Many should not be teachers!

Teachers are everywhere, but should they be? Scripture says in James 3:1 that many should not be teachers because those who teach are held to a stricter judgment. The main reason is that it is easy to sin with our mouths and how much worse is sin in teaching wrongly?

We appreciate your listening and look forward to seeing this podcast get off the ground with great force. By the Lord’s grace, we’ll continue to provide more and more teaching on this and other pastoral subjects. 

Also, get ready to start listening to our weekly hour-long podcast “Theology Answers” that can be found over at “TheologyAnswers.com” and is a part of the Christian Podcast Community.

“There is no plan B – No backup option when it comes to faith.”

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More Money… Money Money…

Few things are more frustrating than when someone knocks on your door and wants you to donate to some cause that you’ve never heard of. The same is true with online solicitation.  I’m not talking about general “fundraising” that is public or asking people that you know, like, and who are benefiting from your ministry to help support the cost of it all. I’m talking about those who find you, befriend you, and then hit you up for money as if they’ve known you for years. Even worse is that they make you guilty of being unloving if you can’t help them.

With that being said since you came to my house… if you like what you hear, consider supporting our teaching ministry.  See below… ūüôā 

“Another day another dollar, if I get another friends request I think I’m gonna hollar.”

Consider Supporting our Ministry

We operate strictly on listener support. We also produce several other podcasts, videos for education and worldwide teaching courses published for free for the training of pastors. Your financial support is greatly appreciated.

 

 

There is a grave disconnect…

From the teaching of Scripture on how a teacher of the Word of God is supposed to act, think, speak and respond to error and what we see in today’s culture on Facebook and other social media platforms. Disrespect is never OK, it is always sinful. And I can prove contextually that God has never called anyone to the ministry of “calling out error” but rather has called SOME to the ministry of dividing rightly the truth.

1 Peter 3:13‚Äď17

[13] Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? [14] But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, [15] but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, [16] having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. [17] For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 

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“Honor your father and mother, even if they’re lost as a ball in high weeds.”

Consider Supporting our Ministry

We operate strictly on listener support. We also produce several other podcasts, videos for education and worldwide teaching courses published for free for the training of pastors. Your financial support is greatly appreciated.

 

 

Never has there been a short supply of error regarding the understanding and teaching of Holy Writ, but error in ignorance and the guile of wolves are distinct. False preachers, pastors, teachers or whatever they may be named, are seemingly more populous as they are popular. Sadly, many people have been snared by the force of such enemies of the cross, while they sit as prisoners of lies rather than victorious saints of Christ through His true word.

So, what makes a false teacher? How can one identify a false teacher and what should one do if they recognize a false teacher? Some clear indicators can set the truth sayers from the truth slayers.

