Well, that didn’t work out…once again.
The company who hosts this site has had its share of problems since near the end of the year. It looked like that was all worked out when they discovered that anyone who uses Word Press (like I do) through their web hosting was vulnerable to serious hacking attacks. So, they had to ‘block things’ out and introduce new security measures.
All that’s to say: I hope this thing is fixed.
The good thing is this: it’s given me a brief respite from posting and I’ve welcomed that. Now, on to matters at hand.
Imagine if this was me, following a particularly moving sermon on a Sunday morning:
If I entertained any such notions, I can tell you, I would either be:
1) looking for a new church
or more likely…
2) searching for a new place of employment outside the church and pastoral ministry.
Richard Sherman’s tirade, no matter how he explains it, or even how much his apologists try to excuse it because they ‘like a player with lots of passion’, none of them can ever hope to understand what true humility is. Unless they are humbled, they won’t be humble.
I bring all this up in relation to preaching and pastoral ministry, not because I fear I might ‘go off’ like this some Sunday morning, but because pride, arrogance and hubris don’t always look like this. Sin can be, oh, so subtle. The sin of pride is perhaps the worst, because it can lurk in the shadows of my heart, garnering all the ‘Thank you, Pastor, that was such an excellent message’ and ‘You really touched my heart today, Pastor’ and ‘I don’t know how you do it, every Sunday, but you just get better every day.’
Don’t get me wrong…I seek to be grateful for each person and receive the encouragement from them. Yet I fight for faith in Jesus Christ and His all-sufficiency, for without that, I’d start to think I was really something and why hasn’t a bigger church noticed me and how come some radio ministry isn’t calling me and asking me to host a daily program and…well, you get the picture. I can’t be humble without Christ. So, I seek to put on Christ, especially on Sunday mornings, so that His humiliation will be constantly in my vision, reminding me of what He has done for me.
My message this past Lord’s Day has opened a door for lots of discussion and many a question. Galatians 6.1–5 was my text. ‘Bearing One Another’s Burdens’ was my theme. Challenging us to establish and maintain an atmosphere of biblical counseling was my goal. I’m convinced entirely of the sufficiency of God’s Word. Everything I need for life and godliness has been given me in Christ Jesus and in the precious promises which are already ‘Amen-ed’ in Him. This is the truth for every single person who is in Christ Jesus by grace through faith. So, when it comes to anxiety (and all its subsequent issues–fear, panic, etc) or anger (and its subsequent issues–rage, abuse, etc) or even addictions (and all their subsequent hardships, whether it be alcohol, drugs, pornography, etc), I believe the Bible is sufficient to address and bring healing to our souls.
Do we need psychotherapy? Not if it’s not rooted, grounded and based solely upon the Bible.
Do we need medications? Perhaps only for a very short time, in rare situations, in order to bring the symptoms under control so that the heart may be addressed.
Do we need professional counselors? Only as a ‘final resort’. Our first recourse should be to think, ‘I need to call my pastor’ or the elders or my brother in Christ or my sister in Christ. Sadly, our brothers and sisters in Christ are usually some of the last people we call for help until matters have gone so far as to almost seem hopeless.
Yet they are never hopeless. Not if Christ is the Son of God. Not if Christ has died on the cross and risen from the grave. Not if Christ reigns from the right hand of the Father in heaven. Hard? That almost goes without saying. Trying? Indubitably. However, the Word is sufficient because our God is sufficient.
It was a ‘heavy’ Sunday: our Adult Sunday School class is discussing Christ and vocation, our work and calling by God. Some great times, marvelous questions, and a striving to bring all things to bear under the Word of God.
Following the morning service, we gathered for one final panel discussion on Christian worldview and modern medicine as it pertains to end-of-life issues. The panel consisted of four medical professionals (three physicians and one medical research/test/diagnostic engineer). We have several nurses and others who were invited to join in as they could. I believe the end was a glorifying time, provoking us to think, to trust the Lord, who has our days numbers (Psalm 139.14–16), and helping us speak compassionately and serve lovingly.
How was your Lord’s Day?