Remember, dear believer, if your pastor is a “gift” to your congregation (Ephesians 4:11), how you treat him says a lot about your relationship to the Giver. – A. Baker
Tag Archives: Ministry
Never forget that the arguments, the hurt feelings, the illnesses, the stresses, and the pains that hit seemingly out of the blue are not coincidence when tomorrow is Sunday. – A. Baker
How to Help
I have created a PayPal “Donate Now” button specifically for this transition time in our life.
If you would like to donate in any amount, please take advantage of the “Donate Now” button in the column to your right.
Now, if you cannot give financially, I understand. Your prayers would be greatly appreciated, also.
But if you can’t give money, empty boxes wouldn’t hurt!
God bless you all, and thanks for your support.
Dear Fellow Preachers,
I know this might not open many doors for me, but now’s the time – it’s actually past time – for some honest-to-goodness, strong-as-steel, George S. Patton and John Wayne-like BACKBONE!
Stand in the gap! Don’t be a politically motivated, crowd-pleasing, purse string-fearing wimp and PREACH THE WORD!
Gentlemen, more than ever what we need now are some Elijahs, some John the Baptists, another John Knox or two, and even some old-school Billy Grahams. We need more men of God who know the difference between the Word of God and a motivational speech! We need men who aren’t afraid to point a finger at sin and call it what it is.
Don’t try to be popular. Don’t try to be “cool” and “hip” with the younger generations. Quit fighting over the styles of worship if your congregation doesn’t even know HOW to worship! Forget trying to become more “seeker-friendly,” and just SEEK THE LOST! The world is going to Hell and we are greasing the skids.
Be real. Be humble. Be yourself. Love your enemies. But for the love of God, pastors and preachers, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). In other words… take off the liberal mom jeans and put on some prophet-worthy overalls and get to work!
You’ve got the pulpit, so use it! PREACH!
One thing about not regularly pastoring a congregation is that I get a chance to visit other churches. Last night I got to visit New Salem Baptist Church and fill in for the regular pastor, Alan Rogers.
If you’ve never done it before, filling in for another pastor can be rather fun. In other words, it’s always refreshing to preach from someone else’s pulpit when there’s no risk of you being fired. HA!
So, just in case I have many more opportunities to cover for other pastors while on vacation or at a conference, or whatever, here are some sermon ideas I’m considering. Just let me know when you want me to come preach one….(cue the maniacal BWWAAAHAHAHA!)
- “Put On that New Robe: Why Congregations Should Buy Their Pastor a New Suit“
- “Beautiful Are the Feet that Carry the Gospel: Keeping Your Pastor’s Feet Healthy and Happy In New Shoes“
- “Smite a Scorner: Ways to Deal with Gossiping In the Congregation“
- “The Hem of His Garment: Why Jesus Is Concerned With How We Dress“
- “The Holy Spirit: What Scares Baptist More than a Clinton“
- “Deacons: Who, What, When, Where, and How to Deal With Them“
- “The Pastor’s Family: Living In a Glass House with Those Who’d Love to Throw a Rock Back“
Below is a picture of me preaching at New Salem Baptist in Soddy-Daisy, TN. They had a big screen behind me, but it was not put to use when I was talking. Therefore, I did a little editing. What do you think?
Would you like to know why I HATE the devil? If so, that’ll be my next post.
“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.”
“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” – Luke 18:11, 13
The Perfect Candidate
Imagine that instead of the temple, a Pharisee and a publican walked into a pastoral search committee meeting. They walk in, introduce themselves, and compare resumes.
Which one do you think would be offered the position? I believe it would be the one who meets the average preconception of what every Christian fit for service should be. I believe the Pharisee, the one with the perfect resume and appearance, would be the first considered.
But God doesn’t use perfect people; He uses REAL people. Unfortunately, there are many men and women in the church who feel inferior and useless because of their sinful and broken pasts. They are the people who sit on the pews, week after week, doing all they can to be faithful in life, but are forbidden to hold positions in the church. They are much like the Publican, men and women who know they have failed in the past, but want to be forgiven and start new.
