Pastors Work Hard

August 2, 2014

Pastors Work Hard

            You may think that the pastor of a local church has an easy life.  That isn’t true of pastors who are honestly fulfilling their role.  To help you see what all is involved in the work of a pastor we need to consider the example of the Apostle Paul in the church at Thessalonica.  In      I Thessalonians 2:1-20 we see what Paul invested in the church in the short time he was there.

A pastor’s time is well spent.  In verse one Paul said, “For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain.”  Our entrance in unto you means the time we spent among you.  He said it was not in vain.  Once my wife and I were visiting a church that was forced to close its doors because of financial reasons.  After the pastor preached his last sermon in the church he walked to a back bench that was unoccupied, sat down, and began to shed tears.  I went and sat by him and assured him that his ministry there was not in vain.  I told him he had touched many lives and had left Christians stronger than they would have been if he hadn’t spent time among them.  I told him that these Christians will go to other churches and be used of God in greater measure because of what he had invested in them.

At times a pastor must face contention.  Paul said, in verse two, that there was much contention.  Not everyone appreciates the work a pastor does.  Christianity is under attack.  The servant of God must be bold, as Paul said he was.  Your pastor is defending your right to live the Christian life. It isn’t easy to face contention.  At times pastors reach a breaking point and say, “I can’t take it anymore.”  Some leave the ministry when they come to that point.  For that reason,    you need to pray for your pastor, encourage him, and defend him when others speak against him.

A good pastor doesn’t exalt himself.  Paul said in verse 5 that he didn’t use flattery.  Flattery is an attempt to make people feel good about themselves.  For example, a pastor could tell his people what good Christians they are.  If they were as good as he would like to make them think they are, he wouldn’t need to be there.  A pastor does need to praise the church and express appreciation for what they do, but not to the extent of flattering them.  The motive behind flattery might be covetousness.  Paul said he didn’t use a cloke of covetousness.  A cloke is used to cover up covetousness.

In verse nine he said, “For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.”  Much of the work a pastor does isn’t seen by others.  A carpenter, for example, has something material to show for the work he has done.  That often isn’t true of the work of a pastor.  No one sees him laboring in his office.  He spends many hours each week praying, reading, writing, and searching for words to express what he wants to say to his people.  If he doesn’t spend that time, his sermons will be shallow.  He will repeat himself.  His people won’t be fed from the Word of God.

Another segment of a pastor’s time is spent working one on one with people, as seen in verse eleven.   “As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children.”  People need individual attention.  A good pastor makes himself available to his people 24/7.  People die at all hours of the day or night.

People call upon their pastor when they are under stress.  That is well and good, but we often overlook the fact that pastors also are often under stress.  Paul says that he exhorted and charged them.  People often need to be exhorted to do more and do better.  It is easy to give into the flesh and be lazy and apathetic.  The flesh is weak and often unwilling.  Some people don’t appreciate it when their pastor tries to motivate them to do something they don’t want to do.  The pastor suffers even more stress when he has to face a believer who has sin in his life.  The pastor has to plead with him to repent and turn from it.  Not all are willing to turn from their idols as the Thessalonians did. “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”  People in our day aren’t worshiping idols, but they are letting other things occupy the place God should have in their life.

Another word the Bible uses in speaking of pastors is “elder.” That is the word found in I Timothy 5:17 where it says that those who rule well are worthy of double honor.  “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.”  The words “double honor” can also be translated double remuneration.  A good pastor is worthy of both double pay and double honor. Pastors don’t rule as a king or dictator.  He is a servant of the Lord, but he does occupy a place of leadership in the church.

Be thankful for your pastor.  He watches over you as a shepherd.  He isn’t perfect; neither are you.  His prayer, and the longing of his heart, is that you might grow spiritually and mature.  If he corrects you for something, accept it graciously and thank him for calling it to your attention.  Fortunate are those who have a loving pastor who cares for their soul and to whom they can go for guidance.

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

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Youth Evangelism

May 19, 2014

Youth Evangelism

            Pastors, churches and Christians need to wake up to the urgency of reaching young people with the gospel.  The youth are the future of our churches.  Without them our churches will die.  The annihilation of Christianity could be only one generation away.  Are we aware of that?  If so, why isn’t more being done about it?

Yes, it’s true that many young people have been spoiled rotten.  All they are interested in  is food, fun, and games.  Many parents have failed to instill character in their children.  However, not all parents are to blame.  Many Christian parents know the heart break of seeing their children repudiate the truths they hold dear and reject the only wise God.  They need the help of churches and Christian leaders to rescue their children.

