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← How To Get the Most Out of Your Pastors - Ryan Fullerton

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Showing Revision 10 created 01/16/2018 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. I've had some neat
    opportunities in my life
  2. to preach in some different places,
  3. different countries,
  4. different venues.
  5. I regard getting to be here
  6. for the weekend as perhaps
  7. the highest honor of my life
  8. to get to participate and have this pulpit
  9. to proclaim God's Word to a church
  10. that has been so massively influential
  11. in my life.
  12. And so I thank God deeply
  13. for the privilege of getting to open
  14. God's Word to you this morning.
  15. And I thank you specifically Garrett,
  16. for giving me this opportunity.
  17. I hope it won't be one that you regret.
  18. And you'll know whether it is
  19. in just a short hour.
  20. Yesterday, I found myself "amen-ing"
  21. the faithfulness of Charles and Dick;
  22. that God had given grace to them
  23. to keep them faithful all of these years,
  24. and I found myself filled with tears.
  25. I have a 13 year old daughter,
  26. so she kept giving that embarrassed look,
  27. like would you stop
    gulping back those sobs?
  28. But I've pastored the church I pastor now
  29. for twelve years,
  30. so I've gone a quarter of the distance
  31. of these men.
  32. And I suspect that the next three legs,
  33. the next three decades
  34. are harder, not easier.
  35. And when I just amass and think
  36. about all the difficulties
  37. that a person goes through
    in the course of a year,
  38. just to keep preaching the Word
  39. and keep loving the people,
  40. it just gives me tremendous
  41. respect and love for Charles and Dick.
  42. Where is Dick this morning?
  43. I want to be able to look at him.
  44. There you are.
  45. I have the privilege of having served -

  46. I have a number of co-pastors,
  47. but I have the privilege of serving
  48. beside one co-pastor in particular,
  49. Jeff King, who is one
    of my dearest friends
  50. on the planet
  51. who is the opposite of me in every way.
  52. And Steve Welch, who's a friend
  53. of this congregation says that
  54. he looks like Dick.
  55. I don't look like Charles,
  56. but that's where the similarities end.
  57. And I know what it takes to put up with me
  58. in the course of a week or a year.
  59. I think if he were here would say
  60. he knows what it takes to put up with him.
  61. It's a miracle when
    people can stay friends
  62. and stay side-by-side in the ministry,
  63. and when Mack Tomlinson got up yesterday
  64. and said: think about church history.
  65. How many have labored side by side
  66. for forty years.
  67. And I'm not expert in church history,
  68. but I kind of thought -
  69. my first initial reaction was, well Mack,
  70. that's easy - there must be a lot.
  71. And then I couldn't think of any.
  72. And so, no small task.
  73. And you ought to pray fervently
  74. and in an informed way
  75. for the four men who are graced
  76. to be your elders,
  77. that the Lord would give them
  78. a supernatural unity.
  79. I have the privilege of laboring aside
  80. some very faithful brothers,
  81. but I know that unity among the pastors -
  82. even pastors as like-minded
  83. and as godly as the ones
    I serve alongside of -
  84. it takes work.
  85. Nothing short of work.
  86. I have spent way more time in Denny's
  87. than I ever wanted to working
  88. to keep that unity at times.
  89. And it's a miracle that it's kept.
  90. I was delighted to be here yesterday

  91. just because what you did yesterday
  92. for your pastors was right.
  93. It was just right at so many levels.
  94. We're to respect those who labor among us
  95. and are over us in the Lord
  96. and admonish us and esteem them
  97. very highly because of their work.
  98. And people are afraid of doing
    things like you did yesterday
  99. because it might make the pastor proud.
  100. And I'm not denying that
    there are proud pastors,
  101. but I'll be honest with you,
  102. I think the general tendency of pastors
  103. is not to be proud,
  104. but to be discouraged.
  105. Most of the pastors I meet
  106. are mildly to severely depressed
  107. about who they are.
  108. And so for them to get a season
  109. where they get to hear what God's grace
  110. is doing in their life,
  111. it is a sweet, sweet thing.
  112. Don't make it every Sunday.
  113. You'll spoil them,
  114. but it can be a really great treat,
  115. say, every forty years or so.
  116. The gift I want to give you

  117. this morning is a text.
  118. And it's a text that I believe
  119. that if it's heard and obeyed,
  120. will give, I hope, another forty years
  121. of tremendous blessing to the church.
  122. Dick and Charles are probably not hoping
  123. for another forty years,
  124. so I'm talking about even beyond them.
  125. I'm hoping that this passage
  126. that I'm going to share with you
  127. becomes a catalyst;
  128. becomes a spur;
  129. becomes an encouragement
  130. that sets a culture
  131. where the pastors of Lake Road Chapel
  132. are full of joy,
  133. and where the people of Lake Road Chapel
  134. are benefiting from them
  135. and profiting from them
  136. for a very, very long time.
  137. And then I'm aware that whenever I
    speak at Lake Road Chapel,
  138. that James Jennings is going to make sure
  139. it goes all over the planet.
  140. So let me just say it's my hope
  141. that this message, this verse,
  142. would be used by God
  143. to fill more and more
    pastor's lives with joy,
  144. and to see more and more people
  145. profiting, taking advantage of,
  146. reaping a harvest from their pastors.
  147. Would you open your
    Bibles to Hebrews 13:17?

  148. Hebrews 13:17
  149. Like most of you,
  150. I knew nothing about what
    was going to unfold yesterday.
  151. I just got the emails that promised me
  152. I wouldn't get any more emails.
  153. And so I had no idea this was going to be
  154. a theme verse yesterday.
  155. But I think it's a good verse
  156. for an occasion like this.
  157. It comes in the book of Hebrews.
  158. It comes in the last chapter,
  159. which is the chapter that covers
  160. all kinds of exhortations
  161. from not being covetous,
  162. to not letting your
    marriage bed by defiled,
  163. to remembering past leaders,
  164. and in the midst of all these
  165. various exhortations in
    the book of Hebrews,
  166. the author to the book of Hebrews
  167. says these words,
  168. "Obey your leaders and submit to them,
  169. for they are keeping watch over your souls
  170. as those who will have to give an account.
  171. Let them do this with joy
  172. and not with groaning,
  173. for that would be of no advantage to you."
  174. Let's pray.

