At age 12, Jesus “in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers” (Luke 2:46-47 NKJV). As an adult, the very first time Jesus taught in His home synagogue, “all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth” (Luke 4:22 NKJV). No religious teacher, preacher, prophet, or leader has ever taught like Jesus did. “Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, ‘Why have you not brought Him?’ The officers answered, ‘No man ever spoke like this Man!'” (John 7:45-46 NKJV). Does your preacher teach, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16 NKJV). Why not? Jesus did!
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.
Every now and again I will be asked what it is that I do during the course of the day. It was but a month ago that I decided to prepare my own “time sheet.” This was the result of one who asked me when I thought he should have known. Thus, this past Thursday (5/22) this is what I did. Perhaps this will be of interest for some, perhaps not for most. Every preacher is different and so would be their schedule of activities throughout the course of the day. There is some consistency to my days, but enough variety that flexibility is the norm.
THURSDAY: Arrived at 3:30am. Bible reading: 2 Kings 17-19, with textual study of 8:25-29 (4:41am). Bible reading: Isaiah 52-53, with textual study of 53:12, and working on article for Gospel Gleaner (6:04am). Nap (6:10-20am). Bible reading: Luke 11-12 (6:45am). Civic Center, return, shower (8:00am). Bible reading: Luke 13-14 (8:35am). Bible reading: Ephesians 1-4 (9:00am), 5-6 (9:38am). Read Gospel Advocate article on Mark 16:9-20 (9:10am). Nap (9:30am). Read a portion of the book “Like a Thief in the Night” (9:48am). Read research material on “616” of Revelation 13:18 for BVBID (10:03am). Bible reading: 1 Thessalonians 1-2, with textual study of 2:1-8 (11:06am). Bulletin for Sunday (12:15pm). Took church lawnmower to Lambdin, did some errands (1:15pm). Heading toward Bible Study in Hammond (1:30), Chuck Norris met me in Hammond to attend; we finished at 2:50pm.
This may not strike you as odd, but when I saw that which we read below as requirements for the preacher I thought to myself about a new position on the horizon: “Preacher, who is soon to be elder.” On the surface, it appears, that elders want the preacher to do, in part, their work! Surely, this is not correct. On the other hand, I wonder. Perhaps I am much too critical. Elders are not directors, but participators and leaders of the congregation.
*Prepare and deliver spiritually-based lessons to the congregation at specified assembly times. **** Teach Bible classes on Sunday and/or Wednesday.** Provide Bible studies to individuals and provide mentorship to the men of the congregation. *** Visit members of the congregation, especially those in the hospital, nursing homes and homebound. **** Contact current or former members who may not be in regular attendance and encourage their return to faithful service. **** Respond to members request for spiritual guidance. **** Participate in worship planning process. **** Perform marriage ceremonies and pre-marital counseling as requested. **** Attend and participate in scheduled elders and ministry leaders meetings. **** Responsible for other duties as determined by the elders.
For the past couple of weeks, I have been reading, “The Witness of Preaching,” by Thomas Long for a homiletics class at Heritage Christian University. I’ve two questions that may interest the preachers on this blog. In Long’s book, he characterizes preachers in three ways: herald, pastor and storyteller/poet. Which kind of preacher are you? Do you believe a preacher could be all three in some way?
Walking through one of the hospitals in Savannah, Georgia, I am thinking about my experiences here. I have been in the area for more than a decade and during that time I have been to this hospital countless times.
As I walk and think, I realize that I have memories planted throughout the building. Some are happy and others bring sadness to my heart.
- I spent five days in that room after surgery.
- Here, I watched a brother in Christ hold his baby for the first time.
- Over here, the parent of a sister in Christ passed away.
- Back there, I sat and prayed with a family while a loved one was in surgery.
- At that table, I had lunch with a fellow preacher.
- There, I sat for six hours with parents terrified about their child’s brain surgery.
- In that room, I sat with my wife and prayed that she would get well.
- There, I visited with a man who refused prayer on his behalf.
