Pastor: Man of God

A dear friend of mine and a man I considered a personal tutor, missionary Bob Cooper (now with the Lord), shared the following quote with me several years ago.

man praying Fling him into his office. Tear the “Office” sign from the door and nail on the sign, “Study.” Take him off the mailing list. Lock him up with his books and his typewriter and his Bible. Slam him down on his knees before texts and broken hearts and the flock of lives of a superficial flock and a holy God.

Force him to be the one man in our surfeited communities who knows about God. Throw him into the ring to box with God until he learns how short his arms are. Engage him to wrestle with God all the night through. And let him come out only when he’s bruised and beaten into being a blessing.

Shut his mouth forever spouting remarks, and stop his tongue forever tripping lightly, over every nonessential. Require him to have something to say before he dares break the silence. Bend his knees in the lonesome valley.

Burn his eyes with weary study. Wreck his emotional poise with worry for God. And make him exchange his pious stance for a humble walk with God and man. Make him spend and be spent for the glory of God. Rip out his telephone. Burn up his ecclesiastical success sheets.

Put water in his gas tank. Give him a Bible and tie him to the pulpit. And make him preach the Word of the living God!

Test him. Quiz him. Examine him. Humiliate him for his ignorance of things divine. Shame him for his good comprehension of finances, batting averages, and political in-fighting. Laugh at his frustrated effort to play psychiatrist. Form a choir and raise a chant and haunt him with it night and day -“Sir, we would see Jesus.”

When at long last he dares assay the pulpit, ask him if he has a word from God. If he does not, then dismiss him. Tell him you can read the morning paper and digest the television commentaries, and think through the day’s superficial problems, and manage the community’s weary drives, and bless the sordid baked potatoes and green beans, ad infinitum, better than he can.

Command him not to come back until he’s read and reread, written and rewritten, until he can stand up, worn and forlorn, and say, “Thus saith the Lord.”

Break him across the board of his ill-gotten popularity. Smack him hard with his own prestige. Corner him with questions about God. Cover him with demands for celestial wisdom. And give him no escape until he’s back against the wall of the Word.

And sit down before him and listen to the only word he has left-God’s Word. Let him be totally ignorant of the down-street gossip, but give him a chapter and order him to walk around it, camp on it, sup with it, and come at last to speak it backward and forward, until all he says about it rings with the truth of eternity.

And when he’s burned out by the flaming Word, when he’s consumed at last by the fiery grace blazing through him, and when he’s privileged to translate the truth of God to man, finally transferred from earth to heaven, then bear him away gently and blow a muted trumpet and lay him down softly. Place a two-edged sword in his coffin, and raise the tomb triumphant. For he was a brave soldier of the Word… and ere he died, he had become a man of God.”

(Author Unknown)

If those who hear me preach are more impressed with me than they are with Christ – I have failed.

Whether preaching, praying, singing, parenting, or fulfilling my role as a husband – God is the audience. So the only question that matters is: Is He pleased? If I do any of, or all of, those things for anyone else or anything less – then I am wasting my time and squandering the vapor that is my life.

Clegguart Mitchell

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Stick with your work

keep-calm-and-do-your-work-186Stick with your work.
Do not flinch because the lion roars.
Do not stop to stone the devil’s dogs.
Do not fool away your time chasing the devil’s rabbits.

Do your work.

Let liars lie.
Let sectarians quarrel.
Let critics malign.
Let enemies accuse.
Let the devil do his worst.

See to it nothing hinders you from fulfilling with joy the work God has given you.

He has not commanded you to be admired or esteemed.
He has never bidden you defend your character.
He has not set you at work to contradict falsehood (about yourself) which Satan’s or God’s servants may start to peddle, or to track down every rumor that threatens your reputation.

If you do these things, you will do nothing else.
You will be at work for yourself and not for the Lord.

Keep at your work.
Let your aim be as steady as a star.

You may be assaulted, wronged, insulted,
slandered, wounded and rejected,
misunderstood, or assigned impure motives.
You may be abused by foes, forsaken by friends,
and despised and rejected of men.

But see to it with steadfast determination,
with unfaltering zeal,
that you pursue the great purpose of your life and object of your being
until at last you can say:
“I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.”

Anonymous

Blessed is the man who fills his quiver…

At 9:36PM, Wednesday, December 5th: Caleb Michael was born!!

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Jenny & I are praising the Lord for His great kindness in bestowing such a wonderful blessing upon our family!

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“Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.  It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.  Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127

“Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways!  You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.  The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!  May you see your children’s children! Peace be upon Israel!” Psalm 128

‘Tis the Season

tis8217theseasonIt was a wonderfully snowy Sunday Morning in early December a few years ago when the Sunday school teacher asked her students, “Does anyone know what Season this is?”  Several children eagerly raised their hands to answer the question.  Our oldest daughter Hannah must have seemed extra enthusiastic as she was called upon to give her answer.  Smiling from ear to ear she proclaimed, “It’s deer season!”

It’s true.  Like so many Southern Iowa natives our house over the years becomes a hunting lodge between the September’s Youth Season and the January High-Power Season.  I must say that I am so blessed to have a wife who does not mind living in a meat locker / butcher shop for a while every year.  Fortunately, in more recent hunts, our friends have allowed us to use their “shop” and things haven’t been so messy around our house.

Some of the men I know would argue that the hunting season is the “most wonderful time of the year.”  While I would agree that it is indeed wonderful I would argue that every event or evening spent with your family is the “most wonderful.”  I have never heard any parents say, “Oh how I wish I would have spent more time at work while the kids were growing up.”  Or, “I really wish we would have had fewer meals together as a family.”  No one in their right mind would ever say, “While my children were young, we played way to many games together.” Or, “My kids always got in the way of my hunting.”

There are several things that I enjoy about the hunting season.  I love being out in the woods with my children.   I love teaching them, walking with them, helping them understand safety, the elements, and just being amazed by God’s creation all around us, together.  I want them to understand how to properly handle firearms, clean whatever game they get, provide for the family, and just what it means to “have dominion” over the earth, as Genesis 1:26, 28 instruct.

This is a wonderful time of the year – for many reasons.  The holidays are a terrific time because they tend to be focused times for the family.  I want to encourage you not to wait until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day!  Make plans to spend a few evenings at home, together, as a family. If you are a hunter, include your family, teach your children, and take advantage of the limited opportunities you have to influence them for God’s glory and their own good!

Clegguart Mitchell

Elevate Your Christmas Focus

Christmas%20cross%20Wallpaper__yvt2Let the chaos begin. Do you remember the good-ole-days when we used to spend Thanksgiving Day together with our family? Everyone would gather at grandma’s house, we would share in a turkey feast, watch a little football, take a nap, and then completely lose our minds. The sun would go down and normal people would be transformed into shopping monsters to be unleashed at midnight.

For the record, I only did that once. I will never do that again. The so called “black Friday” shopping part that is. As for turkey and football – who am I to mess with tradition?!

The times have changed though. The shopping monsters couldn’t wait until midnight this year. They were loosed, restrained, re-loosed, and re-restrained on Thursday and then re-re-loosed at midnight for Friday’s blackness. Honestly, just thinking about it is making me tired and dizzy.

I want to make a radical suggestion. Take a few moments and stop the Christmas chaos in your life. Breathe. Now elevate your focus and yield your attention in worship and adoration as you consider this:

“He (Jesus Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:15-20)

“Though he (Jesus Christ) was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:6-11).

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us” (Romans 8:31-34).

Merry Christmas!