Several times each year, I am asked to preach at a small church north of us in Tipton, IN. The pastor there, Kim, doesn’t have an assistant and so whenever he is out of town or goes on vacation with his family, there is a need for a guest pastor to fill in for him. Such was the case today, and I was delighted to be able to step in and help, as I have done many times in the past 10 years or so.
As most of you know, my main ministry work is in the corporate workplace and although I thought I would get a church after I completed my seminary education, it just didn’t work out that way. However, I have been fortunate to have numerous opportunities to preach as a guest pastor here in Carmel as well as at various churches in the area. Nonetheless, my only longstanding assignment has been to assist Pastor Kim when he is called away from his church.
By engaging with his congregation, I am able to keep my preaching skills sharp and both Janet and I have come to know and care for a number of folks who are regulars at the church. Today, my message was on the need for us, as believers, to reach out and help others grow in their relationship with Jesus. While it is true that the first and most important step is to accept Christ as Lord and Savior, some people never seem to move past this step.
But God wants us to grow in our relationship with Him and His Son. And this only happens from spending time with the God of the universe and investing in a relationship with Him. Many times that is best accomplished by having a mentor who already has a deeper relationship and will take the time to lead others into a more authentic and genuine life with Christ. The apostle Paul was quite clear when he instructed his young protege, Timothy, about preaching and teaching the Word. Our verse for this evening reflects his command to the young pastor. We are told, in 1 Tim. 4:13, “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.”
By doing this, Timothy was continuing to facilitate the relationship between God and His people. It is the process of what is called progressive sanctification – the concept of a believer becoming more Christ-like as they deepen their walk with God. My encouragement tonight is that Jesus wants a deeper relationship with you and the people you point toward Him. My prayer is that just as you probably had someone who helped you draw closer to the Father, you will pour your life into younger generations and help them in the same way. After all, the world is dying faster than we are making disciples and it is up to us to change that. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…