  175. Father, we want to ask
    You that this one verse
  176. would be impressed;
  177. would be branded;
  178. would be tattooed;
  179. would be glued to the very fabric
  180. of our souls, Lord God.
  181. That You'd shed light on this Word
  182. so that it sticks with us through life
  183. and Lord, that even
    pastors who are not here
  184. this morning, but who may pastor
  185. Lake Road in the future,
  186. or maybe children in this very room
  187. who may grow up to be some
    of the future shepherds,
  188. that they would inherit a culture
  189. of joyful pastoring.
  190. And Lord God, we pray for Charles and Dick
  191. that the gift that they receive
    from this congregation would not be
  192. a special day once every few decades,
  193. but a joyful congregation to pastor.
  194. We pray, Lord God, that You would create
  195. in Charles and in Dick
  196. and in Garrett and in Mason
  197. the kind of ministry that would be
  198. tremendously profitable -
  199. eternally profitable
  200. to Your people knowing Jesus.
  201. I pray this in Christ's name,
  202. Amen.
  203. If you were going to give
    this sermon a name,

  204. you could call it:
  205. "How To Get the Most Out of Your Pastors."
  206. If you were going to give it
    a cynical name, you could call it:
  207. "How to Take Advantage of Them."
  208. And I say that because the word advantage
  209. is right there in the text.
  210. The whole idea is that the writer
  211. of the book of Hebrews wants you -
  212. each one of you individually -
  213. to get some advantage;
  214. to get some - the NASB translates it
  215. some profit, from the men
  216. who God places over His church.
  217. So it says, "obey your leaders
  218. and submit to them,
  219. for they are keeping watch over your souls
  220. as those who will have
    to give an account.
  221. Let them do this with joy
    and not with groaning,
  222. for that would be of no advantage to you."
  223. And so the very simple idea
  224. pulsing at the core of this passage
  225. is that when pastors are finding joy
  226. in their congregations;
  227. when their joy is maintained
  228. and they are strengthened
  229. by the joy of the Lord,
  230. then the congregation is benefited.
  231. They are given a tremendous
  232. and eternal advantage.
  233. Sometimes we come at this
    from the pastor's end.
  234. We remember the verse that says,
  235. "watch your life and
    your doctrine carefully,
  236. by so doing, you will save
  237. both yourselves and your hearers."
  238. That passage says, hey, pastor,
  239. you watch yourself,
  240. and then you'll be of eternal advantage
  241. to your people.
  242. This passage comes at
    it from another angle
  243. and says, hey, congregation;
  244. hey, sheep;
  245. hey, people of God,
  246. watch your pastors.
  247. Watch your attitude towards them
  248. and your actions towards them,
  249. so that they may be filled with joy.
  250. If you do that, it will benefit you.
  251. It will help you
  252. if they are full of joy.
  253. And this passage is not like some passages
  254. in the Bible.
  255. Some passages in the Bible are
  256. very hard to understand.
  257. You know, like when the Gospel was
  258. preached to those
    who were dead in 1 Peter.
  259. You kind of scratch your head.
  260. Or when it speaks of baptism for the dead
  261. in 1 Corinthians 15.
  262. I think I read recently there's
  263. something like 52 possible interpretations
  264. of that passage.
  265. I understand that passage,
  266. but there are 51 other people who don't.
  267. And so it's a difficult
    situation sometimes.
  268. This passage isn't like that though.

  269. It's easy to understand.
  270. It's just hard to hear.
  271. It's got that four-letter word in it
  272. that our culture loves so much:
  273. obey.
  274. "Obey your leaders
  275. and submit to them,
  276. for they are keeping watch over
  277. your souls as those..."
  278. That's easy to understand.
  279. It means submit yourself to;
  280. obey your leaders.
  281. And come up under them.
  282. So that's not hard to figure out.
  283. We don't really need a massive
  284. Bible commentary lesson this morning
  285. on exactly what this means.
  286. It's abundantly plain what this means.
  287. What's difficult though is doing it.
  288. And not just doing it,
  289. but loving it.
  290. And it's hard for many in our day
  291. to value a call to obedience,
  292. but if we're honest,
  293. it's even often hard
    for a mature Christian
  294. to value obeying their pastors.
  295. One of my co-pastors says
  296. everybody loves being elder-led
  297. until they don't.
  298. There's a sense in which everybody loves
  299. this idea of good, strong leadership
  300. in the church.
  301. We need strong leadership in the church,
  302. until the leadership gets
    all up in your business.
  303. And then somebody else
    needs strong leadership.
  304. That leadership needs leadership.
  305. And yet the passage tells us
  306. that we are to obey our leaders -
  307. the leaders of our local congregation,
  308. and submit to them.
  309. And I want to begin by just giving you

  310. six reasons why this is hard.
  311. Not six explanations of
    what the passage means.
  312. That's easy.
  313. But six explanations for why we can
  314. find this hard to hear.
  315. And the first is there simply are

  316. many churches that abuse.
  317. There simply are many churches
  318. that have abusive leaders.
  319. And one of the things we heard last night
  320. was how many people found in Lake Road
  321. a kind of leadership they
    hadn't experienced before.
  322. They had experienced overbearing
  323. or distant or lording-
    it-over-you leadership,
  324. and when they experienced
    a different kind of leadership,
  325. it was like a breath of fresh air to them.
  326. But the simple fact is
  327. that many people have a hard time
    being told to obey their leaders,
  328. because they've experienced
    abusive leaders.
  329. In the congregation I pastor,
  330. there are women who have
  331. literally been physically abused
  332. by pastors.
  333. And so to come without any explanation
  334. and say, now obey us,
  335. can be hard to hear.
  336. The second reason it's hard to hear

  337. obey your leaders and submit to them
  338. is because we are -
  339. if you've spent any time
    in North America;
  340. many of you have spent all
    your lives in North America;
  341. all of us have spent some of your time
  342. in North America -
  343. if you weren't aware, you're in
    North America this morning.
  344. And so if you spent any
    time in North America,
  345. you have been infected by
  346. some degree of the radical individualism
  347. that is dominant in our entire culture.
  348. So our culture is just full
  349. of reinforcing radical individualism.
  350. Burger King says "have it your way."
  351. Anne of Green Gables says,
  352. "just follow your heart."
  353. Yoda says, "trust your feelings."
  354. Frank Sinatra says, "I did it my way."
  355. You didn't know that Yoda
  356. and Anne of Green Gables
  357. had the same worldview, but they do.
  358. It's this basic: you follow you.
  359. If you're going to be properly led,
  360. you need to be true to your own heart.
  361. Enter: people who are
    impossible to pastor.
  362. Because if your highest authority
  363. is whatever you're feeling right now,
  364. you cannot be led.
  365. And it will never sound
    like good news to you
  366. to obey someone else
  367. and even worse, it will never
  368. sound like good news to you
  369. to obey God.
  370. Robert Bella, the sociologist,
  371. tells of a story where he was
  372. interviewing people about their religion.
  373. He interviewed a woman named Sheila.
  374. And he said, "Sheila,
    what's your religion?"
  375. And she said, "It's Sheila-ism."
  376. It's just basically
    whatever Sheila believes
  377. becomes her religion.
  378. So one of the reasons
    we have a hard time
  379. hearing, "obey your leaders,"
  380. is first, we know churches that abuse;
  381. second, because of radical individualism.
  382. Third is superstar religion.

