Thursday, March 29, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The second section was the heart of the book. Witmer divided the ministry of shepherding into 4 parts - knowing, feeding, leading and protecting the sheep. But what was novel and interesting to me was his matrix for evaluating those 4 areas of shepherding. He explained each of those categories as falling into 2 subcategories - a micro and macro distinction.
For example, elders must know their sheep on a macro level. That is, they need to know who are the sheep that make up the flock. There needs to be a list that identifies who's a member and who's not. But the elders also are to know each individual sheep on a micro level. What are his/her strengths, weaknesses, testimony, spiritual gifts, temptations, etc. in order to better shepherd him/her. The ministry of shepherding is both public (macro) - in the church as part of a group - and private (micro) - in people's homes and personal. Elders must preach and teach publicly (macro) but must also be involved discipling and counseling individuals (micro) in order to feed the flock.
Lastly, Witmer concluded the book with practical suggestions for implementing a strategy for fulfilling these responsibilities. He suggests dividing the church into groups with 1-2 elders and 1-2 deacons working together to oversee their groups as part of the whole. I loved his proactive, systematic and strategic plan so that no one falls through the cracks. It is not the sheep's responsibility (though he does have responsibility) to pursue the shepherd for feeding, leading and protecting. But the shepherds are the ones who are to call, visit and build relationships with the sheep as part of their responsibility to God and to their sheep.
I highly recommend this book for all pastors / elders. If you are looking to establish a comprehensive strategy to shepherd your flock or to improve what you already have going, this is the book for you.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
2 Corinthians 5:17 is a great one. I hope it's true for both of them.
Matt put on his Awana Sparks vest today but took it off right before he said his verse. We've been so busy with school and church that I don't think they've missed Awana too badly. Since we keep memorizing at home and school, maybe they won't notice! :)
Monday, March 19, 2012
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Can you hear Emery? This is where her general volume comes in handy. At home, it's not her best attribute but singing at church, it's great! :)
Friday, March 16, 2012
His class went on first. They recited a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Did you notice his tie? I don't think it shrunk. His torso is so long and his hips are so narrow that his pants slipped down.
Then they played a couple of songs on the recorder. Andrew started off one handed. I asked him why? His response? The song starts off pretty easy so I didn't need to use 2 hands.
After that, the combined grades performed a play about George Muller. Andrew was part of the choir. The whole night he never cracked a smile. He's usually pretty jovial even up on stage, but he got pretty nervous. After it was done, he said, "I was so nervous I was sweating! My back got all sticky." He and all the other kids did a great job.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Just so you get the full effect, I took a little video of it. You have to HEAR the sprinklers working to really appreciate it. Can you tell we LOVE the sprinklers? Such a beautiful hissing noise.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Sunday, March 11, 2012
At first, it didn't bother me much. I had targeted the spring market, specifically March, as our likely sell date. So if we sold it earlier, it would simply be a bonus. I had enough savings to be fine with that.
But have you ever carried something fairly light for a long period of time? Maybe it was a backpack or a small child. At first, it's no big deal. But as time wears on, the load feels heavier and heavier. As I saw my bank account get smaller and smaller, as I kept seeing housing prices drop lower and lower in my neighborhood, the load kept getting heavier and heavier.
Now I know that God owns all of my money. I know that God owns everything. He has given me my wealth and can take it away whenever He wants because it's really His money. I have taught a few times about what the Bible says about wealth in the past. Passages like the following are familiar to me.
- Proverbs 22:2 The rich and the poor have a common bond, The LORD is the maker of them all.
- Psalm 50:10 "For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills."
Yet despite my knowledge, I realized something about my heart this week. I really didn't want to lose "my" money. And that was the key word - my. I felt like it was truly mine. So when it left me, it bothered me.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth."
Through this process of selling our house, God has shown me in His kindness that there is a piece of my heart that loves wealth. This piece of my heart is not loving and worshiping and rejoicing in the greatness of God. This piece of my heart was enslaved to the sin of loving wealth. God showed me that I needed to repent of it so that I could completely trust in the goodness and sovereignty of God.
So regardless of what happens to our house, this process was well worth it. The testing and purifying of my faith is well worth it as it produces patient endurance in me. Endurance to hope in God, to trust in God and to worship God regardless of any circumstances. It just so happened that tonight, we agreed on a sale price with a buyer, the first person to bid on our house.
Now, escrow begins. We could close escrow and complete the sale of our house next month. Or we could fall out of escrow and continue to wait for God to provide the right buyer. Either way, God is sovereign and good. It is His money that I am temporarily managing for His glory. He gives and takes away as He sees fit.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
But I must admit, it's a tough one to memorize. He did a good job sorting through these 5 verses.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Sunday, March 4, 2012
A few minutes later, Andrew came back to me with a question about the car. It turned out that I was completely wrong. He had put it together exactly correct, and I am the one who made the mistake and carelessly glued the wrong sides together. What a moment.
As a parent, I think I know the answers for my children. As a pastor, I think I know true biblical parenting. But no matter what I think I know, my implementation is so wickedly sinful, it's embarrassing. I had no recourse but to completely apologize and ask for my son's forgiveness. Thankfully, he is gracious to me and has been every time I have needed to apologize to him. And even more thankfully, God is gracious too.
Though I am older and though I know more about the Bible than my children, I am just as sinful as they are. Maybe worse, because I know so much more and am held accountable to that. I was painfully reminded of the truth that I am just one sinner seeking to train and teach another sinner. Thank God that His glorious Gospel is alive and well and effective in my life daily.