XV. When You're Confronted With That Which You
do not Understand, Fall Back on What You do Understand.
(See Prov. 3:5,6)
Pastor Chuck told me the statement above
when my oldest son died. We are often in life confronted with
things we do not understand. As a young pastor, I had all
the answers, there was nothing I didn't understand. But, now
I know that there is much I do not know.
People often come to us with unanswerable questions. Why did
God allow this? Why is this happening? Our best response is
to simply say we do not know, but there are things we do know.
We do know that God is love. We know that our sins are forgiven.
We know that Jesus will never leave us. We know that we're
headed for heaven. We know His Word is true.
When you're confronted with something you don't understand,
fall back on what you do understand.
Be real honest with folks. Don't pretend to be something you're
not or know something you don't. Don't pretend to have all
the answers. Be yourself. Love God and love His people.
There is a great deal we do not know. But, on the other hand,
God has revealed to us in His Word all we really need to know
for this life. Quiet yourself, humble yourself, stay in the
Word of God. Declare His revelation to others, not your own
speculations and philosophic musings.
XVI. Be a Shepherd Not a Hirling
(see John 14-16, and the Pastoral Epistles)
Make your people the best fed, best loved
sheep on earth. The greatest gift of all is love. At one point
in his ministry, Pastor Chuck was praying for gifts of the
Spirit, and the Lord spoke to him and told him that He had
already given him the greatest gift of all--the gift of love.
The high priest bore on his breast the stones representing
the 12 tribes of Israel. Paul carried the believers on his
heart. Carry the people of God on your heart. Love them. Serve
them. Have their best interest at heart in all things.
The shepherd gives his life for the sheep. Sacrifice self.
Die to fleshly ambition. Serve the saints of God with love.
Serve. Give. Minister. Care for people. Love them. Love them.
Love them. Feed them the pure Word of God.
The hireling seeks his own welfare. He's a man pleaser. He's
in it for the prestige, or the position, or the money, or
to get his own needs met. When the going gets tough, he runs,
he quits, he gives up.
Don't quit. Don't give up. Of course it's hard sometimes.
Chuck and Kay spent 17 years pastoring little tiny churches,
they brushed their teeth in the backyard because they didn't
have indoor plumbing. Chuck and his brother Paul slept in
their car as they traveled about preaching and witnessing.
Hang in there. Persevere. God has called you. Labor as unto
Die to self and lovingly feed the flock verse by verse Bible
studies. Love them, they're His sheep. Make them the best
fed, best loved sheep on earth.
XVII. God is more interested in the minister
than the ministry.
(See John 21:20-25)
The reason God has you in ministry is because
he loves you. He really doesn't need your expertise or skill.
He could raise up rocks to preach if He wanted.
No, He doesn't need us, but He wants us. He wants to fellowship
with us, deeply, personally, intimately, continually. He wants
your heart, not just your service.
Your personal fellowship with Jesus is vital. Spend time in
prayer and the Word--not to study for sermons, just to know
God. Knowing Him is far more important than serving Him. Knowing
Him is the reason you exist, and the reason Jesus redeemed
you with His precious blood on the Cross.
"Christianity is like measles", Pastor Chuck used to say,
"you have to have it to give it away." You can never lead
your people closer to Christ than you are. You can't impart
what you don't have.
Be a man of prayer. Be a man of the Word. Be a man who walks
with Jesus like Enoch did. Be a man after God's own heart
Jesus, draw us nearer, take us deep into your heart of love.
Jesus lives in your heart, now live in His.
[Some may wonder and ask at this point "How do you know these
Principles of Ministry are so effective? How do you know they
will work? The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The
Calvary Chapel movement is a large and growing group of congregations
now spanning the globe, and all of these congregations are
affiliated with it's "parent" church, Calvary Chapel of Costa
Mesa, California--the congregation that Pastor Chuck Smith
This congregation in Costa Mesa that Pastor Chuck pastors
is 35,000 strong in membership, and no, I didn't put the decimal
point in the wrong place. The Calvary Chapel congregation
that David Rosales pastors in Chino, California has 30,000
members, the one that Greg Laurie pastors in Riverside, California
has 10,000 members. Most the Calvary Chapels across the rest
of the country have in excess of 2,000 members, and in Massachusetts,
the one meeting in Rockland has over 1,200 attending. I was
attending one when it had only 12 members meeting in a room
of a radio-studio building. Two and a half years later they
had to rent a building, and packed it out with 125 attending.
Now they had to move again and have in excess of to 175 and
are building a sanctuary that will hold 440. This is in central
Massachusetts where size of congregations is never very large.
Calvary Chapel's can be found all around the world now. They
started in a tiny congregation of 25 members in Costa Mesa,
California, pastored by Chuck Smith. Be sure to read Pastor
Chuck's Philosophy of Ministry, to continue