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May 2015




OBSERVATION: (What does it say?)

This book was written by Paul to a dear friend and worker of his, Philemon. Philemon was a slave owner and Paul was returning Onesimus, his runaway slave, to him. Onesimus had runaway after stealing from him. Paul spent some time with Onesimus, led him to Christ and is now bringing him back to Philemon. He is pleading with him not to punish him, but rather to treat him as a brother, especially now that he has accepted salvation in Jesus Christ. (Reference for background info is:

UNDERSTANDING: (What does it mean)

Something I continue to notice about Paul is how much he loves the people he leads and serves. The way he pleads with Philemon and appeals to him as his brother with love instead of harsh authority proves this (see vss. 8-9). Also the way he pleads for him to accept Onesimus back with grace, love and forgiveness also proves this.

Paul understood this type of forgiveness first hand. He used to persecute Christians when he was Saul, but after receiving salvation, he became a completely different man. I believe Paul chose to be Onesimus' advocate because he witnessed the same type of change and regeneration in Onesimus that he experienced as a result of faith in Jesus Christ. Because Onesimus had become part of the family of Christ and had experienced the grace and love of God, Paul wanted Philemon to extend that same type of grace to him.


Who do we need to extend grace, love and forgiveness to today? We are not slave owners like Philemon was, but we all have authority over people whether we are married, parents to children, supervise a team at work, a leader in the church, or spreading the Gospel to the lost. May we never lose sight of the fact that because we are servants of Jesus Christ, we are called to treat our family and those Christ has blessed us to have leadership over, with love, forgiveness and respect. That's what Jesus (our Master) does for us everyday. He loved and served us to the point of laying down his life for us. Thank you Jesus and may your example encourage us to do the same with the people you have called us to lead. Amen.

Titus 3


SCRIPTURE: Titus 3:3-7: 3At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

OBSERVATION: ( What does it say?)

We are new creations in Christ. The old has passed away and the new has come. (2 Corinthians 2:17.) When Jesus saved/saves us from our sins, there is an inward rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. We no longer desire to live for the flesh, but for the Lord. It wasn't a result of our works so that we could boast (Eph. 2:8-9), but rather because of His kindness, love and mercy. Salvation is a gift and His Spirit dwelling inside of us is also a gift.

UNDERSTANDING: (What does it mean?)

Jesus saved us from our sins so that we could live for Him. In our own strength, it is impossible to do good works and live for Jesus. I guarantee that's a set up for failure. However, the Holy Spirit living inside of us enables us to do good works. We must choose to call out to Him daily, be obedient to Him and not neglect His power.


Why were we saved? Was it to enjoy the benefits of living a forgiven life, while being foolish, disobedient and slaves to sin in the meantime? NO! That would completely contradict the purpose of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. When I am tempted to act out of character, I go back to why Christ chose to save me. He saved me to work for His Kingdom purposes here on Earth until He decides to call me to my eternal dwelling place with Him. He didn't die for me in order for me to continue to be deceived and enslaved by sin. He died, resurrected and gave me His Holy Spirit so that I could live a new life in Him. As a Body, let's remember that we have the Holy Spirit living inside each of us so we must not neglect Him. Just like salvation, He is also a free gift that God has poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior (vs. 6). Thank You Lord for Your free gift of salvation and the Holy Spirit. May we not neglect or take for granted either one. Amen.

Titus 2


Titus 2:11-14-11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled,upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own,eager to do what is good.

OBSERVATION: (What does it say?)

In this section of the chapter, the Apostle Paul gives Titus the reason for why they (the Church) must choose to be set apart from the world. The reason and purpose for living self controlled, pure, and godly lives is Jesus.

UNDERSTANDING: (What does it mean?)

Jesus is our eternal hope. We are motivated to live for Him because we know He will return. We put our hope in our eternal home with Him. This present life will pass away, but our hope for eternity will never pass away.

Where have we placed our hope? Is it in this passing life or in our life eternal with our Triune God? The way we live our everyday lives is motivated by what we place our hope in. Dear Jesus, I pray that we would live our lives with the hope of eternity. You promise You will return. We do not know the day or hour, but You promise You will take us to be with You eternally. Please forgive us for the times we have lived our lives apart from that blessed hope. Holy Spirit, restore our faith and hope in You. Amen.

