My second week of sabbatical has passed. A couple of observations from this week…
1. I miss my church family.
2. Rest is good and was long overdue.
3. The only way to learn to pray better is to ACTUALLY pray more…
For this second Lord’s Day of sabbatical, we visited my old stomping grounds of Bethany Place Baptist Church. It was great to walk through the doors and feel life among the people there. It was fun catching up with so many people who have been so great to my family over the years, to worship with them, and to share some memories. Pastor Gene did a great job preaching. One major takeaway from the sermon… earthly solutions to evil, danger, and sin issues, excluding Christ, will always ONLY be superficial solutions and will never deal with the real issue… like a raincoat… will keep you dry in a storm, as long as the storm isn’t too bad… but can never actually stop the rain. Our reaction to evil and danger should be to fear God, not the danger. But too many of us would rather hold on to our comfortable fears that we know, as opposed to taking on the fear of the Lord, which is dangerous and destructive to our status quo. This coming Lord’s Day, I am looking forward to preaching at Seaford Baptist Church and visiting with Michael and Katie.
Week 2 of sabbatical has seen a lot of reading… As you may recall, the plan was to do a lot of reading in two areas: Leadership and Prayer. Here is an update on what was accomplished this week.
Read J.C. Ryle’s little booklet, A Call to Prayer.
“I cannot call any one justified until he believes. I dare not say that anyone believes until he prays. I cannot understand a dumb (silent) faith. The first act of faith will be to speak to God. Faith is to the soul what life is to the body. Prayer is to faith what breath is to life. How a man can live and not breathe is past my comprehension, and how a man can believe and not pray is past my comprehension, too.” (Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, UK, p 7)
Read Bryan Chapell’s Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus’ Name (FANTASTIC BOOK)
“Children pray, “Lord, give me what I want”; the mature pray, “Lord, conform me to what you want.” Children pray for the fulfillment of their desires; the mature pray for the fulfillment of the Savior’s purposes. Children pray for the things they can see; the mature pray that God will be seen. Children pray, “My will be done”; the mature pray, “Thy will be done.”
“Praying for courage to obey God’s Word is a better sign of faithfulness than pretending to know more than God’s Word says.”
“Somehow proper prayer must put more trust in God’s will than in human wants; otherwise failure to get the things we want will force us to doubt either the power of prayer or the ability of God.”
“When we pray in Jesus’ name, we are appealing to the Holy Spirit to conform our prayers to Christ’s purposes.”
“The basic problem with all definitions of believing prayer that make God the servant of our will is that the object of belief is misplaced. Proper belief is not unwavering confidence that something we want will happen, nor is it doubtless trust that we know what is best. Our trust is not in the thing that we want or in our sufficient faith. The success of our prayers does not lie in exceptional confidence that we have pumped enough of our own faith into our prayer (and extracted enough doubt) so that now God must respond. Our belief must be in God. He, not our desire, is the object of our faith.”
Mistake 6: Allowing financial frugality to replace fearless faith.
Ships are safe in the harbor, but that’s not why ships are built.
Understand that the Lord Himself is our resource.
Spend and give based on what we value.
Mistake 1: Allowing Ministry to Replace Jesus: Ministry Idolatry… man this is such a temptation… to allow the good to replace Jesus
Mistake 5: Allowing Busyness to Replace Visioning
This really is a main goal of this sabbatical… and I pray you will help me with this one as I return from sabbatical as well.
“There is a world of difference between management and biblical leadership. Management is caring for the here and now, whereas biblical leadership is concerned with the there and coming. Management deals with what is, and biblical leadership deals with what could be. Many ministries are over-managed and under-visioned. Vision inspires and motivates people to accomplish what pleases the Lord. Without seeing the bigger picture of the future, people tend to lose sight and to lose heart.”
I have an even firmer conviction now that my calling as a pastor is to pastor the present and future of OPBC… not the past.
Read Dave Kraft’s Leaders Who Last
“Everyone has some gifts, therefore all should be encouraged. Nobody has all the gifts, therefore all should be humble. All gifts are from the Lord, therefore all should be contented.” ARTHUR T. PIERSON
“The greatest and most pressing need in the body of Christ today is an army of leaders who have a vision of a desired future and are called and anointed by God.”
“Who you are always precedes how you lead.”
“Growth means taking calculated risks.”
“As a leader, everything I am and everything I do needs to be anchored in my identity with Christ. Leadership begins and ends with a clear understanding of the gospel and being rooted in the grace of Jesus Christ as a free gift.”
Read Al Mohler’s The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership that Matters (GOOD BOOK)
“The effective leader changes the way followers thing about the world.”
“Leaders have to bear the burden of right decisions that hurt.”
“The leader may have a day out of the office, but never a day away from dependability.”
“You can divide all leaders into those who merely hold an office or position and those who hold great convictions. Life is too short to give much attention to leaders who stand for little or nothing…”
“If the right decision were always clear to everyone, we would not need leaders.”
“Oracles have to be infallible. Leaders only have to be right– and that means getting to the right decision for the right reasons.”
“The leader who faces the facts, leans into truth, applies the right principles, and acknowledges the alternatives will then be ready to make the decision– the right decision.”
Please pray that Week 3 will be just as productive… if not more. More reading, a focus on writing, and seeking the Lord’s plan and vision for OPBC.