Oct 28 2009

A Word to Pastors



“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).

This verse, a part of Paul’s parting exhortation to the pastors in Ephesus, contains valuable words for every pastor. Notice four points:

First, we must keep watch over ourselves before we can keep watch over the flock. John Stott writes of pastors: “For they cannot care adequately for others if they neglect the care and culture of their own souls” (The Message of Acts, 326).  Are you keeping watch over yourself?

Second, we must keep watch over the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made us overseers.  The words “elders” (v.17), “overseers” (v. 28), and “shepherds” (v. 28) are all used interchangeably as different words to describe the pastors (as in 1 Peter 5:1-2).  Shepherds are to lead, feed, guard, and care for the sheep.  How are we doing on each of these?

Third, we are shepherds of “the church of God.”  It is not our church.  It is not the member’s church.  It is God’s church.  Jesus is the head/senior/lead pastor.  It is to him that we will give an account for how we shepherd under him.  And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” 1 Peter 5:4.

Fourth, the flock we shepherd was “bought by his own blood.”  That’s how God looks at his flock.  We are not to view our sheep like literal sheep: dumb, smelly, and wayward.  We are to view them as God views them: precious, valuable, blood-bought!

Richard Baxter, writing in the language of 1656, drives this point home:

“Oh then, let us hear these arguments of Christ, whenever we feel ourselves grow dull and careless: ‘Did I die for them, and wilt not thou look after them?  Were they worth my blood and are they not worth thy labour? Did I come down from heaven to earth, to seek and to save that which was lost; and wilt thou not go to the next door or street or village to seek them? How small is thy labour and condescension as to mine?  I debased myself to this, but it is thy honour to be so employed.  Have I to make thee co-worker with me, and wilt thou refuse that little that lieth upon thy hands?’” (The Reformed Pastor, 121-122 quoted by Stott).

Some thoughts to encourage and challenge fellow pastors.

Oct 28 2009

C.S. Lewis on Prayer

Master, they say that when I seem
To be in speech with you,
Since you make no replies, it’s all a dream
—One talker aping two.

They are half right, but not as they
Imagine; rather, I
Seek in myself the things I meant to say,
And lo! the wells are dry.

Then, seeing me empty, you forsake
The Listener’s role, and through
My dead lips breathe and into utterance wake
The thoughts I never knew.

And thus you neither need reply
Nor can; thus, while we seem
Two talking, thou art One forever, and I
No dreamer, but thy dream.

C.S. Lewis – Poems (1964)

Oct 28 2009

Burning Stuff that Needs to Go!