A Tribute to God’s Work

This was originally posted on my other blog on November 6, 2007.

I’m briefly going to write about the life of Rev. Bob Green, a pastor from my home town. I was going to call this post “A Tribute to Bob Green,” but that would not correctly speak to what his life was about.

I first moved to Dahlonega in 1987 as a five year old. Since my grandmother attended Dahlonega Baptist Church, as did my mom when she was a child, we began attending there. Reverend Green was the pastor. I listened to him week after week from 1987 until 1993, when he retired. The entire time he was my pastor, he lived out the fruit of the Spirit. His life was love, which led to joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. He was always digging into God’s Word and looking at the meaning of the original Hebrew and Greek.

Very recently, he passed away from a serious medical problem. My wife and I decided to drive to Georgia to attend his funeral. We arrived there thirty minutes early to make sure we had parking, since we were bringing my grandmother. She’s in her eighties and has trouble walking. There were only one or two spots left in the entire parking lot of the biggest church in town – his former pastorate and current church. We barely got seats in the sanctuary. They also had overflow with video and audio all through the hallway and into the fellowship hall downstairs.

The fruits of his life include an amazing testimony in his children and grandchildren. His son Mark, currently a minister (of music, I believe), spoke of his amazing ministry to his family and how he never let his family fall by the wayside. He also read to us what was Bob’s last writing – a list of things he would like to do before he went to be with Jesus. At the end of this list, he said basically what Jesus said in the Garden of Gethsemane – “not my will, but yours be done.” Also, a hospice chaplain whom he had worked with spoke of his great humility. Finally, the pastor who came in after he retired, Bill Hutcheson, spoke of how Bob never got in the way when he released the pastorate. He also told of how, up to the end, he was asking how others were, what was going on in their lives, and how much he loved them all. Both Mark and Bill picked Galatians 5 – the fruit of the Spirit – as a focal passage. That was unplanned, but really showed how true it was in Bob Green’s life. One just automatically equated those aspects to his life.

Another aspect of the funeral that glorified God was his grandchildren. They all got up and read various Scripture. Of those grandchildren that I knew, each verse he or she read exemplified either where they were or were going in life. For example, one of those that is currently overseas working with a church plant, Andy, had the Great Commission read for him and his wife, by his little brother.

Obviously, his life touched many people. He officiated so many weddings and funerals and baptized and counseled so many people and touched so many lives – his life was a legacy. Now don’t get me wrong, this was not a legacy to him; it was a legacy to God.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23

Preaching

I read an interesting article today about preaching. It’s entitled “The Truth About Expository Preaching” and asks some interesting questions: How do you define expository preaching? Do you think the term “expository preaching” is applied too broadly? What forms can an expository sermon take? (Sequential and logical.) What are some examples of logical orders? Is there any problem for the listener when we present the most logical order but move through the Scripture out of sequence? To what extent is an expositor obligated to unpack all the elements of a passage–the verb tenses, shades of meaning, and so on?

He asked many more questions, too. I find it these are very important questions we should ask when listening and especially when preaching a message from God’s Word.

One very interesting point I like is his “3 A.M. Test.” Can the preacher be awakened at 3am (however unhappily) and concisely state what his sermon will be for the coming week? This is one thing that I think is done exceptionally well at Journey. Jimmy’s (and the other pastor’s, when they preach) take-away points are exceptionally clear and concise.

What is Counseling?

Since I am pursuing a Master of Divinity with Biblical Counseling, I figured I should write on counseling a little. Almost everyone goes to counselors / psychologists / psychiatrists now days. Why is this? Why do people go to these particular people with their problems? Because they tell us that they can fix us. Why don’t people take their problems to churches? Because when they do, many times the pastors themselves send them to these self-proclaimed specialists. Shouldn’t the pastors provide counsel from the Bible, instead of trusting in man-made advice that doesn’t even take into account the dichotomy (inner man and outer man) or trichotomy (body, soul, and spirit) of man and is instead anthropologically monistic. If all there is to man is man, and no spiritual side, then psychotherapy is fine. But, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. (II Corinthians 5:17) Just remember, all Scripture is God-breathed. (II Timothy 3:16-17)

You may think I’m crazy writing about how pastors should be counseling their people, since I’m majoring in counseling. Actually, I write this precisely for this reason. Counseling, when done in a biblical context, takes place in the local church and in a body of believers – it is not a separate entity. It employs accountability in the body and will utilize church discipline in the case of unrepentance.

Let me flesh this out a bit. Here’s how I see counseling operating within the context of the local body: 90% of the counseling is done as one-another ministry. If you have something with which you need help, you first go to your brother or sister (same sex) in Christ, and they will help you from the God’s Word. 90% of counseling would end there, as we have the Bible from which to counsel.

If there is a problem that seems too large for one-another ministry, the “another” should bring in an elder in the church. If the elder feels unqualified for a certain problem, they should bring in a counselor trained in that specific problem – from a biblical perspective. This progression is similar to church discipline. We are called to help one another and that is the method I proclaim. As 1 Thessalonians 5:14 says: “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle (or disorderly, or undisciplined), encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”

Response to Me-Gospel

Life is not about us. Its not about you, me, or anyone else. Its about God’s glory. This is a hard lesson to learn in our humanistic western society. This world does not revolve around you or me and especially not because you or me. It does, no the other hand, revolve because of God. The world was created by Him, for Him, and for His glory. This works contradictory to our “12 Step” society. “7 Steps to a Better Life”, “3 Points for the Best Marriage”, and all these other programs we’ve created and slapped a few out of context Bible verses on them will not lead you to the purpose of life. The purpose of life is none other than the glory of God, and we don’t do that in and of ourselves. The Holy Spirit living inside of us provides the ability for us dead men to walk to God’s glory. “If then you have been raised up with Christ, set your mind on the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on the things above, not the things on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3