Monday, July 25, 2011

How long does a Pastor Work??

So what do you do anyway Pastor when you are at the office? You just look at the Internet and play Spades online huh? Yeah Sometimes, and sometimes I play fantasy football and watch TV, rarely, very rarely but sometimes. However, the life of a Pastor is very hectic. It is a non-stop, always on-demand, 24-7 job.

Anyone still think pastors only work one day per week? According to a study by LifeWay Research, full-time senior pastors tend to work 55 hours or more per week, and 42% work 60 or more hours. When including bi-vocational pastors, part-time senior pastors and volunteer pastors, 35% work at least 60 hours a week, and 30% work 50–59 hours.

Half spend 5–14 hours a week preparing sermons, while 9% spend 25 or more with just 7% spending less than 5. 30% of evangelical pastors spend 20 or more hours a week in sermon preparation vs. 20% of mainline pastors. Other time-consuming activities include meetings, handling e-mail or e-correspondence, counseling others, or in hospital, home or witnessing visits.

More than 70% of pastors spend up to 5 hours a week in meetings with 15% doing so 10 hours or more a week. 30% spend 20–29 hours a week with their families, and 16% report spending 40 or more hours with them. 52% spend 1–6 hours in prayer each week, and the same percentage spend 2–5 hours in personal devotions unrelated to sermon prep. 14% spend an hour or less in personal devotions. 24% watch TV 10–14 hours each week.

The scary stat is while being all things for all people, we are nothing to ourselves. Only 14% spend an hour or less in personal devotion. If we don't personally grow, how can we expect our churches we have been entrusted with to grow.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


One of my favorite movies that I enjoy watching is "Law Abiding Citizen" starring Jamie Foxx and Gerald Butler. An overlooked but powerful scene in the movie is at the very beginning when a story is told about Marcus Aurelius.

“Marcus Aurelius hired a servant to walk behind him as he made his way through the Roman town square. And this servant’s only job was to whisper in his ear when people praised him, ‘You’re only a man. You’re only a man.’

As I continue to get ready for our VBS at the Macedonia church, which will concentrate on Leadership, I realized that good leadership is about assembling the right team. No Leader can carry the entire load; therefore the assembling of a good leadership team is vital for ministry.

One insight that I read on this subject matter comes from Jim Collins' book Good to Great. He said before you even think of deciding where it is that you want to go as an organization/church/business or community group, you need to make sure you assemble the right team.

1.Get the right people on the bus (your leadership team)

2.Get the wrong people off the bus.

3.Get the right people in the right seats

Many times, we fail to assemble the right team! Instead of finding the right people for the position, we pick "OUR PEOPLE, or PASTOR PEOPLE, or YES MEN. Our staff, our deacon board, our accountability committee looks like a grand collection of people who instead of in love walk with us to remind us "YOU'RE JUST A MAN", they are hand picked cheerleaders, our personal, paid entourage who holla on demand, "YOU DA MAN"!

All of us like people who give us compliments and appreciate our efforts because in service work, many receivers of the gift God has given you act like they could do it better, faster and cheaper than you; however, it is dangerous to surround yourself with people who will not tell you the truth but would rather fill your ears with good sounding words. We must remember that the first key to leading and living a Blessed Life is to not walk in the counsel of the ungodly.

Colin Powell said, "If you have a Yes man working for you, one of you is redundant".

There is a danger that is worse than surrounding yourself with YES MEN and that is having the power to actually create your own YES MEN. To cultivate, Construct, to create your own private cheering section of YOU DA MAN PASTOR PEOPLE.

A Yes Man is someone that won’t challenge your position and in fact they will always tell you what you want to hear and then scurry about to execute your plan. Generally, Yes Men can be easily found in a crowd because they are the up and coming risers, trying to advance their careers as quickly as they can.

Our job in leadership development for the church is not to develop YES MEN but GOD MEN. A GOD MAN will be loyal to the Pastor because you can't follow God and disrespect his program or his Pastor. A GOD MAN will know how to express an opinion without disrespecting the office or the officer. A GOD MAN is not just looking to see how much power they can possess or just talk to hear themselves talk.

