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.

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Rethink: Serving & Burnout

In this series, we will take a closer look at sayings and doctrines that are common place in streams of the church and talk about the truth and error of these sayings and doctrines.

The issue.

I have been serving in my local church for roughly fifteen years straight, most of the time in the same two ministries that I originally started with (youth and worship). There have been many mountains and valleys in those fifteen years. There have been times where I’ve been full of vision and passion and there have been times where I’ve been full of bitterness and complaining. During these fifteen years, the subject of serving and burnout have consistently come up, both from me and from others that I have served with.

The argument that I’ve heard and have said typically goes like this: burnout happens to servants either because (1) the volunteers can’t say no to leaders who are asking for help and therefore are over-worked or (2) the church is abusive to its volunteer workers. In the last fifteen years, I have argued both sides. But it wasn’t till recently that I realized a consistent truth in all my years of serving (easy or hard). Here is that truth:

The only constant was me. I’ve had different leaders and served in different roles/functions, but I was stll getting burnt-out. I started looking back on my burnt-out times and realizing that I was always expecting something (that I didn’t get) from my leadership during those times.

Why does this matter?

The first step in fixing a problem is recognizing that there is a problem, but the second step is to find out where the root of the problem is. If we think the root of the problem is the church (either by them asking for too much, or by them being abusive in the way they handle their volunteers), then all that grows is offense and bitterness. If someone stays at a church that they’re serving at with that attitude, they end up defiling many (Hebrews 12:15). Even if that person decides that the solution is to leave and go to another church, they will (eventually) have the same issue there as well. Why? Because the issue is with the heart, not with the leaders.

Another solution burnt-out servants may look at is serving less. If you think the root of the problem is that you serve too much (and can’t say “no” when leaders ask for help) then the practical solution would be to serve less. Sadly, I have watched this thinking lead people to stop serving altogether, and (in my personal experience) those who don’t serve the church in some fashion rarely keep their passion (particularly generosity) for the Lord. Jesus designed the Christian life to model His earthly life, where we serve more and more to our own death (of our sinful flesh and selfishness). This is what Paul allude to in Phillipians 2:

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:1-8 ESV)

In the passage above, Paul combines service with humility and selflessness. In my own experience, the times I’ve been burnt-out are the same times that I feel I should be getting something I didn’t have, whether it be a position, more influence, a reply, a gift, a “thank you”, etc. This is the definition of “selfish ambition” that Paul talks about: what we deserve and our rights. People who decide to stop serving (or start serving way less) are many times looking “only to his own interests” and not “to the interests of others.” That’s not to say that there isn’t wisdom we should have regarding serving. Our families should come first before the ministry. If we’re serving the church and not seeing our wives and children, then something is off and we should serve less at church so that we can serve more at home. Yet overall, it’s not less service, it’s more. Serve at church. Serve at home. Serve at our job. Serve, serve, serve.

So what is our solution if the problem with burnout is us and not leaders or the church? Paul says it’s humility. Jesus gives us some really good words we ought to remember as we serve:

“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” (Luke 17:7-11 ESV)

I think the #1 cause of burnout revolves around that we think more highly of ourselves then we ought (Romans 12:3). When we serve, many times we can think of ourselves as worthy servants. Yet Jesus is clear. There is no worthy servants except one, Jesus, and He came to serve, not to be served (Matthew 20:28). Most of our burnout issues come from our desire to be served. We need to remember who we are serving and who our model for serving is.

It’s Jesus, meek and lowly. In reality, He’s doing all the work, so why should we get any of the praise for it?

Advice For Twenties

Being a person in your twenties is a crazy thing. It’s a transition period for most people. A person typically enters their twenties being single, dependent on their parents, and at home. Yet by the time they leave their twenties they typically have families of their own, finished with school, working a full-time job, and maturing into a responsible adult. In these ten years most of a person’s biggest choices are made, choices that will define the rest of their lives. The range of emotions and experiences during this brief ten-year span can be overwhelming and confusing. Everything gets looked at, critiqued, adjusted, cemented or thrown out.

With that said, I wanted to offer a few helpful tips to those in their early twenties. Soon, I will be exiting this decade of my life and I wanted to share some of the things that have kept me sane, secure, and steady in God.

Plug yourself into a church and serve

When it comes to church attendance and service, there are three types of young people. There are those who don’t go to church or serve. They decide to put it off until they are in their thirties and have a family of their own. In truth, apart from an intervention from God, when these people are in their thirties, they will still have reasons and excuses why they can’t be part of a local church.

The second type of people are those who join and serve many local churches. They go to one church for the worship, one church for the message, one church for the college group, one church for the friends and events, and another church for the special outreaches and mission work they do. These are all things to be excited for and be a part of. The problem arises when we never fully commit to one local church. The local church is a family.  God designed this local family to refine you, like iron sharpening iron. When iron sharpens iron, there is friction. God’s maturing process for us is to be in a place where where there is a friction that sharpens us; a friction can cause some frustration or stress now and again. This is not done by picking and choosing things you like from a multitude of different churches. It’s done by finding a gospel preaching church and becoming a part of it and becoming a part of all the things that will irritate and frustrate you about it.

I hear many people use the excuse “well, I’m not growing there in this area of my life”, like the church is supposed to be perfect and complete in every area without their help. My advice to those people is to get in that area and help build it up where it’s supposed to be.

Don’t like the worship? Don’t feel it’s passionate enough?
Then join the church and help the worship team out by joining the team. Pray for them and the church. Worship God passionately each service in the midst of the congregation.

Don’t like the preaching/teaching? Don’t care much for the presentation? Don’t think it’s relevant enough?
Then join the church and help teach a Sunday School class or a kids/youth service.

Don’t think the church is committed to outreach and missions enough?
Then join the church and help organizing ways to reach out to the community. Talk to the pastors about helping them plan a short-term missions trip.

Legacy isn’t left by traveling from church to church, week to week. Legacy and change happens when you plant yourself in one place for a long extended period of time. I have been a part of my church for 14 years. I am being matured in the faith because I am constantly being sharpened by people and ministries that are not perfect. We are being perfected together for the glory of God.

Embrace older believers

Christianity has been around for a long time. The gospel is perfect but over time the church has added some things and traditions to it that may be unneeded or may not be relevant to the current generation. The problem arises where we start thinking that older people have ruined Christianity and stripped it of its greatness by all the traditions they hold. While there may be legitimate things that need to be changed or updated, most of these thoughts come out of arrogance and over-zealousness. The New Testament continually tells older men/women to teach and train the younger men/women. The Bible doesn’t say for younger people to state the ways in which the older people are ruining the church.

In hindsight, here are a couple reasons I thought older people were ruining the church:

  1. I didn’t see the bigger picture
    Many times we are focused on a issue that is a stumbling block to 3-4 people while the issue  is helping hundreds. Sometimes we get into a pattern of thinking that 16-30 is the only age bracket in the church. In typical churches, we only make up 20% of the congregation. Take a step back and think about other people and other age brackets.
  2. I wasn’t mature enough yet
    Many of the things that I had a problem with in the past were simply because I wasn’t mature enough to understand or want them. I’ll use hymns as an example. When I was a teenager through till my early twenties, I didn’t care much for hymns. I found them wordy, passionless, and lacking musical flair. Now I desire them more than any new cutting edge song. Sure, I have joined the worship team and helped them have more musical flair (see the above main point about joining the church), but the words and substance of the songs have remain unchanged. What has changed is my maturity. Now I understand the songs and have learned to apply passion from my heart when singing them.
Choose to embrace older people/believers and some of the traditions they hold. You may find out that as you get your older twenties that many of these things are good.

Make knowing God your one dream

Currently, there is much talk in the church about living your dreams and reaching your goals. I find this unscriptural since we are called to lay all those things down in order to pick up our cross and follow Jesus (see Luke 9:23). But not only is it unbiblical but it is also impractical. The Lord ordains where we live, what job we work, and the rest of our future.

Here’s the truth: God calls 98% of people to love him passionately and serve Him extravagantly in the midst of their mundane life.

You can go to college and get a MBA. You can plan to start a new business/ministry that will change the world all while donating profits to dig wells in Africa. Just realize that the Lord’s plans for you most likely will include you working as a shift supervisor at Target (or somewhere like that) for several years.

Why?

Because God’s plans for your life aren’t about you having the most awesome job so that you feel fulfilled in your life. His plans are for you to be fulfilled in him alone. He will go to great lengths to make this happen, whether by long seasons of singleness, boring jobs, serving a smaller church instead of helping a exciting mega-church that’s a few more miles away, etc. To quote C.S. Lewis from The Weight of Glory, “we are far too easily pleased.” God wants to be the absolute and ultimate center to our lives. He wants to teach you how to have passion and love for Him that will last. That mostly happens in the boring, dry, dull, and mundane parts and times in our lives.

So go to college, learn, grow, build relationships, travel, visit, but be content with whatever lot the Lord gives you. Make your only dream and goal to know Him. Don’t let your work factor into your satisfaction. Let only Jesus into that place. That place of satisfaction was made by Him and for Him. Anything else that tries to occupy that place in your heart and life will become an idol and will ultimately distract you from knowing Him in His fullness.

Serve To Be Trusted, Trusted To Serve More

I don’t know what it is about sectional pastors’ meetings, but it seems like every time I go I end up with some challenging thoughts regarding servanthood and my life. This time, as I was playing keyboard for worship, I realized a reason why we serve. We serve to build trust. This is neither the ultimate reason nor the ultimate temporal goal. The ultimate reason is because He’s God and He has shown us His love and serving Him in any and every capacity is the least He deserves. Another reason is because we realize who we truly are without Him and His grace (“Serving God & Two Steps Away“). But another reason we serve is to build trust…with both man and God.

Luke 16:10-12 states:

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with very much and whoever is dishonest with very little will be dishonest with very much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

Now some people may say that passage is completely about money (and I do believe it concerns earthly finances), but the context and reality of those scriptures is all about serving and faithfulness. This is evident by what Jesus declares next – “no man can serve two masters”.

Jesus declares to the multitudes that we must show ourselves faithful in the earthly realm in order to inherit true eternal treasures. By living our lives now in the place of consistent faithfulness, we store up for ourselves glory and honor on that day. We gain our position (not salvation) in the end-time kingdom by making our lives like Christ’s – following the Sermon on the Mount, following the way of complete servanthood. The rewards we will receive in those days completely depend on our faithfulness now.

Likewise, we must show ourselves faithful in order to be trusted now. But the reward for our faithfulness now is not the same reward that we will receive from Him when He returns. The way God has set up His kingdom, both now and forever, is this: we serve to be trusted, and we’re trusted to serve more.

Jesus declares in Matthew 20:25-28:

…you know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Even as I was typing that scripture I realized that Jesus never said “before you become a leader or become known as great, first you must become a slave and serve for a little while”. No, Jesus declared that if one wants to be great in His kingdom, both in the temporal and eternal, they must sell themselves as a slave and serve others completely, for the rest of our lives.

In the western church, we have followed the ways of the world by believing that we start off serving in the lower positions and then we move up the corporate ladder where we can stop doing those things and do more “honorable” things. That is the complete opposite of what Jesus talks about. The greater you become in the kingdom, the more you serve and the harder you work. The more authority you are trusted with, the more you are trusted to serve and lose your life for those you are over. Jesus’ example in John 13 is that the greatest among us wash the most feet.

This is the reason He declares that in the end, when it’s all said and done, the meek (not the strong and forceful but the humble and serving) will inherit the earth. The highest positions in heaven will not be given to famous people who traveled the world showing their ministry. The highest positions (like kings of actual nations in the millennial kingdom) will be given to those who didn’t blow their own horn but instead gave their lives and rights up to serve others.

God is looking for those who will embrace the way of the cross, the way of servanthood and death, the way of unselfish devotion to God and others. He will reward them with eternal treasures and positions when He comes. In the meantime, He offers them greater ways to die and serve. That is why I serve. So that He can trust me more so that I can serve more, even unto death, knowing that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

Wisdom That Comes From Above

i have been in an inward struggle in my conversations with people for the past few weeks. at times, i have been frustrated, bitter, angry, confused, concerned and even offended. i have tried to battle against all those ungodly emotions, but i haven’t got far. i am constantly remembering the scripture in james 1:20 where it says “let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness God requires”. but how does this apply when you feel your opinion is “from God” or is divine insight? i am realizing that many times, my anger is just frustrated pride (cause i think i now what’s right or i think i know what needs to be done).

recently another scripture in james has been resounding in my head:

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (james 3:13-18)

i long for divine wisdom (the “wisdom that comes from above”). james lists eight things that divine wisdom is:

  1. pure
    james starts off saying that divine wisdom doesn’t have secret motives. it is “FIRST pure” and innocent. many times i find that my “wisdom” is rooted in bitterness or “selfish ambition” (from the verse before) instead of being caring and compassionate.
  2. peaceable
    i am so glad that james puts “peaceable” near the top to the list! he combines “pure” with “peaceable” (“but the wisdom that comes from above is first pure, THEN peaceable…”). i realized that no matter how God-inspired my thoughts or opinions are, if they do not bring or keep the peace, then they are not totally pure and therefore it’s not true “divine wisdom”
  3. gentle
    this is such a tendency in an conversation to make little “stabs” against one another. if someone disagrees with you it’s easy to start making slightly rude remarks or start talking harshly. but divine wisdom always is “as wise as a serpent BUT as harmless as a dove”. it remains like Jesus…gentle as a lamb.
  4. open to reason
    even when God gives us divine wisdom concerning a situation, it does not mean the answer will solve the entirety of the situation. just because God says to be generous with your finances, it does not mean you should give away all your money. there are parts of the solution God gives to many people for a collective purpose (that is why there is “wisdom in a multitude of counselors”). we must remember that our “insight” is not the end all. we must be open to reason and allow others to bring their divine solutions into the conversation to join ours.
  5. full of mercy
    this is where humility is proven. when people resist you or are temporary blinded to the truth, divine wisdom’s response is mercy. it does not lash out. neither does it look at those temporarily blinded any different from those who understand. divine wisdom remembers that without divine revelation, we are all blinded and that there will be times that we will unknowingly be blinded by error until God opens our eyes. the merciful will receive mercy (matthew 5:7).
  6. full of good fruits
    i love this point. james states that divine wisdom bears good fruit. that is in all matter of time, both past, present and future. divine wisdom can be PROVEN as wisdom from glancing at history and one’s present life/example. it can be TRUSTED (because of the past and present) as wisdom in the future.
  7. impartial
    in chapter two, james talks about the evil of showing partiality. this is an important, but overlooked point many times. divine wisdom is impartial. if it applies to the situation or another person, it can be applied to any like situation and most importantly IT APPLIES TO YOU. many times we give others “divine wisdom” with taking it for ourselves. it must strike our hearts as well.
  8. sincere
    i have to admit that this is a hard one for me. i can be very sarcastic and cynical, but james says that divine wisdom is sincere. it’s heartfelt. it’s true to the nature of God. we must remember that God does not take sharing revelation lightly or as a joke. we are told in scripture that we will be held accountable for all we know and for all that has been told to us. divine wisdom realizes that there is a cost to hearing and sharing this wisdom with others (to both parties…the hearer and the speaker) and does not take it lightly.

i am setting my heart in the place of prayer for this “wisdom that comes from above”. i want these things birthed in me, starting with purity and peacefulness. i pray that God gives you (as well as myself) a “spirit (something deeper than carnal mind) of wisdom and revelation” (ephesians 1:17) that we can have, understand and speak forth the wisdom that truly “comes from above”.

what attribute of divine wisdom do you struggle with most? are the attributes of divine wisdom a progression, or are they individual traits that can be obtained separately? what areas do you need divine wisdom in? what keeps us from partaking in divine wisdom?

How To Bless Your Pastor

I went to a youth leader’s conference last weekend. They had several awesome main sessions and a bunch of good breakout sessions. On the list I saw that they had a breakout session called “How To Bless Your Pastor”. I was really glad to see a breakout session taking time to teach how to do this. Even though I didn’t go to the session, thoughts of how to bless my pastor have been circling in my head for a few days and I wanted to post some of them.

Pray for him

This is the most important and, if I am honest, the one I do least. There are things that pastors face that only God can help and resolve. By praying, I am petitioning God to do what only He can do. I also try to make sure that I pray positively. I pray for wisdom, strength and grace for my leadership and as a result I am helping cut through the demonic attack against them and helping God encourage their souls.

God has been challenging me to pray for them instead of criticizing them. I used to say I pray for my pastor, but then God challenged me track how much I prayed versus how much I spoke negatively against him. The result shocked me. He reminded me that in James 3:10 the Bible states that “blessing and cursing flow from the same mouth…this should not be”.

Stand up and defend him in times of criticism

What pastors need are people who will shield, guard and defend them. They need people who will speak out for them and be their voice when they hear someone criticizing them especially since the majority of criticism comes from behind the back of a pastor). They need people around them who believe and trust them. In 1 Samuel 14, Jonathan’s armor bearer believed, followed and protected his leader in whatever his leader wanted to do. Abishai was one of David’s “mighty men” and he was constantly defending and protecting David. He went so far to ask David if he could kill those who slandered him (David said no.). Where are the people who long to protect and defend their leaders in every way possible?

I try to do my best to defend my leadership, sometimes to a fault. One of the reasons I think I do it is because of how I was raised. At the church I grew up in, the senior pastor fell into a serious scandal, yet my family would not participate in any rumors or criticisms of the pastor. Why? Cause it’s a principle in the Bible. David would not speak against anyone the Lord had anointed, no matter how deceived they were or how much sin they were in. God doesn’t approve of all of His anointed ones’ actions, but He requires us not to speak ill of them, or “touch” them (in a harmful or negative manner) in any way.

Help, love and support his family

One of the most encouraging things for a pastor to know is that you not only support them but you also support and love their family. Pastors are blessed when people not only help out the pastor, but do whatever they can to help out the entire family, especially when hard times come.

Please understand, many pastors don’t get to spend Christmas or other special days with their families. They respond to church family emergencies and many times their own family suffers for it. People who come along side the pastor and help them in whatever way they can to make sure their family is taken care of and loved  is truly a blessing for anyone in leadership. Sometimes it’s you taking the hospital visit, fixing dinner for their family or taking their kids out to the beach for a day of fun.

Serve, serve, serve (and don’t argue or complain about it)

Words without action do very little in life. I may say I support my pastor, but what am I actually doing to prove it? I try to do everything I possibly can to help my pastors out. This sometimes can be taxing and frustrating, but showing love and support often is. That’s the hardest part about serving. It calls you to deny your flesh, take up the towel and wash another’s feet, whether they are a stranger, friend or leader.

I remember one time that I did not have any desire to serve (for whatever reason) but then I read in Luke 16:12 where Jesus asked His disciples:

And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?

I realized that even when I have no desire to serve, by serving today I am investing in my own ministry and life one day. I want people who will help me one day fulfill the call of God on my life, so according to that scripture I must help others fulfill theirs.

Speak words of encouragement (this will benefit both parties)

This is very easy and practical to do. Saying how much you’re thankful to a pastor or how well of a job they’re doing in a particular area encourages a pastor to keep going. Even if they’re doing a lot wrong, everyone does something right so try to focus on that. One of the tricks of the enemy is to make a pastor feel that they’re not being effective. Another way to combat this (after prayer and defending) is to verbal tell them what God has done in your life through them. The testimonies that you give them with help them wage war with the “accuser of the brethren”. It will bring hope and cheer to his soul, and when your pastor is encouraged and he is happy and joyous, it will benefit the entire church, including you.

Serving God & Two Steps Away

I started off my day a little different today. Normally I go to work in the morning but this morning I got to help play for our church’s sectional pastor’s meeting. It was great! I had a blast playing. But in the middle of it, I heard what my co-workers would say later on that day:

“Why are you always at church? Why do you take off to do church stuff? We need you here.”

You see, I don’t get paid for playing, even on a non-church day. I technically don’t have to agree to help. Our new worship leader plays keyboard. He just asks me to play with him cause it makes him feel a little more comfortable and it frees him up to worship a little bit more. So why do I serve so much at church? Why do I pour my life SO MUCH into something when I seem to get nothing out of it?

I realized one of the big reasons (the main one is “cause I love Jesus”) that I do all I can to serve my church and leadership is that I am two steps away from being homeless or in serious trouble in my life. Why you ask? It would seem when people look at me, they think that I have my life mostly in order. The truth of the matter though is that if my parents were dead and if I didn’t have the job I have now, I would be on the street or down and out in my life. Could I push past those things and remain successful? Yes, but there is a significant chance for failure in life due to those two things being removed in my life.

So why does this make me serve my heart out in church? Because God promises that if I take care of His ministry, He will take care of my life. He promises that I’ll never be begging for bread. He promises that He will supply my needs. He promises that He will not be a debtor to man. These promises are conditional on me “seeking first the kingdom of God”. Also, when you are into the end times and you really believe that you’ll go through it all yourself, having those promises is a really good thing.

I have realized that my trust can’t be in my job or my family or anything else. My trust has to be in the Lord. I have met too many people that stuff happened in their lives and it ruined everything. If I really want to be wise and invest in my future then I’m going to sow in to the Kingdom with everything I got because there is a promise of return there!