There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and shunned evil. –Job 1:1
Job, you have instructed many. You have strengthened weak hands; your words have upheld him who was stumbling; and you have strengthened the feeble knees. –Job 4:3-4
Authenticity: Job had it.
It’s my observation that in sports the best coaches and in church the most effective pastors are all authentic.
They are the real deal.
They don’t try to be someone else. While they have surely picked up traits and lessons and insights from others, they do not do their imitation of other people. They are themselves.
The word–I love finding the root meaning of words–comes from autos, meaning “self,” and hentes, Greek for worker, doer, author. So, we might say “authentic” means “coming from the author” or “genuine.”
The Bible is authentic. It comes from the Original Author (of all things!).
What started me thinking about this was a sports discussion on the radio one morning recently. A former UCLA coach made the observation after the LSU-Alabama slugfest back in November, that both coaches, Nick Saban and Ed Orgeron, are authentic. They are originals, copying no one, imitating no one, just being who they are.
She hath done what she could. –Mark 14:8
The little girl was staring up at Bertha and saying nothing. Bertha and Gary were newlyweds, just beginning in ministry, and Gary accepted any invitations coming his way–sing, preach, teach, counsel, whatever. Today, he had sung in the worship service, and now stood near the piano talking to the accompanist. A few feet away, her little girl was staring up at Bertha.
Finally she spoke.
She said, “Do you sing?”
Bertha: “No. I don’t sing.”
Silence. The child is processing that. Finally, she speaks again.
“Do you play the piano?”
“No. I don’t play the piano.”
More silence. The child is thinking. Then, she speaks and gives this family a memorable line we’ve used ever since.
This is not a test to give someone else. We’re not so much interested in gauging someone else’s Bible knowledge as we are trying to encourage Bible learning. So, this is an exercise for those of us who have preached God’s Word for decades and/or taught it in classes, Sunday School or otherwise.
I. NAME THE BOOKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT IN ORDER. Write it down in a vertical column. That’s simple enough, right? Give yourself 10 points for getting it right.
It’s good to stop and look around sometimes and ask ourselves some questions. We can think of a hundred such questions to ask ourselves: Where are you going? How did you get here? Are you doing what the Lord intended when He sent you here? Can you do it better? How can you do it better? Are you preaching grace, the cross of Jesus, forgiveness and love or something harsh and unyielding? How would someone who had never heard of Jesus react to your message?
On and on. There is no end to the questions. But I am not suggesting that we burden ourselves with a constant barrage of self-doubt. Only that once in a while, we should stop and take inventory.
Here are five questions that occur to me for every minister to ask ourselves…
Have you ever been cussed out? Ever been a hypocrite? Ever had to go for marriage counseling?
Come on, ‘fess up!
Here are twenty questions for you to answer, then share with your world. Don’t fret over it; just have fun with it.
You have my answers to the right. Copy the page and post on Facebook, your own blog or email, then delete my responses and post your own.
Our last article for this blog was “If your pastor does these 10 things, your church has hit the jackpot.”
Now, here is the other side of the coin.
If your church does the following ten things, your pastor–particularly if he is new–will feel he has won the jackpot. Stumbled onto a treasure. Won the lottery. Been richly blessed of the Lord. Choose your figure of speech.
“If the Lord sends either Shawn or Chip, your church has hit the jackpot!” –Statement from my friend Bill a year ago when our church was searching for the next pastor. (The Lord sent Chip. And now Shawn has resigned his church to become the next executive director of our state Baptist convention. We have hit the jackpot twice.)
If your pastor does these ten things, you should stop and count your blessings, friend. You have a winner.
I’m a couple months short of hitting the birthday some have named Eighty. Oh, my goodness. That’s a huge number. As one who was often the youngest in the room or the youngest to do a lot of things, reaching this age comes as a mild surprise. It happened so quickly–and effortlessly. All I did to achieve it was to keep on breathing. (I’ve gotten rather good at that, and hope to keep it up for a while longer.)
April of 2021 will mark sixty years since God called me into the ministry. So, you’d think I would have learned a few things by now. I sure hope so.
Here are some of the lessons the Lord has been trying to teach me over these decades…
The new pastor announced they were changing the name of the church.
The new pastor decided the worship music of the last umpteen years needed updating and has brought in another director and more musicians. The organist and pianist who have served so faithfully for many years are still being included but they never know what’s going on and wonder if they are unwanted.
The new pastor decided they should go to two morning services.
The new pastor decided they should go to one morning service.
The new pastor decided.
Anyone see a problem here? The new pastor comes in and starts rearranging the furniture. Restructuring God’s church. Moving people around like chess pieceds.
The new pastor is ruling. Or so it seems to many.
Ever been there? You should read my mail. It’s happening all around you.
Why sit we here until we die? (2 Kings 7:3)
Every pastor has a story or two he used to tell but which was lost because of the years and circumstances. I told this one a few times over twenty years ago and just ran across it in Chuck Swindoll’s book of 1500 stories, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart.
Back in the summer of 1982, Larry Walters, truck driver, had too much time on his hands without a clue what to do with it all. Mostly, he sat in his back yard drinking beer and thinking. One day he began to wonder what would happen if he were to get himself several surplus weather balloons, tie them together, and go aloft. He could spy on his neighborhood, and wouldn’t that be fun?
That’s why on July 2nd of that year he rigged up forty-two surplus helium-filled balloons from the U. S. Weather Service or some such agency. He anchored them to a backyard lawn chair he’d bought from Sears in San Pedro, California. Before lifting off, he thoughtfully brought along a pellet gun so he could shoot out a few balloons in case he began to fly too high.
To his utter amazement, the balloons lifted off with a bang. In no time flat he was soaring through the sky, eventually reaching 16,000 feet. That’s three miles, y’all.