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What a Pastor Does After Easter Sunday

Posted on by Philip Nation in Ministry | Leave a comment

sermon cassetteAt the age of 16, I preached my first sermon. I have the cassette tape to prove it. The message was on faith and based on the life of Job. I will never forget the sensation of preaching it. Since that time, I have served in various churches and in various capacities. It has been an adventure ranging from a rural town to large metropolitan areas. I have been a part-time student minister and a full-time pastor. I led the education ministry in a megachurch and planted a new church. It has been an up-and-down journey.

Now, I serve as the bivocational teaching pastor for The Fellowship. It is unlike any church I’ve served… or witnessed. In many ways, we are a comeback church. The last decade of the church’s history has been filled with its own ups and downs. There have been long periods of doubt and pain. But we are now in days of excitement. Every week, there is a sense of anticipation about what God will do in our lives.

On Easter Sunday, like many churches, we had what is likely the largest crowd of the year. Both of our campuses had lots of new faces. Our leaders were filled with the Spirit. The worship teams led from the overflow of their joy in the gospel. The leaders in our preschool and children’s ministries were faithful to guide kids toward Jesus. The whole membership of our church were happy, welcoming, and ready for God to do a great work in us.

As a 16-year old, I could barely conceive of what it would be like to preach on an Easter Sunday. It is simultaneously joyful and weighty. When you lead and preach on Easter, it takes all of your will to control your emotions and all of your passion to clearly communicate the greatness of the resurrection. It is wondrous.

But now, Easter is over and you as a church leader have to do it all again this week. Preachers must write another sermon. Church leaders must get ready for another week and weekend of ministry activity. Volunteers must be prepared and trained. Facilities have to be cleaned and reset. Bulletins have to be printed. Worship music must be planned. Hearts have to be prepared.

Many pastors are doing all of this work alone. Many are trying to accomplish it in a church environment that is less than healthy and conducive to growth. Sure. Everyone means well but not everyone is faithful. They are trying… on most days. But, as a pastor, you are struggling to see your way clear to a breakthrough. You’re hoping it will come for both the church and for you.

So I want to say one thing to my friends who are pastors: Never give up.

The Bible reminds us time and time again that we are not to grow weary in the work of ministry. We are to sow the seeds of the gospel in every kind of soil and then let God provide growth. As tough as it is to accept, Jesus simply wants you to be faithful. He will provide the success.

So, pastor, on this week after Easter, just be faithful to your calling from God. Long before He wanted your work in the ministry, He simply wanted your heart.

That’s My King! Do You Know Him?

Posted on by Philip Nation in Jesus | Leave a comment

S. M. Lockridge was a powerful preacher. Among his powerful life as a pastor, he is perhaps best known for several litanies during various messages. One of those is a message when he repeatedly used the phrase “That’s my King!” Below you will find the transcript of the full 6-minute section of that sermon along with the audio of it as well.

Happy Easter!


 

My King was born King. The Bible says He’s a Seven Way King. He’s the King of the Jews—that’s an Ethnic King. He’s the King of Israel—that’s a National King. He’s the King of righteousness. He’s the King of the ages. He’s the King of Heaven. He’s the King of glory. He’s the King of kings and He is the Lord of lords. Now that’s my King.

Well, I wonder if you know Him. Do you know Him? Don’t try to mislead me. Do you know my King? David said the Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork. My King is the only one of whom there are no means of measure that can define His limitless love. No far seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of the shore of His supplies. No barriers can hinder Him from pouring out His blessing.

He’s enduringly strong. He’s entirely sincere. He’s eternally steadfast. He’s immortally graceful. He’s imperially powerful. He’s impartially merciful. That’s my King. He’s God’s Son. He’s the sinner’s Saviour. He’s the centerpiece of civilization. He stands alone in Himself. He’s honest. He’s unique. He’s unparalleled. He’s unprecedented. He’s supreme. He’s pre-eminent. He’s the grandest idea in literature. He’s the highest personality in philosophy. He’s the supreme problem in higher criticism. He’s the fundamental doctrine of historic theology. He’s the carnal necessity of spiritual religion. That’s my King.

He’s the miracle of the age. He’s the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him. He’s the only one able to supply all our needs simultaneously. He supplies strength for the weak. He’s available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He’s the Almighty God who guides and keeps all his people. He heals the sick. He cleanses the lepers. He forgives sinners. He discharged debtors. He delivers the captives. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent and He beautifies the meek. That’s my King.

Do you know Him? Well, my King is a King of knowledge. He’s the wellspring of wisdom. He’s the doorway of deliverance. He’s the pathway of peace. He’s the roadway of righteousness. He’s the highway of holiness. He’s the gateway of glory. He’s the master of the mighty. He’s the captain of the conquerors. He’s the head of the heroes. He’s the leader of the legislatures. He’s the overseer of the overcomers. He’s the governor of governors. He’s the prince of princes. He’s the King of kings and He’s the Lord of lords. That’s my King.

His office is manifold. His promise is sure. His light is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His Word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I wish I could describe Him to you . . . but He’s indescribable. That’s my King. He’s incomprehensible, He’s invincible, and He is irresistible.

I’m coming to tell you this, that the heavens of heavens cannot contain Him, let alone some man explain Him. You can’t get Him out of your mind. You can’t get Him off of your hands. You can’t outlive Him and you can’t live without Him. The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him. Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him. The witnesses couldn’t get their testimonies to agree about Him. Herod couldn’t kill Him. Death couldn’t handle Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him. That’s my King.