GOD MEN who have been trained either by the Acts 6 principle, the I Timothy 3 Principle or the Matthew 25 Parable of the Talents principle; Leadership within the church is not management in the business sense but stewardship. We don't own or run! We are entrusted with and must answer.

Thank God that I have been blessed at Macedonia with a Marcus Aurelius who loves me enough to say, "YOU'RE ONLY A MAN! Thank God in our Convention Work, District, State and National, I have real Pastoral friends who will walk with me while praise is being showered and say "YOU'RE ONLY A MAN".

I am looking forward to vacation Bible School 2011!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Keep the Way Open

The CEO of a large manufacturing corporation was in the habit of going to a room on the roof of the administration building and locking himself in, that he might be free from interruptions. One day he discovered that the building was on fire. He flew to the door to find that the lock had become set, and he was unable to open it.

He remembered the intercom which communicated with the room below. But, his calls were in vain. It had been many months since he had last used the intercom, and it had become so corroded with soot and dust that it was useless.

How fit an illustration is this of the prayerless life. It is by daily fellowship that we keep the way open between ourselves and God.

When is the last time you talked to God?

What dirt, soot, contamination is blocking you from talking to God?

Where do you need to clean in your life so there is nothing that would hinder your prayers?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Leading is Following Backwards

Continuing to get ready for our 2011 Vacation Bible School where we will be teaching the adult class on the concept of Leadership Vs Management within the Church, I am compiling many articles, books and sources for our lecture.

I found a great article written by Eric M. Bryant that talks about Leading is Following Backwards:

Following is leading backwards. The opposite of leading is not following; the opposite of leading is apathy. Following creates the character and the credibility to lead. When we humble ourselves and set aside our dreams to help others accomplish theirs, we catch a glimpse of God’s character.

Joshua influenced his nation beyond his lifetime. He was chosen to replace Moses and lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land. It was Joshua who led the people of Israel to march around Jericho. How did Joshua gain such influence?

When Joshua is first mentioned in Scriptures, we find him in a situation we would not imagine for the future leader of God’s children. Joshua was Moses’ assistant, his aid. Joshua did not appear to be headed towards greatness. Joshua was an intern; the person Moses would ask to carry his luggage, put up his tent, or pick up some manna on the way to their meetings.

“Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel….”

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commands I have written for their instruction.”

“Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God….’” – Exodus 24:9-14a

By serving Moses faithfully in mundane ways, Joshua walked into God’s presence! Sharing a meal with God is quite a perk for an assistant. Joshua was later chosen to travel with Caleb and ten other spies to check out the new land. When looking to replace Moses, God did not choose Moses’ brother Aaron or sister Miriam. He did not choose Nadab, Abihu, or any of the seventy elders. He chose Moses’ assistant. God chooses to exalt those who are humble.

When we serve others faithfully and effectively, we work toward accomplishing another person’s vision. When we are willing to sacrifice ourselves for others, our leaders recognize we can be trusted. If we can be trusted as a follower, then we can be trusted with followers.

Early in his new role, Joshua had the opportunity to establish his own reputation as a miracle worker. Just as Moses parted the waters as the Israelites escaped from Egypt, God planned another spectacular water trick to exalt Joshua.

“And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses’” (Joshua 3:7).

After the waters stopped flowing and the people had crossed to the other side, Joshua stood ready to seize the moment. We expect he would point out that this miracle confirmed his leadership. Instead, Joshua chose a different message for the people.

“Joshua said to the Israelites… ‘[God] did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God’” (Joshua 4:21a, 24).

Joshua chose to point people to the Lord’s leadership rather than his own. He was more concerned with building God’s reputation than his own. This should come as no surprise; he spent years building up Moses rather than pursuing his own interests.

We can become a better leader by serving as a better follower. In these moments we discover what Christ meant when he promised that “we find our lives when we lose our lives serving him and serving others.”

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bring the Book

The beginning of the Summer Exodus has begun as many people were missing from church on Sunday but we had a great time with the members and visitors who were in the house. Sundays have become a little more hectic for me than usual but it has sharpened my vision in the pulpit. Teaching the New Members class at 8:30 and the Prayer Class at 9 has made me right ready when I hit in the pulpit and I can tell during the preaching moment.