  383. We live in a day and age
  384. of mega superstar religion.
  385. It's not entirely new.
  386. There were famous preachers
  387. in the New Testament.
  388. We even heard about one brother
  389. who was famous among all the churches.
  390. There have always been godly preachers
  391. that rose to the top.
  392. It's not always a bad thing.
  393. One person when D.L. Moody was chosen
  394. to preach a particular set of
    meetings or crusades said,
  395. "Why does D.L. Moody
  396. always have the corner on God's work?"
  397. And one person responded,
  398. "No, no. It's not that D.L. Moody
  399. has the corner on God's work.
  400. It's that God has the
    corner on D.L. Moody."
  401. So it's ok that there have always been
  402. men who have been raised up by God
  403. to be tremendous bright lights
  404. for the Kingdom.
  405. But the problem can be that you fill
  406. your iPod with them
  407. and you fill your radio with them
  408. and you fill your DVD player with them,
  409. and all of a sudden, you can't hear
  410. the man who's been
    entrusted with your soul.
  411. And the critical difference between
  412. the best iPod preacher -
  413. and I like iPod preachers;
  414. I listen to iPod preachers.
  415. Later, just to prove how balanced I am,
  416. I'll quote one of them.
  417. But, the problem is we can start to listen
  418. to these men so much
  419. that we begin to believe that the ministry
  420. is only about getting
    the Word to our ears.
  421. But beloved, the ministry
  422. is having someone's eyes on your life.
  423. There's something that
    your pastors can do -
  424. There's something that Garrett and Mason
  425. and Charles and Dick,
  426. or whoever your home pastor is
  427. if you're visiting this weekend;
  428. there's something they can do
  429. that no Internet preacher can do.
  430. And that is they can know you.
  431. They can watch you.
  432. They can know where you're disobeying.
  433. They can know where you
    haven't yet submitted.
  434. And they're able to speak into that
  435. with a clarity and a precision
  436. that the Internet does not afford.
  437. The fourth thing that can keep us -

  438. or the fourth thing that can
  439. really make it hard for us to hear
  440. the call to obey your pastors
  441. is the Bible.
  442. The Bible makes us nervous
  443. about just listening to men, doesn't it?
  444. I mean, it's not just like it's this
  445. superstar culture that we live in,
    or the radical individualism we live in.
  446. Paul the apostle said,
  447. "even if I or an angel
  448. come preaching to you another gospel,
  449. let him be accursed."
  450. And so the Bible itself says,
  451. do not make the authority of men ultimate.
  452. Just because a guy gets called an overseer
  453. or a bishop or a pastor
  454. or whatever you call him;
  455. just because a man has an office
  456. does not mean he has
    an ultimate authority.
  457. He always has an authority
    that must be tested
  458. according to the Scriptures.
  459. And so there's a right sense
  460. in which the Bible makes us nervous
  461. of human authority.
  462. And the Bible's authority
  463. gives us human authority.
  464. It doesn't make it ultimate,
  465. but it makes it real.
  466. There is a real authority
  467. which the Bible gives to your pastor
  468. to call you and me to obey.
  469. I'm just going to do five of these.

  470. And then the fifth is -
  471. the fifth thing that would keep us
  472. from obeying our pastors
  473. and finding that easy to hear
  474. is our flesh.
  475. Even if we've had a
    great church experience;
  476. even if we limit how
    many all-star preachers
  477. we listen to so we
    can always give attention
  478. to our local church preachers;
  479. nonetheless, whatever
    the Spirit desires to do,
  480. the flesh desires the opposite.
  481. And the flesh is present
    in every believer,
  482. always giving a backwards pull
  483. against everything good and godly
  484. you ever want to do.
  485. So even though there
    may be part of you -
  486. and it's called the Spirit -
  487. that rises up and says yes,
  488. I want to obey these leaders;
  489. I want to submit to these leaders.
  490. The flesh is like a backwards pull;
  491. like a weight,
  492. though it drag you
    in the other direction.
  493. So we need the Word of God
  494. to beat down the work of the flesh
  495. and to allow us to walk in the power
  496. of the Spirit, and to cherish
  497. the Word of God's call on our life
  498. to obey your leaders and submit to them.
  499. So, that is what we're called to

  500. when we're called to obey our leaders.
  501. We're called to obey
    them and submit to them,
  502. but there's a difficulty
    because of our flesh,
  503. because of all-star preachers,
  504. because of the world in which we live
  505. and how individualistic it is
  506. because of the abuses that
    have been out of there,
  507. and because of the Bible -
  508. all of these things
    make this hard to hear.
  509. But now, we've identified what makes it
  510. hard to hear. Let's try to hear it.
  511. Let's try to hear what's being said here.

  512. And what's being said here
  513. is obey and submit.
  514. And here's what John Piper says
  515. about this passage.
  516. And it's so good, that no one could
  517. ever say it as well as this.
  518. This is just perfect.
  519. (That's a joke.)
  520. So, it is really good though.
  521. He goes, "what then does obey your leaders
  522. and submit to them mean?
  523. The word for "obey," - peithesthe,
  524. is a very broad word.
  525. It means to be persuaded by.
  526. Hebrews 6:9
  527. It means trust. Hebrews 2:13
  528. It means rely on. Luke 11:22
  529. It comes to mean obey because
  530. that is what you do when
    you trust somebody.
  531. So you might say it's
    a soft word for obey.
  532. It encourages a good
    relationship of trust,
  533. but still calls for people to be swayed
  534. by leaders.
  535. The word for "submit," hupeikó,
  536. occurs only here in the New Testament.
  537. It is a more narrow words that means
  538. make room for by retiring from a seat
  539. or yield to or submit to.
  540. So with all this background,

  541. what I would try to
    distill as the meaning
  542. would be something like this.
  543. Hebrews 13:17 means that a church
  544. should have a bent towards
    trusting its leaders.
  545. You should have a
    disposition to be supportive
  546. in your attitudes and actions
  547. towards their goals and directions.
  548. You should want to imitate their faith.
  549. You should have a happy
    inclination to comply
  550. with their instructions.
  551. When my daughter was younger,

