Posts Tagged ‘Pastors

28
Aug
18

Supporting The Work Of Jesus

After talking about the secret of contentment, Paul lets the Philippians know that he was grateful for the gifts that they sent to support his ministry. He wrote:

Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. – Philippians 4:14-16 (NIV)

As followers of Jesus, we need to support the work of Jesus. Ministry work requires ministry dollars. There are bills that need to be paid. Those who have devoted their lives to full-time service of the Lord need to be compensated. It is not an excuse for greed. Some churches and pastors take advantage of good people and their faith in Christ. Let’s be wise and discerning and yet faithful and generous toward the work of Jesus so that more people will come to know about the Lord.
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23
Mar
18

The Destiny Of False Teachers

In 2 Peter 2, the apostle Peter talks at length about false teachers. He describes them as bold and arrogant and writes about their destiny. He said:

Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings;11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from  the Lord. 12 But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish. – 2 Peter 2:10b-12 (NIV)

Peter says that they blaspheme in matters they do not understand. The false teachers will perish he said. These words should be sobering for anyone who teaches and preaches the Word of God. God will hold pastors and teachers accountable. Teaching and preaching are serious matters and should not be taken lightly.
31
Mar
17

Pray For Pastors And Missionaries

Are you praying for your pastor and the missionaries your church supports? You should! Listen to Paul’s words from Colossians 4:
And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. – Colossians 4:3-4 (NIV)
We need to be praying for opportunities for God’s servants to proclaim the Gospel and to proclaim it clearly. This way people will be able to respond to the good news of Jesus Christ and find the hope for which they desperately long. Pray for the successful proclamation of the Gospel here at home and abroad. Pray for opportunities for yourself, too. May we all have the boldness to proclaim the good news of Jesus everywhere we go.
21
Jul
15

Boasting About Numbers

Galatians 6:11-18 (NIV)

11 See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!

12 Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh. 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God.

17 From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.

 

“Look at me!  Did you see what I did?”  Oh how we love to boast about our accomplishments and our talents and abilities.  We like to boast about who we are and what we’ve done.  We boast about our children and our families.  We boast about our jobs and our possessions.  The Judaizers (those who were convincing Gentile Christians that they had to become Jews by being circumcised before becoming Christians) boasted about the number of those they were converting to Judaism.  

Pastors boast about numbers.  We look at numbers of baptisms and we boast.  We look at attendance and we boast when it is growing.  We look at offerings and we boast when those numbers are growing.  We’ll justify our obsession with numbers by giving glory to God and saying things like, “God is blessing us” and “I can’t take the credit for it.”  The only thing is, that’s not true all the time.  How do I know this?  Because when someone asks me how my church is doing, I’m ready to boast about the numbers.

Paul said, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14, NIV).  In other words, may I never boast about what I’ve done, but about what Jesus did.  Whatever accomplishments or numbers I could even consider boasting about are nothing compared to the greatness of what Jesus did for us on the cross.  Jesus has brought eternal salvation to us.  He brought hope to us.  He brought forgiveness to us.  He brought peace in our lives to us.  What have you done that’s so great?  How could you possibly boast about anything other than Jesus Christ?  After all, did you die for the sins of the whole world?  When we are tempted to boast and brag about ourselves, let us instead boast about our friend, Jesus.  He is truly worth boasting about.

Prayer: Father God, forgive me for my self-centered boasting.  Too often I take the credit for things too lofty for me to attain on my own.  Too often I boast about the things YOU have enabled me to do.  I have failed to recognize Your hand of providence in my life.  Help me to be humble before You and to boast in the cross of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.  Amen.

