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Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Behind The Building1 Peter 4:8-11
Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.(1 Cor 15:58) Where we were working was hot, dirty, and it smelled bad. We had traveled thousands of miles to do some work projects, and on this day we were painting the back of a classroom building at a school for the deaf. The only people who would ever see this part of the building would be the guy who cut the grass and any unfortunate person who would have to work on the septic pit. Yet, as the young adults diligently painted away, one of the girls, Melissa, put it in perspective by saying, “Nobody will ever come back here to see this, but God will see it. So let’s make it look nice.” And so we did. Sometimes we sit at our desk and think no one sees our work. Or we stand at a line assembling item after endless item. Perhaps we take care of crying babies in the church nursery. Or we live the best Christian life we can—without anyone not…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

One PassionLuke 14:25-35
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.(Luke 14:26) Nechayev, a 19th-century disciple of Karl Marx who had a role in the assassination of Czar Alexander II, wrote: “The revolutionary man . . . has no personal interests, no business affairs, no emotions, no attachments, no property, and no name. Everything in him is wholly absorbed in the single thought and the single passion for revolution.” Although his motives and goals were wrong, Nechayev’s statement shows the singlemindedness of commitment. Jesus wanted true commitment from His disciples. In Luke 14, we read that large crowds joined Him as He traveled toward Jerusalem (v.25). Perhaps these casual followers considered themselves to be His true disciples, but Jesus taught that following Him was more than just knowing facts about Him. He explained what it really meant to be His disciple when He …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

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CHRISTIAN EDUCATION FORUM
Word for the Day
"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path". 
Psalm 119:105
Love Is For Losers?1 Corinthians 13
Now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13:13) You can learn a lot about a person by what his or her T-shirt says. Recently, one of these messages caught my attention as I walked through a local shopping mall. A young woman wore a bright red T-shirt that said, “Love Is for Losers.” Maybe she thought it was clever or provocative, even funny. Or perhaps she had been hurt by a relationship and had pulled away from others rather than risk being hurt again. Either way, the T-shirt got me thinking. Is love for losers? The fact is, when we love, we take risks. People could very well hurt us, disappoint us, or even leave us. Love can lead to loss. The Bible, though, challenges us to higher ground in loving others. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul describes what it means to live out God’s kind of love. T…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Not Saying GoodbyePhilippians 4:1-9
The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Phil 4:9) Francis Allen led me to Jesus, and now it was nearly time for Francis to meet Jesus face to face. I was at his home as it grew time for him to say goodbye. I wanted to say something memorable and meaningful. For nearly an hour I stood by his bed. He laughed hard at the stories I told on myself. Then he got tired, we got serious, and he spent his energy rounding off some rough edges he still saw in my life. I listened, even as I tried to sort out how to say goodbye. He stopped me before I got the chance. “You remember, Randy, what I’ve always told you. We have nothing to fear from the story of life because we know how it ends. I’m not afraid. You go do what I’ve taught you.” Those challenging words reminded me of what the apostle Paul said to the believers in Philippi: “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

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He Watches Me
Matthew 10:16-31
Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.(Matthew 10:31)One Sunday morning at church, we sang “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” as a congregational hymn. It was a rare opportunity to give voice to a song usually performed by a soloist. During the first chorus, I noticed a friend who was weeping so hard that he couldn’t sing. Knowing a bit of what he had been through recently, I recognized his tears as ones of joy at realizing that, no matter what our situation, God sees, knows, and cares for us. Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:29-31). The Lord spoke these words to His 12 disciples as He sent them out to teach, heal, and bear witness of Him to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (v.6). He told them that even though they …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Pioneer Of The Pioneers2 Corinthians 5:12-21
I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation. (Romans 15:20) In the early 19th century, US President Thomas Jefferson completed the Louisiana Purchase, stretching the borders of the fledgling republic “from sea to shining sea.” The problem, however, was that no one really knew what was in that vast expanse of land. Maps would be needed, with clear instructions for the pioneers who would travel to the Pacific. Explorers Lewis and Clark became, in effect, the pioneers of the pioneers—preparing the way for the most massive land migration in US history. They cut a new trail that others would follow. The apostle Paul’s commitment to ministry was framed by a similar priority. In Romans 15:20, he wrote, “I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation.” He wanted his efforts in ministry to cut a new trail—a…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

God’s MasterpiecesEphesians 2:1-10
We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.(Eph 2:10) The Grand Rapids Art Museum has over 5,000 works of art, including 3,500 prints, drawings, and photographs; 1,000 works of design; and 700 paintings and sculptures. As I read about the new museum and anticipated visiting, I couldn’t help but think about God’s “museum.” God is an artist, and His creation is unspeakably magnificent. But it is not His greatest work! God’s greatest work is His redemption of us. When we were still dead in our sins, He made us alive in His Son, Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:1,5). Paul reminded the Ephesians that they were God’s “workmanship,” or poiema (v.10), a Greek term that means “poem” or “work of art.” God’s art museum is the church, filled with millions of marvelous works—His people. Being God’s work of art, Paul said, should result in something from us. We are not supposed to sit silently in the m…