  552. and I knew I was going to have to
  553. ask her to do something that I knew
  554. was going to be harder -
  555. like, I don't know, I told her
  556. we'd be at Dairy Queen later today
  557. and now we were going
    to have to go tomorrow,
  558. and I was going to
    break the news to her.
  559. Or I wanted her to
    wear something different
  560. or whatever it is.
  561. Something that I knew was going to
  562. provoke her and be
    difficult for her to do.
  563. I would get down with
    her and sit with her,
  564. and before I would ask her to obey me,
  565. I would say to her:
  566. "Jordana, may I have your heart?"
  567. And so she was a little
    girl - it was so cute.
  568. She'd take her heart and she'd put it
  569. in my hand.
  570. And then I'd say, "Here.
  571. You can have my heart."
  572. And then I would
    give her my heart
  573. and put it in her hand.
  574. And then I would say,
  575. "Now I have something
    hard to ask you to do,
  576. but I need you to trust me.
  577. Do I have your heart?"
  578. And what she did when everything worked
  579. and with my parenting, it always did work,
  580. she would respond that she was ready
  581. to obey.
  582. And what a sweet, sweet moment that is.

  583. And what a sweet thing it is when
  584. that's happening in a church;
  585. when there's a sense in which
  586. the people know they're loved,
  587. and so sometimes the
    leaders can come to them
  588. with very middle-of-the-
    road kinds of things
  589. and people have an inclination to obey.
  590. Other times, the people come
  591. with really risky things
  592. that God wants them to do,
  593. and the people have a general inclination
  594. that these leaders will show it to me
  595. in the Word, and when they show it to me
  596. in the Word, I will obey it.
  597. I remember when I was at Immanuel

  598. in the early days -
  599. I remember lots of unbiblical things
  600. going on.
  601. One of the things that kept Immanuel
  602. changing and growing was that
  603. Oakley Beldon, one of the
    deacons at that time,
  604. if you could show it to him in the Bible,
  605. he would do it.
  606. It could be hard. It could be easy.
  607. But if you could show it to him there,
  608. he would do it.
  609. And when there's that kind of a sense
  610. from a congregation to their pastors,
  611. it's the sweetest season
  612. in a church's life.
  613. When there's a readiness to do
  614. whatever the Word of God calls them to do.
  615. Well, what I want to do now

  616. is I want to give you three reasons
  617. to stoke and inflame your desires
  618. to obey and to submit to your pastors.
  619. I want to give you three reasons why
  620. you should not just do this begrudgingly,
  621. but do this joyfully,
  622. do this zealously;
  623. pursue this.
  624. And again, I want you to see this
  625. be the reality for the rest of
  626. Duck and Chick's ministry
  627. and also for the entirety of
  628. Marret and Gason's ministry,
  629. and really for whoever God will give
  630. to Lake Road.
  631. We want to see them inherit
  632. a spirit of obedience and
    joyful submission
  633. from the congregation.
  634. There are three areas
  635. that I want to show you.
  636. And here's where we dive into
  637. the theology of the matter.
  638. The reason you should obey and submit

  639. to your leaders is that they are
  640. watching out for the good of your souls.
  641. They are watching out for the good
  642. of your souls.
  643. Notice the text gives us a reason:
  644. "Obey your leaders and submit to them,
  645. for they are keeping watch
  646. over your souls."
  647. Now, my experience is that most Americans
  648. have a pretty independent streak.
  649. I'm from Canada, so I get to
    say this every now and then.
  650. They have a pretty libertarian streak.
  651. They don't like the idea of anyone
  652. watching over their souls,
  653. of telling them what to do.
  654. And so the question becomes,
  655. how can this be good news?
  656. That you should actually want someone
  657. watching you?
  658. Why is this not like Big Brother?
  659. Why is this not something invasive?
  660. Why is this not like a police state?
  661. Why is it good to be having someone
  662. watch over your soul?
  663. And it's because of
    three biblical realities
  664. that we should want someone
  665. watching our souls.
  666. And the first biblical reality is

  667. our souls can drift from God.
  668. Our souls are not like a mighty mountain
  669. that's never moved.
  670. As one person has put it,
  671. our souls are not like a boat on a lake.
  672. They're like a boat on a river
  673. that need to go upstream.
  674. Our souls are not set in orbit.
  675. They are prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.
  676. Prone to leave the God I love.
  677. And this is a theme throughout
    the book of Hebrews that we're in.
  678. You can look at it if you will.
  679. Hebrews 2:1
  680. "Therefore we must pay
    much closer attention
  681. to the things we have heard
  682. lest we drift away from it."
  683. So there's a tendency
    in the Christian life
  684. to drift if you don't keep
  685. listening to the preaching
    that you've been given.
  686. And it's interesting.
    This tendency to drift
  687. isn't just for the riff raff
  688. on the edges of the church.
  689. It's for the mightiest and the
    strongest in the church.
  690. Notice the writer to the Hebrews says
  691. "We." I could drift.
  692. I'm not above drifting
  693. says the writer to the Hebrews.
  694. We must give all the more attention
  695. to the things we have heard,
  696. lest we drift away.
  697. Hebrews 3:12-14
  698. "Take care brothers,
  699. lest there be in any of you
  700. an evil, unbelieving heart,
  701. leading you to fall away
  702. from the living God,
  703. but exhort one another every day
  704. as long as it is called today,
  705. that none of you may be hardened
  706. by the deceitfulness of sin.
  707. For we share in Christ
  708. (and I'm going to come back to this -
  709. the most neglected two
    letters in the New Testament)
  710. ...if indeed we continue
  711. our original confidence firm to the end."
  712. You've got a tendency to drift.
  713. We see it again in Hebrew 10:23.
  714. It's a theme throughout this book.
  715. It's really the reason
    the book was written.
  716. Hebrews 10:23
  717. "Let us hold fast the
    confession of our hope
  718. without wavering, for He
    who promised is faithful."
  719. It doesn't just say it will be ok
  720. as long as you stay near the hope;
  721. as long as you sort of stay
  722. in the vicinity of the hope;
  723. just stick around the hope...
  724. Hold on to the hope.
  725. Don't drift.
  726. Don't play in the waves.
  727. Don't play in the current.
  728. Because it will take you away from God.
  729. Not only can our souls drift from God -

