Tag Archives: minister

Fireworks and Service

When lighting the fire for a bonfire or cookout, as the night sky is lit up tonight with fireworks, or as your kids whirl a sparkler, think about the service that affords us the freedom you are enjoying today.  Someone served to enable today’s celebration.

Jesus, speaking in John 15:13 said, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Of course, Jesus is the ultimate example of servant-hood.

Jesus served the will of God the Father.  In John 6:38 Jesus declared: For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  If you are a Christian, a follower of Jesus, you too are called to serve God the Father.  Do His will for and in your life.  Find His plan, then do it.

Jesus also served men.  His purpose for dying on the Cross was to save us from our sin.  His mission was a rescue mission.  Our sin separated us from God, and the blood of Jesus was shed to cleans us and cover us of our sin.   When God sees a Christian, He does not see the sin of that person, He sees the righteousness of Jesus!  Amen for that.  Jesus served the interested of mankind in making salvation possible.

We too can serve other people.  The Apostle Paul knew what it was to serve the Lord and serve other people.  He said in Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

By Love.  It was because of the love of God for man that God sent Jesus.  It was because of love that Jesus died on the cross in our place.  We deserved that death.  It was because of love.  Love is the motivator for any service to either God or other people.  Service conducted with love is service that God accepts and that pleases Him.

As we celebrate freedom, take a moment to thank the Lord for His service to you in the Lord Jesus.  Then look for ways that you can serve other people too!

We are the most like Jesus, when we are serving others!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draymond Was Right

Draymond was Right

Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.  Ephesians 3:7

After Golden State basketball superstar Kevin Durant was injured in the NBA Finals, fans in Toronto were cheering.  Actually cheering.  Their team had a better chance to win now that Kevin was out.  I hope his injury is recoverable.

Speaking about the sensitivity of fans, Draymond Green, a Durant teammate and fellow NBA All-Star said some truthful statements about the perception he feels fans place on him and others in pro sports.

In effect he said: “Fans expect their pro players to never fail or get injured or sick, but they are people too. They don’t care what happens outside the lines. They expect us to be unreal.”

His words are accurate.  Fans do tend to think of their stars as “more than regular people.”  The expectations and assumptions placed on starts by fans are not healthy.   Not healthy for the stars – or the fans.  Like a referee, his call of “Foul!” is warranted.

In the spiritual realm in which we live, how many people perceive and project expectations and assumptions onto people in ministry? How about what we perceive and project onto other church members?

What Draymond said was right, and his insights also apply to how many people see their pastor in their church.

Here are 3 areas to avoid getting a “Foul” called against you.

  • Unrealistic expectations. Projecting impossibilities is a foul against the pastor and against the one with the impossible expectations.  The pastor cannot be everywhere at the same time.  He is unable to visit everyone who misses a service.  It is difficult for him to preach and take attendance at the same time.  Toss into the basket the fact that some parishioners are only in attendance in one service a week, the pastor is less likely to notice they are missing.  For example, if someone that normally attends Sunday morning, Sunday Evening and the Midweek service is missing – the pastor is more likely to see they are not there – because of the frequency of their attendance.  Sometimes the pastor wants to- but can’t.  There are times when I am too sick to make a hospital visit.  We want others to go when that happens, but to have one man visit every person of 200, 100, or 50 people is not very realistic.   Expecting something that is not possible hurts the person doing the “expecting!”  The pastor has a life, family, health needs, and emotional encouragement needs too.
  • Unreasonable assumptions. This is when we assume the worst about people or situations.  Human nature is to assume things are worse off than they really are.  This is the “making a mountain out of a mole-hill syndrome.”  Many good people get caught up in false assumptions.  “He does not like me.”  “She does not care.”  “They like them better than us.”  These are dangerous thought patterns rooted in pride and ego.   This type of thinking is what Paul is warning Titus about in Titus 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.  Choose to have healthy and hopeful thoughts about others.  Avoid assuming the worst.  It hurts your impression of others when you project unreasonable assumptions on others. Not everything will go the way you hope it will but compounding every relationship struggle is -assumption.
  • Unhealthy attitudes. The attitude truly determines your altitude.  If you have a healthy, winning attitude, you are more likely to succeed in whatever you are striving for.  In relationships, if you have a healthy attitude toward your pastor, it will help you be an encouragement.  It will cause you to be less critical.  It will create in you’re a desire to help and to serve.  When people serve with their pastor, they are helping advance the Gospel and the kingdom of God through the local church.

