To The Glory of God Alone!

July 14, 2021

Leadership Notes


I haven't read a book - fiction or non-fiction - for the sole purpose of entertainment or enjoyment, for at the least the past six-to-eight months. I feel like such a loaf. There's no excuse. Simply have not been motivated of late. And there are plenty of books I'd be interested in reading. My wife is a voracious reader. Always has been. She has a couple going all the time. My granddaughters are reading more for fun than me right now. Sooner or later, the slump will end.


How about you? What is your favorite genre of literature? What are you reading right now? Shoot me a text or an email.


On the other hand, I have not been neglectful of church/work related reading. One such book is a collection of Paul Washer sermons, "Ten Indictments Against the Modern Church." These messages hit hard. One message, "An Ignorance Regarding the Nature of the Church," is something I wish I would have read/known 30 years ago. It's one of those things you know you know but haven't been able to reasonably articulate. Like it's floating around in your pool of knowledge, and you make imperfect leadership decisions and choices out of that pool, but you don't have it written down in a systematic and orderly fashion. In other words, you feel it in your gut, but it would be so much better if you could have thought about it the way Washer does.


Here's his point:


The average scenario in North America with regard to churches, by and

large, is that the churches are democracies. I do not want to get into the

pros and cons of that. But because the preaching of the gospel is so low,

the majority of the church consists of carnal lost people. Then, because the

church is run as a democracy, the unconverted people, by and large,

govern the direction of the church. Because the pastor does not want to

lose the greatest number of the people, and because he has wrong ideas

regarding evangelism and true conversion, he caters to the wicked in his

church. So his little group of true sheep, who truly belong to Jesus Christ,

are sitting there in the midst of all the theater, worldliness, and

multimedia. They are crying out, "We just want to worship Jesus. We just

want someone to teach us the Bible!" Dear friends, these pastors are going

to pay for the terrible condition of their churches.


- Paul Washer, "Reformation Heritage Books," Grand Rapids, Michigan,

2018.


Let me state in no uncertain terms, without hesitation or equivocation, that what Washer describes is not the state of Covenant Church. We were forged in the crucible of Biblical truth and obedience, come hell or high water. And we will not waver. There is no turning back.

In the early days of ministry, I ran a bit fearful because of the "democracy" flaw of church life. I was too concerned with keeping everybody happy in order to maintain a smooth-running church. I was anxious when unhappy people threatened to leave the church. I was vulnerable to the criticisms of those who would point out unhappy people or point to people leaving the church as a negative reflection on me and/or my ministry. Anything could be a vulnerability. In my preaching, whether I spoke too loud or too quietly, had an "altar call" or didn't have an "altar call," used too many sports illustrations or not enough sports illustrations. In pastoral ministry, whether I did or didn't hold the hands of widows and orphans, call on newcomers or give then some space, attend every committee meeting or let committees function autonomously, be on call 24/7 or take time away for family and self.


In those early years, I tried the balancing act, though not well at times. I thank God every day for Covenant Church and the fact that most of us, most of the time, resonate with Washer when he writes, "We just want to worship Jesus. We just want someone to teach us the Bible!" That's our primary purpose. Everything else we do flows out of that, to the glory of God!


Here's a good pledge to make to each other -


You keep being you, and I'll keep being me, to the Glory of God Alone!


I wouldn't want it any other way.


And now, your Moment of Spurgeon:


When {People} Are Living in Sin, They Go from Bad to Worse.


Finally, a Psalm and an encouragement. First, Psalm 42:5:


Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.


And the encouragement {from Grant R. Castleberry, Pastor of Capital Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina}:


Nothing dispels a "woe-is-me" spirit like gratitude. TRY TO THANK

GOD FOR EVERY BLESSING IN YOUR LIFE, AND YOU WILL FIND

THAT YOUR SITUATION STARTS TO LOOK VERY DIFFERENT.



With Much Love and Affection,


Richard

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