Category Archives: Spiritual Gifts

Disciples, Fish & The Kitwe Church Music Ministry


The morning at practice I made mention of our service that we stand in and our responsibility as the Music Team of Kitwe Church.  I try to encourage all to understand our role to play in this and it took my mind back to the days that Jesus walked the earth and served everyone with His teachings around the sea of Galilee.  I would like to take you back to that and explain some of the circumstances and how it is relevant to our current Music Ministry.

Most of Jesus Teachings took place around the Sea of Galilee and He had all his Disciples with Him.  Today most of our time in music ministry would be in the church for congregation level of teachings and a smaller amount of outreach when we do special events outside the church walls, as we are to be disciples in our music ministry.

Disciples would serve the gathered for instance at the sea of Galilee, and try and organise the crowds and assist others to focus on Jesus.  We as the music team have similar responsibilities.  We gather the minds of those in the congregation to focus on the Word as from the onset when we start the service songs.  Our daily life need to be of such discipline to serve others, not to think of our needs but the needs of those out there.  The need that we essentially to cater for as the music team, is to direct everyone’s mind & heart to Jesus at time of the sermon.

As per Sunday morning discussion, remember the times the crowd have gathered to unexpected numbers and after they have spent time in listening to the teachings, they all were hungry and they collected the bread & the fish from the crowd.  They brought it to Jesus, he prayed and it was served to the people in multiplication and it fed all of them & they had left overs.

Our responsibility is to do what the disciples have done.  Gather the crowds to focus on Jesus (The Word of God) with our music.  In the beginning we have all the fellowship the gatherings in the church entrance & people happy to see each other.  There are excitement and laughter, just as in the days at Galilee.  Then the crowd gathered around and settled in.  For those days the people had a hunger for the Word of God, the Teaching of Jesus Himself.  Today we have all walks of life gathering, who also have the same hunger and it is not easy for each and every one to just shut down the doors of the world to concentrate on what is offered from the Word of God in the sermon.

This is where we as the music team need to lead the congregation to the place where they can focus on the Teaching to be offered.  We need to calm their thoughts and set their focus on Jesus with our music and singing.  You will note that our music would have a level of excitement and reflects similarities as to when the congregation settle’s in, talks around this I would think in Galilee at the time would have been on how great Jesus is, what they have learned & would like to receive more of His teachings.  We need to create this in our music and the flow of it has a number of similarities.

They would listen to the Teaching of Jesus, and the disciples then collected the bread & fish, gave it to Jesus, Jesus prayed and served the crowd.  We have to set the table for them to feast on the Word of God.  The Word to be presented is the bread & fish, for which we set the moods and the Pastor then will present it to the congregation.  Note that we also pray before the sermon.

A note that I make to myself:  Focus was on Jesus, disciples focus was on Jesus, disciples ushered & served the crowds, they didn’t get the glory, it all went to Jesus, for He has been the one feeding the crowds and they had left overs.  Today we sent leftovers after a meal home with friends or share with others.  You will not go empty handed, you will share in it all, but the Glory is to God.

A lot of times a song shared in the service would give people the connection to the Word and they would take it with them for the week ahead.  This would encourage them, strengthen them & lead them closer to Jesus through their own circumstances.  That is our music ministry.  The focus is not the stage, the time we can deliver/present the music, but rather we serve and stand in awe as He breaks the Word through the Pastor and we could send the congregation home with a connection to encourage them.

Derick Van Staden

The People God Uses To Serve His Church


the-people-god-uses-jpg-001Today in our text Philippians 2:19-30, we see the people God uses to serve His church.

The context helps us understand the environment of the people Paul is writing to.  Paul is calling the Philippian Christians to behave as citizens worthy of the gospel of Christ (1:27). Philippi was a Roman colony with a population of 10,000. It was considered a ‘Little Rome’ with allegience to the emperor. Philippi adopted Roman dress and spoke Latin. A Roman citizen took great care not to do anything that would bring shame to his ‘polis’ (city).  A citizen was one in good standing whose conduct brings honor to the political body to whom he belongs.

