Category Archives: George W Black, Blogs

George loves to share inspirational devotions, short messages, posts from other social media, etc.

Leadership Principle #37 – Write The Vision


Leadership Principle #37: People can’t do their job if they don’t know what their job is.

Leaders must “write the vision.”

Habakkuk 2:2 NKJV “Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.””

Seems simple enough, but pastors and church leaders are sometimes weak when it come to recruiting for a ministry with very little guidance. The “training” is usually a sit-down discussion with no written guidelines, objectives, accountability, etc.

It is imperative that every person in your church or ministry that has been asked to serve, knows what is expected of them. If we think we can just soft-ball it to them, we are sadly mistaken. They are hearing something different than you are saying because they have different filters. Write the vision. If you don’t, they will “write” their own, and it usually will not look like what you have asked for.

The leader must cast the vision AND the process. You can’t have one without the other, or else you will promote frustration. Clear and simple instructions on how the ministry or department works is necessary. This provides the tools for a person to measure themselves as to whether or not they are accomplishing what is intended. And if you don’t know, then you are not the leader.

In the past I used to insist on lengthy job descriptions (I call them ministry descriptions) that covered way too much detail, and became counter productive. Now I strive to have an overview of everything on one page. If additional detail is needed, then fine. But they can know what is being asked by looking at just one page. The nuts and bolts are sometimes more involved.

There is a reason it is called “the work of the ministry.” Ministry requires work, preparation, planning, organizing, etc. Once you have done this, then you can enjoy the fruit of your labor.

God bless, George W. Black

Rest Is Non-Optional – Are You Listening?

Cathy and I hope you had time during the summer months to take a break for rest and re-creation. One of the greatest challenges for me has been to follow the example of Christ and His disciples. Jesus always observed the Sabbath, and He took time for His ministry team to rest on other occasions.

I once heard a preacher say, “Jesus had the disciples come apart, before they came apart.” Ministry burnout is avoidable. I have been there before, and I can tell you it is a work of the flesh. Jesus leads us into abundant life, and He never drives us to exhaustion.

Rhythms of grace is a message Apostle Fred Bennett continues to share with us, and one I have had to learn the hard way. We will always do our best ministry planning, and leading after a season of rest.

Matthew 11:28-30 MES ““Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

As a younger minister I thought I was indispensable, or that rest was selfish, or even wasted time. More caffeine please. But looking back over the years I realize I could have saved myself, and my family, and my church, a lot of wear and tear if I had taken time to tarry.

Biblical rest is about finding a rhythm. It is a rhythm of God’s grace. A rhythm is intensity followed by relaxation, and we can find in everywhere in God’s creation.

Your heart beats, and then it rests in-between the beats…a rhythm. This is why blood pressure has an upper and lower number. Otherwise your circulatory system would be constantly stressed at the upper limit…not a good thing.

Exercise, such as weight lifting, is about exertion followed by a resting moment so oxygen and glucose can feed the muscles that just lifted the weight, and lactic acid, the by-product of exercise, can be released.

Breathing is a rhythm of inhaling and exhaling, and in-between an interval of rest. When you inhale there is oxygen being off-loaded to the bloodstream to provide life to the cells. There is also a reverse process whereby carbon dioxide is transported from the blood and exhaled by the lungs.

A lot is going on during the interval of “resting” by the lungs. You see, rest is not about just resting. It is about a rhythm that is necessary to process things and keep us healthy.

This is what Jesus meant about the Sabbath being made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. In other words, we all need a pause in our week to recharge for the next week. Six days we work, but the seventh we rest. The failure to do so means vital processes don’t occur that are meant for our spiritual renewal and well being.

I have also learned that we not only need daily rest and weekly rest, but we also need seasonal rest. Vacations are good. Three day weekends are good. But if you don’t put them on a calendar and protect them, they just don’t happen.

Calendaring is an essential discipline for those needing to find balance and health. No condemnation if you are finding it hard to find a stopping place.

The Fall is a good time to try again. God has put it in my heart to help ministers succeed where I have failed, and this is one area I have failed miserably, and still struggle from time to time.

