The following clip is from the sermon “Love Is Always Better Than Law.”
The following clip is from the sermon “Love Is Always Better Than Law.”
This week I had the opportunity to speak on Family Life Radio on what it means to be “God’s Man” or “God’s Woman.”
I’ve attached the interviews below for you to check out, and encourage you to download the handouts that go with these interviews here (characteristics of a Godly man) and here (characteristics of a Godly woman.) Be sure to visit the links, print out the handouts, and follow along as you listen to the interviews below.
There’s no greater gift a parent can give their children than helping them become the person God created them to be. I encourage to check out the series, Gifts I’d Give My Children, for some additional resources to help you do that.
What ways are you helping your children become the person God created them to be? Leave a comment below and tell me about it!
The following is from an email exchange where I was asked five questions on the topics of spiritual leadership, ministry, and pastoring. I hope it encourages and sharpens you.
Do you have a question on life, leadership, or the world around us? If so, I’d like to hear it. Simply fill out this short form and your question may be used on an upcoming episode of Real Truth Real Quick.
I’ve never believed I needed to do anything but my job and do it well. Don’t let the title convince you that you need to be anything other then faithful…but do be aware that with titles come privileges and responsibilities…and a lot of guys (or Kings in the Scripture) find out they were not ready for either. Prov 27:21
Hiring well ( or surrounding yourself with the right people) is more important then anyone can convince you. Find Godly bold men..not yes men or people impressed with you..find men that love God and will love you in every way God calls them to who are gifted to do their job…the more gifted they are then you the better and if they are more gifted then you get out of the way and follow them.
Faithfulness in the smallest of things. Doing everything well…not to get ahead but to be ready. Fall in love with God’s word.
Teach it every chance you get…follow it more passionately then you teach it. Col 3:23; Gal 1:10The reward for more faithful service is the opportunity for more service.
So anytime I did anything less then God’s word would admonish…other than that as Solomon predicted I have no regrets and wouldn’t do anything different.
Heb 10:24-25; Psalm 141:5 ; Prov 27:5-6
To: Todd Wagner (email@example.com)
I am perusing a new business here in xxx. It is a continuation of the business that I have had for 30+ years. I have been in retirement since 2000, but I feel that since I can’t find retirement in the Bible, I need to continue working until God calls me home or until my health will no longer permit.
The question that I have is that I am in the process of designing a new business card. On the back side of the card, I wanted to put the attached message (which includes mentioning Jesus Christ.)
I have communicated with my community group in Dallas and there seems to be a difference in opinion. One of the group whom I have a lot of trust in seems to think that it could have a negative affect on the business.His concern is this could be seen as a “marketing tool” and not truly seen as what my intentions are.
I searched my heart and know that my true reason for doing this was to open the door to conversation about Christ. We left it that we would all pray and seek guidance from God.
You have been one that I have always put tremendous amount of faith in to help in matters like this. I need your input. Thanks in advance for taking the time to read my request. Any and all input will be appreciated.
From: Todd Wagner (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Humbled that you’d ask me for my input. I’d never tell you, first off, to keep quiet about your faith. Probably no need to state that that but let’s just get that out there. Now whether this is the most effective way to initiate conversations about Christ, I’m not sure I can comment with authority. As we’ve said at Watermark, we’re going to do whatever we need to do to minister to the largest swath of the culture we’re in.
In other words, becoming all things to all men, so that we may by all means save some (1 Cor 9:22). That’s why we say that if the best way at some future point to reach folks is to put on choir robes and sing hymns, that’s what we’re going to do. So in addition to getting input from your community group here in Dallas, it might be a good idea to talk to some business leaders in xxx to get some feedback as to how this will be perceived locally and whether there might be a more effective way to bring your faith into the marketplace.
As for your heart for doing this, let the Lord weigh and test your motives (Prov 16:2, Heb 4:12-13). If are under the conviction of the Spirit, are acting in obedience to God’s word, and have done your due diligence with community and local business leaders, then I would say move ahead by all means. Suppose this initiative does have a negative effect on your business. You and I know that you can trust the Lord in times of plenty and in times of scarcity. At the end of the day, the Gospel will have been proclaimed – which is ALWAYS a win (Phil 1:12) and yields returns way more significant that any worldly success could – and you can rest in the assurance that the Lord will never forsake you and will provide for all of your needs (2 Peter 1:3).
