Neither to the Left Nor the Right

Hello friends, dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

The modern church is grossly guilty of politicizing Christianity, and labeling is quite deceptive. We hear about “liberal” Christians and “conservative” Christians. Some describe themselves as “moderate” Christians. Such labels are very misleading, because the real issue is whether a person is a biblical Christian; is one’s life marked by biblical holiness, love, and purity—as God prescribes? 

The “liberal” claims to do things in love, but has he disregarded God’s holiness? The conservative says he holds to God’s holiness, but has he set aside God’s love? Often, in both camps, God’s mercy, justice, and righteousness are neglected. Again, the issue is not whether one is liberal or conservative, but is he biblical?

Let’s be clear, God’s ways do not always make sense to us. But we have brains about the size of a softball. The Creator of the heavens and the earth is perfect in wisdom. What He calls right or wrong goes. Our thoughts and feelings on the matter is completely irrelevant.

Friends, we need to return to biblical Christianity. For if what we call Christianity is not biblical, then it is not Christianity at all. “To the teaching and to the testimony!” (Isa. 8:20).

Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. ~ Joshua 1:7

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.” ~ John 14:23-24

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

Ichabod—Has the Glory of the Lord Departed from the SBC?

Hello, my friends. I write this with a heavy heart. I grew up attending Southern Baptist churches, my undergrad and graduate studies were at Southern Baptist schools (except my senior year), and I presently attend an SBC church. There was a time, I believe, when this denomination was a beacon of light; however, for the last several years there has been a growing darkness within it. There have been weeds, planted by the evil one, growing to choke out the truth, as ministers of darkness have crept in teaching doctrines that are contrary to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us not dismiss stern warnings in Scripture. Jesus warned,

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. ~ Matthew 13:36-42

Jude warns of an ever present danger:

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. ~ Jude 3-4

Understand, my loyalties are not to the SBC, as much as I care about it. For the SBC is not my Savior or Redeemer. I have an issue with those leaders who are drifting to the left and further away from sound teachings of Scripture. Let’s be clear, the Scriptures are not silent about issues like abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, or even godless philosophies underlying the whole “woke” nonsense (these will be discussed later). But I also have an issue with those drifting to the right who minimize the seriousness of sexual allegations and abuse, as well as racial tension. The Scriptures, likewise, are clear about moral and pure conduct, discipline for the immoral, and the value God places on His people of every ethnicity.

I read articles of so much bias, half-truths, outright lies, slander, arrogance, and deliberate stirring of division. Churches and individuals can pay lip service of doing “all for the glory of God” until the return of Christ, but is Jesus truly honored by any of this? Is He pleased or glorified by people behaving in their flesh and sin? Is He honored by persons casually setting aside His statutes? Indeed, He is a God of grace, but He is just as much a God of truth. We must strive to not separate the two.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. ~ John 1:17

For example, I read and article in which Beth Moore, as well as the author, accuse the “Trump cult” conservatives of criticizing her for her verbal attacks on Trump (Note: Trump was not who I initially desired to see become president). No, for many of us, our criticism has little to do with that as much as her hypocrisy. In her open condemnation of Trump for sexual allegations, she openly gave full endorsement of Hillary Clinton, whose DNC platform was nothing short of a celebration of death of the unborn. Not only that, Clinton’s position on nearly everything is anti-Christ and clearly in opposition to biblical teachings and values. Furthermore, while Trump was condemned for his injustice toward women, nothing was ever said about Hillary and Bill’s friendship with Epstein, or about their visits to his island in which human trafficking was taking place. As a former boss of mine had said so well of Hillary supporters, “They condemn Trump for being a sinner, but give their support to a devil.” And this is my issue with Beth, she condemns Trump as an evil man, yet endorsed a person three times the child of hell as him.

Before I continue, what we are seeing is nothing new. If one reads the Prophets, often some of the persons and practices cried out against were corrupt priests and false prophets who permitted sin; child sacrifice; immorality (including temple prostitution/homosexuality); greed; presumption; and idolatry. For modern deceivers who dismiss the Law and Old Testament as irrelevant, Jesus states that He did not come to abolish the Law but fulfill it (see Matt. 5:18-20). Also, the people and the judgements in the OT serve as examples for us (see 1 Cor. 10:1-11; 2 Pet. 2:5-6; Jude 6-7).