Titus 1



Titus 1:16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.

OBSERVATION: ( What does it say?)

We just finished reading through the books of 1 & 2 Timothy, which were written by the Apostle Paul to his apprentice/disciplee Timothy. This book of Titus was also written by the Apostle Paul, but addressed to another disciplee of his, Titus. Titus is a leader of one of the churches that Paul had planted during one of his missionary journeys. In this chapter, Paul is instructing Titus on the qualities to look for when appointing elders/ leaders of the church. His instructions to Titus are very similar to what he wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 3:1-7. However, another similarity I noticed was Paul's focus on the importance of staying pure and undefiled by the ways of the world. Basically, walk the talk. If you claim to be a Christ follower, let your actions prove it. I love Matthew Henry's commentary on about this issue:
"Many profess to know God, yet in their lives deny and reject him. See the miserable state of hypocrites, such as have a form of godliness, but are without the power; yet let us not be so ready to fix this charge on others, as careful that it does not apply to ourselves."

UNDERSTANDING: (What does it mean?)
See observation above.

The reading for today is so fitting for what we discussed in church yesterday. During our time of prayer before service, Pastor spoke about all of us being called to repentance ( recognizing, confessing and turning away from sin). He spoke about it starting with us first, praying that the Holy Spirit reveal any areas that we need to turn from in ourselves and then praying for others as well. Then Pastor Levi preached about how purity precedes power. We cannot expect God to work mightily through us if we continue to allow the sin in our lives to take over. We must be willing to break free from it even if it hurts (like the picture in Scripture of gouging out an eye). Do our actions prove that we know God intimately? Or are we like the people the Apostle Paul talked about who claim to know God, but their actions deny him? What needs to be gouged out of our lives (movies/shows, certain people, jobs, computers, etc.) in order for this to happen? Dear Jesus, I pray that we would be willing to turn from WHATever and WHOever is keeping us from fully experiencing You. I pray that through our actions and not just our words, that the world will know we belong to You and You alone. Amen.

References:, (Matthew Henry commentary), Pastor Gary Khan and Pastor Levi

2 Timothy 4


  • 2 Timothy 4:9-16, 21 (NIV) 9  Do your best to come to me quickly, 10  for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 11  Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. 12  I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13  When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments. 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. 16  At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them...21  Do your best to get here before winter.

Paul has spent the entire letter encouraging Timothy, who seemed to be discouraged.  Ministry can do that to people - you work hard to help people to become what God would desire for them and along the way they leave, they complain, they criticize, abandon the faith and then tell you it is your fault it happened.  Every now and then they need some encouragement and Paul was giving Timothy a shot in the arm of encouragement in this letter.  But here is what I find pretty amazing, Paul encouraged Timothy even though he was in need of encouragement too.  You can hear it in this last chapter.  He is not ready to give up but he realizes that he needs someone he can lean on for a while so he asks Timothy to come and help.

Come quickly Timothy I am saddened by all those who have deserted me.  I feel alone.  I need my coat because winter is coming and do you best to get here before winter.  And can you bring my scrolls?  

As we walk this life of serving God in ministry we must realize that we need one another.  There is no such thing as lone ranger Christians.  we need each other to work together and to be there to rely on each other.  Don't isolate, don't stay away from fellowship and ministering together because we need each other.  I need encouragement and so do you!

2 Timothy 3


  • 2 Timothy 3:10-14 (NIV) 10  You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11  persecutions, sufferings--what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12  In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13  while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,

A disciple of Christ is a disciplined follower of Christ.  Jesus called 12 men to Him and demonstrated what it meant to "disciple them."  They ate together, travelled together,  laughed together, ministered together...they did life together!  When He was ascending back into heaven, after His resurrection He commissioned the disciples (and by the nature of discipleship, all disciples where were to follow) to go and make disciples of all nations.  That is where we find ourselves today - still commissioned to make disciples (disciplined followers of Christ) of all nations.  

As we read Paul's letter to Timothy we continue to catch a glimpse into a journeyman's approach.  Every journeyman takes on apprentices and Timothy was on of Paul's apprentices.  And so the journeyman Paul is instructing Timothy in the ways of being a disciple and making other disciples.

