In Luke chapter 2, Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple for the customary purification sacrifice required by the law. This happened a little over a week after Jesus was born. The wise men showed up when Jesus was around two, and they were still living in Bethlehem. It wasn’t until after the wise men came that Joseph took his family and fled to Egypt. When they return to Israel, they settled in Nazareth. Those events happen in Matthew and are omitted by Luke, probably because the flight of one family and the deaths of a bunch of Jewish children really didn’t have much meaning to Luke’s Gentile audience as opposed to Matthew’s Jewish audience. Instead, Luke goes from the presentation of Jesus at the temple straight to the family living in Nazareth, with a summary statement about how Jesus grew up.
Six months ago I would have rolled my eyes. A year ago I would have snickered. Two years ago I would have laughed in your face. But I am reasonably certain God wants my next step in following him to be as a pastor of a church.
This has really been a labored point of prayer for some time now. My wife and I have been discussing it frequently. There has been some resistance to the idea and I think I figured out what it is.
You see, I grew up in rural south Mississippi. Pastors have an “image” there. Churches have a very distinct “personality” for the most part. Neither of these have I ever felt drawn to. I’ve discovered after being out of the region for nearly three years, that these churches are almost twenty years behind the curve when compared to the rest of the country. Many of them hold more tightly to tradition and the legacy teachings of their parents and grandparents than they do the actual teachings of the Bible. Many pastors fall into the “image” of the mild-mannered, suit wearing, always smiling, hand shaking, caricature of a real human being.
I am NOT and will NEVER be anything like that. And I think that’s why my wife and I have been resistant to the idea.
Don’t get me wrong. Not all churches and pastors in south Mississippi are like that. But most of the ones I grew up in were, and still many of the small country churches remain that way.
But here is what I’m called to do. And I take this straight from my new ministry resume:
I am passionate about teaching God’s Word. It is the sole reason I went to Seminary to further my education. I don’t care where I teach the Word, but I know that I am called to do so with every opportunity that presents itself. I believe the Bible is the ultimate standard for everything. I also believe that too many of our churches have fallen away from the Bible, preferring instead to pursue the traditions and beliefs inherited by them from others. Churches need a fundamental return to the Bible, and Christians need a better understanding of what the Bible means to their faith and why they believe what they claim to believe.
Pastoring a church is not about leading people, growing numbers, or “acting” the way pastors are expected to act. The pastor of a church should always seek to build disciples who go out and reach people. With Christ as our focus, the Bible as our guide, and discipleship as our objective, all of the other things will be added by default. We must return to the true beliefs of Christianity, teach the Bible voraciously, and create disciples to do the same. That is the job of a pastor.
So that’s where I am. That’s what I think God would have me do now. Teach the Bible and create disciples. Ultimately we are all called to do that, but we are not all in the same place in that journey. This is the next step for me. I’ve put my resume out there. Now it’s up to God to make it happen if this is what he truly wants.
But I can promise you this. Me as a pastor will not look like any pastor you’ve known. It will be me. Doing what I’ve always done. Just on a larger scale. Please pray for me as I seek to more closely follow God.
The problem of Universalism is complex on the one hand, yet childishly simple at its core. It is convenient because a person can get the most benefit out of the least commitment with this belief. It requires little thought, little action, and serves as an escape clause to anyone who doesn’t want to address important religious implications in their lives. This simplistic non-thought that the average Universalist employs is complex to understand and difficult to overcome. In my opinion it is the most significant and practical Apologetic challenge for Christians.
Several issues exist in the mind of the average Universalist. Even though there are intellectual Universalists, who have considered the implications and have made a more academic choice to hold to this belief, it is of my opinion that they originally came to the idea of Universalism through these very same issues, and that the basic onset of their beliefs was born out of the very same simplistic non-thought of the average Universalist thinker.
If you’ve taken the time to peruse my website or know anything about me, then you know that my first published novel, Winter, has a main character with the gift of prophecy. I worked very hard to make sure Winter was not just another “telling the future” type prophetess, but was one that exhibited the characteristics of an actual Biblical prophet. You may not have seen all of those things in the first book, but hang on. I have three more to write.
So it seemed fitting that I write a post describing what a Biblical prophet looks like. You may find it doesn’t quite look like you expect. So what is a prophet? Here are some things to look for. They may not fit all of the Biblical people who are described as being prophets or all the prophets may not exhibit all these characteristics to the letter, but these things make for a simple standard with which to recognize a prophet.
It’s time I started beefing up this puny site. As I near graduation with my MA in Theology and prepare to enter the PhD program, it’s time for me to really start digging into my field of research. And if you haven’t figured that out yet, it’s Supernatural Theology.
I’ve explained what Supernatural Theology is HERE, but the question I get more than that is…Why?
So that’s my topic this evening…why Supernatural Theology? Allow me to explain.