We pastors are being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry. The mentality of the professional is not the mentality of the prophet. It is not the mentality of the slave of Christ. Professionalism has nothing to do with the essence and heart of the Christian ministry. The more professional we long to be, the more spiritual death we will leave in our wake. For there is no professional childlikeness (Matt. 18:3); there is no professional tenderheartedness (Eph. 4:32); there is no professional panting after God (Ps. 42:1).
But our first business is to pant after God in prayer. Our business is to weep over our sins (James 4:9). Is there professional weeping? Our business is to strain forward to the holiness of Christ and the prize of the upward call of God (Phil. 3:14); to pummel our bodies and subdue them lest we be cast away (1 Cor. 9:27); to deny ourselves and take up the blood-spattered cross daily (Luke 9:23). How do you carry a cross professionally? We have been crucified with Christ; yet now we live by faith in the one who loved us and gave Himself for us (Gal. 2:20). What is professional faith?
Piper, John. Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: a Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002.
There is such a need for this grace-awakened, big-hearted approach in mission work. There are so many areas where a lack of grace causes hurt and tension and positively hinders the work of God across the globe. So often our fellowship as Christians seems to be based more on minor areas in which we are like-minded, than on the real basics of the gospel and the clear doctrines of the Christian faith which are so amazing and on which we should be more united…
I think of all the people who have been rejected, to some degree, because they did not fit in with someone else’s expectations – because they were not Baptists or Anglicans or because they did not speak in tongues, or did not come up to the mark on any one of a hundred possible issues, which may or may not be of genuine importance. Many have felt rejection and hurt because they were not received by those who emphasized the gifts of the Spirit, simply because they did not have the same understanding of those gifts. The reverse is also true. Those who emphasize the gifts of the Spirit have felt rejected by members of the body who didn’t.
What makes this problem even more complex is that so often preachers emphasize these smaller issues from the pulpit, affecting how their congregations think and how they evaluate other people and their beliefs. It seems to me that our behavior often testifies that these little issues are more important to us than the unity and reality that we have in Jesus Christ by the new birth through His Holy Spirit. We lack grace in this area.
George Verwer, Out of the Comfort Zone: Grace, Vision, Action! (Authentic Publishing: Colorado Springs, CO, 2000), 5-6.
“Thus, Paul recommends that instead of clinging to human wisdom, we are to become fools. Paul is not simply singing the praise of folly or calling us to sacrifice our intellects. Rather, he is urging us to perceive that the “foolishness of God” is displayed in the cross. When Paul asks that we become fools, he means we become a fool from this world’s perspective by identifying with the cross of Christ.
Mother Teresa is a good example of such a fool. She and her Missionaries of Charity walk the streets of Calcutta and bring back those who are dying. Their “house” is not a hospital but more of a hospice – a place to die with dignity. IT is true that some recipients of their care improve and are even cured. But the main work is care for the terminally ill patients. Many think this is a foolish. Surely it would be wiser to devote the same energy and devotion instead to those who have a chance to be cured. Why waste time on those already slated to die when there are more deserving patients? It is here that Mother Teresa follows the way of the cross, stubbornly insisting that even the poorest of the poor who are dying are God’s children and thus possess infinite value and are especially deserving of love and care.”
Klyne A. Snodgrass, Between TWO Truths: Living with Biblical Tensions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990), 58-59).
Today’s excerpt is related to the resurrection of Jesus. When you refute the resurrection of Jesus Christ, you also have a burden to explain why the disciples who were hiding with fear for their own lives when Jesus was crucified were changed dramatically all of sudden. What made them to come forward with boldness and proclaim that the crucified Jesus had risen from the dead? Why were they ready to suffer and die for their faith? Read this excerpt: Continue reading Sabbatum Excerpt: Jesus’ Disciples Sincerely Believed Jesus Rose from the Dead and Appeared to Them
“At its simplest Christ’s call was “Follow me.” He asked men and women for their personal allegiance. He invited them to learn from him, to obey his words and to identify themselves with his cause.
Now there can be no following without a previous forsaking. To follow Christ is to give up all lesser loyalties. In the days of his ministry on earth, this often meant a literal abandonment of home and work. Simon and Andrew “left their nets and followed him.” James and John “left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.” Matthew, who heard Christ’s call while he was “sitting at his tax booth… got up, left everything and followed him.”
In principle, the call of the Lord Jesus is unchanged today. He still says, “Follow me,” and adds, “those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciple.” In practice, however, this does not mean for most Christians that they will need to move out of their home and leave their job. What it does imply though is the need for an inner surrender of these things, and a refusal to allow either family or ambition to occupy the first place in our lives.”
John R. W. Stott, “Counting the Cost.” Basic Christianity. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008. 133-34. Print.