My appeal to you is to please take care of yourself. Please take care of your marriage. Please take care of your family. Time passes so quickly that the “round-tuit” you kept promising can slip away from you.

We can’t go back and change yesterday, but we can begin today to plan a better tomorrow. Are you listening?

I am praying for you. Call me if I can help mentor you in this vital area.

All for Jesus,

George Black

Moses & Miracle of quail, Numbers 11


 © by George W. Black

Has your faith been stretched lately? Even Moses had his moments.

In Numbers 11, Moses is surrounded by 600,000 men unhappy with God’s provision of Manna after they were delivered from Egyptian bondage. Reluctantly God promises them meat.

Moses seems to cop an attitude when he tells God, “So where’s it coming from? Even if all the flocks and herds were butchered, would that be enough? Even if all the fish in the sea were caught, would that be enough?”

Have you ever heard yourself talk to God like that? Nothing but doubt and unbelief pouring out? It definitely wasn’t Moses brightest moment. 

And then God asks the question that drills down to Moses soul and uncovers the real root of the problem. “God answered Moses, “So, do you think I can’t take care of you?”” 

It wasn’t just the magnitude of the thing needed that was messing with Moses. It was much simpler than that. It was really about trusting God to take care of him. 

As it turns out, God was more than able to deliver on His promise, even if Moses couldn’t work out how it would happen. After all, how did the leper work out the process by which Jesus cleansed his leprosy, or the blind man who regained his eyesight? How did the disciples work out how Jesus fed 5,000 with five small Barley loaves and two small fish? 

The answer is never about how a thing can be done when we pray, but only do we trust Him to take care of us.

As for God answering Moses prayer? “A wind set in motion by God swept quails in from the sea. They piled up to a depth of about three feet in the camp and as far out as a day’s walk in every direction.”

A trained walker can cover 20 to 30 miles in a day.  But even half that distance is a massive amount of quail, three feet high. Is this the exceedingly, abundantly, above all we can think or imagine? I think God was letting Moses and the people know He is in control of the “how”, we just have to trust that He is able and will.

I love that the Bible shows us Moses’ human frailty, and not just perfection. This should give us hope that even when we don’t have perfect faith, God still does.

But He wants us to learn from these moments, and trust Him more and more. Your faith may be small today, but it can become great faith, and this brings Him great delight.

Are you facing what seems to be an impossible situation? My encouragement to you today is to find God’s promise in His Word, and then pray it out in faith. Don’t worry about how God is going to do it. That’s His job. If He tells you to do something, do it. He knows what it takes to get the miracle.

God is a good, good Father. Trust and obey Him no matter what, knowing that His tender mercies and loving kindness are always at work to care for you.

All for Jesus,  George W. Black

LET GOD MAKE THE “FINAL CUT”

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LET GOD MAKE THE “FINAL CUT”

by George W. Black

“God said to Gideon: “There are still too many. Take them down to the stream and I’ll make a final cut. When I say, ‘This one goes with you,’ he’ll go. When I say, ‘This one doesn’t go,’ he won’t go.” So Gideon took the troops down to the stream.” Judges 7:4-5 MSG

If you are a leader in the body of Christ, you must let God pick your team. Whether you are serving as a pastor, or a ministry leader, don’t commit the sin of presumption.

If there is one “besetting sin” I have witnessed in the local church, it is rushing promotion out of need or desperation. In some cases, these unproven leaders or workers can cause more damage than good.

You may have too many people serving in vital positions. Don’t fill a position just because it is vacant. Wait on God. The wrong person is worse than no person.

Out of insecurities we often pick those that are most like us, and that we like, and that appear strong and gifted. But God will pick those whose hearts are right, and that are able and faithful.

Jesus spent all night in prayer before He selected the twelve.

Be sensitive to the “gut check.” Even if all the outward signs are right, the “gut check” is the Holy Spirit saying “no”, or “not now.” Don’t quench the Holy Spirit when He is directing you otherwise. He is trying to protect you, and preserve God’s kingdom work. Only God knows the heart of any person.

Let God make the “final cut.” After all, it’s His church, right?

WHAT HAPPENED AFTER EASTER?

WHAT HAPPENED AFTER EASTER?

