An Ox Stands Between An Altar And A Plough

This week’s lectures from Dr. York on Pastoral Ministry focus on the call to a specific ministry. How does one know if they are being called to a specific ministry?

Sanctified Common Sense

Does the ministry fit my skill-set, personality, gifting? Is this a good place for my kids and family? Dr. York strongly emphasized that it is not wrong to think about these things but they are not the primary reasons.

God Works On Your Wanter

The Lord causes you to fall in love with where he would have you to minister. Since Dr. York is on a mission board for Southern he shared a couple of illustrations of young families desiring to leave the States and go minister in the jungle where it is dangerous. Why would anyone do that? Because they love Jesus and God is causing them to fall in love with surprising places.

Overall Passion

Is your overall passion to glorify Jesus and to honor him, then make your best decision! It cannot be wrong. If the supremacy of Christ is what you really care about then that is what God wants you to do. This then is the ultimate reason for why one should choose a ministry. If you pray, Oh, Holy Spirit help me to be a great preacher” or “Help me to pastor a great church” the Holy Spirit will say, “No. I am not interested in doing that for you.” But if you cry out, “Oh, Holy Spirit, I want to make much of Christ” then the Holy Spirit will help you do it. There is no doubt. To be sure, glorifying Christ might be desperate, lonely and hard but we are to bloom for God’s pleasure. Whether God allows you to bloom where nobody notice or where everybody notices is entirely up to Christ!

Ready For Eithermissions

At this point Dr. York shared an example of the old American Baptist Foreign Mission Society’s seal of an ox standing between an altar and a plough. Written above it are the words, “Ready for either.” What a perfect picture of submission to God’s will! Ready for sacrifice or ready for service. This should be the heart-motto of every Christian, whether called to pastoral ministry or not – a pure and complete devotion to Christ, wholly and solely surrendered to Jesus for obedience, duty, and sacrifice.


Preachers on Preaching

Ten reminders for those who preach and teach God’s Word courtesy of Nathan Busenitz over at the Cripplegate:

  1. Effective ministry consists not of fads or gimicks, but of faithfully preaching the truth.
  2. Preaching is a far more serious task than most preachers realize.
  3. Faithfulness in the pulpit begins with the pursuit of personal holiness.
  4. Powerful preaching flows from powerful prayer.
  5. Passionate preaching starts with one’s passion for Christ.
  6. The preacher is a herald, not an innovator.
  7. The faithful preacher stays focused on what matters.
  8. The preacher’s task is to make the text come alive for his hearers.
  9. The preacher is to be Christ-exalting, not self-promoting.
  10. Faithful preaching requires great personal discipline and sacrifice.

Click here to read an explanation of each point.

Best Lessons from a Lifetime of Pastoring

I am so glad I watched this. It was very encouraging and helpful. It is well worth the 20 minutes. The part that resonated most deeply with me was when he quoted Lloyd-Jones who said you know you are preaching in the power of the Spirit when you are conscious that you are helpless, sinful and weak. That is so true! Just last night I was preaching on Genesis 32:22-32 and spent some time talking about what does it mean that Jacob prevailed over God? How do we prevail with God? It is only when we recognize our weakness and helplessness. It is only when we come to an end of ourselves. That is true of everything – even preaching. At the end of the day, as important is it is to have a good outline, good mannerisms, good tone of voice it means nothing if it is not done in the power of the Spirit. May God help me and all the ministers who watch this to humble ourselves and take these lessons to heart for the glory of God’s great name!

Best Lessons from a Lifetime of Pastoring from Desiring God on Vimeo.

Tolle Lege

Here are a couple of posts from “the Sola Panel” that are quite thought provoking, so I thought I would pass them along for your encouragement. Take some time to muse over them and let us know what you think!

Ministry in the year of the swine flu by Tony Payne

Women and the Bible by Paul Grimmond