We are living in a time when many are either too afraid, or simply refuse, to call sin sin. Many who call themselves Christians have made an unholy alliance with the woke culture, which the very philosophical foundation of this movement is Marxist and anti-Christ. Let us ask such a question along with the apostle Paul,

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? ~ 2 Corinthians 6:14-15

Elsewhere, he warns,

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. ~ Colossians 2:8

The “woke” movement, claiming to want to eradicate racism, promotes Critical Race Theory, which portrays whites as being bad on the basis of being white. Such foolishness not only disregard the fact that all people are made in the image of God, but it simply breeds more racism and tension. Furthermore, “wokeness” promotes, breeds, and applauds lifestyles the Bible condemns. It breeds covetousness and discontentment, disregarding solid work ethic, as persons believe we should all have all things in common. Where is this told in Scripture? Rather, we are taught to work, be productive, and to be content with what we have.

As for homosexuality and transgenderism, and the sanctity of marriage, there are those who try to pit the teachings of the apostles against those of Jesus, but there is no conflict. And ultimately, all of Scripture is breathed out by God, and each writer was carried along by the Holy Spirit (see 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21-22). But as for Jesus, He can get no more explicit than when He declares the very institution of marriage God has ordained:

[Jesus] answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” ~ Matthew 9:4-6

Such behavior is clearly condemned in Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9. Understand, this does not mean we are to mistreat such individuals; however, churches sin whenever they refuse to call such behavior what God calls it—sin. This is no more hateful than calling out heterosexual couples who are committing adultery or fornication. 

Note also, Jesus declares two genders of which God created—male and female. There are no other genders. Then from whence does such confusion come from? Paul says that “God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33), so we know such confusion within individuals does not come from God. And we can learn further from biblical principles when the apostle writes,

Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:14-16

Let me now switch gears. What about the various sexual allegations which are being swept under the rug? This is serious error of some of those on the right. It angers me when I hear of churches not only silencing women or children who have told of sexual abuse, but of some who have turned a blind eye to known pedophiles. Does God turn a blind eye to any of this? Check out what Jesus, the King of love, declares:

Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. ~ Matthew 18:5-6

Or what about racism? While, indeed, CRT is certainly wrong, so is dismissing the concerns of non-white Southern Baptists. I believe, if the denomination as a whole was honest, there is a measure of inequality and segregation. There are some rock solid preachers who are not white, but why are they in the background? Let us be very clear on this matter, Heaven is multicultural by God’s design. We read in Revelation,

And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God. ~ Revelation 5:9-10

I could go on, but the question remains, has the glory of the Lord departed from the SBC? This is an important question for churches to be asking. Persons can boast of what the denomination has accomplished, but let us take heed to Jesus’ warnings when He says,

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?”And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” Matthew 7:21-23

If the glory of the Lord were to depart, sinful religious persons will continue to perform religious duties. However, such churches would be nothing but whitewashed tombs, attractive on the outside but death within.

Brothers and sisters, we have sinned greatly as a people and a denomination. May God grant us repentance, broken hearts, and contrite spirits. May we repent of all sin, and may the glory of the Lord return. And may we cease to glory in our denomination but glory only in the Lord.

“Don’t give me doctrine, just give me Jesus!” I have heard persons say. Such persons think this sounds spiritual, but what they don’t understand is Jesus taught doctrines. Doctrine simply means teaching. There is sound doctrine which is in accordance with the truth, and there is false doctrine which does not. Beware of those who say they “reject doctrines,” because chances are you are dealing with a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. ~ Titus 2:1

There are many false prophets and teachers today, claiming to be Christians, yet casting doubt on the Scriptures—the very Scriptures of which Jesus declares to be absolutely trustworthy and enduring. These false teachers say the Bible is God’s Word mingled with human error. The apostle Peter tells us that the writers of Scripture were “carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21). Brother, Sister, the God who spoke the universe into existence and sustains it by His power is more than capable of preserving His Word. Don’t buy into the deception of the liars of the day.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. ~ Matthew 24:35

