Respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:12)
Have you ever noticed that often when a new pastor takes up his responsibilities, almost without fail people first begin looking for his faults? How sad!
No pastor is perfect, of course; even the apostle Paul admitted to the Christians in Corinth, “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom” (1 Corinthians 2:1). His young pastor friend Timothy was apparently somewhat shy (1Timothy 4:12).
If you are a pastor or church worker or you teach a class in your church [or a Sunday School, or a Growth Group, or help lead a Ministry, or sit on Parish Council], be honest about your weaknesses and ask God to help you overcome them so you can serve Christ more effectively.
Instead of criticising your pastor and others who have leadership in your church, show respect for them. God gave them their gifts and their responsibilities. Pray for them regularly and sincerely. Encourage them as well, thanking them for what they’re doing and expressing appreciation for their service. And encourage and pray for their families; they too are part of your church’s ministry.
Christian Evangelist Billy Graham
“Out of the Depths” by John Newton
Anglican Minister and author of the Hymn ‘Amazing Grace’.
It makes the wounded spirit whole,
And calms the troubled breast;
‘Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary rest.
Dear Name! the Rock on which I build
My Shield and Hiding-place;
My never-failing Treasury fill’d
With boundless stores of grace.
By Thee my prayers acceptance gain,
Although with sin defiled;
Satan accuses me in vain,
And I am own’d a child.
Jesus! my Shepherd, Husband, Friend,
My Prophet, Priest, and King;
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
Accept the praise I bring.
Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought;
But when I see Thee as Thou art,
I’ll praise Thee as I ought.
Till then I would Thy love proclaim
With every fleeting breath;
And may the music of Thy Name
Refresh my soul in death!
By John Newton,
Anglican Minister and author of the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’.
In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopped my wild career.
I saw One hanging on a tree,
In agonies and blood;
He fixed His languid eyes on me,
As near His cross I stood.
Sure never till my latest breath,
Shall I forget that look!
It seemed to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke.
A second look He gave, which said,
“I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I die that thou mayest live.”
Thus while His death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too!
As we commemorate Reformation Day this Tuesday, which this year marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, let us also remember one of the key slogans that has come to mark later generations of Protestant Christians; Semper Reformanda, Always Reforming.
While we celebrate what the power of God’s Word achieved 500 years ago in Europe, the work of Christians and the church to be continually reforming our lives and practices by God’s Word will not end until Christ returns! So standing on the foundation of the scriptures let us always be reforming!
The Anglican Prayer Book has a prayer for the Church which is excellent to use at such a time as Reformation Day, and I encourage you to use it in your own prayers this week:
Most gracious Father,
we pray for your holy catholic Church [and Berwick
fill it will all truth
and in all truth with all peace;
where it is corrupt, purge it;
where it is in error, direct it;
where anything is amiss, reform it;
where it is right, strengthen and confirm it;
where it is in want, furnish it;
where it is divided, heal it and unite it in your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen