About Your Pastor When He Preaches

Article by Kenneth Kuykendall (original source the articulation of his message, but what else is happening? Most of us, if we have been around preaching for any length of time, have certain ideas of what takes place when the preacher begins and when he ends. But do we really know all that is going on during the preaching hour? Probably not…including the preacher himself.

Preaching is one of the strangest events known to man; so much so, that it is considered foolishness to those who do not believe; while at the same time, it is the power of God to us who are saved. It is a paradox of the grandest kind. It is the straining of worlds together. It is the calling of lowly men to the highest of errands. The pressure is great, the stakes are high, the tension is real, but the joy is overwhelming, the grace is sufficient and the reward is heavenly. I love preaching, both in hearing it and in doing it.

In that hour, however, more is going on than exposition, application, illustrations, and invitations. There are some things happening behind that pulpit (or away from it, depending on the style of your preacher) that you don’t realize. Here are five things you probably don’t know about your pastor when he preaches:

He is Battled
Whether you mount a pulpit weekly or preach on the street corner daily, there is great opposition in the proclamation of the gospel. On every side, the man of God is enamored, hit hard, with a variety of oppressive forces. The dark dominion of the devil sets its course against those on the frontlines of battle. There is nothing the enemy hates more than a truth-toting soldier equipped to tell others what the Word of God declares. And thus, oftentimes, the preacher is the biggest target.

The congregation may see a suit and tie. They may hear the alliterated points. They may write down a title on the back of a bulletin. But beyond the natural framework of the worship service is a supernatural foe doing all he can to discourage, distract, and divert the preacher. If preaching is war, it is certain your pastor is feeling the heat during the preaching hour.

He is Burdened and Bothered
I do not mean he is annoyed. Now, he may very well be annoyed at times; but what I mean by the word “bothered” is that he has a weight upon him. This weight is part of his calling. You cannot take the weight off him. Aaron and Hur did all they could to secure the hands of Moses during the battle at Rephidim. They helped Moses bear his load, but not once did they take the rod of God out of his hands. They couldn’t…it was God’s call upon his life to bear it.

The preacher, by nature of his calling, has a weight, a burden, a bothering. He is bothered by the sinfulness of the times. He is bothered by the apathy of modern Christendom. He is bothered by his own shortcomings. He is bothered by the tragedy of split homes, broken lives, hurting people. All that he preaches is preached from the context of information that you do not necessarily have. What I mean is this: he knows the secrets, the pain, the darkness, the sadness, and the sorrow of those he leads. And many times he preaches in that context.

He is Beckoned
The preacher must stand before God before he stands in front of his congregation. He is between two worlds. And he must give an account in both! Albert Mohler said it like this, “Let’s be honest: the act of preaching would smack of unmitigated arrogance and overreaching were not for the fact that it is God himself who has given us the task. In that light, preaching is not an act of arrogance at all but rather of humility. True preaching is never an exhibition of the brilliance or intellect of the preacher but exposition of the wisdom and power of God.”

The true, God-called preacher preaches every time with the judgment seat of Christ in mind. Every word, every statement, every point, every illustration…every time is divinely examined. This reality is always in the background and in the forefront. Deep is calling unto deep in the preaching hour. God is beckoning in the heart of His messenger. He is moving, He is working, He is speaking, and the preacher must fulfill His calling, he must proclaim God’s Word in light of this weighty truth.

He is Blessed
Don’t feel too sorry for the preacher of the Word. He may be battled, burdened, and a little bothered; but he is equally blessed. He is like the disciples who distributed the bread to the masses in the desert. Those men were responsible to feed the thousands, but they were privileged to see the miracle first hand.

The preacher has already tasted the glorious meal that he prepares for his congregation. He has been in the closet praying. He has searched out the treasures of Scripture. Like an excavator, he has found the heavenly gem and longs to show his audience the glorious riches of truth. He is blessed with spiritual blessings. It is certain, if the congregation is blessed by the preaching of God’s man, the man of God who is preaching is getting blessed as well!

He is Bound
The preacher is bound by his message. He cannot preach what he has not already chewed on. E.M. Bounds said, “The preacher’s sharpest and strongest preaching should be to himself. His most difficult and laborious work must be with himself.” I cannot tell you how many times, during the preaching hour, God has illuminated truth, convicted me of sin, and prompted me by my very preaching.

