Holy Week: in Context

holy week

Last year, Crossway published a series of short videos – one for each day of Holy Week, the final week of Jesus’ earthly life. The videos are extremely helpful in understanding the biblical, historical, cultural and theological context surrounding each day of this intense week of Jesus’ life. Understanding the context to these important events helps breath life into the narrative. Subsequently, we are then able to apply to our own lives the theological weight of Holy Week.

I’d encourage you to watch one per day throughout your week as you acknowledge and remember Holy Week. If you’re a couple videos behind – don’t be discouraged. They are short and I promise you won’t want to stop.

PALM SUNDAY

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

MAUNDY THURSDAY

GOOD FRIDAY

SATURDAY

RESURRECTION SUNDAY // EASTER

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Clearing Up Your Christmas Misconceptions, Part 1

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This post originally aired LIVE on WATA 1450 AM, a local news and radio station located in Boone, NC as Pastor Stephen shared a mini-series called Clearing Up Your Christmas Misconceptions.

When it comes to Mary, our human tendency is to either make too much of her or to make too little of her. Here are several things we can learn from Mary’s life about the “person that God uses.” The text for this message was Luke 1:26-55.

OVERCOMING FEAR

You must overcome fear, in His power. Mary was going to have to overcome fear. Primarily, there are three types of fear that we see in Mary’s life that we must overcome for God to use us.

 

Fear of criticism. “What are people going to think of me?” While a young girl becoming pregnant in our day is the new norm, in that day it was not. No doubt, Mary had critics. I have found in my own ministry that whenever I am doing what I know God is asking me to do, there are always critics. Wherever God is at work there will always be critics. You must get over the fear of criticism. Know that it is not you who they are criticizing, but God. Therefore, don’t take it personal and get over it.

 

Fear of Inadequacy. “Who am I, Lord?” Mary was a young lady and most likely poor. Just an ordinary girl in a town of about 300 people where everyone knew each other’s daddy and grand-daddy. Mary, I am sure, had feelings of inadequacy. Allow feelings of inadequacy to be a tool for you to trust in Jesus’ all sufficiency. It’s not about you. It’s about Him. It’s not about what you can do, but it is about what He can do through you if you will trust him.

 

Fear of Change. “But my dream was to go to college and become a doctor.” I am sure that Mary, just like every other young lady today, had dreams and goals. She had a dream of her future life. She possibly even had made some plans on what her life would look like and becoming pregnant before marriage wasn’t in the plan. Change is something that is all too difficult for those of us in Western America. While we shout “change!,” we cringe at any change that might negatively impact us personally from our own perspective. If you like to be in control, you are going to have to die to that if you want God to use you. If you are going to trust God that means you have to get out of the driver seat.

TRUST HIS PROMISES

You must trust His promises. This is one of the areas where Mary is belittled. “

 

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:31-35) Mary is not distrusting God in this moment like many like to quickly claim. She is actually asking a legitimate question. Mary trusted God’s promises, which is quite evident in that she has impacted billions of people across the world. Know that you trusting or distrusting God’s promises DOES affect others. Your decision today may affect multitudes.

WILLING TO PAY THE COST

You must be willing to count and pay the cost. It cost Mary and it will cost you. It cost Mary her reputation for some 30 years. Most likely, until Jesus began His earthly ministry she was considered a weirdo and young fornicator who lied to herself and others. Even more, it cost her comfort. Can you imagine a 75 mile donkey ride at 9 months pregnant?

Mary was ordinary like you and I, but she was used by an extraordinary God who also wants to use you and I. Overcome your fear, trust in His promises, and count the cost.

What Should Christians Think About Sex?

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There is one topic of conversation, particularly, that gets Christians acting awkward: sex. Largely, there has been little to no conversations about sex within the church. Subsequently, Christians tend to not really know what to do with it.

There are 3 basic views of sex in our culture today.

