Tag Archives: pastors

Loving Laws or Loving People

Loving Laws or Loving People

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  Galatians 5:14

Do you know someone that is hyper critical?  I mean, they have a problem with everyone and everything.  “The temperature is too hot.  The music is too fast. The speaker is too loud.  The women are dressing wrong.  The bulletin was not folded right.  The deacons should have a tie on.  The people helping are not doing it the same way I would do it. The van is parked at the wrong place.  The family is too big or too small.”  You get the idea.

Hyper critical people have forgotten the “Who” they should be loving.  Instead of loving God and loving people, they love a “What.”   They love rules.  They love laws.  They love their preferences and personal expectations and project them onto other people in a way that is detrimental to relationship.

If we could learn to love people more than our preferences, programs, and personal pet peeves, then we would show more honor to the Lord.  And in turn actually live out God’s law instead of a human version of His law.

Loving our neighbor does several things:

  1. Considers others ahead of ourselves.
  2. Creates a forgiving temperament.
  3. Causes more healthy relationships.
  4. Casts aside personal preferences.
  5. Calms personal interactions with others.

Music styles in church can have great variety and still please the Lord.

Preaching and teaching styles vary greatly from person to person, and God can use each delivery style in wonderful ways.

Organizational structure, facility maintenance, the next building project, and more need not be a stumbling point for you or for others at your church.  When we love God and love others, no matter the rules we may impose on ourselves, we do not need to let those preferential things divide and hurt relationships.

One terrific example is the Church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-7.  This church had pure doctrine.  They withstood persecution.  They even had a good work ethic.  But Jesus said “You left your first love.”  These second generation Christians, with a godly heritage, clung to laws, rules, and preferences to the neglect of loving Jesus.  They loved their “version of Christianity” more than they loved Jesus!

Don’t let rules and regulations or personal preferences stop you from loving your family (or church family) the way the Lord wants you to love them.

Love people more than laws.

 

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Tending to the Flock

Tending to the Flock

And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.  Jeremiah 23:4

Several years ago as my bus was quickly traveling down a mountain road in Israel, I noticed just a few miles from Jerusalem several wide open places and sheep walking around, un-fenced, and on their own.  But they were not on their own.  There were men, shepherds, and their sheep dogs, guiding the sheep and leading them, from grassy fields to clean refreshing water.

The Lord promised to Jeremiah and the people of Judah to send pastors (shepherds) who would feed and protect the people.  In the context of Jeremiah 23, the Lord is speaking of governmental leaders; the people who were given responsibility and a charge to take care of the “flock” of God.”  This is a good passage to learn about the responsibility the government has – to care for its people in restoring peace for prosperity and protection from harm.  The promise even includes that people would not go missing (due to crime) because of the good leadership of the governmental leaders.

Interestingly enough, the word for “pastor” and the word for “which shall feed them” is the same Hebrew word.  It means “To provide pasture.”  In other words, one of the responsibilities of the government is to provide the means to conduct prosperous business ventures.  It does not mean “to spoon feed;” but to provide a place for growth and sustenance. The government is called to provide a field in which industrious people can safely work, toil, and grow in business.  Like sheep freely roaming a field.

The government is also to provide basic safety.  Not only is there the possibility of wolves harming the sheep, like predators from foreign places that are not part of the field, but sometimes there are already wolves in the field.  We all were probably taught to “Not talk to strangers.”

Jeremiah 23 goes on to describe the return of Jesus and how once He comes back to earth, He will set up His Millennial Kingdom and will rule with splendor and majesty.

In contrast, check out how the previous leaders of Israel had failed in Jeremiah 10:21.  “For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.”  Because of a lack of godly leadership the nation of Israel and Judah suffered terrible.  “Brutish” is a Hebrew term which means to “kindle a flame or to consume with fire.”  Instead of looking out for the best of the people – the leadership was looking out for… itself.  Everything they touched, like a fire, they tried to consume.  Taxes, regulations, tolls, and more could be examples today.  Have you noticed much the same pattern in modern politics.  Many governmental leaders are successful at accumulating large amounts of money for themselves or for their pet projects.  I guess, some have even become rich by being full time politicians.

But one day.  One day, following the rapture, the 7 years of tribulation, and the battle of Armageddon, King Jesus will return.  He is the Perfect Shepherd this world desperately needs.  In the mean-time, praise the Lord for Jesus, the Great Shepherd Who is daily watching after His own sheep.  In this church age we are living in, the sheep are not confined to Israel, but to all those who are born again by faith in Jesus.  Take a moment to read Psalm 23 for more shepherding insight.  Be encouraged in Jesus today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Real Heroes of October

The Real Heroes of October

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  2 Timothy 4:2

Do you look forward to the World Series of Major League Baseball each October?  I do.  I enjoyed the first game between the Mets and Royals recently.  14 innings!  Wow!  Playing past the regular season, the “Boys of Summer” try to get their team into position to play baseball in the postseason called the playoffs.  Then the National League Champion will play the American League Champion to determine the World Champion in the World Series.

Baseball great Reggie Jackson was known as Mr. October.  When a team is advancing and still playing baseball into the month of October you know they are a good team.  There will be another MVP this year and one team will walk away the winners, the heroes of the baseball world.

Between both the Mets and Royals, there are many players I am not familiar with.  There are some new names on both teams.  No matter how long a player has played on his team, as a team member – he is committed to the same task – win the next game.  No matter what path he took to get to the majors, he is still accepted on his team as a vital asset towards winning.

There are other heroes in October, some of which we will never hear about.  They are the pastors, faithfully feeding the flock of God in their local fields.  However God called them and wherever they are serving, they are on the same team as I am – the Gospel Team.

In independent Baptist churches such as the one I pastor, we may not be familiar with pastors in other parts of the country.  We are not isolated, but we are just too far away to know each other.  There are pastors, missionaries and evangelists boldly declaring God’s Word and we may never know them on this side of Heaven.  We are on the same team – giving out the Gospel.  I am thankful for each team player.

The churches they preach in vary in size; some with 50, 250 or over 2000 members attending weekly services.  Some pastors and their churches are well-known, others are not.  All these pastors are known to those they minister to as being passionate about Jesus and His Holy Word.

Some churches will say “thank-you” in a public display.  Others churches are comprised of individuals who behind the scenes say “thank-you.”  However this is accomplished, it should be clear to the pastor that the church is blessed with his effort to serve the Lord and minister to them.  The real heroes of October are the pastors.  They are the ones ready to “preach the Word in Season or out of Season.”

Some folks have set aside October as a month to strategically say “Thank-you.”  Someone once aptly said that “What gets scheduled is what gets done.”  It is true that our human nature is to forget.  We may forget the impact 1 message had on our home.  We may neglect to give a testimony of how a message fed to the congregation met a specific need in your soul.  Sometimes a pastor is preaching on a totally other subject, but the Bible passage God directed him to, challenges and changes your life.  If we do not mark something good on a calendar, it just may not happen.

According to Thrivingpastor.com, pastor or clergy appreciation has been “over the centuries, decades and years, pastors have been recognized and honored, either formally or informally, by many denominations and local churches at various times of the year. It has been a long-standing practice.”  They refer to the I Timothy 5:17 as pastors preaching the Word should receive “double honor” as the precedent for this special recognition.

As you watch the closing games of this baseball season, be reminded of the real heroes of October.  The unsung heroes are those faithfully preaching the Word.  While you may not know all of them – take a moment to encourage those you do know.  Say “thank-you” in some way this week.