Today’s devotion comes from the depths of my heart, and is spoken in love, sincerity, and humility! It has taken me a long time to get to the place where I can write this! It is written with ministers in mind, but is a word we all need to hear. I’m not in a popularity contest (obviously), but just wanting to obey my LORD JESUS CHRIST and help the church in these perilous times.
(II Tim 3:1).
“Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!” - Psalm 133:1
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE THAT THOU HAST SENT ME. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; THAT THEY MAY BE ONE, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW THAT THOU HAST SENT ME, AND HAST LOVED THEM, AS THOU HAST LOVED ME. - John 17:20-23
For today's devotion, I’m going to use my little town as an example, but I believe what I am saying needs to go out to everyone who claims to be a born again Christian, and to every Pastor who claims to love God, love God’s Word, and love God’s people (sheep).
I pastor a church of approximately 30 attendees on a good Sunday, sometimes higher, sometimes lower. Taking the position of pastor at Community Fellowship in the little town of Kane, PA, (www.kanepa.org) changed my life--quite a change after living near Atlanta, GA, since 1993. It has cost me being away from my grown children and grandchildren. Is it worth it for 30 people? My answer to that is, if GOD SENDS YOU somewhere, it is worth it even if it is for ONE person.
NOTE: Many missionaries of the past saw few or no converts on the mission field, but they paved the way for future missionaries and the move of God in various parts of the world. Praise God for their obedience!
While I have a church of 30, I have a ministry to EVERYONE in town. Our little town has approximately 4,000 people and likely AT LEAST 3300 or more have not been born again (John 3:3) . Hopefully, there are 700 or so brothers or sisters in town (though honestly I have a hard time finding them ...Hmm) that I can UNITE with to change our area for Christ. Some of you might be thinking good luck on that!!!
I understand that thinking--Churches and people who call themselves Christians normally don’t unite. So is it any wonder we are not seeing true spiritual growth? A
Are you aware that most of what we call church growth around the country isn’t really “growth” at all? It’s just Christians moving from one church to another. It’s more like who has the “best show” in town. That’s a sad but true reality.
We AREN’T supposed to go to the “best show” in town! We are to go to where God WANTS us AND where the Bible is proclaimed and taught as the infallible Word of God.
I have, at times, almost wished I wasn’t the pastor of a church, just so people wouldn’t worry about me stealing their sheep (which hasn’t and won’t happen). Actually, they are God’s sheep. True churches don’t grow by stealing sheep anyway.
On the other hand, if you carry the name pastor/shepherd and are not feeding the sheep the Bible and don’t plan or try to, then I will RESCUE those sheep all day long. In my opinion, there are a lot of wolves in the pulpits today. Let’s pray that we can get to these sheep before they are devoured by wolves (Matt. 7:15) and hirelings (John 10:12-13). Also, see Jer. 23:1,2; Jer. 50:6 and Ezk. 34:2,3,10.
This doesn’t mean that just because of some doctrinal differences that the pastor is a wolf or hireling. I believe if the fundamental truths of the Bible are being taught and the sheep are not spiritually beaten, then that pastor is likely a shepherd, so encourage the sheep to stay there!
Praise God, in our little town, approximately 6-8 born again ministers get together weekly to pray and encourage one another. We also have had joint services outside in the park during the summer.
Yeah, I’m bragging a little on our town and the ministers.
But that’s not enough, we must EVERYWHERE, IN ALL CHURCHS AROUND THE WORLD, break down the walls even further and stop worrying about where the sheep go.
SO, WHERE AM I GOING WITH ALL THIS?
If we REALLY want to see a move of God, we will have to be Christ-like enough to not worry about carnal sheep stealing and JOIN HANDS AND HEARTS in the purposes of God. We have a world that is lost out there!
Let’s get free from that “religious show” or “country club” mentality and “they’re MY sheep” thinking. Pastors are under shepherds, UNDER THE GREAT SHEPHERD (John 10:14-16) . We’ve had the wrong mind-set long enough.
Let’s get back to the Bible and our purpose of CARING/FEEDING sheep and REACHING A LOST AND DYING WORLD with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
In His Love, Grace, and Mercy,
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