He Gives Power to the Weak

 by ZAMA-ZOE GRACE

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Isaiah 40:28-30

Mounting up with wings as eagles

Greetings! Friends, How are you this day? Are you feeling tired and weary? I know the answer for many is a “No” because they have just witnessed God breaking through for them as they were passing through the storms of life. However, some feel tired and weary because the journey has been challenging for them. They don’t think they have any power in them to continue to fight and push through till the end. 

Well, I am here this day to encourage you and tell you once again that you are not alone in this battle; God is with you and for you. As I was meditating last night, I felt weary and exhausted, and I kept asking God the same question, when will the end of these trials comes to an end. For a moment, I felt that I don’t have the power to go on and finish this race. As I was entertaining this thought, the Holy Spirit started ministering back to me and reminded me of Isaiah, chapter 40, from verses 28 to 31. 

This chapter begins with proclaiming comfort for the people as quoted in the scripture below: 

Our God says to you:

    “Comfort, comfort my people with gentle, compassionate words.

 Speak tenderly from the heart to revive those in Jerusalem, and proclaim that their warfare is over.

Yes, the warfare has ended, even though it seems hard, but God is proclaiming this day that the fight has ended. In this chapter, God reveals Himself as our Shephard, who has gone ahead of us and has made every crooked path straight, every mountain and hill low, and every valley leveled. He has cleared the way ahead of us, and not only that, He has promised to give power to the weak and increase strength to the weary. 

However, there is a part we need to play for us to continue to finish this race. We have to wait patiently in the Lord, in His presence through prayer, praise and worship, tithing and giving offerings, serving in the house of God, and so on. There is a promise that God gives to those who are weary and, tired yet, continue to wait silently and patiently in His presence.

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired. Isaiah 40: 31 AMP

According to the above mentioned scripture, God will renew our strength and power as long as we continue to wait in His presence. We will receive new strength like never before, and we will mount up with wing as eagles and soar very high, we will run and not become weary, we will walk and not be faint. 

I got very excited and felt energized after meditating on this verse, I felt revival entering my soul, and I was overflowing with joy to continue and finish this race. May I encourage you this day to meditate on this chapter and allow God to fill you up afresh with His strength and power so you can mount up with wings like an eagle and start soaring high once again and run your race like never Before!

There is the power that comes with meditating on the word of God as we learn in Hebrews chapter 4, verse 12

For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. AMP

May I also end this post with this quote from Nehemiah Chapter 8 verse 10.

Then Ezra said to them, “Go [your way], eat the rich festival food, drink the sweet drink, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be worried, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and your stronghold.

NEHEMIAH 8:10 AMP

I hope you found encouragement and inspiration to continue to wait in the presence of God. Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read—many blessings to you. God loves you, and He is with you and for you.

What’s the Purpose of Pastors?

purpose of pastors

By Tim Challies -October 20, 2020

The Bible knows nothing of lone Christians, of believers who are willfully independent from a local church. Rather, Christians gather in communities to worship together and serve one another. And as God commands his people to gather in community, he also commands them to be led—led by men called and qualified as pastors or elders (terms the Bible uses interchangeably). As we progress through a series of questions about things we as Christians often take for granted, we now come to the question of church leadership and ask, “What’s the purpose of pastors?”

Common Views of Pastors

In the church today we find a number of common views of the role and purpose of pastors. Unfortunately, some of these, though perhaps well-intentioned, are unbiblical. Here are two prominent views that both fall short of what the Bible teaches.

The first is the pastor as CEO. According to this view, the pastor’s primary purpose is to keep his organization (i.e., his church) running smoothly and growing steadily. Like the Chief Executive Officer within a corporation, he must apply sound business principles to his operation and will find success when he satisfies the desires of church attendees and experiences numerical growth. Those who hold this view claim that the “pastor as shepherd” view threatens to stunt the growth of a church and is impractical for the challenges of our day. Though shepherding care is good and necessary, it should be carried out by church members or ministry leaders so the pastors can focus on the challenges of leadership. Carey Nieuwhof explains, “Saying the model of pastor-as-CEO is bad for the church is like saying leadership really doesn’t matter. It’s also saying business should get all the best leaders… If all we do is recruit pastors who love to care for people until they die, the church will die.” The task of the pastor, he says, is to lead, “to take people where they wouldn’t otherwise go.”