Basketball fans, and church members – don’t get a “Foul!” called on you.  Choose to have realistic thoughts about other church members and about your pastor.

He is a real person who cares much, feels deeply, and hopes unceasingly.

Yes, Draymond was right.  Stars are just people too.  Remember this truth the next time you watch a game.

 

No Chance Encounter

No Chance Encounter

One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.  John 1:40-41

Andrew heard the preaching.  God’s Word affected his heart.  John the Baptist was preaching in the wilderness and Andrew was there the day that John Baptist met Jesus.  As Jesus walked towards John, John cries out: “Behold the Lamb of God!”  Andrew is beside himself.  This is the One he has been waiting his whole life for.  His parents, grandparents and people even further back were hoping for this moment when the Lamb of God would be revealed.

Andrew did not keep this news to himself.  He finds his brother Peter, and tells him about seeing Jesus.   He specifically found his brother to tell him this good news.  This meeting Jesus was no accident.  God was orchestrating these events.  Peter meets Jesus later on and becomes a fisher of men.  He goes on to be one of the greatest preachers and writer of several New Testament books.  It all started with Andrew.  Peter meets Jesus, and the “rest is history.”

I wonder, would God save others if we would talk to them about Jesus?  Since there are no “chance encounters” with God, it seems that the Lord would bless your efforts to bring people to Jesus.  They may trust Christ.  They may reject Him.  But the choice is theirs.  We need to be more like Andrew and find specific people and tell them about Jesus.

Are you excited for this Spring season?  I am looking forward to our mission confernece in just a few days.  With all the tracts our church has been handing out, I am happy to say that we have had several new visitors that God has sent to our church.  This is no accident.  With our Teen WAR youth meeting coming up, we hope to hand out nearly 5000 invitations.  The Gospel will be given and teens will trust Jesus.  And then Resurrection Sunday.  Easter will be here and we are praying for a harvest of people to trust Jesus and start a faith walk with us at Wilton Baptist Church.

You can be a part of all of this.  Please pray.  Please keep handing out tracts as part of our tract month.  Please invite a specific person to sit with you at church on Easter Sunday.  There will be another Apostle Peter, but the person you bring to meet Jesus could become a Christian, and in turn see many others trust Christ in their life and ministry.

Since there are no “chance encounters” lets do all we can to bring people to Jesus.  I am praying for a spiritual renewal at WBC and a spiritual awakening in our region.  Will you pray along with me for this?

 

 

 

 

Encourage Your Pastor

Encourage Your Pastor

Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.  1 Timothy 5:17

Bishop, Elder, Pastor.  Which one is the leader of your church?  How about all three?  Recently, as Dr Jeff Amsbaugh was preaching to our regional pastor fellowship in upstate New York, hosted by WBC, he pointed out the 3 synonymous terms in the Bible that refer to the “pastor” of the local church.  As Baptist we prefer to use the term pastor, because of it’s connotation – I will share soon, but these other terms are good Bible terms that can give tremendous insight to the responsibilities and calling of the pastor.

Bishop. 1 Timothy 3:1 says, This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.  The word “Bishop” means “inspection or superintendent.”  While the pastor does not do all the work of any given church and ministry, he is to oversee or be the superintendent over all the ministry.  With many others coming together to serve the Lord, the pastor gives the general direction and offers organizational helps to guide the church administratively.  God is a God of order and Paul told the Corinthian church members in 1 Corinthians 14:40, Let all things be done decently and in order.

Elder. 1 Peter 5:1 declares, The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed…  Elders means “older” or “senior.”  It refers to the maturity of the individual leader.  Church leaders are to be mature in the faith.  While this does not mean the “he knows everything” it does mean that the foundational principles of Christianity are not new territory for him.  That is why Peter exhorted the elders to continue in their wait for Jesus to come back for them.  Keep going despite persecution or problems.

Pastor.  Ephesians 4:11-13 elaborates, And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ… In fact the verse goes on to describe the gift the pastor is to the local church and the end result of his shepherding ministry.  That is what a shepherd is.  He feeds and leads his people like a shepherd cares for his sheep.

  • Shepherds are concerned about spiritual growth in his sheep.
  • Shepherds are cautious for wolves among the sheep.
  • Shepherds are caring for the pain endured by the sheep.
  • Shepherds cease any nipping and bickering among the sheep.
  • Shepherds who are following the Great Shepherd (Jesus) attempt to get the sheep to keep their eyes on Him.