“Judge not lest ye be judged,” the bumper sticker reads (quoting Matthew 7:1 from the KJV Bible). It is ironic that people use a quote from the Bible to try to justify behaviors and practices that the same Bible condemns. “Do not judge,” they say, while judging those who study and try to live by the book they are quoting. “Do not judge,” they say, but judgment must be made when making a distinction between right from wrong, the righteousness from the unrighteous, and the Holy from the profane. The very Jesus who tells us to not judge tells us just a few verses later to not give to dogs what is holy or cast our pearls before pigs.

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. ~ Matthew 7:1-2

Our Desperate Need for Wisdom

We, as a people, are in desperate need for wisdom. Our nation is so divided and wounded, yet we continue to behave like a bunch of monkeys flinging poo at one another, then wonder why we are in such a filthy, stinking mess.

Wisdom does not just happen. That is, persons are not simply born “wise.” Furthermore, wisdom is more than simply being smart or correct. There is an abundance of intellectual, sophisticated fools. Washington, Hollywood, and universities give ample evidence of this. Authentic wisdom is substantial and produces certain results.

Consider, and take the following words of James to heart, and think through the applications and consider what is going on in the world around us.

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. ~ James 3:13-18

At first read it would appear as if James is talking about two kinds of wisdom, but he is not. He is describing what true wisdom is versus what is falsely so called. Notice, authentic wisdom is substantial in character. The truly wise are good in conduct and meek in spirit. Whereas the false wisdom of the age is bitter, jealous, and filled with selfish ambition.

Now, consider the effects, or results, of these. False wisdom is also false to the truth, and is earthly, unspiritual—even demonic. No wonder it produces disorder and every vile practice. Authentic wisdom, on the other hand, is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, merciful, impartial (just), and sincere. True wisdom produces righteousness and peace.

What are we witnessing today? Do we see civility and reasonable discourse? Certainly not! We see constant mudslinging and strife by persons and groups hellbent on getting their own way, disregarding what is beneficial to the whole. Truth is trampled on and mocked, although we talk about love, peace, and unity. Yet, even genuine love is:

Is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-6

Did you catch that? Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Our society constantly applauds lying politicians and news outlets that withhold or distort the truth—so long as they promote our ideas and agendas. No matter whose reputations or lives are ripped asunder. And we wonder why our nation is in the wretched state she is in?

Going back to wisdom, before James talked about wisdom and the falsely so called, earlier he writes,

Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. ~ James 1:19-20

Then, later James writes,

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! ~ James 1:1-4

Does this not sound like a description of our country and our world? We are in desperate need of wisdom. But how can we begin to attain it? Before discrediting what I am about to share, consider this: are our methods helping matters? Do our methods not injure a lot of people—even the innocent—and further promote more injustices? Many of us are “wise in our own eyes,” but we are not wise, my friends. This is clearly made evident by the results of our actions. So then, how are we to attain wisdom?

Let the wise hear and increase in learning. ~ Proverbs 1:5

First, we must step back and be willing to listen and to learn.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. ~ Proverbs 1:7

It is astonishing to me how our society mocks the Christian faith relentlessly, then wonders how our government, schools, and communities are in the conditions they are in. If one mocks or denies love, faithfulness, truth, peacefulness, life, and the like, then he opens himself to hatred, betrayal, deception, strife, death, and the like. This is not rocket science, but it is amazing how such simplicity is overlooked.

My friends, I am showing the way of hope. The principles I am sharing not only work, but are secured on the solid foundation of truth. God offers us His wisdom and Himself; yet, if we continue to resist and reject Him, then we must also suffer the consequences of the law of cause and effect.

“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you. ~ Proverbs 1:22-23

Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” ~ Proverbs 1:29-33

Our scoffing at God and hating the knowledge of Him has not benefited us at all. So why do we hold so tightly to these?

