Archive for the 'Pastors' Category

Pastors: Watch the Fire on the Altar of Your Heart

General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, told those who worked with him: “The tendency of fire is to go out; watch the fire on the altar of your heart.”1 A fire left to itself usually goes out.

What a profound statement and challenge to every pastor: Watch the fire on the altar of your heart. Oftentimes we become so concerned about the fire of God upon the church, we neglect to evaluate the fire of God within our own heart.       

  

Of All Things

When writing to his protégé Timothy, the apostle Paul, with a sense of urgency knowing that his days on this earth were coming to an end, challenged Timothy to do whatever it took to ensure he lived and ministered with the full flame of the Holy Spirit. Of all things Paul could have told Timothy to do, he told him to stir up the gift within him, to keep the Spirit of God blazing through his life and ministry.

Under the inspiration from the fire of God’s Spirit in his own life, Paul told Timothy, “Therefore, I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” 2 Timothy 1:6-7

Pastor, is the Spirit of God blazing through your life and ministry?

Grasp This Moment

Grasp this moment in history: Nero was reigning ruthlessly and violently against Christians, bringing their lives to an end in all kinds of ways. While this was happening, Paul told Timothy there was no need to fear, but to be filled with God’s power, motivated by God’s love, and to navigate through the future with sound judgment.

Paul was not rebuking Timothy but cautioning him. Watch the fire on the altar of your heart. He did not tell him he believed it was going out or had gone out, but Paul was reminding Timothy that if the fire of God is ever going out in your own heart, you are entering dangerous territory personally and in ministry leadership.

While we know the apostle Paul refers in his writings about the gifts of the Spirit, here he is referring to the gift of the Holy Spirit. Within the context of this text, we know that the power of the Spirit of God is the only One who can replace fearfulness with fearlessness, selfishness with sacrificial love, and disorder with discipline. Pastor, watch the fire on the altar of your heart.

3 Actions You Can Take to Watch the Fire on Your Heart

Action #1: Retreat Now to Be with the Lord

Each morning we need to go with the Lord on our own personal retreat. We need a time to hide away with God, evaluate our own life honestly, check the level of God’s fire in our heart, and then plead with God to set our heart on fire for our life and ministry. Never should this moment be minimized or compromised.

Action #2:  Reset Your Own Life and Ministry

When we have practiced due diligence spiritually, God will reset our own life and ministry. His priorities will become our priorities. His mission will become our mission.

Action #3: Rekindle the Fire in Your Ministry

When we retreat with God and He resets our life and ministry to align with His priorities and mission, it is then that the blazing fire of God will empower us with His full flame. Then, through His powerful Spirit He has given to us, we will live, we will preach, we will serve, we will lead, we will pray, and we will love with the blazing fire of God.

Pastor, of all things, watch the fire on the altar of your heart. Remember, a fire left to itself usually goes out.

Now is the Time to Lead,

Ronnie W. Floyd

1 https://quotefancy.com/quote/1100386/William-Booth-The-tendency-of-fire-is-to-go-out-watch-the-fire-on-the-altar-of-your-heart

A Winning Idea: Consider Taking Your Church Through 21 Days of Prayer and a One-Year Bible Reading Plan

As we wind down 2018 and look toward the new year, I would like to share what we are planning at Cross Church and encourage you to consider something similar at your church.

I believe the pastor should lead the people of God to seek the Lord seriously. 1 Peter 4:7 says, “The end of all things is near; therefore, be alert and sober-minded for prayer.” As we look at the world around us, I believe we must resolve to take our spiritual lives and prayer seriously.

A Clear Challenge

For the past few years, we have begun each year at Cross Church with 21 consecutive days of focused prayer. We ask everyone in our congregation to participate, and even fast if they are called and able. We ask everyone to pray for their own spiritual life and development, our church, and our nation. We lead this from the pulpit, our staff champions it, and our people engage.

This year, we are asking our people to focus on four specific things which involve them personally and also the church as a whole:

  • Their greatest personal burden (in one sentence)
  • Someone who does not know Jesus Christ personally
  • Elimination of church indebtedness by the end of 2020
  • Anything else on their heart about their life and future

It’s remarkable as we all go on this journey individually and as a church, praying specifically for our own spiritual lives for 21 days in a row, God takes us to a new level as individuals and as a church.

An Attainable Goal

Making this a win for everyone helps people engage. Think about it this way: What could God do with your life if you focused on your spiritual life for 21 days in a row? What could God do with your church if your regular attenders pray specifically for your church for 21 days in a row? What could God do with our nation if we pray specifically along with thousands of other believers at other churches who are also praying? Everyone can pray. Everyone can participate.

We have also challenged our people to take their commitment to the next level by fasting from something during this time. It could be television, social media, one meal a day, or something else God has brought to their attention. The point is to use the time gained to seek the Lord.

Our ultimate challenge is this: Find the level you believe God has called you to, and go on this journey with us. Everyone can find some level of commitment. This is not about legalism, but about focusing on our spiritual lives individually and together. Our goal is for everyone to spend these 21 days taking their spiritual lives seriously enough to go on a new journey with God.

Beyond 21 Days

Beyond the 21 days of focused prayer, we are encouraging our people to read the Bible with us over the coming year. For simplicity, we are providing a reading plan so everyone can read together. Ultimately, the goal is to encourage your people to read the Word of God on a daily basis, even if they choose a different plan. The important thing is to encourage them from the pulpit, and even read the same plan so you can discuss where you are and what the Lord is saying through these passages.

Walk in Expectation

Many times, we do not walk in expectation. Journeys of faith require that we walk in expectation for what the Lord wants to do with our lives.

I can assure you, I am expecting great things in my own life, the lives of the people at Cross Church, and our church as a whole. I am looking forward to seeing the Lord do some powerful things in our midst. If we expect the Lord to do great things, then we will see the Lord do great things.

Pastors, live your life, operate your ministry, and lead your church to expect great things when we seek the Lord.

Finally

After reading this, if you feel God calling you to engage your church in any or all of these ideas, we have put together all the resources we use, along with the editable files, so you can take this and make it your own. You can find these resources here.

Commit to leading your church to a new level in a strong way in 2019.

Now is the Time to Pray,

Ronnie W. Floyd