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Supporting Jesus Our Pastor
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Supporting Jesus
Prepared for Unity Union Church, Unity, Maine 2/19/06 10:00 service William M. Howard
(Play the audio as recorded during the service. )

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Student at Grace Evangelical Seminary. I have learned.

I have a question about my involvement with preaching: Is it a Vocation or Avocation? It may be a matter of support.

A young pastor was talking with a older pastor and asked if he ever felt like quitting. The man with 50 years behind him responded with "Yes, every Monday morning."

I take that as a warning.

My children have asked me, “Dad, are you going to be a pastor?” Never.

I have a question about my involvement with preaching: Is it a Vocation or Avocation? It may be a matter of support.

Maybe I won't be a pastor. I don't know. What I do know is I will support pastors so just maybe won't feel like quitting.

The Scripture reading this morning is from a letter to the Thessalonians. It is an epistle by the Apostle Paul.

Do you know the apostle Paul? He was a supporter of Jesus and he was a supporter of pastors.

Well, not to begin with. Neither was I. And I expect neither were many of you thought about supporting the Pastor.

Paul's Youth. Father prominent tent maker in the city of Tarsus. Tarsus was busy with commerce. It was between Rome and Jerusalem. Paul grew up in the middle of the cultures.

On a sad note, his Mother died when he was 9. I can only imagine how this could have affected him.

Well his father pushed him and he became very well educated.

At age 13, he was sent to learn under Ga-ma̅li-el in Jerusalem. This was a well known lawyer Hebrew law. Do you remember all those laws that Moses was told about in Leviticus? God told Moses a bunch of things.

While under the teachings of Gamaliel, Saul of Tarsus became a well versed in the laws of the Hebrews. He became a lawyer and a great debater. He became a Pharisee. And he learned about calm logic.

Rabbi at 30 and set out to crush the blasphemers of God's laws. He set out to crush the Christians. He became a persecutor of Christians.

What happened to Saul of Tarsus?

On his way to Damascus, he was accosted by a bright light and blinded. A voice came to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" You can read the story in Chapter 9 of Acts. Paul was converted and became the greatest supporter of Jesus Christ.

The text read to you this morning is the greeting in the letter Paul wrote. I am going to go all the way to the end of the letter, the conclusion.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, NIV 12Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish (or warn) you. 13Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.

Hebrews 13:7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. (13:17 (NASB) Obey your leaders and submit to the, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give and account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.)

What was Paul's job? His job was to spread the Word. The Words of Jesus Christ. And the way he did it was to teach teachers. He setup churches. And He taught the teachers. He was a wandering Seminary. 1 Thessalonians is a letter. An epistle. This is a follow up letter to the believers.

Unlike building a church in the United States, Paul had battles with the authorities. He was put in prison and physically punished for doing his job.

Do pastors ever get punished for doing there job?

Paul was a strong individual. He was strong because of Christ. He knew Jesus "first hand". He had physically touched Jesus. And Jesus touched him. He touched the physical body of Christ, the resurrected body. He was inspired by meeting Jesus.

He saw the physical body of Christ destroyed. He saw the sacrifice made. He also saw that the soul and spirit can not be destroyed, if you believe.

And in that symbol of seeing the body torn, he could see the potential of churches being torn apart. And in the same way that Christ was put on the cross, just few people can destroy a church and worse, can destroy the pastor.

And Paul writes a letter. This is follow up letter. He does not want the church of the Thessalonians to fall apart.

He took a trowel and mortar with his letter to repair damage and keep things from getting worse. He strengthened the Thessalonian church. Through his words, his God inspired words that we can share today, he gave encouragement and support.

These passages are talking about pastors. I have taken these passages to heart. I have heard of the failing statistics of men who have dedicated their lives to serve the Lord and preach the words of Jesus. There are way too many who fall and who are falling. And it maybe a simple matter of support / to keep them from falling.

The published statistics are depressing. The majority of pastors would rather be doing something else than pastor.

Why is it like that? What can we do to help?

Pastors suffer. Pastors suffer uniquely in the world of service. Heb 13:7 "Consider the outcome of their way of life." Pastors suffer. Paul suffered. Paul sacrificed. Pastors sacrificed. Jesus sacrificed.

Fortunately, a pastor's suffering and sacrifice are different compared to what Paul and Jesus went through.

Let's talk about the pastor's job.

Part of the reason for the suffering is that pastors are expected to be many things: Preacher Teacher Counselor Business manager Accountant Fund raiser People manager Orator Missionary Parent Husband Answer man And others.

Pastors need to be time managers. That's easy. Many pastors are on call 24/7. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Pastors are yes men. Or maybe they can't say no.

Pastors are problem fixers. But pastors can't fix everyone's problem.

He is Not a substitute for God. He is not the Christ.

It sounds like the man can use some help.

How can we help the pastor? How can we support him?

First we need to know what we can expect of the man.

A hundred different people in the pews are going to expect a hundred different things.

The job is not succinctly definable because the issues of tending the flock are different for each member. At least sheep in a herd tend to stay together and follow each other with a small nudge of the staff. Some congregations are like a herd cats. Many seek their own path independent of the leader.

Some expect a little. Some expect a lot.

What can we expect of the pastor? "What can we really expect of the pastor?"

This is not an opportunity for complaining and griping about what he may or may not be doing.

Let me remind you of what the scripture says 13"Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work."

We probably will fumble with the answer to the question: “What do you expect of the pastor?”

Let's look at an analogy using a flower.

If you are told you are going to receive a flower. What will you expect? A rose, a daffodil, an iris, an orchid? You need to be told what flower you are going to get so you know what to expect. A pastor can come to you like a flower. I picture a flower with many pedals. Like a marigold. Full and dense. Long lasting. Fragrant. Hearty. There are too many flowers that bloom with a burst of color and attraction. Then after a short time the blossom withers and dies. How many young pastors shoot out of seminary, find a church and become overwhelmed? How many pastors are choked by weeds?

Expectations can and will get out of control and then no one will be happy. If we know what to expect, then there will be respect. Expect. Respect.

Now look at the way God does things. God has been trying to manage expectations. He has told us what he expects of us. Everyone got their Bible in hand? God's expectations are written right there for all to read.

The really cool part is, He tells us what we can expect of Him. What about Jesus? Look at the New Testament. Jesus tells us what he expects. He repeats everything that is in the Old Testament and for those who need a little more instruction; Jesus clarifies the expectations and covers everything that goes on in our lives. And what is really cool, tells us what we can expect of him.

Shouldn't we support our pastor by doing the same thing with him? Shouldn't we know what to expect. Shouldn't he know what he can expect from us? Hey, that would really be cool.

Let's take a moment to examine a pastor.

Consider the man. That's right, he is a man. He is not Christ. Consider the talents. Can he walk on water? No, he can't. He is not Christ. Consider true capabilities. Work out the expectations so you all know. What can the pastor expect of you? Likewise, the pastor should establish what he expects of the congregation. The end of 1 Thessalonians 5, verses 14 through 27, is a great list of expectations.

14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. Is the pastor the only one that you expect to do this? (Deacons, Elders)

15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Give the pastor a break so he can look upon you and trust you.

16 Rejoice evermore. Pastors shouldn't be the only expected to rejoice. Quit your bellyaching and talk about the God given blessings in your life.

17 Pray without ceasing. If we prayed more, we would be a better parishioners.

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. We need give thanks for all things in our lives.

19 Quench not the Spirit. Be the cheerleader. Help the pastor build the spirit. 20 Do not despise prophetic utterances. Jesus is coming. Maybe not today so don't complain about it.

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Be careful of gossip.

22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. We don't want to be considered a hypocrite. 23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Prepare yourself for the His arrival.

24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. We need to help Pastors keep the faith.

25 Brethren, pray for us. Pray for you pastor. 26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss. Or a true Christian hand shake. If you had the opportunity to shake the hand of Jesus, how would you shake His hand?

27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.

It is about us doing the thing that pastors, that God, that Jesus expects us to do?

What is the best way to support the pastor?

Make the pastor’s salary a priority. (I don't mean reaching into your pocket or pocket book to hand him more money. Now don't get me wrong. Pay him what you can. Fill his vehicle up with gas. Wash his vehicle. Send him and his wife on an overnight retreat. Watch the kids for them.)

Be sure he gets a whole day off every week.

These are all great things. Beyond these material and financial things, the best way you can support your pastor is to follow the Bible. Follow Jesus. Love Jesus. Love God. Love your pastor and be committed towards him.

Keep the expectations reasonable. And if he doesn't do anything else all week but prepare the message, accept that and support him. Do you: 13Hold your Pastor in the highest regard in love because of his work?

Let us pray. Thank you for Lord for our time together to talk about the men who present your word, Thank you for allowing us to realize, we need to support Pastors. Thank you Lord for your Word. We support you. Thank you for Jesus. We support Him. Thank you our pastor. Help us be strong, be wise and be at peace so we can support him. In Jesus we pray. Amen.



Ivory Digits
William M. Howard
10 Fish Ave.
PO Box 316
Jefferson, ME 04348-0316
(207) 214-7912

Copyright 2016 William M. Howard