The memories proliferate, vivid and lasting. I carry them with me as markers on the path of ministry. Being with people when they are hurting, vulnerable and needy, you solidify bonds that will not grow elsewhere. You hurt for them and you are glad you are there to feel useful to their lives.
God becomes very real when we feel helpless. In that respect, hospitals know God intimately.
When we walk there, we see glimpses of Him in the tears, the pleadings and the hugs of jubilant families. If only everyone could and would realize that only the Great Physician offers the healing that will never fail (Psalm 107:20).
I saw in the latest issue of The Christian Chronicle a church in Nashville seeking to hire a new minister. They describe themselves as a Bible based church that embraces the doctrine of grace. What does that mean? Is this code language? I am confused.
Any congregation of the Lord’s people that emphasizes the Bible is, by the very nature of the Source, “embraces the doctrine of grace.” Perhaps they are reacting to something in the area. Whether they are or are not, this kind of language is a bit disconcerting (to me).
Here’s a thought-provoking “what-if” question: What if the preacher stayed home? http://mbriley.preachersfiles.com/2011/02/14/what-if-the-preacher-stayed-home/
This is a story my parents didn’t tell about me, but one I vividly remember myself. From the age of one to six, I often stayed with my grandparents on their farm. When they would take me to the church building on the Lord’s Day, I was like all other kids my age – I was constantly moving in order to not be bored.
One Sunday, while the preacher was preaching his sermon, I (who was then three years old), stood up and began making all kinds of weird faces (sticking my tongue out, etc.) at the audience seated behind me.
Needless to say, there was quite a few giggles and some laughter going on. I’m certain that the preacher wondered why his serious biblical message was suddenly turning humorous. Well, it wasn’t too long before my grandparents got “wind” of the situation, and my humor-producing antics came to an abrupt halt.
My granddad took me to the rear of the auditorium and proceeded to “warm” my backside (no humor there). Needless to say, my day of trying to be a comic suddenly ended – my entertainment career being over. Never again did I make any more faces in the assembly, for which I’m certain the preacher was thankful. 🙂
Eddie Brinkley during his October 11, 2010 interview at GBN
This was kind of a “visit.” Eddie Brinkley came to the Chattanooga area back in October, 2010 to hold a meeting. I drove up there to attend a night of the meeting, but also to take bro. Brinkley to the Gospel Broadcasting Network’s facility to record an interview. He has been a longtime preacher “hero” of mine, and I can’t even tell how much of a thrill it was for me to be able to go visit with him and sit down like that and talk with him about his training under Marshall Keeble, his experience in local work, and so on. It was only my 2nd time being able to meet him in person, since he lives all the way in Wharton, TX (near Houston).
I have posted a few excerpts from that interview on the GBN Facebook fan page. There are 4 clips, varying from about 2 minutes to 5, (link is below).
Bro. Brinkley is one of the most humble men I have ever met, and it truly was an honor to have him “visit” the Chattanooga area, as well as for me to be able to go up that way and “visit” with him for the interviews!
Here is the link if anyone wants to watch the excerpts:
Billy Ringold and his wife, Ruth Carroll, dropped by our evening service and after we went out for a cup of coffee together. Billy was my home town preacher growing up in Danville, IL. More than any other, he influenced my becoming a preacher. If I can become half the preacher Billy has been all his life, I will feel my efforts successful.
Bill Bouldin died Thursday in Manchester, Tennessee, where he lived and taught school and preached for more than 30 years.
The first time I ever met Bill was when he preached for the Red Hill Church of Christ in Manchester in the 1970s. He was a young man then, and it was easy to see how talented he was. He could do anything in the church. He led singing better than anybody in the county. He was a talented and thoughtful teacher and preacher.
Bill cared deeply about the students he taught and about the people to which he preached the gospel.
Several years ago, he began having increased health problems with complications of diabetes. He developed heart disease and nearly died after by-pass surgery. It seemed as if it was no time after he healed from the surgery that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He fought the disease for many months before finally losing the battle this week.
I am convinced that Bill is with our Lord and is enjoying health and happiness with his parents and the many he has influenced through the years. I was happy and blessed to have known him. God be thanked for giving the church this godly and loving man.