I have had the same experience two Sundays in a row. I prepared a sermon that I thought would be used for a section of the church addressing one thing and God has made me use it for the entire body. I am walking into a series of sermons from Psalms 1. To prepare the soil, I have been concentrating in sermons on making The Word of God our emphasis in our lives, in our church and in all that we do.

We used Nehemiah 8 as our platform to plant this idea in the collective spirit of the membership. We need more Ezra's in the Pulpit who can:

Vs 1 "Bring the Book"

Vs 5 "Opened the Book"

Vs 8 "Explained the Book"

It amazes me how many "Books " are brought to the church, the pulpit, the business meetings, our Sunday Schools, Our Vacation Bible Schools and our Christian Education Departments that are not or have no relation to THE BOOK which is GOD'S HOLY WORD.

Let me quickly say, I appreciate, thank God for and want to be the best rounded preacher I can be by reading all that I can in supplemental reading; however, we cannot allow this to take the place or remove from our diet the fundamental reading which is God's Holy Word.

We need some more Ezra's who will BRING THE BOOK. Not Robert's Rules of Order! Not Parliamentary Procedures! Not Someone who has studied the Constitution and the By-laws of the Church more than they have the Word of God. Not Politicians but a Preacher.

Again, thank God for politicians! They have a place and a purpose but they are not the pastor/teacher. We do not need a Day of Prayer from a politician, we need a preacher to teach us the Bible wants us to PRAY WITHOUT CEASING. We do not need a resolution from the State House or a Bill signed from the White House ordering a day of observance for religion, we need a Preacher, an Ezra to bring, open and explain the Word so we will know it must be a daily lifestyle, not a one-time event.

Thank God for all that Nehemiah did in leadership, organization, strategic planning, vision casting and implementation but it takes a preacher to teach the people what thus says the Lord and thereby restoring them to where they should be.

In presentation, God allowed it to go better than preperation. I had fun explaining why we stand upon the reading of the Word of God and what that really meant back then and what it should mean now; the building of the pulpit and what it was built from (WOOD) and why it was elevated and the people's reception, reactions and results to the Word of God.

The people:

Said Amen, Amen, We don't say amen for the preacher, we say Amen, truly truly, verily, so be it in response to the word of God.

They lifted their hands, bowed their heads, laid prostrate and cried out to God as they responded to the bringing, opening and explaining of the Word of God.

They learned a lesson that we all should remember: Through the Word of God, The Joy of the Lord is our Strength.

We had a great time on Sunday, spiritually and financially.

Our 90th State convention for the Original General Missionary Baptist State Convention of Indiana Incorporated is going on in Ft Wayne Indiana this week. Please pray for us.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Boundaries Vs. Branching Out

I inherited a church that had a healthy love for the Book written by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend entitled, "Boundaries": When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life. It was done as a Bible Study here several Pastors ago. While I appreciate the Boundaries Book, if not careful it can serve as motivation for the old song, "I SHALL NOT, I SHALL NOT BE MOVED, JUST LIKE A TREE THAT'S PLANTED BY THE WATERED, I SHALL NOT BE MOVED.

One of the most important duties for any leader is moving people from their comfort zone to their "wheelhouse", area of expertise, their sweet spot.

Getting out of your comfort zone is like going to the gym for your mind, your confidence, and your creativity. It forces you to engage things in a new way. It stimulates you to think new thoughts and see things in a different light. It expands the scope of what you see as currently within reach. Without it, your mind gets flabby.

The problem with this is most people are resistant to being moved because COMFORT IS THE ENEMY TO CHANGE. Most of my members ignored the part of the book that taught them how and when to say yes but rather embraced the no concept.

It’s good to stretch someone beyond their comfort zone. To put people in situations that stretch their capabilities and familiarity. It’s how you pull potential out of people that didn’t even know they had. Make them realize they are capable of things they won’t believe until they do them. Past the edge of our comfort and convenience is where God can raise our lives to new heights.

One of the biggest hindrances to this is not only comfort but the Past. Nostalgia is the best friend of comfort. Often times, when we have stepped out of a comfortable situation because we know it is holding us back, we find ourselves confronted by nostalgia. When the future is uncertain, it is natural for us to think about the past, and long for what was comfortable.