Baptist churches, like ours, prefer this term “pastor” because of the quality of care and the level of closeness a shepherd has with his sheep and the sheep for their shepherd. The model of the pastor being the “under shepherd” pointing people to the “Great Shepherd” is a good one to follow.  Show extra honor to those who faithfully are serving you.  The Lord will bless you, and him for it.

I commend the pastors (Bishops/Elders) that are faithfully serving the Lord and His people in the church.  Like Paul, I commend the teaching/preaching pastor’s especially.  Those who deliver Bible messages week in and week out and do not merely give lip-service to the Bible, but live it out as well, are to be encouraged and celebrated.  Their unending work causes much personal tiredness and at the same time joy.  Serving spiritual food to sheep can be a difficult thing sometimes.  Pastors cannot make changes in the life of his people.  The sheep must want to receive the Word for themselves.  They must make application on their own.  But the pastor keeps leading and feeding the flock.

Encourage your pastor today. Pray for him. Drop him a note.  Leave a gift on his door. Text or email and encouraging word or two.  Choose to know him as a person and choose to follow his lead.  Show respect.  Sheep who care for their shepherd in material things are sure to be prepared emotional, relationally, and spiritually to receive the spiritual teaching their pastor gives.

 

 

 

Fellow Servants in the Church

Fellow Servants in the Church

But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.  Acts 6:4

There is much to do in ministry.  Preach, teach, pray, plan, promote, organize, visit, encourage, make phone calls, send texts and emails, administrate, design, print, clean, build, repair, record radio, post messages and devotionals, read, understand current religious trends, cast vision, staff meetings, deacon meetings, special church training sessions, counseling sessions, develop materials, conduct weddings and funerals, and generally be available to encourage the saints while evangelizing the lost.  etc. etc. etc.

Depending on what ministries your local church hosts, there could be many more responsibilities that are connected to the Senior Pastor position in your church.  Even the assistant pastors have much responsibilities in their oversight.  Like Arron supported Moses and lifted his hands, assistant pastors also make a big difference. Ultimately the pastor will give an account of each ministry decision and direction and he may have his hand in nearly every aspect of ministry to a degree because of that accountability.  Speaking of the relationship of the church to its pastor, Hebrews 13:17 states: Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

The pastor is watching for the souls of his people, the sheep in his local pasture field.  His ministry in prayer and in the Word are his primary responsibilities. It could be called “leading and feeding.”  Like a good shepherd does for his sheep.  No matter what needs arise in your life, your pastor will try to assist, help and encourage.  But, he cannot be everywhere at once.  Only God can do that!  The pastor cannot meet every need, but he may be able to point you in the right direction.

The congregation is likened to a flock of sheep who are called to know their shepherd and are directed to follow his leadership.  1 Thessalonians 5:12 teaches: And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you.  Do you know your shepherd?  Do you know his likes, dislikes, and personal characteristics?  Do you know his family or personal needs, and have you asked his thoughts about certain matters?  The church is to know and follow the shepherd God gifted them with.

With so much to do and with such a responsibility for both the pastor for leading and feeding, and the church for knowing and following, you can see why the Lord gave additional helpers in ministry.  They are called deacons.

The term deacon is defined as “an attendant, or someone who runs errands.”   Those who are called to the ministry of pastoring are focused on two main components: Praying and Studying/delivering the Word of God itself.  Therefore, the Lord gave deacons, to help with the material matters of the church.  They run the errands and conduct much business, supporting the oversight of the pastor.  It is the deacons, whose spiritual calling and enabling is to serve the church by freeing the pastors to fulfill their calling.  With so much to do, prayer and study can be hindered.  With so much needing to be built, repaired, meals delivered, saints cared for in physical ways, fellowships, hospitality, assistance, and more help in other material things, the deacons also have much to do.

During pastor appreciation month, I am thankful, not only for the pastors and servants preaching the Word, but I am also thankful for the deacons, who support the pastor, by serving the church people and looking for ways to minister to their material and physical needs.  We are blessed to have fine deacons at WBC.  It is a pleasure to serve with them.

Even if you are not a deacon, you are called to serve others.  Every Christian should find and fulfill his calling of God to “serve one another.”  There are many “one another’s” in Scripture to apply to our relationships at church. Some people are actually “deacons in training” who may fill that role in the future!

So, pastors – thank you.

Deacons – thank you.

Fellow church members – thank you.

Working together with God, we can see the Lord accomplish amazing things in our lives, homes, and church.  We are “fellow servants” in the church.

