Saturday, September 05, 2009

What Does a Pastor Do?

I love John MacArthur and the ministry that he has. He's been going strong for something like 50 years of preaching now, and his books and messages are a great tonic for me whenever I get depressed.

I recently took over as the interim pastor of a small church in my town, and found quickly that the temptation to do everything can be very overwhelming, so when I saw this pasted on Facebook, I wanted to read it immediately. It will hopefully serve to remind me of why I'm ultimately there - to feed the flock of God. You can read the entire article at Grace To You's website, but here's a teaser.
If you’re a pastor, you have one job...you have one job. It’s this, Shepherd the flock of God among you....that’s your job. You are not a cultural evangelist, you are not a society penetrator, you’re not an entrepreneur, you’re not a revolutionary, you are a feeder of the flock of God.

Jesus said:
“I will build My church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”
“All whom the Father chose will be called.”
“All who are called will come.”
“All who come will be received by Christ.”
“All whom Christ receives, He will keep. All whom He keeps, He will raise at the last day.”

Our job is to feed His sheep. And the day you move your eyes beyond the people sitting in your church who belong to Christ, that’s the day you just lost your purpose.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Names of God

When I was a student at Northland, we used to have a memory verse for the week and a name of God listed on the overhead for chapel every day. As I was praying for a friend's dad today, I was reminded of one of those names - Jehovah Rophe, the Lord who heals. I found this list of God's names, and wanted to share it with you, in an attempt to stir up a desire to learn more about what God calls Himself and to motivate people to study Him more. The list is available at: http://ldolphin.org/Names.html

I've also done some housekeeping on the blog. The first and hopefully most obvious section is to the immediate left - I created a section to online Bible study resouces, and broke that out seperately from the recommended reading section in an effort to clean up what was becoming a cluttered list. I've also added a link to TheoSource, a book review website, and another website that lists commentaries as well.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Christ in Me - the Light of the World

I read this earlier today:
"One line in the book of Common Prayer made sense to me: the mystery of the Word made flesh. If only my friends would admit that it was a mystery, and stop giving me explanations! I wrote in my journal: 'I talk to people - oh, people I respect, and people I like - and yet I never feel any sense of terrific excitement in their own lives about Jesus, in the way that the early Christians must have been excited so that they were transfigured by Jesus. In no one, no one, no matter how loudly they talk about salvation being possible only through Jesus, do I find this great thing showing in them, glowing in them, lighting their lives, as it must if it is to make any sense today at all.' I was, I am sure, less than fair; nevertheless that was what reasonable explanations did to me."

-A Circle of Quiet, Madeleine L'Engle, ISBN 9780062545039.

I had a few thoughts on this:

1. Do I show Christ like Madeleine L'Engle talked about? Or do people only see me and not Him?

2. If not, then how do I get that way - what did I do to dim the light of Christ's working in me?

3. The more I read SharperIron and the more I participate in theological discussion, the more I am aware of how little I know. It's easy - too easy - to give answers and explanations, like she alluded to above, but it's also easy to diminish the greatness and majesty of God when I do that in an attempt to make God understandable. Does anyone else feel that way?

Monday, March 10, 2008

More Music For You

I found this old hymn earlier in the week on Greg Linscott's blog, and thought that it would be worth passing on to you all. As I noted in my last blog entry, I'm really becoming disillusioned with Fundamentalism as a movement, and wish that we could begin to recapture some of these older and more valuable legacies that have been left for us. This hymn, in particular, is what I would like to see Fundamentalism begin to reclaim - music with theological purpose. Now if I can just figure out the "Jupiter" music that they are referring to, I should be set!

The hymn is titled "O God, Beyond All Praising"
O God Beyond All Praising
By Michael Perry
Tune: THAXTED

O God beyond all praising,we worship You today
And sing the love amazing that songs cannot repay;
For we can only wonder at every gift You send,
At blessings without number and mercies without end:
We lift our hearts before You and wait upon Your Word,
We honor and adore You, our great and mighty Lord.

Then hear, O gracious Savior, accept the love we bring,
That we who know your favor may serve you as our King;
And whether our tomorrows be filled with good or ill,
We’ll triumph through our sorrows and rise to bless You still:
To marvel at Your beauty and glory in Your ways,
And make a joyful duty our sacrifice of praise.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lost...and found [again]

No, I didn't lose my blog...I swear. =)

I've really been at a crossroads and crisis of my own making for approximately several months now, and everything kind of coalesced at the same time - right around April/May of 2007. While I won't go into all the boring [read: painful] specifics, let it suffice to say that I lost my job, got a new one, moved out of my apartment on less than three weeks notice, left not one but two Baptist churches, and may have put an end to a deeply personal relationship of over ten years.

When all of that hits at one season, it's time to step back from the keyboard for a bit, you know?

The good thing that came out of it is that I feel like I can think clearer now, and I know that God has used it. To what end, I'm not sure, but I know that He does. Or, if you are a fan of Star Wars, you might say that "we are Christians, and we strengthen ourselves through sacrifice" [Star Wars:Legacy of the Force - Betrayal, p. 425]. [Just as an aside, the sacrifice I am referring to is our own pretty whims and goals. But more on that later.]

I refer to myself as "lost" in the title, because all of those aforementioned events have served to create and strengthen my disillusionment with my walk with God and where I 'align' myself spiritually - ie, which what parties I will/will not join with. It is no longer sufficient to think that since I attend a 'good' church, sit under 'good teaching', live a 'good' life, and am a success [by this I mean that I have money in the bank, have a nice and well-adjusted family, or am able to 'own' a home and retire with wealth]. It is no longer sufficient to be published on SI, or to speak at a BJU event by their request, or to even be well-respected. All of that stuff is dross - either trinkets devised by our own arrogance and pride that will be destroyed when the Lord judges our actions [I Cor. 3] OR distraction - something that exists to pull us away from our purpose. All of those things are good. But not all of those things - or how they are presented to others, even if we desire them - are used for good - as a matter of fact, my fleshly nature or Satan can make them be bad or even dangerous.