What’s deadly about nostalgia is that is always looks different than reality. Nostalgia shows us the past as we wish it was, anything negative tends to be either filtered out, or blurred into the background.

Nostalgia and comfort work together to stunt our growth and keep us from progress.

While it’s good to stretch a person out of their comfort zone, we have to understand that it was God who wired them, gave them life experiences, passions, burdens, and skills to do what He called them to do.

In other words, they have a God-ordained sweet spot. A place of intersection where God has called them to live in and function out of.

People can’t be anything they want to be. Or anything we want them to be. But they can be everything God created them to be. And this only happens as they’re operating in their sweet spot. Where they’re using everything God has equipped them with to be all He has called them to be.

Stretching someone out of their comfort zone should be a means of developing people in their sweet spot. Not taking them out of it. There’s such a thing as being uncomfortable because you’re being stretched. And then there’s being uncomfortable because you’re doing something you weren’t created for.

Our prayer is over the upcoming Vacation Bible School is to develop new leaders and transform older leaders into finding our sweet spots in Christ for greater service. I believe that Acts 6 model shows us how to find our sweet spot and we will talk about that in the upcoming posts.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tugging at my Heart

A twelve year old boy became a christian during a revival. The next week at school his friends questioned him about the experience. "Did you see a vision?" asked one friend. "Did you hear God speak?" asked another.

The youngster answered no to all these questions. "Well, how did you know you were saved?" they asked. The boy searched for an answer and finally he said, "It’s like when you catch a fish, you cant see the fish, or hear the fish; you just feel him tugging on your line. I just felt God tugging on my heart."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Leadership is Serving God, Not the Sheep

I am getting ready for our 2011 Vacation Bible School which will be held July 25th-July 29th. I am teaching the adult class this year on the concept of Leadership Vs. Management. It is a topic that not only for the church I serve, but for the entire body of Christ, needs to be discussed in great detail.

I have come across many authors with good information that I am looking forward to sharing. One of those authors was Fred Smith who wrote the book, "Learning to Lead: Bringing out the Best in Other People" from The Leadership Library Volume 5 (24-25) His section on "Leadership is serving God, Not the Sheep proved to be invaluable and it is out of that section that I share this:

Currently one of the most popular concepts is “servant leadership.” Properly understood, it’s a helpful concept, but it has been terribly abused.

The Christian leader is primarily a servant of God, not a servant of the sheep. Many shepherds act as if they’re servants of the sheep—a faulty concept. You are a servant of God, given to absolute obedience to what he says. To extend that to say you are the servant of each sheep is a fallacy.

Steve Brown, a pastor in Florida, said he nearly became neurotic when he used to think he worked for the church—because he had five hundred bosses. When your boss calls in the middle of the night to tell you something, you’re supposed to do it. But if everybody in the church is your boss and you’re their servant, you’ve got an absolutely intolerable position.

Yes, you lead by serving, but the major expression of your service is your leadership.

Take, for instance, Lee Iacocca, a great leader. He is the servant of the Chrysler Corporation, but he doesn’t ask the assembly line workers to decide where the company should go. He may solicit opinions, but Lee Iacocca doesn’t ask the man on the machine to do anything except run the machine and run it well—and have faith in the company. Iacocca’s servanthood is expressed by his leadership. If he were to quit leading, he would no longer be a trustworthy servant of Chrysler.

There are shepherds who constantly ask the sheep which way to go. If the pastor quits leading the sheep and starts following them, he is no longer a trustworthy shepherd.

In addition, a shepherd does not expect his compensation, blessing, or reward to come from the sheep. He expects it to come from the owner of the sheep. I don’t know of any sheep that ever gathered around to applaud the shepherd. All they do is cause him trouble.

Sheep are the work. They’re not the wage.

As leaders we have to say, “I’m going to get my ultimate strokes from God.”

If we don’t watch ourselves, we start manipulating things to get strokes from the sheep. If that happens, it’s like what Jesus said about giving alms in public. God will say, “You’ve got your reward.” You can lead with an eye on crowd approval, but if you lead primarily to be rewarded by the sheep, you’re not going to be rewarded by the owner of the sheep.