The second view is the pastor as priest. According to this view, the pastor is a kind of spiritual guru whose purpose is to take sole or primary responsibility for all of the church’s ministry. In that way, he serves as a kind of mediator between God and his people. While few evangelicals would actually vocalize their adherence to this view, many tacitly hold it when they only go to their pastor for prayer and spiritual care. They may feel that the prayer and ministry of church members are somehow less effective than the prayer and ministry of their pastor. This view may also affect evangelism, as believers downplay their own ability to share the gospel and instead only focus on bringing unbelieving friends to church to hear the pastor, as if this is the only means through which God works.

Addressing the Error

While it is true that the wise pastor will learn practical strategies for leadership, and while it is true that all truth is God’s truth, the pastor as CEO view has dangerous implications for pastoral ministry. In Jeramie Rinne’s powerful critique, he insists that this view eventually and inevitably reinterprets the church through a business or organizational lens. It is true, of course, that churches “have business aspects. Churches often use financial officers and budgets, employees and personnel policies, facilities and insurance, workflow diagrams and goals, bylaws and committees.” All of these are within the scope of a healthy church. But “the problem arises when these businesslike elements become part of a comprehensive business model for the congregation that ignores biblical teaching. It might look something like this: pastor = president/CEO; staff = vice presidents; members = shareholders/loyal customers; visitors = potential customers.”

John Piper has also warned of the danger of this view, saying, “The professionalization of the ministry is a constant threat to the offense of the gospel. It is a threat to the profoundly spiritual nature of our work. I have seen it often: The love of professionalism kills a man’s belief that he is sent by God to save people from hell and to make them Christ-exalting, spiritual aliens in the world.” This view teaches Christians to interpret and evaluate churches like businesses. It teaches them to evaluate pastors like they evaluate CEOs, so their performance becomes more important than their character. They fail to consider that of all the biblical qualifications for pastors, there is just one related to skill. All the others are related to his godly character.

Meanwhile, the pastor as priest model neglects a key doctrine recovered by the Protestant Reformers: the priesthood of all believers. While Luther and the other Reformers affirmed the office of the elder or pastor, they also emphasized that, through Christ, we are all ministers of the gospel and all have access to God. God continues to call men to pastoral ministry, but he also calls every Christian to minister to one another. This view minimizes the New Testament’s emphasis on the role of the pastor as the one who equips believers so they can carry out the work of the ministry. Ephesians 4:11-12 expresses this: “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” The truth is, we are all ministers. Some are set apart to lead as pastors, but we are all called to minister.

What the Bible Says About Pastors

The Bible assures us that pastors exist to shepherd God’s people in local churches until Christ returns (1 Peter 5:1-5). The calling of the pastor is inextricably tied to the biblical metaphor of a shepherd tending to his flock of sheep. Alexander Strauch says, “If we want to understand Christian elders and their work, we must understand the biblical imagery of shepherding. As keepers of sheep, New Testament elders are to protect, feed, lead and care for the flock’s many practical needs.”

Pastors shepherd God’s people by protecting them. One of a pastor’s foremost responsibilities is to protect his sheep, for just like sheep need the protection of a shepherd, God’s people need the protection of pastors. Paul’s farewell address makes it clear that this includes protection from false teachers: “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). It also includes protection from their own sinfulness, which is why a pastor is called to a ministry of exhortation—of calling people away from behavior that is dishonoring to God and toward behavior that is pleasing to him (Titus 2:15). It is why pastors eventually confront ongoing, unrepentant sin and enforce church discipline (Matthew 18:15-20).

