Subject: Basics for the New Year
I have been reading a couple of books that were given to me and ones I highly suggest you buy and read:
- Dangerous Calling by Paul David Tripp, published by Crossway. This is a book to pastors, and it goes right to the heart. It is thought-provoking and challenging.
- A Way through the Wilderness by Jamie Buckingham, published by Kingsway. My brother-in-law gave me this paperback, and it is good. I just bought one for a friend. You can get this used on Half.com.
On the subject of reading, I was going to read through the Daily Bible in 2013, a chronological Bible, but I’ve decided to read through the ESV Daily Reading Bible. I haven’t read the ESV before and thought it would be good to do so. I trust you have a plan for this year in your Bible reading.
Last year, I spent the year in the gospels. Wow! It was really good. I took my time and spent time meditating on the passages.
The calling of the pastor is a calling to the people. When Moses was called, it was to lead the people from Egypt to the Promised Land. Calling always involved people.
As a pastor, I valued the calling part of the ministry. I reserved my afternoons for calling. There is so much good accomplished in spending time with the sheep. Calling has many aspects:
- Hospital calling- although this can be time-consuming and sometimes even mechanical, there are many benefits. One day while complaining to myself about visiting another person with cancer, the Lord spoke to me about the great mission field I was entering. At that moment, I committed myself to not ever leaving a hospital until I first visit with someone I don’t know and pray with them. This has opened unbelievable evangelistic opportunities.
- Older folks calling- the loneliness older folks feel makes it very rewarding to visit with them. This can be time-consuming but also very rewarding. In the last church I served, I learned from spending time with the older folks that there was an unresolved issue that needed attention. From listening to them, I learned much about the church, her history and her needs. VALUE OLDER FOLKS! They have been there for many years. It hurts me when I hear younger folks complain about or undervalue the older folks.
- Evangelistic calling- the old adage “you cannot win people unless you are with people” is so true. I would take time each week to be with unsaved people. I would visit local businesses and ask the owner how I could pray for the business. Sometimes I’d just go to McDonald’s and visit with people. There are lonely people everywhere. In talking with new people, I’d remember their name, where they live and then record this for future visits. People love to be remembered. Eventually, I’d share the gospel.
Well, back to basics. Sometimes the obvious gets lost in the confusion of ministry life. Busy days, meetings, counseling and message preparation consume our minds. Many have set aside the basics for other things, only to cheat themselves and others.
Pastors who are in devotions for their own spiritual souls (Tripp calls this the real battle) do well as shepherds. Pastors who spend time with the sheep know their sheep, and the sheep know them and follow them. Sheep follow; they resist being driven.
Have fun as you serve HIM.