BOTTOM LINE: What you do and why you do/don’t do it is likely the most important thing here. God won’t love you more if you do it… but if He is calling you to do it and you have a conviction that you should (and that the art/way you are choosing has been affirmed by trusted others who understand your culture and context) and you believe it is the right thing to do and you know that it won’t necessarily bless your business if you do, and you don’t care if it hurts your business if you do because it is the right thing… then I’d do it.
Hope that is helpful.
Praying for you, xxxx, as you deepen ties to your community and to the local body of Christ, and for this church and its leadership. May the name of Jesus be made more famous because of your dedication to His word and His people.
One of the questions that men often ask is “How Do I Become a Godly Man?” A few years ago our senior pastor, Todd Wagner, gave a message entitled, “Act Like Men: Defining and Discussing God’s Calling for Men” where he outlined some key characteristics of a Godly man with Scriptures to go along with each. In addition, he posted a handout on his personal blog that can be downloaded, printed, and shared.
We hope you these characteristics, and accompanying verses, help spur you on to be the kind of man God created you to be!
When David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the army, the mighty men…”Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the LORD do what is good in His sight.” –2 Samuel 10:7,12
“I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” – Ezekiel 22:30
Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. – Proverbs 27:5-6
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. – Proverbs 31:8-9
But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. – 1 Peter 3:15
“Now behold, I have made you today as a fortified city and as a pillar of iron and as walls of bronze against the whole land, to the kings of Judah, to its princes, to its priests and to the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the LORD. – Jeremiah 1:18-19
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. – I Corinthians 15:58
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. – 1 Peter 5:8-9
Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me; It is oil upon the head; Do not let my head refuse it, for still my prayer is against their wicked deeds. – Psalm 141:5
You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:5-7
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33 ”
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45
How are you doing on these characteristics? Leave a comment below and let us know how we can pray for you!
Dr. Frank Turek and I recently had the privilege of talking with John Stonestreet of BreakPoint about DOMA and how the church should respond. Click play to check out the interview in it’s entirely below.
I love giving others a “warped” perspective of church….at least that’s true if their perspective is anything like the majority of church goers have today. I often find myself telling others, “if you would have told me during my young adult years that I would one day be a pastor…I would have taken a swing at you.”
I say this because my experience was that church was a place that I saw largely unmotivated and courageous men leading a very average weekly meeting of extremely bored adults. Still worse, I saw no connection between the things the bored adults did throughout the week with what they were doing in their average meetings during the weekend. Destine me for a life “leading” that kind of organization and you deserved a little MMA action coming your way.
Obviously, this isn’t what the King of the universe had in mind for His people or their leaders. These last 12 years I have loved doing my best to give whoever runs with us here at Watermark a “warped” perspective on what God’s people gathered look like. Then today….I received the following note from a young man that greatly encouraged me and made me want to share this post with you. Here’s praying that the grace of God continues to allow all of us to be a part of serving His bride in a way that brings Him glory and makes her beautiful, inspiring and attractive to others.
January 25, 2013
I recently had to write a paper for a class at seminary about what my Church’s 3 greatest strengths are.
My #1 answer was “our Elders”.
Watermark is my first Church home. Three years ago, through a friend’s heart for discipleship I got invited to the family here. I had no idea how incredible the Church could be. My friends in other ministries make comments like “you know Church politics”, and I always have to say “I really don’t know”.
I am just one of the hundreds of 20 somethings at Watermark who have been provided a “warped” perspective on what Church is like.
Alive, authentic, excellent, innovative, without “politics” or hypocrisy, full of grace and truth. Thank you for allowing me a healthy and biblical perspective on what the Church is. Thank you for the trails blazed through decades of faithfulness. No intention of brown-nosing here, I’m just grateful.
Thanks David for living out Hebrews 3:13 and 10:24-25 in my life today.
