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/