Pastors shepherd God’s people by feeding them. A shepherd not only protects his sheep from danger, but he also cares for them by feeding them. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,” says David. “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters” (Psalm 23:1-2). The shepherd provides for the sustenance of his sheep. Similarly, pastors must feed God’s people with the spiritual food and drink they need—the Word of God. The pastor’s ministry is a Word-based ministry in which he uses the Word for preaching, teaching and counseling. “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9).

Pastors shepherd God’s people by leading them. Sheep are wandering creatures who are prone to meander out of safety and into all kinds of danger. They need a shepherd who will lead and guide them. In much the same way, Christians need pastors who will provide leadership. This is a specific form of leadership, though, that better equips them to fulfill the ministry to which God has called them. They carry out this leadership by setting an example in godly character, knowing that the pastor’s standard for character is really the standard for every Christian. “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you…being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2-3).

Pastors shepherd God’s people by caring for them. Sheep that are ill or in distress rely upon their shepherd to tend to them. And when God’s people are distressed or uncertain, they rely on their pastors to bring comfort, instill wisdom and offer prayer. “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14). The pastor has a special function in caring for the people in his charge.

Conclusion

God’s church needs pastors. It needs pastors who will function not first as priests or CEOs, but as shepherds—shepherds who will protect God’s people; feed them spiritual food; lead them by modeling godly character; and care for them in life’s temptations, trials and triumphs. Ultimately, pastors exist to “care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).

This article originally appeared here.

https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/336491-whats-the-purpose-of-pastors.htm

A Man Crying

Hello my beloved readers! I’m grateful to God finally I could spend my time to write my own post again. This post inspired by a conversation between my husband and his friend some time ago. I hope and pray this post could be a blessing to all of us. Thank you very much to the all loyal readers who always visit and read my blog posts.

“As the only man and the eldest brother in family, I shouldn’t show my grief and shouldn’t cry. A mam must be strong!! This word came out from a best friend of my husband who some time ago just lost his beloved mother. Then my husband said, “But actually you are very sad and want to cry, right?”  My husband’s friend replied, “I cannot lie to myself. Yes, actually I am very sad and want to cry to express my sorrow. But you know, since childhood my parents have taught that men should be strong and should not be whiny.”

My dear friends, I kept quiet during the conversation. Those conversations made me thinking and ponder. There was something I didn’t agree of my husband’s friend’s statement. I didn’t agree that a man shouldn’t show his sorrow and shouldn’t cry. I just feel that a man as if made from iron and wire like a robot that didn’t have feeling at all. In fact, the same as women, men could face a similar situation. Death, pain, loss, and various other things that can make a man feel sad. And all of them need a way to express their feeling.

Talk about crying, I remembered one of David saying when he got deep distress. Let’s see what David said at the time. “You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?” (Psalm 56:8) At the time, the Israelites were using a bottle as a container for water or milk. Other than that, there was a unique culture that comes from Egyptians where they contain their tears into the bottle and then put it on the grave of their family or brethren as an expression of their grief. Well, I will not talk about the culture but I want to talk about David’s word.

We all know very well who David was. Though David was a man who was brave facing the lion, a man who was very brave against Goliath and successfully defeated him, and finally become a king, it turns out, he didn’t ashamed to cry. Why David crying? At that time David was under great pressure because besides being on the run to be chased by King Saul who was jealous with him, he faced another danger of entering the enemy territory of the Philistines in Gath and he was arrested. In the stressful situation, David didn’t look that crying is something shameful to do. He cried just because his mind was depressed but not because he weak. David cried not because he was afraid. Let’s take a look to the following verse,

When I cry out to You, then my enemies will turn back; This I know, because God is for me. In God (I will praise His word), In the Lord (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid….” (Psalm 56: 9-11)

These verses are proof that even though David cried it doesn’t mean he became weak and afraid and his faith remained strong. Although he was crying, David remained steadfastly surrendering his life to God, and still fully believed that God remained with him.

So, whether a man shouldn’t cry? Is crying a symbol of Men’s weakness? My dear readers, allow me to take all of you to reflect on these three things.