Genesis of Dysfunction
A while back I read through the book of Genesis in a couple of sittings. Reading a book of the Bible that way, especially in a different translation, can help you see the story from a new perspective. This time I was just astounded at how messed up these people really were! There was so much “stuff” going on that if it were today, it would make an episode of Jerry Springer look tame!
Consider, if nothing else, the sad story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel. This was a seriously messed up family with real marital problems. At one point, Leah and Rachel get into a jealous argument over a son’s mandrakes. Just imagine you were a marriage counselor and listened in to the following story…
Reuben went out during the wheat harvest and found some mandrakes in the field. When he brought them to his mother, Leah, Rachel asked, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” But Leah replied to her, “Isn’t it enough that you have taken my husband? Now you also want my son’s mandrakes?“
“Well,” Rachel said, “you can sleep with him tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.” When Jacob came in from the field that evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come with me, for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So Jacob slept with her that night. – Geneses 30:14:16 HCSB
Check this out…
- Twice Abraham told other people that his wife, Sarah, was his sister so that he would not be harmed.
- Joseph’s brothers hated him and sold him to traveling salesmen.
- Jacob and Esau were seriously at odds.
- Leah, poor thing, kept trying to have children so that her husband, Jacob would love her.
And there’s more!
- Jacob’s father-in-law, Laban, got him drunk on his wedding night and gave him the wrong wife – on purpose.
- The son’s of Jacob (founders of ten of the tribes of Israel) lied to a bunch of men about making a covenant, then proceeded to slaughter all of them after they had convinced them to be circumcised.
It just goes on and on. Messed up, I am telling you! MESSED UP!
God told Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” How is this even possible?
If God can use Abraham and his family – with all their problems – to bless the nations, then He can use ANYBODY!
Most of the time I can enter the title of a post before I begin to write it. In this case I don’t know what to call it. All I know to to do is start writing and let things fall into place.
That’s sort of where I am in life, right now; I don’t know where I am going, but I had to get going to find out.
By the time you read this post, someone in my former congregation will have read aloud my formal resignation as Pastor of Riverside Baptist Church – at least I hope they read it…all of it. It took me a couple of hours to craft it, all 1,026 words worth, and some of the words were painful to write. However, it had to be done.
In my resignation letter I focused on two main themes. First, it was important to note that the Church, including the local body of believers I pastored, did not belong to any of us; it belongs to Jesus Christ. Secondly, I stressed the importance of effective leadership: both the need to have it, and the willingness to accept it.
If either one is dysfunctional with either party (the pastor or the congregation), tension will grow…even worse, the power of the Holy Spirit will fade.
Therefore, based on several reasons, I had to accept the fact that my leadership was no longer effective, thereby necessitating a change, however painful and scary it may be. Unfortunately, it feels like a divorce (even though I’ve never experienced one). Maybe I could say it feels like a death, but that’s not really true – I have experience that kind of loss many times.
What it does feel like, however, is a missed opportunity…an “Oh, well” moment. I guess that’s why it’s called a “resignation.”
More to Do
Nevertheless, I will share with you the closing words of my resignation letter, for they express something that is more important than anything else – God is still sovereign! He’s got this! None of this caught Him by surprise, for He already has been working to make things new.
If you will remember, the Mission Statement of Riverside is as follows:
“Reach the Lost, Rescue the Perishing, and Restore the Wounded for the Glory of God.”
Continue to reach the lost… We will. Endeavor to rescue the perishing… We will. And especially today, seek to restore the wounded, heal divisions, and move forward with grace and forgiveness… We will.
Pray for Us
Please, please, pray for my family and me as we seek to follow God to the next field of service, wherever that may be. Please pray for my former flock that they will find a more suitable shepherd and follow his leading.
Also, please pray that I will be able to put in to practice the lessons I have learned over the last eight years, thereby being able to replace the “missed opportunity” feeling with assurance that all things work together for good, to them that love God and are called according to His purpose.
After all, there are still plenty of lost, perishing, and wounded out there.
Now I know how to title this post 🙂