  1. False teachers have a low view of Scripture.  Those who never expose the text of the Bible, never appeal to its argument, never hold a continued filter through it are most certainly going to fall into wild and wicked error. Scripture must be settled as the highest authority over the church and must be the final court on all matters doctrinal. False teachers play the game of pleading to logic and appealing to social norms rather than to the actual written words of God. Any person who claims to teach truth but rarely contextually reveals an argument of scripture should be warned, then avoided. These liars are also very politically minded and find solid time for naturalistic and humanistic sermons while overlooking the entire counsel of the word.
  2. False teachers ignore conversations related to their views of scripture. For believers and lovers of Christ, the bible and its conversation are continued joy. Those who lack the desire to invest in a continued learning and dialog over biblical things are not only void of the Spirit, but also typically those who do not feel they are accountable to discuss such things with “lower level” individuals such as a mealy congregant.
  3. False teachers are quick to jump on the slam wagon without argument. This means that those who continually fail to be faithful to the truth of scripture are more often able to deflect the spotlight by creating a strawman out of those who would oppose them. It is very common for a false teacher to even pray or publicly curse others who would oppose them which is a clear and certain reality they are not in Christ.
  4. False teachers are lovers of pride and people pleasers. They will say anything to make a friend and they will turn any truth to door to get the right response and affection from someone. They preach for power and profit, even if both of these are ego-driven, they gloriously feed the false teacher who is always on the prowl for the next magnificent compliment. They are often quick to narrate their own lives and compose the grandeur of their ministry before men who applaud them and stroke their fur for attention.
  5. False teachers pick their own sermon topics. What is meant by this is that they choose what is low, easy, usable, and self-serving as preaching instruments rather than to secure the glorious doctrines found in the text of Scripture. Avoiding difficult doctrines and ignoring the depths of God’s grace is their practice. They refuse to preach what is good for they desire the praise of men and the mathematics of personal growth over the grand reality that Christ will grow His church in-depth and desire.
  6. False teachers speak from their minds, hearts, wisdom and visions. Prophets are those who speak the words of Christ eternally secured by the written Word. Those who preach what they know and have been told are the devil’s¬†bawds providing demonic insight in order to twist the lives of men around their power while claiming it as God’s. These demonic practices are born of the serpent who questioned and revised the tongue of God to fit his passions. Such practices are never done in ignorance but always by the power of the dark one, the enemy, the devil who has devoured the souls of such men that they would purvey the woes of judgment disguised as light.
  7. False teachers prey on poverty and pain. These courtesans of death promise a better living and a faithful treasure on Earth while the Apostles and the Christ heralded a death sentence for those who are found in Christ as they will be hated by the world. Many would offer the justice of reciprocation and devour impoverished people who plant seeds of faith while eating the shells of the false teacher’s glory. These teachings undermine the satisfaction of the Cross and make manure of the good news of Jesus as a living hope by causing delight in covetousness rather than Christ. Those who are ill and poor are the faithless they say, while they feed on their positions by demanding a proof of faith in monetary offerings. There shall be an eternal weight of damnation on those who teach such things and the crushing of their skulls forever under the winepress of the fury of the judgment of God by the feet of Jesus.
  8. False teachers make much of the ability, will, freedom and honor of men and preach a man-centered gospel which is NO GOSPEL. While sometimes there are well-meaning people who have been taught wrong in practice, the devil has his shepherds and they know his anti-gospel. With golden tongue they spew falsehood like morays slither in the deep teaching people that their works, their efforts, their faithfulness and even their tithes would bring them to security. Easily they forget the transcription of Jesus Christ who said it was the broken and powerless publican who was justified, not the Pharisee. This false gospel is easily adopted and agreed upon because it affords the flesh a sense of completeness that stays the conscience from digging and dreading the possibility of guilt. The true Gospel of Jesus is a hope-filled promise while this man-centered trash is nothing more than a fake ticket to a false ball that leads to death.

Many more attributes and realities could be said of the false teacher. What say yee? ¬†See the depth of their deceit? ¬†See the continual replication of the deadness of man’s soul who hangs on every word? Is your pastor a false teacher? Well, are YOU a false listener? ¬†What do you do? Try it out and see, note the patterns and sit down to bring to light what is bad so that Christ would be glorified. If it wins him over, then praise the Lord together. If not, then run for your lives.

Also though let each of us ask ourselves? Are we proclaimers of truth or error? Do we recapitulate the traditions of men through false teachers while saying it is good?  May the Lord keep us all in check by His word and through His Spirit lest we also find ourselves apostate.  Trust in Jesus Christ Alone brethren, He is our guide, our God, our hope, our life, our truth, our peace and all that is in us that is Good!

Some thoughts to ponder,

Pastor James

broken church building

Pastors, never forget the fragile state in which we live and serve. We are flesh, all of us, and must depend upon the mighty hand of God in all things. It is God who keeps us and holds us from the schemes of the enemy, the attacks of the world and the lust of the flesh. God in Christ Jesus seals us in holiness and steadfastness, gives us a heart to love the church of Christ with all the affection of Christ and allows us to find the greatest satisfaction amongst the deepest of suffering. We must never move our eyes from the glory of the one who can sit us upon the rock of righteousness and who has snatched us out of death, out of darkness and transferred us to the light of the Son and to the Kingdom therein. When this life is “able” we fail. When we look to our own holiness, we fail. When we feel content in our walk with Christ, we fail. When we subject our calling to the ways and ideals of this world, we fail. But even then oh brothers, Christ cannot fail and He will rescue us from the mundane, the philosophy of our minds, the brokenness of our discipline and the lacking of our zeal. Then our broken shards will cut through the dead flesh of men by the proclamation of Christ who sets the prisoners free by the blood poured from His own broken body. Remember that it is a gift of the miraculous grace of God when we suffer, when we mourn, when we are lowly so that our pride is put behind us and our very souls are endeavored to rest in His supreme hand.

