O What a Relief It Is

    Today I am writing to and for myself. I find it very therapeutic to write things down. One of the pressures we place on ourselves as pastors is that the gospel is about us and by us. Now a days there is so much emphasis on making the church happen, making it viable in a culture that is crumbling all around us. Unfortunately many have taken this to heart and have made incredible manmade efforts to “make it happen”. This is dangerous water to tread on. We can easily fall for this as we want “it” to happen but at the same time I know that it is all God, hence the reason we are calling on God for revival. So I say to you and myself that for this gospel to happen we will depend on Him and wait on Him. One of the sayings that circulate in the church is “work like it all depends on you and pray like it all depends on God. I saw that even Dave Ramsey was using this quote- of course he is, he is making money from it. St. Augustine started a bad quotable quote. We North Americans get this really messed up. It sounds like we really are not sure what we believe. Is anyone actually waiting on God to answer the prayer that all depended on Him or are we out working like it all depends on us? The second part of the pressure pastors face is that the gospel by us means we have to make it happen. I have found great relief this week in the knowledge that it is not about me. I have known this but have taken it to heart. My job is to preach the truth of the gospel and that is it and don’t worry about whether people listen or not. The results, the timing of God’s response is all up to God. We pastors are like prophets who are given the word and then we speak it and that is it. Yes I have to make sure that I am preaching truth otherwise I would be a false prophet but beyond that if I am preaching -seek God with all your heart, soul and mind, then I do not have to worry that people will find Him or when they will find him. In my reading today this is laid out in Deuteronomy 10:12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? 14 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today. 16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. 20 Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. 22 Your ancestors who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.” This takes all the pressure off of ministry. My job is to fear the Lord my God, to walk in obedience to Him, to love Him, to serve the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees. Then I teach this word to others. Beyond that, it is God’s job to build His church. Jesus said, “I tell you that you are Peter (mine- your name here), and on this rock (mine -your confession that “Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”) I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” So what a relief it is for me to preach revival and all the truths that go with it and sit back and watch God fulfil his covenant to us. Will I see “numerous of the stars- maybe, maybe not but I will stand before God blameless because I prayed that it was up to God and believed it was all up to God and waited on Him as because it is all up to God. He said I will build my church. I say “O what a relief it is.”