Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Feeding Sheep

I've been constantly amazed by the depth of God's Word. I'm preaching a series on 1 & 2 Samuel on Sunday mornings and our Wednesday Bible study is working through Philippians. I am so blessed that I get to study, teach and preach God's Word as a significant part of my vocation. The best part is that if I keep to the text, my appreciation of this Word will continue to grow as long as God gives me strength.

I try not to focus on the negatives "out there" in the Evangelical world, but I am very aware of many starving sheep in other churches. Why can't pastors see that they need to simply preach the Word and - as Christians - preach Christ from all of Scripture?

As I was feasting on Philippians yesterday, I thought of reports from a few people I know about the lack of food at their churches. An illustration came to mind:

Preachers that are doing everything but preaching Christ from the Bible are like shepherds who lead their flock out to the middle of the desert to show them pretty rocks. "OOOH! Look at those pink crystals!" Meanwhile, the sheep are starving and dying of thirst.

Pastors, get down into the valley. Lead those poor sheep to the still waters and green pastures of the Good Shepherd. Proclaim Him, exalt Him, reveal Him from the pages of His Word.

In the eight months since Emily's death, the urgency of knowing and proclaiming Christ has grown in my life. To be honest, I'm sometimes disgusted with myself that this urgency hasn't grown more, but it is growing.

I don't know how people - professing Christians or not - can survive regular life, let alone trials, without seeing and savoring Jesus Christ (to steal a line from John Piper).

If you're reading this and you're a hungry sheep - or if you're not sure you're a sheep at all - a good place to go to test your appetite is a conference that has just wrapped up. The audio is now up. I haven't listened to the messages yet, but I know the speakers by reputation. I know you'll be encouraged and fed by these men. So, go check out the NEXT 2009 messages.

However, internet audio is no substitute for a local church, so make sure that you're in a church this coming Sunday (if at all possible) that preaches Christ faithfully from His Word. If you don't know where to find a church like this, then pray about it and do some serious digging until you find one! So sheep, or sheep to be (by God's grace), go find some food!

If you are a pastor reading this, remember that you're #1 responsibility is to feed the sheep under your care. Don't neglect this - it is truly a life and death priority.


Jim said...

Terry is right - many evangelical churches are feeding their people turkish delight (apologies to Lewis). Members of these churches think they are being fed, but it leaves them empty.

We need to teach our flock how to discern between turkish delight and real food. John Piper nailed it (Gospel Coalition) when he blasted preachers who "hover" over the text instead of expositing it. Watch out for churches where the preacher takes a text, reads it and leaves it, never to return. Count the number of times your preacher directs your eyes back to the Word!

The Blackett's said...

Nice to read Pastor Terry! I am excited to check-out those sermons online. Man does not live on bread alone!
We are currently in Japan and are having a hard time without regular Sunday services. It is something that we took for granted when it was around. Internet sermons are great, but it is very hard to ask for answer`s arising from some of the topics when the speaker is not present. And it is amazing how the Lord will give us wisdom when it is asked for, no matter where we are in the world!