Paul’s point: If citizens of Philippi were so devoted to a human kingdom how much more should believers be devoted to a heavenly kingdom.

To live as worthy citizens is to live a life consistent with the revealed Word of God. To live a live consistent with the truth that Christians profess to believe, preach, teach and defend. The focus is the Gospel!

  • Live up to who you are!
  • Live up to who you represent!
  • Live up to the message your proclaim!

God is at work building His church. The church is the called-out assembly of New Testament believers. In the building of His Church God calls and uses people – people like you and me, and people like Timothy and Epaphroditus who we will meet in our text today.

What kind of people does God use to serve His church?

THEY ARE BROTHERS & SISTERS – Brother (19,25)

They individually have a relationship with God through saving faith. These were genuine Christians – they had come to recognize that they were a sinner, and they needed someone outside of themselves to deliver them from the guilt, and the power, and condemnation of God that sin brings

Let me illustrate this way: There is an organization called the FreeMasons – you may have heard of them? By joining this secret organization and going through the rites, you can move deeper into the brotherhood. Free Masonary calls “God “The Great Architect of the Universe.” This is the Freemason’s special name for God, because He is universal. He belongs to all men regardless of their religious persuasion. All wise men acknowledge His authority. In his private devotions a Mason will pray to Jehovah, Mohammed, Allah, Jesus, or the Deity of his choice. In a Masonic Lodge, however, the Mason will find the name of his Deity within the Great Architect of the Universe. Such syncretistic worship through prayer, coupled with specific teachings of salvation, is completely at odds with biblical Christianity.”

There is only one way that anyone and everyone can have a relationship with God – believe in Jesus Christ and trust Him for forgiveness! Jesus is the only way to God and no-one will come to heaven apart from coming through Him!

Because they share the same Spiritual Father (God) they have a relationship with one another
This was not a relationship based on physical similarities:  Paul was a Jew, former “Pharisee of Pharisees”, an OT scholar deeply trained in the Law of Moses (Torah) and the Talmud – the instruction book written by Hebrew scholars to guide people to not transgress the Torah. He was a bold, courageous pioneer for the gospel. (Acts 23:6, Phil. 3:5) Timothy was half-Jew. His mother had broken the Jewish culture and OT traditions by marrying a Gentile husband. This man was an unbeliever, he held to the pagan traditions of the day. His son Timothy was not circumcised, which to an orthodox OT believing Jew was a sign of being outside the covenant and condemned. His mother embraced genuine faith in Jesus, and eventually Timothy did as well. (Acts 16:1, 2 Ti. 1:4-5) Epaphroditus – only mentioned here in Philippians. His name is a common Greek name of the day. A Gentile believer in the church at Philippi. (25, 4:8)

The basis of this relationship is the fact that they shared the same nature as one another! The same Spirit of God dwelt inside them. The were obedient to the Father. God is their father, and they God’s children by faith in Christ thus they were brothers with one another! (2:3,7-8)

THEY ARE LABORERS – Co-Worker (25)

Gospel work is hard work! Hard, back-breaking labor! Sweat, attention, service, sacrifice! (Eph. 4:12, 2 Ti. 2:16)

Gospel work requires commitment and the willingness to sacrifice. Why would we give a deep level of effort and commitment to our own agenda, job, but fail to give God the same level of commitment?

Gospel work is shared work! It is not intended to be done by one! We are “laborers together with Christ” (4:2-3). Every member a minister – we all have a calling, not just the teaching pastor! Each of us have been granted gifts by God for the purpose of co-laboring, working together to accomplish God’s purposes.

THEY ARE WARRIORS – Fellow soldier (25)

We are engaged in a spiritual war. Our enemies: World, Flesh, Devil. Our warfare is spiritual not physical – “Stand against the wiles of the devil…” (Eph. 6:10-12)

  • We fight this battle together
  • We have each other’s back
  • We hold each other accountable
  • We hold each other up

THEY ARE PEOPLE OF CHARACTER (22)

Character is shaped by our relationship to Christ. Reputation is what you are supposed to be; Character is what you are. Your character is what God knows you to be. Your reputation is what men think you are. Reputation is what men say about you on your tombstone; Character is what angels say about you before the throne of God.

