September 29, 2021
Just because a church or a pastor names the name doesn’t mean they are engaged in ministry as God desires. The picture of an effective, God-glorifying church is given to us in the pages of the book of Acts.
In Acts 13, we see a beautiful picture of how the church is to function. It begins with leaders who seek the Lord fervently.
“While we were ministering to the Lord and fasting.” (vs. 2)
These leaders turned to the Head of the church, listening and responding to the Holy Spirit to lead and empower. And look what the Spirit did (and will do for all who follow His leadership).
THE SPIRIT SPEAKS
While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. (vs. 2-3)
THE SPIRIT SENDS
So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus. (vs. 4)
THE SPIRIT PROCLAIMS THE WORD OF GOD
When they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; and they also had John as their helper. (vs. 5)
THE SPIRIT DISCERNS AND CONFRONTS
But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him, and said, “You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord? Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and not see the sun for a time.” And immediately a mist and a darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking those who would lead him by the hand. (vs. 9-11)
THE SPIRIT SAVES
When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region. (vs. 48-49)
THE SPIRIT BRINGS JOY!
And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. (vs. 52)
If you long to build God’s church, God’s way, you must let God’s Spirit lead. This calls for continual, intentional dependence, indicated by continual prayer and fasting, and spiritual pursuit. There is no shortcut.
Father, give us spiritual leaders who will pursue you relentlessly and follow you implicitly. Let us not bend to humanistic ideas and methods, but let You lead by Your Spirit. And when You work, Lord, give us the humility to give You all the glory!
March 29, 2023
As a pastor for the last 55 years, I have had the joy of being encouraged and blessed and prayed for by so many people. It is what carries you in your task of shepherding people. As I look back over five decades of ministry, their love has dramatically enriched my life.
But also, a pastor leads. And when anyone leads, there are almost always some who disagree.
March 28, 2023
March 27, 2023