Category Archives: Pastor’s Page

From the desk of Pastor Stan – 2nd Sermon From The Series Rooted

I Planted, Apollos Watered, But God Gave the Growth

My aim in this message is to bring God’s word to bear on this amazing and wonderful and historic moment in the life of our church. The moment I have in mind is the overlapping transition phase in the process between my ministry as Pastor for Preaching and Vision for the last 44 years. That is the amazing, unprecedented moment we find ourselves in. <!–split–>

A Preemptive Application

This message is an exposition and application to our situation of 1 Corinthians 3:5–9. I choose this text because it is designed by God to teach a church how to think and feel about a situation in the church where two leaders have become a flashpoint of pride and division. That was the case at Corinth, and therefore my message is preemptive. I am not aiming to remove a problem; I am aiming to prevent one. If the truths of this text take hold of us as a church, what a wonderful, peaceful, humble, God-exalting season this will be. That’s my aim. The two leaders who have become the flashpoint of pride and division are Paul and Apollos. Look at 1 Corinthians 1:11–12. The church is lining up behind favorite teachers and boasting in them in such a way that quarrels and divisions are happening. The entire first four chapters of this letter deal with this problem.

An Occasion for Pride and Division

So there’s the issue and the goal: Paul and Apollos have become the flashpoint for the people being “puffed up in favor of one against another” – two leaders becoming the occasion for pride and division. That’s what Paul addresses in our text in 1 Corinthians 1 Corinthians 3:5–9. What can we learn about God and about human leadership, that will result in humility and boasting in the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:31) and not in man (1:29)? “Leaders are more honorable as they decrease and God increases.” Again verse 5: they are “servants through whom you believed.” Through whom. That means, the power that brought you to faith did not and does not reside in them. It flows Paul and Apollos are not saviors. They are not the gospel. They are not the Holy Spirit. They are not the source of power. The are not God. They are table-waiters. And the faith that happens when the food of God’s word is served, happens through them, like a canal, not from them like a spring. So don’t think of them as originators. They don’t originate. They deliver. They serve.

God Assigns the Response

Verse 5 again: Paul and Apollos are “servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned or gave to each.” In other words, even if you detect a difference in who responds in faith when Paul or Apollos speaks, remember: The Lord assigns those differences. The Lord gives faith to whom he will when Paul or Apollos speaks. If you think that the differences in responsiveness to the one or the other is ultimately owing to them, you do not yet understand how faith arises. Yes, you came to faith through Paul or through Apollos. But God gave that faith. God assigned that response. Don’t think Paul or Apollos was the decisive cause of your faith. They weren’t. The diversity of responses are decisively God’s doing. Verse 6: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” This makes the same point with different words. God is decisive, not man. He is going to say this again even more emphatically. But here notice that he does acknowledge the reality and the significance of planting and watering. And keep in mind verse 5: What comes through planting and watering is faith. “Servants through whom you believed.” The effect of planting is faith. The effect of watering is faith. But the decisive cause of faith — the life and growth of the plants — is not planting and watering.

The Emphasis Falls On God Not Man

It’s texts like these and hundreds of others that make us want to be a God-centered church. We want to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things. Things like planting and watering. Things like how you think about pastoral leaders. How you think about the fruit of their lives. God is supreme in the ministry of the church. God is supreme in the planting and watering. God is supreme in causing faith and giving the growth. God knows it. The Day — the Day of Judgment — will disclose it. Till they pray for them, because they will give an account for your souls and for their labor and their motives that you cannot see. God will give them their wages — their rewards — not you. Be careful how you boast and how you criticize. ONLY WHAT YOU DO FOR CHRIST WILL LAST.

Finally, verse 9: “For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” “We are God’s fellow workers.” What does that mean? The original wording and the context suggest it means Apollos and I are fellow workers with each other who belong to God. Not that we are fellow workers with God as a third worker. This is another statement of God’s supremacy — his authority, his rule. These fellow workers belong to God. WE ARE PARTNERS IN MINISTRY WITH GOD

From the desk of Pastor Stan—Getting Rooted- Becoming and Living Stronger with God

For the entire month of August 2020, I chose to focus all my messages on the above mentioned topic. There’s a song that we sing and the lyrics go something like this:

 

“I am thine O Lord I have heard thy voice. And it told of thy love to me.