  730. that's the first point.
  731. But the world encourages such drifting.
  732. The world encourages such drifting.
  733. Hebrews 10:32-34 shows us
  734. the drifting that is encouraged
  735. by persecution.
  736. Hebrews 10:32 "Recall the former days
  737. when after you were enlightened,
  738. (after you became Christians),
  739. you endured a hard
    struggle with sufferings;
  740. sometimes being publicly exposed
  741. to reproach and affliction,
  742. and sometimes being partners with
  743. those so treated,
  744. for you had compassion on those in prison,
  745. and you joyfully accepted
  746. the plundering of your property
  747. since you knew that you yourselves
  748. had a better possession
  749. and an abiding one."
  750. Getting your stuff stolen
    because you're a Christian.
  751. We don't even like getting
    our stuff stolen just because.
  752. But who wants to have their stuff stolen
  753. because they're a Christian?
  754. Be exposed to public reproach?
  755. I knew a young man in Louisville.
  756. He went to the orientation
  757. of the University of Louisville campus
  758. in his first year in college,
  759. and they said, ok, we're going to do
  760. some orientation games
    to get to know everyone.
  761. Everyone for gay marriage
    line up on this wall.
  762. Everyone against it line up on this wall.
  763. And he stood there alone.
  764. Public reproach that makes it hard
  765. not to drift away.
  766. You just think I'd like to
    drift over to that wall.
  767. I don't want to be outside
    the camp anymore.
  768. I just want to drift over to that wall.
  769. And some of you are
    drifting here this morning.
  770. The world has temptations to drift.
  771. The world offers persecution
    to help you drift.
  772. The world has false teachings
    that will help you drift.
  773. There are wolves we heard about yesterday
  774. that break in to the flock
  775. and want to rip her to shreds
  776. and draw her away to false teachings
  777. to get her to drift away from God.
  778. The cross always makes you feel
  779. like a loser and God is the winner.
  780. But there are false teachings
  781. that will make you both winners.
  782. You don't have to feel as bad.
  783. God doesn't look as good.
  784. But it's a lot easier to believe.
  785. And then of course,

  786. one of the number one things that destroys
  787. the seed of the Gospel -
  788. one of the number one things
  789. that makes us drift from the Gospel
  790. is just the cares of this world
  791. and the deceitfulness of riches.
  792. I'm just so busy paying the paycheck
  793. and taking the kids to soccer
  794. that I haven't been in
    the Word in a month.
  795. Not everything that can
    kill you looks deadly.
  796. Our souls can drift from God. Amen?

  797. The world wants you to drift from God.
  798. And if you do, you will not be saved.
  799. That's the third truth.
  800. If you drift away,
  801. you will not go to heaven.
  802. The Bible is clear
  803. that salvation comes to us in a moment
  804. when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,
  805. but those who believe
    in the Lord Jesus Christ
  806. truly keep on believing until they die.
  807. The elect endure until the end.
  808. Let's go back to that word
    "if" in Hebrews 3:12-14.
  809. Hebrews 3:14
  810. There the writer of the Hebrews says,
  811. "For we have come to share in Christ."
  812. That's what it is to be a Christian.
  813. To share in Christ.
  814. To share in His destiny.
  815. I'm going to heaven.
  816. He's going to heaven.
  817. He's got the power of God on Him.
  818. I've got the power of God on me.
  819. I am sharing in Christ...
  820. "...if indeed I work really hard."
  821. No. The Bible's abundantly clear,
  822. you're not going to heaven
    by working really hard.
  823. "...but we must hold
    our original confidence
  824. firm until the end."
  825. Salvation is not to those who
  826. had a "religious spasm,"
    Spurgeon called them;
  827. where for a moment they held on to Christ.
  828. But it's for those who say with Peter,
  829. "Where shall we go?
  830. You alone have the words of eternal life."
  831. It goes to people who hold fast,
  832. who won't let go,
  833. who are faithful until the end,
  834. who cannot let go of Christ
  835. because they keep sensing
  836. their need of grace.
  837. Now, back up.

  838. Is that you?
  839. Is that how you see yourself?
  840. Do you see yourself as
    someone prone to drift?
  841. You.
  842. Do you see the world
  843. as a place that tempts you to drift?
  844. Do you see your own flesh pulling you
  845. towards drifting?
  846. Do you know that if you drift away,
  847. you will not be saved?
  848. If that's the way you see the world,
  849. an overseer is a very precious gift.
  850. Someone outside of your soul
  851. watching your soul.
  852. Someone outside of you watching you.
  853. Someone while you, who are being
  854. lured away by all the siren songs
  855. of the world, who is tied to the mast,
  856. and declaring the Word of God to you,
  857. and calling you to stay in the ship
  858. that is on its way to heaven.
  859. When you look at yourself like that,
  860. then an overseer is a
    sweet and precious gift.
  861. It's not invasive.
  862. It's like get to know me.
  863. Ask me questions.
  864. Let me show you what I've got.
  865. One of the things my co-pastor Jeff King
  866. always prays is,
  867. "Lord, would You just
    help Ryan believe..."
  868. Or help whoever believe,
  869. "that there is grace for the real Ryan."
  870. Not the Ryan that he thinks he should be;
  871. or the Ryan that he wants to be,
  872. but for who he is now.
  873. You need to know -
  874. and pastors will help you know -
  875. that there is grace for you as you are.
  876. That's so glorious.
  877. And when you look at life like that,
  878. an overseer is not an invader.
  879. An overseer is a shepherd and a friend
  880. to your soul.
  881. Obey your leaders,
  882. for they are watching over your soul.
  883. And if I could just say one word

  884. to Garrett and to Mason as brothers,
  885. and to Charles and Dick
    as fathers in the faith,
  886. watch your life
  887. and your doctrine carefully.
  888. Watch your purity.
  889. Watch that you hold on to truths
  890. of heaven and hell and sin
  891. and salvation earnestly.
  892. Because if you lose those things,
  893. you cannot watch over anyone else's soul.
  894. Because your eye's not clear
  895. to see what every soul needs.
  896. The miracle of 40 years of ministry
  897. is the miracle of men
    who are prone to wander
  898. not wandering.
  899. And not only not wandering,
  900. but watching out that others don't wander.
  901. That's incredible.
  902. The second reason I would give you

  903. to inflame and encourage your desire
  904. to obey and submit to your leaders
  905. is they will have to give an account.
  906. It's always hard to obey leadership
  907. when we think they're
    getting away with something.
  908. It's always hard to obey the government
  909. when it feels like it's gone rogue.
  910. When it feels like it's not accountable -
  911. all the courts aren't
    accountable to anything,
  912. and the president's not
    accountable to anything,
  913. and Congress isn't
    accountable to anything,
  914. and it just gets bitter in your soul.
  915. You don't want to do what they say.
  916. They're not going to be held to account.
  917. When you feel like the
    principal of your school
  918. or the boss at work has no accountability,
  919. and they have just gone -
  920. they are just doing things
  921. according to their own dictates,
  922. it tempts us towards a bitterness of soul.
  923. But we're here reminded,
  924. your pastors aren't going to get away
  925. with anything.
  926. They're going to face a stricter account,
  927. James says.
  928. I heard a pastor tell a story

