Here are a few things I’ve read and have been thinking about this week. Have a great weekend everyone!
“I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord”(Numbers 24.13)
These are words from Balaam the prophet to Balak the king of Moab. Balak was attempting to coerce Balaam into cursing the Israelites who were occupying the land next to Moab. This story of Balaam, which by the way gets mentioned quite a bit in the rest of Scripture, is a great reminder that being guided by God’s word does come with restrictions. Holiness is the goal with freedom being found within not outside of God’s boundaries. Holiness leads to freedom not the other way around. Balaam was free to speak truth to power (aka. The king of Moab) by following God’s word.
People do not stand up to preach because they needed a job and have answered a want ad in the newspaper, but because the church prayerfully set them apart for this ministry. They have been entrusted with a ministry that does not belong to them but that belongs to Christ and is given to the whole church.The Witness of Preaching by Thomas G. Long
Being prayerfully set apart by the church for pastoral ministry is one of the things that keeps me grounded with humility and gratitude. Rarely a week goes by that I am not struck by the profound thought that people have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice so that I may be a pastor. We pastors are given this great gift not because we earned it but because others sensed a call on our lives; saw gifts for the role; and were willing to share their resources. I cannot put it into words how humbling that is.
My prayers are with the President and Melania for a full and speedy recovery. I’m also praying for protection for others who may have been exposed. For the last six months a group across First Church has been praying regularly for our nation and world as we journey through the pandemic. This has been a reminder that we are far from done. My heart breaks for the family and friends of the 1 million plus persons who have lost their lives to Covid. May God bring comfort for our grief and healing to our land.