Many of you have asked for the “Generation Why” letter that I read at Watermark in response to the tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut. If you weren’t with us on December 16th and missed hearing the message on “Darkness in Newtown and the Light of the World”, I’d encourage you to check it out here so that you are equipped to answer questions posed by those who are appropriately hurting, confused, and skeptical that the God we serve is in control of such evil. The letter was originally written in response to the Columbine shootings by Marcy Musgrave, who at the time was a junior at Texas A&M. I hope you read this and are spurred on to pray diligently for our country as darkness continues to increase. My prayer is that after watching the message you are ready to join me in lovingly shepherding the lost and hurting people around us. Pray with me friends…first for the church to do its job (Matt 5:14-16; 1 Peter 2:9; Phil 2:14-15) and for the families of those who lost loved ones in Newtown. May the Gospel bring comfort and peace into a town and country where chaos and confusion are increasing daily.
I am a member of the upcoming generation—the one after Generation X that has yet to be given a name. So far, it appears that most people are rallying behind the idea of calling us Generation Next. I believe I know why. The older generations are hoping we will mindlessly assume our place as the “next” in line. That way, they won’t have to explain why my generation has had to experience so much pain and heartache. “What heartache?” you say. “Don’t you know you have grown up in a time of great prosperity?” Yeah, we know that. Believe me, it has been drilled into our heads since birth. Unfortunately, the pain and hurt I speak of can’t be reconciled with money. You have tried for years to buy us happiness, but it is only temporary. Money isn’t the answer, and it is time for people to begin admitting their guilt for failing my generation. I will admit that I wasn’t planning to write this. I was going to tuck it away in some corner of my mind and fall victim to your whole “next” mentality. But after the massacre in Littleton, CO, I realize that as a member of this generation that kills without remorse, I had a duty to challenge all of my elders to explain why they have allowed things to become so bad. Let me tell you this: These questions don’t represent only me but a Whole generation that is struggling to grow up and make sense of this world. We all have questions; we all want explanations. People may label us Generation Next, but we are more appropriately Generation “Why?”
“Why did most of you lie when you made the vow of ‘til death do us part’?” “Why do you fool yourselves into believing that divorce really is better for the kids in the long run?”
“Why do so many of you divorced parents spend more time with your new boyfriend or girlfriend than with your own children?” “Why did you ever fall victim to the notion that kids are just as well off being raised by a complete stranger at a day care center than by their own mother or father?”
“Why do you look down on parents who decide to quit work and stay home to raise their children?” “Why does the television do the most talking at family meals?”
“Why is work more important than your own family?”
“Why is money regarded as more important than relationships?” “Why is ‘quality time’ generally no longer than a five- to 10-minute conversation each day?”
“Why do you try to make up for the lack of time you spend with us by giving us more and more material objects that we really don’t need?” “Why does your work (in the form of a cell Phone, laptop computer, etc.), always come with us on vacations?”
“Why have you neglected to teach us values and morals?”
“Why haven’t you lived moral lives that we could model our own after?”
“Why isn’t religion one of the most important words in our household?”
“Why do you play God when it comes to abortion?” “Why don’t you have enough faith in us to teach us abstinence rather than safe sex?”
“Why do you allow us to watch violent movies but expect us to maintain some type of childlike innocence?”
“Why do you allow us to spend unlimited amounts of time on the Internet but still are shocked about our knowledge of how to build bombs?” “Why are you so afraid to tell us ‘no’ sometimes?” “Why is it so hard for you to realize that school shootings, and other violent juvenile behavior, result from a lack of your attention more than anything else?”
Call us Generation Next if you want to, but I think you will be surprised at how we will fail to fit into your neat little category. These questions should, and will, be asked of the generations that have failed us. You have pursued your selfish desires for years, but now is the time to reap what you have sown. Some rude awakenings like the Littleton massacre have occurred and probably will continue until you can begin to answer our questions and make the drastic changes to put us, your kids, first. Time is running out, for in just a few short years, we will be grown, and it will be too late. You might not think we are worth it, but I can guarantee you that Littleton will look like a drop in the bucket compared to what might occur when a neglected Generation “Why” comes to power.
May 2nd, 1998 edition of the Dallas Morning News.
