Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Prayer #1 on Five Essentials for Pastors

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SCOTT DEPOT, WV (ANS) -- The very first preachers, teachers, apostles and disciples of Jesus Christ, the resurrected Lord, were the nucleus of what Jesus would use to build His church. A church that would, with courage and confidence, face all the enemies that would ever rise up against her.

These men and women had just spent three years with the greatest of all teachers who had demonstrated and spoken directly to them about what they should know and do as the pioneer leaders of this new movement -- a “reformation movement” among God’s people. What did Jesus emphasize that they must know if they and ministers today were to be successful?

1. Effective prayer is an absolute essential for a successful ministry. Prayer enables us to tap into the power and presence of God. One of the things the disciples asked of Jesus was, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Jesus responded by saying, “When you pray, say, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth . . .’ ” and He continues on as recorded in (Luke 11:1-4 and Matthew 6:9-13).

2. Put God first in all of your life, in all you do. The minister, as well as all his parishioners, is to love God supremely. It is called the greatest of all the commandments. All that the original Ten Commandments taught are encapsulated in this brief statement of Jesus. It begins, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart . . .” and continues in Mark 12:28-31 and also in Matthew 22:36. In this context Jesus was speaking to the religious leaders of His day and of our day.

3. The second great commandment was like the first one, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself . . .” That quickly and definitely gets the modern pastor and his congregation involved with making life better for others. That commandment gave birth to what we commonly refer to as charity and missions of all kinds. It is feeding, clothing, sheltering and doing for others what we would want others to do for us. It is loving and caring for others.

4. Accountability to God and each other is very important in the life of any minister. No one ever rises so high in rank, popularity, office or influence that he ceases to be accountable before God, his peers and the society in which he lives and serves. Those who are to be great must first be the servant of all.

5. Sexual temptation and impurity have led to the downfall of thousands of ministers, pastors and evangelists. Jesus instructed those who followed Him to be sexually pure. He went so far as to say that adultery can be committed without having physical sexual intercourse. It was looking on a man or woman, in any manner and desiring them for your own sexual gratification.

For further instruction read Matthew 5:27-32, from what is normally referred to as “The Sermon on the Mountain.” Sexual intercourse outside of a loving and accountable marriage relationship is adultery. That is reserved for a married couple, one man and one woman. Sleep in your own bed with your own spouse. To do otherwise is death to ministry.

These five essentials must be obediently followed if there is to be success in the life of the pastor. To disregard them spells failure in ministry.

In early March, 2009, I wrote about 10 things of the “101 things a pastor needs to know . . . and what his parishioners wish he knew.” All across the nation and from other countries readers responded. Again your suggestions are welcomed. You may e-mail them to me at: bill@billellis.net or send a postal response to: P. O. Box 345, Scott Depot, WV 25560, USA.



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