Guest Post – The Ripple Effect of Ministry

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A former middle school youth group student of mine recently emailed me. He thanked me for demonstrating a faith in God that he still admires and is emulating in his own ministry calling. His words humbled me because I was new to ministry at that time and constantly making mistakes. But I am very grateful to him because sometimes we don’t know when God has used us to change someone’s life.

This concept hit me hard at a youth summer camp of 2007, and it continues to be one of the most important personal ministry experiences of my life. My group of students had been partnered with kids from another church all week long as they participated in Bible studies and field games. On the last day of camp the students from the other church were all wearing the same t-shirt with the words, “In Memory of…” on the front.

So I sat down with a group of them that day and asked them about the t-shirts. The oldest student explained that their youth pastor had died of a heart attack a couple of months before the camp had started. Without a leader, a group of high school students decided that camp was so important for the middle school students that they took it upon themselves to make sure that the summer camp trip was not canceled.

I was completely blown away by their story because I became aware of the ripple effect of ministry. Every Bible study I prepared, every prayer I spoke, every worship song I sang, every special event I planned… everything I did in ministry had the potential to impact the life of someone in a way I would never know.

The ripple effect can be observed in the ministry of Jesus when He encounters the Samaritan woman at the well in Sychar. After spending time with her and testifying He was the Messiah, she left and began witnessing throughout the city. The gospel John shares, “Now many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of what the woman said when she testified, ‘He told me everything I ever did.’” John 4:39 (HCSB)

Remember this in your day-to-day ministry – that even if it feels like you aren’t making a difference, God can be using you in ways you’d never even dream. Be encouraged by these words.

Brandon OrtegaBrandon Ortega currently works for WORDsearch Bible. He is passionate about youth ministry, writing, and playing the guitar. He is a graduate of San Diego Christian College with a degree in Biblical studies with an emphasis in youth ministry.

Free Friday! The Way to God

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Happy Friday everyone! Today’s free download, usually $7.95, is The Way to God by Dwight Lyman Moody. Click here to download.

I believe the reason why a great many people think God does not love them is because they are measuring God by their own small rule, from their own standpoint. We love men as long as we consider them worthy of our love; when they are not we cast them off. It is not so with God. There is a vast difference between human love and Divine love.

The Way to God is a collection of sermons illustrating the simplicity of salvation. Moody doesn’t use heavy philosophy, but simply shows how God does not mean for salvation to be a deep, complicated subject man could not understand. Published in 1884, this book had sold 435,000 copies by 1900.

Dwight L. Moody was born at Northfield, Mass. on Feb. 5, 1837. Moody was an American evangelist and publisher who founded the Moody Church, Northfield School, the Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts, the Moody Bible Institute and Moody Publishers.

He may well have been the greatest evangelist of all time. In a 40-year period he won one million souls, founded three Christian schools, launched a great Christian publishing business, established a world-renowned Christian conference center, and inspired literally thousands of preachers to win souls and conduct revivals.

After you have read the book, we would love to hear what you thought in the Customer Reviews box on the bottom of the book’s page.

Have you read anything that has inspired you lately? Share with us in the comments below!

5 Ways Bible Software Can Improve Your Ministry

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Even in this digital age of ebooks, many preachers still prepare sermons and lessons by researching dozens of paper books and Bibles in their library. Pastors often ask, “What are the main advantages of using Bible software?” The advantages are many, but here are 5 that stand out:

1. Bible software saves you time. With the fast topical and cross-reference searching features in Bible software, you can search your entire library for a single topic or verse in seconds. Instead of having to search through all of your books individually, imagine how powerful it is to search everything for exactly what you’re looking for by just typing and hitting “enter.” You can also quickly identify words linked to the original Greek and Hebrew using resources like Strong’s, leading to deeper understanding of each word.

2. Bible software saves you space. This might seem obvious, but with Bible software all you need is a computer or a mobile device. You can carry a seminary library on your laptop or device and access your content anywhere. This way, anywhere you are, if you need to access your library or look something up, it is as simple as grabbing your phone, tablet, or computer.

3. Bible software saves you money. With most Bible software, you can build a huge library of resources for a fraction of the cost of hard copies. More resources give you more content from prominent authors and pastors to help you improve your ministry to others.

4. Bible software gives you a new perspective in seconds. Quickly seeing the opinion of another pastor or scholar on the topic you’re studying can nudge you out of writer’s block. Scripture syncing features in Bible software can help you more quickly navigate to sermon content based on the Scripture you’re analyzing. This helps you see how others have outlined this Scripture, and how they have preached on that verse.

