Archive for the 'Guest Post' Category
When I was much younger, my parents would take my siblings and me on vacations to various destinations. I loved the time we spent going on trips and adding to the list of memories I hold dear today.
One thing that I distinctly remember was the joy I had when we were in a crowd of people and my dad would let me sit atop his shoulders. At the time I didn’t know why I loved that experience, I just knew that I did. Today I realize I loved it because it made me feel big. I could see farther and know more than I could walking among the crowd. I had a confidence that was only possible because I was on the firm foundation that was my father’s shoulders. Up there, I felt like I had achieved what the rest of the crowd could not.
Fast forward to my life now. Grown-up, kids of my own, a job, bills, the whole nine yards. As I progress through life, that experience of my father’s shoulders has come back to me often and taken on a completely different meaning. It has shown me much about life.
As I am blessed with new opportunities, new assignments, greater challenges, and bigger influence, I would be a fool not to realize that nothing I have done, am doing, or will do is of my own actions or abilities. Truly, the only reason I am able to move forward on anything I have done, am doing, or will do is because others have gone before me and paved the way. I am literally standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before. Those who have paid the price. And those who now are beginning to entrust me with what they have built.
I have the unique opportunity to work in the church where I grew up. I was born into the church where I now spend my life doing ministry. I have seen much change and have had the privilege to drink so much of it in. The list of God moments could fill the pages of a novel. This uniqueness begs me to realize. It calls me to ponder. It demands me to remain and respond. What I do, where I am, or where I will go is, and will be nothing without my ability to stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before, those who have paid the price, and those who entrust my generation with the task of carrying the torch. My pastor, mentor, and boss, Ronnie Floyd, always reminds his staff to never forget where we came from because it’s the past that reminds us of the future. Another great mentor of mine, Ben Mayes, tells me often that we go forward standing on the shoulders of those before us. If we fail to remember that we stand atop the shoulders of those who have gone before, then we will fail to understand what got us to where we are, and it blurs our understanding of where we are going. We all stand on the shoulders of someone. I stand on the shoulders of my father, and I now raise my children with the lessons he instilled in me. Most of those lessons are great, some need to be adjusted, but the fact remains I can’t forget I stop and listen, realize, and respond.
I am grateful for men like my father, my pastor, and the men who went before them. Men like Gene Layman, Ted Schneider, Charlie Foster, and Joe Dorman. These are men whose shoulders I stand on. On their shoulders I can see farther, I feel confident, and I know I have the stability to move ahead. Take time to recognize and respond to those whose shoulders you stand on. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t be arrogant and blind to think that where you are in life is because of you. Realize what is good and what might not be so good, and make corrections where needed. But never forget, we all stand on the shoulders of someone else. God has allowed those whose shoulders you stand on to have gone before, and we must not miss the lessons from the past as we strive to move ahead.
Director of Communications and Technology, Cross Church
Every pastor deals with a certain reality every single week. I’ve heard it referenced as the “relentless return of Sunday.” You preach your heart out, pour yourself empty, and exhaust yourself physically and emotionally only to wake up on Monday or Tuesday and realize the process begins for another week. In many ways, it is equivalent to writing and presenting a research paper every single week.
Any honest pastor will tell you there are days when you stare blankly at a certain passage of Scripture and have the thought, “How do I preach this?” We question how to make it into an outline. We wonder how we can apply this to our people’s everyday lives. Sometimes we even wonder what in the world the passage means!
I’ve discovered a secret that has been more helpful to me in sermon preparation than any other principle. I also believe it’s the key to personal discipleship, to counseling burdened people, and even to sharing the Gospel with a lost friend. Here’s the principle: Just say what the Bible says.
That may sound overly simplistic. In fact, I bet when you read that statement, you thought it was an extremely elementary thing. I understand that. I really do. I also believe that sometimes we complicate preaching, discipleship, counseling, and evangelism. I want to encourage you to begin implementing this simple principle in your everyday life. Here’s how this statement affects the following areas.
There are passages that are difficult to preach. Shocker, right? Some texts are hard to understand, difficult to work into an outline, or tough to try to apply to a group of people. My guiding principle throughout this is to just say what the Bible says. I believe it was Paige Patterson who once said, “Expository preaching is getting your people to read their Bible.” There is perhaps no better way to implement expository preaching than to just say what the Bible says. No more, no less. It’s important to notice that the most important question in sermon preparation is not, “What does the commentary say?” God wrote a book. Let that book speak to the people of God.
What is successful discipleship? People would probably answer this in a myriad of ways. I believe all successful discipleship has one thing in common: an intensified passion and focus on the Word of God in the life of the person being discipled. If that happens, then it truly will affect all other areas of his life. In other words, if we can get that person to begin to just say what the Bible says, we have helped put him on the path toward an abiding walk with Christ.
The Word of God affects all of counseling. It doesn’t matter if it is a professional counseling environment or one friend counseling another over coffee. We have all had those difficult times in the midst of counseling someone else or simply giving advice to a friend where we have come to that line. You know, THAT line. Do I take a step out and tell him what he really needs to hear? Do I tell him what God’s standard is for his life? Or do I cower back in fear and just say something to appease him? We should maneuver through these times by simply saying what the Bible says.
The reality of heaven and hell are tough things for a lost culture to grapple with. If we’re honest, it is a difficult message to deliver to people who don’t believe the same way we do. Some, in an attempt to be loving and inclusive, change what the Bible says to make it more palatable to a lost person. How unloving! The most loving thing we could ever do is say what the Bible says. The Bible speaks of repentance, of faith, of surrender, of taking up your cross, of following the Lord Jesus Christ. Those words are life. Just say what the Bible says.
I truly believe that if you’ll begin to practice this principle in your everyday life, you’ll see the Lord do some amazing things. God loves to work in the lives of those who hold His Word as the source of life and truth in the world. Will you take God at His Word? Will you just say what the Bible says?
Lead Teaching Pastor, Staff Leader, Cross Church
This article was originally published on December 5, 2017 at TheologicalMatters.com. Used by permission of the author.