The preacher who is bound to His message, His God, His calling, and His Bible is a preacher who will inevitably be free in the spirit during the hour of his preaching. No, you may never see these realities during the preaching hour, but I assure you, they are present. And if they are not, there is not much preaching going on.

What to Look for in a Pastor

Resolved Conference 2009 – Dr. John MacArthur:

Transcript:

I want to come to you, maybe on a little more personal level if I can in this session. When you get to be my age, you can kind of do whatever you want I guess, and I just want to talk to you a little bit from my heart.

I understand the spiritual battle with sin. I understand that, because I’ve lived it for a long, long time. I understand how difficult it is to live a holy life. I understand how difficult it is to maintain pure thoughts, holy thoughts, God exalting, Christ honoring thoughts. I understand how difficult it is to guard your tongue; to not say unkind things, hurtful things, sarcastic things, painful things. I understand that you lose that battle. You lose all those battles through the years. I understand how difficult it is to be godly, the most intimate environment of your life, in your marriage, with the wife you love and cherish, with your children, with the people that are closest to you. I understand what it is to disappoint the Lord, and to bear the sadness of your own soul over those disappointments that are frequent, tragically. I understand what it is to live in Romans 7, and to do what I don’t want to do and not do what I want to do. I understand what it is to be involved in sins of overt action and sins of covert action. I understand what it is to sin by not doing the thing that you ought to have done, by leaving great and needful and righteous things undone, while you preoccupy yourself with trivial things. I understand the spiritual battle. I’ve lived it. I’ve lived long enough to try to help other people fight this fight as well.

I was leaning over the bed of a man who was 78 years old, and he was dying and I said to him “What are your thoughts as you go to heaven?” 78 years old. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and he said “I just never got the victory over pornography.” What! 78 years old? That is not good news . . . for you that are struggling at 22. That is painful. It’s a long struggle. It’s a long battle. It’s a joyous thing to walk with Christ. It’s a thrilling thing to see His hand on your life. It is beyond comprehension, and it is the reason why we sing to the top of our voice “to live in grace, this grace in which we stand.” It’s a profoundly joyous thing, but there is this constant nagging reality of the ever-present war against remaining sin, the world, the flesh and the devil.

As a father, I have been concerned about the battle in my children’s life; as a grandfather, in the life of my grandchildren. I have been concerned about the struggle in my own dear wife Patricia’s life. I have been concerned about the struggle in the lives of the people around me and in the church that the Lord has given to me. I am more concerned now about you and your future in this battle than I’ve ever been. Continue reading

Fighting Burnout as a Pastor’s Wife

Erin Wheeler lives in Fayetteville, cheapest Arkansas, with her husband Brad and their four children. She attends University Baptist Church, where Brad serves as Senior Pastor.

(original source here)

We’ve all had those days. You know, the ones where you crawl into bed, makeup still on, wondering if it’s okay not to brush your teeth just this once. All the while, you wonder what actually happened to the minutes that evaporated into history.

There have been plenty of days like that for me, particularly as a young mother. But even now, when “new season” after “new season” seems to steam-roll over me, I find myself asking my heavenly Father, “Where is the time going? When do I get to catch my breath? I don’t have anything left to pour out or give to all the needs and cries for help around me. God, what does faithfulness look like when I’m empty like this?” Sometimes the old adage “the days are long, but the years are short” begins to feel more like “the days are long and the years are long.”

So, what do we do, as those God has called to be “help-mates to under-shepherds,” when the never-ending demands pummel us? Well, in many ways our calling is the same as every Christian woman’s—and every Christian man’s. We’re to take up our cross daily, and follow him (Luke 9:23). And often, that cross we bear is a call to give out of poverty, not abundance. Continue reading

The Powerful Life of the Praying Pastor

Desiring God Pastors Conference 2011

Dr. Joel Beeke: The Powerful Life of the Praying Pastor: In His Room, With His Family, Among the People of God

Dr. Joel Beeke: Leading Family Worship

Every Member A Minister

Text: Ephesians 4:11, but to equip the saints for that purpose. Understanding this is vital to fulfill God’s purposes as a local Church and as an individual believer.

