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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Covid-19

Don’t know about you, but it, has taken me a bit of time to get used to being restricted.  I normally spend a fair amount of time in my office at home.  But I am not used to spending all day indoors.  As of last night the governor of our state has strongly urged people like me, older with underlying medical issues, in my case smoldering cancer that suppresses my immune system, to stay in our houses until April 30th!  Ouch.

Covid-19

So, with those realities bearing down on us.  I have yet to use my time, the extra time, I have been “given” well.  I have slept past my normal 0530 or 0620 get up time.  But, I have not done well using the time.

As a result, as I reviewed the last post, I don’t remember what the next point was.  So…

It may be good to review some things all of us already know.

First, in all of this we are experiencing, God is sovereign.  Further, He is love.  God’s nature and character is not affected by what we are experiencing.  As a matter of fact, it is the certainty of His unchanging nature that allows us to navigate times like this well.

In 1 Peter 1:3 – 5 (here @ Bible Gateway), Peter gives us two anchors to navigate difficult trials.  First, we have an inheritance that is certain.  That inheritance is reserved for each of us in heaven.  Second, we have a salvation that protects us which will be revealed in the last time.  Notice that neither the inheritance nor the salvation is revealed now.  They are anchors in eternity to which we tie our hope and focus.

In Romans 5:1 – 11 (here @ Bible Gateway), we are encouraged to exult in three things, the hope of the glory of God, our tribulations, and finally in God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have been reconciled to God.  Consider this carefully, and you will see the parallels to Peter’s exhortation.

James also encourages us.  In James 1:2 – 4 (here @ Bible Gateway) we are encouraged to count times like these as joy.  Because, like in Romans 5, this testing produces endurance or perseverance (it is the same Greek word in both places).  The result of perseverance or endurance is we become perfect and complete.

This is echoed in Hebrews 12:4 – 11 (here @ Bible Gateway).  We go through difficulty for the purpose of sharing in His holiness with the result that we have the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Consider these passages.  See what the Lord may have for you in this time.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Equipping Priests

What is equipping?  That was the question posed yesterday.  Is it simply teaching, or a message given from a pulpit or lectern?  How are people prepared to serve as engineers, accountants, doctors, pilots, financial planners, teachers, etc.?  For that matter how are pastors prepared to lead a church?
Equipping Priests

I would suggest that it is more than hearing a lecture or a message.

I have firsthand experience in three of those professions and have closely observed three of the others.  I was an Air Force instructor pilot, I have a degree in engineering and was involved in starting and running an architectural, engineering, and construction company, and I have graduated from seminary.  I have observed my oldest son become a CPA, I watched my middle son go through the process of becoming a doctor, my youngest son was a teacher and is now in the process of becoming a financial planner, and my wife was a special ed teacher for many years.

While lectures and messages were certainly a part of all of the firsthand experience in the three I finished, that was not all. In every case there was instruction followed by observation of my application of the instruction with critique of whether and how my application was adequate and or could be improved.

In seminary, one is tested over the material in class.  One’s papers are both graded and marked up with notes on how they can be improved.  One is given assignments to share a message on a passage of scripture and that is evaluated and critiqued.

I know for certain that all the other professions listed above go through some semblance of that experience.

We have examined Ephesians 4:11 – 16 (here @ Bible Gateway).  From my perspective it is a crucial text in describing what should happen in a local body.  The leaders are to equip the saints for the work of service.  Note that they are not just to do the ministry, they are to equip those in their care to do so as well.

Is that happening?  Do people regularly get instruction on how to accomplish something in ministry, then be observed doing that task, and subsequently get critique on how they fared?

If not, why?

A bit more on this in the next post.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Priests, Part 4

Last time we said that it was important, very important that we not only study the Word for ourselves as priests, but we also apply it to our lives and then share it with others.

Priests, Part 4

This is a key concept.  Ephesians 4:11 – 16 (here @ Bible Gateway) tells us that leaders, and as priests we are all leaders, are to equip other members of the body.  That is not just the job of the professionals.  In fact, it is hard to validate the model of church we practice today with professional leaders.  Note that in Ephesians 4:13 – 16 (here @ Bible Gateway), Paul’s expectation is that every member of the body will engage in building up the other members of the body.

One implication of that is that when we are in our communities, we should be considering how we can build those around us up in their faith.  It is not enough, nor was it Paul’s expectation, that we would simply show up on Sunday and be entertained.

Note that if the body is not committed to equipping, that it may be that an individual’s gifts will not be energized or engaged in the body.

That raises another question.  What is equipping?  Is equipping the same as teaching?  If not, how is it different?  The next post will unwrap that question.