A deacon is a servant, and a good deacon is a treasure.
The church with a healthy body of godly servants called deacons is a blessed congregation indeed.
Your church (and your pastor) needs deacons if….
1) Your church needs a standing team of godly men always ready to respond to needs in the church.
What is everyone’s responsibility turns out to be no one’s job. So, you organize a group of servant-minded Christians and put them in charge of any gap in the church’s ministries, anywhere the hardworking teachers and others are showing signs of fatigue, fear, or shorthandedness.
In Nehemiah’s day, when Israel was rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, the enemies were on the job. Night and day they taunted the Lord’s people who were laboring to complete the work and secure the city. “And it came about when the Jews who lived near (the enemies) came and told us ten times, ‘They will come up against us from every place where you may turn,’ then I stationed men in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, the exposed places, and I stationed the people in families with their swords, spears, and bows….” (Neh. 4:12-13).
The men “stationed in the lowest parts” are the most vulnerable, the fill-in-the-gap warriors. They are exposed, the risk-takers, the defenders. Think of them as deacons. “Whatever it takes” and “wherever you need us”–that’s a deacon.
Every pastor and every church wants men (and women too) with a heart to serve.
What they do not want is a little cluster of ingrown power-brokers who protect their turf, see deacon status as a recognition of their importance, and elevate their decisions as law for pastor and congregation.
In the monthly deacons meeting, one of the newer men said, “Last week in the church conference, someone made a motion from the floor and it was adopted. That’s not right. These matters must come to the deacons first, then to the church.”
One of the veterans said, “My brother, this is a Baptist church. This congregation can vote to do anything it pleases and it does not have to ask our approval.”
Thank you, Deacon Atwell Andrews. As the pastor of that bunch, I loved that.
In a deacons meeting, a shriveled little nay-sayer looked across the way at his pastor and said, “The Bible says the deacons are to handle the business of the church.”
I said, “My friend, I cannot wait for you to show me that in the Scripture.”
Nice mention in the Baton Rouge Advocate this week:
“When the Lord says to love your enemies, he’s not commanding you to feel anything,” McKeever said. “He’s not asking you to feel all gooey and affectionate toward them. He’s commanding you to do loving actions toward them.”
via Man’s healing leads to start of alternative funeral home | People | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA.
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things I say?” (Luke 6:46)
It’s a fair question. The very word “Lord” means “master, owner,” and implies that one is subservient to Jesus Christ, willing to carry out His slightest command.
“Don’t call me that if you are not going to obey me,” Jesus said. It’s a simple enough request.
The Lord’s question was rhetorical. He was not looking for an answer. He knew the human heart as no one before or after Him. (Of course, there was no one before Jesus and there will be no one after Him. He is the Everlasting One.)
Our Lord needed no one to advise Him on the crooked way people’s minds work, of our tendency to pick and choose the commands we will obey and how we want the rewards before doing the work and paying the price.
“He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust” (Psalm 103:14).
However, I’d like to venture to pose an answer to His question. Several answers in fact on “Why we call Jesus ‘Lord’ and do not do what He commanded.”
“….our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel….” (II Timothy 1:10)
Slam-dunk, this is as good as it gets.
Why do we owe so much to Jesus? Why has eternity changed for us? Why do we go forward with our heads held high, undaunted by the unknown? Because Jesus Christ abolished death and brought to light life and immortality.
It makes a world of difference.
This is part of a larger sentence, one that starts with 1:8 and continues through verse 11. The larger thought–the full context–is much broader than that, even.
The entire thing is a mother lode of insight, inspiration, and instruction.
“But the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me…” (II Timothy 4:17)
The present spate of books about how “I died for a few minutes and went to Heaven and here is what I saw” is not a new thing. A generation ago, there were similar books, all variations of “my four minutes in heaven.”
I read some of those books, but none of the recent ones.
The Apostle Paul had just such an experience and refused to write about it. In II Corinthians 12, he tells us: “I know a man in Christ who 14 years ago–whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows–anyway, this man was caught up to the third heaven. He heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. I’m going to refrain from speaking of this, lest it sound like I’m boasting.” (My paraphrase.)
The best guess is Paul is referring to the time when he was stoned “to death” on his first missionary journey (recorded in Acts 14:19-20). The attackers considered him dead, and perhaps he was, at least momentarily. But God was not ready for him yet; his great lifework was still ahead, so the Lord sent him back. (For which we are eternally grateful.)
But Paul refused to write a best-seller and tell us what he saw.
That caution which Paul felt has not kept many today from telling their stories, publishing their best-sellers, getting on all the talk-shows, and raking in huge sums from royalties and speaking fees.
“The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
“Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
Here is how the process works….
I do not know all the answers to my questions, do not know how the Lord will save me or what happens to my sins or how He can help me overcome my bad habits and weaknesses. I do not know what kind of life will open before me as a believer, nor how my friends and family will take my newfound faith. There is so much I do not know.
But I come to Jesus anyway. By faith.
IN CONFESSING CHRIST.
I do not know where I will find the courage to stand up before even this church crowd, how much more the world outside the church, and confess that I am now following Jesus. I do not know what this will involve, what the Lord will expect of me, how people will react or what I am to say and do.
Yet, I will confess Jesus anyway. I will do so by faith.
On the kitchen wall of our family farmhouse is an old white-board, put there years ago to hold messages for mom and dad, both of whom have now left us. This week I read the final notes on the board, basically untouched since a few days after mom went to Heaven in June of 2012.
One of my siblings had written: “We have lost the best friend anyone could ever have–our mother.” Under that, another had written: “She’s not lost. We know where she is.” And under that was this: “That doesn’t make it any easier.”
All of those statements are true, I suppose. Even though both our parents nearly made the century mark, my two brothers and two sisters (and I) miss them so much.
But the note on the board does raise an interesting question, one worth our consideration.