Here, then, is the sovereign power with which the pastors of the church…ought to be endowed. That is that they may dare boldly to do all things by God’s Word; may compel all worldly power, glory, wisdom, and exaltation to yield to and obey his majesty; supported by his power, may command all from the highest even to the last; may build up Christ’s household and cast down Satan’s; may feed the sheep and drive away the wolves; may instruct and exhort the teachable; may accuse, rebuke, and subdue the rebellious and stubborn: may bind and loose; finally, if need be, may launch thunderbolts and lightnings; but do all things in God’s Word. – John Calvin, The InstitutesShare on Facebook
“When the black clouds gather most, the light is the more brightly revealed to us. When the night lowers and the tempest is coming on, the Heavenly Captain is always closes to his crew. It is a blessed thing, that when we are most cast down, then it is that we are most lifted up by the consolations of the Spirit…Great hearts can only be made by great troubles. The spade of trouble digs the reservoir of comfort deeper, and makes more room for consolation…The humbler a man lies, the more comfort he will always have, because he will be more fitted to receive it. – Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening.Share on Facebook
In Western culture today, you decide to get married because you feel an attraction to the other person. You think he or she is wonderful. But a year or two later— or, just as often, a month or two— three things usually happen. First, you begin to find out how selfish this wonderful person is. Second, you discover that the wonderful person has been going through a similar experience and he or she begins to tell you how selfish you are. And third, though you acknowledge it in part, you conclude that your spouse’s selfishness is more problematic than your own. This is especially true if you feel that you’ve had a hard life and have experienced a lot of hurt. You say silently, “OK, I shouldn’t do that— but you don’t understand me.” The woundedness makes us minimize our own selfishness. And that’s the point at which many married couples arrive after a relatively brief period of time. – Tim Keller, The Meaning of MarriageShare on Facebook
The private nurture of your own heart as a pastor is not only a humble confession of need and a confession of your love for your Savior; it is also a statement of your love for the people that God has placed in your care…
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You see, there are very important moments in local-church ministry when the church is blessed and protected not because the person leading knows all the right things but because that person brings the right heart to the moment. So he is able to deal wisely with accusation, or patiently with those who want to control, or humbly with those who idolize him more than they should. He is not just prepared to teach but also to navigate the land mines of temptation that are at the feet of everyone who ministers to fallen people in this flawed world. If you daily work to guard your heart, you are at the same time making a daily commitment to pastor and protect your people. The two simply cannot be separated. [emphasis mine] – Paul Tripp, Dangerous Calling
Darrin Patrick pointed me to a couple of quotes this morning about the importance of determination in the ministry.
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We are seeking to uphold the world, to save it from the curse of God, to perfect the creation, to attain the ends of Christ’s death, to save ourselves and others from damnation, to overcome the devil, and demolish his kingdom, to set up the kingdom of Christ, and to attain and help others to the kingdom of glory. And are these works to be done with a careless mind, or a lazy hand? O, see, then that this work be done with all your might! – Richard Baxter
Those that are about to undertake this work should do it with the greatest seriousness and consideration of the vast importance of the work, how great a thing it is to have the care of precious souls committed to them, and with a suitable concern upon their minds, considering the great difficulties, dangers, and temptations that do accompany it. It is compared to going to warfare (1 Cor. 9:7; 1 Tim. 1:18) – Jonathan Edwards
“I wonder if the root of much ungodliness in our lives, the root of our idols, the root of our adulterous thoughts and actions, the root of our addictions, the root of our pride, the root of our rebellion against God, is the fundamental resistance to the true love of the eternal Son of God for us.” – Hans F. Bayer, A Theology of MarkShare on Facebook
The Valley of Vision is a book of prayers that has meant a lot to me over the years, especially in times of darkness and uncertainty. They provide a well lit path when my own soul seems dark and unable to pray. This is the opening prayer and it has meant a lot to me over the years and especially today.
Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou has brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision.
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Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness, thy life in my death, thy joy in my sorry, thy grace in my sin, thy riches in my poverty, thy glory in my valley.
Jesus says, "You see, if you have me, I will actually fulfill you, and if you fail me, I will always forgive you. I’m the only savior who can do that." But it is hard to figure that out. Many of us first start going to God, going to church, because we have problems, and we’re asking God to give us a little boost over the hump so that we can get back to saving ourselves, back to pursuing our deepest wish. The problem is that we’re looking to something besides Jesus as savior. Almost always when we first go to Jesus saying, "This is my deepest wish," his response is that we need to go a lot deeper than that. – Tim Keller, King’s Cross.Share on Facebook
Throughout the history of the church the greatest preachers have been those who have recognized that they have no authority in themselves and have seen their task as being to explain the words of Scripture and apply them clearly to the lives of their hearers. Their preaching has drawn its power not from the proclamation of their own Christian experiences or the experiences of others, nor from their own opinions, creative ideas, or rhetorical skills, but from God’s powerful words. Essentially they stood in the pulpit, pointed to the biblical text, and said in effect to the congregation, “This is what this verse means. Do you see that meaning here as well? Then you must believe it and obey it with all your heart, for God himself, your Creator and your Lord, is saying this to you today!” Only the written words of Scripture can give this kind of authority to preaching. – Wayne Grudem, Systematic TheologyShare on Facebook
When we pray, we must always remember three things. We must remember the love of God, which ever desires only what is best for us. We must remember the wisdom of God, which alone knows what is best for us. We must remember the power of God, which alone can bring to pass that which is best for us. He who prays with a perfect trust in the love, wisdom, and power of God will find God’s peace. – William BarclayShare on Facebook