January 14, 2009
Last week I had the privilege of participating in a pastoral staff retreat with my colleagues at Trinity Church. I want to highlight two significant things that happened. The first is that we spent the afternoon on Thursday discussing what we thought were the main areas that we should be praying for as a church, and then came up with some major action points for 2009. My heart was so encouraged to sense a unity among us that we were hearing the voice of God leading us. More than anything else God is leading us to pray first. And thus we have chosen “First Pray” to be the major motto and focus for 2009. I continue to rejoice at what God is doing and what he will do as we bring these requests to him in prayer throughout the year. Certainly God is working according to his timing and it is no mistake that our senior pastor, Gary Inrig, has chosen to teach through the book of James, a sermon series called, A Tough Faith for Tough Times. Check out Gary’s opening message from our website, Forged By Fire. Mark Brown also taught the previous week a message called, 1st Pray. I encourage you to check that out too as it is our call to prayer for the year. Here are the prayer requests for 2009: 1. Pray to TRUST GOD MORE (Tough FAITH in Tough Times) 2. Pray for OPEN DOORS, HEARTS, MOUTHS, and EARS related to our community 3. Pray to show EXTRAORDINARY/EXTRAVAGANT LOVE 4. Pray to model CREATIVE RESPONSES to tough times 5. Pray for a GRANDER VIEW of GOD The second highlight was on Friday morning. We heard a charge from Paul Cedar, a man who has spent his life in ministry as a pastor, led the Evangelical Free Church Denomination for a season, and is now focused on mobilizing the church toward evangelism through the Mission America Coalition. Hearing from Paul was refreshing, inspiring and challenging. It was a moment where we all had an immediate sense that this was a word to us from the Lord through a man who intimately loves the Lord and knows him. He gave us a charge on Servant Leadership, a message from 1 Peter 5:1-4. Afterwards we had a time for Q&A. I’ll include the Scripture passage and Paul’s main points here in closing.
“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”(1Peter 5:1-4 ESV)
1. Peter displays authentic humility – that’s where it begins!
2. Be shepherds of God’s flock – no greater honor, no greater accountability to God
3. Understand your assignment/calling and willingly do it to the glory of God
4. Do not desire personal gain, but be eager to serve
5. Be examples to the flock – “Follow me as I follow Christ”
God help me to be this kind of leader for your glory alone!