8 Years… 8 Gleanings (Part 4)

11866443_884763511559797_3365370508316170930_nThe fourth and final installment of gleanings over the past 8 years as pastor of Old Powhatan Baptist Church.

7. It is not enough to hold to the inerrancy and infallibility of God’s Word. Too many churches and pastors SAY they believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of God’s Word, but would you ever know it by the way people treat Bible study? Do our churches operate as if we believe not only that God’s Word is perfect, but that it is also AUTHORITATIVE? Over the years, I’ve heard a bunch of sermons ABOUT the authority of God’s Word, yet how many churches are operating UNDER that authority. How many lives are SUBMITTING to that authority? And do we also believe that God’s Word is BEST.

Inerrant… YES. Infallible… YES. Authoritative… YES. And FAITH DEMANDS that we believe God’s Word is BEST. We don’t follow begrudgingly, but with wholehearted faith that God’s designs given to us in God’s Word are best for God’s people. Pastors, don’t just preach about the Bible and don’t just preach the Bible… follow it.

8. We are not meant for trench warfare, but for the victorious advance of the Gospel. For far too long in American Christendom we have taken a trench warfare approach. Institutional church has lulled us into a management and maintenance roll that leads us into trenches, knowing that the enemy is out there. We may poke our heads up every once in a while, but not too high… we don’t want to get shot. We might attempt to take small chunks of land every once in a while, but not too often and not too much. So we have made our trenches more comfortable, a place we can stay for long periods of time.

ONE PROBLEM… trenches become mass graves if you don’t move forward at some point. And we, as God’s people, were NEVER meant to be engaged in trench warfare. Why?

We are more than conquerors. (Romans 8:37) Even in imprisonment and persecution, the Gospel is advancing. (Philippians 1) NOTHING will cause the Gospel advance to be thwarted, except us.

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:13-15)

Gospel advance, missional purpose, going, is not just a movement… it is obedience. Get out of the trenches. Advance. Pastors, lead the church of Jesus Christ out of the trenches and into the fray. There is victory waiting!

BONUS… Church Health if more important than Church Growth. A bigger church does not necessarily mean a healthier church. But a healthier church WILL be marked by certain things. A healthier church will be marked by more prayer. A healthier church will be marked by a desire to study the Word of God. A healthier church will be marked by a constantly purifying faith in God. A healthier church is a church that makes disciples. A healthier church is a GOING church. A healthier church will reach out into its community, its context, and beyond. And healthier churches will eventually grow. Pastors, can we trust Jesus to grow our churches, trust the Gospel to transform lives, trust the Spirit to mature His people, and trust the Word as authoritative and sufficient? He will grow His bride. Trust Him.

I am so thankful for the people of OPBC. I am thankful for the way you serve, love, reach, encourage. I am thankful for your patience and trust. I am thankful for your prayers. I am thankful that YOU are the people with whom God chose for me to walk through the greatest trials of life. I thank my God for you.

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