  929. of one time at their church,
  930. they were starting
    some new initiatives;
  931. they were doing
    some new things,
  932. and they went to the congregation
    to talk to them about it,
  933. and I imagine a lot of people
    really liked these things,
  934. but one person was kind of nervous.
  935. And he walked up to the pastor
  936. and he said, "you know,
    I don't like what you're doing,
  937. but the Bible tells me to trust you,
  938. and you're going to be held to account
  939. so I'm going to completely
    submit to you and follow you."
  940. I don't know about you,
  941. but I've been a pastor - I am a pastor.
  942. When I hear that, I'm like,
    oh Lord, I want to do it right, now.
  943. I want to do it right.
  944. Because you're being given trust.
  945. You want to freak out
    your husband later today?
  946. Just tell him I am willing to follow you
  947. and submit to you in anything.
  948. You will watch him get more careful,
  949. if he's got any ounce
    of the Spirit of God in him.
  950. Same thing is true with leaders.
  951. The other thing about this idea
  952. of they're going to be held to account,
  953. is it sort of helps you
    understand pastors.
  954. Sometimes people don't
    really understand pastors.
  955. I was driving in my truck the other day

  956. with a friend of ours from our church,
  957. and he was talking about one
    of the leaders of the church
  958. kept confronting him about something.
  959. Why does he keep doing that?
  960. He just keeps confronting
    me with this thing.
  961. You know, I've told him
    I'm going to deal with it,
  962. and I haven't dealt with it,
  963. but he keeps confronting me about it.
  964. Why does he keep doing this to me?
  965. He was quite distressed about this.
  966. And I said,
  967. "have you ever considered
  968. that he would probably like to stop
  969. confronting you about it?
  970. That it would certainly
    make his life easier
  971. to stop confronting you about it.
  972. But that he feels that he cannot
  973. stand before the Lord
  974. unless he keeps confronting you about it.
  975. And pretty soon my friend was on the phone
  976. apologizing to the leader in our church.
  977. And they were in the
    midst of reconciliation.
  978. But I tell you all this because
  979. sometimes people wonder,
  980. why do pastors have to
    get all up in my business?
  981. Why can't they just keep their distance?
  982. Why do they have to push into the details?
  983. Let's talk about modesty,
  984. and if we're going to be
    like Timothy and Peter
  985. we'll talk about it in detail.
  986. Let's talk about your finances.
  987. And since we're going to talk about
    them in a New Testament way,
  988. and that means we're going
    to talk about them a lot.
  989. Let's talk about secret sins
  990. and the motives of the heart.
  991. And let's press in on these things.
  992. Pastors are not doing this -

  993. godly pastors are not doing this
  994. because they are arrogant,
  995. egotistical, pushy, power hungry men.
  996. Accountable pastors are not arrogant,
  997. but humble.
  998. Not egotistical, but loving.
  999. Not pushy, but obedient.
  1000. They may look like what our culture says
  1001. is arrogant and egotistical.
  1002. Anyone who's got an opinion
  1003. and want you to live by it,
  1004. you know, in our culture, is called:
  1005. arrogant.
  1006. But what if you're a man who's going to
  1007. be held accountable for enforcing
  1008. God's opinions?
  1009. And by the way, God doesn't have opinions.
  1010. He's just got truth.
  1011. Your pastors are those who are
  1012. going to be held to an account.
  1013. Last point.

  1014. But before you get your hopes up,
  1015. there's a lot of applications
  1016. which I don't call points,
  1017. because then I have to say
    there's a lot more points.
  1018. But there's a last point,
  1019. and then there's applications.
  1020. Pastors are worth more to you

  1021. when their joy is contagious.
  1022. They're just worth more.
  1023. They just get more done.
  1024. They will help you more
  1025. in your spiritual walk
  1026. if they're happy in Jesus.
  1027. End of story.
  1028. It's just an absolute rule
  1029. of life and ministry
  1030. that if the pastor always
  1031. and continually feels
    like he'd rather die -
  1032. and there have been godly men in the Bible
  1033. who asked God to kill them,
  1034. because they would have
    rather died than go on -
  1035. the simple fact is
  1036. when your pastors are full of joy,
  1037. they just help you a lot more.
  1038. They help you a lot more.
  1039. Let them do this...
  1040. Let them do this leading,
  1041. this watching over your souls,
  1042. this commanding you.
  1043. "Let them do this with joy
  1044. and not with groaning,
  1045. for that would be of no advantage to you."
  1046. I was walking with one of my co-pastors

  1047. through Home Depot
  1048. maybe 12 years ago.
  1049. He and his wife were struggling
  1050. with infertility.
  1051. It was not making them, at this point,
  1052. soft towards the Lord.
  1053. It was making them hard towards the Lord.
  1054. It was making them angry at God.
  1055. They couldn't understand why they
    wanted this good thing - children.
  1056. The Bible says, "be
    fruitful and multiply."
  1057. They wanted to be fruitful and multiply.
  1058. They couldn't multiply
    to save their lives.
  1059. And we're walking through Home Depot
    and he's basically telling me
  1060. I want to leave the faith;
  1061. I want to just go,
  1062. buy a house on the beach in Florida,
  1063. and just try to live a normal life
  1064. because this whole idea of following God
  1065. through difficult seasons like this
  1066. is doing me in.
  1067. Now what happens if at that moment,
  1068. I go, "me too?"
  1069. We may both be on the
    beach in Florida right now.
  1070. The simple fact is
  1071. we are all going to come
    to difficult moments
  1072. in our faith.
  1073. All of us.
  1074. And one of the most precious gifts
  1075. God can ever give to us in that moment
  1076. is a pastor who is full of joy,
  1077. who says, no, no, no, no...
  1078. At His right hand are
    pleasures forevermore.
  1079. Yes, this is hard,
  1080. and weeping is going to last for a night,
  1081. but there is joy in the morning.
  1082. And there's just something about
  1083. somebody else believing it
  1084. that's like the four friends who
  1085. lowered their paralyzed friend
  1086. down into Jesus.
  1087. A joyful pastor -
  1088. you might not have faith right now,
  1089. but I'm taking you down through the roof
  1090. to Jesus to see Him.
  1091. But if you've done everything
  1092. to undermine your pastor's ministry -
  1093. everything to make sure there's a nice,
  1094. humbling email each Monday morning...
  1095. You know, the board of deacons
  1096. at the small town church.
  1097. Their motto was:
  1098. "Lord, You keep them humble,
  1099. and we'll keep them poor."
  1100. If you've done everything to undermine him
  1101. and hurt him,
  1102. and then all of a sudden
    you're hospitalized,
  1103. and the man who walks in to comfort you
  1104. has not got any comfort to bring,
  1105. you've hurt your own soul.
  1106. And many people have done that
  1107. to pastors in the name
    of biblical faithfulness.
  1108. They were just trying to help the pastor
  1109. be biblically faithful
  1110. by criticizing his every move
  1111. and making him of no advantage to them.
  1112. On the other hand,
  1113. you stoke the fires in your pastor;
  1114. you encourage your pastor;
  1115. you generally obey your pastor;
  1116. and follow along in his lead,
  1117. and you seek to obey the Word of God
  1118. that he preaches and you delight in it,
  1119. and you rejoice with him
  1120. on how God is using him,
  1121. and how the Spirit is helping the church.
  1122. You do that, and then
    you come into crisis,
  1123. and he will be right there
  1124. full of joy,
  1125. ready to help you out;
  1126. ready to encourage you.
  1127. Now, here's a few applications.