He always has been and He always will be. I’m talking about the fact that He had no predecessor and He’ll have no successor. There’s nobody before Him and there’ll be nobody after Him. You can’t impeach Him and He’s not going to resign. That’s my King! That’s my King!

Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory. Well, all the power belongs to my King. We’re around here talking about black power and white power and green power, but in the end all that matters is God’s power. Thine is the power. Yeah. And the glory. We try to get prestige and honor and glory for ourselves, but the glory is all His. Yes. Thine is the Kingdom and the power and glory, forever and ever and ever and ever. How long is that? Forever and ever and ever and ever. . . And when you get through with all of the ever’s, then . . . Amen!

Sunday is Coming

Posted on by Philip Nation in Jesus | Leave a comment

Great video from Worship House Media

The Easter Sermon from St. John Chrysostom

Posted on by Philip Nation in Jesus | Leave a comment

St. John Chrysostom was born at Antioch in about the year 347 into the family of a military-commander, spent his early years studying under the finest philosophers and rhetoricians and was ordained a deacon in the year 381 by the bishop of Antioch Saint Meletios. In 386 St. John was ordained a priest by the bishop of Antioch, Flavian.

Over time, his fame as a holy preacher grew, and in the year 397 with the demise of Archbishop Nektarios of Constantinople—successor to Sainted Gregory the Theologian—Saint John Chrysostom was summoned from Antioch for to be the new Archbishop of Constantinople.

Exiled in 404 and after a long illness because of the exile, he was transferred to Pitius in Abkhazia where he received the Holy Eucharist, and said, “Glory to God for everything!”, falling asleep in the Lord on 14 September 407.


The Paschal Sermon

Are there any who are devout lovers of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!

Are there any who are grateful servants?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!

Are there any weary with fasting?
Let them now receive their wages!

If any have toiled from the first hour,
let them receive their due reward;
If any have come after the third hour,
let him with gratitude join in the Feast!
And he that arrived after the sixth hour,
let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss.
And if any delayed until the ninth hour,
let him not hesitate; but let him come too.
And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour,
let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.
For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour,
as well as to him that toiled from the first.

To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows.
He accepts the works as He greets the endeavor.
The deed He honors and the intention He commends.
Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!

First and last alike receive your reward;
rich and poor, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!
You that have kept the fast, and you that have not,
rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!

Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!

Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.

Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.

Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.
He destroyed Hell when He descended into it.
He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.

Isaiah foretold this when he said,
“You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below.”
Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.

Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.

O death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?

Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!

Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!

(source Orthodox Church in America)

Lessons Learned Inside John Wesley’s Prayer Closet

Posted on by Philip Nation in Books, Prayer | Leave a comment

Jared Brock is the co-founder of Hope for the Sold, an abolitionist charity that fights human trafficking one word at a time. His is the author of A Year of Living Prayerfully, and he is happily married to his best friend, Michelle. Jared’s writing has appeared in Huffington Post, Converge, Esquire, and Relevant Magazine, and he writes regularly at JaredBrock.com.

Today, I want to give you an excerpt from Jared’s new book A Year of Living Prayerfully. Enjoy.


Jared Brock

Lessons Learned Inside John Wesley’s Prayer Closet
by Jared Brock

I was in the middle of a 37,000-mile prayer pilgrimage around the world. I’d met the Pope, lived with monks, walked on coals, danced with rabbis, and now I was headed to John Wesley’s house.

Wesley was one of nineteen children born to Samuel and Susanna Wesley. Standing just five feet four inches tall, Wesley was a man God used to fight the slave trade, grow the First Great Awakening, and spark Pentecostalism and the Holiness movement.

As the co-founder of a charity that fights human trafficking, my level of respect for Wesley is already quite high, but Wesley was especially known for prayer—the famous evangelist spent two hours in prayer each day, mostly in a small alcove off his bedroom.

I had to pop in for a visit.

Wesley kept up his daily regimen by going to bed at nine o’clock and waking at four o’clock, insisting that everyone in his household do the same. He would begin his day by studying the Scriptures and praying.

The room that would later become known as the “Power House of Methodism” is about the size of a modern walk-in closet, perhaps six by seven feet, with hardwood floors and a large window to let in plenty of light.

When we entered Wesley’s study, I noticed a very odd, spring-mounted bouncy chair. “This was Wesley’s workout chair,” the guide said. “For doing assisted squats.”

“Ah, I see,” I said. “It would seem that Wesley liked to keep a firm backside.”

The guide laughed. “Wesley rode a great distance on horseback,” he explained. “He used the chair to stay in shape during the winter months.”

It seems like an odd exercise, but Wesley stayed in shape for the task at hand.

The army doesn’t let its soldiers get lazy. Teachers and doctors continually upgrade their skills. Athletes don’t take “off-season” off.  They’re always training, always preparing, always staying in shape. As followers of Jesus, we need to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15)

I knelt on the stool at Wesley’s and prayed the Lord’s Prayer, asking God to use our generation the way He used Wesley and the early Methodists. There are literally tens of millions of people who are part of the family of God because of the non-stop work of Wesley and his fellow ministers. They traveled great distances – at huge personal risk and sacrifice – to tell a world in need about their Savior’s love.

I believe that the same spirit of conviction could rest on our generation too, and I’m convinced it will be discovered in our quiet times with God.

As E. M. Bounds writes, “Prayer is not learned in a classroom but in the closet.” If we’ll commit to simplicity and sacrifice for the sake of the Savior, if we’ll get down on our knees and do the hard work in prayer, I am quite sure that revival will sweep the globe as it did in Wesley’s day.

For the world is our parish, too.

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