The AMI QT devotionals from Jan. 1-15 are provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (Ph.D.) who is the AMI Teaching Pastor. He and Insil have been married for 28+ years and they have three children: Christy (teacher), Joshua (grad student) and Justin (college freshman). They live in Philadelphia.
- First, the AMI devotions over the next several months will be on Acts.
- Second, this year we are sharing a little bit more about our writers.
- Third, the AMI QT blog, consisting of five parts, is not short, but each section is there for a reason. But if it feels too much, then read just the morning devotional and prayer. Also, note that you can arrange 2 or 3 related lunch break studies and use it to lead a small Bible study at work or school. The QT files can be sent to you on demand (Cryun2@yahoo.com).
Devotional Thoughts for Today
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.
Today spectator sports aren’t limited to watching ball games while sipping beer and munching on popcorn; now they can go to church every Sunday, to be entertained by one talented individual who can do it all: sing, dance and even preach! A while back, a professional wrestler, standing at 6 ft 9 in and weighing at 450 lb, called himself, “The One Man Gang.” While the moniker might fit for him, it’s unequivocally unbiblical for us! That’s like saying, “The One Man Church.” Whether it’s a gang or church, no one single individual, however great he may be, should be its entire: it’s a recipe for an eventual defeat.
Now listen to what Jesus prayed on the night of his arrest: “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (Jn. 17:4). How can Christ say he finished the work when his disciples, the very people whom he entrusted to spread the gospel, still acted like clowns? “Isn’t that too harsh of an assessment?” you might ask. Well, you be the judge: an hour or two before, these men were still arguing over “which of them was considered to be the greatest” (Lk. 22:24).
Then why was Jesus so confident about the work he had done despite the seemingly unimpressive result; after all, it quickly got worse: upon seeing Jesus arrested, “everyone deserted him and fled” (Mk. 14:52). It’s because he knew his role and limitations while on earth. As far as preparing the apostles was concerned, Jesus limited himself, as Luke says, “to do and to teach”: first, to teach God’s truth, then second, to demonstrate it through actions, both miraculous and benevolent. Christ knew all along that it was not enough; he knew that his men lacked the power to live out the truth in a radical and authentic manner. Inasmuch as Christ was great, he was never a one-man gang or church; he needed the Holy Spirit to come and be our counselor (Jn. 14:25) and empowerer (Acts 1:8).
The church should be no different: it is neither meant to be singularly led by a charismatic, dynamic person, nor simply to entertain a bunch of spectators. God appointed five distinctive ministerial offices for the sake of equipping the believers for works of service. In light of this, one great task facing evangelical churches is transforming spiritual consumers and spectators into people who are committed to get into spiritual shape so that they can do some heavy lifting for God. How about it? That should be your goal for 2016.
Father in heaven, I exalt your glorious name this morning. How awesome it is to be called your child. Lord, give me wisdom and know-how’s to disciple someone so that that person can also produce good fruits for You. Help me to leave behind something lasting before I die. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Peter 4