 

SEX AS GOD

Sex, for some, has become a religion. By that, I mean sex gives them their identity, their purpose, and their motivation in life. All of who they are is influenced by their sexuality. Everything they do is centered on hunting for those they are attracted to, so that they might have the opportunity to have sex. This person’s life is dominated and ruled by their sexual passions and desire to have sex. When they are unable to physically get sex, they turn to media via their television, dvd’s, cell phones, and tablets.

It’s called, selfish sexuality. The goal for this person is to please themselves by means of sex. Sex rules their life, like a god. Romans 1 talks about how, at that time, even though the people knew that God existed, ruled and reigned over all, they chose to worship what He created instead of Him, the creator. This is still a war that we are battling to this day.

Here are some interesting statistics from Pornography Statistics: Annual Report 2014 by Covenant Eyes. In addition, I would encourage every adult, especially parents, to at least briefly look at these statistics to better prepare your kids.

 

SEX AS GROSS

For others, sex is gross, dirty and evil. This school of thought is rooted all the way back in ancient Greek Philosophy from guys like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. They would say that the physical is bad and that the spiritual is good. Therefore, the body is bad, but the soul is good. Consequently, for them life was just the process of shedding the outer shell (i.e. the body).

So, for them, sex or any type of bodily function was a gross, dirty and evil because it’s association with the physical body. And, believe it or not, this had an vast influence on the early church fathers.

  • Origen (3rd) allegorized the Song of Songs in order to take away the physical implications and castrated himself from a literal view of Matthew 19, “If anything causes you to stumble, cut it off.”
  • Tertulian and Ambrose (4th) preferred extinction to the human race over sexuality.
  • Gregory of Nissa (4th) said that Adam and Eve did not have sex until after the fall and adds that Eve became pregnant from a particular fruit that she ate in the garden.
  • Jerome (4th-5th) threw himself into thorn bushes whenever he would be tempted sexually.
  • At one point then (12th), the Catholic Church forbids priests from marrying and then begins regulating when and where married couples can enjoy sexual freedom.
  • In the Victorian Age (19th), there was an extreme modest view where they would begin to put linens over tables because if men saw the “table legs” they might lust.

While these may seem somewhat odd and extreme, it continues to our own day where for some Christians sex for good pleasure is gross. Various parents, in an effort to encourage their kids to abstain from sex, tell them that “sex is bad, dirty, and not good, so save it for the one person that you marry.” That’s just a weird statement in itself…save the bad and dirty for the one you actually love…

While sex rules over many, it is not God. In addition, sex is not gross. It can be gross, dirty and evil when used out of its intended purpose.

SEX AS A GIFT

For all, God says that sex is a good gift created and given for heterosexual marriage (Genesis 2:24).

Here are several thoughts on a biblical perspective and purpose of sex.

Pleasure – when we investigate the Song of Songs, children are never mentioned once. The whole book focuses on the marital intimacy between a man and a woman.

Children – Genesis 1:28, “be fruitful and multiply.” So, out of marital intimacy comes children. Many children are a blessing from the Lord (Psalm 127:4).

Oneness – Genesis 2:24 – husband and wife were “one flesh” or “wife will “cleave”. So, through marital intimacy two “become one.”

Comfort – 2 Samuel 12:24 – when a child died a husband and wife were together intimately to comfort one another.

Protection – 1 Cor. 7 – You’ll be highly tempted to sin sexually if you’re not regularly together in an intimate way. So marital intimacy is a safeguard from sinning sexually.

To glorify God – God created our bodies for all of these reasons and when you do those things in the correct context it brings glory to Him. Therefore, marital intimacy brings glory to God in that we are functioning in the purpose for which He intended.

Lastly, here are some other helpful resources for you to enjoy and grow:

A Few Thoughts on Women, Men, Porn, & Sexual Assault by Jefferson Bethke

 

Family, Marriage, Sex, & the Gospel by David Platt

15 Last Minute Reminders for Halloween

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1. Be a Missionary – Become all things to all men, so that some might be saved.