In today's reading we see Paul telling Timothy that there will be lots of people who will say let me disciple you in the ways of Christ, but beware they are false teachers and leaders, and we can be led astray.  If you are going to be discipled then it is important to follow the right leaders and Paul says that the best way is to look at their lives and see if what they are saying are matching up with what they are doing.  A lot of people talk a good talk but what are their responses like in hard times and when things are not going their way.  Just as important is how do they respond to God in good times?  

Paul reminds Timothy that his life is where the proof of authenticity lies.  Timothy had done life together with Paul and had seen firsthand the apostle's response to life and it's hardships.  Paul taught Timothy in the "classroom" style of passing on information but there was also the teaching that was imitation - follow me as I follow Christ.

So the question to us is double-edged:
Who are we allowing to infuence our lives?  Have we looked at their lives and seen positive proof that they are truly disciplined followers of Christ?  Or are we caught up in the celebrity mindset of the world?
How do we decide who influences how we live?

The other side would be, am I living a life worthy of imitation?  Can I say to those I am influencing, "Follow me as I follow Christ!"
Am I making myself available to do life together with those I am discipling?  Or are we "discipling from a distance"  (BTW there is no such thing.)

2 Timothy 2


  • 2 Timothy 2:1-2 So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ. 2  For you must teach others those things you and many others have heard me speak about. Teach these great truths to trustworthy men who will, in turn, pass them on to others.

Paul continues to exhort Timothy about discipleship.  This work of Christ is the work of making disciples, so it is important that we make it a priority.  We cannot say that we are about the work of making disciples and then we do nothing to make that a reality - that would be the picture of confused.  

Paul tells Timothy to throw himself into this work for Christ.  Be committed to the calling.  
Be devoted to making disciples.  We must have a single minded purpose about it.  Don't get distracted, after all we are soldiers in a war and no good soldier gets caught up making deals in the marketplace when he should be out fighting on the front lines.  Too many of us today are distracted from the work for Christ of making disciples, we are busy in the marketplace making deals and have neglected our post on the front lines.  Our priorities are mixed up.

Paul then goes on to tell Timothy the circle of life of discipleship.  He tells Timothy to teach others the things that he (Paul) had taught Timothy, so that those people could pass it on to others.  There are some key components in this bit of advice...

First Paul had done the work of learning and being discipled himself so that he could teach Timothy.  In order for us to teach others we must first be taught.  We must always adopt a posture of learning so that we are continually growing in our walk with God.  What we learn we pass on to others.  We must also live a life worthy of imitation because one of the best ways we teach others to follow Christ is by how we live out what we say we believe.

Then Paul tells Timothy that he must pass on what he has learned from Paul.  Timothy is exhorted to disciple others, passing on what he learned from Paul.  Every disciple must be discipling others - it is expected.  We grow and we help others to grow.  We are never too young to start being discipled and discipling others.  
And notice that we must be careful in choosing people who will continue the process.  Look for people who are willing and desiring to be discipled and who will carry the torch of discipleship forward.

Speaking from experience, this is not a easy process in any way.  We make mistakes, the people we are discipling disappoint us and we feel like we are not being effective; which is why all discipleship must come from the place of love.  We must love those who we are discipling.  We must want the best for them.  We must be willing to stay involved in their lives in the moments of bad decisions and keep working on helping them turn their hearts to God as they develop spiritual maturity in their lives.

As Stevie Wonder would sing to you...
"People, keep on discipling!"

2 Timothy 1


Lately at church we have been talking about discipling others.  The church exists to make disciples and every one of us should be engaged somewhere in the process of being discipled and discipling others.  Now in reading 1st and 2nd Timothy we catch a glimpse of a master discipler at work.  Timothy was a disciple of Paul and in the opening remarks of his second recorded letter to Timothy we see some ways that we too can go about discipling others as well as what we should expect from those who disciple us.

The first thing that is evident is Paul's love for Timothy. 
He sincerely loves Timothy and wants God's best for him.  He calls him his dearly beloved son.  For the discipleship process to be truly successful it must start with a genuine love for the people we are discipling.

