shepherding the shepherd


‘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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What Did You Call Me?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly like being called Reverend. Clergyman is ponderous too. I’ve also cringed under preacher-man and parson. But then there’s Man of God, a title which seems to come with a black suit, a chiseled face, and a voice like thunder. So, it is surprising that Paul addressed his young protégé, Timothy, that way.

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Speaking as a Father

I don’t have to tell you how many people in our congregations are desperate for a godly father figure. They don’t look for someone who is perfect, and certainly not someone who is authoritarian. They need someone who loves Christ, is authentic, and who steps into their lives to speak for the Lord. Like our calling as shepherds, this fatherly manner doesn’t have to come naturally to us; it is God-given.

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