Life Is Never Boring

Back yard

A peek into my Thursday:

Up at 5:30.

Dunkin Donuts coffee, time in the Word and prayer on my back porch while watching the fog roll in. . . and then out.

Write in my journal.

Send out a few texts to encourage others.

See pictures of a new grandbaby of one of our church family.

Take coffee to my wife.

Read the newspaper, my wife and daughter’s blog, and a few tweets.

Add a few pictures to our church Facebook page.

See what’s been happening in the world via World Magazine site.

Receive an encouraging word from an “everydayer” texter.

Communicate with a missionary concerning an upcoming visit in September.

Talk to a guest speaker who is coming this Sunday night to preach.

Send anniversary greetings to one of my dear friends.

Help my wife a bit in the kitchen as she prepares food to minister to a burdened soul.

Rejoice over answered prayer!!!  Watch God at work!!

Put some of the final touches on Sunday AM’s message.

Leave a “Love is . . . ” cartoon for my wife on the towel covering the freshly baked bread.

Receive a phone call that brings tears of joy!!

Lunch on the back porch.

Begin working on Ephesians study.

Hurt for the tragedy in Barcelona, Spain.

Get rid of a stack of stuff that is not necessary.

Answer emails.

See some church family in the parking lot of a local store.  The smiles on their boys’ faces was priceless.

Listen to, counsel and pray with two lives that are bent and broken under the load of sin.  Grateful for the healing balm of God’s Word.

Watch others minister to the hurting.

Disciple a new believer.

Listen to a song that causes my heart to rejoice because the song repeats the phrase, “In the middle of it all, there is Jesus.”

Share a few thoughts for Sunday’s bulletin.

Enjoy an Ale-8.

Count blessings.

Reflect on some of my reading from this morning in 2 Kings 3 where Elisha tells King Jehoshaphat, For thus says the LORD, . . . This is a light thing in the sight of the LORD (3:17-18).

Have watched God at work all day through the mundane and the important.  Nothing is too hard for our God. It is always a light thing for Him because “in the middle of it all, there is Jesus.”

Clippin’ Grace Coupons in Ministry

Every week ministry is filled and enriched by God’s grace.  No matter what kind of week it has been, grace has been sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9) and overflowing (2 Corinthians 9:8).  Here’s another peek into some of the grace coupons I clipped in recent days.

COUPON #1:  COUPLES’ ADVANCE

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Several years ago, I attended my first Men’s Prayer Advance, and I have never been the same since.  The MPA is the highlight conference for me each year.  Last week, my wife and I attended our first Couples Advance.  The fact that is was held in Pigeon Forge, TN, made the event that much sweeter!  How we love East Tennessee and the Smokies!  More importantly, how wonderful to come apart for three days and intentionally work on our marriage by the grace of God.  This past June we celebrated our 35th Anniversary, and we both love the gift of marriage and love being married!  Seriously, sometimes I feel like we are still on our honeymoon.  But, because we are two sinners saved by grace (Ephesians 2:1-9) and accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6), we need the searchlight of God’s Word to show where we must grow and change to be more like Christ (Ephesians 5:18-33). Of course, the Word works (Hebrews 4:12)!  What a blessing to get honest with God and each other.  The marriage triangle says it all:

marriage-triangle

COUPON #2:  PREACHING THROUGH REVELATION


He that can toy with his ministry and count it to be like a trade, or like any other profession, was never called of God. But he that has a charge pressing on his heart, and a woe ringing in his ear, and preaches as though he heard the cried of hell behind him, and saw his God looking down on him–oh, how that man entreats the Lord that his hearers may not hear in vain! – Charles Spurgeon

Preparing to preach from this awesome book every Sunday takes considerable time, prayer, and digging.  To mine out the truths and deliver them without a sensational spin as well as be true to the text is a chore but a delightful one. I often think of a line from the movie, Sheffey, when he preaches his first sermon and runs out of the church in fear.  Shed McCombs, in the face of Sheffey’s protests and not willing to let him quit, declares, “Tis a fearful thing to preach the Word of God!”  Indeed it is, but I must say, how grateful to be grace-enabled to preach Revelation in these last days!

Presidential Candidates & Church Ministry

69 and 70.  That’s the ages of our current United States of America presidential candidates.  That’s retirement territory.  That’s well within the AARP range.  I have to step back in a bit of amazement that one of these two older people will hold the highest office in the land with ALL of its responsibilities and expectations.

That brings me to an interesting set of comparisons between a man chosen for the presidency of America and a man chosen for the pastorate of a local church.  It all begins with this thought—

  • For a man to be president, he must have years of experience; but for a church seeking a new pastor, they usually want a man who is young, energetic, educated, and full of new ideas. By the time a pastor reaches his middle fifties, most churches seeking a pastor are not interested because he is too old, and the pastor is not interested because he is too tired.
  • For a presidential candidate, he is not even thinking of retirement. He is, in his sixties and seventies, crisscrossing the United States with “guns blazing” ready to win the election.  An older pastor is slowing down with an eye on retirement.
  • For the presidential candidate, he has fresh ideas of how to “make America great again.” For the older pastor, he tends to just want to hold on to tradition, to what’s comfortable and just bide his time.

This also has application to the members of the local church.  I have never understood the mentality of when you reach your 60’s and start attending the Senior Saints class that it is time to stop serving and “let the younger folks do it.”  Oh, how wrong!  Look at the following passage:

But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; 3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. 6 Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. 9 Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.  (Titus 2:1-9)

I do not see anything here that even gives the impression that when a believer reaches a certain age he is entitled to come to church and just sit.  Very clearly, though, we see that the older are to teach the younger.  And that is precisely the biblical model . . . older individuals training, discipling the younger. Sure, many folks in their 60’s-90’s cannot keep the pace of a younger individual, but they have much wisdom to impart.  Therefore, invite a younger man or woman to your home to disciple and train in

  • Teaching a Sunday School class
  • Cooking and hospitality
  • Serving as a deacon
  • Ministering to children
  • Parenting
  • Wood-working or some other skill
  • Finances
  • Being a godly husband or wife

So, my encouragement is, older pastors, keep on keeping on!  Stay fresh in the Word and on your knees!  Don’t grow old and stiff and “stuff-shirted.” Find a young man and pour your life into him.  Love him and show him the blessings of ministries.  My dad always said he like to have younger people around him because they made him feel younger.

Aged believers in Christ, “be like a presidential candidate.”  Invest in the lives others rather than believing you are entitled to retirement in your “rocking pew.”

So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. (Psalm 71:18)

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. (Psalm 92:12-15)

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)

Friday’s Findings

gomer

Every Friday, I am sharing some blog posts that I have come across in the past few weeks that I trust will be beneficial to you.  As I’ve noted on my blog site, what I am doing is from my heart.  I want to help and encourage us to keep on for the Lord and to enjoy all that He has for us here while we wait for the best life to come!

Three Simple Pastoral Priorities – Excellent counsel and transparency from Cary Schmidt for pastors.

13 Ways You Waste Your Money – Tim Challies give some very practical thoughts and cautions about money.

Husbands Pray With Your Wives – Good article and so helpful.  Men, please read.  Thanks, Wendy, for your insight and help in homeschooling years ago.