PKs

6 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Titus 1:6

These verses, while they seem specific enough, are very much open to interpretation. Many pastors have been scolded by parishioners for having hyperactive and ambitious kids. The spirit of this verse is that if you child is consistently getting into trouble with the law or causing havoc in the community, perhaps it’s time to step down until everything settles down. Pastors’ kids are themselves under a great strain because people have big expectations of them, which is totally unfair. Sometimes out of rebellion, the kids will cause a lot of problems for their parents. Obviously there’s a fine line between this and normal kid and teen stuff.

Pray for the children of the pastors you know. They too live in a fish bowl where everyone sees their actions and judge accordingly. They need safe outlets for relief as well. Pray that they will have fresh and rich encounters with God regularly.

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Elders!

5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. Titus 1:5

When Paul wrote this, the church was still very young. The leader in each church was probably doing everything. He might have had lay help but there didn’t seem to be a formal structure. He trusted Titus to take care of the elder situation. I’m certain the pastors during that time were relieved that they were getting formal help. Now, there would always be problems with this method because now the preachers had to contend with elders in the church. That’ why what follows these verses gives very clear qualifications for becoming an elder. The qualifications were designed to weed out new Believers or people with significant moral deficiencies.

This morning as you consider this verse, pray for the elders in your church. Their jobs are often weighty and they generally don’t get paid to take some of the brunt of complainers and agitators. Pray for their families as the elders could be working long hours away from home.

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Greetings and Blessings

4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith:
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. Titus 1:4

When was the last time you received a greeting like this in the mail or in an email? It’s a blessing combined with a greeting. Of course it was a very common practice when this was first written. We’ve modified and shortened it considerably (“Hello” or “What’s going on?” are favorites) because normally we don’t go right into the body of our text without a greeting of some sort, especially if it’s the first greeting of the day.

But if you’re writing to a Brother or Sister, why not bless them with a short blessing like this. It doesn’t take much time or effort, and the person on the other end will be blessed by you making the comment.

May the grace and peace from God and Christ Jesus our Savior be with you and your family.

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Eternal Life

2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior, Titus 1:2

God almighty has promised eternal life. The life we live now is temporal. It seems like it will last but the older you get, the more you realize that friends and family members around you are passing away faster than we’d like. How can it be? They were just here yesterday.

Temporal.

Here and now.

Today.

Tomorrow, maybe. 60, 70, 80 years.

Slowing down.

Forgetting.

Winding down.

But eternity, that’s a different thing altogether, isn’t it? There’s no end. I presume we don’t slow down or forget or wind down. Our bones don’t ache and they don’t break. There’s no need for sunlight, and there’s no night. No sorrow. No pain. It’s forever.

Our loved one who trusted in Christ will be there.

Eternity.

Eternal life.

Forever.

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Self-Awareness Time

1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— Titus 1:1

This verse could easily be Paul’s mission statement. His mission was to “further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness.” Essentially he was preaching and teaching, and I suspect he was great at both. Paul had incredible self-awareness. He knew who he was, what he could do, and where he was going in life. If he was furthering the faith of God’s elect or furthering their knowledge of the truth, it gave him great joy. Even before he became a believer, he was zealous and ambitious. Afterwards, he became all the more passionate about his faith because he knew it was the truth.

What about you and me? Do we know who we are, what our gifts are, what our mission in life is? If not, why not?

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Lord Be With Your Spirit!

22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all. 2 Timothy 4:22

As Paul did often, he closed his letter with a prayer of blessing. And this prayer – like the others – is fit for memorizing and hiding in your heart. As you probably know by now, I don’t “buy” that you can’t memorize. Sure it may take you longer, but what’s the rush? I still state that everyone can memorize Scripture if you have the will to. But most of us are either afraid or tired.

I say afraid because we seem to think that the process of memorizing Scripture is painful and will take a long time. There are a thousand other things you could be doing. The other common response is that you’re tired. Valid and fairly easy to overcome. You simply print out the verse and have it handy when you’re waiting for others: in line, at a game, making supper.

One verse, that’s all, just one verse. Over and over again. Write it out a few times by hand. Then repeat the first half, and then the next. Before you know it, you’ll be able to rip up the paper and it will be hidden in your heart.

The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all. Amen.

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Celebrate Your Ordinariness

19 Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. 21 Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers and sisters. 2 Timothy 4:19-21

As Paul closed out his two letters to Timothy, he did some name dropping. These weren’t famous people, though they are now. You can actually picture Eubalus, Pudens, Linus, and Claudia all gathered around the scribe as they said, “Say hi for me too!” Pudens, Linux, and Claudia are just mentioned, nothing more than that. We don’t know what they did or who they were. Obviously they were hanging out with Paul so they had that going for them, but who were they?

Seven plus billion people in the world and 99.9999% will never be known outside their home or town. But those four people are written in the greatest book ever written. We won’t even recognize them in heaven, but we also won’t be able to recognize all of the main characters in the Bible.

Ordinary people built the church of Jesus Christ into what it is today. Unknowns. Average, ordinary people. Lovers of God and haters of evil. Passionate.

Today celebrate your ordinariness. Yes, you’re a child of the King, and this King loves you as if you were His only child.

How awesome is that?

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Feeling Deserted?

16 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 17 But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 2 Timothy 4:16-18

The verse previous to these referenced Alexander and how the Lord would repay him. This verse is the exact opposite; don’t hold it against them. He was very specific about Alexander’s action. The others just weren’t there for him. He even felt he was deserted. I picture Paul to one always surrounded by people who wanted to be associated with him. But when the going got tough, they left. It’s something to keep in mind with others. Whether or not people desert you isn’t the question. If you feel deserted, you feel deserted. There’s no way around it.

Rest assured that you are not alone. The Lord rescued Paul from evil, and God will rescue us as well.

The other “tangible” thing we can do to counteract that feeling: do something for others. It therapeutic and practical. Anytime you can think outside of your own situation is good for all.

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Steer Clear

14 Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. 15 You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message. 2 Timothy 4:14-15

There are two general principles in these two verses that are important for the Christian life. Notice Paul wasn’t angry about Alexander the metalworker. It wasn’t Paul’s place to seek revenge or to become bitter. It’s no secret that Paul had enemies. Alexander must have been vocal about Paul and his message. Again, turnin it over to the Lord is the only sensible thing to do. Anything else would be destructive and vindictive.

Similarly, Paul warned us about Alexander’s type. Steer clear. At the very least, be on guard. What type of person are we talking about? Well, Alexander opposed the message. I think it goes without saying that those people who oppose our message are not our friends. That includes most of Hollywood. Be on your guard when you watch movies. Hollywood producers oppose our message every chance they can get. Christianity is the only religion where it’s open season to mock. They know Christians won’t fight back. But be on guard against them and the shows and movies they produce. They are not our friends.

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