What Your Pastor Would Love For You To Know!

I have been in full time ministry for over 28 years and would not take anything for that time. It has not always been easy or pleasant. Dealing with people and their lostness isn’t a walk on the beach. We must be willing to enter the soiled lives of those hurting in order to offer the righteousness of Christ to them. However, over the years I have come to realize there are things Leaders wished their flocks clearly understood. Here is a short list of 18 things Pastors would love to tell their congregations. They are in no particular order.

1. We struggle with temptation…just like you.

2. We don’t always feel like praying…just like you.

3. We get physically and spiritually fatigued…just like you.

4. We need some space…just like you. Continue reading “What Your Pastor Would Love For You To Know!”

Church Planting and the Apostles’ Doctrine

Immediately after the birth of the New Testament Church on the Day of Pentecost, we read where the believers gathered together to form a community of fellowship, prayer and doctrinal instruction. (Acts 2:42) I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and pondering a few areas as it relates to church planting. My focus rests upon a simple question:

In the NT how much doctrinal instruction was expected before other church planters (apostles/missionaries) were sent out?

There would seem to be two extremes. First, there is the position that only those officially trained in Seminary are qualified to hold such a position. Second, there is the position that anyone with a burden should be sent out as soon as possible. The former turns the church planting into a slow and almost non-existent process and seems to violate the New Testament norm and would even disqualify the twelve apostles. (Acts 4:13) The later may multiply quickly, but it opens the door for all types of heresy and catastrophes caused by novice leaders. (1Tim. 3:6)

Couple this with the fact that the early Apostles did not have a written doctrinal statement to use for class room instruction, or even a completed New Testament text. Therefore, what did they demand for future leaders to understand before sending them Continue reading “Church Planting and the Apostles’ Doctrine”

Don’t Waste Your Sorrows

Suffering and affliction are inevitable in this life. It proves the truth of the Bible that we live in a fallen world. Sooner or later suffering will land on our doorsteps; it will visit our life. As Christians, we are not exempt from the valley of affliction and tears. They are common to our life as we wait for the redemption of our body at the Lord’s return. Though our spirit is reborn and brought into fellowship with Jesus Christ, we travel through the same vale of trouble as every man. In fact, we may experience more than the average man because we are a threat to the kingdom of darkness and are targets for the enemy’s attacks.

With the certainty of affliction firmly fixed through the teachings of the Scripture, let us briefly consider what our response should be. Our reaction to a valley of affliction will determine many things in regards to the darkness of the affliction. I do not remember where I heard this, but it has been said, “When you find yourself in a ditch, the first thing to do is throw down your shovel.” Our reaction to affliction can certainly be a continual digging; one which makes the situation worse. Or it can be better than that. It can yield to God’s work and bring about His desired transformation.

Life is part of God’s classroom to teach His children how to trust His sovereign and gentle hand. Without calling evil, good, we do know that regardless of the valley the Lord will work it together for good to those who love Him. (Rom. 8:28) Trials are actually the Love of God in action, designed to mature and call us out of our playpen level of faith. He is calling us to grow up. Continue reading “Don’t Waste Your Sorrows”

He Is Not Here, But Has Risen

These famous words flow down through Church history with power, devotion and deep meaning to every believer. (Luke 24:6) The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the bedrock of our faith and the greatest event known to man. It was an  open declaration to all men that this lowly carpenter was who He said He was–the Son of God!

When the Angel spoke these words to the ladies who went to put spices on the body of Jesus, it was a shock to their cultural and religious understanding. As Hebrews, they believed in a resurrection, but it would not take place until the end of the age. They had no reference point to understand a resurrection before that time, and yet, this is what the Angel proclaimed.

With the desire of humanity to have a point of integration which defines the deepest meaning to life, it is easy to understand how the tomb of Jesus would become a shrine; a place of devotion to the miracle worker from Galilee. However, because of the resurrection, His body could not be worshipped and enshrined to satisfy this longing of mankind. We must meet Him by faith; it is the only way of fellowship with our resurrected King.

The tearful devotion of these women was interrupted by the angelic proclamation, “He is not here, but is risen.” God would not provide a natural or physical place of mediation between the natural and the spiritual world. He offered something greater! Continue reading “He Is Not Here, But Has Risen”

God’s Sovereignty and Spiritual Warfare

A casual reading of the Bible reveals the marvelous truth that God is Sovereign. That simply means that nothing takes place in this life which does not go through His Hands and that He is supreme over everything. That can be a controversial statement and one which gives rise to some interesting theological discussions. But how does it affect and apply to spiritual warfare? Let’s briefly look at this.

What does it mean to “go through God’s Hands?” Does that mean He instigates all things and that all things are the work of His Hands? Of course not. However, everything which takes place will either be promoted, permitted or prevented by the Father’s Sovereign will. That which He promotes and prevents can be declared the hand or finger of God with Scriptural certainty. However, that which He permits can have other sources; though none of them are independent of God’s Sovereignty.

Why all of this? Because while upholding God’s Sovereignty we must not press our view of sovereignty beyond the full Scriptural position. If we do, we will find ourselves calling the work of Satan the Hand of God. We have an enemy who fights believers and seeks to steal, kill and destroy. (Jn. 10:10) The OT prophets, Jesus and the early church stood against and engaged the powers of darkness as the cause of evil works. We must also recognize the presence of the enemy and stand in our rightful position in the finished work of Calvary lest we roll over and yield to the enemy’s hand while believing it is God’s Hand. Continue reading “God’s Sovereignty and Spiritual Warfare”