This past week we looked at the biblical design for the structure of the church - Christ as Head and Chief Shepherd, elders who lead as under-shepherds, deacons who serve in an officially designated role, and an active congregation that participates in the ministry of the church. (audio is here if you would like to listen). I asked all of you to pray for several specific things:
- That God would raise up men who possess the character and giftedness and desire to serve the church as elders.
- That God would raise up men who can serve faithfully as deacons (some men like this are already here, and in the near future we will ask you to nominate them to serve in this role).
- That we all would aspire to minister the word, serve the church, and exemplify Christ-like character
Will you join me in praying for these things? I also would ask that you pray for me. As a pastor I feel the weight of the biblical qualifications in 1 TImothy 3 and Titus 1. It is a sobering thing to know what the standard is and to know that meeting the qualifications today does not guarantee one will meet those same qualifications tomorrow. I need God's grace to persevere, I need His protection and strength to pursue the expression of these qualities in my own life faithfully. RC Sproul writes in his book "The Holiness of God",
"All preachers are vulnerable to the charge of hypocrisy. In fact, the more faithful preachers are to the Word of God in their preaching, the more liable they are to the charge of hypocrisy. Why? Because the more faithful people are to the Word to God, the higher the message is that they will preach. The higher the message, the further they will be from obeying it themselves."
So pray for the pastors you know. We live with a constant realization that we are held to a high standard and that apart from the grace of God we would fail. But thanks be to God, who has chosen to use "clay pots" like us, He delights to use the weak and the small for His glorious purposes.
This week we will wrap up our series on the church by looking at the two ordinances Christ has given to the church; baptism and communion. Both of these important activities of the church point us to the gospel. Take some time before Sunday to reflect on your own salvation - the people who shared the gospel with you, the circumstances God used to draw you to Himself, the sins God has cleansed you from, the change the Holy Spirit has produced in your life. Thank Him for that. Ask God to renew in your heart a love for Christ, a sense of wonder at His grace, a proper fear of God's holiness. And as you reflect take the time to deal with any sins that remains unconfessed, so that as we come to participate in the Lord's Supper together there will be nothing between you and our Savior.
IRONMEN SUMMIT SESSIONS
As I mentioned Sunday morning, the audio from the 2016 Ironmen Summit is now available. This year's focus was "soul shepherding," which is really personal discipleship. I would especially commend to you all the session titled "Your Ministry Matters."
JERRY BRIDGES CONFERENCE
Grace EPC is hosting a conference this April that is put on by the Navigators and will be featuring Jerry Bridges as the speaker. Information is below.
Date: April 1-2, 2016
Time: Begins 7PM on Friday; Ends 12PM on Saturday
Place: Grace EPC (3312 Calvin Dr, Lawrence, KS)
Cost: $40/single, $60/couple, $20/student
*Costs cover snacks, materials, and childcare.
All proceeds go to the ministry of The Navigators at the University of Kansas.
Join author and speaker Jerry Bridges for a weekend considering the Amazing Providence of God. Regarding God's providence, Jerry writes, "God’s providence is His unceasing activity through which He sustains, cares for, and governs all things in His creation for His glory and the good of His people." Join us as Jerry helps us think through this important topic leading us to worship and trust God in our daily lives. Register online at www.kunavs.org (click the “CommunityConference with Jerry Bridges” link). Hosted by the Navigators ministry at the University of Kansas.