4 Qualities of Effective Pastors

C.H. Spurgeon said, “Let each man find out what God wants him to do, and then let him do it, or die in the attempt.”

4 Qualities of effective pastors:

  1. CALLING (Gotta Know It!)
  2. PASSION (Gotta Want It!)- You’ve got to love what you’re doing.
  3. DISCIPLINE (Gotta Work On It!)- “Before we can conquer the world we must conquer ourselves.”  Oswald Chambers
  4. INTEGRITY (Gotta Earn It!)

Who’s Going to Come Up the Mountain?

Mark 3:13-15.  Please read it.

Jesus had already done miracles and taught. He had already called Matthew and collected disciples or followers. But now He’s ready to give authority. Symbolizing that journey of responsibility and accountability Jesus goes up a hill or mountain. There will always be a lot of people willing to follow Jesus in the easy areas of life but who’s going up the mountain?

People are at different levels of their journey or discipleship with Christ. Some being ministered to…and then others who share in the ministry, who have real authority, who are using their gifts and potential that God gave and recognizes in them.

Did you know that basically an “apostle” was someone with the “power of attorney” for the person who designated them? Jesus called disciples and at his departure designated them apostles. Are you a disciple or an apostle? An apostle is just someone who is a disciple and now recognizes the call of God on their life to live it “as Christ’s representative” on this earth.

There will always be people willing to listen and who need the healing Word of God…but they may never “do” anything. They may never go up the mountain or reach their potential or become apostles. But then there will be others who we will have to help them understand that they have been “called out.” We must train them, spend most of our time with them in order to give them real ministry and authority.

My Way or God’s Way

In Exodus 17, Moses was commanded to strike a rock at Horeb to provide water for God’s thirsty people. Because the mountains of the Sinai Peninsula are made of non-porous granite, Moses could only trust God for a miracle. When water gushed from the rock everyone knew it was a divine wonder. Including Moses.

Similarly this happened in Numbers 20 but this time God told Moses to speak to the rock.  Moses, however, strikes it…incurring God’s judgment on himself.  e would never be allowed in the Promised Land as a result.

Why? This time they were in the wilderness of Zin, where the rock is a porous type of limestone. As a shepherd, Moses would know water could be in these rocks. By striking it he is using his knowledge and not God’s supernatural power. Moses used an old shepherd’s trick, and God was not honored as the source of water.

Like rain, every life-sustaining necessity ultimately falls from heaven. The question left for us is, “Do we direct attention of those we serve to the source or do we sometimes use the ‘tricks’ of skills and strategies to accomplish heaven’s work?”

Taken For Granted

We take clean and abundant water for granted.  I’ve never had to boil or chlorinate water for drinking at my home.  I take showers daily.  What about you?

That’s why these words of Jesus lose their power in our minds:

If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.

When you have all the water you need, whenever you want, those words lack power.

But after going to Haiti I saw what the lack of clean, abundant water does.  People get sick.  People get dirty.  Water is so essential that people will drink it even if it’s polluted.

To a Haitian, this verse has a promise of great blessing.  Meanwhile, we take the Source of water and water itself for granted.

You Are Not An Accident

Albert Einstein said,

God doesn’t play dice.

Long before you were conceived by your parents you were conceived in the mind of God.

You are not an accident.

Isaiah 44:2,

I am your Creator.  You were in my care even before you were born.

Knowing that God uniquely created me (you), what areas of my (your) personality, background and physical appearance am I struggling to accept?

8 Ways to Pray for Missionaries

I don’t know if you pray regularly for missionaries or if you know any.  If you don’t, join me in praying for my friends of Northwest Haiti Christian Mission.

1. Acceptance by co-workers–other believers (Romans 15:31a).

2. Boldness in witnessing (Ephesians 6:19-20).

3. Clarity in communicating.

4. Deliverance from evil.

5. Extension of their ministry.  The first thing a missionary needs are open doors.

6. Fruitfulness in spiritual endeavors.

7. Physical health.  So many of my missionary friends have had to come out of the “field” temporarily for health reasons.  It’s out of their control.  So pray that God preserves their health so they can remain in their ministries.

8. Funding. Missionaries should be focused on mission, not fund-raising. Pray that their needs will be met to the extent that their dependence on God never wavers.

Brenda

Yesterday would have been my sister Brenda’s 52nd birthday.  But she died at the age of 20, when I was 13 going on 14.  Not the best of times for me.  But I found a way to get lost in baseball that season.  That was the year of the ’84 Tigers.  They started the season 35-5 and cruised to an easy World Series championship.  And I was there to see it all.  Baseball, that summer, became my escape from reality.  I eventually dealt with the issues that surrounded losing a sister, but when you’re 13 going on 14, sometimes it’s best just to escape into something that isn’t harmful.

Not sure why I’m writing all that but just to say that I still miss her even though it’s been 32 years since she died (late May, 1984).  The scary thing is that as the years go by I have more trouble remembering specifics about her.  I remember what’s important.

Her smile. Her hair.

The way she was.

I guess I do remember her.  If only it was clearer.  She became a Christian the year before she died.  I’m looking forward to getting reacquainted with her one day.  Love you sis!

7 Steps to Sharing Your Faith Without Embarrassment or Coercion

What are the criteria in deciding who to share your faith with and when to share it?  How do we go about it?

We are always witnessing, whether we know it or not.  People are watching us, and our actions communicate something, for good or bad.

  1. Pray: Pray for specific people who you think may not have a relationship with God or church home.  If you don’t know anyone like that, then pray for God to send someone.  But most likely there is a family member, co-worker, or friend who fits the bill.
  2. Watch: Ask God regularly, “Help me see who you are bringing me.  Give me eyes of compassion.  Let me know when I can take the next step.”
  3. Reach out: Find ways to reach out to that person in non-threatening ways.  It could be coffee or lunch or just a chat with you neighbor by the fence line.  Keep the conversation to a basic level if you don’t know each other well.  Keep listening for clues to their heart.  Eventually you should be able to ask life questions like, “How are you feeling about life right now?”
  4. Listen: Listen well.  Simply by listening you are demonstrating love.  What is he or she longing for? Struggling with?  Whatever it is, try to discover what the person cares about.
  5. Connect: If you have discerned what is pressing on the person’s heart, try to connect his or her situation with the message of the gospel or how God has helped you in a similar situation in your life.  Try to do this without preaching.  It should be a dialogue, not a sermon.
  6. Share: Eventually you want to be able to effortlessly and appropriately share your faith story, how you came to know God, how God has been at work in your life.  Be honest with your imperfections and struggles.  Share how they can become a Christ follower too if they want to know.
  7. Invite: At some point, invite the person to join you at church.  If that’s too threatening to them, or you think it will be, then invite them to a fellowship function, concert, small group meeting, or even just to your house for dinner with another Christian couple or person.  If you sense they have a heart for other people, then invite them on a service project or mission trip!

Keep praying throughout the process.  Be prepared for it take time (and some of your time).  Research has shown that it takes on average 28 months to make a faith commitment from when they first begin seeking.