May our boasting be in Christ and may our lives be a sacrifice to the praise of HIS glorious grace; not our own lest we labor for nothing.  It is far better to be no one in any historical sense and to have the mount of calvary as our epitaph in an unmarked grave than to be honored by men and praised through generations only to realize we left trash to be burned at the coming of the Lord.

Rise up pastor, bow down pastor… the Lord is true.

Pastor James

Scriptural AuthorityThis past week I have received dozens of questions but I had an email from a few weeks back that asked about challenges that pastors face and how they stand under the challenges. ¬†In a quick reply I realized that there are MANY challenges that could stand against shepherds and that they are too many to list and never-ending. ¬†Here are a few “thoughts” and then my reply.

  1. Spiritual Battles of the Enemy – any type of struggle causing any type of struggle.
  2. Spiritual Battles of the Flesh – this is obvious and would include temptation.
  3. Spiritual Battles of the Mind – these would include feelings, hurt, pride etc.
  4. Spiritual Battles of the Heart – the affections and lusts of the world vs. the affections of glory.
  5. Spiritual Battles of the Word of God
  6. Spiritual Battles are ALL for our good.
  7. Challenges come in the form of people
  8. Challenges come in the form of thoughts
  9. Challenges come in the form of temptations
  10. Challenges come in the form of time
  11. Challenges come and they always will

What challenges (both private & public) are ‘Pastors’ facing daily?
How do they cope? Your insight would be truly appreciated.

I could list hundreds, but off the top of my head, here are the most critical:

CHALLENGE OF UNDERMINING BIBLICAL AUTHORITY

Pastors face the challenge of undermining biblical authority. This means that in the world we live in, it is often the “norm” to just do things that draw people or create environments that would appeal to the masses of the world. In doing this, the pastor demonstrates that he has no faith in God or His power to save.

Let me explain: God’s word does not return void, it goes forth and does that for which it was sent. (Is 55:11) Hebrew¬†4:12¬†says that the word of God is living and breathing. 2 Tim 3 teaches that ALL scripture is breathed out by God and is useful for success to all the men of God. 2 Peter writes that all that is needed for life and godliness is given to us by God’s divine power and Paul in Romans 1 says that God’s word and His “gospel” is His power unto salvation. It is also very clear in Rom¬†10:17¬†that the hearing of Christ’s word alone brings salvation, nothing else.

John says that the word became flesh, so the word is Jesus who speaks truth as He is truth and Jesus reveals the eternal glory of God to the fullest. If you turn to 2 Cor 4 you will see Paul teaching that there is in no way cunning or tampering with God’s word with any attempt to draw, lure, engage, entice, or incite people to faith or interest. But he says that if people are not interested or cannot see the gospel they preach it is because satan has blinded their eyes and through the open statement of the truth of the gospel their eyes can be opened.

All through Jesus’ ministry people came from near and far to follow him but they perished in their sins because they wanted food, healing, power, encouragement and hope but they didn’t see Him for who He was and couldn’t because they did not have ears to hear. So, to make a long answer longer, the word of God alone is all we need as pastors to successfully shepherd, reach and minister to all the people of the world.

CHALLENGE OF THE PAIN OF THE HEART & PRIDE

Pastors face fear, rejection, temptation, loneliness and other personal issues because the job is demanding, overbearing and at times “prideful” when everyone seems to think highly of us.¬†Therefore, Pride is a problem with many of us if we are not careful.

CHALLENGE OF TIME STEWARDSHIP & COPING

Time – we need more and that which we do have is mostly spent wastefully. We think that “living” with others in their circles and interests is better than prayer, study and teaching of scripture. But scripture has clearly called pastors to shepherd through feeding, not fellowship per se.

How we cope in these matters is surely back to the number one problem… we HOLD FAST to the word of God alone for our needs and desires. He read, meditate and pray.

Secondly, we must be accountable to other men who share the wisdom, maturity and insight of the role of pastor so we are not led to the slaughter by temptation.

Finally, we intercede for ourselves and our flock through prayer as often as possible many times in every hour. We care and we focus on knowing that God will do what He will do and that the outcome of our ministry is not how people respond or who is saved or how big things become, but the faithfulness of God. If Noah had no converts, then he wasn’t a failure because God used him to faithfully preach Christ (2 Peter).

