Pastor Chad's Itinarary

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Joy To the World, Really?"

James 4:2) 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.|customfirefox|dl1|sec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D122850

Yesterday morning I had the privilege to meet a pastor/missionary friend for coffee. As we were sitting and chatting I noticed on the television a news report of massive beatings and robbing taking place in order to get a new pair of shoes? The new (retro) "Air Jordan" tennis shoes ($180 a pair) had hit the shelves and people stood in line for hours to get their loved one a pair, 'all for the sake of Christ?' You say, "all for the sake of Christ, what are you talking about?" Well, isn't Jesus the reason for the season? Are these people not standing in lines in order to purchase a gift all in the name of Christmas?
 I dare to speculate, but I would say these people in the different cities were not too concern for the God/Man Christ Jesus and Him being the "Reason for the Season." They were not concerned God, "took on flesh (John 1:14), lived a perfect and sinless life (1 Peter 1:19) and counted it joy (Heb.12:2) to face the cross even death on the cross (Phil.2:8)." As I viewed the horrific scenes of men running over woman, men punching other men, I could not help to say (out loud) Happy Birthday Jesus, really?
     In Seattle the police had to pepper spray the riotous people due to their violence, all of this in the name of Christmas? Come on really? Police officer punched in the face, a man violently ran over, a man stabbed in N.J., gun shots in California, all in the name of Christmas. We see such brutality and violence as not a picture of Christ but rather a picture of "depravity of man." Twenty years ago the same thing happened over the beloved Nike shoes there were murders and robberies taking place all for a pair of shoes. We see the world is not getting better but rather is "waxing worse and worse."
    As I ponder what I saw and read, all I could think, "joy to the world, really?" This does not seem as much joy in the world. I am thankful God's people who love Him with all their heart, mind, and soul will honor Christ through this time of the year. God's people understand it is not about buying gifts and nor recieving gifts but rather it is all about the greatest gift ever, "Christ died for sinners according to the scriptures, he  was buried, and rose again the third day according to the scriptures (1 Cor.15:3-4)." So, although there might not be much joy in the world according to the news, I would say there is MUCH joy in  the Person of Christ!
What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. To God Be the Glory!
1 Cor.10:31) So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Monday, December 12, 2011

"Doing It With All Your Might"

Ecclesiastes 9:10 "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might..."

    The Lord as awakened me out of my sleep early this morning (3:00 a.m.) to write on this theme of being a faithful shepherd. Yesterday morning as I stood before the people I was confronted with the reality God is sending more people here to PHBC! You would think, well that is a good thing. Yes and No! Keep reading. I was reminded as I stood behind the sacred desk to break "the bread of life", that I am accountable for these peoples souls (Heb.13:17), at least those who has committed to the body of Christ at PHBC. This verse of Hebrews 13:17, "...for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will give an account" has caused me to reevaluate my ministry as a pastor (shepherd).
     I have asked myself, how am I doing in the shepherding business? Do I know my people as I should? What does it mean to truly shepherd God's people? These questions have been weighing heavy upon my heart for the last few weeks. Can I honestly say, before the God of the Bible who sent His Son to die as a ransom for His people, that I faithfully shepherded your peoples souls? Was I involved (personally) in their spiritual growth and discipleship? Was I truly concerned for their souls as their spiritual leader?
    As most pastors, it concerns me when I see some church members only one time a week. They come in for there dose of religion for the week not to be seen again until next week. But, I wonder how are they doing throughout the week? How are they doing spiritually? Are they worshiping the Lord in His Word? Are they spending time with the Lord in prayer? Are the husbands of the church loving their wives as Christ loved the church? Are wives submitting to their husbands? Are children obeying the parents in the Lord? As the pastor of the Lord's church, I want to do what God has called me to do...."with all my might."
     I teach my three boys, that whatever we do, we do it unto the glory of God (1 Cor.10:31) and we do it with all our might! Whether it is their school work, whether it is playing sports, or whether it is tying up the garbage bag and taking out the trash. I so desire for my children to honor the Lord in all that they do, how much more should their father be as a picture and example of those words when it comes to the work the Lord has given me. I want to be the best shepherd I can be to the glory of Christ!
With that said, I will share a couple of things I am trying to do by God's grace to better shepherd our people here at PHBC:

1. Expositional Preaching...I try to be faithful in teaching and preaching God's Word week in and week out. Verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book!

