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Invincibility: Life or Death… I’m Good

Paul went from persecuting the church to being a persecuted apostle of the church. After his arrest in Jerusalem, during his first imprisonment, he wrote a letter to the Philippians in which he boldly declared this short but profound line…

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (1:21)

In other words… “If I live, I get to be all about Christ. If I die, I get to be with Christ, so either way, I’m good.” Here’s the thought that hit me – Paul was pretty much invincible at this point. Kill him and he’s with Jesus. Let him live and he’ll just live for Jesus. You can’t really hurt Paul.

I can think of plenty of things that could hurt me. Take away all my money, my time, or worse yet, take away my family and I’d be hurting. But I’d only hurt temporarily, or physically, or emotionally. Eternally? I’m good. We’re good. I won’t take money home with me and my family will meet me there.

Let me ask you an extremely important question… if someone took your life, would they be hurting you? If they let you live, would that cause pain for you too? Or are you firmly grounded and settled in an eternally secure relationship with Jesus?

As far as eternity is concerned, I’m invincible. Seems like I’ve always wanted that special power!

The Pastoral Calling and Role

I love being a Pastor. I’m passionate about preaching. I am humbled that God has called me to shepherd a flock of His choosing. And I especially love the fuel that fires me up – the Word of God and what it has to say about whom I am.

One of my favorite passages on the subject is Paul’s gut-wrenching goodbye to the Epehsian elders who met him at the island port city of Miletus. It’s recorded in Acts 20:17-38. I’ve been reading it afresh today and have discovered a pattern of ministry I hadn’t spotted before…

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I Know My Purpose… Now What?

Dive off!I have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m saved and secure. I’m on my way to heaven someday. But I still live here and I know that my purpose is to glorify Jesus Christ in all of the life that I have left. But how?

A common plight Christians suffer is this wrestling between getting ready to do something, and doing it now. When I surrendered to God’s calling on my life to ministry, I wrestled – do I spend some years in school, doing little and learning much, or do I get involved, doing much but perhaps learning little. I’ve heard it preached both ways. You have too, and it’s confusing, isn’t it?

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Five Great Books About the Apostle Paul

Last week I began a new post series that will feature “five great gooks” every week on a variety of subjects. I said I’d talk about five great books for women, but I spoke rashly. I’m going to postpone that until a bit later. Instead, today, I’m going to plug five great books about the life of the apostle Paul. I’m beginning a teaching series on this subject with tonight’s service and it’s a great way to get acquainted with almost half of the New Testament in survey fashion.

Paul The Apostle (Robert Picirilli)

Robert Picirilli was a professor at Free Will Baptist Bible College, not far from where I grew up. He’s one of those men of whom his students teased that he “must have walked with Paul.” His book is clear and concise, providing a great outline for Paul’s life.

Paul Apostle of the Heart Set Free (F. F. Bruce)

F. F. Bruce writes about Paul from a more scholarly perspective. Bruce strongly defends the New Testament as an accurate historical account of Paul’s life and does a little more expounding upon the extrabiblical history as well.

By the way, have you "liked" Grace Hills Church on Facebook yet?

Paul: Living for the Call of Christ (Men of Character Series by Gene Getz)

Getz writes this book for men and it would make an excellent men’s Bible study curriculum. He’s practical and helps us see Paul’s great leadership abilities in addition to his theology and character.

Paul: A Man of Grace and Grit (Great Lives from God’s Word Series by Charles Swindoll)

Few authors can compete with Swindoll when it comes to a profound mixture of thorough theology and practical life application. As I read Swindoll’s character studies, I feel like I’m living in the moment. He holds the reader’s attention all the way through.

The Apostle: A Life of Paul (John Pollock)

Pollock’s work is a classic, along with his biographies of Jesus and Billy Graham. He knows how to illustrate a life and shows us in a dramatic way Paul’s sufferings and triumphs.

Real Christians Hurt… And Show It

As Paul concluded his second letter to Timothy, he expressed some hurt. Demas had forsaken him. Alexander the coppersmith had caused him much harm. At one point, no one was willing to stand with Paul. Rejection, criticism, and abandonment hurt! The world is watching believers to see how we’re going to handle it all.

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