Pastor’s Word: “A Few Things I Believe about the Church and the Pastor”| “教会与牧师,我确信”

1)      The church should not be a place for human maneuvering.  God’s Will needs to be our sole motivator for why we gather in His name.  Worship is about God!
2)      No two churches, or two leaders, are the same, nor do they have the same gifting.   Comparisons are counterproductive.  Even the same church body should be constantly evolving for relevancy as society demands adjustments.
3)      We must be theologically sound while being methodologically fluid toward our changing society…asking hard questions of ourselves?  We serve together!

4)      A pastor should focus on Christ by living Christ’s values.  Satisfying the expectations or traditions of men, or a church, is never the goal of a pastor for his “call” comes from God and not men.

5)      A pastor should respect the church’s needs as he speaks “truth” out of a love and burden for His people.   He is not called to a “ministry of avoidance” but to a ministry of sharing Christ’s standards and values even when they demand much from us all.

6)      No pastor is beyond question in his ministry.  With most of the daily ministry decisions being unknown to the broader congregation, the pastor must remember that God is Omniscient and clearly cognizant of all of our behaviors and actions.   My prayer is simply that our church recognizes both our limitations and spiritual desire to make bold and dependent decisions that push our church to be a meaningful witness within a world that has lost its’ way.

7)      God can heal a church.  A pastor cannot.

8)      Preaching is frustrating for a pastor.  He researches and prepares to share the message he feels is from God only to have few people willing to apply what is presented.  Yet, there is always a faithful remnant to encourage things forward!

9)      Not every pastor matches the needs of any particular church.  Admit it.

10)  What churches want from a pastor is not always what they need from one.

11) To “pastor” is not about Ordination, Position, or a Title but has to do with a response toward God’s “Calling to Servanthood”.  It calls for active availability and service of lifestyle and continuing ministry as the church (the people of God gathered) have need.  We are never beyond the danger of sin in our own lives.  We require prayer, daily!

12) Many Sunday School teachers and deacons in churches daily “pastor” others with their lives as God chooses to use their witness and care for others.

13) Matt. 6 reminds us all that our behavior is not to be praised by man.  False humility or even service to our Lord may contain danger IF our motivation is to gain the praise or admiration of man. God must be the Pastor’s Audience, not man.

***Of course, we all would like to believe that our lives are Godly but, for that to happen, we have to be hungry after His Will even before our own….not easily accomplished!  Let us leave our church in His hands and only allow God to be our only true judge for our service.

1)      The church should not be a place for human maneuvering.  God’s Will needs to be our sole motivator for why we gather in His name.  Worship is about God!
2)      No two churches, or two leaders, are the same, nor do they have the same gifting.   Comparisons are counterproductive.  Even the same church body should be constantly evolving for relevancy as society demands adjustments.
3)      We must be theologically sound while being methodologically fluid toward our changing society…asking hard questions of ourselves?  We serve together!

4)      A pastor should focus on Christ by living Christ’s values.  Satisfying the expectations or traditions of men, or a church, is never the goal of a pastor for his “call” comes from God and not men.

5)      A pastor should respect the church’s needs as he speaks “truth” out of a love and burden for His people.   He is not called to a “ministry of avoidance” but to a ministry of sharing Christ’s standards and values even when they demand much from us all.

6)      No pastor is beyond question in his ministry.  With most of the daily ministry decisions being unknown to the broader congregation, the pastor must remember that God is Omniscient and clearly cognizant of all of our behaviors and actions.   My prayer is simply that our church recognizes both our limitations and spiritual desire to make bold and dependent decisions that push our church to be a meaningful witness within a world that has lost its’ way.

7)      God can heal a church.  A pastor cannot.

8)      Preaching is frustrating for a pastor.  He researches and prepares to share the message he feels is from God only to have few people willing to apply what is presented.  Yet, there is always a faithful remnant to encourage things forward!

9)      Not every pastor matches the needs of any particular church.  Admit it.

10)  What churches want from a pastor is not always what they need from one.