Many young people have been deceived by the teaching they have received in school. It gives them reason to doubt and reject the teaching of Christianity.  The teaching of naturalism gives them reason to think that science has proven beyond a shadow of doubt that the Bible isn’t true when it comes to science.  They have heard that teaching over and over again.  Seldom have they heard the other side of the argument.  They aren’t sufficiently grounded in the truths of God’s Word to be able to defend themselves. Proverbs 1:4 tells us that it is our duty “To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.”  Verse 5 tells us why. “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.”

Before we can attempt to win most modern young people to Christ we have to convince them of the truth of creationism.  There are some good Christian organizations that have some excellent material available to expose the fallacy of evolution.  The following are the two best known:

Answers in Genesis

P.O. box 510

Hebron, Ky. 41048

www.answersingenesis.org

 

The Institute for Creation Research

P.O. Box 59029

Dallas, Tx. 75229

www.icr.org

These groups have books, magazines, and audio-visuals available.  We need to expose young people to these materials

Perhaps churches should organize monthly Saturday youth rallies with sister churches of like faith and practice.  It can be in a different church each time.  In preparation for the rally the young people can prepare special music, readings, or skits.  When possible, an enthusiastic outside speaker who knows how to communicate with young people  could be invited.  Otherwise, the pastors of the churches involved can prepare messages designed to answer questions young people have.  On occasion, videos from the above mentioned groups could be shown.  Enthusiasm would need to be built up among the young people.  They would need to be encouraged in invite their friends outside the church.  It seems as though young people always have an empty stomach, so food needs to be included.  Older people in the church could be involved in bringing and serving the food

Some Christian youth organizations of the past have self-destructed because they went overboard in trying to entertain young people and didn’t have enough spiritual content.  There needs to be some humor and fun in a youth rally, but not so much that young people come just for that.  Let them know that the reason for the rally is to communicate a message that young people need to hear

Summer camps for young people are an excellent way of teaching them spiritual truths.    They need to be well planned and properly supervised.  Just one week of camp a year isn’t enough.  It needs to be followed up by getting them in church regularly.

Young people aren’t being taught to think in school.  They are expected to accept what is being taught without asking any questions.  Years ago schools had debating teams and the students were judged according to their ability to come up with an answer when their argument was challenged.  We need to challenge young people to think for themselves.  For example, I like to put this question to them.  “If it’s true that human beings evolved for apes and monkeys, why do we still have apes and moneys?  Why did some get left behind?”  I find that most young people have never thought about that.

Young people need to be convinced that it does make a difference what we believe.  If the Bible is true, and our origin goes back to God and creation, that answers questions about who we are and why we are here.  That gives us direction about how we should order our lives in society.  If we were created by a transcendent God for a purpose, then we need to ask, what is that purpose and how should we fulfill it?  That gives us direction in life and reason for living.

On the other hand, if naturalism is true, then there is no objective basis for morality.  Morality is nothing more than what appears to be true in our minds when we have evolved to a certain level.  Morality is subjective.  Everyone is free to decide what he thinks is true.  In modern classrooms, skepticism is applied in regard to objective truth.  The only objective truth they accept is that there is no objective truth.

We are reaping the fruit of subjective morality.  Many young people are convinced that there is no objective moral truth.  They says, “I have a right to live my life anyway I want to and no one has a right to hinder me.” That leaves them free to ruin their lives with drugs, alcohol and illicit sex.  The disaster that results from that moral philosophy is evident to any who will take time to consider it.

Our negligence in reaching out to our young people leaves our churches and Christianity without a future.  It also leaves our young people and the future generation on a downward slope that leads to chaos and calamity.  To comprehend the problem facing us and do nothing to solve the problem leaves us guilty of contributing to the problem.  What do you do when you see people on a course that will lead them to grief, pain, and shame?  To remain silent and give them no warning is to consent to their downfall.

Young people need to know that we care; that we love them.  They need to know that we want the best for them.    Christian young people need lots of help in this wicked world.  They need friends who are mature Christians who are willing to listen to their questions and give them guidance.

How can we help them?  What should we do?   What is being done? Please circulate this article among other Christian leaders.  If you have suggestions, let them be known and they will be added to this article.

Our E-mail address is: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

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The Protestants

January 10, 2014

The Protestants

            Who are the Protestants? Sometimes people say, “We aren’t Protestants.  We aren’t protesting against anything.” Perhaps that’s true, but could it be that we should be protesting against some things?

For the most part, the Protestants are all those who aren’t Catholics.  It is a big umbrella that includes evangelicals as well as the most liberal denominations.  It doesn’t tell us much about their beliefs.