5. Bible software allows you to see things you’d miss otherwise. Bible software does cool things you can’t do any other way. For example, imagine clicking a button and seeing how the word “love” appears throughout all of Scripture, neatly displayed in a colorful bar graph. Imagine comparing 10 different Bible translations side by side, in perfect sync with one another.

With the help of powerful searching tools and access to more resources, including Bible dictionaries, surveys, commentaries, maps, and more, you can become a better student of God’s Word, which in turn helps you become a better teacher of God’s Word.

Originally posted on Pastors Today.

Saturday’s Roundup

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October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and here at WORDsearch we hope you know how much we appreciate you and the work you do for the kingdom. We admire the divine call on the lives of pastors and the sacrifices they make for others every day. We know how busy you are, so in case you missed any of our emails or releases, here’s what’s been happening at WORDsearch this week.

Treasures from Isaiah and the Mountains of the Bible

Many of you have heard us talking about Dr. Rod Mattoon, and that’s for good reason. Mattoon is one of our bestselling authors, with his commentary set, Treasures from the Scriptures, being used every day by pastors, teachers, and Bible students. So you could see why we are excited that this week we released two new volumes in the series. Treasures from Isaiah, Volume 1 covers the first 24 chapters of this major prophet. It’s full of outlines, illustrations, applications, and alliteration, all easy to apply to sermons and lessons. Treasures from Bible Mountains is a little different. It teaches what can be learned from the 14 famous mountains of the Bible lands. Each chapter examines one of these locations, all rich in Bible history and spiritual significance. Don’t worry, it is not just a geography lesson, it is an inspiring experience in human behavior and Christian living.

Appreciating Our Pastors

Like we mentioned above, October is Pastor Appreciation Month, so in a spirit of gratitude we set up a special pastor appreciation page with excellent tools that will benefit pastors and their ministries. Even if you aren’t officially a pastor, we know most of you probably should or could be! All serious students of God’s Word are ministers to others, and we appreciate your drive and commitment to study God’s Word. Feel free to participate in our Pastor Appreciation Sale, the page even includes some free resources, so don’t miss out.

Last Minute Reminders

The Scroggie Library sale ends Oct. 20. 

Butler Sermon Starter Set is on sale until Oct. 23.

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed This Week from WORDsearch

What can I, you, we all do? Much in every way, according to all God has blessed each one of us to have. It’s not that we can’t, it’s whether we will. – New Guest Post: What Can I Do?

6 Tips for Highlighting in WORDsearch – New Quick Tip

Don’t forget to stop and say hi on social media, we love to hear from you! Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to thank your pastor if you see them this Sunday!

Free Friday! Studies on Saving Faith

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Happy Friday everyone! Today’s free download, usually $4.95, is Studies on Saving Faith by A.W. Pink. Click here to download.

It is in no captious spirit that we write, seeking to make men offenders for a word. It is not that we are looking for perfection, and complain because we cannot find it; nor that we criticize others because they are not doing things as we think they should be done. No; no, it is a matter far more serious than that. The “evangelism” of the day is not only superficial to the last degree, but it is radically defective. It is utterly lacking a foundation on which to base an appeal for sinners to come to Christ. There is not only a lamentable lack of proportion (the mercy of God being made far more prominent than His holiness, His love than His wrath), but there is a fatal omission of that which God has given for the purpose of imparting a knowledge of sin. There is not only a reprehensible introducing of “bright singing,” humorous witticisms and entertaining anecdotes, but there is a studied omission of the dark background upon which alone the Gospel can effectually shine forth.

In Studies on Saving Faith Pink lays bare the danger in focusing too much on God’s love and mercy, where the only end in mind is to escape hell and not to have a radical change of heart. A believer who is truly repentant will long to turn away from sin and idols, abhor their rebellious nature and in doing so be made into a new creation.

Arthur Walkington Pink was born in Nottingham, England on April 1, 1886 and became a Christian in 1908, at the age of 22. Desiring to grow in knowledge of the Bible, Pink immigrated to the United States in 1910 to study at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He left the Institute after two months and pastored a church in Silverton, Colorado. He becoming an traveling Bible teacher in 1919 and had short term pastorates in California, Kentucky and South Carolina.