11) To “pastor” is not about Ordination, Position, or a Title but has to do with a response toward God’s “Calling to Servanthood”.  It calls for active availability and service of lifestyle and continuing ministry as the church (the people of God gathered) have need.  We are never beyond the danger of sin in our own lives.  We require prayer, daily!

12) Many Sunday School teachers and deacons in churches daily “pastor” others with their lives as God chooses to use their witness and care for others.

13) Matt. 6 reminds us all that our behavior is not to be praised by man.  False humility or even service to our Lord may contain danger IF our motivation is to gain the praise or admiration of man. God must be the Pastor’s Audience, not man.

***Of course, we all would like to believe that our lives are Godly but, for that to happen, we have to be hungry after His Will even before our own….not easily accomplished!  Let us leave our church in His hands and only allow God to be our only true judge for our service.

 

  1. 教会不应是人计谋的地方。上帝的旨意应是我们奉主名聚集的唯一动机。我们敬拜的是 上帝!
    2. 没有两家教会,或两位领袖是一样的;他们的恩赐不相同。比较是无效的。甚至同一家教会都需要不断随着社会要求改变。
    3. 我们必须有健全的神学及有弹性的传福音方法,应变面对不断演变的社会…不断自我反省?我们同心服事!
    4. 牧者必须活出以基督为重心的生命;满足人、教会的期望和传统不是牧师的的目标,因为牧师的「呼召」是出于上帝,而非人。
    5. 牧者需要尊重教会的需要,以爱心和对会友的负担说「诚实话」。牧师被呼召不是因为有「圣职空缺」,而是要事奉分享基督的标准与价值。
    6. 不是所有牧者的事奉都没有问题。由于很多日常决策大部份会众是不知道的,牧者要记得上帝是无所不知的,祂知道我们所有的行为及行动。我的祷告是:会众明白我们牧者的限制及期盼能推动教会勇于在这迷失的世代为主作见证的决心。
    7. 上帝能医治教会,一个牧师不能。
    8. 讲道对牧师是很挫折的一件事。因为牧者钻读经文,准备他以为从上帝而来的信息,但却只有少数人愿意听从实践;还好有其他忠实的会众鼓励我们向前行。
    9. 我们要承认的事实:不是每一个牧者都能满足任一教会的所有需要。
    10. 会众期望的牧者常常不是他们真正需要的牧人。
    11. 「牧师」不是为了按牧礼、身份地位或者一个头衔,而是回应上帝「呼召,成为服事上帝的仆人。」在教会有需要的时候能够积极参与和全身事奉。我们不都是完美无罪的。我们需要「天天」祷告!
    12. 教会里很多主日学老师和执事被上帝捡选,天天在教会里以他们的生命见证做「牧者」牧养其他人。
    13. 马太福音第六章提醒我们不是要得人称赞。如果我们的动机是为要得人的爱慕、赞美,我们虚假的谦卑或事奉会有危险。牧师的观众必须是上帝,不是人。

    ***当然,每个人都希望相信自己的生活是圣洁的;果真如此,我们必须渴慕成就神的心意,超过成就自己的心意!……这不是件易事。让我们将教会全然交托给 上帝,让 祂为我们的服事做唯一、真实的判断。

 

Pastor’s Word: Being a Humble Leader….Possible?|成为一个谦卑的领袖….可能吗?

How can a leader be both transparent and humble? How can his/her work be known by others without him appearing self-promoting? Does being a leader mean one has to always have a quick answer to all problems and talk as if he/she knows everything? Does being a leader demand an extroverted personality?
Recently, I had a well-meaning friend share some “often heard” advice regarding the importance of others knowing what ministries I am involved in. Over the years, I have watched politicians, ministers, educators, businessmen, and others “climb their respective ladders of success” when there is only one observer that should really matter. After all, He can arrange for any changes in our life condition as He sees fit! As I listened to this recent friend, I couldn’t help but think of Moses for he is one of my mentors and has guided me through many temptations over the years.
In the Old Testament, especially in the Book of Exodus, we find the Israelite people regularly complaining to Moses, their leader. They needed food. They needed water. They needed direction in the desert. They needed an idol in the form of a golden calf. They needed everything! Moses’ modeling for them, and us, was simple. He didn’t debate with the Israelites. He didn’t discuss philosophies nor provide quick responses to their concerns. He didn’t call for a “vote of confidence” for his leadership! Moses simply asked God’s direction and led. As a result, Numbers 12:3 says of Moses, “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” Even in his leading, he was focused not on himself but God.

