Six Things My Pastor Taught Me

This post could also be called “Six Reasons Why I Love My Pastor.” My senior pastor is an amazing man of God and I have learned countless things from him while under his leadership. This post contains just six of them, in no particular order.

Love, eat, breathe, bleed, use, memorize, respect, and preach the Word.

It is often said that our pastor bleeds scripture. He spent a good deal of his Christian life memorizing scripture (with references) so he often quotes scripture throughout his sermons and counseling. He not only reads and memorizes the Word, he gives it preeminence. In a day where the Bible is left up to personal opinion, it has been life-saving to have a pastor who prioritizes the Bible in his ministry. He doesn’t just talk about how important the Bible is, He shows us how important it is by example. The Bible is our life-blood and he treats it accordingly. I remember the day I heard a prophecy that included the words “this church will be safe in the coming storms because my messenger holds fast to My Word.” I thank God every time I remember that prophecy.

Authority comes from being under authority.

One of my pastor’s favorite scriptures is Luke 7:3-9:

When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”

Our pastor often says that the centurion understood authority (and therefore Jesus’ authority) because he was under authority himself. Our pastor loves order. Coming from the military and business community, he saw how groups thrived when there was a clear leadership structure. It’s not about titles or positions, but rather doing things in decency and in order. I’m grateful for this order. I know people who have declined to be under authority and it directly impacts how much fruit their lives bear. Personally, I can be quite blind and foolish. I’m glad to be under leaders who can both encourage and correct me. In fact, the more I submit to them, the more I find myself in a place of (humble) authority.

God loves people (both the lost and saved) so make every effort to love them too.

My pastor will run his life ragged loving and reaching people. You can tell that he has the passion of a missionary or evangelist. His greatest passion is to see souls saved. He wants every person that he crosses paths with to feel loved and cared for. He is remarkably unselfish when it comes to this. I often wonder when he has free time. He is constantly visiting people at the hospitals, meeting with people for a cup of coffee, etc. Watching him love people has taught me that they are worth loving because God loves them.

Ministry is a hard, suffering call from God.

This may be a weird point to some. Recently in America, church ministry (particularly pastoring) has been cast as easy and fun. It mainly comes from high-production, hyped ministries who sound like they live on a mountain top all their life. But that’s not how the New Testament describes Paul’s, Peter’s, John’s (etc) life. Paul often said he was “sorrowful, yet rejoicing”. My pastor doesn’t put on a mask, trying to show that the ministry is easy. Rather, he is vulnerable enough to show us how hard it can be. God spoke to Ananias about Paul in Acts 9:16, “For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”  As a leader and as someone feeling called to bi-vocational ministry, this is a gift. I am grateful to see the true life of a minister lived out in front of me, with all of its trials, pains, joys, struggles, frustrations, hopes, plans, ideas, and passions.

Legacy and your tenure in God matter.

My pastor often says that “God is looking for great finishers.” In America, we often esteem those who are popular or are doing extraordinary/miraculous things. We tend to ignore ministers who have served faithfully for decades and have an extended legacy. We tend to praise the short-term success of people rather than cherish the long-term sowing and reaping of a minister’s faithfulness. I look at my pastor and his (biological and spiritual) children and pray that I can live my life in such a way that my life bears fruit like his.  I want to see my marriage lasting passionately for decades, being an example to others. I want to see my children seek God. I want those around me to be stirred to everlasting love for God. I want my life to impact others. These things matters and I learned that fact by watching my pastor.

Moral excellence in ministry.

There is not a month (many times a week) that goes by that I don’t hear of a well-known minister falling into sexual sin. Both my senior pastor and his staff have shown that God is faithful to keep us holy if we are willing to be severely aggressive about not tolerating even a hint of sexual immorality in our lives. The integrity of the church staff is mind-boggling to me. I am humbled to be under authority of these ministers of God.


