Archive for October, 2010
Recently our young church marked her one year anniversary. We magnify God for His mercy and grace in using us, mere clay pots, in His amazing gospel-work. I recently told our people, “I can honestly say that being allowed of God to shepherd Lakewood is one of the deepest facets of God’s goodness to me, planned before the foundation of the world to resound to His glory and praise!”
Here’s some lessons learned and reaffirmed after year one:
- My primary responsibilities to my people are to further cultivate my relationship with God as well as my relationship with my wife.
- The Gospel gives hope to every human sin problem.
- Jesus is the builder of the Church; Jesus is the builder of local churches (Matt. 16:18).
- Pride is the root problem in my self-sufficiency as well as the root problem in my feelings of insufficiency. As the great builder of the Church, Jesus is able! While I am certainly not able in my own strength, He has made me an able minister of the New Covenant! A perpetual Christ-focusedness prevents both problems (2 Cor. 3).
- God wants me to work hard, but He does not need my schemes.
- God will work powerfully through His Word! It is a hammer that breaks things, a fire that consumes things, and a sword that cuts things. Like our innards (Jer. 23 & Heb. 4).
- God did not intend for churches operate like big-business-corporations and pastors like executives of said corporations. Whatever the NT means by “overseer,” it certainly does not mean that we pastors ever are to stop being pastors, i.e. shepherds. In my grad school years, I read a book that taught us to try to become “ranchers,” not “shepherds.” Hogwash.
- Waiting to confront problems in the church almost always makes things worse.
- The ones overly eager to publicly teach or preach are probably not the ones that should be doing either.
- It’s hard to stop providing pre-service doughnuts for the entire church after doing so for 6 months.
- There are people who think dance choreography is a ministry for the local church. And other strange people too. These sort of people will call you on the telephone. They are sort of like leeches, only they suck time instead of blood. But in church-planting, the two are almost equal. Hindsight is 20/20, but it probably would have taken less of my time to simply let them coach/choreograph my walking up and down from the pulpit.
Over the last past two years, I’ve read three books on the third parable in Luke 15, often called the “Prodigal Son.” While the works I list below have been helpful to my understanding, my interest in this parable was actually awakened my sophomore year in college as Dr. Preston Mayes was teaching through the Luke’s Gospel. While I am sure that I heard it preached this way before, for the first time in my life it came through my thick skull that the parable is more directed toward the older brother and people like him than it was toward with the younger brother at all (see Luke 15:1-3; 25-31, noting the abrupt and seemingly unresolved conclusion).
Sunday, I paused our church’s paragraph by paragraph journey through John’s Gospel in order to look at The Lost Sons from Luke 15. If you are interested, you can listen or download here.
I’d recommend reading these three books* with discernment; they each present some very helpful content.
- The Tale of Two Sons, by John MacArthur
- The Poet and Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes by Kenneth Bailey
- Prodigal God by Tim Keller
*Please understand that in pointing the reader to these resources, I am simply pointing out that there is valuable information to be gleaned. This is obviously not an endorsement of the entire corpus or theology of these men.