2. Connect with people that you might otherwise never connect with by them coming to your door or your church

3. Teach you kids about the historical theory of Halloween along with how Christ redeems stuff like this, including our hearts

4. Serve your city by donating candy or buying costumes for families that can’t afford them

5. Throw a party with good food and drinks

6. Have some hotdogs and a cold drink for families that come by to pick up candy

7. Set up a table with free Gospel-Centered books to give out for free instead of candy

8. Offer to pray for those who God sends your way (don’t be weird about it)

9. Just have fun with your kids

10. Use it as a way to help encourage your kids imagination for dressing up

11. Be considerate

12. Be safe

13. Use it as an opportunity to talk about Reformation Day

14. Focus your teaching (e.g. small group, sermon series, Sunday school, family devotions, personal devotion) on the reformation and the doctrines of grace.

15. Pray

Other Great Articles on Halloween:

6 Tips for Halloween

12 Simple Ways to Be On Mission This Halloween

Halloween: Carnal or Christian

3 Tips For Discipling Your Kids On Halloween

Pat Robertson Calls Halloween Satan’s Night

Schools Cancel Halloween

Communicating with God, Part 1

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Defining Prayer

 

A lot of baggage comes along with the word prayer. Immediately, you have this image of some pious person either kneeling down with their heads bowed or with their hands held together. All of that is religious baggage.

 

Prayer is not a posture. In fact, there are many times in the Bible where we see prayer while standing (Luke 9:28-32; Luke 18:10-13), sitting (2 Samuel 7:18), kneeling (1 Kings 8:54; Luke 22:41-44), hands lifted (Exodus 9:27-29; 1 Timothy 2:1-4, 8), looking up – as opposed to down – with eyes open (Mark 6:41). Therefore, the Bible itself confronts our distorted vision of what prayer looks like.

 

Prayer is conversing/communicating with God. That’s it.

 

This can include, but not confined to speaking out loud or silent prayer. You could be at your work, sitting in your cubicle saying, “I can’t get up and pray out loud right now. It’s kind of awkward, but I could pray silently and that’s okay cause God knows my thoughts.” So you could pray in your mind. Prayer can also include journaling. For some it includes songwriting or poetry.

 

Prayer is speaking with God in the most general sense.

 

 

Listening

 

Communication at its core involves reciprocation. This just means that conversation isn’t one-way – it is two-way, which implies that there is a time to share and a time to listen.

 

This means that intentional times of silence and solitude are vital for communicating with God and growing in your knowledge of Him and relationship with Him.

 

 

Humility

 

Additionally, humility is the attitude that is so intricately woven together with prayer (2 Chronicles 7:14). For you to communicate with God, who is unseen, is an act of faith and humility in recognizing that God exist and that without Him you are nothing. Therefore, a lack of prayer is an indicator of a lack of humility. Therefore, prayer is an indicator of not only faith, but also one of humility.

The Doctrine of the Trinity, part 1

trinity

Jokingly, I am known as the “resident theologian” at a local men’s ministry meeting. In that, I was asked to speak and teach on the doctrine of the Trinity, which is beyond any human mind.

The great church father, St. Augustine, said, “If you try to explain it [the Trinity] you’ll loose your mind. If you deny it [the Trinity] you’ll loose your soul.”

Therefore, the doctrine of the Trinity is an inexhaustible conversation. With that said, the Bible is clear in 4 different areas concerning the Trinity.

 

Four Essential Affirmations

The biblical teaching on the Trinity embodies four essential affirmations:

  1. There is one and only one true and living God.
  2. This one God eternally exists in three persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
  3. These three persons are completely equal in attributes, each with the same divine nature.
  4. While each person is fully and completely God, the persons are not identical.

The differences among Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are found in the way they relate to one another and the role each plays in accomplishing their unified purpose. The unity of nature and distinction of persons of the Trinity is helpfully illustrated in the diagram above.