Details on funeral services for Bill and his obituary may be found at www.centralfuneralhome.com.
Christians who make a habit to read the Scriptures on a regular basis can’t help but to reflect and admire Jeremiah the prophet. He was a man chosen by the Lord before his birth to do the Lord’s bidding (Jeremiah 1:5), and when Jeremiah thought his youth would prevent him from engaging in the Lord’s work, the Lord reassured him that his youth was exactly what He wanted (1:7). Jeremiah spent many years proclaiming the Lord’s message to a people determined to walk the broad path that leads to destruction. What was Jeremiah’s mission from the Lord to a people so determined? His mission is stated for us in Jeremiah 1:10. “See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant” (ESV). When the Lord said to Jeremiah that He had given him authority over nations and kingdoms, He was referring to the peoples of those nations and kingdoms. If Jeremiah’s word could penetrate the people, then perhaps the nations would be spared the Lord’s wrath (3:22). Let us briefly consider these points: to pluck up, to destroy, and to build up.
To pluck up. The old KJV uses the phrase “to root out”. The idea is to dig deep and remove the root that anchors itself in, in the context of Jeremiah, in false ideology. The false ideology (doctrine, teaching) is that associated with the idolatry of the nation. Idolatry is very damning, and many people are plagued by it without even knowing it. They know it not because they know not the Lord. Those of Jeremiah’s day were soon to learn what they did not know.
To destroy. Since the Lord was going to root out the depths of their anchor, what would He do with what comes up? He plans to destroy it and to start again. In the context, that which the Lord was going to do was that which was done to the northern kingdom already: Israel had been taken away into captivity by the Assyrians and, unfortunately, Judah refused to heed the warning the Lord gave, and because she refused to hear and heed there was one verdict pending.
To build up. The Lord, however, was not one to leave a land (heart) vacant. If there was a desire on the part of one (or the many), as there was in the context of the Jeremiah’s prophecy, the Lord would provide a solution to one’s despair. However, the one who was in despair needed to respond to the Lord’s offer. The Lord would not accept anyone one according to the dictates of their own heart (3:17), but He would accept if they came to Him humbly and contrite.
God’s preacher – that is what Jeremiah was. Will any follow Jeremiah today?
The prophet Hosea was a man who experienced much heartache. The Lord told him to marry one who would not be faithful to him, and from that union came three children whose names all corresponded to the spiritual adultery of Israel. That heartache in his own life was bad enough, but the Lord actually commissioned him to preach to a dying nation, a nation that refused to hear anything of God, much less do anything that the Lord said. As he preached, he identified where the problem actually resided. It resided in the people who did not know the Lord’s way, and the reason why they did not know the Lord’s way was because the religious leaders did not know the Lord’s way (Hosea 4:4-6). The Scripture says that the blind who leads the blind – both fall into the ditch. Will you listen to your preacher or will you listen to God?
I saw where a Church of Christ had an ordination service for their preacher. Where is the authority for that? (Colossians 3:17). When we start inventing things to boost the egos of men, we are opening the door to dangerous things.
Have you ever thought of the prophet Ezekiel as a fortunate man? In fact, he was; he was fortunate because the Lord chose him; with this choosing by the Lord, he had a tremendous responsibility placed on him. If he failed this responsibility, the Lord would call him to account (Ezekiel 3:20). Ezekiel was a prophet of God, a preacher with an obligation to the Lord and to the people to whom he preached.
Under the authority of the New Testament, elders in the Lord’s church are the watchmen (Acts 20:28), but it would be a mistake to think the preacher was not also a watchman (1 Timothy 4). What is a watchman? A watchman is one who knows that what the Lord revealed is right and that it must be proclaimed. In the context of the New Testament, the preacher must proclaim the “whole counsel of God,” not just the portions of scripture that people want to hear. Ezekiel warned the people of his day of the error in religious teachings. Does your preacher do that or does he not want to make others unsettled in what he preaches? Is your preacher a watchman? All of the Lord’s preachers are!