shepherding the shepherd


‘Enlarge My Territory’

Pain, or for that matter, success, sin, or fear, can define and confine us or our church to a kind of walled compound. Beyond is the land of God’s promises, all “yes” in Christ, but we haven’t taken what God assigned to us. That changes when we pray.

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Pain Relief

Jabez’s prayer was the turning point of his life. It’s all we need to know about him. I suspect it wasn’t one single prayer, but a prayer that grew in depth and confidence with repetition. That’s how good prayers often work.

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‘Everlasting Splendors’

Remember how C. S. Lewis said that the ordinary people we take for granted are those who will become either “immortal horrors or everlasting splendors”? It was those “everlasting splendors” that I’d think about as they stood to sing on a Sunday morning.

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‘I Charge You’

So, there we stand, right hands raised, as Paul intones, “I charge you to keep this command,” meaning, I think, this commission spelled out in what he’s written to us, with all the privileges and responsibilities appertaining thereto. “I charge you to obey your orders without fault or failure” (REB). And each of us, in one way or another, have responded, “I will.”

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Get a Grip

Pastors deal in the realm of the eternal all the time. Everlasting life is our gospel stock-in-trade. But it is dreadfully easy, given all the pastoral pressures we face, to neglect the pursuit of our own eternal life—our own holiness, our own earnest desire to find God’s will, in both attitude and deed, and to do it for his glory.

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The Good Fight

Regardless, whether or not we face hand-to-hand combat over unorthodoxy, it is our soldierly duty to recognize the constantly recycled heresies that undermine the gospel, blind the lost, and entrap the faithless. Pastors must be particularly diligent about theology, able to distinguish that which is secondary from anything that threatens the essentials of our faith.

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