 

To be continued…

Men of Valor Conference RECAP & Quotes

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This past weekend I was able to spend time with men like Shelton Quarles, Ellis Wyms, Anothony “Booger” McFarland, and Lou Piniella at the 2nd Annual Men of Valor Men’s Conference put on by Exciting Central Tampa Baptist Church in Tampa, FL. All of these guys, without exception, love the city of Tampa, FL and give generously ~ specifically to the kids in the area. They are all using the platform that God gave to them to give back to our community and speak into the life of our kids.

 

Additionally, I wanted to share my notes with you. Here are my most memorable quotes from the conference that have made an impact on my life.

 

 

BradWhite

Brad White, Senior Pastor of Lifepoint Church

“The words you say today shape your kids life tomorrow.”

“Your words today will haunt you tomorrow.”

“To raise a man, you have to become a boy.”

“Speak vision and potential over your boys life.”

“Every man asks the question, “Do I have what it takes?”, so speak a holy purpose over your boys life.”

 

 

darryl

Darryl Williamson, Lead Pastor of Living Faith Bible Fellowship

“Grace leads to action.”

“Grace makes you a fighter.”

“Grace leads to urgency.”

“Urgency requires preparation, which results in fitness.”

“Jesus didn’t go to the cross to make you more efficient.”

 

 

rv

RV Brown, Evangelist & Founder and President of Outreach to America’s Youth, Inc. (O.T.A.Y.)

“Men, make a difference. Pray over your wife.”

“A seed isn’t going to grow if it just sits there. It will die.”

“You have to plant it, cultivate it, prune it, and harvest it.”

“[Dads] Kiss your boys.”

“You can’t have a real legacy apart from the word of God.”

 

 

Pastor Coates in the Flagship Cinema that he pastors in

Patrick Coats, Church Planter of Kingdom Covenant Baptist Church

“It’s never too late to pursue a relationship with your son.”

“If he’s 25 or 55, it’s never too late.”

“Every son wants to know that his father is proud of him.”

“Always hug your boys no matter how old they are.”

 

 

Pastor Erik Cummings

Erik Cummings, Senior Pastor of New Life Baptist Church

“There are so many kids that need a dad in their life.”

“There may be one right in your own church, your neighborhood, or maybe even your own family that needs a dad to love them.”

 

 

parish

Jeff Parish, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks

“Most of the “enjoying your kids part” comes once they’re grown.”

“Once I become their friend, I lose the authority of their dad to say, “NO.”

 

5 Things Every Young Pastor Should Know

5tips.tv

This is the second post in a series called 5 Things Someone Ought to Know. The first post was Your Pastor is Not Jesus: 5 Things Every Church Member Should Know About Their Pastor.

 

 

 

It is obvious that there is much to learn from those who have done well in ministry. For clarification, I am not saying, “done well” as if visible results are the only indicator of doing well. I am simply using the term in a general sense.

 

On the other hand, there is also much to learn from those who have not done so well. These leaders have a different type of wisdom and perspective on ministry. These leaders have learned how to do ministry primarily out of failure and mistakes. Sometimes the best wisdom of all is wrought through failure and mistakes.

 

Here are 5 tips for every young pastor that I have personally learned through mistakes and failure.

 

 

 

You’ll Never Know Enough

 

The first two tips are tough love. It is simple. You are not Jesus. You will never know “enough.” God is clear in passages like Isaiah 55:8-9 where we are reminded that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

 

We like to think of everything as nice and tidy, systematic order. God is a God of order, but we will never be able to understand it all while we are here on earth. In ministry, you are going to learn as you go with a lot of things. You are going to need to seek Godly counsel. You are going to have to tell people in their most needy moment that you “don’t know.”

