always a highlight. Our first services of this nature were at Dreher Island State Park. I'll never forget the terrible thunderstorm that unloaded on us one year. That was the quickest baptism I've ever seen.

The lakeside setting is a beautiful environment to gather with God's people to eat, worship, and fellowship. Of course, the highlight is taking the Lord's Supper together and then walking to the shore to witness the baptism of those who have given their lives to Christ. This year we have around 20 who are scheduled to be baptized. Those 20 are spread fairly evenly among children, students, and adults.

What a joy it is to see these men, women, boys, and girls give their lives to Christ and follow through with believer's baptism, a significant step in their spiritual journey of life transformation.

Let's pray for a great event on Sunday evening. And while you're at it, pray that we will be spared any stormy activity. I hope to see you there.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Gleanings from Song of Songs

I had a hard time finding my journal from Song of Songs. I knew you wouldn't believe me if I were to tell you that I lost it (esp. on this particular book). Anyway, I found it. Remember, I'm reading and journaling from the Message Bible by Eugene Peterson.

Our culture today specializes in a loveless sex. Some never think of love when they think of sex. Others never think of sex when they think of love (more holy). The Song of Songs integrates the two and provides a biblical basis showing the beauty of sex when it is expressed in its God-ordained way (between husband and wife).

Peterson wonders if Solomon wrote these words since he was obsessed with women, speculating instead that maybe someone dedicated this book to him. (I still think Solomon is the man.)

  1. Love needs to be expressed verbally (women loved jewelry 3000 years ago; I guess some things never change).
  2. As wildly in love with each other this couple is, they recognize they must protect themselves against the "foxes" that can destroy a marriage.
  3. In a healthy marriage spouses speak highly and positively of their mate to their friends.
  4. Please forgive the sarcasm--but with all the scents this woman was wearing, she wouldn't be welcome in any doctor's office.
  5. "What's so special about him?" All of us married folks should be able to answer this question about our spouse (and it better be a quick answer).
  6. The man in this romance speaks for every other married man I know when it comes to speaking of his relationship with his wife--"I'm in over my head." I believe we all married "above" us.
  7. Whew! It's getting hot in here with this R-rated stuff!
  8. My paraphrase of 8:4--If you're not married, don't have sex. And don't put yourself in a position where you're tempted to have sex.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Axiom (3)


Here is my third and final blog from Bill Hybels' Axiom. I look forward to hearing Hybels later this week at the Leadership Summit (thanks to CIU for the free ticket).
Axiom 46: Sweat the Small Stuff--It doesn't matter what the best-selling book says, you better sweat the small stuff. Be careful of saying you're just a big-picture person. Small stuff includes taking time to write personal notes of thanks and encouragement, returning phone calls, replying to email. I wonder how many times I've had a church member say something like this: "I signed up for more information and no one contacted me." No matter who you are and how busy you are, you better sweat the small stuff. Or else it will come back to haunt you.
Axiom 68: Read All You Can--Hybels tells of a senior leader at Willow Creek who came to him with a major leadership crisis. She was caving in from the pressures of changes in her leadership responsibilities. After talking for 90 straight minutes, Hybels interrupted her and said something like, "This is 101 leadership stuff and you are a 501 or 601 leader. Tell me three leadership books you've read in the last 12 months." She couldn't think of a one. Leaders have a responsibility to become the best leader they can be. And one of the most effective ways of constantly getting better is through reading. Read all you can. Read when you feel like it and when you don't fell like it.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."