1. Discerning True Concern

    November 28, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    concerned-friend

    The Lord has given me the privilege of having dear friends in ministry—friends who love me and my family, challenge me in my spiritual growth, rejoice with me in God’s blessings, and hold me accountable in my personal life.

    Often in my life, and perhaps in yours as well, there will be those who express a desire to counsel me or share a concern with me. In these days of many voices and opinions, it is important to know who to hear and who to filter out.

    I’ve discovered these seven ways to be an accurate discerner of those who have had genuine concern in my life:

    They call you personally.

    I know that Matthew 18:15 is speaking to a local church context. But there is definitely a principle to be gleaned. People who want to be heard by others take their “concern” to public forums. People who hope to gain clarification from you or express their concerns to you contact you. Personally, not publically.

    Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.—Matthew 18:15

    They pray for you fervently.

    Prayer is one of the great discerners of how deep our concern runs. Are we only concerned enough to talk about it? Or are we concerned enough to talk to God about it? Without fail, spiritual Christians who have had genuine concerns for me have been as committed to pray for me as they were to speak to me.

    Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.—James 5:16

    They wait for you patiently.

    Unless you’re in a life-threatening situation, someone with true concern doesn’t generally try to force immediate change. They love you enough to give you time and space to consider and pray over their concerns and don’t insist on an immediate response.

    Charity suffereth long …—1 Corinthians 13:4

    They hope for you confidently.

    We live in a day when people can easily build platforms out of the failures or perceived failures of others. Those with true concern want to see change and growth in your life. They hope that speaking to you personally, praying fervently, and waiting patiently will bring good for you.

    Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.—1 Corinthians 13:6–7

    They sharpen you intentionally.

    This person’s greatest concern is not exposing the problem. It is helping you address whatever need may be there—whether that need be repentance, clarification, or growth.

    Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.—Proverbs 27:17

    They speak to you scripturally.

    A spiritual Christian has spiritual speech. And that will be reflected in how they bring up and address an issue in your life. They will speak with grace and with a goal of edification.

    Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.—Ephesians 4:29

    They love you unconditionally.

    The greatest level of true concern is a person who has determined to love you regardless of your response to their expression of concern. They are rooting for you and have your best interest at heart. If you don’t make changes based on their concerns, they will still love you.

    A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.—Proverbs 17:17

    Charity never faileth…—1 Corinthians 13:8

    Not only are these attributes true of those who have concern for you, but they will be present in your life if you have true concern for someone else.

    Is there someone you feel concerned for? Talk to them personally. Pray for them fervently. Wait for them patiently. Hope for them confidently. Sharpen them intentionally. Speak to them scripturally. And love them unconditionally.


  2. 4 Simple Ways to Express Thanks to the Lord

    November 26, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    Thanksgiving-fruit

    A few weeks ago, I preached from Luke 17 where Jesus healed ten lepers.

    One of the most convicting statements to me in that passage was Christ’s question to the man who returned to give Him thanks: “Where are the nine?”

    What really gripped my heart from that question is the fresh realization that Jesus considers our lack of response to the many blessings He lavishes upon us.

    Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.—Psalm 68:19

    So how do we give Him thanks? (more…)


  3. Growth Points 58: How to Finish Your Course…with Joy 

    November 25, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    The gospel ministry is not sprint. It is a lifelong calling. And yet, we’re told that only one in ten pastors will finish as a pastor. This statistic seems validated from the pages of Scripture where we find that many spiritual leaders in the Bible didn’t finish well either.

    And yet, many did finish well—including the Apostle Paul. I am always motivated by his statement in Acts 20:24: “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”

    I am thankful for the journey of faith God has had led me on to this point—only by His grace. But I want to press on and finish well. And I want to reach the finish line with joy.

    In this Growth Points video, I share a few thoughts from Scripture on how to finish your course with joy in your heart.


    (If you cannot see this video in your RSS reader or email, you can watch it here.)

    Make sure you get all future Growth Points videos by subscribing to the Spiritual Leadership Podcast.


  4. Why We Must Pray for Laborers

    November 19, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    evening-harvest

    We hear much these days from politicians regarding the size and lifespan of the Baby Boomer (my) generation.

    Consider these facts:

    • Until recently, the Boomers were the largest generation in the United States, with the succeeding Generation X being smaller. (The Millennial generation has recently exceeded the Boomers.)
    • Add to this the greatly expanded life expectancies of the Boomers compared to preceding generations, and the concerns—from an economic angle—involve retirement, workforce replacements, and social security deficits.

    But economics and politics aside, I believe there is an even greater reason these size demographics should be considered.

    That reason is the harvest fields.

    Not only do we have the usual shortage of laborers because of the overwhelmingly needy fields in front of us (7.2 billion people with teeming metropolitan cities void of independent Baptist churches), but we have an impending shortage of laborers because of an aging generation of current laborers with a smaller generation coming behind them.

    What does all this mean? (more…)


  5. Enemies of a Passionate Walk with Christ

    November 17, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    sunrise-path

    What single word best describes your walk with the Lord?

    I think all of us would love for that word to be passion. And not just today, but every day. We’d like consistent passion in our walk with God.

    Yet, if we’re honest, we’d have to admit that our passion for the Lord easily wanes.

    What is it that steals or diminishes our passion?

    It’s not always (or usually) the blatant, outward sins. The enemy is usually more concealed than we anticipate. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I can suggest four common enemies of a passionate walk with Christ. (more…)