Pastor George Black, 4-23-17

Opening Scripture: Acts 2:1-4 NKJV  “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. {2} And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. {3} Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. {4} And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Introduction: The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ accomplished more than just our redemption…it set in motion a new dispensation of Grace and the Church. Easter opened the door for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to empower the Church to finish the work that Jesus started.

 

  1. Easter changed everything because of the resurrection of Christ. He then appeared to his disciples for forty days discussing the Kingdom.

Following the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us that Jesus spent forty days of intensive instruction with His disciples on the Kingdom of God. We could call this a spiritual boot-camp to prepare them for the incredible journey they were about to take. What an amazing time this must have been. And even though we have no direct record of what Jesus taught them during this time, we can assume that the disciples transmitted His teaching in their preaching and epistles, some of which is found in their New Testament writings. However, the most significant take-away we know of is the command by Christ to wait for the empowering of the Holy Spirit before attempting to build the Kingdom of God.

Acts 1:1-5 NKJV  “The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, {2} until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, {3} to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. {4} And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; {5} “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

 

  1. Jesus taught the disciples of the coming of the Holy Spirit, that He was coming to help them after His departure.

Jesus was WITH the disciples, but the Holy Spirit was IN the disciples. This is the glorious transition that occurred following Easter. Jesus told the disciples He was returning to the Father, but that He would not leave them without His help. As a matter of fact, Paul the apostle said “without Him I can do nothing.” So how were these new apostles going to continuing building the Kingdom of God? Jesus promised them a “Helper.” He was referring to the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, who is also referred to as the “Spirit of Christ.” In other words, the Heavenly baton was passed to the Holy Spirit when Jesus returned to Heaven, and He came to finish IN the disciples what Christ had started WITH the disciples. Jesus Christ was now IN the disciples by the Spirit of God, not just with them. This is the very reason He taught them that they would do the same works He did, even greater works. Greater? How can you do greater miracles than opening blind eyes, raising the dead, or curing the disease of leprosy? Jesus meant greater in number. Why? Because He went to the Father and sent back the Holy Spirit to indwell His followers. Instead of just one person doing miracles and building the Kingdom, there would be many, because now Jesus can fill every believer by the Holy Spirit and do the same things through the believer that He did. These signs shall follow them that believe…

A. John 7:37-39 NKJV “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. {38} “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” {39} But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

B. John 14:26 NKJV “”But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

C. John 16:7-16 NKJV “”Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. {8} “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: {9} “of sin, because they do not believe in Me; {10} “of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; {11} “of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. {12} “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. {13} “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. {14} “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. {15} “All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. {16} “A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.”

D. Luke 3:16 NKJV “John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

After we memorize John 3:16, we need to memorize Luke 3:16. Jesus has promised to save us in John 3:16, but He also promised to baptize us in the Holy Spirit in Luke 3:16.

 

  1. Jesus ascended to the Father 40 days after His resurrection, and sent back the promised Holy Spirit 10 days later on the Jewish Festival Day of Pentecost.

A. Pentecost means “fiftieth day”, and occurs 49 days after Easter Sunday, but 50 days including Easter Sunday.

B. Jesus was crucified, buried, and rose again during the Jewish festival of Passover.

C. Passover began when the Death Angel visited Egypt and killed all the first-born sons. The only ones spared were those who had marked their doors with the blood of a lamb.

D. As a result of this last judgment on Egypt, Pharaoh let the Israelites go into the wilderness to worship God.

E. Forty-nine days after the Exodus, while in the wilderness, God gives them the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. This day later becomes the day of Pentecost. On the same day God gave the Israelites the Law of Moses, Jesus now sends them the Holy Spirit, the only One who can empower us to keep the Law.

F. Pentecost is also known as the Festival of Weeks, or Festival of Reaping, or Festival of First Fruits. In other words, it was the Festival commemorating the early harvest, in anticipation of the later harvest. This reminds us that the glory of the later house will be greater than the former.

During this festival it was customary to wave sheaves of grain from the early harvest before the Lord. This reminds us that because Jesus was raised from the dead as the first-fruits of those who died, but the rest of the harvest is on the way. There is a glorious resurrection awaiting every believer who has died in Christ.