Why Study the Word? (Part 3)

For the follower of Jesus Christ, it is important to understand Jesus’ emphasis on the importance of studying the Scriptures. To truly be His disciple, it only stands to reason one will accept His perception of the Scriptures. First, however, a few considerations are in order.

  • The Scriptures read in the synagogues in His day were copies of copies. Jesus trusted   not only the written words of the Scriptures but also the divine preservation of them. 
  • Jesus considered the Old Testament accounts as literal, factual history. That is, He did not interpret the Scriptures allegorically.
  • Jesus teaches that the Scriptures are authoritative, completely trustworthy, and eternal, absolute truth. 
  • Jesus, who is the Word (see John 1:1-3), equates His words to being on par with the authority of the Scriptures.

The following are Jesus’ teachings about the Scriptures.

“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. ~ Luke 24:44-45 (ESV)

For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. ~ Matthew 5:18

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. ~ Matthew 24:35

It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void. ~ Luke 16:17

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. ~ Luke 24:27

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” ~ Matthew 22:36-40

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. ~ John 18:17

We also observe Jesus’ application of the Scriptures in the midst of temptation and spiritual warfare. When He was being tempted by the devil in the wilderness, Jesus repeatedly referred to the Scriptures. Then, when Satan also quoted Scripture, twisting them, Jesus was able to see through the deception because He had studied the Word (see Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13).

This brings us to the third reason to study the Word: the Scriptures, if we build our lives upon them, will give us a secure foundation. Jesus tells us,

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. ~ Matthew 7:24-27

Notice, both the wise and foolish face major storms in their lives; however, it is the wise who have prepared and built on a solid foundation. Friend, is your life being built securely on the foundation of God’s Word?

Why Study the Word? (Part 2)

Is it not strange that two persons can view the same thing, yet their perception can be polar opposite? Consider the Bible, some see it simply as a book of rules: “Do this! Don’t do that!” Such persons perceive the Bible as being restrictive and fun-demolishing.

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” ~ Psalm 2:2-3 (ESV)

Jesus, on the other hand, declares God’s Word to be the truth, what bears witness about Him, and what sets persons free (see John 17:17; 5:39; 8:31-32).

The prophet Isaiah asserts,

Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples…. And when [the people] say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. ~ Isaiah 8:16, 19-20

Interestingly, while so many do not view the Bible as being of much value (admittedly, even many who profess to be Christians do not devote much time to it), the writer of Psalm 119 devotes the whole writing (176 verses) to celebrating God’s Word, Law, ways, commands, and statutes. In these he finds delight (see vs. 14, 47, 92, 143). According to the psalmist, God’ Word is of immense value (see vs. 37, 72, 127).

Here are sevreal benefits he mentions in his own experience:

This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. ~ vs. 50

I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant. ~ vs. 75-76

If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life. ~ vs. 92-93

Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. ~ vs. 98

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. ~ vs. 105

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. ~ vs. 130

Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. ~ vs. 165

So much of the regrets and miseries people suffer is because of abandoning the truth and protection of God’s Word (I speak out of my own personal experience). People would be spared a lot of pain and shame if they would stop viewing the Scriptures as a killjoy, and rather perceive them to be the loving instructions of a caring Father and Creator.

Why Study the Word? (Part 1)

Spiritual disciplines (e.g., prayer, Bible study, etc.) are not about having fun and enjoyment but are about transformation, gaining wisdom and discernment, and knowing God. This is a difficult, and sometimes painful, process. For the past fifty years or so the church has tried to compete with the world in entertainment, but take it from one whose obsession was once to be a drummer of a metal band and tour the world, the world will always develop better entertainment and throw bigger parties. However, the world will never excel in love, joy, wisdom, or authentic purpose.

We are told in the Scriptures,

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. ~ 2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)

We are told to “be diligent” for the purpose of “rightly dividing the word of truth.” If one can rightly handle the Scriptures, he can also wrongly handle them. We are later warned “that in the last days perilous times will come” (2 Tim. 3:1, NKJV). What will this look like?