But I long to rise in the arms of faith and be closer drawn to thee.

Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer Blessed Lord to the cross. Where thou hast died

Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord, To thy precious bleeding side.”

 My brothers and sisters, I know that if we come humbly before God, make our requests known, and allow God to work in us and through God will manifest Himself through us. Now is the time to get right with God and the series helps us to become stronger, live stronger and get rooted in God. I would like to share with you excerpts from the messages. Please read and pray, and may God lead and guide you as you honestly seek Him to discover what type of soil you are. The first sermon/message was planted.

Let’s take a look at the 4 different types of soil described in the parable of the sower.  <!–split–>

A hardened or oblivious heart is a barren wasteland. (Matthew 13:19)

Some are opposed to the good news, and there are those that are oblivious to it. Whether by personal volition or innocent omission, this parable is clear that seed will not grow where there is inhospitable soil. In fact, the enemy will come and snatch the seed away because he doesn’t want the seed to have any opportunity to take root and grow in a person’s life. This kind of soil will never reproduce because it cannot reproduce.

A troubled heart produces shallow roots. (Matthew 13:20-21)

Life is a long, and at times, difficult journey. A heart that is troubled by the obstacles and adversity of life will fail to produce deep roots. These individuals have an interest in the Gospel and even seem to embrace it at the beginning of the journey. However, over time without tending to the growth of the seed of the Gospel, they will fall away during the tough times and tribulations that all disciples of Christ experience. Jesus actually warned us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Shallow roots will not sustain a person through the adverse and difficult seasons of life. It takes deep and strong roots growing in healthy soil to weather the stormy seasons.

A distracted heart bears no fruit (Matthew 13:22)

A distracted heart cannot grow the roots needed to sustain life. A heart that cares more for the things of the world than for the things of the Kingdom is not the healthy soil necessary to experience kingdom growth. Money, status, popularity, and other worldly endeavors choke out the ability of the seed to get the nutrients and care necessary to grow roots. Unhealthy and distracted soil is not the place for seed to grow, and definitely not the place to find a harvest of healthy fruit.

A fertile heart sustains life (Matthew 13:23)

A heart that is fertile is one that readily accepts the Gospel seed and does the hard work of nurturing it to grow. This heart is one that is open to the Truth of God’s Word and open to the transformation that will take place. This heart is made ready by the prompting of the Holy Spirit AND the participation of the individual. This heart does not just experience growth for themselves, but actually impacts those around them. Healthy soil is where seeds have the most opportunity to grow into life giving plants, trees, etc… For instance, a single healthy apple tree can bear enough fruit to feed dozens of people. Its shade gives rest to those who pass by on hot days. Its flowers nourish thousands of pollinators every spring. And its seed spreads and multiplies into an immeasurable amount of other apple trees over the course of its lifetime.

Conclusion/Application

What kind of soil describes your heart today? Are you indifferent to the good news of Jesus Christ? Are you needing to spend some time on the condition of your heart so that the seed of the gospel can grow deep and healthy roots? Are you distracted? Are there too many things in your life clamoring for your attention and care? If you’ve ever had an earthly garden you know the effort it takes to grow and sustain life in the garden. It’s no different with the eternal garden of your heart where the divine seeds of the gospel and the kingdom are trying to grow. They need healthy soil and consistent care.

From the desk of Pastor Stan

Learning to Lead Like Jesus With Encouragement—Chapter Ten Takeaways

  1. Encouraging leaders look every day for ways to encourage those they meet.
  2. Encouraging leaders are prayerful givers of customized courage.
  3. Encouraging leaders are generous givers of their time and money.
  4. Encouraging leaders take risks on flawed but potentially faithful leaders. <!–split–>

Learning to Lead Like Jesus with Faithfulness—Chapter Eleven Takeaways

  1. Faithful leaders walk by faith and trust the Lord with the things that are uncertain.
  2. Faithful leaders focus on depth of character and trust God for breadth of influence.
  3. Faithful leaders remain in service for the Lord beyond their career retirement.
  4. Faithful leaders have plans to manage money well, so money doesn’t manage them.
  5. Faithful leaders pursue God and receive His wisdom on how to live life.
  6. Faithful leaders put into practice what they learn.
  7. Faithful leaders are vulnerable and share their hearts.
  8. Faithful leaders develop successors who can successfully lead to the next level.
  9. Faithful leaders finish well.