 

I know guys that have allowed their expectation to be all-sufficient paralyze their ability to serve anyone. Every leader fails at something. In humility, stop allowing your inability to be sufficient to paralyze you. Every failure is an opportunity to believe in the reality, personhood and power of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

 

You’ll Never be Experienced Enough

 

Similar to the first tip about knowledge, there are guys who have let their inexperience paralyze them from doing any ministry. I knew guys in Bible College who didn’t serve a lick in their church because they “didn’t have the experience yet.” How do you get experience? SERVE. Don’t wait to begin serving.

 

You will never have “enough” experience. Ministry is not a system to be figured out and conquered, it is a physical and spiritual war.

 

 

 

Create a Dugout

 

This is probably the most important of them all. Don’t fall into the mentor trap. I did. It is a lie. The lie is that everyone needs a mentor and that once you find that mentor they will show you everything you need to know, be there for prayer, and give you all the training you need. The truth is that no one person has the time to pour into you as much as you need to be poured into except for Jesus.

 

Many make a mentor their functional savior. They look to this mentor as a mini god and expect things from them as if he or she were a mini god. This lie leads to despair, discouragement and even disdain.

 

It is much more beneficial to create a dugout. In baseball, your dugout is filled with men who specialize in a specific area of the game. The coach is able to call on whichever specialist he needs to get the job done. Similarly, young pastors should create a dugout of specialist.

 

I’m not telling you not to have a mentor. I’m telling you not to have one mentor, but 5-6 mentors who specialize in different areas. For example, I have 6 godly men and women in my dugout who all specialize in different areas of life (e.g. pastoral, ministry, family, theology, finance, church growth). Additionally, Jesus is the only person that can perfectly counsel you in any area. Don’t create a second personal pocket Jesus. The real Jesus already exists and wants to serve you.

 

 

 

 

Create a Personal Library

 

John Wesley told young pastors to “read or get out of the ministry.” Also, Teaching to Change Lives by Dr. Howard Hendricks is a great resource on this. The thought is this, a leader must follow if he is going to lead. Therefore, reading is a great tool to follow other great leaders who have gone before you.

 

The moment you stop reading, you stop leading. Continue to pour into yourself, so that there is something fresh and new to pour into others. Ask other leaders, pastors, and professors what books are staples in their personal library and pick them up.

 

I will use this opportunity to encourage you to go to seminary. Yes, I know Jesus didn’t. You are not Jesus. Neither did His disciples… You are not them either. I have several good friends who are pastoring and doing very well, but they were also blessed to be surrounded by a very biblical literate church who trained them informally. Read. Read. Read.

 

 

 

 

Don’t be in Ministry for a Job

 

Pastoral ministry is not for weaklings. You will be tested. You will be pushed past your limits daily. You will be a target. You will get hurt. You will be betrayed. You will have to make hard decisions that will offend many people.

 

If you are in pastoral ministry for a job, get out now and stop wasting your time. Here’s the kicker, if God has called you to pastoral ministry all of those things will pail in comparison to the experience of preaching God’s holy word, watching people make huge decisions for Christ, and living out their faith. It will be your joy to deal with those things in order to fulfill your calling.

 

If you are in it for a job, you will be miserable. Even more, you will end up leaving the ministry anyway, so save yourself the time and go sell insurance or build a house.

Restoring a Brother

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While a primary piece of restoration within the church context is church discipline, my focus is primarily on the final goal of church discipline, which is restoration.

 

God is all about reconciliation and restoration. In fact, the purpose of separation and discipline within the family of God – the church – are for the latter.

 

 

 

There is a specific time for restoration.

 

 

1 Peter 5:10 – “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

 

 

While there are some generalizations to how this will look different for each person, there are also some specifics that are clear when looking at a timeline in how restoration should be done. In other words, there are things that need to happen as a preface to restoration.

 

 

Peter is sharp as he shows suffering for a little while as a preface to restoration. This is not talking about the type of physical suffering that Christ endured on behalf of all who believe. That was finished at the cross of Christ. The suffering that Peter is talking about is that of dealing with the consequences of the sin and brokenness that has occurred. Therefore, has the person who is in question wrestled with and declared war on the sin and brokenness at hand? Many times, this is fleshed out through church discipline.