Our lives must manifest the transforming power of Christ.

“When church leadership fails morally and are restored to leadership in the church, when members lie, steal, cheat, gossip and fight. When members seem to care little about hypocrisy in their midst, the world is repulsed by the claims to love and serve God.” MacArthur

Character is proved in crisis! Your Character was revealed in how you responded to your last crisis. How did you react when:

  • Your computer crashed and you lost the last 30 min of work
  • Your spouse gets defensive when you share what bothers you.
  • You received a letter or email criticizing you
  • When someone cut in front of you in line or the line stretches out the door and the teller is inattentive.

Timothy was a man of tested character and his character was visible and viewable. Will you do what is right even when everyone else is doing wrong?

THEY ARE CARING (20b-21)

They had genuine concern for others, especially the family of God. This is a care that is not hypocritical. To be genuine means to be real! Sometimes we care and we don’t have an opportunity to do anything, but when we do have opportunity we demonstrate loving care!

This care is a result of caring for what God cares about. The opposite is to be self-serving, seeking their own advancement.  “They do not seek the things of Christ” – Compassion, care.

THEY ARE LIKE-MINDED (20a)

Genuine agreement in the faith. This is the plea that Paul makes to the Philippians throughout the letter – be of one mind. (1:27, 2:2-3; Eph. 4:1-6). Our source of agreement is found in the Word of God as we “strive together for the gospel.”

THEY ARE SERVANTS (7,26)

We serve God by serving one another. This is love in action, the humbling of our selves to serve the least, the underserving. The love that we have for Jesus Christ constrains us to this service. Jesus having loved his own He loved them to the end, arising from supper he took the basin and the towel and washed their feet. This was done as an example that we should do as He has done. They honestly consider others better than themselves and seek to serve them.

The result of being this kind of person is you become a source for encouragement and joy to God’s people (28b,29a). The church honors those who serve in this way (29)

Are you this kind of man or woman?  What areas do you need to address this week?

Building A Life of Stewardship


Life of Stewardship.001

 

What do you own that you did not receive?  You might respond, “But I have worked hard to gain what I now possess!”  Where did you get the ability to learn what you now know that allows you to work hard?  Where did you get the health and strength to carry out the tasks? Luck? Chance – is this whole thing one big crap-shoot like the evolutionist would have us believe?  Is is Karma – a little good a little bad just happens?

Listen to what God says:

To the Israelites God says, “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth…” (Deut 8:18)

To those who where trying to find some some leg-up advantage over other people based upon their identification with a prominent preacher God says,

For who makes you to differ from one another? And what do you have that you did not receive?… (1 Cor. 4:7)

Ever wonder why there are those who serve God who prosper, but there are also those who despise God who also prosper in this life?  Listen to Jesus:

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who cures you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecutor you, that you may be sons of your Father in heave; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.” (Matt. 5:44-45)

All of life is entrusted to us as a stewardship:  Our time, our world (creation), our bodies, our families, gifts & talents, knowledge, possessions and money, and the gospel. There is nothing that we have that was not given to us by God

CLARIFYING OUR TERMS:

  • A steward is a servant entrusted with the responsibility of managing someone else’s property. He is expected to discharge his duties in the owners best interest.
  • He has been given the resources and authority to discharge his duties.

CONTEXT:

The gospel of Luke was written so we would know what Jesus was really like.  It is a historical orderly account of Jesus life and ministry. (Lk1:1-4)

Jesus is telling a parable (11). A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. There are two reasons that Christ told this story:

  1. He was going up to he was going up to Jerusalem – triumphal entry.
  2. Jews thought the kingdom would immediately be established

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND TO THIS PARABLE:

There is an important bit of history behind this parable that would have been fresh in the minds of the people listening to Jesus. Herod the Great was king when Jesus was born. Archelaus the son of Herod the Great was appointed by his father to be King over Judea four days before his death in 4BC.