First, in my whole life I have never found a rule of life or laws that forbids a man to cry or crying for a man is a disgrace! There’s no single verse in the Bible stated that a man shouldn’t cry. Even Jesus was crying (Luke 19:41) My husband said that, “Crying is how your heart speaks the pain you feel when your lips can’t” So I say firmly, there’s nothing wrong if a man cries and a man doesn’t need be ashamed and feel weak when he cries. The important thing is, when a man cries, his faith doesn’t weaken. David was crying because he was totally under pressure but didn’t mean his faith weakening. At that time David still believed God was by his side. The wrong one is, when a man crying then it makes his faith weaken, weaken his mental, and made he didn’t dare to face all the problems of life.

The second, Actually God doesn’t require us to pretend to be strong even though inside of us are broken. He knows suffering is painful, and for that He is ready to be with us through those painful time. God doesn’t forbid us to have sad feeling. God doesn’t scold us when we crying. My husband’s friend just lost his beloved father. God Himself also definitely understands very well what it feels like to lose. God knows it feels hurt because He also experienced hurt when He let His only begotten Son died to redeem our sins in the cruel ways.

The third, crying because our suffering and sadness isn’t a waste thing. Why? Because actually God know every single teardrop that flows from our eyes. God really understands the tears language which expresses unbearable suffering and bitterness of life. Not only understand, God also collect and record every single of our tears as David said. “… Put my tears into Your bottleAre they not in Your book?” (Psalm 56:8) This verse shows us one important thing that God actually never leaves us alone. Even when we feel like “abandoned by God”, indeed, God doesn’t leave us. God is on collecting and taking note every tears of our crying and as if He said, “My child, I will never leave you alone…Please be patient… Just a little more time will be fulfilled and I will declare my glory”

My beloved readers, through this post allow me once again to express my opinion that there’s nothing wrong at all if a man crying. Crying isn’t a taboo thing for a man. Crying isn’t a symbol of weakness of a man. Beside mind, character, intelligence, and feeling, God also give man tears. As long as a man has feeling, same as a woman, when the lips isn’t able to speaks, crying is a good way to express our sorrow. Crying is the way our heart speaks. But… We must remember that behind our weeping there’s still strength in us. Behind every single teardrop there’s still a firm faith, there’s still strong trust that God will never leave us alone. We have to always remember God’s promises,

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Revelation 7:17)

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh(Luke 6:21)

At the end of this post, I long to encourage all of men that there’s nothing wrong at all if one day you have to crying and there are compelling reasons why you cry. Not just for women, crying is something normal and humane. Don’t ever feel ashamed to express your feeling through crying. Crying doesn’t mean weak. Cry if it can make you relieved and the burden on you is lighter. But let me remind you one thing, don’t be a whiny man. Like David, keep strong, still have firm faith, and keep trusting God that He will wipe every of our tears as He promises, He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4) Amen.

 

Karina Lam – Living by Faith

Image source: themanmodern.com

 

https://karinasussanto.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/a-man-crying/

How Can Shepherds Survive Biting Sheep?

Love of people, purpose, and mission won’t sustain you through ministry’s low points.

How Can Shepherds Survive Biting Sheep?
GLENN PACKIAM

 

Phantom strikes. That’s what some people call them, and appropriately so. They are the words from anonymous congregants, the furtive glances and side-eyes fueled by unchecked assumptions. There was a stretch of months a few years ago where these phantom strikes seemed to rain down. People were reacting to changes at our church—some related to worship practices, a few related to leadership. Phone calls and emails poured in. We met with as many people as we could, listened and explained, talked and prayed. But the phantom strikes kept coming. Those were the most difficult because we didn’t know who was saying what. Or why.

Pastoral ministry can hurt. We don’t always get it right. But instead of asking us our reasoning, many people make assumptions about our motives and attack what they presume to be our underlying theology. Pastors are expected to be astute theologians, insightful therapists, and intuitively brilliant leaders. But few of us match the idealized vision of any of those three vocations, much less all three. Our pain from the people we’re trying to help is compounded by our awareness of our own inadequacies.

This raises several questions: Why do we keep going? Why do we give of ourselves day in, day out, week after week? Why keep answering the call every day?

We all know the “right” answer: because of love. But what or who is the object of our love? Once again, the answer seems obvious: the person you are serving, the one to whom you are given. If your life is to be given for your children, then it is the love for your children that leads you to that place. If your life is to be given in service of the poor, then it is the love for the poor that leads to that givenness. And if you’re a pastor, love of the sheep keeps you serving as a shepherd.

That is the obvious answer. But I think it’s wrong.

At least, it’s incomplete and insufficient. It’s not enough to carry us through the dark nights and the lonely hours. It won’t push us through the pain and the hurt we’ve experienced from the ones we were trying to help.

If you don’t believe me, ask the apostle Peter.

After the Resurrection, Peter returned to fishing. Think about it: He ran to the tomb. He saw that it was empty. He was, most likely, with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them. He may have been there when Thomas placed his hands on Jesus’s scars. And still he went back to his old livelihood.

Maybe Peter felt he had lost it all that night when he denied knowing Jesus. Maybe Peter was too confused about what the Resurrection really meant. Maybe, whatever it meant, Peter was too covered in shame for it to matter. He might as well try to live a quiet life, a smaller story.

But John 21 describes how Jesus found Peter and reenacted the scene of their first encounter, the first time Jesus called Peter to follow him.

“Throw your nets on the other side of the boat,” the voice called out from the shore. Peter knew he had heard that voice before. But it was John who recognized whose voice it was.

“It is the Lord,” John said to Peter.

It might have been John who recognized Jesus first, but it was Peter who responded—and responded radically. Peter threw on his robes and swam to shore, leaving the other disciples to drag a big haul of fish behind the boat to shore.

After their breakfast on the beach, Jesus asked Peter a heart-piercingly simple question: “Do you love me more than these?”

Who were “these”? The other disciples? Did Jesus mean, “Is your love for me greater than their love for me?” Or did he mean, “Is your love for me greater than your love for the disciples?” We can’t be sure. Yet Peter’s answer acknowledged that whichever way the question was intended, Jesus already knew the answer.

“Yes, Lord, you know that I love you,” Peter replied.

“Feed my lambs,” Jesus responded.

This exchange continued two more times, with minor variances. There has been much exploration of the nuances and shifts in word choices between the Savior and his disciple. But the main point is that Jesus was reinstating Peter. He was reaffirming Peter’s purpose, calling, and destiny. The three repetitions of the question correspond to Peter’s threefold denial.

The most significant bit, however, is hidden in plain sight.

In this restorative conversation, Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?”

Not “Do you love my teachings?”

Not “Do you love yourself?”

Not “Do you love purpose and mission?”

And not “Do you love the sheep?”

In the other gospel accounts of Peter’s first call, Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me and I will make you a fisher of men.” You might say that first call was about a purpose. In essence, Jesus said, “Peter, I’ll lift you from a life that is going nowhere. I’ll sweep you up in the greatest story of all. I’ll give you a role in the kingdom of God arriving on earth as it is in heaven. I’ll make you a participant and not just a recipient.” That is, after all, what it means to be given.

But it isn’t the love of being given that leads to our givenness. It isn’t the love of a purpose that can sustain us. It was not enough to keep Peter faithful. The love of a calling will never keep you from falling.

If Peter’s first call was about a purpose, his second call—this renewal of destiny and identity—was about a person. “Peter, do you love me?”

What is your primary motivation in ministry? Is it love of Jesus above all else? Lesser loves may lead you to enter into vocational ministry, but they cannot sustain you through phantom strikes from the people you’re trying to serve and other ministry troubles and disappointments. The love of meaning or mission or purpose or the church will not keep you surrendering and serving. Only a deep and abiding love for Jesus can do that.

Glenn Packiam is associate senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs and the author of Blessed Broken Given(Multnomah, 2019), from which the article was adapted.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2019/september-web-exclusives/how-can-shepherds-survive-biting-sheep.html