What Should Motivate a Minister

The love of Christ ought to so predominate, so to possess his mind, and to bear him along, that every interfering, or opposing principle, should be neutralized or extinguished. This should suggest all his plans, guide all his operations, give energy to all his efforts, and afford him comfort under all his trials. Constrained by the love of Christ, he should cheerfully forgo all the comforts of ease, affluence, and worldly honor, to serve his Master in places far remote; or far removed from public observation. This holy affection should impel him to undertake the most arduous duties and encounter the most formidable dangers; this should enkindle the ardor of his eloquence, and supply the pathos of his most tender addresses. This is the hallowed fire which should be kept bright and burning continually. All other warmth is no better than ‘strange fire’. Nothing but the love of Christ can make a truly faithful pastor, or evangelist, assiduous in all his services, and indefatigable in the most private and self-denying duties of his office. Other motives may lead a man to great diligence in preparing for his labors in the pulpit, where splendid eloquence wins as much applause as anywhere else. Other motives also may stimulate a minister to great public exertion, and give him all the appearance of fervent zeal and devotedness to God, in the eyes of men; but if supreme love to Christ be wanting, he is, after all, nothing; or, at best, a mere ‘sounding brass or tinkling cymbal’. Genius, learning, eloquence, zeal, public exertion, and great sacrifices, even if it should be of all our goods, and of our lives themselves, will be accounted of no value, in the eyes of the Lord, if love to Christ be wanting.

– Archibald Alexander, The Pastor Office, quoted in Princeton and Preaching, pp. 126-27.

Sermon Text for March 20th – Proverbs 16:1-9

My friend Fletcher Matandika will be visiting Oikos this Sunday to bring the Word. He will be preaching out of Proverbs 16:1-9 and the title of his message is “A Soft Pillow for Anxious Souls.” Here’s his text:

The plans of the heart belong to man,

but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,

but the Lord weighs the spirit.

Commit your work to the Lord,

and your plans will be established.

The Lord has made everything for its purpose,

even the wicked for the day of trouble.

Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord;

be assured, he will not go unpunished.

By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,

and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.

When a man’s ways please the Lord,

he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Better is a little with righteousness

than great revenues with injustice.

The heart of man plans his way,

but the Lord establishes his steps.

Click here for the sermon audio.

Sermon Text for March 13th – Ecclesiastes 2:17-26

Very excited to have an old friend of mine from Acts 29 days and fellow 3Strand pastor – Brent Rood of Seed Church – come and preach this Sunday. Here’s his text:

17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.

18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, 19 and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? 23 For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.

24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26 For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Click here for the sermon audio.

Sermon Text for March 6th – 1 Timothy 5:17-25

17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” 19 Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. 21 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality. 22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. 23 (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.) 24 The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. 25 So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.

Click here for the sermon audio.

Gospel-Powered Parenting Conference – April 1-2

I’m excited to announce that Bill and Judy Farley will be returning to Whatcom County, this time to teach on parenting. The conference will be held this year at Spring Creek Bible Church. Here’s the schedule:

Friday, April 1: 7:00-9:00 PM (coffee break included)

Sessions 1 & 2: Theology & Parenting. The first virtue of parenting is not primarily found in the Old Testament; it’s found in coming to the cross of Christ.

Saturday, April 2: 9:00 AM-2:30 PM (light breakfast and lunch included)

Session 3: First Principle of Parenting. Learn the surprising application that transforms everything.
Session 4: Gospel Fathers/Gospel Mothers Breakout Sessions. Counter-cultural principles and traits for Christian parents to live by.
Session 5: Discipline and Instruction. Practical application that creates an environment in which children thrive.
Session 6: Q&A

Cost is $25/couple and $15/person. Registration closes March 29th. For more information, click on the following link (here).

Sermon Text for February 28th – 1 Timothy 5:1-16

Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

Honor widows who are truly widows. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, 10 and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. 11 But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry 12 and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. 13 Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. 14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. 15 For some have already strayed after Satan. 16 If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows.

Click here for the sermon audio.