Archive for August, 2013

Four Lessons Every Pastor and Christ-Follower Needs to Know

Last week, I shared how the Lord spoke to me through Psalm 75:6-7 and how they became my life verses.

For promotion does not come from the east, north, or south; but God is the judge. He puts down one and sets up another. Psalm 75:6-7

Today, I want to share with you some lessons I have learned and am still learning from God as found in Psalm 75:6-7. These lessons are not only for pastors, but for all Christians.

  1. Get to know God and let Him promote you if He chooses to do so. When you knock on the Lord’s door in prayer consistently, He will open the doors He wants you to walk through in your life.
  2. God uses people, but God alone determines your future. The Lord moves His gospel and His people on the tracks of a relationship. Therefore, relationships are very important to your future. Yet, with a convincing conviction, I know fully: God alone determines your future! He knows your end from the beginning!
  3. Leadership is temporary and you are a steward over it. The Word declares in Psalm 75:6-7 that God puts down one man and sets up another. Yes, He puts them down, lays them aside; not as waste or clutter, but because He has something else for the man himself and for whomever He is leading. Therefore, for this season, you may have leadership, but it is temporary. While you have it, steward it well and unto the Lord.
  4. God raises people up to do a specific task for a specific time. As God sets one person aside from a task, He raises up another for a season of time. Yes, He raises a person up to do a specific task for a specific time. Task and time go together. When these are married, BOOM!  Oh yes, God may want you to do a specific task, and you are yearning and believing He does. Yet, at this time, He has not allowed you to do it. What could this mean? Timing is critical. Be patient. In His time, He will bring the task. If He desires it, no one can keep you from it. Then, there are times in life you may hit a sobering moment, realizing that God may not raise you up to do what you felt all along He would. Why does this happen? I cannot say. But I do know that He knows what is best for you. I have said this over and over again and believe it firmly: God knows what is best for me when I don’t know what is best for myself.

A Testimony to Share

In December 1980, I faced a massive challenge to these words. I had just graduated with my Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Seminary. I was going in view of a call to a church in a fast-growing region in Texas. I was thrilled and fired up. The Sunday went splendid. In this little mission church, people were all over the altar getting saved, and joining the church.

When the Chairman called me a week later, I was ready to go. When his voice spoke words like these, I was devastated. “Ronnie, unknowing to me, our by-laws call for the Pastor to receive 95% of the vote. When the church voted this morning, you fell just short.” I was wrecked. I was devastated. Depressed. Completely hopeless.

How did I survive? The Holy Spirit awakened my heart and reminded me of Psalm 75:6-7. These words were the words and promise that got me through that moment of devastation.

Yes, God is so good, He knows what is best for us when we do not know what is best for ourselves. Within months, the Lord called me to another church, which He really used to launch me into a life and ministry far beyond what I could have ever dreamed.

Pastor, Jesus knows your email address and even your mobile number. Trust Him.

Yours for the Great Commission,

Ronnie W. Floyd

Three Keys to Seeing Other People the Way Jesus Sees People

Small-Group-Bible-StudyAs we read through the New Testament, we cannot miss the way in which Jesus saw people. Crowds weary from travel, hungry from listening to a lot of preaching, beggars, the marginalized, the sick, and the lost were all embraced in His sweeping gaze.

It becomes obvious that Jesus did not merely look; He saw.

Too often, the busyness of our lives removes from us the possibility of truly doing the latter of the two. We look at an accident on the interstate, but do we see the damage to the people involved? We look at a husband and wife straining to appear normal, but do we see the widening gaps in the marital foundation? We look at the backward girl in the middle school assembly, but do we see the bullying she’s enduring at school?

Looking takes but a moment; seeing requires us to process information, connect dots, sympathize, and understand. It also requires action.

All around us are people who need Christ. Do we see them? All around us are believers who are struggling to walk with Christ. Do we see them? All around us are believers desperately wanting to be connected, but are entrenched in loneliness. Do we see them?

A recent survey found that 74% of Protestant churchgoers feel they “have developed significant relationships with people at [their] church.” Yet, the same survey found that only 53% of the same group are intentionally trying to meet new people at their church.

Nearly half of our people are looking without seeing.

To help more people along the path of discipleship means that first, we must see them. Then, involve them. With that in mind, here are three keys to help us learn to see with Jesus’ eyes:

Key #1: Help people learn to go beyond the surface.

Most churches have some kind of greeting time during the worship time. These are good as far as they go, but have inherent limitations. It tends to be loud. People are moving around. There is an expectation of a handshake, a “good to see you,” and not much else. It’s like speed dating for visitors.

Rather than the greeting being the end, make it a means. Teach people to identify people to catch up with at the end of the service to engage more fully. The first time may not be the right time for a small-group invite, but it can be the right time to start remembering a name, a face, the family structure, or get contact info.

Key #2: Have people tell specific stories of seeing with Jesus’ eyes.

This does not have to be the leader personally, but a story they know. Use the “wins” in your church body to show others how to see. Rather than saying, “I read this story this week,” say, “John, come and tell everyone that amazing thing you witnessed Tuesday morning.”

Key #3: Pray for Christ-like compassion for yourself and the body.

Often in the gospels, we are told that Jesus had compassion on a certain group of people. This usually led to an action on His part, like healing the sick or feeding the crowd. Seeing with Jesus’ eyes is directly tied to compassion. As we see with Jesus’ eyes, we will experience compassion as He did and be moved to reach out to others both inside and outside the family of faith.

In our Bible Studies for Life curriculum series that formally begins this fall, I believe we will see God deepen relationships through teaching people from God’s Word. I believe you and your church will benefit spiritually if you use this curriculum, all the way from Preschool to Adults. If you are interested, you can find more information and sample lessons here.

Yours for the Great Commission,

Ronnie W. Floyd

Senior Pastor, Cross Church Northwest Arkansas

General Editor, Bible Studies for Life