When I was a kid it was amazing what I thought being a preacher was. I thought it would be my time to tell everyone what they had to do and how they had to do it and how I even thought I could even name, names behind the pulpit.
When I finally became a pastor, I realized that view of thinking was wrong and after some years of experience I realized what real preaching and pastoring is all about.
I have come to realize it is not my job to do the convicting but to preach the message that good Lord has given me. While preparing I should never think of personally attaching this message to one particular person or persons but instead just preach the message and let God do the work. I have also come to realize that I should never use the pulpit as a means of personally attacking people but instead I should use it as a means of “equipping the saints”.
I like the way the NIV puts that verse of equipping the saints, “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up (Ephesians 4:11-12)
While it is true, we must preach the Gospel and that we must confront sin, let us remember that we should also learn to prepare people on how to deal with life, sin, situations and then even how to share their story about what Christ has done for them with others. Yes there is more to pastoring and preaching than what we have ever realized, may we take our job seriously above all else may we learn to love the people. For without love preaching and pastoring is worthless.
When I look back at Valentine’s Day, I remember the excitement that I felt as a child. At school we would have a place where people would put their valentines for us and with excitment all of us would look to see who gave us a Valentine. Even though those years have come and gone I still look at this day as exciting.
Valentines Day reminds me of the greatest Valentine that was given to mankind and that is the love of God. John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the World that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting Life.”
I know for many this day could be discouraging but may I encourage you to let you know that you are loved. God loves you with all His heart and He is asking, “Will you be my Valentine?” What will your answer be?
Feel a little discouraged, down or even overwhelmed? In my time of study and devotion I came across this poem by Helen Steiner Rice, may it bring you encouragement as it has done for me.
LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED
Whevever I am troubled
and lost in deep despair
I bundle all my troubles up
and go to God in Prayer…
I tell Him I am heartsick
and lost and lonely, too,
That my mind is deeply burdened
and I don’t know what to do…
But I know He stilled the tempest
and calmed the angry sea
And I humbly ask if in His love
He’ll do the same for me…
And then I just keep quiet
and think only thoughts of Peace
And if I abide in stillness
my “restless murmurings” cease.
–Helen Steiner Rice
There is a story of a young boy who came to his father one day and said, “Dad I want what is rightfully mine!!! I want my inheirtance.” These words broke the fathers heart but he willingly gave his son what he requested. The son left the only family that he knew to live his life his way. At first everything seemed to be going good for the son but eventually he found himself without money and without hope. Knowing that he could never go back home, he found himself a job on a pig farm. He was so desparate that the slop, that he fed the pigs, looked inviting. One day he came to the realiziation that his father’s servants are treated better than this so he decided that he would return home. He rehearsed in his mind what he would say over and over again, “Dad I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, I am not worthy to be your servant but make me as one of your servants.” As he came nearer to his father’s house, he saw as though someone was running to him. “Who is this?” he thought. As the figure came closer he realized that this was none other than his dad. Fearing the worst, as he saw his father open up his arms, he closed his eyes but unexpectly the father grabbed his son, with tears in his eyes, embraced him. The son not knowing what to make out of all this begins to give his father the speeach that he had planned all along. Before he could finish, the father calls for a servant to bring the best robe, a ring and sandals. Through this act of kindness the father brings the son back into the family.
The story that you just read is not something new but it comes from Scripture. Luke 15:11-32, tells us the powerful story of the prodigal son. Why is this story so important? The reason is because we all have been there. Many of us might have went to the extremes of the prodigal son, living our life our way, only ending up in disaster. Feeling lost and without hope we do the only thing we can do and that is cry out to God. Expecting the worse, we find love and forgiveness instead.
It does not matter what has happen in your life, God loves you and is willing to forgive you. His love and forgiveness is unconditional. It is offered to you freely all you have to do is accept it.
19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 NASB
There was this man and his wife who was in another country. Departing from that country they were told that they had to pay a tax for leaving. Digging in their pockets they took out all the money that was there but it was not enough. Afraid that they were stuck in this foreign land they began to plead for help but to no avail there was none. When all hope seemed to be loss, a man that they did not even know came forward, paid the amount that they owed. Looking at him they said, “Thank-you”. His reply was, “I had been there too but remember to pass it on”. As they left that day, that man’s words stuck with them and from that moment on they did what the man requested through passing that act of kindness on.
Jesus too paid our debt and His only request when we accept Him as our Savior is to pass that on to others. Have you had a desire to want to see others come to know Christ or have you kept that knowledge to yourself.
May our hearts burn with passion to see the lost come to know Christ just as we did