Becoming a Jesus Church

Becoming a Jesus Church requires much. It requires a man to lead like Jesus. It requires a church to be consumed with Jesus; loving and living like Him as we journey on this earth. It requires a steadfast obedience and single-minded determination to keep Jesus at the front of all that we do.
Being a Jesus Man, Choosing a Jesus ManChoose well my brethren, be well my brothers… there is no moreimportant decision a church can make than who will be their pastor. This decision more than anything else will determine the character and direction of a church. Property, music, translations, creeds, statements of faith all pale in comparison to the man in and out of the pulpit. “If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work… he then must be…”So here I am standing at my desk in my study, and I’m thinking about what the Lord has led me through for the past 37 years of my Christian growth. I’m thinking about my beginning at Emmanuel and about the years prior to that in my childhood churches. I’m thinking about what God desires for His church and where He is leading us. I’m thinking about what kind of man I need to be as I shepherd this flock. I’m thinking about the dangerous waters churches navigate when choosing a pastor.

Fathers Day Email ImageI remember a few pastors from way back when… Rev. Crandall, Rev. Alexander, Rev. Noftle, Rev. Hastey, and maybe a few others. Rev. Alexander stands out as a Jesus man to me for some reason, though I don’t really recall much of his sermons; I recall his nature. I was young. Church was boring. Then there was Rev. Alexander and I remember this older gentleman took us teens, or preteens to Squam Lake Science Center. I remember what I could only define as love, or Jesus in him… I remember a warmness and a compassion and though he was an elderly man, a true love for life and laughter. When I look back, there are really two men of God that have left the mark of Jesus upon me more than any other men. Reverend Alexander and Reverend Zimmerman. Why? Because of who they were in and out of the pulpit. They were strong men. They were not effeminate nor were they bullies. There were, Jesus men. Faith filled men. Gentlemen. Imperfect to be sure, but more than willing to share that imperfection as they pointed to the Perfect One. They seemed to exude a grateful spirit and lived in awe of their savior.

When I think of pastoring, this is what a pastor should be. The kind of man, that when the children grow older and think back about their pastor, they realize that although they may not remember many sermons, they remember fondly the sermons of his life. This is what I long to be, a Jesus man. There seem to be a lot of “men of god” but far too few Jesus men. I once spoke with a pastor that told me that I needed to remember that I was man of God and that I needed to hold myself apart and make an effort to show that I was a man of God. My problem with that is, if you are a man of God, you shouldn’t need to try so hard to prove it… just be it. He did have some good advice however, concerning the weight that people will put on your words, this is sound advice to anyone in any type of leadership. As I ponder the direction of this church, I realize once again, that the direction will greatly depend on the kind of leader and leaders are at the head. If we are going to be a Jesus Church, we need Jesus to lead us and we need to be Jesus leaders. Our lives need to bear the prints of His hands.

The Lord has given us so many places to look in His WORD when we choose a man. He has shown us just what to look for. He has shown those of us that lead, exactly what we CAN and SHOULD be. He has given us the four gospel accounts of His life. He has left a record for us to lead us as we lead others. This record shows several things to those of us that would be leaders of men.

Luke 2:49 (NKJV)
“And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

The book of Luke gives us a glimpse of Jesus in his childhood. What do we see from the earliest of his years? We see him following His heavenly Father. We see Him consumed with His Father’s house and His Father’s business. All through the four gospels we see this action, this behavior repeated time and time again. When arguing with the Scribes and Pharisees and Lawyers and whomever else we see a simple pattern. I must be about my Fathers business. So should we be, so should our pastors be.
John 14:10 (NKJV)
“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.”

Matthew 3:15 (NKJV)
“But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.”

The book of Matthew opens with the first record of the actions of an adult Jesus. He left home and made his way to the Jordan River. At this river, he humbled himself to the baptism of John. There may be many theological implications to this act, identifying with the Jews and men as a whole, the symbol of His coming death, burial and resurrection etc. However, sometimes, in reading deeply we miss the forest for the trees. He was obeying His Father in humility. The greatest man to ever walk the earth humbled Himself to be baptized by a man that by his own admission was not worthy to tie the laces on His sandals.
Philippians 2:5–8 (NKJV)
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

John 8:10–11 (NKJV)
“When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

Jesus understood that he held authority, but used it wisely and mercifully. We tend to forget, that when Jesus allowed this woman to walk away, he was pouring out mercy on her that heretofore had not been seen in many years, if ever, in this nation. We may also forget that it was in His authority to condemn her, to have her stoned. He chose mercy. One of my favorite tales of Jesus is found in Matthew 9 and Mark 2. I have written a sermon from this text called One man Born by Four… using a play on words, because the bore their friend to Jesus over many obstacles and when Jesus sees the men and the man he says “Son be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” They bore him to Jesus and he was born again! Be of good cheer. He forgave the man of his sins before he healed him. He showed us that cheer comes from forgiveness. He showed us the power of mercy. Then because of the unbelief of those legalists that were forever surrounding Him, Jesus healed the man, so that they would be able to observe His authority to forgive.
Matthew 9:1–2 (NKJV)
“So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city. Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”

There are so very many more attributes of Christ to observe and pray for. Churches, I would recommend that you lift your pastor up in prayer that he might begin to demonstrate these characteristics sincerely, without the need to put on an act. Pastors, let us come to Christ and spend much time with Him seeking his nature by His exceeding and precious promises.

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