Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Abide, Saturate, Listen, Obey

My role as a pastor is this:

I am to abide in Christ.
  1. I am to saturate myself in Scripture.
  2. I am to listen for the voice of God.
  3. When God directs, I am to obey.
I am to do these things, to live these things. As I live these things my life will be fruit-bearing. If I abide in Christ, then I will bear much lasting fruit. This is a conditional statement. On the condition of my Christ-abiding, fruit-bearing shall result.

These, then, become the things I am to pass on to my people. If God can work through me to plant these things in my people, they will be "edified." They will be "built up." Their lives will bear much fruit for God and his Kingdom.

Therefore pastors: teach your people to:
  • OBEY

Here are some of the implications, personally and corporately.
  • Personal "striving" will be gone. This is not about "working harder" for God. It is all about the Spirit of God working in you, and in us.
  • Programmatic activity gets replaced by Presence-of-God reality. Here is where "church" starts to get exciting!
  • Personal transformation into Christikeness (Gal. 4:19) is ongoing. The only alternative to this is spiritual death. If a plant is not growing it is dead. The same is true of people. Yes, of course, God can raise the dead. But you, in your own strength, cannot. You can't force or shout or guilt-manipulate or coerce dead people to rise. When dealing with dead people focus on your own Abiding, Saturating, Listening, and Obeying. Through you God may raise the dead.
  • If He builds it, He will come and remain. It's not true that "If we build it, He will come." If He is not already there in the first place, it should be obvious that "He" has not instructed you to build something.
  • What you and your people need is not you, but God. You are dispensable. As you abide in Christ you will be broken of the illusion of your indispensability. This is a necessary prerequisite for God to be the Builder. God will not only help you get out of the way, you will end up thanking him for it.
  • Become the abiding pastor, the "unbusy" and "unnecessary pastor" (as Eugene Peterson puts it in The Pastor: A Memoir, and The Unnecessary Pastor).
  • When your church (= people who love and follow Jesus) deeply abides in Christ, they will be spoken to by Christ. This will be the end of all those meetings and committees and "brainstorming" get-togethers and the beginning of the days of fruit-bearing and redemptively storming the gates of hell.
  • This is "Church" as a Revolutionary Movement. Time to Abide and Saturate more deeply.