 

 

Acts 3:19-21 – “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.”

 

 

Again, in Acts 3 it is evident that there is a time for restoration. And again, it is clear that there are things that must take place as a preface to restoration. Specifically, Luke says that repentance must take place. He goes on to say that the fruit of repentance is that the person is currently back in the presence of the Lord, implying that the person who has sinned has walked away from the Lord at one point. The picture of being refreshed by the presence of the Lord is that something has gone stale from lack of presence with Him and lack of belief ultimately culminating in finding pleasure in something other than the Gospel.

 

 

It is possible, and many times the case, which a person is so busy doing the work of ministry that he or she is missing the ministry that the Lord wants to do in them. We tend to get so busy in our lives that we fail to work on our lives. This eventually leads to sinful thoughts and ultimately acting out in “hidden” sin. It is then that repentance is key.

 

 

With that, it is not just personal repentance between the person and the Lord that is required, but it also includes repentance to those who were transgressed against and any and all involved.

 

 

Time is also important because the less time invested in something the less valuable the result will be. Time allows space for consideration of what has taken place and allows space for authentic repentance and sanctification.

 

 

 

There is a specific Person who does restoration.

 

 

Mark 8:25 – “Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.”

 

 

There is no real restoration outside of the scope of Jesus. Jesus restores. He is the restorer. If any process has taken place without Jesus at the center, it was in vain and is mere behavior modification.

 

 

1 Peter 5:10 – “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

 

 

Moreover, Peter points back to Jesus. He “will Himself restore.” It is not our job to restore. It is our job to walk with the person on the journey of restoration by pointing them back to Jesus. Jesus confirms, strengthens and established the restoration. There is no other way for restoration to happen.

 

 

 

There is a specific role of restoration.

 

 

2 Corinthians 5:18 – “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

 

 

Jesus then invites the church to join him in the process of restoration by being a minister of reconciliation. This is a call to all believers. When there is evident sin in a person’s life, those in the sphere of influence are obligated to point to Jesus and the restoration that He offers.

 

 

When God reconciles us to Himself, He then invites us to speak on His behalf into others lives by always pointing to the Gospel and the fact that restoration is available.

 

 

 

There is a specific way to do restoration.

 

 

Galatians 6:1 – “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”

 

 

Additionally, there is a specific way to carry out the task of reconciliation. That is, with gentleness. There ought to be gentleness in our words and in our actions, which can be hard especially for those offended or even indirectly affected. Therefore, it is important to bring in unbiased pastors and leaders to mediate between parties to ensure gentleness is a primary component of the process.

 

 

Therefore, if the person who has sinned is not a member of a local church and has not submitted themselves under the leadership of a pastor this process gets all the more difficult. If this is the case, the first move should be for the person to get connected to a local church and to seek direction from the pastor.

 

 

This is also seen where Paul says, “Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” One of the best ways to “watch yourself” is to ask others to watch and keep you accountable as well. Therefore, there needs to be accountability throughout the process of restoration, not just the one who sinned claiming that they’ve repented and have had a heart change. There needs to be, no exceptions, others involved with accountability and direction.

 

 

Sadly, many are not committed to one local church, so they may have a hard time with getting a pastor to invest much time into their situation. Church discipline and restoration is actually one of the greatest benefits of being a member of a local church. Your vocation is not an excuse for not joining one church. I know scores of people who are doing ministry all over the country who are not committed to one local church and it is sad. Their excuse – “my vocation doesn’t allow me to.” Well than your vocation that you chose is not actually where God has called you because we do know from the Scriptures that He has called you to join a local church.

 

Some other resources for you to consider:

Is Church Membership Biblical? by The Resurgence

Discipline by 9 Marks

When Should a Church Practice Church Discipline? by 9 Marks

 

Your Pastor is Not Jesus: 5 Things Every Church Member Should Know About Their Pastor

5 Things_graphic

This is the first post in a series called 5 Things Someone Ought to Know. The second post was 5 Things Every Young Pastor Should Know.

