11 Quotes From “The Duty Of Pastors”

The Duty Of PastorsJohn Owen has some fascinating insights on pastors and ministers (hint: they’re not the same thing) in his book The Duty Of Pastors. Here are some of the quotes I liked from this book. Remember this book was written in the 17th-century, so don’t let the Old English keep you from discovering the rich truths in these passages.

“Why should any speak where the Holy Ghost is silent? … Where things are obscured, it is a safer way to prove the practice of men by God’s precept, charitably supposing them to have been obedient, than to wrest the divine rule to their observation, knowing how prone men are to deify themselves by mixing their inventions with the worship of God.”

“The lights which God maketh are sufficient to rule the seasons for which they are ordained. As, in creating of the world, God ‘made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night;’ so, in the erection of the new world of His church, He set up two great lights, the lesser light of the Old Testament to guide the night, the dark space of time under the law, and the greater light of the New Testament to rule the glorious day of the gospel. And these two lights do sufficiently enlighten every man that cometh into this new world. There is no need of the false fire of tradition where God sets up such glorious lights.”

“All faithful ministers of the gospel, inasmuch as they are ingrafted into Christ and are true believers, may, as all other true Christians, be called priests; but this inasmuch as they are members of Christ, not ministers of the gospel. It respecteth their persons, not their function, or not them as such.”

“Thus, this metaphorical appellation of priests is, in the first place an intimation of that transcendent privilege of grace and favour which Jesus Christ hath purchased for everyone that is sanctified with the blood of the covenant.”

“Not to lose myself and reader in this digression, the sum is, the unspeakable blessings which the priesthood of Christ hath obtained for us are a strong obligation for the duty of praise and thanksgiving; of which that in some measure we may discharge ourselves, He hath furnished us with sacrifices of that kind to be offered unto God.” 

“That the name of priests is nowhere in the Scripture attributed peculiarly and distinctively to the ministers of the gospel as such. … And yet, when Christ ascended on high, He gave some to be prophets, for the edification of His body, Eph. iv. 11; none, as we find, to be priests. Priests, then (like prelates), are a sort of church-officers whom Christ never appointed.”

“Never fear the equity of what God sets thee upon. No excuses of disability or any other impediment ought to take place; the Lord can and will supply all such defects.”

“God never sendeth any but whom He doth so extraordinarily and immediately call and ordain for that purpose; and that this may be manifested unto others, He always accompanieth them with His own almighty power, in the working of such miracles as may make them be believed, for the very works’ sake which God by them doth effect.”

“We do not read of any such miracles wrought by the prophet Amos, and yet he stands upon his extraordinary immediate vocation, ‘I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son, but the Lord took me,’ etc. It sufficeth, then, that they be furnished with a supernatural power, either in, 1. Discerning; 2. Speaking; or 3. Working. … The sum is, that seeing such men pretend that their revelations and miracles are from heaven, let us search whether the doctrine they seek to confirm by them be from heaven or no.”

“There is a general obligation on all Christians to promote the conversion and instruction of sinners, and men erring from the right way.”

“For a public, formal, ministerial teaching, two things are required in the teacher: first, Gifts from God; secondly, Authority from the church (I speak now of ordinary cases). He that wants either is no true pastor.”

Be sure to check out my review of The Duty Of Pastors by clicking here.

14 Quotes From John Maxwell In “Mentoring 101”

The Complete 101 SeriesI recently reviewed The Complete 101 Collection by John Maxwell. These are a great introduction to many of his more in-depth books (you can read my review by clicking here). Here are some quotes from Dr. Maxwell in Mentoring 101.

“Most people who desire success focus almost entirely on themselves, not others, when they start to make the journey. They usually think in terms of what they can get—in position, power, prestige, money, and perks. But that’s not the way to become truly successful. To do that, you have to give to others.”

“A person consumed with himself never considers spending time raising others up.”

