Pastors highlight 'feed my sheep'
November 16 2001 by Tony Cartledge, Laura Thompson and Jimmy Allen , BR Staff

Pastors highlight 'feed my sheep' | Friday, Nov 16, 2001

Friday, Nov 16, 2001

Pastors highlight 'feed my sheep'

By Tony Cartledge, Laura Thompson and Jimmy Allen BR Staff WINSTON-SALEM - The 2001 N.C. Baptist Pastors' Conference featured less glitz and fewer "big names," but no lack of fervent preaching. Conference president Davis Hooper, who is pastor of Coweeta Baptist Church in Otto, said the conference had an intentional Macon County feel. The choir included members of various Macon County churches, and the Southern gospel group "Blue Ridge" is from Macon County, in the far western corner of the state.

In a theme interpretation, Hooper recalled Jesus' threefold instruction to Peter to "feed my sheep." Hooper said too many people are ignorant about Bible truths. "We need to know what the word of God says," he said. Pastors are called to feed their flocks from the scriptures, he said.

Warren Rice, pastor of Shortoff Baptist Church in Highlands, drew from Matt. 9:35-38 in speaking of the need for more soul-winners to be workers in the harvest. He emphasized Jesus' commission for followers to preach and teach the gospel, Jesus' compassion on the multitudes, and Jesus' commandment to pray for more workers in the harvest. "Where are the soul-winners?" he asked.

Dale Robertson, who is pastor of North Main Baptist Church in Salisbury and has been treasurer of the pastor's conference since 1992, compared earthly and heavenly treasures. He said Jesus' teaching about treasure in Matt. 6:19-21 does not mean Christians should not have wealth.

"Jesus is redirecting our love from earth to heaven by teaching us what is truly valuable," he said. As Jesus redirects our love from the temporary to the eternal, "He is reallocating our supply lines from earth's bank account, teaching us to rely on God's resources instead of earth's resources."

Robertson said pastors should treasure their relationships, their reputations, the revealed word of God, the reproach of Christ, their redemption of blood, and their reservation in heaven.

The morning session on Nov. 12 featured sermons from three pastors and testimony from a member of NASCAR driver Bobby Labonte's pit crew.

Music was provided by Kindred, a trio from Lee College in Cleveland, Tenn.

Opening pastor Perry Brindley of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Canton stressed evangelism and overall church health.

Taking his text from Acts, Brindley used the church at Jerusalem as a measure of church health.

The Jerusalem church was given to celebration, involved in their community and, as a result, God added to their numbers, Brindley said.

"It is time that we fear the result of not feeding the sheep of God," Brindley said. "Evangelism is not a burden, but a privilege to have as a passion."

Brindley encouraged pastors to lead their congregations in evangelistic efforts. Pastors must engage and equip the laity to serve in their communities, he said.

Brindley concluded by sharing three criteria for a "clean bill of health from Dr. Luke." Churches must have an attitude of celebration, share their faith and live that faith in the community, he said.

After Brindley's message, the crash of Flight 587 in New York was announced and Paul Childers of Troutman Baptist Church in Troutman, led the group in prayer. Many participants knelt at the altar, as Childers prayed, "Lord, you have given us this great country and for 200 years it's stood strong. Now we will see what we're really made of. Oh God, help us."

Jeff Isenhour, pastor of Arran Lake Baptist Church in Fayetteville, then took the podium and brought a message from John 21:1-14, where the apostles experienced a miraculous catch when they followed Jesus' order to fish from the other side of the boat.

Isenhour identified Jesus' command to Peter to "launch out" into the Sea of Galilee as a command to the church for outreach.

Just as Peter used his own nets, Isenhour urged pastors to use the gifts found in their churches. "Let down your net," he said. "You've got something awful special that only you can do for God."

Jeff Chandler, a member of Bobby Labonte's pit crew, shared testimony with the crowd about his conversion during a rain delay at a NASCAR event.

He described the Nov. 11 accident that sent three members of Ricky Rudd's pit crew to the hospital. Visibly upset, Chandler shared his concern for his injured friends and encouraged attenders to be sure that the people they love have a relationship with Christ.

Don Wilton, pastor of First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, shared practical advice on keeping oneself healthy while doing pastoral ministry.

"Don't ever kid yourself, you are going to run out of energy," he said. Wilton suggested several ways to refuel regularly.

Basing many of his observations on the life of Nehemiah, Wilton encouraged pastors to remember to talk to God. "We've become so immersed in our theological disposition that we've forgotten prayer," he said.

He advised pastors to begin an exercise program to help clear their thoughts and to spend time with encouraging people to refresh themselves.