 

Conclusion: What happened after Easter set in motion the most incredible journey of faith that has swept around the globe, with over 2 billion and 200 million people confessing to be Christian in our world today. But our job is not over. As long as there are lost people in world, nation, state, city, neighborhood, we must continue the work of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus died and rose again for our redemption, but He sent the Holy Spirit back to empower us to take this redemption to every man, woman, teenager, boy and girl. You are not alone. Jesus is no longer WITH us. But we actually have something even better. He is now IN us. Greater is He that is IN us than he that is in the world. Remember: I can do all things through Christ!

 

Invitation: You can receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit today.

SURRENDER HAS IT’S REWARDS

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SURRENDER HAS IT’S REWARDS

By George W. Black

When we say “Jesus is Lord,” we may not always consider the far-ranging dynamics of His Lordship in our daily lives.  God spoke to my heart recently that “whatever you surrender to God comes under His covering, blessing, and protection; and whatever you do not surrender, does not.”

I have been meditating on that thought for days because of its profound implications. I felt it was a Word of wisdom to me personally, so I didn’t want to let it “fall to the ground” unexplored.

Various stories in the Bible that affirm the joy of divine surrender began to emerge in my thoughts, such as Jesus in the Garden before the passion of the Cross. He asked His Father if there was another way to accomplish salvation, His humanity bearing heavily on the moment as real as ours. Then He transitions His prayer to complete surrender with one word, “NEVERTHELESS.”

Surrender is always an act of worship, a giving of oneself fully and completely to another. Jesus set the example for us. He could have called 10,000 angels to rescue Him, but He chose the Father’s plan over His personal desire.  Just has John the Baptist had decreased so Christ could increase, so too now we find Jesus choosing to decrease so that the Father’s plan could continue.

“O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39

But let us not forget the example of faith that Jesus Christ set for us, and that we can continually look to for strength and courage, to say no to self, and yes to the Father’s plan. Jesus saw beyond the moment of temptation through the eyes of  faith. He looked to the reward.

“looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

Surrender has it’s own rewards. For instance, when I surrender my life to follow Christ, I may not always do it perfectly, but it means that I am now looking to Him for His wisdom, guidance, etc. My faith and surrender place a demand on God that He responds to by perfectly covering me, blessing me, and protecting me.

In particular, when I surrender my body to Christ as a living sacrifice, this means that it is now His body, and that I want to follow His plan for it. This means using it for His purposes, taking care of it according to the clear teaching of Scripture, exercising it, feeding it good things, resting it, and fasting  it as He directs.

The next time you say Jesus is Lord of your body, ask yourself, is He really? Have I really surrendered to His plan for health and a long life?

Whatever we surrender to God comes under his covering, blessing, and protection. I want to be an obedient disciple that brings glory to God. I also want the health and long life necessary to do it well, so I have to come to the place I say, “nevertheless, not as I will but as You will.”

Sometimes fasting is the hardest thing I do. When I can’t even skip a meal, that tells me who is really in charge…my flesh. But God’s grace is sufficient. It’s not about beating myself up about it, its about recognizing my need for surrender. When I surrender, grace flows to the low place. Grace is God’s ability to do His will. If I am willing to receive His grace, I can always do His will. Thank you Jesus!!!

What about surrendering our finance to Him as an act of worship? I find so many people driven by fear in this area, and fear is of the flesh. We must be good stewards by recognizing that it all belongs to Him in the first place. What a joy and privilege it is to surrender our finance to Him and ask for His wisdom and guidance on how to handle it.  When you make God your financial partner, He becomes responsible for you. But we can’t say Jesus is Lord of finance, and not do the things He tells us to do.

“But why do you call Me ‘Lord,Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” Luke 6:46

I remember a life-lesson on surrendering my finance early in my ministry. Cathy and I had driven several hundred miles to preach for a rural church in Louisiana, both Sunday morning and evening. We had some great services and everyone was blessed. However, Cathy and I were in trouble financially. Our house mortgage was overdue, and we were already getting the notices and phone calls. I felt helpless as the provider of my family. I was sure God was going to use this weekend trip to bless us with a good love offering.

I was wrong. When the deacon of the church handed me a folded check at the end of the evening, I could hardly wait a few minutes to open it and see what the church had given us. I was desperate.

When I opened the check, it was for $100.00. Needless to say, my heart just sank. We needed over $900.00 just to pull even with our bills, and would still not have anything for food or utilities.

Suddenly God spoke to me and said “sow it.” I heard Him as clear as day, but my flesh did not want to say “nevertheless.” So I argued with Him. I said, “God you know our situation. We spent more money than that check on gas and other expenses just making this trip. If I sow this money, we will have nothing to go home with, and I don’t know how I could ever tell Cathy I had given it away.”

It’s kinda funny when we think we can argue with God. But we do. He asked me one question in response that put me in my place. He asked, “will that offering meet your need?” Slowly I admitted, “no Lord, it won’t meet my need.” Then He said again, “sow it.”

BAM! Faith came up in my heart and I suddenly realized what He was trying to get me to do. He was giving me seed to break the curse of lack off my life. Now I had the choice of either eating my seed or sowing my seed. I surrendered and finally said, “nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

There was a man in the service that night who had just gotten saved in prison, and was a new release. Right after God told me to sow that money, he came over and began to talk to me and share his vision of starting a prison ministry to go back in with Bible Studies and discipleship training. I asked him if $100.00 would help him get started, and he about shouted he was so excited. He said that $100.00 was exactly what he was praying for to get started. I reached into my pocket and pulled out that folded check, signed it over to him, and put it in his hand.

God heard his prayers and used me to meet the need. That $100.00 wouldn’t meet my needs, but it met his needs. What an amazing God we serve.

I felt the smile of God as I left that place, but then I had to tell Cathy on the way home. As we pulled onto the highway, I told her how much the offering was, and what God had instructed me to do with it. Cathy is a woman of great faith. I had underestimated her. She said “good; God will take care of us some other way.”

Within a week we received a special love offering in the mail from someone who did not know the situation we were facing. It was a check for $1,000.00 that completely covered our past-due mortgage and some other things. The note said that God had laid this donation on this persons heart, and it happened about the same time we had sown our offering. I cried.

Whatever we surrender to God will have His covering, blessing, and protection.

Surrender in every area of life has its own rewards. Why does God ask us to surrender to Him? Because He is a good, good Father who knows what is best for us.

“If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.” Isaiah 1:19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FORGIVING THOSE WHO HAVE WOUNDED US

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It is truly difficult to forgive people you have loved deeply when they have wounded deeply, and never apologized.

Sometimes I think I have let things go by praying prayers of forgiveness. Then like a speeding car out of a side street I get blindsided in my mind again.

This morning the Lord whispered to my heart that I had prayed the words of forgiveness, but had not cancelled the debt.

I am still mad at them. They still owe me. This is not forgiveness.

So back to the Cross I go again, repenting of my hard heart and self-righteousness, remembering all of my own sins.

I am so grateful for Amazing Grace. This time, with God’s help, I will cancel the debt, release the anger, and set them free.

Until then, I am not free.

Mark 11:25-26 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

WE MUST HAVE A NEW AWAKENING

deadpool
WE MUST HAVE A NEW AWAKENING
“Deadpool” opened with a $135 million dollar record crushing “R” rated movie weekend, on Valentines weekend no less.
 
Christians should always “know before you go” by reading movie reviews and parental guides that tell you the inside story of what you are about to open your spirit up to.
 
Ps 101:3 “I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar.”
 
www.MovieGuide.org is one such source I turn to for the inside scoop. It calls Deadpool “abhorrent.”
 
Besides sex, nudity, violence and gore, movie goers got treated to about 84 F-words and its derivatives, 3 obscene hand gestures, 21 sexual references, 34 scatological terms, 19 anatomical terms, 8 mild obscenities, 2 religious profanities, and 9 religious exclamations.
 
Does the success of this movie reflect the loss of morals in our society, or do movies of this nature condition us to tolerate and even accept todays anti-morals, anti-God, secular revolution? In both cases we are presented with a “state of our union” that must surely be what the Bible refers to as “perilous times.”
 