From 1925 to 1928 he served in Australia and then he returned to England, and finally to the United States the following year. In 1932 he started a monthly magazine entitled Studies in the Scriptures which circulated among English-speaking Christians worldwide, though only to a relatively small circulation list of around 1,000. In 1934 Pink returned to England, and within a few years turned his Christian service to writing books and pamphlets.

Mr. Pink’s view of the Scriptures, of doctrine, and of Christian practice was not the view of the twentieth century, nor even of many of his contemporary Evangelicals. Few men have traveled so widely and yet remained so uninfluenced by prevailing opinions and accepted customs. When Puritan and reformed books were generally disregarded by the Church as a whole, he advanced the majority of their principles with untiring zeal. Events have justified his outlook. Two World Wars have substantiated his view on human depravity; the progressive decline of his nation (Britain) was to him the inevitable consequence of the prevalence of a gospel which is able neither to wound nor heal. Familiar with the whole range of revelation, Mr. Pink was rarely sidetracked from the great themes of Scripture: grace,justification, and sanctification. He was, in some ways, a Puritan born out of time.

In 1940 Pink took up residence on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland and lived a very isolated life. Pink died in Stornoway, Scotland on July 15, 1952. The cause of death was anemia. After Pink’s death, his works were republished by a number of publishing houses, among them, Banner of Truth Trust, Baker Book House, Christian Focus Publications, Moody Press, Truth for Today, and reached a much wider audience as a result. Biographer Iain Murray observes of Pink, “the widespread circulation of his writings after his death made him one of the most influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century.” His writing sparked a revival of expository preaching and focused readers’ hearts on biblical living. Yet, even today, Pink is left out of most biographical dictionaries and overlooked in many religious histories.

After you have read the book, we would love to hear what you thought in the Customer Reviews box on the bottom of the book’s page.

Have you read a book that’s inspired you lately? Let us know in the comments below!

Guest Post – What Can I Do?

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“What can I do?”  It’s a question that’s often raised, either in sincere inquiry or more as a statement of inability. It’s not a lack of ability that usually keeps one from being involved as much as it is a lack of desire. There is no one specific ability or talent that God wants in service to Him, as the talents He has blessed us all with, whatever they may be, all have a place of service in His kingdom. To the congregation in Corinth that exalted certain gifts above others, Paul reminded them of everyone’s importance when he wrote, “But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired” (1 Cor.12:18). Whether those abilities need maturing, have changed, or diminished with the passing of time, they still are valuable to God and His kingdom and they still can be used to His honor and glory.

So what can we do? Well, for starters, we all can PRAY! Can you think of anything more relevant, more powerful, than approaching the throne of God to seek His help and presence? There is no one greater than our Creator and Sustainer, nothing more significant than petitioning the Father through the Son for our needs, for guidance and direction, for His will to be done.  Paul knew what a source of strength prayer was, as he asked of the Ephesian Christians to be “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18).

We all can SPEAK WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT! There are times when all of us need to hear a friendly voice, when we need a sympathetic ear.  What help it is to hear from someone who can understand what we’re going through, who can offer support and love, to help whatever we are dealing with be a little easier to bear. With as many people having cell phones in use in so many different ways, surely we can use them for the glory of God and to build up the body of Christ! And while there’s no substitute for the sound of the human voice, text messages, emails, cards, and other communications to let people know we care and are there for them can be greatly appreciated and helpful, too. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thess. 5:11).

We all can SPEND TIME IN THE WORD OF GOD! We might find fewer problems in life and more solutions to problems if the spiritual was front and center in our existence. God’s Word goes with us, from being a babe in Christ to maturing in the faith. It addresses our needs from youth through old age. It deals with being single and married, having children and grandchildren, being employed or employing others. It covers every area of life and how to let Christ mold our conduct so we are always in His will. We will find a better quality of life if the Word is in us, and better advice to help others as well. “I will meditate on Your precepts and think about Your ways. I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word” (Psa. 119:15-16).

What can I, you, we all do? Much in every way, according to all God has blessed each one of us to have. It’s not that we can’t, it’s whether we will. And if we will, then what a difference we can make for others, for ourselves, for the world in which we live.  What will you do today for the glory of God, for the work of His kingdom, for the sake of others? “Finally then, brothers, we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received from us how you must walk and please Godas you are doingdo so even more” (1 Thess. 4:1).

rjohnson colorRobert Johnson is a minister in Longview, Texas, where he has been a preacher for over 40 years. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible and Biblical Languages, and a Masters is in Liberal Studies from the University of Oklahoma. He loves sharing the gospel with others and ministering to people’s needs.