What motivates our service to the Lord? Is man’s praise really that important to us? Sure, my friend was correct in the sense that all people like to know that they are supporting the work of a hard worker (Matt. 5:16). The worker appreciates the recognition of men but if that is required to see us serve the Lord, we are already a failure.
My prayer for us all is that the models of Moses, Job, and others may be more than interesting Biblical characters but true guides for our decision making and life habits. They led with expectancy and courage knowing that God held their lives in His hands. We must choose whom we serve, why we serve, and whether we serve from strength or weakness.

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一个领袖怎能够透明又谦卑呢?如果他没有表彰自己,其他人怎么知道他做的工作?一个领袖必须对每个问题都能立即答复,以显示他知道所有的事吗?一个领袖务必需要有外向个性吗?
最近一个好意的朋友分享一些「常听到的」忠告:让他人知道我做的事工。过去这些年,我看过许多政治家、牧者、教育家、商人及其它「爬向各自成功阶梯」的人;而人生中却只有一个真正值得注意的观看者。毕竟 祂可以依 祂看为合适的来改变我们! 我一边听这位朋友的话,一边不禁想到我的良师之一摩西,过去多年来他指引我走过多次诱惑。

在旧约,特别是在出埃及记这本书里,我们看到以色列民经常向他们的领袖摩西抱怨。他们需要食物。他们需要水。他们需要沙漠中的方向。他们需要有金牛做偶像。他们需要每一样东西。
摩西给他们和我们的榜样很容易。他没有和以色列民争论,他不讨论哲理,他也没立刻答复他们关心的事。他没有被呼召为他的领导权争取「信任票」!摩西只是简单地寻求上帝的指引和带领。结果,民数记12:3说摩西:「摩西为人极其谦和,胜过世上的众人。」摩西在他的领导中,他把焦点放在上帝,而不是他自己。
我们伺奉上帝的动机是什么? 人对我们的称赞真的是那么重要吗?当然,我的朋友是对的,在某方面所有人都喜欢知道他们支持的人是勤劳做工的(马太:5:16)。 工人感激被人认知;但是如果这是必须的要求,那我们就失败了。

我的祷告是摩西 、约伯等人的榜样不只是有趣的圣经角色而已,他们更确实指引我们做的决定和生活习惯。他们带着期盼和勇气带领人,知道他们的性命掌握在 祂的手中。我们必须选择谁是我们伺奉的对象?为什么我们要伺奉 祂?以及我们是否伺奉有力?

 

Pastor’s Word: Hang in There and Contribute | 坚持服事

When serving as a pastor in Hong Kong some years back, I told one of our beloved sisters (aged around 23) that I would never hire her.  In apparent shock, for she was looking for a job but still employed, she asked why?   I told her that I was aware that she’d changed jobs 3 times over the past 4 years and had a habit of draining each job of all she could learn/gain and then moving on to wherever she might do the same again.  Basically, the employers poured all they could into her growth and learning and then, just when she MIGHT begin to actually give something back in quality service, she departed for “greener pastures!”  Truly, her actions represent a number of our “post-modern” circle of friends.

I wonder if churches sometimes experience this same thing?  We see people grow up, become Christian disciples, maybe teach Sunday School classes or work with youth for a time, and then, the “call to greener pastures” overwhelms them.  The opportunity to be a pew sitter in a nicer environment where things seem new and fresh draws them.  Just at the point where they could truly make their greatest contribution to instigating change and growth for God’s church within their local home church, they determine the need to “rest or retreat” and can no longer to be found.  Yes, these persons are missed in their church.