So an added challenge would be to measure success by the world and not the word.

As I post this response, I am reminded that there are millions more and that these could very well each be a series of discussions and thoughts.  What challenges do you face pastor?  How do you cope?

shipoffools by brandt

In Titus 3 Paul is clear that before God saved us we were foolish, given to fleshly passions and were hating one another. ¬†That is great news! ¬†This is the GOSEPL of JESUS CHRIST! ¬†Because this is true, the scripture is very very very very clear…. did I say very? ¬†Yes, very clear that those who walk in the way Christ walked are in Christ, and if they do not, then they are not in Christ. ¬†So the purpose of my writing today is to answer one simple question: Why do so many pastors live in disharmony, hate, envy, gossip and murderous ways against each other and people among them? ¬†Scripture names the reasons, let’s look at a few today:

Unbelief
This means that the guy who walks around talking bad, gossiping, hating others, not loving the brethren and feeling envy against others is an unbeliever. ¬†He may have “professed” Christ, and he may have even been sincere, but this profession is just like the one that the devil will proclaim, worthless. ¬†It’s just words, nothing more. ¬†He may even have great training and knowledge of scripture, but because of his life, and his lack of love, he is a worthless nothing of wicked proportions. ¬†Now before you call these statements as the like of their “kind”, let me show you the same thing in the Word of God.

They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. (Titus 1:16 ESV)

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. (Titus 3:1-11 ESV)

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (1 John 1:6 ESV)

Whoever says ‚ÄúI know him‚ÄĚ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:4-6 ESV)

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:9-11 ESV)

So, the man of “god” that hates his brother is a liar. ¬†He isn’t a man of God, he is a man of the god of this world, the devil.

Pride
Well, I could just really stop with the first one, because being a slave to pride is a mark of an unbeliever, not a true child in a common faith. ¬†But in all reality, many pastors hate their brothers and it is seen in pride. ¬†A sense of feeling better than others because of many things, including a “bigger” congregation, “better” social status, “brighter” fame and a “bolder” education. ¬†All of these things are of course NOT marks of the work of God, but things that even pagans do in the world with great success.

Murder
The heart of a murderer is one who covets and hates with a malicious zeal, not the heart of a lover of good works prepared by God before the world began. ¬†So the foolish heart holds on to the traditions of men, the culture of the day, and rips the fabric of the sheepgate, disallowing God’s people from entering into the fold because these men are not of the fold of God. ¬†They are deceivers and self condemned.

As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. (Titus 3:10-11 ESV)

So the heart of the murderer bares false witness, makes lies, accusations, false-confessions, creates stories to suit the “gossip” and tears the man of God down in order to establish a “tabloid” false reality for himself. ¬†These men must be silenced, for they are destroying families and mocking the very name and face of God!

They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, ‚ÄúCretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.‚ÄĚ This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. (Titus 1:11-14 ESV)

In the end, the way of these men is either death and judgment or repentance and eternal life.

Who are they?
They are those leaders in high places who continuously put for the moral effort to be Godly, but lack the power of God in their lives in many ways:

  • They lack the power of God in their knowledge of the truth
  • They lack the power of God in their obedience to the scriptures
  • They lack the power of God in their love for the brethren
  • They lack the power of God in seeking wisdom
  • They lack the power of God in proclaiming the gospel
  • They lack the power of God in living as Christ lived
  • They lack the power of God in ALL aspects of their lives because they only show the power of the flesh for the politics of their positions

These are the men who, for the most part, would be esteemed as the leaders of churches, the pastors of good repute, and yet they disallow the gospel’s power in their lives and have created a “new church” and a “new gospel” without any fear of what may befall them. ¬†They will not apologize NOR will they accept any open repentance from those who they say are guilty of falsehood. ¬†These men are seeds of iniquity and are awaiting a judgment that will not be quenched. ¬†They are known as the one’s who would be angry over this very writing and find fault with God’s word rather than standing on truth. ¬†They are pleasers of people and they SPEAK righteous things in public while condemning themselves to the lies of Satan behind closed doors.

