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Boot Camp for Believers!
Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson


Pastor
Cecil Thompson

I Thessalonians 1:4-6

"For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit."

“Believers”! What a name! It was the name that was used to describe the members of the early New Testament church. It was actually used before the name “Christian”, which was first used to describe the believers in Antioch. The name implies identification with Jesus. It is not simply believing, in something---it is being identified with some ONE!

Back in the late 60’s, I was in the US Air Force, stationed in Missouri. From time to time I visited with a dear pastor, Rev. Frank Meyers, in Warrensburg, Missouri. Frank shared that his first pastorate was in St. Joseph, Missouri, near a large meat packing company.

One of the workers there was a member of his congregation. This elderly meat packer had, at best, a 3rd grade education. Each day this man got off work at 3:00 p.m. Almost every afternoon he would head for the pastor's study. Frank said that old man, with such a limited education, taught him more about the true Word of God than all of his highly educated professors in college and seminary. It is my desire to be like that old unknown meat packer—a true believer!

Please understand that it is not my intention to belittle professors. Some of my own professors were godly students of God’s Word, who were faithful believers. Unfortunately there were others who placed more value on their title “professor” than “believer”.

As I was praying throughout the day and wondering what the Lord wanted me to share, my mind went back to the time I was an associate pastor in Nampa, Idaho. The Christian Education Director asked me to teach a class attended by many of the pillars of the church.

It was made up of retired pastors, missionaries, college professors and the like. (I WAS IN DEEP TROUBLE)!!! The Christian Education Director laughed and said, "Cecil, they are going to chew you up and spit you out!” Thanks for that encouragement, Bob! I could hardly wait to get started. - - - RIGHT!

I prayed fervently for leadership in being a humble believer. I will never forget that first Sunday. I could not get away from the burden of going back to the basics. I stood before them and said, "You know, I think we need to start at the beginning and learn the 'basics for believers' all over again."

I was prepared to be chewed up and spit out! To my absolute amazement I saw smiles all over the room which held about 100 members. Someone finally spoke out loud and said "That's exactly what we need and what we want." WOW! Thank you Lord!

I took my Boot Camp in the USAF in April 1953. It was a shock that rattled my cage and taught me that I was going to learn to do things the military way, not my way. In a similar fashion we need to understand three very important principles:

1. STICK WITH THE BASICS.

2. STUDY A PASSAGE OVER AND OVER UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND IT.

3. MODEL WHAT THE GOD’S WORD TEACHES.

Please read the entire book of I Thessalonians. It is only five chapters so you should be able to read it all the way through at one sitting. Even though there are only five chapters, they are dynamite.

Blessings dear hearts. Walk with God today, trust Him completely and be a blessing.

--- Pastor Cecil

 

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