This position is difficult for some pastors to accept because of their personality make-up. Some pastors prefer serving people. There’s a certain ego satisfaction in doing menial things for other people. They justify it by saying, “I’m showing people I’m not above doing menial things,” which is a prideful statement, when you think about it.

Leaders who say, “Anything you need, let me know. I’ll cut your lawn. I’ll drive the kids to school” are not serving God, nor are they offering their best to their people. They are failing to understand the doctrine of gifts. There’s no point in a clumsy, all-thumbs person trying to be a carpenter. He might desire the servant role, but he isn’t serving. If my gift is leading (as evidenced by my having followers), then my serving is leading.

Smith, F. (1986). Vol. 5: Learning to lead : Bringing out the best in people. The Leadership library (24–25). Carol Stream, Ill.: CTi.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Free Indeed!!!!!!

I was prepared on Sunday to preach a message from John 8:32-36 concerning Free Indeed. The Lord led me in a different direction and I wound up preaching on Acts 12 concerning "Keep Knocking". The Lord blessed our obedience. It was wonderful to be back in the pulpit after so many preachers, McGhee, Witherspoon, Bacon, Arthur Lane, Bishop Alford, just to name a few, have just unleashed havoc on Satan and his forces through the sound preaching of the Word.

I am still amazed by how many people live life under the disguise of freedom when all the while they are bound and chained. They think their job frees them. Their money. Their social status. Their educational level, but John 8:32-36 teaches us all of these things are not the Sum of our freedom.

In these verses, Jesus is speaking to a group of people who thought they were free. They believed that because they were the sons of Abraham, they enjoyed spiritual freedom, v. 33. Jesus lets them know that because they are sinners, they are slaves to sin, v. 34. This same truth is repeated by Paul in Rom. 6:16.

Jesus also wants the audience listening in that day, as well as in this day, to know that He has the power to make men truly free, v. 32. He reminds them that because they are slaves to sin, they are not truly free. He tells them in v. 35 that a slave is not a permanent part of the family, while a son is. Then, Jesus tells us that since He is the Son, He has the power to make men truly free, v. 36.

You see, a person can be locked away in a prison and still be free in Jesus. A person can live in an atheistic, godless society and still be free in Jesus. He has the power to make men truly free. This text encourages us to:


Jesus says the source of spiritual our freedom in v. 32 is in “the truth”. This word refers to “that which is true in respect to God and the execution of His purposes in Jesus Christ.” In other words, the truth Jesus refers to is the whole truth regarding Who He is and what He did for sinners. It refers to the whole truth about Jesus Christ.


Jesus says in verse 36 that when He makes a person “free” they are “free indeed”. The first word translated “free” comes from a word that means “to set at liberty”. It is the picture of someone liberating a slave from bondage.

The second word translated “free” refers to “one who is freeborn”. Jesus is saying that the freedom He gives us when He saves us is so complete that “it is as if we were never slaves to begin with, but it is as if we were freeborn sons of God”.

The liberty Jesus gives us is so complete that it blots out our past and makes us absolutely and eternally free in Him. That is a far cry from where we were before we met Him, John 8:34; Eph. 2:1-3. Thank God for the liberty we enjoy in Jesus Christ!

Consider for a moment that areas where we have been liberated.

We have been delivered from the wrath of God – Rom. 5:9

We have been delivered from condemnation – Rom. 8:1

We have been delivered from death and Hell – John 5:24; John 3:16

We have been delivered from the power of sin – Rom. 6:13-14

We have been delivered from the power of Satan – 1 Pet. 5:8-9


Our freedom as Americans was purchased at a very high cost. We should be thankful for it. While the price for our national freedom was costly and bloody, it pales in comparison to the cost of our spiritual freedom. The cost of our spiritual freedom was the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary.

It was there that He “gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1Ti 2:6)

It was there that He became “the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1Jo 2:2)

It was there that “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isa 53:5)

It was there that “the LORD…laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isa 53:6)

Why did He do it? The answer is quite simple. He did it because He loves us! “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8)


I don't know what your freedom means to you, don't know what had you bound and how long you were intertwined within your mess but as you do inventory of your life and recognize that you are now walking in freedom, there should be a war cry. There should be a rumbling of praise. There should be a shout.

We have a song that the angels can not sing. I have been redeemed!