Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
Keep on preachin’, Friend!
I was privileged two weeks ago to be in Tulsa for FCF Family Church Conference. As usual, I came home with much to chew on. A few things really spoke loudly to me:
· The importance of integrity. The only thing that will last is integrity. I expect integrity from my auto mechanic. How much more from an emissary of God?
· Many of us are in the final laps of life’s race. Are we doing things to leave a legacy?
· The importance of taking care of my vessel. I can’t do much without it.
· The primacy of love: I can love other ministries even if I don’t agree with them.
· God answers problems by sending a person in His Name. ( I think I will preach that one)
· Pastors are necessary and need to be honored and encouraged to stay the course. The statistics on preacher dropout are pretty scary. Less than half make it 15 years. About 20% make it to retirement age.
That last one really hit me. I suppose at thirty plus years in ministry I am a statistical anomaly. At any rate, I am well down the line in my race, and I really want to finish strong. A few things are very important for staying at this ministry thing. Here are some good ones I try to remember:
· Pastor is my job, not my name. When God speaks to me, He calls me “son.” (OK, occasionally “boy,” but you get the point.) I am a child of God. That is who I am. Pastor is what I do. Keep the two straight.
· My worth is not based on performance. It is determined by the price that was paid for me by the One who purchased me. I am valuable to God if I never preach another message.
· My success is determined by obedience mixed with faithfulness and diligence. Did I do what He told me to the best of my ability at the time? Comparison of results (numbers) is a dangerous thing. If I do your job really well, then I am a failure, not to mention exhausted.
· Very early in my first year of Bible school, the Lord told me I needed to develop a thick skin, and keep a soft heart. Good advice, but difficult to accomplish. You have to soak heart wounds in prayer before they form a callous.
If you are a preacher, don’t quit. If you know a preacher, pray for him/her and tell him to keep on going.
Somebody Said: “The task of pastoral ministry is, above all else, to arrange the contingencies for an encounter with the Divine.” D. Bonhoeffer
Scripture Reading: Yet preaching the Good News is not something I can boast about. I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn’t preach the Good News! If I were doing this on my own initiative, I would deserve payment. But I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust. (1Co 9:16-17 NLT)
When the dust settles and the band quits playing, I keep going because I don’t have a good alternative. There is just something on the inside that says, “You gotta tell somebody!” It is sacred. I don’t want it to go away.