Archive for the 'Pastors' Category
As the pastor goes, so goes the church. As the church goes, so goes America. With all I am, I believe this. Pastors and churches are very important to the future of America. In light of this, please consider these three things:
1. Pastors and churches, we need you to lead the way!
Whether it is taking the gospel to your community, leading a prayer observance for the National Day of Prayer, or seeing your community prosper, lead the way! Your community, your state, and our nation will never surpass the health, conviction, and leadership of the pastors and churches in America.
2. Ministries and denominations, invest in pastors and churches!
This past week, Jeana and I had the incredible privilege to lead and invest in pastors and wives of some of the largest churches in America. They are incredible people and they desire to grow, to be challenged, and to be all God wants them to be in life and ministry. They also want to make a difference in America and across the world.
Ministries and denominations, I am convinced that your long-term value will be determined by how effectively you invest in pastors and churches. If our pastors are not healthy, our churches will not be healthy. Ministries and denominations have the incredible challenge and overwhelming privilege to invest in pastors and churches. There is nothing like it. Do it!
3. Churches, pray for pastors. Pastors, pray for churches. Pastors and churches, pray for America.
Every church in America needs to pray for their pastor. Recently, I was in the First Baptist Church of Dallas, speaking to the Pastor’s Prayer Partners. Three hundred men pray for their pastor, Robert Jeffress, regularly. In this banquet setting, their spouses joined them. What a massive group of laypeople praying for their pastor!
Pastor, pray for your church. If you will pray for your church, you will not get so discouraged that you will want to quit or become negative about the church you are called to serve. Praying for your church will change them, but more importantly, it will change you.
Pastors and churches, pray for America. This is the right thing to do. This Sunday, find a moment in worship to call upon your entire church to pray for America. With all that is going on in our nation, we need to pray. Pray for America! If you do not know how to pray for America, take the time to listen to and watch the 2018 National Prayer for America.
Unquestionably, pastors and churches are important to the future of America!
Now is the Time to Lead and to Pray for America,
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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.