Christians were first called “Protestants” back in the days of the inquisition.  According to the Random House Dictionary, the inquisition was “The special tribunal established in the 13th century and active until early modern times, engaged chiefly in combating and punishing heresy.” It was used by the Roman Catholic Church to combat the reformation.  The principle leaders of the reformation were Martin Luther (1483-1546) and John Calvin (1509-1564).

In 1526, in the Diet of Spires, the leaders of the reformation gained a victory.  It was resolved that “Every state affected by the Edict of “Worms should be allowed to control its own church and civil affairs as it might answer to God and his imperial majesty.”That liberty was short lived, however.  In 1529 “The emperor and the pope came to an agreement whereupon the Catholic party immediately revived its policy of repression.  An imperial edict was read virtually forbidding all progress of the reformation.”2  “The evangelical members of the diet presented a formal protest that the unanimous decision of the Diet of Spires in 1526 could not be rescinded by a majority vote in a second diet.”3 

In volume IV of Merle D’aubigné’s “History of the Reformation” we find the words of that protest.  In conclusion, the protest read “If you do not yield to our request, we protest by these presents, before God our only Creator, Preserver, Redeemer, and Savior, and who will one day be our judge, as well as before all men and all creatures, that we, for us and for our people , neither consent nor adhere in any manner whatsoever to the proposed decree, in anything that is contrary to God, to his holy Word, or to our right conscience, to the salvation of our souls, and to the last decree of Spiers.” … “Thus, in presence of the diet, spoke out those courageous men whom Christendom will henceforward denominate the Protestants.”

                Granted, we have a glorious positive message.  It is the message of salvation and a glorious hope for all eternity.  We need to be bold in proclaiming it.  We need to be bold also in the defense of the faith.  We are facing growing opposition to the proclamation of the gospel.  Psalm 107;2 says, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.” We are derelict in our duty if we remain silent and let our enemy blaspheme the truth, and intimidate us.  Be not weary in well doing.  We shall reap if we faint not.  (Galatians 6:9).

  1.  A History of the Christian Church by Lars P. Qualben  p. 246
  2. Op Cite p. 247
  3. Op cite p 248
  4. History of the Reformation, Merle D’aubigné D.D.

Our E-mail address is: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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Meditation

January 1, 2014

Meditation

            In Joshua 1:8 the Bible tells us we should meditate. “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” The word meditate appears 15 times in the Bible.  The majority of those times it was used by David.  What is meditation?

Unger’s Bible dictionary says that meditation is “a private devotional act, consisting in deliberate reflection upon some spiritual truth or mystery, accompanied by mental prayer and by acts of the affection and of the will, especially formation of resolutions as to future conduct.”

We need to learn to meditate.  It takes discipline to meditate.  Our mind needs to be brought under control.  I Peter 1:13 tells us to gird up the loins of our mind.  When I was a child, in a one room country grade school, our teacher told us that if we are giving full attention to what we are reading we will not be conscious of what is going on in the room.  To me, that seemed to be impossible.

Meditation demands concentration.  It is to have our mind immersed in just one theme.  If you have tried it, you know that it’s difficult to do it very long.

Rarely will our minds be occupied in meditation without self-discipline.  There are two steps we need to take in preparation for meditation.  First we need to decide on a theme for meditation.  It might be that you are seeking God’s will regarding a decision you need to make.  The second step is to choose a time and place for meditation.  It might be a time when we are doing something that doesn’t demand a lot of concentration.

Today we hear of transcendental meditation.  It has nothing to do with Biblical meditation.  Transcendental meditation is an attempt to leave the mind empty.  It is an exercise in futility.  Sometimes it can even be dangerous.  Satan can take advantage of an empty mind and fill it with wicked thoughts.  In contrast, Joshua 1:8 for example, tells us to meditate on “the book of the law.”  We need to take small pieces at a time.  It is a beneficial exercise.

Our ancestors were more adept at meditation.  It could be that they lived in a more tranquil environment.  The telephone didn’t interrupt them.  They weren’t distracted by the television or radio.  We can picture David in meditation, seated on a big rock in the pasture while he watched his flock of sheep.  His only distractions were birds singing, the wind blowing in the trees, and the bleating of the sheep.  Such an environment would lend itself to meditation.

The following are some suggested themes that would be good for us to meditate on:

  1.  The work of God in the creation of the universe
  2. The character or the works of Christ
  3. The attributes of God
  4. The ministry of the Holy Spirit
  5. The work that God wants to accomplish in this  world
  6. The principles and promises of God
  7. The nature, power, and immortality of the soul
  8. The depravity of human nature
  9. The grace of God, especially in the salvation of sinners

Another way to meditate is to choose a verse of Scripture and think of all that is included in it.  This is very similar to doing a Bible study.  We will need to take into consideration the context from which it was taken.  If we have access to commentaries or a Bible dictionary it is good to use them.  In our meditation we will ask ourselves questions like: “If this is true, how does it relate to my life?  Are there other versed in the Bible that relate to this theme?”

