Look to Jesus the Chief Shepherd

It has been somewhat of a whirlwind since our arriving to our new home on Sept. 13. God has called us to Bellingham, Washington to lead his church, Rome Community Bible Church.

This is our second week being here and we are enjoying the Washington rain! I wanted to take a moment and reflect on the points from 1 Peter 5:1-5 that I shared from the first message as it pertains to my position as an under shepherd and a biblical expectation of that role. 

1) The elder’s task is to shepherd the flock (vs 2).
This means pointing you, the congregation, in the direction as you go through the daily difficulties of life, feeding you God’s word, caring for you and your spiritual condition, and protecting you from the predators of the world and even within the church.

Feeding the flock is the importance of teaching the whole counsel of the Word of God. This is presenting it wholly and as holly!

Caring is not just making visits, phone calls, or having gospel conversations. It is having the burden of the congregations spiritual well being on my mind.

Protecting is from presenting God’s Word as truth and directing the congregation to be on guard. This also means spotting the wolves in sheep’s clothing to protect the flock.


2) The elder’s motivation (verses 2-3).
It is one which is motivated by looking to Jesus, the chief shepherd. It is not under compulsion or obligation but out of love for Jesus and others. It is not for shameful gain but eagerly knowing that there are the riches found in Jesus alone. Not domineering and abusing power but looking at the example of Jesus who leads willingly and humbly. 

This is the proper motivation which is Jesus, the true reward. His riches are vast, his love is great, and he is worth it.

3) The elder’s reward (verses 4-5)
The true reward is Jesus! The crown of unfading glory is being in the presence of the Lord knowing that the things of this world pass away but what matters is looking to Jesus who is the founder and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2). I desire to look to Jesus who is the Chief Shepherd of RCBC and that is my prayer for you too! He loves this church more than you are I could ever. 

Lead With…

Photo by Tom Grimbert on Unsplash

A pastor is a leader. A pastor is a shepherd who is called to lead a group of people in growth with the Lord. He is to equip them for good works, and to live out the Gospel in their communities.

There are many great resources regarding Christian leadership. Pastor Craig Groeschel has a wonderful podcast on it. The President of Gateway Seminary, Jeff Iorg also has books and a podcast on leadership. Both I highly recommend. I do by no means have all the answers but wanted to share a new blog series called “Lead With.” I will describe important leadership convictions that I have learned through the years of pastoral ministry.

1)    Teach change to make change

I am convinced that the Biblical model of church which is shared in Acts 2 reflects this. The early church was faced with some insurmountable odds. The culture was against them, the Jewish religious leaders were against them. Despite the resistance, what mattered was the Word of God being taught.

When we worship the Lord through the corporate reading and teaching of God’s word something happens; there is unity of hearts and minds. We stir one another up for good works as we meet on the Lord’s Day (Hebrews 10:25). Teaching change leads to change. True and lasting change takes time. The Lord does a change in the heart when the “why” is biblically taught.

2)    The Gospel is attractive enough

We do not need to add more to this great truth! There is enough competing to get their attention of the people in your church. Pastor Dustin Benge tweeted recently, “Your people have been entertained to death this week. 27 hours of television, 24 hours of computer, 15 hours of cell phone, and 12 hours of radio.” The church has Jesus, the risen Savior who loves the church, died for the church, is for the church. We have that message to share with the community that Christ came to save sinners. This news out weighs, is greater than, and better than anything they will eve here. Jesus is enough!

Remember, what you win them with you win them to. This means you may get a crowd but you will constantly live in this cycle of having to outdo yourself each time to keep them. Yes, you may get people at the church but most events do not keep people at the church. What keeps them is the life-giving message of the Gospel taught and then shared through relationship. This fuels the flames of evangelism.

Jesus is and the one who builds His church (Matthew 16:13—26). Seek this great truth as you love one another and those in the community. As you live out the Gospel and are changed by the Gospel that is attractive to others (and can be offensive to some, Matthew 13:57).

4)    Trust takes time to build, can easily be lost, and shouldn’t be taken for granted

I have been placed in new situations with new people before and I know trust is not always given quickly. It must be earned and proven. Trust develops through relationships of honesty and transparency. The serious role of a pastor comes with great responsibilities that should not be taken lightly. The pastor is the under-shepherd to the Chief Shepherd, Jesus. The pastor is to steward of the flock that God has given him. I am reminded that I am held accountable to God for not only handling the word of God but with how I shepherd the flock God has given me. 

Trust is built and takes time; it can quickly be lost. Surround yourself with those who hold you accountable and encourage you to go forward. The message of the Gospel does not need to be given a black eye. The world is watching and we strive together for God’s glory through the relationship that the church has with one another. The bride of Christ is the church (Ephesians 5:32).  

Dear Pastors

A Letter to Pastors
Photo by Da Kraplak on Unsplash

 
Brothers, co-laborers in the Lord. News just hit that a fellow pastor who was somewhat local to us took his own life. My heart grieves for his family, the church, and how the world takes this information. I will be praying for them for God’s great comfort to come upon them (2 Corinthians 1:3). Earlier this year The Christian Post had an article about the isolation of pastors and how depression hits hard for them. They gave staggering statistics on how depression and other areas of mental health effects those in pastoral positions. It is a hard position.
The Christian life is called a race (Hebrews 12). This race is not a sprint but a marathon. The marathon is more just a long distance run, it is like combing that with a spartan race. The Christian life is also called a battle (Ephesians 6). We are told these things not to have us grow weary but to finish strong to endure! Continue reading “Dear Pastors”

Pursuing Ordinary? Three lessons the Lord is Teaching Me.

Pursuing ordinary?-2
What are you pursuing? Today, it seems easier more than ever for ordinary people to become famous because of technology. The ability to communicate with the masses is right at our fingertips. Even as I write this blog, it is public for the world to see (not that they will). Just like anything we do, more than ever, we must ask ourselves what is the motive behind what we do. There are tips and tricks on how to grow a following. There are the do’s and don’ts on how to gain momentum. Personally, I struggle with this. I stagger back and forth to pursue being known and reminding myself what Scripture says.
There is an issue that seems to rear its ugly head in the American Evangelical world, and that is the rise of the celebrity pastor. This post is not to point out those who may fit that definition, but I pose a question. What does the Bible say about this? We are at a crossroads with technology by being  able to use it in a positive way or dangerously with the promotion of self. This is nothing new to life, it is just clothed differently in a different decade with a different tool.
Continue reading “Pursuing Ordinary? Three lessons the Lord is Teaching Me.”