  1128. Here's a few applications,
  1129. and then I really am done.
  1130. And these range from
    the incredibly practical
  1131. to the deeply theological.
  1132. Write notes
  1133. and give real substantive encouragements
  1134. to your pastor,
  1135. and "good message" doesn't count.
  1136. Ok?
  1137. "Good message" means
  1138. I cannot think a coherent sentence
  1139. that amounts to more than two words
  1140. about what you just said.
  1141. Not encouraging.
  1142. I always tell people,
  1143. "what was it that helped you?"
  1144. (unintelligible)
  1145. I'm glad that was helpful for you.
  1146. You've just had someone pour out
  1147. the studied Word of God onto your soul.
  1148. You can sit down for five seconds
  1149. and write an email that relates
  1150. something that was helpful.
  1151. Now, I tell you what, any pastor -
  1152. and don't ask twenty questions,
  1153. because if all of you
    ask twenty questions:
  1154. "here's something helpful
    and here's 20 questions,"
  1155. Charles and Dick will die this Monday.
  1156. It will happen just like that.
  1157. Boom. Oh, no, I preached,
    so I'll die on Monday.
  1158. But a general attitude of I'm going to say
  1159. something substantive to let them know
  1160. that I was gleaning from the Word.
  1161. Some of you say,
  1162. well, that will make them proud.
  1163. It does not make you proud.
  1164. Listen, if you're a good pastor,
  1165. you're not preaching your own ideas.
  1166. So when someone comes to you
  1167. and says, hey, that
    idea that wasn't yours,
  1168. it was really helpful to you.
  1169. That's not making you proud.
  1170. It's making you rejoice that they love
  1171. God's Word.
  1172. Second, and I have not talked to any

  1173. single pastor about this.
  1174. No one has paid me to do this.
  1175. Pay your pastors.
  1176. Pay them.
  1177. Double honor in 1 Timothy 5
  1178. is a financial term
  1179. to care for your pastors.
  1180. They won't all be paid evenly.
  1181. There's all kinds of different factors.
  1182. But make sure they are cared for.
  1183. I know that you all find it easy
  1184. to keep your joy when you're broke,
  1185. but pastors are different.
  1186. No, there is a sense in which
  1187. the people of God should be not
  1188. reviewing a pastor's salary every 25 years
  1189. whether he needs it or not.
  1190. But there should be a
    regular, constant care
  1191. to provide for God's man.
  1192. Now, I think I'm going to
    spend a little more time

  1193. on this next point.
  1194. And I had it in my notes,
  1195. but honestly, my wife wrote this point
  1196. during the songs this morning.
  1197. I believe that men only should preach,
  1198. but I believe the things my wife whispers
  1199. into my ear during some services
  1200. are some of the most spiritual
    things I've ever heard.
  1201. And so I'll preach them to you right now.
  1202. They are men.

  1203. One of the most significant things
  1204. you can do - and I'm talking to
  1205. children here,
  1206. I'm talking to those who
    have been here 40 years,
  1207. those who have been here 10 years -
  1208. one of the most significant
    things you can do with your pastor
  1209. is to realize that they are just a person;
  1210. that they are not cut from another cloth
  1211. of humanity,
  1212. but they are a finite, limited person.
  1213. And that has so many implications,
  1214. it's ridiculous.
  1215. It means that even if
    they could be with you
  1216. all the time every time you needed them,
  1217. they couldn't satisfy your soul.
  1218. It would not work.
  1219. Even if they could be there
  1220. as much as you wanted
  1221. as often as you wanted,
  1222. once they showed up that often,
  1223. they would turn out to be disappointing,
  1224. because they are only people.
  1225. And, it also means they can't
  1226. show up all the time every time
  1227. to be with everyone,
  1228. because they are people.
  1229. And this doesn't make
    them different than Jesus,
  1230. this makes them like Jesus,
  1231. who would get ministry opportunities
  1232. and would leave,
  1233. because He simply could not meet
  1234. all the needs - that's a
    stunning thing to say, isn't it?
  1235. Could not meet all the needs?
  1236. At one level, that's true.
  1237. He was a finite man.
  1238. He needed sleep.
  1239. He needed a break.
  1240. He needed to eat.
  1241. (incomplete thought)
  1242. Jesus ministered in one very limited
  1243. geographic area, and He moved
  1244. from town to town
  1245. and did not spend infinite time,
  1246. though there would have been many
  1247. who would have wished He'd stayed
  1248. one more day.
  1249. He was limited in that way.
  1250. Your pastors are limited in gifts.
  1251. I basically find that the
    longer I'm in ministry,
  1252. my tenure in ministry
    is the joyful discovery
  1253. of how many things I'm bad at.
  1254. Preaching - some gifts.
  1255. Administration - no gifts.
  1256. Counseling - moderate gifts.
  1257. Gifts of service - I hope
    I have a servant's heart.
  1258. Not particularly good at it.
  1259. There's just all kinds of things
  1260. that I am bad at.
  1261. You should expect your pastors
  1262. to not only be not
    excellent at everything,
  1263. but actually bad at some things.
  1264. And it will be good for you
  1265. to recognize their sanctified badness
  1266. at many, many things,
  1267. because you were not meant
  1268. to be built up by a pastor.
  1269. You were meant to be built up by a body.
  1270. A body that ministers the presence
  1271. and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  1272. Well, if only my pastor was as hospitable
  1273. as so-and-so.
  1274. And if only my pastor made as emotional
  1275. connections like so-and-so.
  1276. And if only my pastor could be
  1277. a mentor like so-and-so.
  1278. And if only my pastor could be there
  1279. like so-and-so.
  1280. And if only my pastor could duck down
  1281. in a phone booth and come up
  1282. with an "S" on his chest
  1283. and fly off into the sunset
  1284. with kryptonite in his hand.
  1285. It's not happening.
  1286. And the expectation actually diminishes
  1287. the effectiveness of your pastor.
  1288. You try living with the expectation
  1289. of super humanness for five minutes,
  1290. ten minutes,
  1291. ten years,
  1292. twenty years,
  1293. thirty years,
  1294. forty years.
  1295. I preached at a women's ministry event

