Tuesday, February 2, 2016

You are Worthy of My Affections

To my beloved Redeemer congregation:

I give regular thought about my role in your life.  I really do.  It is a contemplation that never stops for me.  With so many pastoral models out there, it’s easy to become distracted about what I should be doing.  

So, I read Paul’s epistles quite a bit.  They keep me focused on you and my calling. 

Scripturally speaking and simply put, my role alongside the other elders (shepherds) of the church is to lead in Worship, preach and teach the bible (gospel) and administer the sacraments. I am to intercede for you daily through prayer. Indeed, the Bible tells me to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).  There are many joys in this work, but Paul’s description prepares me for a struggle-  

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.   - Colossians 1:24-29 (emphasis mine)

My role in the pulpit is not to perform, but to exhort and encourage the Church with God’s Word.  I’m am tasked with telling the you what the Bible says and to offer ways we can live accordingly.  The text of Scripture never changes. It’s meaning is timeless.  What is necessary afresh in every age is pastoral direction for applying the text.  If simply expounding the meaning of the Bible was the sole work of the pastor, I would opt for playing recordings of James Boice in place of my preaching a sermon.  Your pastors’ role is to give the meaning of the text, and offer direction to apply the truth in daily thinking and living.  I regularly pray for God to grant me humble, careful, accuracy with the text and if I should err that you would be protected.  For my part, I should study diligently every week and do my best to give you a faithful exposition of God’s Word. For your part, come with a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17) asking God to teach you and mold you according to His Word.  

Thank you for allowing me this role in your life. It is a sacred trust that I am grateful to devote my life too.  You are the sheep for whom Christ died and worthy of my affections. 

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