These men will say that OTHERS are divisive and up to no good, while they refuse to allow any conversation for the sake of the faith of the elect of God. ¬†They do not care about the sheep, but just the monument of steeples, buildings, programs and faceless numbers that race into their presence to bow down to their oratory or charisma. ¬†They do not lead the people of God to His glory because they continually resist the spirit of God, and they preach man and his works, rather than God and His works. ¬†They deny the power of God as stated above, to the glory of their own kingdom that is nothing more than a fake castle at the base of the goldfish bowl. ¬†They refuse to reveal the love of Christ because it is not in them and they close their hearts to the needy, the broken the destitute, because “those people” do not look good on their arms.

Where are they?
They are among us, not on the TV, not in the obvious false teaching circles, but they are reading this message considering themselves the answer to the problem.  They are preaching in pulpits across the world, this country, in the state of Georgia and in the pulpits of Evans and surrounding counties.  They sit high above the masses and look pleased while the world is going to hell.  They care more about their authority than their slavery to righteousness as they should lead  people to that end; to the praise of the glorious grace of God.  They may even be you and they could very well be me except by the grace of God.

What are we to do?
Repent and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Not just once, but always!  Our faith is a gift from God by His marvelous grace and it IS ALWAYS effective and ultimately evident in the lives of His people!  Pastors need to unite around the gospel and stand for THE ONLY ONE TRUE CHURCH, the Body of Jesus Christ who purchased her!  We as the church, if we are not together in learning, ministry, reaching, worship and glory then we WILL NOT BE TOGETHER in ETERNITY.  I am not talking about small differences, I am talking about LOVING each other at the cost of ourselves.

We are not ALLOWED to hate anyone in this world, period. ¬†Especially those that claim the name of Christ. ¬†So, two things must happen: First, we must CALL OUT the sin of hatred and the actions of professing pastors who live against the gospel and second, we must REJOICE when they repent. But wait, it’s not just for pastors, it’s for all of us. ¬†We all are held to the same standard. ¬†We must care for all people, speak ill of no one, never speak evil and thus prove that we are indeed in the faith. ¬†Our glory is our humility and our power is the word of God.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:11-15 ESV)

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. (Titus 3:1-8 ESV)

See that we do well and prove God’s glorious grace rests in our hearts. ¬†The reckoning is coming brothers, the light OVERCOMES the darkness either by causing it to disperse and those in it walk in the light OR by shining light on the dark hearts so that the church will SEE THE TRUTH of it.

For His glory by His grace,

Pastor James Tippins

 

Devil in Pulpit

While trying to steer away from the ever so common polemic per se, it is necessary, for the sake of the Gospel-called men and the church of Jesus Christ who have been purchased by His blood, to further equip the saints and warn them of the continued encroachment of unregenerate clergy front staging the churches of the world. ¬†This series will exposit the text of Holy Scripture in reference to God’s calling and equipping of the man of God as one who will “give an account” for the shepherding. ¬†While not popular, I pray it will serve as a reminder to us all that the enemy is active and at work and that God will not be mocked. ¬†Further it will prayerfully expose darkness and bring many to the light of repentance as they are daily being fed sinful and man-centered garbage in the name of God’s Son.

It seems more and more today that many so-called Christians love to profess Christ as a merciful Lamb who paid their way to glory but have no evidence of such truth. ¬†The fact is that unless a man is born again, he isn’t saved and a whole-hearted choice to be saved isn’t salvation nor has it ever been. ¬†The outcome of such Christians is that they hate others, avoid people who are not like them, talk evil of others, even speaking evil of God’s people in authority over them such as presidents and governors while never laying their lives down nor their knees in prayer thus forgetting that their claim of redemption is neither true nor evidenced. ¬†While I could sit and show why this is the case, I think it begins with the shepherds who look over them. ¬†So, we will start there.

Please pray that the Lord’s will be done and if it is to be, this series and subsequent published book will further the cause of Christ. Hold fast to the confession of hope in Christ and may the Spirit of God go before us and show us all our certain savior and the vast need we have for Him.

After over 16 years in ministry, I have determined that the best of devices of preaching for me is the Holy Spirit of God as He wrings me through the meat grinder of my own depravity and pours me into the cup of His grace.  It is from there that I am a nothing of a man crying out to a people who should tremble at the holy hand of God and repent and believe for the salvation of their souls and the joy of their existence.