Unfortunately, many are so occupied with the things of this life that they don’t have time to meditate.  Many times it isn’t done because people don’t see the need for it.  Many don’t have the self-discipline that it requires.

Our spiritual understanding can be greatly increased by means of meditation.  Meditation helps to clear up and deepen our Biblical knowledge.  Time spent in meditating on spiritual matters is a good investment.

Our e-mail address is: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

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God’s Servant And His Relationships

“By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;

As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;  As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”  (II Corinthians 6:8-10).

There are nine paradoxes in these three verses. A paradox is a statement that appears to be contrary to common sense, yet it is a statement of truth.  In using the word “relationships” I’m not speaking of the relationship God’s servant has with his relatives and friends.  It has to do with his relationship with the issues of life that he has to face.  The Apostle Paul is here talking about his personal experience in working with people.  It is very likely that God’s servants today will have many of the same experiences.

By honor and dishonor

Some people are going to receive you and give you honor and praise.  Others are going to make light of you and try to discredit you.  It’s too much to expect that everyone will speak well of you.  In II Corinthians 2:15-16 the Apostle Paul used the sense of smell as an illustration of the way people react to us. “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are  the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?” The word “savour,”  that Paul used here, means fragrance.   There are things we can do to make some people respect us, but not everyone.

By evil report and good report

You need to know how to react to these things in the proper manner.  There is the danger that too much praise can make us proud.  Too much criticism can leave us depressed.  It is in the plan of God that we receive some of both.  Each one serves to counterbalance the other.  Criticism keeps us humble.  Praise gives us reason to go on in spite of the difficulties.  God knows how much of each you need and when and how to give it.

As deceivers, and yet true

Don’t be surprised if your enemy accuses you of having false or hidden motives.  Instead of rising up to defend yourself every time you are falsely accused, most often it’s best to ignore it and go on doing good.  I Peter 2:15 says, “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.”  In time, we will be vindicated, and our enemies will be put to shame.

As unknown, and yet well known

Paul spoke from the point of view of a stranger.  He was almost constantly on the road starting churches in various cities.  Many times it isn’t easy for a foreigner to be accepted.  If God calls you to be a missionary in a foreign country you will experience that.  When Paul arrived in a gentile city he was called “that Jew from Tarsus.” That didn’t mean he was well known. We know that he had some friends   because, at the close of most of his letters, he mentioned friends who were with him.    Perhaps there were few who called him their personal friend because they knew him well.  No doubt he was lonely at times.

To reach people for Christ you need to go out of your way to make friends.  By some, the servant of God is well known.  That gives him consolation.  When you are criticized it’s also a consolation to know that you have one friend you can always have.  His name is Jesus.  “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.  Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you” (John 15:14-15).

As dying, and behold we live

You, as a servant of God, may sometimes be called upon to enter into dangerous situations.  Pastors sometimes feel compelled to visit their parishioners when they are down in bed with a deadly contagious disease.  If you find yourself in that situation, put on a mask, but arm yourself with prayer.  As a missionary, I sometimes went calling door to door in what are called “emergency villages.” Some missionaries feared to go there.

In II Corinthians 11:23-26 Paul mentioned some of the life threatening situations he found himself in.  “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.  Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.    Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;    In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”  It is a consolation to know that we are immortal until the moment when God calls us home.

As chastened, and not killed

As a servant of God, you need to be ready and willing to go where he sends you.  Don’t look for an easy place to live and serve.  Sometimes God sends his servants to places where it is as though they have to do hand to hand combat with the enemy.  You can be successful if you go in the strength of the promise of II Corinthians 9:8.  “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” In the Old Testament we read of some of the dangers David had to face.  In Psalm 28:7 he said, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.”

As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing

It seems like a contradiction to be rejoicing when we have abundant reason to be sad.  It isn’t the normal reaction.  One time God called my wife and I, and some others from the church, to go and minister to a lady whose husband died suddenly.  After spending some time giving her comfort and consolation, I stepped outside on the front porch where her children were.  It was raining hard and frogs were jumping in the grass.  As I stood there, I gave praise to God for putting me there where I was needed and could minister to people who needed what I had to offer.  I felt a little guilty about rejoicing at a time when I had every reason to be sad.  You, as a servant of God, may be called upon to go from having part in a funeral to performing a wedding ceremony, all in the same day.