Archelaus was a sensual vain man notorious for not keeping his word.  Once when the Pharisees demanded the removal of the Saduccean High Priest, Archelaus agreed but said only after his kingship had been confirmed by Augustus.  The Pharisees pushed the issue and the day before Passover troops were sent into the court of the temple and 3000 Jews were massacred.

Soon after the massacre Archelaus traveled to Rome to be confirmed by Caesar.  A delegation of 50 Jews from Judea followed him to Rome to petition for the exclusion of the Herodians from government.  These men were joined by 8,000 Jews living in Rome at the time.  Cesar Augustus confirmed Archelaus anyway. When Archelaus returned to Jerusalem he killed all those who had complained against him.

You can see why this parable would have grabbed the attention of the Jews listening to Jesus.

THE COMMAND IS CLEAR (12-13)

The command was given by the proper authority. (12)

Nobleman was going away to get a kingdom.  He had the right to give his servants instructions about what He wanted them to do!  As King, he had the absolute right to rule over his subjects.  the King gave them a job to do before his return.

The command was given to the right people (13)

They are identified as “his” servants.  They belonged to him, and they had pledged their allegiance to him to serve him.  These servants in v13 were different from the “citizens” in v 14.

The word servants is the Greek word doulos.  This was a servant whose life was completely at the disposal of the master.  He owned them.  It speaks of a person who is in a permanent relation of servitude to another, his will altogether consumed in the will of the master.  He has no rights, no will of his own, he is completely given over to the will of another. this is not referring to a hired servant.

In the New Testament there are two Greek words translated Servant:

  • Diakonos – A hired servant, not a slave. The main emphasis of this word is on the service.
  • Doulos – A bondservant, one who is a slave.  The main reference in the use of this word is the relationship to the master and a state of servitude.

NOTE:  The difference in focus of the two words:  service vs. standing.  WHAT we are doing vs. WHO we are doing it for.

For the Jews hearing Jesus refer to a doulos, they would have naturally thought of the law of the Bond-slave found in Exodus 21:5-6.

In the OT there was a common practice of self-sale into slavery.  If the bond-slave was a Hebrew he was to serve six years and then be released.  All slaves were to be released with their families every 50th year – the year of Liberty  (Deut. 15:16).  If however, when the time came to grant the bond-slave his freedom he willingly requested to serve his master for life; he would submit to having a hole bored through the cartilage in his ear.  This was a permanent mark of identification as a slave.  Older people with holes in the ear to identify tribe.

The command was very specific

  1. They each were given the same amount. Received one Mina = 3 months wages.
  2. They were each given the same command – “Do business on my behalf until I get back.”
  3. They each were under the same obligation – This was not optional, if they felt like it or not, if it was convenient or not – he expected complete compliance

Lesson 1 – God is the owner of all assets (13)

Lesson 2 – God entrust us to accomplish His purposes on His behalf. (13)

THE CONTEXT IS CHALLENGING (14)

The Citizens Hate The King 

The citizens absolutely detested the king. In a similar way the world deeply hates Christ.  Jesus said to his disciples:

John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

The Citizens Rebel Against The King’s rule

“We will not have” they rebelled, completely refused his rule.  This speaks of an act of violence or open resistance to an established government or ruler. Hatred and rebellion go together!

“Rule” speaks of structure, laws, authority.  They did not want him telling them what to do!

We are commissioned to make disciples by “Teaching them to obey all things that I have commanded you.” (Mt. 28.18-20).  You see we are happy to bow to a host of gods other than the Lord!

“What other gods could we have besides the Lord? Plenty. For Israel there were the Canaanite Baals, those jolly nature gods whose worship was a rampage of gluttony, drunkenness, and ritual prostitution. For us there are still the great gods Sex, Shekels, and Stomach (an unholy trinity constituting one god: self), and the other enslaving trio, Pleasure, Possessions, and Position, whose worship is described as “The lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). Football, the Firm, and Family are also gods for some. Indeed the list of other gods is endless, for anything that anyone allows to run his life becomes his god and the claimants for this prerogative are legion. In the matter of life’s basic loyalty, temptation is a many-headed monster.” – JI Packer

Principle 3: Principle of Perseverance – God must be obeyed in spite of circumstances, obstacles or distractions.

