Alive and active

I have been asked to preach in a few weeks on a particular passage from Ephesians. It is a passage that I spoke on a few years ago at my previous church.

The easiest thing to do would be to use my previous sermon and preach that again. But in reading the sermon and reading the passage again, different sections jumped out at me this time. This is not the first time this has happend to me.

My starting place with sermons is always prayer and asking God what He wants me to share. As a result of this certain words or ideas usually stand out over others. These make their way in to the final sermon.

Because I will be preaching at a different church to the one I Pastored, they have different needs and God might want to say something different to them. So I always try to be open to both the passage and the Holy Spirit.

As Pastors and preachers we need to remember the Word is God is alive and active. Hebrews 4:12 reminds us, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

God’s Word never changes. It is eternal. But the focus that God wants us to bring to a particular church on a particular day may change due to where the church is at.

This is why I love preaching. It is always fresh and new each time and God always has something to say from His eternal Word to us.

Blessings,
Dave

Sermons page update

Hello all, I have just made an update to my sermons page. Previously I had a list of sermons by title and the most recent ones were at the top of the page.

I updated it just now to group them in to sermon series. Generally when I preach I like to preach in a series by working my way through a book of the Bible or in a series of messages with a series title.

With this change I think this will make it easier if you are looking for a sermon on a particular idea or book of the Bible.

Many of the sermons have the full text and audio. If you are interested you can find them here on my sermons page.

Blessings,
Dave

Love for a church and the people

Three out of the last four weeks I have been to the church I was Pastor of for just under two years. It had been the best part of a year since I had been there before that.

It is amazing how once you have Pastored a church how much love you retain for the church and the people who call the church home. You really do hold the people in your heart.

I can remember when I started at the church how much I prayed, “God help me to love and care for the people who call this church home. I pray that You will love them through me too”. It was on my heart and on my lips every day.

Looking back that was a big prayer to pray and I probably didn’t fully understand it when I prayed, but it was one that I feel God was very happy to answer. And He didn’t hold back!

This week I am preaching at the church. I am really looking forward to it. Although I am not Pastor, I want God’s best for the church that stills holds a big place in my heart. I am hoping to bless them all this week.

Early next week I will share the text, audio and PowerPoint on here.

Blessings,

Dave

Bivocational Pastors

One group of Pastors I really respect are Bivocational Pastors. Over the years I have known quite a few Pastors who work in a secular job during the week and Pastor their churches for little or no financial reward.

One of my heroes was a Pastor who worked four days a week for a furniture company for many years, so his church could purchase a building for them to hold services in. The money which would have paid him, paid for the church.

This example has always stayed with me. It has always inspired me. In my last role for my church I was paid a few days a week by the church. But over time this became tight for the church and very tight for us as a family.

As I said in a recent post about Elder based church leadership, country churches in our region have ageing populations and declining incomes. I think this will lead to more churches being led by Elders and/or Bivocational Pastors.

This is something I have been thinking a lot about lately. Now that I have a part-time job at our local hospital, being a Bivocational Pastor might be an option for us as a family. It would be a way for us to use our gifts and bless a church, and require little or no finances from the church.

It is something that will require a lot of prayer and discussion. And as with all things with God and His Kingdom, time will tell if this is something God wants for us!

Blessings,
Dave

Elders based church leadership

Since moving from the city to the country 12 years ago I have noticed a big change in our churches. Many are moving from having a Pastor to Elders based church leadership. When we moved to the WA Wheatbelt most of the four larger churches in our region had Pastors. Over time this has gone from full time Pastors, to part-time Pastors, to no Pastor at all.

Some of this has been because of declining finances and ageing church population. At other times it has been because some Pastors do not want to work in country towns. On the surface not having a Pastor on staff can be seen as a bad thing. But I have seen having a group of mature Elders as the church leaders work really well.

Generally most of the churches in our region have people in the church who have had some Bible training, have attended church for a long time, have a deep relationship with the Lord and are considered by all to have good character. These people are great as Elders. They pray, seek and discern God’s will and lead the church well.

The church that I was Pastor for two years has gone back to an Elders based leadership team. Some preach, some lead service, and they all do pastoral care. It works well. The church I attend at the moment will not have a Pastor soon and they will have to decide which direction they go in. I am happy if they chose a new Pastor or lead with Elders.

If we think about Elders based church leadership for a moment, the first thing we see is it is Biblical. The Apostle Paul set Elders in place of the churches he planted. That way when he moved on to another area he has people in place to look after the church.

In my last church I looked at the role of Elders right throughout the Bible. Right throughout the Bible the Elders have led the people, made decisions for the direction of the group, sought God in prayer and overseen their flock. This is true in both the Old Testament and the New.

So from my perspective Elders based church leadership makes sense in our regional context. With declining finances and ageing populations and Pastors not wanting to work in smaller regional towns it might just be the way forward.

Blessings,

Dave

 

Who you are in Christ

One key foundation for us as Disciples of Christ is to know who you are and what you have in Christ. I mentioned this is previous posts earlier in the week.

Back in 1989 when I came to Christ, I had a very low, almost non-existent, self-esteem. I really thought I was a waste of space and not worth much at all.

Over time this changed to seeing myself through the lens of Scripture. I am now more interested in who God says I am, rather than the world or those around me say.

Every year that goes by I find my mind is being renewed more and more in this area. As a result I did a sermon for my church titled, “10 things God says about you in the Bible”. The summary points and verses are below.

  1. You are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27)
  2. You were chosen before the world was made (Ephesians 1:4-5)
  3. You were created and equipped for good works (Ephesians 2:10)
  4. You are adopted into His family (John 1:12)
  5. You have the Holy Spirit living inside you (Romans 8:11)
  6. You are no longer condemned (Romans 8:1)
  7. You are seated with Christ (Ephesians 2:4-7)
  8. You were knit together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13)
  9. You are truly loved by God (1 John 4:9-10)
  10. You are free in Christ (John 8:36)

To read the full message with text, audio and powerpoint you can find it here https://www.passionaustralia.org/whoyouare.html

Today I just want to remind you that God made you wonderful. You are amazing. You are special. You are loved. You are priceless in God’s eyes.

Blessings,

Dave

Build them up in the Lord

Romans 15:1-2 is one of my motivation passages that keep me wanting to help others grow in their faith.

The heart of these verses is that the stronger and more mature people in their faith should be helping those who are less mature in their faith to grow. 

It doesn’t matter where we are along the spectrum. We might be a Christian with a basic knowledge of the Bible or a Bible college professor, or somewhere in between, we all have a part to play in helping people grow and mature in their faith.

This is a major reason why I trained to be a Pastor and I have my website PASSIONAustralia.org. My heart is for people to come to Christ and grow in their faith. I want people to become lifelong followers of Christ.

My hope is that everyone I know would do the following things…

  1. Come to know Jesus in a personal way and find peace with God.
  2. Do some basic discipleship training.
  3. Attend and serve in a their local church.
  4. Undertake at least a year of Bible college to mature in their faith.

When we do these four things we give ourselves the best chance to live the life God intended for us. To be in relationship with God, to be assured of our salvation, to know who we are in Christ, to be obedient to God’s commands and to serve Him all the days of our lives.

How about you? What passages motivate you to help people grow in their faith?

Blessings,

Dave