My Further Reflections on Christian Living and Church Leadership from an Older Pastor and Professor: Part 3

Today is the final installment of reflections on ministry. If you missed the first two segments, you can find them here and here. I pray these thoughts encourage you.

  1. Every one of us needs someone who knows us completely, asks us the hard choices, pushes us to be holy, and loves us even when we fall. We need this person not only so we can confess our sins (Jms 5:6), but also because God created us with a need for other people in our lives (Gen 2:18). To my male readers: we need not only our spouse (if we’re married) but also a male friend who, in the words of Kent Hughes, understands “the serpentine passages” of our heart.[1] To try to follow God on our own is a failing endeavor. 
  2. We North American believers could benefit from learning from our brothers and sisters around the world – and vice versa. When other believers include “learning how to face persecution” in their basic discipleship strategies because they know the opposition they face, we can learn from them. Believers for whom prayer is in their DNA—because they love God and need Him—have much to teach us. We have much to teach others, too, but it wouldn’t hurt us to be learners more often. 
  3. Christian living must be a balance of DNA commitment and intentional choices. Here’s what I mean: ideally, our daily faithfulness just naturally occurs (DNA), but strengthening the DNA usually requires developing healthy habits first. For example, I want to read the Word, pray, and evangelize naturally every day—but to get there requires I set aside time to read, find a time to pray, and intentionally reach out to non-believers. Daily living is both DNA and intention, not either/or.  
  4. Rightly understood, the call to shepherd God’s people is weighty indeed. We will give account for how we “watch over souls” (Heb 13:17). Put on top of that the serious task of preaching, the grief of watching people surrender to sin, the heartache of burying people you love, and the pressure of standing for truth in an increasingly immoral world, and you get a sense of this calling. We need to pray for each other. 
  5. God is faithful. Always. Period. Sometimes I’ve thought about quitting ministry but didn’t (as this previous post shows). I’ve learned that It really is the case that, “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous abandoned or his children begging for bread” (Psa 37:25). Our God is a promise-keeping God who holds us in His hand even when we wander in the wilderness. We cannot walk so far that He does not see us and keep us in His care.   

What other reflections come to mind for you? 

[1] R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of a Godly Man. Crossway. Kindle Edition.

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