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The Pastor’s Corner is written by the pastor of Coronado Bible Church.

It’s Not in the Title

2015-08-16 Pastor's Corner

For twenty years, Sue and I lived in a community where a Master’s degree was almost as common as a high school diploma. I worked on a staff with three people with their Doctorates. Sue worked at Trinity International University among some of the most prominent theologians in Evangelicalism. How does that impact you? It can lead to a predisposition to stake your value as a human on titles and degrees. The drive to improve yourself is healthy and productive. Achieving excellence in your field is a noble ambition. But when your achievements elevate you in your mind to another class … you’re headed for dangerous territory in your relationship with God and fellow Christians.

Panama has made me more aware of my own tendency toward this type of judgment. I drive passed an old day-laborer trudging along, sun burnt and labor-bent and my mind classifies him and his contribution to the world as less significant than my own. God may not agree … and I’m certain He’s not pleased by the impulse.

It’s possible that the day-laborer has done a better job at pursuing God’s priorities. The Prophet Micah penned these words to Israel’s elite,

He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.   Micah 6:8

None of these requirements are impingent upon higher education or “significant” employment. The man who has made his life with a machete or a shovel may have been more just, mercy loving and perhaps had an easier run at humility before his maker. Or … he could have been a drunken, abusive, womanizer. The point? We too easily absorb value systems that don’t square with God’s Word. I have been in the presence of unschooled men whose knowledge of and relationship with God made me feel a spiritual dullard. For an example of a man who got his priorities straight read Philippians 3.

Dampened Spirits

A dozen of us were h2015-08-09 Pastor's Corneruddled beneath a tree trying to escape the soaking rain. We were waiting on the outskirts of Casco Viejo to be picked up by one of those double decker tourist buses. Taxi drivers stopped and stared in disbelief that we didn’t want their services. They don’t understand that when a Gringo pays for bus ticket, he’s going to use the bus.

I started whistling “Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Head.” Then I started singing it. (I can’t believe Sue still smiles at this.) The longer we soaked, the sillier I became. I threatened to break out in a full-blown dance routine of “Singing in the Rain.” Sue reminded me that I can’t tap dance. Then I started making up new words to “Itsy-Bitsy Bikini.” “They shared an itsy-bitsy black umbrella … too small for a girl and her fella.” We were soaked, but our spirits were not dampened.

I noticed family sitting on the nearby park bench. They had no umbrellas or rain coats and were soaked all the way through, but they didn’t seem to care. Actually … better than that, their youngest had her head back, tongue out and was smiling ear to ear.

When we finally got on the bus, I complimented the father on how his children embraced the rain. He said, “You must have been watching my youngest … our older one was not as thrilled.” I know that we come into life with some formed disposition, but God has left so much for us to will. You can be miserable in the rain or you can dance. I believe little repetitive choices build a rhythm for how we’ll respond to the future. Look up these verses and see how they might fit with what I’m proposing: Psalm 9:1-2; Psalm 42:5; Hebrew 12:7. Share your favorite verses with me.

August 2, 2015

2015-08-02 Pastors CornerThis past week, our Bible reading schedule had Sue and me in final third of Acts. When we came to Chapter 18, I was reminded of eight traits that made the Apostle Paul such a great shepherd of souls. I invite you to pray for these qualities in the life of your pastor and Elders. Pray them for your own life as well. D. L. Moody said, “Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure.”  Those who lead will stand taller, stronger and longer if the people of the people of the church are on their knees in prayer.

Each of these statements from Paul comes from verses 17 to 38 if you’d like to read them in context. Paul was …

  1. Consistent: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you
  2. Compassionate: I served the Lord with great humility and with tears
  3. Conscientious: I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you
  4. Compelled: And now, compelled by the Spirit
  5. Committed: I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me
  6. Courageous: I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.
  7. Circumspect (He could command other to do be watchful, because he had): Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.
  8. Christ-like: In everything I did … remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”