Dear Prayer Partner,
I want to begin by thanking you for your prayers, and to those who can and do support this ministry financially, a special thank you!
Today was an exceptionally fulfilling day for ME. “Why? What made it so special?” you might be wondering. I will answer that this way. A duck is most fulfilled when it is acting like a duck. A fish is happiest in the water. In general, a duck and fish are happiest when they are in their environment doing what God created them to do. Today was one of those days when I was in my environment doing what God created me to do.
(I apologize for the length. I put the most important stuff here at the top. My appreciation then questions then about tomorrow.)
GOD’S CALL MY EXPERIENCE
In 1968 God saved me and then called me to be a pastor. Within that call was the mandate to preach and teach His Word. Back then He used Colossians 1:24-25 to clarify His call: “. . . I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church. . . Of this church I was made a minister . . . so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God.”
I was then given the privilege and responsibility of being a senior pastor. Many of those 15 years were hard. But God used them to soften my heart, I believe. Then I served another 10 years as an associate pastor. I believe God used those 25 years to prepare me for days like today.
DOING WHAT I LOVE MOST
I was honored to stand in front of a room full of pastors and share my heart and soul with them in the context of studying what the Bible says about our ministry as pastors. It was heart to heart, eye to eye, former pastor to pastor, father to son (figuratively).” I didn’t hold much back. I felt strongly and passionately about what I was saying. Exhorting, imploring, encouraging, and admonishing. I meant it to be a 71-year-old former pastor speaking from years of experience and built-up wisdom to pastors in the middle of the battle. And I truly believe from what I heard from them directly and indirectly that they received it that way. From time to time I mixed in a few funny stories from my own ministry that gave us all a good laugh. They could identify.
CONNECTING PASTOR TO PASTOR
More than one pastor told me I was addressing the challenges and problems they are facing in ministry RIGHT NOW. The district chairman of the denomination told me I was speaking like a Nigerian pastor and that I was connecting with them because I served as a pastor.
FOLLOW UP BEING DISCUSSED
There are already discussions about how they can follow this up to help them hold onto and apply what they are hearing.
AGAIN, THANK YOU FOR HELPING TO MAKE THIS POSSIBLE. YOUR PARTICIPATION HAS BROUGHT TREMENDOUS BLESSING AND FULFILLMENT TO ME AND A GREAT AMOUNT OF ENCOURAGEMENT TO THESE PASTORS.
After the 4 lectures (The purpose of the church, a philosophy of ministry, what is the gospel, and what is an Eph 4 church), I took a few minutes to answer some questions.
Q: (From my reading of 1 Peter where believers were told to submit to Nero’s government, came this question.) Do you advocate that the church should not take a stand and get involved in politics? And what would the consequences of this be to the church?
ANS: Speak up and take a stand when there are biblical principles that need to be addressed socially like abortion and same-sex marriage. Individuals (not pastors) can get involved personally in politics but remember that politics requires compromise. The church must make sure they are not giving a confusing message by voicing support of a candidate who has policies they may like but who is ungodly in his or her behavior. I said, “If I am going to be rejected by someone, I want to be rejected for the gospel not my politics.”
Q: (From a statement in a lecture that God uses trials to make us more like Christ.) When trials end up hardening the heart of a believer, can we say that God’s purpose for allowing the trial has been defeated in that person’s life?
ANS: Simple answer, “Yes.” The Bible says that God works all things together for our good. And we are to count is all joy when we encounter trials. And in everything we are to give thanks. And I gave examples.
Q: (From Eph 4:11 which says that the pastor is to equip the members) What can a pastor with 1000 members do to equip his members better?
ANS: Do you remember the story of Moses and Jethro? Jethro told Moses to divide the nation into thousands, hundreds, fiftys, and tens. So, the pastor can do the same thing. Disciple a few and train them to disciple others. Also, don’t spend time trying to motivate people who do not want to be motivated. You will get frustrated and waste a lot of time and energy. Work with the ones who want to be discipled. When others become interested, bring them into the process.
IT WENT TOO QUICKLY
It was a GREAT day. It went too fast. I could do this every day of my life and it would never get old. But that is how it is supposed to be when we are doing what God has gifted us to do. It’s like a fish swimming down stream. It’s seems effortless. Wow! Thank you Lord!
Wednesday’s Lecture Lineup: 5-8
- Evangelism as a Lifestyle:
I wrote my master’s thesis on this. It’s simple. Effective biblical evangelism involves proclamation (verbalizing the gospel) and affirmation (living out the gospel). Both must be present for effective evangelism. Most understand the proclamation part but do not show the biblical connection to affirmation. I will point that out.
- Keeping the Church Pure (Our lecture on Church Discipline, Matt 18:15ff):
Very few churches practice biblical church discipline yet it is mandated in the church. God is holy and the church is to reflect His holiness and those who are willfully disobeying this precept, need to be dealt with biblically.
- The Call and Role of the Pastor:
Too many pastors today see the position of pastor as a position of power, a place to be served. Pastors must see that they are first servants of Christ and even servants of those in the church. A servant is one who gets excited about making someone else successful. Pastors must see that the success of others in the church is a testimony of their servant leadership and that those who are succeeding in the Christian life are not a treat to their position.
The other part of their role is that they are to be stewards, guardians, care takers, teachers, proclaimers of the Word.
- Paul’s Advice to Elders from Acts 20:28-35:
Pastors are to watch out for their own lives. They are to be examples. Watch over “God’s flock” that has been entrusted to them. Lead them. Feed them from the Word. Pray for them. And be content. Again, some of these are challenges to pastors looking to “move up” the chain of command in a denomination.
PRAYER AND THANKSGIVING
Pray for more of the same for Wednesday. Health remains good. Bed is adequate. The power goes off in the entire area overnight. So, there is not AC most of the night but thankfully this is the cooler time of the year.
By His grace,
A few new pics mostly of the class.