From the desk of Pastor Stan . . .

Learning to Lead Like Jesus With Generosity—Chapter Eight Takeaways

  1. Generous leaders invest their time and expertise to serve a diverse range of people.
  2. Generous leaders give out of gratitude for what God has given.
  3. Generous leaders invest in their communities economically and spiritually.
  4. Generous leaders are called to generous living by the radical, generous love of God.

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 Learning to Lead Like Jesus with Forgiveness—Chapter Nine Takeaways

  1. Forgiving leaders engage in the process of confession, repentance, and forgiveness.
  2. Forgiving leaders embrace humility as a precondition for forgiveness.
  3. Forgiving leaders have abundant forgiveness even for those who hurt them the most.
  4. Forgiving leaders are chronically grateful for ongoing forgiveness from God.
  5. Forgiving leaders forgive others to the extent they have been forgiven by Christ.
  6. Forgiving leaders freely forgive others, and enjoy forgiveness from their Lord Jesus.
  7. Forgiving leaders lovingly meet their offenders and forgive specific sins.
  8. Forgiving leaders go to those they have offended, apologize, and ask for forgiveness.

From the desk of Pastor Stan . . .

Learning to Lead Like Jesus With Discipline—Chapter Six Takeaways
  1. Disciplined leaders establish regular routines that grow their devotion to Jesus.
  2. Disciplined leaders plant their lives by the water of God’s Word, and bear good fruit.
  3. Disciplined leaders are wise not to substitute their warm devotion for cold discipline.
  4. Disciplined leaders are influenced by other disciplined leaders.
  5. Disciplined leaders forgive quickly and remain grateful to God.
  6. Disciplined leaders walk with wise leaders, apply their words, and copy their actions.
  7. Disciplined leaders learn to listen to the Lord and receive His sweet love.
  8. Disciplined leaders are relentless in their pursuit of being still and knowing God.
  9. Disciplined leaders take the time to be present and to live in the present.
  10. Disciplined leaders work in a diligent manner that honors the Lord. <!–split–>
Learning to Lead Like Jesus with Gratitude—Chapter Seven Takeaways

1. Grateful leaders look to the Lord often with heartfelt praise and thanksgiving.

2. Grateful leaders have a pattern of ongoing thankfulness to God and people.

3. Grateful leaders celebrate Christ’s restoration of their lives and the lives of others.

4. Grateful leaders are thankful to God for a nation where we can enjoy the benefits of freedom.

5. Grateful leaders who work for the Lord are able to joyfully serve others.

6. Grateful leaders facilitate home environments of gratitude for their families.

From Fearful Disciples to World Changers (Part 1)

It is not a stretch to say that Jesus’ disciples experienced similar feelings as they huddled together in a house with doors locked “for fear of the Jews.” How that small group of disciples moved from paralyzing fear to changing the world is a testament of the amazing work of God in and through their lives. The gospel writer does us a favor by telling us exactly why the disciples locked themselves in the house. “… and the doors of the house were locked for fear of the Jews” — not their fellow Jews on the street, but the powerful Jewish leaders who had engineered Jesus’ execution. <!–split–>

Fear is a powerful human emotion. It shuts all kinds of doors in our lives. It shuts the door on people who are different from us, making us see them more as a threat than a friend. It shuts the door on opportunities that could lead to wonderful new chapters in our lives. Fear causes us to react to the unknown rather than see it through the eyes of God. This day, the disciples locked themselves in the house for fear of what Jesus’ opponents might do to them. Jesus had been nailed to the cross; what hope did they have?

But really, the lock on the door was unnecessary. Fear was enough to keep them locked up tight. They weren’t going anywhere.

Then Jesus showed up. He didn’t knock on the door. He didn’t ask them if it was okay for him to come in. He just appeared. John tells us, “Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’”

After that Jesus “showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” The gospel does not paint us a full picture of this event. It would be great to know more about precisely how the disciples reacted when Jesus first appeared among them, but John didn’t see the need for that. Jesus appeared and that seemed to be enough.

From the desk of Pastor Stan . . .