The Wedge Dream

Recently I talked about a dream that my friend had. Due to the post being about the name of my daughter, I didn’t want to go into the dream’s details or some things that the Lord had told him after he awoke. I talked to him and got his permission to write what he saw and heard. Both he and the people he saw in the dream will remain anonymous. For the sake of ease, I will write the dream in first person.

The Symbolic Dream

A great revival had broken out in the Church. It was a “passion for Jesus” movement and it was uniting people from many different streams of Christianity. The leaders of the movement were given a large field that could hold hundreds of thousands of people. They set up a stage and started worshiping and singing. There were national guardsmen all around doing crowd control. The government began setting up infrastructure like bathrooms, a clinic, an organized campground, etc. Soon it looked like Woodstock.

[An international Christian television company] came and started covering the “outpouring” on the second day. They hadn’t put a name on it yet, but were just broadcasting it throughout the whole world. (In this dream, there were always people coming from around the world to the field to be a part of the revival.)

A group of mega-churches all brought their worship teams and started taking turns leading worship between the preaching. There were members of every stream of Christianity and from every denomination represented. As I was listening to the preaching, I noticed that not a single preacher had preached from (or by using) the Bible.While most of what was being preached was biblical, they never once quoted the Bible. They preached through stories, jokes, and worldly wisdom. I even heard one pastor quote Confucius.

Then [a man of God] got on the stage. He had been called to preach his message, The Oil of Intimacy. He gladly took the opportunity to come and speak to those at the revival. He prayed and began his sermon. He said “Turn with me in your Bibles to Matthew 25. We’re going to talk about the parable of the ten virgins.” Immediately some teenage boys in the front row began booing him. [The man of God] is taken aback, but continues. He said “This parable is about…” but is cut off once again by more booing. The crowd starts yelling “Bring back [the last preacher]! We like what he had to say!”

Immediately, the spirit of prophecy fell on [the man of God] and he started prophesying:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10). I tell you there is an overwhelming lack of the knowledge of the Holy in this generation. You walk before Him in the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. But I tell you the truth: God is coming in His holiness to judge the works of wicked men, and only those who dwell in holiness will escape His wrath!

At this point there is an uproar in the crowd. They boo him off the stage. He walked off the stage, and then walked right through the center of the crowd. As he walks, ten people to the left of him and ten people to the right of him fall down in travail because of the fear of the Lord. Before he can get to the back of the crowd, a great earthquake breaks out and the fear of the Lord falls on the back half of the crowd. The whole crowd begins screaming. The front half screams because of excitement while the back half screams because of terror.

Just then, [a famous Christian author] walked on stage to quiet the crowd. He starts talking in a mesmerizing voice. The front half of the crowd becomes transfixed on him and becomes quiet. The back half of the crowd start screaming louder because they can hear nothing in his voice but the shrieking of the demonic. Then, the back half of the crowd separates and goes to the far end of the field. [The man of God] sets up a portable PA system and begins leading the people in repentance, weeping, and mourning.

Once [the famous Christian author] had the crowd under control, he began to speak to them. He said “I would like to give a shout-out to my friends from the Unitarian church.” The camera pans over to a group of people in white t-shirts. The front of the t-shirt has a picture of the earth with the words “One Church, One Bride, One World, One Consciousness.” People go through the crowd passing out these t-shirts and all the people in the crowd put them on. “I’m glad to see such unity in the body of Christ. Isn’t it great when we can all lay aside our differences and gather together to learn from one another?” he said. “I apologize for [the man of God]. He didn’t understand what it is we are doing here. We’re here to get passionate for God and grow in unity with one another.” As I looked, I saw that there were Muslims and Buddhists coming into the crowd.

I was lifted above the field to see both camps at the same time. On the one side of the field, the people we still crying out for God. He was manifesting His presence with signs and wonders. People were being healed of many diseases and being set free of lifelong addictions. Tens of thousands of people were being saved. For hours and hours a day, they would read the Word of God over the sound system. People would sit to listen and weep before the Lord. In the other camp, the preaching became increasingly more humanistic and syncretistic. The people were like frogs being boiled slowly in a pot of water; because the water slowly heated up, they did not realize they were being boiled alive. The meeting broke down into drunkenness and lewdness. People were having their way with one another in mass groups in open daylight. Young women were being raped. Young men were strung out everywhere on illegal drugs. Again, it looked very much like Woodstock.

When both sides were at their peak, [a second man of God] stood up between the two camps. The Christian television company cut the power to both stage and only gave power to [the second man of God]. He began to cry out:

How long will you waiver between two decisions? If Jesus is God, then  worship Him wholeheartedly. If Jesus is not God, then don’t throw around His name to get more followers. God desires that you live a holy life. I tell you the truth: there is one way to heaven and it is through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.”

When he said this, the whole field was shaken and fire came down on the camp that had been crying out to God. They were consumed but not destroyed and they all began to speak in tongues. The rest of the people fled in terror.

Then I awoke. I was shaken at this dream and asked the Lord how this would practically look like in our city. I fell back asleep and had another dream.

The Practical Dream

I saw two women talking in the hallway of a church about a book that [the same Christian author] had written. The next week it seemed like all the women in the church were reading and talking about the book. The pastor took a copy of the book and read it that week as well. The following Sunday he preached on it. He declared it unbiblical and heretical. He said it was dangerous teaching that would tear apart the Church. The women got offended and stood up and left the church. They took with them half of the congregation and went next door to the Unitarian church. The church was experiencing “revival” and people were being added daily to their numbers but mostly from other churches.

The Word

When I awoke from the second dream, I asked the Lord how long would it be till this happens. The Lord answered:

“Within five years, I will drive the Word of God like a wedge in My people. Only those who revere My Word will stand in that day.”

He gave me five areas that this wedge would fall and separate believers from those who become deceived.

    1. The infallibility of the Bible
    2. The sanctity of life (abortion)
    3. Gay marriage and gay ministers in the church
    4. Universalism and Unitarianism
    5. The false grace movement

I felt the Lord tell me that the churches that stayed true to what the Bible says about each of the five areas would experience the power and presence of God, manifesting in signs and wonders, even if they didn’t believe in miracles. However, those who did not hold fast to what the Bible said about these five areas would become deceived and fall away from God. Though they would seem to meet, worship, and preach in His name, they would be worshiping a god that they made, an idol of their minds and hearts.

Personal Thoughts

My friend had this dream on the Day of Atonement, October 8, 2008. This coming October marks the end of the fifth year. It’s worth repeating what I said a couple weeks ago:

The thing that I find crazy is how prophetic the dream/word was. This dream wasn’t given a month ago. It was almost five years ago. Back then, there was no great gay marriage debate or serious problems with universalism in the church. Upon hearing the dream/word, it was an act of faith to believe that these, what were at the time, small issues would progress to be nationwide issues, particularly in the church. Who would of thought 5-10 years ago that we would be debating whether practicing homosexuals should be ministers and leaders in the church?

I was around when my friend had this dream over four years ago and I’ve seen this dream come true. I’ve seen believers led away, many by popular ministries that preach the thoughts of man rather than the Word of God. I cannot express this enough: doctrine (what the Bible teaches and says) matters! Get to know the Bible. Get plugged into a church that preaches boldly the Word of God. May a flag go up in your spirit if you are listening to a preacher and you don’t continually hear scripture in his/her message.

It’s time for the church in America to choose what side they will be on: the Lord’s or the world’s. The world is aggressively calling Christians to forsake what the Bible teaches us to do and believe. There’s a Unitarian, Universalist, state church that’s been born and is growing in this nation. Choosing the Lord’s (and the Bible’s) side may cost us our comfort, but we will not be moved when the Lord starts to separate the wheat from the tares.

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” (Matthew 13:24-30, ESV)

You may want to read the rest.


UPDATE: It seems like others have had the same dream and warning. Read Steve Hill’s article about the coming “avalanche”.