Sadly, Christians may have helped contribute to the success of this movie. What does this say about the state of Christianity in America when a “Christ-follower” can willingly pay for a bath in profanity, etc, and still feel okay about it? Even enjoy it?
 
Jesus never said “only believe.” He said “repent and believe.”
 
Mark 1:15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”
 
True repentance always means a change of direction and lifestyle. Making Jesus Lord means following Him, not the world.
 
I am praying for another Great Awakening in our nation that will rescue this generation. God is able. It’s not too late.
 
Join me daily for 10@10 – ten minutes of daily prayer at, or around 10 AM in your time zone, to pray for national, regional, local, and personal revival and awakening in our generation.
 
2 Chron 7:14 “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
 
https://www.movieguide.org/reviews/deadpool.html

HOPE FOR AMERICA

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I am resisting the urge to wade into all the Iowa tumult as I am so often amazed, and disgusted, by the division politics breeds between Christians who say they believe in the teachings and values of the same Bible I hold dear.

But then some of these same Christians are probably amazed and disgusted with my politics as well. Welcome to the USA.

Having lived through 12 Presidents, and many more state and local elections, I no longer drink the Kool aide of anyone’s campaign promises.

I evaluate what the candidates are saying in light of where they have come from, because history is often a great predictor of the future.

I have been a keen observer of politics since John F. Kennedy. When I was younger I campaigned for several politicians, both state and national. Even as a child, my father, who was active politically, had me go from house to house handing out campaign pins for who he hoped would be the next Governor of Louisiana. The candidate lost, but it had a life-long influence on me. It made me care about elections. Every election is important.

If only I could be king for a day. Actually that is a pretty scary thought. No thanks. I prefer to stay in my lane.

There were other political involvements along the way, but most notably, after campaigning vigorously for a presidential candidate in 1976, Cathy and I had the honor of being invited to the Presidential Inauguration of 1977. We stood in the cold and snow in Washington DC and witnessed the amazing transfer of power that is our Democratic Republic. No blood was shed as in other countries. It was a “bucket-list” experience for me.

Our nation has now passed that peaceful baton through 44 Presidential administrations, and our noble American ideals as a “city upon a hill” continue to survive.

I can’t say I believe they still thrive, but they do still survive.

As a pastor, father, and grandfather, I have a huge love and concern for my country and for the future we are handing the next generations. The domino affect ripples down through time. I think every true Christ-follower should be very concerned about where we go from here as a nation.

But instead of politics, I offer this perspective:

Despite all the campaign rhetoric, by all the candidates, the most critical solution to our nation’s woes remains absent – repentance for our national sins to turn away the judgments of a Holy God.

Does the political *ethos of a candidate matter. You bet! There is always the good, the bad, and the ugly, and we need to educate ourselves to know the difference. We may not be electing a “Pastor In Chief”, but it does matter if the Commander In Chief has a spiritual and moral base. What starts at the head flows down to the body. The Bible tells us “righteousness exalts a nation”, and unrighteousness does not.

* “Ethos” – the distinguishing character, ethic, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution.

I lead a racially and culturally diverse church. We don’t bring politics into the pulpit, because Jesus Christ is our unity. I insist on this.

But you better believe I preach the Gospel and a Christian world view. I never try to tell our church who to vote for, or even who I will vote for. They don’t even know my party affiliation, or non-affiliation. I tell them to “vote for Jesus”…the candidate that best embodies the morals, values and ideals of our Judeo-Christian heritage, regardless of party.

Needless to say, someone saying they are a Christian is often much like their campaign promises. Campaign conversions are many. But what does their history say?

Our nation is in trouble. Nearly everyone agrees on this point, regardless of their political persuasion. The empirical evidence is indisputable on nearly every scale we want to measure…moral, financial, debt, military, international, etc.

The evidence that a nation is under a curse is confusion. Whenever the nation of Israel turned away from God, it always went into confusion. This is the curse of disobedience found in Dt. 28. Read the whole chapter for yourself. God offered the Israelites blessing or cursing. He said you choose.

Remember the 40 years in the wilderness wanderings? Confusion. Like Israel, is America now going in circles with no answers? We know this is going on in our nation, and we are all angry about it.