Every Pastor a Theologian

Dr. John MacArthur – Shepherd’s Conference 2016

Part 1:

General Session 1 – John MacArthur – Shepherds’ Conference 2016 from Grace Community Church on Vimeo.

Part 2:

General Session 10 – John MacArthur – Shepherds’ Conference 2016 from Grace Community Church on Vimeo.

Considering the Pulpit Ministry?

Carl Henry: [Dr. Lloyd-Jones], would you therefore encourage young people to consider the pulpit ministry…above every other vocational call?

Martyn Lloyd-Jones: No, that’s something I’ve never done and never would do. Such a decision must be a personal call from God…I’ve always tried to keep men out of the ministry. In my opinion a man should enter the ministry only if he cannot stay out of it.

-Christianity Today, Feb 8th, 1980

Joel Beeke – Attitudes of a True Shepherd

beeke3_2Being a true shepherd involves avoiding certain attitudes and cultivating others.

An article by Dr. Joel Beeke entitled “Attitudes of a True Shepherd” – original source my wife and I walked past an injured Canada goose, whose feathers stuck out in several directions. For all those months, several geese dutifully stayed with the injured bird.

Likewise, caring for the wounded is the church’s loving duty to her own. Paul teaches us that when one member of Christ’s body suffers, “all the members suffer” (1 Cor.12:26 KJV). Caring for the grieving promotes the unity of the body of Christ and fosters the communion of saints. Furthermore, grieving saints have a claim on our compassion for Christ’s sake (Matt. 25:40).

This is particularly true of pastors. We are called to be shepherd or pastor (Eph. 4:11), which means we are to “feed (literally, ‘be a shepherd to’) the church of God” (Acts 20:28 KJV). That involves avoiding certain attitudes and cultivating others, then putting those attitudes into action, remembering our great calling as Christ’s undershepherds.

Attitudes to Avoid

First, don’t regard grieving people as an interruption. I was in the ministry for more than ten years when I received what proved to be a life-changing call. I was working on the conclusion of my doctoral dissertation when the phone rang. I sighed as I answered: “Am I that much of an interruption?” asked the voice on the other end. “Interruption?” I asked meekly. “Yes, didn’t you hear yourself sigh?” Suddenly I realized that my dissertation, not the grieving caller, was the interruption. The grieving caller was my life’s work, my calling, my real ministry. My dissertation was the interruption of this real ministry. Continue reading

Pastor, this is what we need on Sundays

Jared C. Wilson is the Director of Content Strategy for Midwestern Seminary, managing editor of For The Church, and author of more than ten books, including Gospel Wakefulness, The Pastor’s Justification, and The Prodigal Church.

He writes: A word to my pastor friends, who every week labor in preparing to teach the Bible in the weekend gathering while the dark cloud of the new cultural downgrade hangs over them:

Brothers, don’t go about your weekly sermon preparation and personal discipleship in sackcloth and ashes. Get into the vineyard of God’s Word, get some holy sweat worked up, whistling while you work, lifting your hearts in worship. Get into the kitchen of study and prep and start putting together the banquet. And come Sunday, spread the feast out rich and sumptuous for us, beckoning us to taste and see that the Lord is good. We don’t need your doomsdaying or dimbulbing. Still less do we need your shallow pick-me-ups and spit-polished legalism. Like our brother Wesley, set yourselves on fire with gospel truth that your church family might come watch you burn.

And when you gather Sunday with the flock, shepherd us to repentance and sincerity, reminding us of the holy God who welcomes us with sin-forgetting forgiveness. When we enter the worship gathering, let us not look back to the ruins lest we all become the wrong kind of salt. Let us look forward to the new Jerusalem, where our citizenship is secured even today and evermore. Get your wits about you and take heart, for our Lord has overcome the world. Yesterday, today, Sunday, and forever. Frighten the kings of the world and shake the kingdom of the devil with how resolute you are in abandoning yourselves to the mighty God.

Your churches… need your deep, abiding, all-conquering, sin-despairing gospel joy. This and this alone is the hope of the world.