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Posts Tagged ‘pastor’

Verse 6: “Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?”

A male church leader and a female church pianist once confessed to the pastor of an affair with each other (both were married to other spouses). The church was shocked; the pastor, with the support of the deacons, took appropriate action. The church leader stepped down from his leadership role as did the pianist from hers. They were both genuinely repentant and sought help in mending their marriages. In this manner, the church had to defend against the corruption of sin into its membership, and two families were ultimately restored.

Paul had an opposite problem here; it was reported to him that a brother in the Corinthian church was guilty of active sexual immorality. The difference here is, not only had the brother not repented of it and was still sinning, and not only had the Corinthian church not acted to discipline him, they actually were proud to the point of acceptance of it! (The verse quoted above is NKJV; NIV translation uses the phrase above “Your boasting is not good”.

Paul couldn’t believe his ears! Corinth historically was a city that had an open acceptance of loose and open sexual lifestyles (page 80, Deeper Discoveries, A. Sexual Immorality (5:1), in Holman’s New Testament Commentary of I & II Corinthians). Paul reminded them that the church, although ministering to sinners and unbelievers, is supposed to be different from the world. When people see the church tolerating sin that they supposedly are against, they cry “hypocrite!” It hurts the ministry of the Gospel when the church tolerates sin, worse when it brags about it! When ministering to a member about their sin, if they are unrepentant, the church has to take action. Sometimes that action is to dismiss them from the fellowship (in verse 5 of this passage, Paul calls on the church to “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus”). Hopefully when the fallen member comes to repentance, then we should be faithful to welcome them back.

Reading that passage about historical Corinth calls forth comparisons to the modern world and some churches we have today. We don’t need to let Satan poison the whole church with one little piece of bad “leaven”. We should always confess our sins to God and seek our church family’s help in repenting of that sin.

Something to think about.

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John 10: 11, 14: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.”
1 Peter 5:4: “and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”

Our pastor used to live in Wyoming, and among his many encounters, he got to know a local shepherd and wanted to learn about his occupation of caring for sheep. One morning, while the shepherd was rousing the flock to wake up, our pastor saw the shepherd tend to some sheep that had rolled over on their sides. Sheep are similar to turtles; if they fall over sleeping, they need help getting up. They can actually die from asphyxiation if they’re not righted, because they cannot get up on their own. The shepherd would help right the sheep, massaging their legs until they could stand and move on their own. This puzzled our pastor; he asked the shepherd why did he keep those sheep, for all the trouble they caused him. Why didn’t he just get rid of them?

The shepherd looked at our pastor in amazement. He told him he wouldn’t get rid of them; those were some of his best sheep! They were incredibly loyal, and would never wander away from him. They knew the sound of his voice.

(Now, our pastor told us this tale in his own sermon series recently on Jesus: I Am; so, if I’ve quoted the story incorrectly, I’m sure he’ll set me straight. :-) )

We are sheep, and we need a Good Shepherd. Jesus is that Shepherd. He cares for us, protects us, and even corrects us when we stray. Jesus contrasted the Good Shepherd with hirelings who don’t take care of sheep, who run at the first sign of trouble. Jesus isn’t that way; we know the sound of His Voice, and are dependent on him.

Peter writes in 1 Peter, chapter 5, verse 4, that those who care for God’s flock will receive that crown of glory from the Chief Shepherd…and this Shepherd is also Jesus.

Something to think about!

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Verses 4-5: “And finding disciples, we stayed there seven days. They told Paul through the Spirit not to go up to Jerusalem. When we had come to the end of those days, we departed and went on our way; and they all accompanied us, with wives and children, till we were out of the city. And we knelt down on the shore and prayed.”

Our previous pastor had been at our church for about 17 years; he was much beloved and respected. Once, he thought he felt God’s call to take a pastor position at another church way out of town. He wasn’t sure, so he coveted our prayers and he put some “fleeces” before God to answer. We didn’t want him to go, but we didn’t want him acting contrary to God’s will either. He was a man of God who wouldn’t ignore God’s calling. I personally wrote him a letter to read on the trip up that I tried to encourage him through. I also humorously asked in the letter “what side of the road do you want the burning bushes on, to tell you to come back?” 🙂 As it turned out, that wasn’t the move God wanted him to make, and he stayed with us a while longer. God eventually did call him back near his childhood home in north Georgia, and this time, there was no denying God’s signs. He is there now, leading that church in following the Lord.

Paul knew where he had to go; his road lead to Jerusalem. His friends and fellow believers didn’t want him to go; they feared for his life. As already mentioned previously, Paul would not be dissuaded. He answered God’s call, knowing whether he lived or died, he would be serving the cause of Jesus. He was a man of God who wouldn’t ignore God’s calling.

How about you, fellow believer? Are you listening for God’s call in your life today…no matter where it may lead?

Something to think about.

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Verse 2: And he said, “Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran,”

God has blessed our church with a pastor; it has been approximately 17 months since our previous pastor was called to a church near where he grew up. We miss him and his family, but we knew that God was in the call and in the move. These last months have felt like we were in a wilderness; all we could do was pray and wait on God’s perfect timing in between visiting and interim preachers. We knew our pastor search committee was doing just that: praying and waiting on God’s timing. Of course, we didn’t know at the time that our new pastor was being led by God through a series of destinations that would bring him right where He wanted him to be. Now, we are at the beginning of what I pray will be a long relationship between pastor and church; I wondered if that’s how it felt when our previous pastor was first called to this church years ago. There were people here who were there for that previous beginning as they were for this new beginning.

Stephen is pointing that out to the council. The God of their fathers was there when He called Abraham to a place he’d never been, out of a land he called home. Abraham followed God’s command, not being able to see what was ahead, but trusting in God. Stephen is reminding the council that God has been, is, and ever will be. There’s more to the story.

What if you knew that you were about to deliver the last message you’d ever speak…what would you say?

Something to think about.

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