 

Your Pastor is Not Jesus

 

I have had the distinct privilege of serving in various ministry roles including Senior Pastor, Church Planter, Executive Pastor, and Associate Pastor. Along with all of those roles also comes a great amount of transition from which I have learned a lot about pastoral ministry and the church’s general understanding of pastoral ministry.

 

There is one area of concern for the local church that I know many other pastors are just as concerned.

 

Church (that is you): Your pastor is not Jesus.

 

Now, I realize that everyone would quickly agree with that statement. On the other hand, there are many who while they would accent to the above statement, they do not live as if they would give accent to it.

 

 

 

Here are 5 Things Every Church Member Should Know About Their Pastor

 

 

 

Jesus is perfect. Your pastor is not.

 

One of the many tensions that a pastor must learn to navigate through in his ministry is that between being a Godly example and being human. The Bible is clear on the qualifications for a pastor (Titus 1, I Timothy 3, 1 Peter 5), so this is not a conversation about that. As a preface, pastors are called to live above reproach. With that said, pastors are still men. Your pastor is going to sin. Your pastor still needs to live a life of repentance. Your pastor is going to make some bad decisions. Your pastor will mess up. Your pastor gets frustrated sometimes. Your pastor doesn’t have a perfect marriage. Your pastor may not be the best parent in the world. All of these things are okay. He is not perfect. Only Jesus is (Hebrews 4:15; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

 

Your response should be to pray for your pastor. Encourage your pastor through notes, emails, and small gifts. Serve your pastor. Support your pastor. Allow space for your pastor to mess up sometimes without getting upset with him.

 

 

 

Jesus words are inherent. Your pastor’s are not.

 

There are multitudes of Christians that go to church, give to their church, serve their church, support their church, and etc., yet the only time they actually read their Bible is during a worship service when their pastor is preaching.

 

If your only time in God’s word is when your pastor is preaching you are depending too heavily on your pastors ability and not enough on God’s word. Your pastor’s words are not always correct. He will make interpretation mistakes. Open your Bible. Read your Bible. Get in a small group where you can ask questions about the Bible and grow in your understanding. The Bible is plenary verbally inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17), but your pastor is not.

 

 

 

Jesus builds the church. Your pastor does not.

 

The pastor’s “job” is NOT to grow the church. In fact, if any church is looking for a pastor that will “grow their church” I would recommend to any pastoral candidate to seriously consider not going to that church. That is a shallow understanding and misconception of what pastors should be doing. Certainly, the pastor is able to, with the help of the church, to create an atmosphere that is conducive for growth. But ultimately, it is Jesus that will grow the church not some methodology that you adopted from another church or ministry.

 

It is Jesus’ job to grow the church (Acts 2:47; Matthew 16:18). Don’t ask your pastor to rob Jesus’ of His job.

 

 

 

Jesus is to be worshiped. You pastor is not.

 

I love a church that takes care of its pastor(s). Pastoral ministry ranks among one of the most stressful vocations. In fact, it is one of the few vocations that naturally get a front row seat to sickness and death on a regular basis. With that, pastors are worthy of double honor (1 Timothy 5:17). On the other hand, your pastor does not deserve worship. Do you desire to hear your pastor’s sermon this week more than you desire to hear God speak to you? Do you desire to see your pastor more often than you have a desire to see God? So on and so on.

 

Anyone or anything that is desired more than Jesus is idolatry. It is worship. Don’t give what is due to Jesus and give it to a man. Worship Jesus (Matthew 8:2, 14:33, 28:9, 17; John 9:38; Luke 24:52; Hebrews 1:6).

 

 

 

It’s all about Jesus. Not your pastor.

 

Being that the pastor of a local church naturally is the face of the church in the community it is easy to make it all about him. It’s not all about your pastor, but it’s all about Jesus (Luke 24:13-15).