16
Jul
15

The Pastor Is NOT The Church

In the church, we need to care for one another and carry each other’s burdens.  We must remember that we are not Lone Ranger Christians.  We need each other.  When someone is wandering away, we need to look after that person.  Too often, we get this idea that it is the pastor’s job to go chasing after everyone that is straying from the faith.  It is the pastor’s job to carry the burdens of the church members.  It is the pastor’s job to do all of the teaching and instruction.  It is the pastor’s job to do all of the shepherding of the flock.  This is a dangerous model for the church to follow.  It isn’t Biblical, either.
Paul says that it is everyone’s job to carry each other’s burdens.  The burden does not fall on one man.  We should all be looking after one another.  The pastor as sole shepherd does three things:
  • It creates a sinful attitude of pride in the pastor because he wrongly believes that he is the savior of the congregation.  “They need me!”
  • It burns the pastor out because he cannot possibly shepherd everyone in the congregation to the level that is expected. 
  • It makes the congregation dependent on the pastor for all of their needs and they never learn to develop healthy relationships with one another for the purpose of growing spiritually.

What happens when the pastor is called to another ministry?  What happens if the pastor burns out and leaves the ministry altogether?  The congregation then steps up and shepherds one another and carries the burdens of one another just as they’re supposed to!  This is when the church is being the church.  When we look after one another – including the pastor and his family – and we help each other grow in faith and knowledge.  Don’t depend on your pastor for everything.  He is one man and a very flawed one at that.  

Galatians 6:1-6 (NIV)
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor. 
30
Jan
15

How To Pray For Your Pastor

I find that this passage from 1 Timothy 4 is particularly challenging for pastors and ministers.  Paul says in verse 12:

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.​ – 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)​

This is a part of our calling.  To set an example for believers to follow.  We pastors are to set an example for our fellow Christians in the things we say and do.  Our example must be one of love, faith and holiness.  Ouch!  I know that sometimes I struggle with all of these things.  I struggle with loving everyone all the time.  I struggle with doubts from time to time.  I struggle with holiness often.
This call is not just for pastors, though.  I believe that all believers are called to lives of love, faith and holiness.  All Christians are to live lives of love for God and others.  All Christians are called to be faithful to Christ until death.  All Christians are called to be set apart and live holy lives.  So maybe the key to being a faithful example for other believers means that we who are in paid Christian service should remember that we are Christians first and pastors and ministers second.  My highest calling as a minister is to be a faithful Christian.  If God were to call me to another form of service than as a preacher, I would still be a Christian.
Please pray for your pastors, preachers and ministers that we would fulfill the calling on our lives.  Pray for faithfulness in love and purity as well as for the duties we perform each and every day.  Thanks!
1 Timothy 4:11-16 (NIV)

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

15
Jan
15

The Thing About Elders

I once heard D. A. Carson, a New Testament scholar and professor, say in a video something to the effect that the list of qualifications for overseers and deacons in the church is not describing some kind of super Christians.  Rather, these qualifications are quite “unremarkable.”  These qualifications of elders and deacons are required, in other places in the New Testament, of all Christians with the possible exception of one or two.  I think that the most overlooked qualification of the elder is the very first one:

Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. – 1 Timothy 3:1 (NIV)

The elder has to want to be a leader in Christ’s church.  He cannot be wishy-washy about wanting to serve the Lord in this way.  It is not a matter of prideful arrogance, for the elder should be humble.  He has to aspire to the position or desire it.  Those who serve well, as Paul says later in 1 Timothy, are worthy of double honor.  They have a lot of pressure weighing on them.  The decisions that an elder makes can have far-reaching and eternal consequences for the sheep in the flock.
The best thing that we can do as Christians with regard to our leaders is to respect them and obey their authority.  They have God-granted authority to lead in the church and they should be respected.  It is up to the elders to be mindful of the fact that they are servants of God and shepherds of the flock.  They need to remember that they are to follow Jesus’ example of servant leadership.  They are not to lord their position over the flock, but to gently lead, protect and, at times, correct the sheep in their care.  It is up to the sheep to follow their human shepherds as they follow Christ.
1 Timothy 3:1-7 (NIV)
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.



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