“I believe that innate sense of motivation continues to exist in adults, but for too many people it has been beaten down by lack of support, busyness, stress, bad attitudes, lack of appreciation, scarce resources, poor training, or faulty communication. To get people excited about growing to their potential, you need to re-motivate them. Once you help them overcome the old things that knocked them down, they often motivate themselves.”

“As you develop people, remember that you are taking them on the journey towards success with you, not sending them. Stay with them until they’re ready to fly. And when they are ready, get them on their way.”

“The people closest to me determine my level of success or failure. The better they are, the better I am. And if I want to go to the highest level, I can do it only with the help of other people. We have to take each other higher.”

“When we examine ourselves, we naturally give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. Why? Because we see ourselves in the light of our intentions. On the other hand, when we look at others, we usually judge them according to their actions. Think about how much more positive our interaction with others would be if we believed the best in them and gave them the benefit of the doubt, just as we do for ourselves.”

“A study of 105 executives determined many of the characteristics shared by successful executives. One particular trait was defined as the most valuable: they admitted their mistakes and accepted the consequences rather than trying to blame others.”

“You can hire people to work for you, but you must win their hearts by believing in them in order to have them work with you.”

“Encouragement helps them reach their potential; it empowers them by giving them an energy to continue when they make mistakes. Use lots of positive reinforcement with your people. Don’t take acceptable work for granted; thank people for it. Praise a person every time you see improvement. And personalize your encouragement any time you can.”

“When you equip people, you teach them how to do a job. Development is different. When you develop people, you are helping them improve as individuals. You are helping them acquire personal qualities that will benefit them in many areas of life, not just their jobs.”

“There is no development without hard lessons. Almost all growth comes when we have positive responses to negative things.”

“When you don’t want to have a difficult conversation, you need to ask yourself: Is it because it will hurt them or hurt me? If it is because it will hurt you, then you’re being selfish. Good leaders get past the discomfort of having difficult conversations for the sake of the people they lead and the organization. The thing you need to remember is that people will work through difficult things if they believe you want to work with them.”

“Experience alone isn’t a good enough teacher—evaluated experience is. As the leader, you need to evaluate what looks like a win to make sure it is actually teaching what your employee needs to learn in order to grow and develop.”

“There is no greater accomplishment for mentors than when people they develop pass them by!”

The Complete 101 Collection (book review)

The Complete 101 SeriesI am a huge John Maxwell fan! Most of his books are quite in-depth, and feel like a graduate-level class in leadership. For those that are ready to go on a leadership development journey with Dr. Maxwell, The Complete 101 Collection would be a great place to start.

In college, the 101-level classes are intended to be the introduction to a subject. This is the class that will educate you, but more than that, it should whet your appetite to move on to the 201- 301, and 401-level classes in that subject. John Maxwell’s 101 books will do exactly the same thing.

When you read the books in this collection on attitude, self-improvement, leadership, relationships, success, teamwork, equipping, and mentoring, you will be able to see (a) which subject peaks your interest for more, and (b) which subject is calling you to more improvement. Then you can move on to other Maxwell books which will be the higher level classes in that subject.

This is an excellent book for anyone wanting to improve their interactions with others.

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

Links & Quotes

link quote

“Only the mediocre are always at their best. If your standards are low, it is easy to meet those standards every single day, every single year. But if your standard is to be the best, there will be days when you fall short of that goal. It is okay to not win every game. The only problem would be if you allow a loss or a failure to change your standards. Keep your standards intact, keep the bar set high, and continue to try your very best every day to meet those standards. If you do that, you can always be proud of the work that you do.” —Mike Krzyzewski

“Spectacular achievements are always preceded by unspectacular preparation.” —Roger Staubach

“Christians who serve in ‘secular’ vocations are the ones who do most of the ministry and kingdom-expansion work that happens in the world. It’s the job of vocational ministers [pastors] to equip these folks so they can do their various ministries effectively.” Read more from Jon Bloom in his post Christian, Your Job Is A Ministry Job.