As poor, yet making many rich

Not all riches are measured as financial assets.  There is a limit to what money can do.  Someone has written,  You may be called upon to work full time at a secular job and pastor a church, both at the same time.  That doesn’t make you any less a servant of God.  By being willing to live humbly, you can make others rich spiritually.  You will be richly rewarded.  “Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven….” (Luke 6:23).

As having nothing, and yet possessing all things

You need to claim the promise of Philippians 4:19.  “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Your most valuable possessions are your family and your friends.  Make as many friends as you can.  Don’t do it by sacrificing that which is right and honorable.  If you do, you will lose the close communion you have with your greatest friend.  Jesus said, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14).

A rich man is a poor man if he has no friends.  You need to be diligent in providing for yourself and your family.  At the same time, Paul wants us to know that we shouldn’t be in despair because of what we don’t have.  Men fall into four possible relationships regarding poverty and riches:

  • Rich spiritually and poor economically
  • Poor spiritually and rich economically
  • Poor spiritually and poor economically
  • Rich spiritually and rich economically

Don’t think that wealth and material things are of no importance.  With them you can serve God and minister to the needs of others.  If God gives you wealth, use it prudently and responsibly.  If he doesn’t give you wealth, you can still serve him with your life.   We shouldn’t lose sight of the great value of spiritual things.  They will be with us thorough out all eternity.

What are your thoughts?  I would be delighted to have you share them with me.  Our

e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tragdy in the Ministry

February 5, 2013

Tragedy in The Ministry

            I love pastors.  I have been one for the better part of my life.  Many know me as a missionary, but most of my time has been spent in starting and pastoring churches in Argentina.  Being a pastor is one of the highest callings of God.  Some of my best friends have been and still are pastors.

I want you to have a long and fruitful ministry.  May one of your goals be that, at the end, you can say with the Apostle Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” My heart is broken every time I hear of a pastor who met with tragedy in the course of his ministry.  I want to warn you of tragedy on the horizon and tell you how to avoid meeting with it.

This article deals with the tragedy that takes place when a pastor falls into the sin of adultery.  Not only is it a tragedy for the pastor; it is equally a tragedy for his family and the church he pastors.  There are repercussions that are far reaching.  It brings disgrace on the name of our precious Lord.

First of all, we need to be agreed that adultery is sin.  In the Ten Commandments, it follows right after homicide.  “Thou shalt not kill.   Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:13-14).  It is hurtful and shameful, no matter who the guilty people are.  When the guilty one is a servant of the most high God, the shame and disgrace is compounded.

We are all vulnerable to Satan’s temptations, but if we fall, we are without excuse.  I Corinthians 10:13 says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Just because you are in the ministry doesn’t mean you can’t be tempted.  You too need to take heed to Mark 14:38. “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.”

There are some things we can and should do to keep ourselves strong enough to resist temptation.  “A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength” (Proverbs 24:5).

  • Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”  For many reasons it’s extremely important that we maintain a close relationship with God.   We are weak, but God is our strength.  Psalm 61:3 says, “For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.” Don’t neglect to spend time daily reading God’s word and in prayer.

 

  • Mark 12:30 says, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”  We need to guard our minds.  Be careful what you read.  Trashy novels can weaken your resistance.  The same needs to be said about many DVD’s and late night television programs.  Some men are tempted to fantasize.  In your mind, it’s possible to imagine and even experience some of the pleasure of an extra-marital affair.  No one knows what you are thinking.  If you make it a practice to fantasize, it will lower your resistance to sexual lust.  If you are struggling with the temptation to fantasize, you need to pray the prayer of David in Psalm 19:12.  “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”

 

  • Guard your eyes.  Job said he made a covenant with his eyes. “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?”  Because of the way some women dress in our day, we need a special measure of God’s power to guard our eyes.  I highly respect pastors who insist that their wife and daughters dress modestly.  If they do, they should also teach and preach in the church that women and girls do likewise.

 

  • Proverbs 5:15-20 says, “Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.  Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.

Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee.  Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.   And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?”  It is extremely important that you maintain a close, loving, personal relationship with your wife.  Wives have an obligation to satisfy the sexual desires of their husbands.  Most often they will, if their husbands give them the attention they should.  You need to spend time with your wife.  Show her affection.  Tell her that you love her.  She is capable of giving you greater sexual satisfaction than any lewd woman can.  It will be without the feeling of guilt.

Even if your wife disappoints you or isn’t always available, that is never an excuse for adultery.  Excuses I have heard men give for falling into adultery are never justifiable.  Ephesians 5:3 says, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints.”

Adultery is the surest way to devastate your ministry, but it’s not the only way.  The ministry of some pastors ends in tragedy because they went off into false doctrine.  Others were snared by materialism or financial irresponsibility.  Each of these snares is a separate subject that would merit another article to give prudence in avoiding them.

Most often sin begins in the heart and mind.  It’s what can be called “secret sin.”  It starts by veering off course just a tiny bit.  Pilots know that if they veer off course just one degree and stay there, they will not arrive at their desired destination.  If, after reading this article, you realize that you have gotten off course, I beg you to make the necessary correction.  It may be that no one is aware of it.  If so, you don’t need to confess it to anyone but God.  If you feel God is telling you that you should confess it to your wife, then don’t hesitate to do so.  Staying off course can lead to disaster in your ministry.  It’s an awful tragedy.  Don’t let it happen to you.  Pray that God will enable you to continually meet the qualifications laid down in I Timothy 3:1-7.  “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.    A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;    Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;    (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)    Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

 

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

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Working With Young People

January 25, 2013

Working With Young People

            Why do we dedicate so much hard work and time to youth ministry?  Is it worthwhile? Yes, it certainly is.  This article points out some of the reasons why it’s important to be occupied in working with young people.

  • Young people need to be reached with the gospel.  When they get older it’s more unlikely that they will accept Christ as their Savior.  Even if they are reached later, they will have sins and bad habits that are more deeply rooted and more difficult to get victory over.  Also, when young people are saved, they have more time ahead of them to be useful servants of God.

 

  • Teenage years are difficult.  Young people find themselves in a time of transition.  They are no longer children; neither are they adults.  They face conflicts.  Some may want to turn back and be a child again.  Sometimes they want liberty to live as an adult even though they aren’t ready for it.  At times adults treat them as children, but they give them responsibilities they aren’t prepared for.  In the church we need to help them through these conflicts.  We need to make ourselves available to them so they can come to us for advice.

 

  • Young people can be a great help in the church.  It is sometimes said that they are the future of the church.  True, they will be the future leaders of the church.  They are an important part of the church.  Many times they are more willing, and have more enthusiasm than some of the older members.  It isn’t wise to make them wait until they are adults before they can have a part in the ministry of the church.  It’s good to find things they can do.  Here are some suggestians:

 

  1. They can be a great help in the children’s ministry.
  2. They can sing in a youth choir or special numbers
  3. Some churches give the more mature young people the opportunity to conduct the evening service on occasion.  It should be with adult supervision.

 

  • Young people are making decisions that will have an impact on their lives.  Many times they aren’t mature enough to make wise decisions.  If they know you love them, they may seek your advice.  You, the pastor and youth leader, need to convince them that you truly care about their wellbeing and want the best for them.  They need to be warned about the bad advice they may get from people in the world.

 

  • Young people need to be given the training and fortitude to resist the false teaching they often receive in public schools.  Their faith is often undermined by the teaching of the theory of evolution.  The web site answersingenesis.org has some excellent educational material to counteract the evolutionary theory.  Young people are also taught the theory of humanism that says we can solve all our problems without the help of God.  Just taking into account the serious moral and emotional problems we have in society should be sufficient to reveal the folly of the teaching of humanism.

 

  • Young people need to be encouraged to surrender their lives to the Lord and be willing to do his will. It’s not for us to try to make pastors and missionaries out of them.  God has a special plan for each young person that has accepted Christ as his Savior.  We can’t tell them what that plan is, but God will reveal it to them if they surrender their lives to him, and seek his will.  For some, his will may be that they be truck drivers, or doctors, or school teachers or nurses.  He may call some into the full time ministry.  For all of them, it’s his will that they be a testimony and witness for him.  Romans 12:1-2 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.   And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
  • There are many heart aches and disappointments in youth work.  It takes much patience.  We aren’t perfect and we are working with imperfect young people.  We learn to love them.  We invest part of our lives in them.  It hurts when some reject the good advice we gave them.  They go off into sin and their lives are ruined.  We know they will pay dearly for it.  The up side of working with young people is that some will go on faithfully.  They are our pride and joy because we have invested something in their lives.
  • You, as the pastor or youth leader, need the support of the parents of the young people.  It might be advisable to invite the parents to meet with you sometime without the young people present.  At that meeting you can explain what your goals are and seek to gain their confidence.  This may encourage them to support you when you give advice to their children that they may not want to accept.  You also need the support of others in the church.  At times you may plan activities and need financial support from others in the church.  You may also occasionally need for others to transport young people to special activities in their cars.  Let others know how much you appreciate their help.
  • Don’t give up on young people.  They need you and the church needs them.  They are facing some overwhelming challenges in the day in which we live. They need the help that you can give them.
  • Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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A High Calling

October 14, 2012

A High Calling

                  The call to the ministry is the highest calling there is.  If a man leaves the ministry for any other type of work he has to take a step down.  Ephesians 4:11-12 says “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;   for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”  In Philippians 3:14 the Apostle Paul called it “the high calling of God.”  A pastor is deserving of respect, but that doesn’t mean that he is superior to those around him.

Since it is a high calling, the qualifications are high.  No one should attempt to serve in the pastorate if he doesn’t feel the calling of God.  In I Timothy 1:12 the Apostle Paul said “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.”

A pastor also needs a good education.  If he doesn’t like to read and study it’s hard to believe that he is called to the ministry.  Some ask if it’s absolutely necessary that a pastor have a high school education.  That depends on where he is going to serve.  If he is serving a congregation where few, if any, have a high school education, then he might qualify without it.  In the day in which we live it’s doubtful that anyone will find a congregation where that is the case.  All are handicapped without a high school education.  Not only does he need a high school education, he also needs a college and seminary education.  In some cases, a man can serve without finishing his seminary training, but it’s always to his advantage if he does.  If he hasn’t, he should take advantage of every opportunity he has to take additional seminary courses.  It is his education that qualifies him, not his diploma.

Another requirement of a servant of the Lord is that he should have a good measure of self discipline.  That’s what the word “temperance” means in II Peter 1:6.  Most often a pastor doesn’t have someone telling him what to do every day.  Without self discipline, it’s easy to neglect completing every day’s responsibilities.  He needs to be disciplined in the use of his time.   A man who can’t get to church a few minuets before the service starts, shows a lack of self discipline.  A pastor needs to discipline the use of his time in the preparation of messages and Bible studies and in visitation.  He also needs self discipline in his personal life.  That includes keeping himself clean and well dressed as well as his appetites.  The same can be said in regard to his wife.  Some men meet the qualifications for the ministry, but unfortunately their wives are a hindrance to them and may even disqualify them.

The servant of the Lord should have a love for people.  He is called to serve others and not to be served.  There are times when he needs to sacrifice of his time and money to serve those who have a need.

A man of God must have integrity.  He needs to have high moral standards.  Many look to him for advice when they need to make decisions.  He needs the wisdom of God to give them good advice.  It is devastating when a pastor is guilty of immorality. Unbelievers take it as an excuse for rejecting Christianity.  Believers are left defeated and discouraged

If one feels that God is calling him into the ministry he should talk to his pastor.  He should ask his pastor if he thinks that he has the qualifications for the ministry.  If his pastor thinks that he is qualified, it’s almost certain that he will encourage and help him.

When possible, Christians and churches should give support, as needed, and encouragement to Bible college and seminary students.  If he is a man with a family, he has to make a lot of sacrifices.  It’s hard for him to work, study, and take time for his family.  Some men are able to complete their seminary training because their wives are working.

It is unfortunate that there is a great lack of servants of God.  Jesus said “The harvest is plenteous, but the labourers are few.  Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38).  We need to obey the command of Christ and pray that he would send labourers into his harvest field.  There is a great need of more missionaries as well as pastors.  In the book of James we read “Ye have not because ye ask not” (James 4:2).

 

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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In The Arena

August 6, 2012

Dear Pastor Friend:

Below are some thoughts that have been going through my head that I wanted to share with you.  None of us ever have all the answers, but I think we at least need to be aware of the battle we are in and seek God’s leading as we seek to lead our flocks.

Many of our people don’t have a biblical world view.  I’m sure many of you too are often heart broken by young people with a carnal mind.  They profess to be saved but, they sure don’t have the mind of Christ.  In these days we need to pray; “Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth; unite my heart to fear thy name.”  Psalm 86:11    

 

In The Arena

            Modern Christians don’t have to prove the validity of their faith in the arena with savage beasts like some of the early Christians.  Never the less, if we live the Christian life as we should, we too will often find ourselves in a hostile arena.  The foe we face is a society that does not recognize or respect Christian principles.  The winners are those who are surrendered to God, willing to do his will, no matter what it costs.  The losers are those who conform to society.

Little by little we have weakened, and wavered, and surrendered until modern Christianity is a lifeless thing that makes no impact on those around us.  Many have tried to make Christianity compatible with the modern world view that is characterized by materialism and secularism.  We are dull of hearing when we read, “Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.”  (Col. 3 :1)  Surely, we think, God doesn’t expect his people to deny themselves any of the creature comforts and luxuries that are so accessible.

Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”  Our psychology saturated minds tell us that if we do that properly, it has to make us feel good.  Isn’t it God’s will that all his people feel good all the time? No. Jesus didn’t die on the cross to make us feel good.  He died to save us from the awful consequences of eternal destruction.  When we read in John 10 :10 where Jesus said, “I am come that ye might have life and that ye might have it more abundantly”  We assume that “life more abundantly” must be in the context of prosperity and personal well being.

It’s becoming apparent to me that many of the conflicts believers face stem from being too closely tied to the society in which we live.  To be more specific, the problems people in general face stem from the philosophy of modern society.  Most people are too proud to admit that they have chosen a life style that does not lead them to success and satisfaction.

Many have become entertainment oriented.  They live to be entertained.  They soon become bored with church if it isn’t entertaining.  It will be a loosing battle if we try to keep our people by entertaining them.

Let’s not measure success just by how many we get through the doors of our churches, or how many we get down the aisle.  What really matters is how many we have walking daily, straight and tall, in the will of God.  May God help us to be men and women of God in a perverted world.

 

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

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A Mission of Mercy

July 3, 2012

 

A MISSION OF MERCY

We can’t serve God without serving people.  Sometimes that involves doing things we’d rather not do.  I had one of those experiences in Argentina on New years day, 1992.  It involved Andrew, a man who made a profession of faith about 10 days previously in the hospital while he was awaiting a gall bladder operation.

 

Andrew’s wife, Hilda, was a faithful Christian who has been attending our church for several years.  Andrew made a profession of faith a number of years previously, but we never saw anything to indicate  it was genuine.  He beat his wife and more than once at­tempted to kill her.  More than once she came to church in tears and said that Andrew had kicked her out of the house and told her not to come back again.  Each time I prayed with her and consoled her.  I told her to just go back home and act like nothing had ever happened.  When ever I tried to talk to him he would agree with me in every thing; a typical “yes man” with no indication of repentance.

 

Andrew had his operation and was dis­charged from the hospital.  I took him home on Saturday and he seemed to be on his way to recovery.  At 6:30 the following Monday morning I went to his house and took him back to the public hospital for a check up.  After waiting for over an hour they finally told him to return home, because they weren’t going to be able to see him that morning.

 

By Tuesday afternoon he was suffering a lot.  We took him back to the hospital.   That time they dressed his incision and sent him back home.  They told him he should have a nurse to come the next day and dress his incision.  While we were at the hospital it began to rain hard.  We left the hospital through flooded streets and a driving rain.  I took him to our house first because I was afraid I couldn’t get all the way to his house.  They live about 1 mile off the pavement.  Juan Carlos, the pastor of our first church, was working at our house and I thought it would be best to take him along.  We waited for a while for the rain to stop but, when it appeared that it wasn’t going to stop, we went ahead with him.

 

The next afternoon, New Years day, we were spending a quite afternoon at home.   My wife woke me up from a nap to tell me that Hilda and her daughter had come.  They wanted me to take Andrew back to the hospital.   It so happened that someone had wrecked our van the night before so we didn’t have any transportation.   They went to get a nurse who attends our church, but she wasn’t home.  They were considering going to the hospital to see if they could get an ambulance to come after him.  I was almost certain that they wouldn’t succeed in that on New Years day.   Another problem was that it had been raining all day and it would have been impossible to get to their house with an ambulance.

 

I felt the Lord telling me that I should go and dress his incision.  I’m not a doctor, not  even  a nurse.   In Bible college I had a one semester course in missionary medicine.  There didn’t seem to be any other solution.  Finally I said, “If you want, I’ll go and do it.”  Hilda, was in agreement with that.  I took a bottle with a few Tylenol tablets in it out of the medicine cabinet and put on my high boots, grabbed an umbrella, and started out with them.  We walked the four blocks to the highway and took a bus to the end of the bus line.  From there, it’s normally about 6 blocks they have to walk to their house, but because of the flooding, we had to  walk about a mile to get there.  The farther we went – the deeper the water.  Fortunately my boots were high enough to get me through.  The house was completely surrounded by water, 6-8 inches deep in places.

 

After entering the house I clasped Andrew’s hand and prayed with him.  I told him what I was going to do and he was in agreement.  I ask Hilda for a pan of water and soap so I could wash my hands.  I warned Andrew that it was going to hurt when we took of the bandage.  Hilda held one of his arms and I held the other one.  With my free hand I ripped off the bandage.  I washed his incision with soap and water the best I knew how.  Then we did something that sounds unconventional, but it’s a common procedure there.  We put sugar on the incision.  After that we covered it with gauze and taped it down.  I gave Andrew two Tylenol tablets to relieve the pain. That was the only time I had to dress Andrew’s incision.  The next time a nurse did it.  She said it looked like I did a god job.

 

It’s sometimes said that a servant of God needs to be prepared to preach, pray or die.  In my experience, I have found that there are a number of things that need to be added to that list, like burying dead dogs for widows and driving people to the hospital in an emergency.  The Apostle Paul said, “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” ( I Corinthians 9:22).

 

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

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