The second thing I notice is that Paul prays for Timothy.  vs 3-4
Paul had spent time with Timothy and knew some of his areas of struggles and so he prays with a real burden for him and with a sense of what to pray. He prays for Timothy's success and for encouragement for him to stay the course in the difficult task of shepherding God's people.  One of the best ways we can care for people is to pray for them.

The third thing I notice is that Paul encourages Timothy to continue in the faith. vs 5
It is a picture of an older believer putting their arms around a younger believer and saying, I just want you to know that I love your passion for Christ.  I don't know about you but that kind of encouragement goes a long way in me wanting to continue serving God.  I don't serve God for the applause of people but when people who matter encourage me it keeps me going.

Finally I see that Paul reminds Timothy of God's gifts in him. 
There have been so many times that I get discouraged as a Pastor and I want to give up so I call one of my disciplers and share my discouragement with them and they start reminding me of the day God called me, and they start pointing out the gifts that are evident in my life, and that people laid their hands on me and sent me out to accomplish God's call on my life.  

Above the abilities we have Paul reminds Timothy that it is the Holy Spirit in us that gives us the power to do what God has called us to do.

That is the kind of discipler that we need still. 
Spiritually mature men and women who would be willing to love people, pray diligently for them, encourage them in the faith and to keep serving God and to pick them up when they are down by reminding them of the gifts that God has given them to accomplish the task He has called them to. 
We need disciplers who will remind us that the Holy Spirit lives in us and seeks to work through us in powerful ways if we do not get discouraged and give up. 
Look for disciplers like that to disciple you and be that kind of discipler in the lives of others.  We need it!

1 Timothy 6



  •   1 All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2 Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves.

In our culture today many look at their work as evil but necessary.  There is not a high value place on work.  Most Americans do not like their jobs, for them the dreaded Monday mornings come way too quickly.  We see work as a means to an end - it provides me with the money to finance my real life - the pursuit of comfort, pleasure and material possessions.  "Thank God it's Friday" and "I owe, I owe, so off to work I go" are the sad slogans of our lives. 

Paul is having none of this attitude as he speaks to Timothy on how Tim should be teaching the Christ-followers under his care.  Work needs to be worship.  Work is to be done unto the Lord in a way that brings honor and glory to Him.  From the beginning God was the One who created work - instructing Adam to take care of the garden.  Work is not a is part of God's plan and purpose for mankind.

Whether our bosses are the best in the world or the biggest jerks, our responsibility as children of God is to worship while we work and in so doing honor our Father in heaven.  It provides a living testimony to everyone around us.  We become a light in the darkness.  As Christ-followers we should be showing those at our jobs what a life transformed by Christ looks like. Paul is not condoning slavery here but he insists that even slaves are to do their best to glorify God by faithfully fulfilling their duties.

How is your work ethic?  Does it glorify God?  
What is your theology of work?  Do you recognize that it is worship? 

1 Timothy 5

  Nothing hidden-2

Nothing  Is Hidden Forever


1 Timothy 5:25

 In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.

Observation – What does it say?

Some sins are right out in the open and are obvious, but even the ones that are done in secret wont remain secret forever. The day will come when everyone stands before the throne of God to give an account for what they’ve done.

Likewise, just as some good deeds are out there and seen, even the ones done in secret wont remain secret forever. How encouraging!

Understanding – What does it mean?

I just met with a man yesterday who was in need and the church rallied around and gave him several anonymous gifts. He was blown away first because of the amount of gifts, but second because no one wanted to be recognized for giving their gift. As an unbeliever, he didn’t understand why people would give money anonymously.

It reminded me of Jesus teaching on prayer, fasting and giving gifts. In each situation he commands his hearers not to do things out in the open for everyone to see. Work for the praise of God, not people. And with each area, Jesus says, “…and my Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

Speaking to this same issue is one of my favorite verses…

 1 Corinthians 15:58 (MSG)

…don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.

Although it’s not pleasant to know that God sees every sin done in secret (even though we are confident we are forgiven in Christ), it’s awesome to know that God also sees every good deed. He sees the obvious ones, but he also sees the ones done in secret and will reward us accordingly.

Life Application

Keep doing good, not being concerned with who sees because what’s important is knowing that God sees.

God, nothing slips your attention. Good or bad, everything will come into the open if it isn’t already. Help me to live for you as my audience and keep in mind that you reward well. I love you! Amen.