He suggested that pastors regularly do something totally for someone else to guard against discouragement.

Wilton concluded the morning session by encouraging pastors to never lose heart as they live out their call.

What God has spoken through the prophets is the word of God, Paige Patterson told the approximately 1,100 people attending the afternoon session.

Using Hebrews 1 as his text, Patterson said the author used the prophets to speak, not the indulgences of testimony and personal feeling. "They were delving into the word of God," said Patterson, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Patterson said that Karl Barth, perhaps the best-known theologian of the 20th century, believed that scripture is "inspired in spots." That, Patterson said, is Dalmatian theology. It will inevitably "lead to a dog's life," he said.

He then quoted James 1:19, in which believers are told to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. "Is that not an irritating word?" Patterson asked rhetorically. "I don't like either one of them. Just because I don't like it, doesn't mean it's not the word of God."

Speaking about five hours after Flight 587 crashed in New York City, Patterson said the world is suffering tragedy upon tragedy. "This is the kind of world the Bible said it would be," he said.

Patterson said he has grown weary of wimpy Americans who are frightened about the future and afraid to get on an airplane. An airplane is as quick as any way to be in glory, he said.

"I sometimes wonder if there's enough courage for this country to win a battle," he said.

Osama Bin Laden is not bringing the world to its knees, he said. "Our Lord is on His throne. As long as He is, He's guiding it steadily toward a climax."

Patterson also told about a visit to Iraq six weeks before the Persian Gulf war and a meeting he had with Yassar Arafat, leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Arafat asked if Patterson held any hope for peace. Patterson said peace would come when Jesus reigns in the world.

Patterson said Arafat, who is Muslim, replied: "I believe in Jesus and I believe in the Bible."

Patterson told him Jesus couldn't have been just a prophet, which is part of the Muslim belief. Either Jesus was biggest liar of all time or He was much more than a prophet - God in human flesh, Patterson said.

The seminary president also invited attendees to the school's chapel services. "It's a bapticostal tent meeting. I said you can shout all you want. Just make sure I can understand all of it," Patterson said.

J.D. Grant, pastor of Calvary Road Church in Waynesville, said he had been overwhelmed thinking about children growing up in a world changed by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

"We had felt so safe and secure," he said.

He turned to Psalm 61 and found provisions for a heavy heart. One of those provisions is that God has given a rock that is higher than each person but that reaches down. "I have felt more secure in the love of God these days than in my 30 years of ministry. God put a peace on my heart I can't explain."

Jesus gives shelter in the storm, not from the storm, he said.

Quoting a theologian, Grant said if people are saved by works then people are competitors. If people are saved by God's grace, then people are brothers and sisters, he said. "We have common ground. We have a savior. He doesn't want you to die for Him. He died for you. He wants you to live for Him."

Grant said he is also thankful for the heritage he has been given by his Christian parents, and the life he has had since he was saved in 1960. "You don't have to wait until heaven to have eternal life," he said.

No lines will be drawn in heaven, he said. "Thank God it's all mine, and it's all yours." No court cases over wills. "The will has already been written."

Grant told a story of a friend who was diagnosed with cancer and who prayed for healing. When his friend died, Grant said he got "a little irritated with God." Grant was scheduled to speak at the funeral and as he drove to the church he hadn't planned what to read or say because he was still upset that his friend hadn't been healed.

"God spoke to my heart and said clearly, 'Son, Jim is more healed than he's ever been.'"

People are looking for someone who represents Christ, according to Timmy Chavis, pastor of Bear Swamp Baptist Church in Pembroke.

Pastors have a charge upon their lives and they should be the people who represent Christ, he said. "Humility should mark the men of God," Chavis said.

Reading from Acts 20, Chavis said it describes Paul who was beaten and then went back to the city to preach again.

"What kind of trials and temptations are we facing?" he asked. "There's tears and there's trials in the ministry. But thank God for the grace of God. Oh, how God can bring blessings out of trials."

Paul taught the word of God. "So should it be with us. What people need is the word of God.

"Let God do the converting. God calls us to keep the word hoisted and let the Spirit of God blow."

Chavis told about a chapel service a couple years ago at Southeastern Seminary in which students heading to international missions were commissioned. He said he remembers a husband and wife, who looked about 19 years old, going down front holding a baby and she was pregnant. "God Himself hovered over the service. 'Man, this is what it's all about - doing the work of God,'" Chavis said.

"Pastors from North Carolina, I love you. I identify with you. May we go out to proclaim Jesus to this state? The hope for our churches is Jesus Christ."

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11/16/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony Cartledge, Laura Thompson and Jimmy Allen , BR Staff | with 0 comments
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