This is one of the best descriptions of pastoral ministry that I’ve ever read.
The work of a pastor is never spectacular. The true pastor toils on month after month, year after year, dealing with special difficulties of God’s people, seeking to lead on in the grace of God, "in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves." To the onlooker his work seems much the same, year in, year out. But though the general pattern of it varies little, the details are constantly changing, for an observant pastor finds that no two of the Lord’s people have exactly the same problem. Since, however, these details are nearly always confidential, the full story of a man’s pastoral work cannot be told.
We know not which most to wonder at, the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of His people. He keeps His promise a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes us doubt Him. He never faileth; He is never a dry well; He is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapour; and yet we are as continually vexed with anxieties, molested with suspicions, and disturbed with fears, as if our God were the mirage of the desert. – Charles Spurgeon
This is a copy of a letter to the editor that I recently wrote and was published in our local newspaper.
Editor – I am writing in response to a letter in last week’s Gazette from Mae Harms of Garden Valley. The letter makes the claim that it is kind and humane to donate “human tissue” (aborted children) to organizations such as StemExpress in order to facilitate scientific advancement.
Harms’ letter makes perfect sense if the unborn child is merely a mass of “tissue” to be donated and not a human being to be loved. If the unborn child is just a mass of “tissue,” as Harms’ letter assumes, than it is of little to no consequence that nearly 60 Million unborn children have been murdered since 1973. However, any woman who has ever looked at an ultrasound of her unborn child knows that what is growing inside of her is no mere mass of tissue. By eight weeks of age an unborn child sucks his thumb, recoils from pain, dreams and has his own unique fingerprint. Furthermore, by eight weeks of age all of an unborn child’s major organs are in place and functioning including a fully developed central nervous system, heart, liver, kidneys, etc. These are the very organs, which Planned Parenthood is trafficking to organizations such as StemExpress. From the moment a child is conceived, it has its own unique DNA. You see, you cannot spend more than 40 years making the argument that the unborn child is simply a mass of tissue and then turn around and sell the eyes, brains, spines, livers and hearts of these unborn children as mere “tissue”.
Everyone reading this newspaper was an unborn child at one time. There are only four differences between who we were then and who we are now: size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency. Since none of these differences justify the murder of the unborn, the only possible explanation for this ongoing holocaust is that the unborn are considered to be simply “unworthy of life.” This was the position promoted by Nazi Germany in order to justify the murder of six million Jews. It is the view that Margaret Sanger (the founder of Planned Parenthood) held in her pursuit of Eugenics by abortion. It is the view that makes it legal to murder the unborn and sell their body parts to organizations like StemExpress.
We covered 1 John 3:19-24 on Sunday and “Coming to God with Confidence.” This passage reminds us that we can have confidence in God’s presence because the gospel 1) Confirms us, 2) Transforms us, 3) Transcends us.
This morning I preached a sermon called “Aftermath” dealing with the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing same sex marriage throughout the country. The message addresses three questions that many Christians are asking:
1) Why do Christians care so much about this issue?
For the Sake of Our Neighbors
For the Sake of Religious Liberty
For the Sake of Conscience
2) What does the Bible have to say about this issue?
Marriage is the union of one man and one woman
American continues to put herself in the crosshairs of divine judgment
We should never know the music of the harp if the strings were left untouched; nor enjoy the juice of the grape if it were not trodden in the winepress; nor discover the sweet perfume of cinnamon if it were not pressed and beaten; nor feel the warmth of fire if the coals were not utterly consumed. The wisdom and power of the great Workman are discovered by the trials through which His vessels of mercy are permitted to pass. – Charles Spurgeon
You are so much fun! The best part of my day is walking through our front door and hearing you cry out “Daddy!” as you run up to me for a hug. 2014 was a year of significant growth for you and I cherished every minute of it. I am so proud of the young man that you are becoming.
In year’s past you’ve hated going to the pool or anywhere near the water, but in 2014 you completely changed your mind and feel in love with the water. You love the water so much that you made me put our pool back up in February of this year, because you wanted to get into it so badly J. You had a great time swimming up at Lake Tahoe when we camped there this summer, as well as the Folsom Aquatic Center and Aunty Apryl’s house.
I think the biggest change in your life, this last year, has been your speech. You started going to speech therapy at Northside School last year and we have seen dramatic improvements ever since. It is so sweet to hear you talk as you tell me all about your day, your best friend (still mommy) and anything else that’s on your mind. I love riding our bikes together on the bike path as you chatter away and we watch the cars go by.