Chapter 4—Learning to Lead Like Jesus with Relationships

  1. Relational leaders value relationships—sometimes more than measured results.
  2. Relational leaders understand how relationships affect their quality of life.
  3. Relational leaders value the eternal significance of relationships. <!–split–>
  4. Relational leaders invest their lives in others’ lives.
  5. Relational leaders honor their parents even when they are hard to honor.
  6. Relational leaders engage their children and grandchildren in the ways of wisdom.
  7. Relational leaders view marriage as a laboratory for living out their faith.
  8. Relational leaders do what’s best for everyone instead of showing favoritism.

Chapter 5—Learning to Lead Like Jesus with Teachability

  1. Teachable leaders are ever learning the ways of the Lord.
  2. Teachable leaders learn from other leaders who complement their gifts and skills.
  3. Teachable leaders are careful not to get ahead of themselves or those they lead.
  4. Teachable leaders prepare heart and mind to receive the truth.
  5. Teachable leaders are patient to make things better before becoming bigger.
  6. Teachable leaders have authentic faith that challenges others to have the same.
  7. Teachable leaders grow in their skill to communicate clearly, creatively, and often.
  8. Teachable leaders are willing to move out of their comfort zones and learn new things.
  9. Teachable leaders discuss timeless books and ideas with others.
  10. Teachable leaders love God with their minds by learning and applying His Word.

From the Desk of Pastor Stan ……

Chapter 2—Learning to Lead Like Jesus with Love

In John 21:16-17, Jesus asks us to show our love for him by feeding and loving his sheep. Sheep—all who have given our lives to him. Chapter two for me shows that love is not only unconditional, but also patient, kind and non-judgmental. <!–split–>

Takeaways
  1. Loving leaders show kindness to others by treating them with honor and dignity.
  2. Loving leaders are long-suffering in their love for the unlovely as well as for the lovable.
  3. Loving leaders patiently look for a better way to wait to speak on another day.
  4. Loving leaders grow the capacity to love when they experience forgiveness often.
  5. Loving leaders are motivated to love by obeying Christ’s commands.
  6. Loving leaders persevere when motivated by the greater purpose of love.
  7. Loving leaders are able to love others well when they love themselves well.
  8. Loving leaders are successful when they are loved by the Lord and love others well.

Chapter 3—Learning to Lead Like Jesus With Accountability

The Bible informs us in Romans 14:12, that all of us must give an account of our stewardship.

Takeaways
  1. Accountable leaders take the time to develop plans and work them.
  2. Accountable leaders avoid compromising situations by having clearly defined boundaries.
  3. Accountable leaders fear God, submit to authority, and invite accountability.
  4. Accountable leaders do better because others are watching what they do.
  5. Accountable leaders clarify for their families what’s most important in life.
  6. Accountable leaders have purity plans, and mentors who hold them to their plans.
  7. Accountable leaders engage with communities of accountability.
  8. Accountable leaders set deadlines to help facilitate healthy decision-making.
  9. Accountable leaders are defined more by their “noes” than their “yeses.”
  10. Accountable leaders take the time to follow up and inspect what’s expected.

HE IS LORD

HE IS LORD

HE HAS RISEN FROM THE DEAD

AND HE IS LORD

EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW, EVERY TONGUE CONFESS

THAT JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!

From the desk of Pastor Stan

ACCEPT what is, let go of what WAS, and have FAITH in what WILL BE.

In his book Learning To Lead Like Jesus, Boyd Bailey, a leadership coach and entrepreneur, gives 11 principles that will help us serve, inspire and equip others. I would like as many as possible to read and study this book in 2020.

Summary of Chapter One Takeaways

Humble leaders show respect by planning ahead and listening to others.

Humble leaders ask God for wisdom to discern right from wrong.

Humble leaders celebrate the successes of others and are inspired by them.

Humble leaders use words to build up and not tear down.

Humble leaders use brokenness as a pathway to greater intimacy with God.

Humble leaders do what’s best for “us,” not just what’s best for “me.”

Humble leaders give credit for successes to others and to the team.

Recipe for a NEW YEAR

Take 365 days, trim off all the old memories of hate and discord.

Soak and wash thoroughly in plenty of love and courage.

Cut these days into 12 parts, cooking only one day at a time.

Be sure the fire is hot with enthusiasm and your kettle is bright with hope.

Season each kettle-full with some kindness for others and add patience, for small trials that come up every day.

Add a little earnestness and willingness.

Serve with smiles, praise and plenty of heartwarming joy, with your chin up.

-Author Unknown