You can’t be “pastoral” with everyone: 5 questions to ask before we get pastoral

When you are a pastor,there are two primary elements of your ministry that you and the people in the church agree upon. You study the Bible and you tell people about it. Whether you preach, teach, or write, most people understand these as basic elements to what you do.

Another element of pastoral ministry is counseling. Real counseling isn’t just listening and being a friendly ear to hear about people’s problems, though some who go to a pastor’s office think of it like that. It also involves sharing biblical guidance for this problems and situations.

A result of all of this talking about the Bible is the impulse for a pastor or Bible teacher to try to speak into everyone’s life as a pastoral influence. But we do not have permission to be such a voice in to every life we are connected with or bump into.

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What does Easter remind you to sacrifice?

Photo by Ricky Turner on Unsplash

At this time of year, I always have trouble separating Easter and Good Friday. If Jesus didn’t offer His life as a sacrifice for sin, we wouldn’t have a resurrection to look forward to. Either in Easter, or for those who believe on the day when these mortal bodies are transformed into the immortal.

The sacrifice of Jesus was unique. Though it was symbolized for centuries through the sacrifice of lambs, bulls, and goats, it is only the precious sacrifice of Jesus which makes us truly right with God.

Christ entered the Most Holy Place only once—and for all time. He did not take with him the blood of goats and calves. His sacrifice was his own blood, and by it he set us free from sin forever. (Hebrews 9:12 NCV)

But what about us? Though Jesus “paid a debt I could not pay” according to the old hymn, is my life in Him without its own sacrifice? Or am I also called to lay put aside, consider dead, sacrifice something of me?

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The Oxymoron Church: Imprisoned freedom

As an American, freedom is a term that is both familiar and foundational. There are battles over various freedoms in our Western nations, and we wonder at the lack of basic freedoms around the world.

Freedom is an essential building block of Christianity. Though it neither demands nor forces the freedoms many fight for today, it offers a deeper freedom that cannot be bound by any earthly shackles of inequality or oppression.

Proclaiming freedom for captives and the truth that sets us free, the church invites the hopeless to a life of freedom in Christ. At the Oxymoron Church, while shaking the keys of freedom before the chains of sin and death, they hold open the door a new life where hope slowly dies in a different kind of prison.

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The Oxymoron Church: Motionless faith

According to Paul, the three greatest elements of life are faith, hope, and love. The first post in our series mentioned how the local church should be the hope of the world, but few see hope in it. We already talked bout the Oxymoron Church’s flawd ideas about love.

Faith is a concept most people are familiar with. We define our religious views as our “faith”, but our faith in God, and have faith when times are difficult. It is the foundation of our salvation, for we are saved through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8).

How is it possible for a church to fail in regards to faith? What fate is that church left to, if faith is not alive within its walls? Too many of our churches fall into this category of the Oxymoron Church, and their futures are bleak.

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The Oxymoron Church: Demanding servants

So maybe this Oxymoron Church thing is going to hit harder than I thought. Talking about community wasn’t too bad, but love was a rough one. Let’s try to ease up with a look at servanthood.

To be a servant implies we have to answer to someone else. It means there is one who has a higher rank or privilege than we do, and our mission is to fulfill the needs of those above us.

There are a couple of angles we could take here, but we will save at least one for another post. For today the focus is on how servant applies in the context of believer to believer.

You would think a Body of people who believe in community and are motivated by love should be a prime example of servanthood. Already known for its failures in the areas of community and love, the Oxymoron Church has forsaken the life of the servant.

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