As I reflect over the last four years of preaching and teaching and praying and studying for the glory of God, it’s very evident to me that the longer I remain a shepherd of the flock, the harder it will become to look and gaze at the emptiness in so many hearts who are always hearing but never hearing. ¬†It amazes me that so many for so long can be so idle and never shaken by the Word of God into a stable lover of Christ resulting in a foundation of extreme joy. ¬†So how does a pastor cry for the sheep? ¬†How does he mourn over the souls of misery who cannot smile due to the life that has choked joy from their hearts? ¬†How does the pastor cry out for the sheep to God without being broken beyond use never leaving the floor of petition? ¬†How can one who declares “thus says the Lord” every stop crying out to God for mercy on those who sit under the word and never flinch except in hardness of heart.

These never-ending questions are the silent current of my soul leading me to the exposure of these cries that terminates in the pulpit of the church. ¬†Standing in front of souls, who except by God’s grace will perish before the sermon is done, and begging and pleading for all to hear and believe and see the glorious beauty of God’s eternal grace and glory in the face of Jesus Christ, His holy Son… this labor is without a doubt one that no man can hold an empathetic ear lest he has stood in those shoes with a call from God.

How does a pastor cry?  He cries for himself, he cries for his sin, he cries for his soul and he cries in worship.  These cries move to the pages of scripture and through the pen of his journal, they move through his lips by the power of grace to the ears of people who are in the hands of God.  How does a pastor cry?  He cries in the power of Grace with no other hope, no other message, no other means except to prepare his heart to lean wholly on the power of the Almighty and trust that those who sit before him each week will, in the timing of God, come to faith.

Let us be thankful for the grace that keeps the pastor’s tears from consuming his soul. ¬†Let us be thankful for the grace of God who uses ordinary men to proclaim the truth of repentance and mercy. ¬†Let us be thankful for the cries in the closet and the cries of the preacher who never holds back but shows his affection through generous emotion and eternal faith in a righteous and loving God.

I am thankful for being called by God to pastor His people and to be used up, in all ways, for His glory.

Staying Stupid – James

“It does not answer the aim which God had in this institution, merely for men to have good commentaries and expositions on the Scripture, and other good books of divinity; because, although these may tend, as well as preaching, to give a good doctrinal or speculative understanding of the word of God, yet they have not an equal tendency to impress them on men’s hearts and affections. God hath appointed a particular and lively application of his word, in the preaching of it, as a fit means to affect sinners with the importance of religion, their own misery, the necessity of a remedy, and the glory and sufficiency of a remedy provided; to stir up the pure minds of the saints, quicken their affections by often bringing the great things of religion in their remembrance, and setting them in their proper colours, though they know them, and have been fully instructed in them already. ” — Jonathan Edwards

Yes, I know that I have “mispelled” [sic] shepherds as “sheepherds” because I want to make a point about the role of a pastor/shepherd among the church. ¬†Often I talk with fellow pastors who continually tell me that they cannot meet the demands of the congregation. ¬†When I ask what they mean, they reply with, “I am unable to meet the emotional needs of individuals in the church.” ¬†To this I reply, “if you keep trying, you are unfit for the ministry.” ¬†There seems to be a severely misaligned view of what a pastor is or should be and how his ministry should look.

Although there is much to be said about how to measure successful pastoral ministry, let me boil it down to one word: faithfulness! ¬†A man of God is called to feed, tend and care for the sheep of which he is a part. ¬†Pastors are not the SHEPHERD but an undershepherd or “sheepherd” that should be pointing the flock to trust and rely on the True Chief Shepherd who is Christ. ¬†When any one person feels that a pastor is their “personal” pastoral counselor and chaplain, they have placed themselves above the church of Jesus Christ and in turn, placed their pastor in a place of perpetual failure.

Pastors main role is to POINT and provide opportunity for the sheep to grow to MATURITY, not be their savior. ¬†The main problem is that tradition has clouded the reality of God’s word when it comes to the purpose of the church and the role of the pastor. ¬†Although some pastors are gifted in certain areas and called to different ministries while they shepherd, the primary and foundational role of a pastor is the point to Christ through the faithful prayer, study and teaching of the word of God so that through the word of God, lives are brought to faith and equipped and strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus so that God receives glory.

Just a little thought for the day…

James Tippins

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (1 Peter 5:1-5:4 ESV)