 

 

 

 

Readers Are Leaders

“Readers are Leaders”

The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.  2 Timothy 4:13

“Readers are Leaders” It is a thoughtful statement.  As learned as Paul was, he continued to read the Bible (Parchments) and books.  This is a good example for us today.  The Bible teaches us to continually grow spiritually, personally, relationally, and professionally.  Reading is a good way to accomplish this.  Make sure you are “especially” reading the Bible.  In addition, here are several suggestions for your library.  In a day of disclosures, please note: While recommended, not everything may be endorsed.

 

General:

The Calvary Road, Hession

I Am a Church Member, Rainer

Church Still Works,  Chappell & Reed

The Pastor in Prayer, Spurgeon

Be Committed, Weirsbe

The Power of His Presence, Rogers

How God Answers Prayers, Towns

Key Words in the Christian Life, Wiersbe

Understanding the Times, Ham

The Plan B Prayer, Zacharias

 

Marriage:

A Firm Foundation, Chappell

A Faith Full Marriage, Chappell

The Right Romance in Marriage, Rice

The Love Dare, Kendrick

How to Save Your Marriage Alone, Wheat

Christian Living in the Home, Adams

The Five Love Languages, Chapman

The Christian Home, Sexton

Making Home Work, Chappell

Live Lighter, Love Better, Schmidt

The Love Dare Day by Day, Kendrick

 

Retirees:

Fourth Quarter, Sisk

How Do You Feel Today, Harness

 

Parenting:

Basics of Biblical Parenting, Chappell

Do You Mind If Your Kids Don’t, Rice

Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Tripp

 

Ladies:

The Choice is Yours, Chappell

A Joyful Heart, Gibbs

Wisdom from Women in the Bible, Maxwell

 

Men:

The Steps of a Good Man, Sisk

Lest You Fall, Hummell

Turn Away Wrath, Hummell

One Being a Servant of God, Wiersbe

Living Beyond Your Capacity, Chappell

Learning From The Giants, Maxwell

Great Hunting Stories, Chapman

 

Teens:

Discover Your Destiny, Schmidt

Just Friends, Mike Ray & Cary Schmidt

Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn for Teens, Maxwell

Money Matters for Teens, Burkett & Wooding

Boyhood and Beyond: Practical Steps to Becoming a Man, Schultz

 

Young Adults:

Boundaries in Dating, Cloud & Townshend

Before the Ring, Coleman

Starting Out Right, Burkett

 

Finances:

How to Manage Your Money, Larry Burkett

Giving & Tithing, Larry Burkett

Never Enough?,  Blue & Guess

 

What book are you currently reading?

What book has helped you in your Christian life the most that you read in the last year?

Please leave your encouraging comments.

Elevate Your Head

Elevate Your Head

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.  Colossians 1:18

This sounds like medical advice, but it is also a practical reality of our humanity.  As humans we tend to elevate your physical heads.  Think of this for a moment.  Our head (comprised of everything above our neck) is held high when we walk.  We hold our head up above our body when we are seated.  Even lying down in bed, we use a pillow to elevate our head above the rest of our body.  Reasons for the head being above the body are practical and range from health, function, blood flow, balance, and protection of the head and brain.

With even greater care than our body places on holding up our physical head, we are to lift up the head of the Church.  Jesus is the head of believers and must be elevated above individual Christians.  Our thoughts, opinions, and goals must be subservient to the Lord.  In a way, our thoughts, opinions and goals must be formed by Jesus rather than ourselves.

Our human nature screams and rebels at placing someone else above us in authority and power.  Submitting to God and yielding to His Word and Holy Spirit is how we elevate Jesus above ourselves.  We can take it personally and choose to rebel and side with our sin nature, or we can willingly submit with humility to the Lord.

When you find yourself in a conflict with a spouse, it could be that you are elevating yourself above what the Lord would have you do or say.  When you are disappointed or even angry with someone or something at church, it could be that you are placing your will above the will of God.  When the workplace seems troublesome, it could be that your expectations are not the expectations that the Lord has for your work.

Who is the head of your life?  If you are making “all the calls” for your life, then you are missing the point of Colossians 1:18.  Let Jesus have the Preeminence in your life.  Because Jesus rose from the dead; He is worthy of being the head of our lives.

Jesus does not want to be an important part of your life.  Jesus wants to be the preeminent part of your life- your head.  Consult God’s Word.  Pray.  Seek counsel of your pastor.  Place God above all your choices and lifestyle decisions.   Follow the leader.  When we lift up Jesus instead of ourselves, our lives then honor the Lord and He has room to work incredible miracles in our lives.