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money … lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. ~ 2 Timothy 3:2, 4-5 (ESV)

The apostle Paul tells us plainly that those who truly desire to be godly in Christ will experience persecution of various kinds, while evil men and false teachers will increase (see 2 Tim. 3:12-13). Paul goes on to tell us the benefit and the Source of the Scriptures:

You have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:15-17

Did you catch these? The Scriptures are able to make you wise, and all Scripture is breathed out by God. The apostle Peter tells us in his second epistle,

Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. ~ 2 Peter 1:20-21

If our faith and devotion to Jesus Christ is genuine, then we must be serious students of His Word. Paul further warns us:

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. ~ 2 Timothy 4:3-4

I believe we have entered this time of which the apostle speaks, as many who profess to be Christians are downplaying, even bringing into question, the Word of God and following after the whims of their feelings and emotions. Many treat the Scriptures like a great buffet, picking the parts they like and refusing the rest. Or else treating them as if truth changes like styles and trends.

There is nothing inherently wrong with entertainment, fun, or feelings; however, it is too easy for us to waste hours amusing ourselves, yet barely give time to God and His Word. Likewise, it is too easy to be swayed by our own feelings while rejecting God’s objective and absolute truth. No, being diligent in studying His Word is not always fun, and it does go against our sinful biases. Nevertheless, as the days become increasingly evil as the Word of God foretells, we must become more diligent if we would become wise and discerning in these perilous times.

Encourage Your Pastor

One of the sad (but true) jokes in churches is that many families will have roasted pastor for dinner after Sunday’s service. However, the pastor who is genuinely called by God and is trying to lead a congregation in the ways of God has a tremendous responsibility. Furthermore, he does so many things behind the scenes ministering to others most are unaware of. Contrary to popular belief, pastors do far more than “just prepare for sermons and preach.” They serve as counselors and comforters, and many are on-call 24/7.

Pastors are not perfect (although they are to be godly). They have feelings and passions. They experience fear, sadness, discouragement, and anger. Many are husbands and fathers trying to be good In these roles (these are difficult for them too), and often people expect their families to be picture perfect. Dysfunction brings their calling, character, and credibility into question.

Pastors must deal with conviction and accountability to God for how they behave and handle the Word of God. They must deal with their own consciences making them aware of their failures and inadequacies. And pastors have “a target on their backs,”  more so than the average Christian, because if Satan can influence them to fall into gross sin and scandalous activities, then congregations can be divided, confounded, and even faith being shipwrecked of some.

I have read of the following statistics:

  • 97% of pastors have been betrayed, falsely accused, or hurt by their trusted friends.
  • 70% of pastors struggle with depression.
  • 1500 pastors quit each month.
  • 10% will retire as pastors.
  • 80% of pastors feel discouraged.
  • 94% of pastor’s families feel the pressure of ministry.
  • 78% of pastors have no close friends.
  • 90% of pastors report to working 55-75 hours per week.

The primary tasks of a pastor is studying/teaching God’s Word and devoting himself to earnest prayer. Christians can say they “love God’s Word,” but pastors make a lot of people mad when they do truly preach God’s Word!

If you have a godly (albeit imperfect) pastor who strives to be faithful to Jesus Christ, His Word, and the Great Commission; and if he seeks to minister to the congregation and is burdened for the souls of people, then you are truly blessed. The Bible says this of such individuals:

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. ~ 1 Timothy 5:17 (ESV)

And,

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. ~ Hebrews 13:17

Do you give honor—even double honor—to your pastor? Or do you nit pick his flaws, give him grief because he did not call you on your birthday, and roast him because he preached against your beloved pet sin(s)? If the latter, how is this of any benefit to you? What gain is there in wounding and making the work difficult of one who loves you? Sadly, often pastors pour themselves out (sometimes at the expense of their families) only to meet with continual resistance, roasting, and betrayal from congregants. 

Do you pray for your pastor’s well being? Have you encouraged your pastor (and his family) lately? A gift, a note of appreciation, and the like could be of great encouragement to him. It might even be that needed spark to help him keep from giving up. Encourage your pastor. He experiences the stresses of life and loss, just as you, all the while putting these aside ad he tried to minister to others. The weight and burdens he carries with him you will never understand. He needs your prayers and encouragement more than you can ever know.