Discoveries in Faith

Short, uplifting Bible lessons designed to build faith and inspire obedience. 

Achieved Ministry or Received Ministry?

My friend Rick Shepherd talks about the difference between an "achieved ministry" and a "received ministry." That is, you can work for and attain some things or you can let God give you His blessings. Clearly the later option is best. This difference between an "achieved ministry" and a "received ministry" is vividly seen in Genesis 11 and 12.

At the Tower of Babel they said, "let us make a name for ourselves." So they built a tower up to heaven, but their "achieved ministry" did not last. In the next chapter God appears to Abraham and says, "I will make your name great." After these many years, Abraham is still revered by Christians and Muslims. His "received ministry" endures.

  • An achieved ministry involves works. A received ministry is from grace.
  • An achieved ministry is about my glory, but a received ministry is for God's glory.
  • Achieved ministries never last, received ministries have eternal impact. 


Case Worker Skills

Recently, I had a fascinating conversation with a case worker who helped families with disruptive teenagers. I asked, "How do you handle those situations?" He outlined a three-step process.

  1. Assessment: What is going on in the home? What are the dynamics? Who is involved? What are the issues?
  2. Build a relationship: Be an active listener. Show the family know you care.
  3. Earn the right to speak into their situation: Only after accomplishing steps one and two is the case worker ready to make suggestions.

I was convicted about how often I have been quick to prescribe solutions. It reminded me of how the Bible says we are to be "quick to hear and slow to speak."

Living in the Divine Flow

When the Lewis and Clark Expedition left St. Louis in 1804 it took them a year-and-a-half to make it to the Pacific Ocean, yet when they returned in 1806 the trip only took six months. Why? Sociologically, it is always more fun to go home. And, scientifically, paddling with the current, rather than against it, is certainly easier. 

As I reflect on my life and ministry I confess there have been times when it felt like I was paddling against the current. Ministry was difficult and slow. No fun. However, thankfully, there have been times in my life and ministry when things progressed easily and rapidly. I was moving with the divine flow and it felt good.

What is the divine flow and how does one live in it?

Paul explained that ministry should be "of Him, through Him, and to Him" (Romans 11:36).


There is a big difference between a good idea and a God-idea. Instead of thinking up ministry ideas or copying someone else's ministry, let God guide you. 


Never try to accomplish ministry in your human power, instead let the wind of God's Spirit fill you sails. Stop trying and start trusting. 


The reason we do ministry is not to win the acclaim of others. Our motive for ministry is to bring praise and honor to Jesus Christ. In fact, that is the only kind of ministry God blesses. 

Bob Sorrell, long-time associate of Adrian Rogers, says, "A vision is a word from God and a work of God." Then quoting his mentor Dr. Rogers he adds, "What starts in heaven, ends in heaven."

In life and ministry we only have two choices. We can do it our way or God's way. Our way is slow. His way tends to be much smoother. Be very sure your ministry is "of Him, through Him, and to Him!"