HIS RETURN IS CERTAIN (15-21)

Evaluation of the Faithful Servants (15-19)

The hatred of the world has no power over the return of the king… He is coming back! (15a) When he comes there will be a reckoning. Servants will be called to give account of their stewardship.  These servants presented what they had done for the King.  The first 1,000% return the second 500% return (15b-16,18).

Each servant received the same commendation by the King.  “Well done good and faithful servant” (17,19).  They each were reward for their faithfulness (17,19).

Application: Faithful service results in greater opportunity and responsibility in the service of the King!

Lesson 4 – God expects us to be resourceful with what He has given us.

Lesson 5 – God will require that we give an account.

Lesson 6 – God will give greater responsibilities to those who have been faithful in smaller matters.

Evaluation of the Wicked Servant (20-21)

“Another kind of servant” (20)(Estes – another of a different kind.)  He refused to do business for the King  and returned the Mina.

Reasons: Because I feared you. This is from the word we get phobia.  This is a severe fear that is not in keeping with reality.  This servant had a wrong view of God, a wrong attitude toward God which led him to wrong conclusions about God and wrong actions toward God’s commands.

He accused the Master of greed: “you collect what you did not deposit” (21).  Charged him with taking what he did not work for.

THE JUDGE IS SOVEREIGN (22-27)

Wicked servants suffer loss (22-26)

The judge rules with sovereign authority.

The mouth reveals the heart (22). This servant did not live up to what he knew about the Master.  Jesus said, “Out of your mouth I will judge you.” (22)

It is out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Lk. 6.45).  If God were to judge you according to what has come out of your mouth this past week how would you fare?  What do you talk about?  What you talk about reveals what you think about!

God called him a wicked servant (22b) Why?  Something is expected of servants they are expected to obey what they have been told!

  • He knew the command – understood
  • He had the resources for the task
  • He had the ability to perform the task

King takes away his Mina and gives it to the one with ten. (24-26)

Lesson 7 – Use God’s resources rightly or loose everything!

Rebellious citizens will be destroyed (27)

  • Complete destruction of those who would not have Him rule over them.
  • Don’t live your life for Material goods that will perish – live your life for the Master!

 

What is required of God’s servants?

1Co.4:1-2 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.)

If Christ returns today will He find you faithful?  How are you using your talents, time and money?

Questions & Answers: Are There Still Prophets and Prophecy In Our Day?


Are There Prophets?.001

YES…

Prophecy in the sense of “forth-telling” is happening today.  Anytime someone stands to teach and preach the Bible that person can authoritatively say, “Thus says the Lord…”

and NO…

But most likely your question is not about this kind of prophecy.  There is no prophecy today in the sense of “fore-telling.”  There is no gift of prophecy in the sense of miraculous predictions though direct revelation. God is not giving extra-biblical revelation, he has given us His Word, and it is complete for now.

God gave us His Word in three ways: Revelation, inspiration, illumination.

  1. Revelation – from God to man. Man hears what God wants written.
  2. Inspiration – from man to paper. Man writes that which God wants written (II Ti. 3:16; I Pt. 1:21).
  3. Illumination – from paper to heart. Man receives the light of that which God has written.

The Holy Spirit of God is not giving Revelation and Inspiration in our day.  This is because He has given us the completed Word of God – our Bible.  The work of the Holy Spirit today is to illuminate the revelation of God to our understanding. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Consider the Biblical test for prophecy:

  1. It must be true (Ezk 13:4-9)
  2. It must not contradict previously revealed truth (1 Co. 14:32; 1 Jn. 4:1)
  3. It must come to pass without fail (Deut 18:20-22)

If a person claims to be a prophet and speak for God, but not all of his prophecies are true, if he contradicts previous truth or if even one of his prophecies fail to come to pass, we are instructed not to honor him.  We are not to listen to what he has to say, he is a deceiver, a false prophet (2 Pt. 2;1).

Sola Scriptura” – Scripture alone!  God’s Word is the only basis for Diving authority.  God in His written word has given us all that pertains to life and godliness.

2 Timothy 3:16       All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17       that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.