Happy Church Leaders

It is important that church leaders be happy in their work, that we “serve the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100:2). A church experiences love through the happiness of its leaders. Hebrews 13:17, “[Your Leaders] are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

Indeed, it is a joy to serve First Christian Church  and serve our community alongside the FCC family.

Thought on Ministry and Equipping

Think about Jesus…did he do all the ministry? At first, but he was doing the equipping.  Then he sent the disciples out in two’s. Ultimately, Jesus’ ministry was equipping the disciples and directly serving those outside of the disciples. How many miracles did he do on behalf of or directly for the disciples? No healings…except for Peter’s mom. He did calm the sea for them too. So he did care for them “pastorally.” So his ministry wasn’t to them but for them.

The Church is the Body of Christ. Therefore the Church doesn’t exist to serve the Christian but for the Christian to serve. The Church exists to serve the Christian in their service!

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!)

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.

Being a Christian Isn’t About Being Good, but Doing Good

Let me be clear: God saves us by GRACE through FAITH.

But faith is not faith until it is acted upon.

We falsely view righteousness or being a “goody-goody” as “doing no wrong.”  So we practice “being good.”  It’s “Don’t do this.  Don’t do that.  And you’re Okay.”  But the problem with that approach is this: you can do nothing wrong and still do nothing RIGHT.  Goodness is not the absence of badness.  It means doing something right.

Do you really think God’s ultimate dream for us is doing nothing wrong?  Is God’s ultimate plan a weekly pilgrimage to the pew?  Is God’s highest aim the absence of sin?

3 Marks of Real Christian Unity

1. Accepting everyone who is “in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 2:4). This includes people from different Christian traditions and cultural/ethnic backgrounds. I have felt more in common with my Christian brothers/sisters in Haiti despite our language/cultural differences than with Americans who aren’t and don’t live as Christians ought.

2. Recognizing that we have different callings (Galatians 2:7). Though Peter and Paul preached the same gospel they recognized there are different ways to go about it. This means we can adapt the gospel to different people while preserving the essence. At the same time we have to be careful not to go as far as losing the gospel for adaptation purposes. That leads to legalism or liberalism that corrupts the gospel.

3. Continuing to remember the poor (Galatians 2:10). Though Peter and Paul went to different mission fields they both felt called to look after the poor. This is a practical way of unifying churches at the local level with shared mission. It’s also a constant in the Bible!

Five Attitudes of a Servant

  1. Servants think more about others than about themselves.  Philippians 2
  2. Servants think like stewards, not owners.  Check out the parable of talents; 1 Corinthians4:1; Luke 16:11.
  3. Servants think about their work, not what others are doing. Galatians 5:26; Romans 14:4
  4. Servants base their identity in Christ.  Only secure people can serve selflessly without worrying about how they appear to others. 2 Corinthians 10:18
  5. Servants think of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation. Psalm 100:2

How do you Measure Spiritual Maturity?

How do you measure spiritual maturity? By the number of verses memorized? By how much you give monetarily? No. Your spiritual maturity is revealed by your willingness to serve. And not just the “ministry” you have from how God shaped you but the spontaneous service you do for others.

This means that you aren’t too busy with life so that your service would be too limited.  You have to be ready at the drop of a hat.

This means that you are paying attention to needs around you.

This means that you do your best with what you have.

This means that you do every task with equal dedication. Whatever you do, you do it with all your heart. Nothing is too menial.

This means that you faithful to your ministry. You finish what you started.

This means that you keep a low profile. Don’t promote or call attention to yourselves.

What’s the Best and Worst Thing About Being a Pastor?

One of the most common questions I get from new friends and acquaintances is this: What’s the best/worst thing about being a pastor?  There are plenty of blessings and there are plenty of things that make it difficult.  My favorite thing about being a pastor is seeing lives change.  Baptisms, weddings, mission trips, counseling, small groups, and Sunday morning worship are all places that I regularly witness life change.  When I get to baptize someone I am given a spiritual high that lasts quite awhile.  Or when I step back and see someone begin to use their gifts in ministry and they see how effective they are.  Man, that’s what it’s all about.  That’s what keeps me going and going.

The hardest part about being a pastor?  Watching people self-destruct.  It doesn’t happen all the time but my ministry involves investing my life into other people.  Sometimes I invest a lot of time with a person or family and see so many positive things happening and then all of a sudden: infidelity, unhappiness with the church, sin, addiction, suicide.  That’s the hardest thing.  It hurts to see people I love fall into something they know better about.  Sometimes it makes me a little gun shy to invest in new people.  I don’t like those hurt feelings.  But then I remember that if I don’t invest, I’ll never get to see the positive life change.

Sometimes I will go for some time without seeing much change in lives around me including my own.  It’s a “winter season of the soul” for me.  But I push through it remembering that I didn’t go into ministry because of the perks, but because God called me to.