Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Presence-less Pastor Pulls People Away from God

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Assisting pastors in their praying lives in Eldoret, Kenya
The pastor who loses sight of living in God's presence, as their first order of being, leads their people in the wrong direction. They engage in anti-God activity, like the religious leaders Jesus addressed in Matthew 23:13:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, 
nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

A pastor who has no time to pray, no time to worship, and no time just to be with God, becomes, by their being, a hindrance to people who desire to know God. Because they themselves are not entering in to God's presence.

Henri Nouwen expresses it this way.

"When we no longer walk in the presence of the Lord, we cannot be living reminders of his divine presence in our lives. We then quickly become strangers in an alien land who have forgotten where we come from and where we are going. Then we are no longer the way to the experience of God, but rather in the way of the experience of God. Then, instead of walking in God’s presence we start walking in a vicious circle, and pulling others into it
At first sight this may seem rather pious and unrealistic, but not for long. The emphasis on ministry as a profession that has dominated our thinking during the past several decades may have led us to put too much confidence in our abilities, skills, techniques, projects, and programs. In so doing, we have lost touch with that reality with which we are called to connect, not so much by what we do, but by who we are."

(Nouwen, The Living Reminder: Service and Prayer in Memory of Jesus Christ, pp. 29-30. Emphasis mine.)

My two books are:

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God

Leading the Presence-Driven Church.

I'm working on:

How God Changes the Human Heart

Technology and Spiritual Formation