shepherding the shepherd

from PreachingToday.com

Your Work Will Not Be in Vain

A couple of years ago I corresponded with a pastor from a small community. He had knocked on every door in his town, inviting people to church, with not one visitor to show for his work. I thought about him when I read what Jesus told Paul in his vision in Corinth: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” (Acts 18:9-10)

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‘I Am with You’

Although we’re often surrounded by people, we all know what it is to be inwardly isolated, ready to sing a bluesy rendition of, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.” Good thing the next line is, “Nobody knows but Jesus.”

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Keep On Speaking

There are times when we wonder if we’ve somehow lost our herald’s credentials or if everyone would be better off if we moved on. Perhaps you’ve been beaten or shipwrecked once too often. Some pastors lose their lifeline to Scripture and the Spirit till they sound like the unintelligible teacher in A Charlie Brown Christmas: “Wa-wa-wawa-wa .”

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Be Ye Brave!

When we entered the ministry, most of us were ill-prepared for just how dangerous the work could be. Part of our schooling should’ve been to crawl under barbed wire with live fire over our heads to give us a feel for what we’d face.

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What You Don’t See

All believers face painful tests of faith, but I think the fiery darts absorbed by pastors are often poison-tipped. The enemy targets us, eager to wound us to the soul. What’s more, our people are watching, even when they don’t know specifically what we’re facing. We must be their examples. We’ve all felt “weakness and fear, with much trembling.”

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A Sight for Sore Eyes This Easter

I imagine John deep in prayer when a voice like a bugle broke into his reverie, commanding him to write what he was about to see and to dispatch it to the seven churches, our congregations’ spiritual forebears. When John turned “to see the voice” he saw “one like a son of man,” among the lampstands—Jesus Christ among his churches “depicted as shining lights for God in the midst of a hostile world,” as Grant Osborne put it.

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