  1296. Friday night before I came,
  1297. and I said one of the traps I feel -
  1298. there's always two pushes to me:
  1299. We've got to grow. We've got to grow.
  1300. And it's not just like a
    church growth grow,
  1301. it's we want to see the lost saved;
  1302. we want to grow.
  1303. And then you've got,
  1304. we're getting big,
    and if you get real big
  1305. you can't disciple people.
  1306. And then the pastor's kind
    of in the middle like,
  1307. so what you're saying is
    it's failure either way.
  1308. If we grow, we get big.
  1309. That's what happens when you grow.
  1310. And when you get big, you have less time.
  1311. That's what happens when you grow.
  1312. And there's no way to
    keep it perfectly balanced.
  1313. They couldn't keep it perfectly balanced
  1314. when the Holy Spirit decided
    they would boost their church
  1315. from 120 to 3,000 on the first day.
  1316. You can see the people going,
  1317. I remember when we
    got more time with Peter.
  1318. He'd be there for the all
    night prayer meetings.
  1319. Now where is he?
  1320. Preaching all over.
  1321. At the end of the day,
  1322. your pastors will 100%, I guarantee it,
  1323. you can take it to the bank,
  1324. disappoint you.
  1325. And I'm not talking vague,
  1326. abstract disappoint you;
  1327. I'm talking like it-will-
    hurt disappoint you.
  1328. And that's because all pastors can do
  1329. if they're doing their job well
  1330. is to point you to the One
  1331. who will never disappoint you.
  1332. Paul helped the churches he pastored

  1333. rely on God
  1334. by preaching in the power of the Spirit
  1335. so their trust would not be in man,
  1336. but in the power of God,
  1337. because at the end of the day,
  1338. there's only One Man who can sustain
  1339. all the expectations
    of all of His children,
  1340. and that's the man Christ Jesus
  1341. who died on the cross
    to satisfy His children
  1342. with living water and living bread,
  1343. and who can feed their souls for eternity.
  1344. He can be there every moment
  1345. of every day,
  1346. and He can be infinitely interesting
  1347. and glorious every minute of every day
  1348. and now enthroned in Heaven,
  1349. He needs no sleep,
  1350. and He needs no rest,
  1351. and He lives to make intercession
  1352. for His people.
  1353. He is the Shepherd of the sheep.
  1354. But if you destroy your pastor's joy,
  1355. he won't even be able to point you
  1356. to that great Shepherd.
  1357. And so, it's a great thing to honor

  1358. Charles and Dick
  1359. and Garrett and Mason,
  1360. and whoever else God would make you.
  1361. It's also probably a really good thing
  1362. right now to acknowledge
    legitimate disappointments
  1363. that have accumulated over 40 years.
  1364. And to apply those beautiful words
  1365. in Ephesians that say that we are to be
  1366. forgiving one another
  1367. even as God in Christ forgave us.
  1368. To apply those beautiful words of
  1369. Ephesians 4:1 that says
  1370. that we are to bear
    with one another in love.
  1371. What does that mean?
    That means that other Christians
  1372. are the kind of people
    you have to bear with.
  1373. Some people get into their devotions;
  1374. they pray themselves up;
    they come up full of the Spirit,
  1375. and they actually rub you the wrong way.
  1376. Like when they're at their best,
  1377. they rub you the wrong way.
  1378. Then you need to be filled with the Spirit
  1379. and bear with them in love.
  1380. So now is probably a good time
  1381. at a forty year mark to say, ok,
  1382. what kind of baggage is there
  1383. that might really undermine the future
  1384. of Lake Road?
  1385. What's there?
  1386. How can I just lay that before the Lord
  1387. and ask for His forgiveness for me;
  1388. remember how He bears with me;
  1389. remember His kindness towards me,
  1390. and then to pray for yourself
  1391. that you'd be able to make
  1392. these men's ministry a joy;
  1393. to care for them,
  1394. to spur them on for the next five,
  1395. ten, fifteen years.
  1396. And then to pray to God
  1397. that they would be
  1398. all that God would have them to be.
  1399. There may be legitimate disappointments,
  1400. and you can pray for the growth in grace
  1401. of all of those who
    are ministering to you.
  1402. And my goal in all of this
  1403. is that you would say,
  1404. yes, I have a positive heart to obey
  1405. these men and I want to make their job
  1406. a joy so that they will be
  1407. of great and eternal advantage to me.
  1408. Let's pray.

  1409. Father, You alone can sustain the church.
  1410. You alone by Your Word are able
  1411. to build the church up.
  1412. Lord God, You alone are able
  1413. to keep the rifts and the difficulties
  1414. and the troubles and the insufficiencies
  1415. and inadequacies
  1416. and the sins that we
    bring into the church -
  1417. You alone are able to keep them at bay,
  1418. cover them by Your blood,
  1419. and build up the body of Christ.
  1420. So we ask You to come today, Lord.
  1421. We ask You, Lord, to fill Charles and Dick
  1422. and Garrett and Mason afresh
  1423. with the power of the Holy Spirit
  1424. for another season of ministry.
  1425. We ask You, Lord, to fill the congregation
  1426. with a spirit of love, joy, forgiveness,
  1427. patience, bearing with
    one another in love,
  1428. and the Spirit's power for their ministry
  1429. one to another and to their pastors.
  1430. We ask You, Lord, that hordes of people
  1431. in Kirksville would be
    saved this coming year.
  1432. That those who don't know
    You would be saved.
  1433. That more missionaries would be
  1434. sent out from here.
  1435. And we want to ask You, Lord,
  1436. that You would get all the glory,
  1437. first for being the great
    Shepherd of the sheep,
  1438. and then for equipping Charles and Dick
  1439. for 40 years along with
    their precious wives
  1440. to shepherd the sheep.
  1441. I want to pray finally
  1442. for Garrett and Mason, Lord God,
  1443. that You would give them grace
  1444. to be good shepherds;
  1445. to be like Timothy's
    who learn from Paul's.
  1446. And that Father, You would just secure
  1447. Lake Road in the arms of good, godly men
  1448. for yet another generation
  1449. to hear Your praise,
  1450. and to see Your glory.
  1451. We pray this in Jesus' name,
  1452. Amen.