Sunday, March 26, 2017

Homecoming 2017

Temple Baptist Church - 3-26-2017
3 John 1-4


A.  I have often said that pastoring a church is a Bitter - Sweet Experience.  I love what I do.  I always wanted to do something for a living that I enjoyed and now I have that blessed privilege.  Pastoring is not always glory, but is always worthwhile.  I have no horror stories to tell and have no complaints to offer.  It has been like a good marriage: good times and hard times but that is what makes for a strong marriage, isn’t it?  You never learn how to love until your love is tested.  I married Barbara for live and we came here to stay.

B.  I also want to say that the sweetness far outweighs the bitterness.  I want to use the word bitterness in a right way though.  I am not bitter at anyone or any situation but, sometimes, there are hard pills to swallow in the pastorate. 

C.  Not everyone in the church will either do right or end up right and this brings sorrow to the heart of a true pastor.  I want everyone to do well and live for God.  I often think of these verses:

1.  Sometimes there is the sorrow of losing families to sin.

                        2   Sometimes there is the sorrow of losing families because of God’s Word.

3.  Sometimes there is the sorrow of losing brethren through death.

4.  Sometimes there is the sorrow of seeing the church become apathetic.

5.  Sometimes there is the sorrow of trying to help and being rejected.

                        6.  Sometimes there is the sorrow of having people falsely blame and avoid me.

                        7.  Sometimes there is the sorrow of preaching falling on deaf ears.

D.  We have a great church!  I love every one of you and apologize for none of you.  You have made my pastorate worth every mile of the way.  I am yours and you are mine.  I want our church to remain a great one and that requires constant vigilance.  Maintaining what we have requires a continuing continuance!  These past 30 years have been a joy to this pastor!

1.  I want the Lord to always be welcome in our church.  This may sound like an odd but the Lord is only welcome in churches who want Him to be their Lord.  We are not here to soothe our consciences nor are we here to be seen.  We are here to exalt Him and bow before Him in worship.  We are not here to be seen but we are here to see Him.  His presence is both welcome and wanted.

2.  I want us all to continue to experience a uniform Christian love in our church.  No big “I’s” or little “U’s” here.  From the pew to the pulpit and the pulpit to the pew, I want us to love one another with a whole heart fervently.  Our love is an overlooking love.  We are all imperfect; we all have both good and bad days; but we learn to look past the fault and see the need of each other.  As a pastor’s family, we need you as much as you need us.

3.  I want the Bible to continue to take precedent over all else in our services.  For us to magnify the Bible as God magnifies it.  To allow its free course and leaving it unbound.  We are often belittled or mocked because we continue to hold to the Old Path of Biblical Authority.  I will not spend any more time here as you know where I stand and I know where you stand.  We stand unified.

4.  I want to be a constant encouragement to you and for you to be encouraging to me.  We often take a beating in this world but the church is a place of refreshing and consolation.  It is a “filling station” that gets us through the remainder of the week.  That is what we worship on the first day of the week so that we get the week started off right.  We have Wednesday service to get us over “hump day.”  As the camel said on the commercial, “Hey, hey, Mike!  Know what day it is?”  With a scowl he replied, “Its hump day!”  Our encouragement of each other is what gets us over the humps in life.

5.  I want to remain your pastor as long as the Lord gives me strength and my mind holds out.  I have seen men of God who still had the mind but the strength was gone and I have seen pastors who had the strength and their mind was gone.  I never want to be a burden on the church.  I want to be a continual blessing!  I am yours as long as you will have me.

6.  I want to one day give an account for each of you with joy when I stand before the Lord at the Judgement Seat of Christ.  I want you to do well; I want you to be faithful; I want your soul to prosper and be in health; I want you to stay put and share with each other the love of Christ.

Conclusion:  Happy 30th Anniversary!

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