Obviously, FCBC is blessed with many dedicated church members who recognize their ability to significantly contribute where they are.  The church is a voluntary body of believers who gather to serve in Christ’s name.  Not all we do, or decide, is easy or simple to accept or support.   Yet, let us be a body that welcomes the challenges of representing the Christ who taught us about sacrifice as we work through our difficulties and challenges together.  A church is a ministering body that works together through the needs and struggles that come rather than a group of people that only seek the easy path.  Let us be a people that welcome our God given task of reaching out daily in the name of Jesus to the lost of our world.  With this dedication, we will daily ask what He wants to us do rather than just seek our own goals.

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当我在香港牧会时,我告诉一位年约23岁的姊妹,我永远不会雇用她。她显然非常吃惊,因为她正在找新工作,而当时她是有工作的。 她问我为什么。我告诉她我知道过去四年她换了三个工作。她已经习惯在每个工作上学取所有能学到的经验后,就转换到他处重新再来过。基本上雇主全力培植她成长及学习;然后就在她「可能」可以回馈有质量的工作时,她却辞职另觅「更绿的青草地」去工作。她的行为正代表我们一些「后现代」主义的朋友。
我在想教会是否有时也有类似经验。我们看到人成长,成为基督门徒;他们或教主日学,或辅导青少年一段时间后,就另觅无可抗拒的「更绿的青草地」。选择坐在比较舒适的教会座位上,看似新鲜的事吸引他们。就在他们真正可以给予更多贡献、事奉,给自己教会带来有新意的外展事工时,我们找不到他们;他们消逝了。
显然,凤凰城第一华人浸信会是受祝福的 :有许多热心的弟兄姐妹知道他们在我们教会,有可以做有意义事奉的能力。教会是一群奉主名事奉的志愿信徒团体。所有我们的决定,或做的事,都不是简单或容易接受、支持的。让我们一起学习基督教导我们的牺牲奉献。当我们同工经历挑战、困难时,让我们一起学习基督教导我们的牺牲奉献。我们不是一群找寻简单途径的团体,我们教会是一群同工经历需要、挣扎的基督服事团体。让我们接受上帝交托给我们的使命,天天奉主名向我们周遭失丧的人伸出手。如此献身,我们不会只是寻求我们自己的目标,而会天天询求上帝要我们做什么!

Pastor’s Word |The values of the Christ!

Pastor’s Word: The values of the Christ!
(Ephesians 5: 25 – 27)

As a Christian, I am to be a “follower of Christ!” My values are to be like His. Ephesians 5 clarifies my behavior and values as follows: “...as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”

At any point that any of us says or does that which harms the church and its’ mission, we sin. Christ loved the church (the people of God) so greatly that he went to the cross of Calvary as the sacrifice for our sins. When I consider the Jesus that is my mentor, I recognize that I greatly lack in my skills and commitment in allowing Jesus to be fully my Lord. My inconsistencies and unpredictability in my daily walk undoubtedly disappoint not only myself, but my friends, lost acquaintances, and my Lord. Yet, the miracle remains that God is forgiving of my poor behavior and promises to use me in His service. What a wonderful Savior that I claim in Jesus.

May we all be forgiving of each other, as Christ has forgiven us. May we all find joy in knowing that Christ loved the church (us) as we learn to be loving toward the church as well. May we learn consistency of character as we focus less on our own needs/ reputations and more on the Kingdom of God that guides our daily meaning and purpose. With our words and service, we either help or harm God’s beloved church. I pray that we daily hunger to be useful within the church of Christ.