Furthermore, I am finding that the Fundamentalist movement, in particular, has problems. Not that it shocks any of you to know this, but I'm concerned about things that I'm seeing, especially the ugly heads of Nepotism, Pragmatism, and a lack of clear focus on what is truly important. I'm also concerned about the growth of ivory tower preachers and ministers who specialize in theology but don't have a clue as to how life works for the people in their congregations.

So let me point three areas in particular that have been on my mind before I go:

1. Where in the Scripture does it specify that churches must have full-time ministers? If something like 80% of pastors are bi-vocational in some way, then why do IFB schools keep emphasizing full-time pastors, and worse yet, now sub-specialties for IFB organizations like youth/music pastor or Bible translator or church educator?

2. Why is it that so many IFB organizations and associations have so many of the same people involved on so many different levels? I'm tired of seeing the same guys over and over again. For all the emphasis on discipleship, it doesn't seem like any of the 'disciplees' are showing up, except for the well-connected [see above].

3. Maybe if "Fundamentalists" would sit down and write out their list of Fundamentals, it might help bring vision, focus, and clarity to their speech and actions. I had thought that SharperIron.org would help do this, but now I don't think that I can believe that.

I want to come back and revisit those three points later. After I've found the words for what I want to say.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Another Quote...

This one is from Abraham Lincoln:
I have been driven, many times, to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go.

The trick, as a Christian, is not to be 'driven to your knees' only by not having any where else to go, but to be driven to our knees dozens of times a day. Not that we have to physically take a position on our knees, but that our hearts and focus would be so strong that, whenever faced with a choice, we automatically look up to our Father and seek His counsel.

Now if I could only do that, instead of just writing it, I'd be in good shape. Lord, help thou my unbelief!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ashamed?

Yes, I know that it's been two months since I've posted. I had to take a hiatus [again] because of some personal crises that have since been [mostly] resolved. The Lord has been at work in wonderful and mysterious ways, and although I never would have chosen to go down the path that He took me, my life has improved dramatically and I am grateful to Him for it. I actually wrote this post back in May, but did so on my Treo and simply haven't thought to post it. If you're really interested in some of what was going on, there are several posts on SI within the May - June timeframe that I really should substitute for blog posts.

In any case, I actually first heard the following poem/challenge when I attended one of the opening revival meetings as an NBBC Student. Kevin Brownfield was the guest evangelist [he's on staff now], and he read it to us at the conclusion of one of his messages; I found it to be so compelling that I actually purchased the cassette tape - yes, I am a dinosaur, I know - transcribed it, and kept it in various forms and places. My wonderful wife saw it posted in my old bedroom, and was kind enough to research it online, reproduce it on some nice paper, and hang it up in the bedroom for me to review every day. It has proven to be a real challenge - and, at times, an encouragement, so I've reproduced it here for you. It's called the "Fellowship of the Unashamed".

I am part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed. The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I will not look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I do not have to be right, first, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with power. My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I will not give up, shut up, let up, or slow down until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me, for my banner is clear.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My SharperIron Signature

Since we aren't allowed to have full signatures on SharperIron anymore, I've decided to make a permalink to my old one. I normally don't do things like this, but it bothered me enough that I decided to do an end-around on the SI rule.

And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said: "I am young in years, and you are aged; therefore I was timid and afraid to declare my opinion to you. I said, 'Let days speak, and many years teach wisdom.' But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. It is not the old who are wise, nor the aged who understand what is right. Therefore I say, 'Listen to me; let me also declare my opinion.'
[Job 32:6-10]

All Scripture is quoted from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Another Interesting Quote...

I found this today on a Starbucks cup of coffee, and wanted to share it with you.

The Way I See It #224

Darwinism's impact on traditional social values has not been as benign as its advocates would like us to believe. Despite the efforts of its modern defenders to distance themselves from its baleful social consequences, Darwinism's connection with eugenics, abortion, and racism is a matter of historical record. And the record is not pretty.

--Dr. Jonathan Wells, Biologist and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design.


I don't know much about Dr. Wells, but this quote is absolutely dead on. I suppose that I will have to add this book to my 'books to read' list.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Housekeeping

BLOG COMMENT OF THE DAY: "As Time’s 2006 Person of the Year, I have to say I’m deeply disappointed that Time has sunk to such sensational and politicized levels. Would someone please tell me who I should contact at Time to give back my award?"

Heh.

h/t - Instapundit

I've added a new link to the sidebar - the Baen Free Library. Basically, it's a place for authors to share their works with the public for no cost. There's everything from pulp fiction to multi-novel series, and it's all for free, so go check it out. There's also Project Gutenberg, which has been around longer and has more content, especially religious content. I have collected more than a few books on PDF format from them.

I also fixed a broken sidebar link that someone pointed out - sorry about that. Too many //'s will do that to you. =)

Blogging has fallen off because I have a new SI article that's way overdue, and because I've been spending a lot of time on SI dealing with KJV-Inspired people, and because I'm still working two jobs - one full time and one part timer. I promise to be a better blogger.

I also changed the layout of the site - Blogger asked me to upgrade to their new version - not from the old Blogger to the new, but to use their "new and improved" templates. I did that, and a lot of the specialized formatting that I had done to make this site look decent was lost in translation. I'll try and fix it back the right way.