Titus Email – March 2019

Volume 13, Number 3– MARCH, 2019

Greetings.  I trust and pray you are well and that your families are also well.  Over the next month, I will travel for about 9 days to Belize in Central America (next to Mexico) to offer WILD leadership development.  It is a small country along the Gulf of Mexico.  We will see what God has planned for another part of the world.  I will appreciate your prayers and will give an update during next month’s Titus Email.  Thanks,  Mike


Over the past months we have been talking about idols of leadership.  Recently I heard a message that ties in this topic.  Here are some thoughts as I wrestle through what I heard. 
          We desire/want God to bless ministry including what we are involved in.  When we pray, we ask God to use us (and others) in our ministry opportunities whether it be church ministry or other ministry areas.  Are we willing to pray the following?  That God would bless the work and use our ministries if that meant that the particular ministry we are involved in would actually decrease in influence and the Kingdom of God would increase as His use of other ministries or churches increases?  Making it personal, is my attitude for WILD more for my glory or God’s glory?  Am I okay if WILD would decrease so God’s Kingdom would increase?
          Let that sink in for a bit.  Are you okay with God if the ministry you are presently involved with would decrease so God’s Kingdom would increase?  Do I pray as an spiritual adulterer, asking God for success in ministry for our glory and identity rather than doing whatever to bring glory to God?  In John 3, John the Baptist had a pretty active, influential ministry going on.  Along comes Jesus who began preaching and baptizing, just as John was doing.  The text notes that increasing numbers of people were going to Jesus.  John’s response essentially was, Jesus must increase and I must decrease.
          Would that be our response?  Of course it would be if we knew Jesus was the new pastor or ministry leader in our town.  But do I have that same attitude if someone else who was a normal person like me, had more people attending their functions and having greater Kingdom impact?  Are we willing to pray this way that when God would increase the Kingdom, that we would be willing to have our ministry reduce while other ministers increase? 
          I am reminded of Paul’s testimony in Philippians 3 as he listed off all his reasons for high commendations according to earthly standards.  Whatever was profit or titles and accomplishments that he attained here on earth was now considered loss for the sake of Christ.  His goal was “to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” Philippians 3:10-11.  If that meant he would be a nobody, that was fine as long as he could intimately know His Savior.
          Praying that for the Kingdom of God to increase for God’s glory and at the same time praying if that means that our ministries become less and less, may not be the easiest prayer to pray.  If I desire the ministry I am involved in to prosper because I am a part of it, that is an idol.  James 4:2-3 say we should ask God when we want something and it has to be with right motives.  Will God answer our prayers when our ministries are idols to us.  The only focus of our worship is to be God Himself.  Where do our ministries fall in line, ahead of God or behind Him? 
          I know my heart can be very deceitful.  I need to examine my heart to make sure my relationship with the Lord is first and foremost.  He is to be the focus of my devotion and worship, not what I do on earth.  God is absolutely more interested in who you and I are than what we do here on earth, to include the ministries we are involved in for His work.  If we focus our attention on bringing glory to God and in turn developing the godly characteristics as humans we are able to strive for, that means our worship will be holy and pleasing to Him as we live to be living sacrifices for His glory.


    Sometimes we can complicate things when we do not need to.  An example of this is talking about God’s will.  Consider Hebrews 12:14,” Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.” 
          First, work at living at peace with everyone.  The word “peace” conveys an absence of being hostile or not being involved in disturbances.  Peace in a person’s life gives the idea that you are free from internal and external strife.  So it is an ongoing action on our part to as much as possible do not create strife, conflicts or arguments with others.   This does not mean you cannot disagree with someone but you do so in a way where you are not attempting to tear down or destroy others. 
          We all know people who it is difficult to be with because they are always contradictory, egging people on or their attitude is one of their idea is the only idea to be considered.  Do we always need to be right?  Having the same mind or thinking processes as Jesus, we are to consider the needs of others just as important as ours and to be willing to fulfill needs as we are able (Philippians 2:3-4). 
          Our conversation and tone of voice is one of building up and encouraging even when we need to speak truth in love and the truth is not necessarily positive.  If you desire to love another person, then when you need to deal with a negative issue, you will convey you are trying to seek the best for the person. 
          Hebrews 12:14 also indicates we are to work at living a holy life so that those who are not holy will see Jesus in us.  Okay, how do we live holy.  Do we wear Christian shirts that say something about Jesus or God?  Jesus was holy when He lived on earth and the Bible is full of ways to live holy.  So study Jesus and the Scriptures.  For example, from 1 Thessalonians 4:3, we are directed to be moral, to stay away from anything that is sexually immoral.  Do not get involved in opportunities where we can sin sexually.  That begins with our minds.  Stay away from websites and opportunities that will cause us to think wrong about someone.
          Sex is a great gift God has given to us but in the right context between a guy and girl when married.  It is not because God is keeping great things from you when you are not married but what sex does to us physiologically, emotionally and spiritually, God created sex to be enjoyed in a monogamous marriage.  Getting yourself involved in whatever level sexually creates issues He wants us to stay away from.  
          Do not hang around people that want to use your body for their enjoyment and your detriment.  That is why sex was created for marriage.   Dress in ways that does not convey you want anyone to think of you in ways that are inappropriate.  And again, steer away from internet sites and reading material that compromise your value as a person made in God’s image. 
          The Bible has made it clear that part of God’s will is to be holy, to pursue becoming more like Jesus as we live our lives.  Let us actively work that living peacefully with others and staying away and even, running away from anything that is sexually wrong.  Then we will be intentionally pursuing God will in application to our lives.