“One of the most important decisions we make is almost always made without thought, without discussion: ‘How big do you want this to be?’ It’s a question that always gets in the way of, ‘How good do you want this to be?’” —Seth Godin

Scientism keeps trying to find evidence to fit their theories (like this latest one to explain the absence of global warming), but few seldom recognize the genius of Our Creator. Sad…

Dr. Tim Elmore always has amazing insights into the youth mindset. Check out this article: Does A Loaded Childhood Delay Healthy Adulthood? (If you haven’t read any of Dr. Elmore’s books, please type his name in the search box, and check out the book reviews I have posted.)

[VIDEO] Check out Frank Turek’s answer to the question, “Will God send me to hell for not believing in Jesus?”—

More Ministers Needed In The Church

The church goesI always get a bit nervous when someone calls me “the minister of Calvary Assembly of God.” I am not the minister; I’m the pastor and a minister.

There’s a big difference! 

A pastor is one of the gifts Jesus gives the church to equip lots of ministers (see Ephesians 4:7-13). A pastor is not the minister, but a minister-equipper.

Check out this quote from Oswald Chambers—

“Notice the gifts that the Apostle Paul says Jesus sent after He ascended—viz. apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers—‘for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.’  The test of a preacher or teacher is that as we listen to him we are built up in our faith in Jesus Christ and in our intimacy with Him; otherwise he is not a gift from God. Today we are apt to test the preacher on the ground of his personality and not by his building up of the saints.” (emphasis added)

I don’t want to be put on a pedestal as the minister. I want Jesus to be exalted. This will only happen when all the gifts to the church—apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers—are equipping the entire church to minister.

What do you think?

Who Are You?

This is another post especially for pastors (but I think others will find this helpful too).

John the Baptizer had no credentials, and yet people flocked to hear him speak.

He had no formal training, and yet people hung on his every word.

He had no authority from a sanctioning body, and yet he spoke with such power.

This perplexed the religious leadership. After all, they had credentials, training, and authority. So they came to John asking, “Who are you? What do you have to say about yourself?” (John 1:21-22).

If God has called you to the pastorate, He will equip you.

There’s nothing wrong with credentials, training, or sanctioning, per se. But when you think your call to preach has authority because of your title, your training, or your denominational appointment, you have missed the point! John had none of these, and yet Jesus said, “There’s never been a greater prophetic voice!”

So, pastor, who are you?

Are you the one who is credentialed, or trained, or sanctioned?

Or are you the one who has been called and equipped by God?

There’s a huge difference!

Who are you? I hope you can answer, “I am only a servant of the Most High, equipped by the Holy Spirit to make Jesus known in my city.”

UPDATE: I use John the Baptist as a prominent example in my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter.

I Didn’t Choose This

Hello, my name is Craig Owens and I’m a pastor. I wasn’t a PK (pastor’s kid). This isn’t the profession I chose for myself. I envisioned myself doing other things, but God had different plans for me.

He called, and I said “yes.” He called me to be a pastor and so He equipped me for the pastorate. I can relate to what the Apostle Paul wrote—

By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving Him by spreading this Good News. (Ephesians 3:7)

Paul, too, didn’t choose be a minister telling people about Jesus Christ. But God had different plans for him.

And so, since God has called me to do this, I must do it to the best of my ability. I don’t have the natural ability for it, I simply have God’s grace and mighty power. And to that grace and power I must add my best effort—

Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. (2 Timothy 2:15, AMP)

I like the counsel of Charles Spurgeon:

Again, the theme of a minister should be Christ Jesus in opposition to mere doctrine. Some of my good brothers are always preaching doctrine. Well, they are right in so doing, but I would not care myself to have as the characteristic of my preaching doctrine only. I would rather have it said, ‘He dwelled much upon the person of Christ and seemed best pleased when he began to tell about the atonement and sacrifice. He was not ashamed of the doctrines; he was not afraid of threatening. But he seemed as if he preached the threatening with tears in his eyes, and the doctrine solemnly as God’s own Word. But when he preached of Jesus, his tongue was loosened, and his heart was at liberty.’”