But the angst and outrage people feel over our dilemma must be channeled constructively. Campaign rhetoric and emotional political solutions alone cannot save our nation.

Besides, such things are often not honest. The problem is we want to believe them, and the candidates know that.

We must remember this:

No one is wise enough, strong enough, or smart enough to make America great again without God’s blessing.

So what is the answer? The answer is learning from the Biblical history of Israel, who more than once found themselves in the same predicament we are in today. When they had a godly leader that led them to pray, and repent, and turn to God, they were spared. When they did not, well, you can read about their captivity and bondage yourself.

I believe there is still time for the United States to turn around. There may even be signs of the pendulum reversing on the horizon. But the answer to our national problems is a spiritual one, not just a political one.

I don’t know if we have anyone left running for the office of President that has the moral certitude and courage to lead us in this way. Some of our best choices may have already dropped out.

But even if we do, I don’t know if modern America will elect them.

What is America’s hope? The right candidate? Of course. God uses people. But we must also have God grant repentance to our nation. Without HIM we can do nothing. But with HIM, all things are possible.

The only real hope for America is for God to “heal our land.”

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.“ II Chronicles 7:13-14 NKJV

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THE ROLE OF THE MODERN PASTOR

Modern Pastor

THE ROLE OF THE MODERN PASTOR

Pastor George W. Black

Confession: I am a victorious believer, redeemed by the Lord, washed from my sins in the blood of Jesus my Savior, saved by grace through faith, filled with the powerful Holy Spirit, poised for God’s eternal purposes, and boldly sharing the joy of God’s love, with my world.

I am a faith walking, Word talking, over-comer in this life. I am a Victor, not a victim. I can do, all things through Christ. Today, my mind is open and alert, and my heart is good soil, for the seed of God’s Word.  I will be a diligent disciple, to apply its’ truths, for from this day forward, by the miracle of spiritual growth, I will never, ever, be the same again.

 

Introduction: The role of the modern pastor has become a complex one, filled with both corporate and church responsibilities that were never a part of this role in the early church. Because of the brokenness of families and individuals, and the high pressure of running a corporation as a part of leading a church family, many pastors today feel overwhelmed. Over 1,500 pastors leave the ministry every month, and they are not being replaced at the same rate.

Add to this burden the fact that so many people today have deep wounds and hurts from the past. They come to our church already wounded…we did not wound them…we are not the ones that hurt them…but in order to make them useful partners in the ministry we have to touch their wounds to try and heal them. Very few will let you do this. They would rather blame you for their wound than receive your healing discipline and correction.

For example on Thanksgiving Day we had family over for dinner and one of my grandsons, Elijah, had an accident with his bike. He had accidently slipped off the pedal and his leg was lodged between the bike frame and the pedal. To remove his leg from this situation was an ordeal, because every time we tried to remove his leg, he screamed like bloody murder. We didn’t cause the problem. But it was our job to fix the problem, which involved a little pain. The leg was sprayed with cooking oil, the rear tire was removed so we could disengage the chain which was holding the brake and the pedal. Eventually his leg slid out from the painful situation and his tears dried up and all was well. As a matter of fact, he was riding the bike later that day. We were not his enemy, but he had to suffer through the removal process to gain his freedom.

These are the kinds of challenges a modern pastor has to face…people broken by bad parenting or no parenting, abusive relationships, drugs, alcohol, pornography, and the list goes on and on. Jesus can heal us, but He doesn’t wave a magic wand and everything is better. No, He asks us to submit to our spiritual leaders and do what they say…to imitate those who through faith and patience have inherited the promises. Not all wounds can be healed overnight. Some take long term therapy. But if we will receive the medicine, the cure can be obtained.

We are living at a turning point in the history of the church as we know it. It’s time to take another look at what the Bible says this important office should be.

Opening Scripture:

Ephesians 4:11-12 NKJV “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”

 

1. The role of the pastor is an ascension gift ministry known as the 5-Fold Ministry Gifts. Jesus operated in all five of these ministry gifts, but His plan was to replace Himself with many others who would occupy these offices as a united team representing Him.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”

 

 

  1. The role of the modern pastor is not the same in every situation. In a smaller church, the pastor is often expected to fill all five offices because of a lack of leaders and budget. In a larger church the opportunity to specialize involves more people.