2015 will be another year full of changes for you as you go to school, continue to grow and to become the young man that God wants you to be. I know that change can be scary, but I want you to know that as you grow up that there is one thing that will never change. Luke, God loves you and my prayer is that in the next few years that you will place your faith in Him so that He can change your heart because you are a great sinner (just like me), but Christ is a great Savior.
You are such a joy! I watch the way that you play with your brothers, talk with your friends, sing at church, play T-Ball, etc. and there is simply no other word to describe it than joy.
7 years ago the Lord brought you into our lives on a snowy night in Mount Vernon, WA and it has been pure joy to be your Dad ever since then.
2014 was a year filled with joy for you and for our family. We had the best and the busiest summer ever. We did the Weird Animals VBS here at the church and you had a blast, in fact you still enjoy singing the songs from the CD they gave us. You and Micah went to Grandma & Papa’s house and then you went to Nana & Grand Daddy’s house. You had so much fun going to the beach, playing at parks and even going to your first amusement park at Knott’s Berry Farm. Later in the summer we went camping again with all of my family up at Lake Tahoe. You loved kayaking, sitting by the camp fire, swimming in the lake and being together as a family. Of course we did all of our usual summer activities like the Folsom Aquatic Center, swimming at the ALT Pool, summer movies in Roseville and so much more. We bought you and a trampoline and a pool last year, which you and your brothers played in every day!
In the Fall you started 1st Grade with Mrs. Highberger. You love your school so much! Every day you come home and tell me about what you learned and what you did and who you talked with. It is such a joy to watch you grow up!
Christmas was an especially joyful time for us as we went down to see Nana & Grand Daddy in Bakersfield (God’s Country) and than went to see Papa & Grandma at the Beach House.
Just last month we went down to Bakersfield again for Uncle Ryan & Aunty Lisa’s wedding where you and Micah were ring bearers. You looked so handsome in your tuxedos!
Of course the greatest joy of 2014 was when you placed your faith in Christ as your Lord and Savior. Micah had been talking to you for several months about how he had gotten a new heart and how you needed a new heart too, but you told him that you were quite content with the heart you already had. Then one day you marched downstairs and announced to all of us that you had received a new heart. After talking with you some more about the Lord, we could see that something had happened and we rejoiced in your new heart.
Cody, I want you to know that getting a new heart from Jesus is not the end of your relationship with Him, it is really just the beginning. I have been walking with Jesus for more than 33 years now and I have found that the two things that began my relationship with Him are the same two things that have sustained that relationship and continue to increase my joy in him. They are that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior. Today, on your 7th Birthday my prayer is that your joy would increase as mine has, as you press into this relationship with our great Savior.
Never forget that your Daddy loves you with all of his heart,
I was just reading through the letter I wrote you last year. At the time we were only three weeks into a terribly difficult situation at the church and to be honest everything seemed pretty dark. Last year I wrote, “I know that the storm clouds have been very dark recently, but I think that even now we are beginning to see God’s special blessings…” I believe that the rest of 2014 all the way up to the present moment has been a season of God’s special blessing on us and our family. Here are 4 reasons why I believe that’s true:
1) Last year we not only saw Micah come to faith in Christ, but Cody walked downstairs one day and announced to us that he had a new heart J. God has specially blessed us with these precious children and day by day we are seeing them grow in Christ and trust in Christ.
2) It’s been nearly a year since we moved back into our home and every day I walk home from the office to you and the boys I am reminded of what a special blessing it is to love here. Last year we were able to add a pool and a trampoline along with all of the replacement furniture, etc. from the fire. God has specially blessed us with a beautiful house to live in, but you have been the instrument He has used to make this house a home.
3) This has been a special year of blessing at the church as well. We’ve seen many new people join our church and our home group has really begun to come together in a uniquely special way. While the first few months of 2014 were filled with terrific losses of friendships, I believe that the Lord has doubly blessed us this last year with great friends and a uniquely gracious church.
4) Amy, every day I am reminded of God’s marvelous grace in my life when I wake up next to you. You are my soul-mate, my great love and my joy. Every day with you is a special blessing from the Lord.
Toda we get to celebrate another one of your birthdays, but even more than that we get to celebrate another year of God’s special blessing on our marriage, our family and our ministry together.