2. Pray for our people daily through out the week. I have members list and I try to go through it weekly and pray for each individual. I also pray for the large number of our visitors who have been coming on a regular basis. I often will send them an e-mail or text to encourage them that day and let them know I prayed for them.

3. Men's Bible Study. We have our weekly men's Bible study on Saturday at 7:30, where men are encouraged to come together and study God's Word. During this time we share our prayer concerns with one another. This also gives me the opprotunity to speak with some of our men one on one and ask some questions pertaining to their spiritual health.

 4. Open our home or go to lunch. Periodically we will invite members to our home to visit and share a meal together. I often get the opportunity to go to lunch with individuals and I am able to shepherd them this way.

5. Calendar for monthly visits to their homes. This one is in the making still. This would allow our members to sign up each month for a visit from their pastor. I think this is a neat way to be able to visit with your people (outside them being sick or some tragedy) and also it allows them to open their homes up, which causes them to open their hearts up to you as their pastor.
     I guess the reason why I write this is because it seems as though the Lord is sending new people every week to our fellowship. We have people who have inquired about membership and I want to be able to shepherd their souls with eternity in mind. I am not concerned about getting more members as I am about taking care of the ones I already have. Which reminds me of a quote I heard from C.H. Spuregon from one of his students.
The student told Spuregon, "One day I would like to have a large congregation like yourself (which was up to 8-10,000 members)." The student said, "I only have 30 members in my country church." To which Spurgeon replied, "on the day of judgement, believe me you will think you have had enough!"
So, with all that said, I am asking for some input from you other pastors and church members alike. What are some suggestions you would make to a pastor being more faithful in shpeherding his flock?

Pastors, if you are not shepherding your people I encourage you to get with your sheep and get to know them. And, "do it with all your might!"

What do you think? Agree or disagree?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Only If the Lord Wills"

James 4:14-15) "yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this of that."
     As I am "growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18)" I am reminded that God is Sovereign. That is, the God who created the heavens and the earth is in absolute control of every atom and molecule in the universe. There is not one thing which happens or does not happen which the God of the Bible is not ordering from His throne. Psalm 115:3 says, "Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases." This is a great comfort for one whose faith is in God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ.
     I received a phone call last night letting me know a gentleman whom I had been disciplining in God's Word had passed away. This gentleman was unable to read or write but was a smart individual. He worked for 35 years with TVA, as a welder. He built his home with his own hands (which is beautiful) and raised a family with 5 children. He received news less than 2 months ago he had liver cancer and there was no hope for him, outside a miracle of God.
     Although this gentleman had no education and never attended church he told me "I remember my father-in-law reading the Bible to me and my wife after we were married." He told me, "he remembered there was something to what his father-in-law would read to him about a man named Jesus." He said, he always knew there was something greater than he was, who created him, gave him life and breath." He also admitted, "I never took the time to find out more about this man named Jesus." Therefore, he asked me to come and read God's Word with him until he died.
     I  have had the privilege for the last month to go to this gentleman's house and read the Bible with him and his family. I read numerous passages of scripture, quoted scriptures, and even wrote scriptures out. But, it wasn't until the last visit I had with him personally that he said, "preacher I believe I need to be baptized. " I asked, "what makes you think, that?" He said, "I've trusted in Jesus Christ." At that moment I could not help to think of Acts 8:26-40, "the Eunuch asked Phillip what prevents me from being baptized? Phillip said, do you believe with all your heart and he replied I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." You know often we want a spectacular event of emotions and other signs to accompany a confession of faith in Christ. Well, not here. He simply confessed that He had trusted in Christ and had a peace about dying he didn't have before.
     That afternoon was a glorious time, as I had one of our men from church with me. As we sat around the table there was at least 8 to 10 other family members gathered around the table listening to God's Word and the gospel of free grace. We made plans to baptize him the following Sunday, but he was unable to make it to the church house. He kept telling me, "if I don't make it to be baptize, I know that isn't what gets me to heaven, anyway!"
     I write this today because I had in my schedule to go and visit with him again. I looked forward to reading him God's Word and praying for him. I found out last night the Lord took him. I am reminded
it wasn't the Lord's will for me to visit with him today. The Bible reminds us, "the heart of man plans his ways, but the Lord establishes our steps (Prov.16:9)."
     I pray we as believers in Christ, would always be reminded our God rules and reigns not only in life or death but even in the salvation of sinners. I pray the Lord would be greatly exalted as I try and minister to a family in need of God's mercy and grace.