While each of the 5-fold ministry gifts are separate gifts with a different functions, here is how the modern pastor is often asked to fulfil them.

Apostle – the founding pastor who has the ability to start a church, lay the foundation, train leaders, and make the church viable for the long term. Primary preacher the first years of the church. Later an occasional preacher to keep the church on point.

Prophet – the visionary pastor who points to the future, calling the church to purity and holiness, dispenses correction and discipline. Occasional preacher as needed.

Evangelist – the outreach pastor who gathers the lost, teaching the local church to do the same. Occasional preacher to keep the church motivated.

Pastor/Shepherd – the feeding pastor that cares for the sheep and makes disciples. Baby dedications, hospital visitation, weddings, funerals, most of the Sunday preaching.

Teacher – the training pastor who maintains the Christian education process and elevates the Bible teaching culture of the church.

 

  1. Timothy was appointed by the apostle Paul as the presiding or lead pastor (bishop) of the church at Ephesus. Paul’s instruction to Timothy helps us understand the responsibilities of the role of the pastor.

2 Timothy 2:1-5 NKJV “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

There were seven churches founded by the Apostle Paul in Asia Minor which is today modern Turkey. Asia Minor referred to the Roman province of Asia, not the entire continent. These seven major churches of Early Christianity, are mentioned in the New Testament Book of Revelation. In Revelation, on the Greek island of PatmosJesus Christ instructs his servant John of Patmos, through an angelic intermediary, to: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

Map of Turkey

Map, Turkey

Map of Ephesus

Map, Ephesus

 

 

2  Timothy 2:1-5 gives us 4 parts of a modern pastors calling.

A. Gravity of a pastors calling –

NKJV “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom”

MESSAGE “I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule”

B. Focus of a pastors calling –

NKJV “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”

MESSAGE “so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple.”

Acts 6:2-4 NLT “So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program.And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.”

Acts 6:7 NLT “So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.”

C. Challenge of a pastors calling –

NKJV “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

MESSAGE “You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages.”

D. Secret of a pastors calling –

NKJV “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry”

MESSAGE “But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.”

 

  1. The role of the modern shepherd/pastor is to follow the example of the original Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who laid down His life to protect the flock (the church). Jesus said He was the gate to the sheep, and that only the shepherd of the sheep can use the gate to gain access to the flock. This is the protective role of the pastor.

John 10:11-14 “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”

Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant,so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.”

 

  1. God wants every one of us to recognize our need of being a part of a “flock” (local church), and having a divinely called shepherd/pastor that leads us. If we can accept the role of our pastor as God’s shepherd, then we can go in through the gate and be a part of the flock.

Acts 2:47b NKJV “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”

 

  1. How can a congregation help their pastor be successful? I will answer this in detail next week in Part Two, but here is something to wet your appetite.

Facebook Post from Nov 14: If you have a great pastor, don’t be a mediocre supporter. Be an Aaron/Hur that lifts their hands and helps them win the battle. Don’t be a begrudging follower. Get vocal and get loud. The pastors need to hear from you, but so do others.

A real pastor is like a fireman or a policeman in that they put their lives on the line every day for you and your church. They spend their lives to make yours better. The Bible says they should be esteemed highly for their works sake. Do you esteem your pastor highly? There are always critics, but what about the silent majority that are grateful for the gift God has given them, but maybe just forgot to let them and others know how you really feel?

Post below how you have encouraged your pastor(s) lately, or how you plan to do so tomorrow, and the week ahead. I promise it doesn’t take much to make a big difference.

This is not about me. I am a pastor, but I am also called to care for pastors. This is about the 1,500 pastors that leave the ministry every month because they did not feel the support of those they were called to serve. In my heart I feel there are way too many underappreciated pastors that are doing a really good job in a very difficult world, but may be discouraged and even thinking about starting over somewhere else. Don’t let your church be guilty of letting your pastor believe the lies of the enemy.

Pastors are not indestructible superheros…just redeemed people who surrendered to the call to serve God’s people. Help them blossom by starting a culture of honor in your church. Don’t wait another day. Start tomorrow.

God bless you.