I didn’t choose this, but God chose me. And for that I am extremely humbled and grateful.

Thursdays With Oswald—God’s Worker

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

God’s Worker

     Never choose to be a worker, but when once God has put His call on you, woe be to you if you turn to the right hand or the left. God will do with you what He never did with you before the call came; He will do with you what He is not doing with other people. Let Him have His way.

From Approved Unto God

If God hasn’t called me to do His work, then anything I attempt will be in my own power alone. How miserable I would be if I attempted to keep doing this.

If God has called me to do His work, then He will equip me to do His work. How miserable I would be if I turned away from His work.

Are you God-called or self-called?

Who’s Your Promoter?

Check out this verse where God speaks to Joshua:

Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know I am with you as I was with Moses.

Self-promoted leadership requires that I know what the current whims of the people are, and then I cater to those special-interest whims. But people are fickle, so I have to be constantly reinventing myself. I have to wear the right mask for the right group. I have to become a slick politician, giving the right speech to the right special interest group, promising them what they want to hear. I have to pander for votes to stay in leadership.

God-promoted leadership requires that I have faith in God alone. No focus groups to find out what people want. No advisors whispering in my ear. No masks, no special interest speeches, no pandering for votes. God knows the hearts of the people, and if He has called me to be a leader, He will equip me to be His leader.

Joshua was a God-promoted leader. When he was on the eve of his first major campaign as the new leader of Israel, he gave just one speech: “Let’s get ready to go.” A self-promoting leader would have given one motivational speech to the priests, one pep talk to the generals, one persuasive speech to the troops, an encouraging speech to the stay-at-home moms, and possibly one more convincing speech to those who wanted to pursue an alternative strategy.

The results of God-promoted leadership?

  1. So the Israelites did just as Joshua commanded them (Joshua 4:8).
  2. That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they revered him all the days of his life (Joshua 4:14).

Who’s your promoter?

My prayer is that I always allow God to be my promoter and that the Holy Spirit will convict me anytime I try to promote myself.

Yeah, But…

You know the story, or maybe you’ve even seen it portrayed on the big screen, where God appears to Moses in the burning bush. God handpicks Moses to lead His people to freedom. He assures Moses, “I AM the One who is sending you with My authority.” God shows Moses these miracles that He is going to do through him.

And how does Moses respond? “Yeah, but….” Sadly, this is how I usually respond too.

“Yeah, but who am I that You would handpick me?”

  • I don’t have the right credentials.
  • My family is dysfunctional.
  • I’m not comfortable with risk.
  • I’ve never done anything like this before.

“Yeah, but how do I really know this is You, God?”

  • I need a sign.
  • I’ve made mistakes before when I thought I was following You.
  • Have I mentioned I’ve never done anything like this before?

“Yeah, but what if this doesn’t work out?”

  • I need assurance.
  • I want to know where this is going to end up before I get started.
  • What happens next?

“Yeah, but how will I know what to say or do?”

  • I don’t want to look like a fool.
  • I don’t want to be embarrassed.
  • I want to be in control.

It’s interesting to see that God patiently answered all of Moses’ “Yeah, but” questions. It was only when Moses reached the conclusion “You’ve got the wrong guy” that God became angry.

Moses’ first response was his best response: Here I am.

This is what usually happens to me. God calls me to do something or say something for Him, and I immediately say, “Here I am.” Then I begin to think about what I just committed to. It’s then that I come up with all my “Yeah, but” reasons why I can’t be the guy God thinks I am. In other words, I think my way out of God’s plan for me.

Here’s what I need to remember: If God calls me, it’s only because He has already equipped me.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

No more “Yeah, but” second-guessing, I’m just sticking with “Here I am.”

%d bloggers like this: