Empty Pulpits and Troubled Churches. Who Shall Go, Isaiah 6:8

After talking with a dear friend about the lack of called men of God to fill the pulpits of churches I feel compelled to cover the subject. My friend serves as Director of Missions in the Baptist Convention and has a true servants heart.  

 

Will we be able to worship the way we do now in ten years? On the surface the question directs the mind to political issues concerning separation of church and state. That is not the most dangerous quandary facing believers. The problem at hand comes from within the church, not the outside. The dilemma is a lack of men surrendering to the call of God to pastoral ministry.

When we speak of the call to pastoral ministry the need to clarify what that consists of is obvious in the current state of affairs concerning the church. Preachers are easily found. Preaching is a necessity! Pastors preach, but that is not the end of the burden for a pastor. Pastors have a heart for the people they preach to. A man called by God to the pastorate will want to see the people he sounds the trumpet before being transformed by the message. He will also be around to patiently wait for the transformation to take place.

Pastors called by God are not professional preachers. That is not meant to be critical of preachers who handle the pastorate in a professional manner. Carrying out pastoral duties in a professional fashion is admirable and good for the church. The point of the statement deals with the matter of choosing the pastorate as a career. Doing this always leads to catastrophe. If a person is serving as a pastor without the call of God the people are not more than numbers to add or subtract in the ledger. If the balance sheet doesn’t match expectations the pastor becomes discouraged. Then comes the noticeable despondency. Despondency is followed by tensions that lead to harsh words and abrupt actions.

Their are clear guidelines to protect the church against dangers associated with calling a preacher who is not called by God. The answers are found in scripture. Scripture is Gods word. God tells the church exactly what to look for in a man before calling him to serve as the under shepherd of the local flock. The church and the pastor share a burden. The burden is to seek Gods direction in calling and accepting the call to the pastorate in the local church.

We will look at the scriptural guidelines for measuring a preacher later. We will also lay out the responsibilities of the pastor in another post.

For today I ask all readers to join me in praying for God to send called men to the pastorate. This will accomplish great things. Churches will see an overwhelming decline in pastor turnover. Pulpits will no longer sit vacant for long periods of time. Church members will begin to heal from the effects of the civil war that takes place in too many churches and Real Discipleship will take place in the church.

Advertisements

Evangelism

The topic Evangelism stirs great emotion in many Christians. Countless books have been written and several strategies have been formed in effort to help believers to share their faith. With this post I do not wish to discredit any books or tear at any strategy. The purpose in this post is simply to once again draw your attention to the call God has given to His Church to evangelise.

What is Evangelism? Evangelism is proclaiming the gospel. This begs the next question. What is the gospel? The gospel is the “good news”. Jesus Christ saves sinners from sin and sins consequences. He paid our debt through His death on the cross. He rose again on the third day and is now seated on the right hand of the throne of God. To put it in the most simple way I remind you the first message Jesus gave after His being Baptised; Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

The Gospel

  1. Jesus Christ = God in the flesh
  2. The Kingdom of Heaven = a separate kingdom from our current dwelling, earth.
  3. Christ is the only way for fallen sinners to access the Kingdom of Heaven

As Christians we often put together outreach events that in their context are OK. I’m afraid too many people allow the outreach to overshadow real evangelism. Real evangelism is the Gospel message preached/taught when the door has been opened through engagement be it an outreach event or simple conversation on the street.

I enjoy using outreach functions to bring people into our range. Once we get them within the sound of our voice it is of the utmost importance to share with them the message of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice on behalf of sinners to the glory of the Father. May we not forget to do first things first. Tell the world Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven. Even when it is uncomfortable.

Real Christians

Many people claim to be Christian. We know the real Jesus Christ challenges people. Real Christians accept the challenges. First the challenge to believe. Many fail in this challenge and never completely trust Christ in all matters pertaining to life and godliness. Second the challenge of continuing well. The preceding challenge will determine how we respond to the second challenge. Unless we accept the first challenge and believe by faith in Jesus Christ we will not only fail in the end we are completely incapable of continuing. How can one continue in something he/she never really began?

Continue with Christ in the Good Times! 

  • The man who asked what he must do to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven refused to accept the challenge to sell all his possessions. Do we realize where all good things come from? Do we realize who provides all good things? Only those who know the provider of all good things and maker of all good times can continue with Christ in the good times. (Luke 18:21-23)

Continue with Christ in the Bad Times!

  • Paul suffered stoning (Acts 14)
  • Daniel suffered attempted murder (Daniel)
  • Joseph suffered in various ways (Genesis = begin in chapter 37)
  • Job (Job)

How do we Handle the bad times? Do we leave our so called faith, the church and our christian friends when bad times come. That is not continuing well!

Continue with Christ in the Last Times 1Corinthians 15:20-23)

  • We will all face death.

Many give up when they face death. For those who have trusted in the real Christ  through faith hold an understanding of the promise our risen Lord gave us concerning His return for us. Those who know Christ from a fantasy understandably fear when life comes to the end. If  they had only begun with Christ they would have finished well!

Paul returned to place where he was stoned. He encouraged the disciples to continue in the faith. As Christians we must continue well in good times, bad times and even the last times.

Real Christians trusting the Real Christ living real Christian Lives!

The Real Jesus Christ

John 1:1-5 & 14

I ask you today; “Do you know Jesus Christ”? The question reads simple, but it is actually complex. The complexity comes when you consider the depth of your own answer. Many people will answer in different ways. Some say yes. Some say no. Some say yes, and continue to live toward eternal destruction. The next question I ask is all but the same. Do you know the “Real” Jesus Christ?

Jesus Christ is God! In our society it is difficult to think of ourselves as servants. If we believe in the real Jesus Christ we will be just that, servants. The current culture of our nation demands to be accepted as we are without judgement. Many of those who demand to be accepted without change are those who claim to know and love Christ on the grounds of HIs acceptance. The Simple Truth is this; these folks do not know the real Jesus Christ in any form.

The real Jesus does come to us where we are. When He finds us He changes our heart, soul, mind and everything about us. When we are born again we are new creatures. The real Jesus, though He is a perfect gentlemen, challenges all who He calls!

He Challenges What we do.

  • Jesus said if we love Him we will keep His commandments. (John 14:15)

He Challenges Why we do what we do

  • Jesus came to do the will of the Father. If we do anything for anyone other than the Father we do it for the wrong reasons.

He Challenges our Worship

  • When Jesus met with the woman at the well He challenged her to answer what she was doing with the man she lived with. He also challenged her worship. (John ch. 4)

Our worship will answer all the above. How, who and why we worship will explain our position in Christ. Do we know the real Jesus Christ or do we only have a fantasy of a Jesus who has no commands, no Deity and no authority. We must understand when we know the Real Christ we only know Him as He is presented in scripture. Not as we dream in our own human mind. If the real Jesus has introduced Himself to you and called you to salvation know this:

Many preach Jesus desires Lordship over our lives. If we Know the Real Jesus Christ He does more than desire Lordship over our lives. He assumes Lordship over us. He takes it.

If He, the Real Christ, has called you and assumed Lordship over you you can answer with a joyful yes to the question; “do you know the Real Christ”? If you have been living in a fantasy with no real transformation ask the question; “do I know the Real Jesus Christ”?