Leadership matters like nothing else. If you need convincing, spend some time in Galatians 5, specifically verses 16-25. Who or what is leading you? Based on this passage, how concerned would you be if your spouse was led by their flesh? How many of you would be thrilled to hear your daughter was dating someone who was committed to following their flesh? Believe me, leadership matters. Eleven years ago when we were prayerfully selecting men who would lead us as a body, I gave a message titled, “Introducing our Elders: A Great Day or the Beginning of the End.” You can find it here.
The process of selecting our Elders is another post for another day (if you want to get some insight into our thinking on Elder selection and roles, click here,) but because I have been recently asked by several friends, I wanted to share some of the questions we asked every man we considered so that they could share with us their “leadership take” on these topics. We knew that our Elders’ positions on these topics would have ripple effects in our body, city, and world for generations to come, and so we carefully listened to every man as he articulated from God’s word his understanding of the Spirit’s opinion on each of these issues.
Before we started building our body, we wanted to interview future architects. What was their blueprint on truth in each of the following culturally demanding, doctrine-shaping questions? If you want something to do in your time with the Lord in the days (weeks/months?) ahead, grab this list and get busy with your community wrestling with what the Spirit says about each of these issues. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that He has recorded His thoughts in His word and His thoughts are going to run contrary to the world’s and our flesh’s leanings (Prov 14:12). I pray your study and alignment with the Spirit’s leadership in each of these areas will lead to great days in your life and in the lives of those you lead. Leadership matters like nothing else.
Leadership matters like nothing else.
Please give a short paragraph answer as well as a longer more in-depth answer of each of the following. Answers should be given both pastorally and theologically. Be able to defend and explain your position from Scripture. Be able to explain the weakness of your position as well as articulate the best arguments against each of your beliefs.
Ok Porch (and all blog friends)…here is the short note I sent to someone a few years back that I promised last night I would post for you. Below you’ll find my response to a question about how they could take new ground in their relationship with Christ and grow to love and lead like David. So much more I could have said….but if you want a good quick response to the question, this short reply will serve you well. I know I was spurred on myself when I reread it.
I LOVE your question. Good for you for asking…the test of your heart will be in the doing. In the end, what you need to do is easy….but difficult. The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat. (Prov 13:20)
Learn. Learn constantly. Read. Read well. Meaning read the right stuff…which obviously means read God’s word ferociously…it alone is profitable for teaching, rebuke, correction and training in righteousness. Ask people you respect what book has impacted them the most. Read broadly…not just the pop Christian stuff…read old books that have stood the test of time. When you read the bible…read it with a pen in your hand and an expectation that the Lord is going to give you something to deal with/learn from/act on etc……Read to ACT.
Lead. The best way to grow is to put yourself in a place where you have to learn…and place where you have to stay fresh…a place where you need God to show up or you will crater. A place that demands your attentiveness to Christ. A place where you can give so you have purpose in your getting. Teach. Do not shy away from hard conversations. Don’t let someone put a ceiling on you. Dream, believe, act. Responsibility is laying around everywhere…pick some up. SERVE.
Be Loyal to your Lord. “Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man.” (Prov 20:6) Make it your goal to be a man that the Lord wants to strongly support. (see 2 Chron 16:9, Isaiah 66:2)
Choose your friends wisely. Make allegiances with or depend on no one except sold out followers of Christ who want to see Jesus made more famous. It is amazing how quickly we become like those with whom we spend time. (This works BOTH ways: see Prov 13:20; 1 Cor 15:33) Don’t allow folks with fortunes or fame to influence your actions….move by the leadership of the Spirit.
Finally, seek the Lord…not leadership. God uses faithful men…not self-promoting, inpatient men. Be a Joseph and Pharaoh will find you. Be a fraud and you will be found out.
Learn and lead….grow and give…don’t wait, start now. Reject passivity, hate apathy, assume it is your time and your moment. Be a man of action. The precious possession of a man is diligence.. (Proverbs again!) You know the Lord wants you to be His man..so if there is not a steady sanctification in your life, it is not a problem with HIS will, it is a problem with yours.
Praying for you friend…may both of us be overwhelmed how the Lord works in and through you.