 

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牧师的话: 基督重视的!
以弗所书5:25 – 27)

身为基督徒,我是一个「基督的跟随者」! 我的价值观与他的一样。以弗所书五章说明我的态度和价值观: 「…..正如基督爱教会,为教会舍己。要用水藉著道把教会洗净成为圣洁,可以先给自己,做个荣耀的教会,毫无玷污、皱纹等类的病,乃是圣洁没有瑕疵的。」

在任何时候我们中有任何人说任何事伤害教会和祂的大使命,我们是有罪的。基督这么爱他的教会(一群属上帝的人)。他会为了我们的罪牺牲,走向各各他的十字架。我知道耶稣是我的良师;跟随 主耶稣,让祂做我完全的主,我的委身仍然大大的不足。我的不一致,不可以预测的,每日与神同行行为,有时使我自己,也使我的朋友,灵魂失丧的人,和我的主失望。但是奇迹是上帝仍原谅我不对的态度和承诺,愿用我服事祂。我要称扬 耶稣是一个令人惊叹的救赎者。

愿我们原谅彼此, 好像耶稣基督已经饶恕了我们一样。 知道基督爱教会(我们),我们也要爱祂的教会;祈愿我们在其中找到喜乐。 希望我们一致学习把重点少放在我们个人的需要和名位上,而多在神的国度上,祂指引我们每天生命的意义和目的。我们的言语和事奉可以建立,也可以毁坏,上帝所爱的教会。我祈求我们每日都渴望我们可以被基督的教会使用。

Pastor’s Word | Faith is a Full Commitment

Pastor’s Word: Faith is a Full Commitment

In a discussion today with a Hong Kong friend, we talked about the challenges of getting our faith to a level beyond simple knowledge of Christ. We considered the antics of many so-called Christians who present themselves to be moral and ethical persons while still being involved in adultery, bribery, illicit behaviours, illegal financial transactions, lying and cheating, greed, pornography, alcoholism, gossip, rumour mongers, etc. These persons often are not “found out by society” but have their sins held in a private part of their heart. Indeed, some of these persons are us! With the Bible as our standard, my friend and I quickly realized that this discussion was difficult for, in fact, we too are found in some of these sins and in many others as well. So, how do we boldly go forth as a strong Christian witness when we recognize our own frailties and poor modeling for others? How do we present a healthy church, whatever that is, in a way that encourages others to want to join with us and serve through and past our weaknesses?

Our conversation was designed NOT to say that we agreed to live with a half-hearted commitment in our Christian faith but to simply admit that we sometimes choose to play games with God and seldom push ourselves outside of our comfort areas in order to serve. Becoming religious zealots is also not the goal either for that is done to be seen of men. Our goal must follow Paul’s words to the Philippians as we seek to have a new mind created and guiding us in our new Lord. Our value system is in opposition from our world’s. We know the facts, what do we do with what we know? Are we willing to become a radical for Christ?

 

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牧师的话  信仰是全然的委身、承诺。

今天和一个香港朋友讨论,谈到把我们的信仰摆在简单认识基督之上的挑战。 我们说到许多所谓基督徒的古怪行为;他们表现是有伦理、道德的人、但仍介入奸淫、贿赂、不正行为、不法财金交易、说谎及贪婪、色情书画、酒醉、散播谣言闲话等。 通长这些罪不被社会看见,因为他们把这些罪隐藏在心里私处。事实上,这种人有些就是我们自己! 以圣经为我们的标准,我的朋友和我很快发现讨论这问题很困难,事实上我们也有上述及其他更多的罪。 今天当我们知道我们的短处及自己不足为他人模范时, 我们如何敢大胆地为基督做见证呢? 我们如何可以提供一个健康教会,鼓励他人愿意不计我们的弱点,加入我们一起服事基督呢?

我们的讨论不是想说,我们同意对基督信仰只有一半的承诺;只是简单地承认我们有时候选择戏弄神,很少愿意离开我们的安全范围去事奉神。成为宗教狂热份子不是我们的目标,因为那是做给别人看。 我们的目标必须是跟随保罗对非利比人所说的话:我们必须寻找一颗新造的心及主的带领。 我们的价值观是不同于世界的;知道事实真相,我们会如何做?我们是否愿意为主积极跟进?