June 2019

Explore the Bible Lesson for June 16: Setting the Example

June 3 2019 by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church

Focal Passage: 1 Timothy 3:1-13
Good leaders prioritize well, execute tasks and communicate vision. Great leaders set an example for others.
First Timothy 3 outlines the expectations for the two offices in the church – pastors and deacons. In my experience in church life, I’ve heard many stories and watched many pastors.

Sometimes churches treat pastors and other leaders unfairly. Sometimes pastors and church leaders fail to lead by example and damage their churches.
Paul describes for Timothy the character of those who will lead the church in the role of elder and those who will serve the church in the role of deacon.
When viewed as a list of character traits for church leaders, I think we get the correct interpretation for who elders and deacons are to be.
Competencies matter for pastors and deacons, but competencies alone do not qualify one for office.
In a conversation recently, a pastor friend shared that a nearby church called a man because they “liked the way he talked.”
But now the church is divided, and it is possible the pastor will resign soon. Character counts.

Pastors and deacons must exhibit godly character because they are to set an example.
I’ve always believed that the best pastors will be good husbands and fathers who admit their flaws and imperfections but strive for holiness.
The same could be said of deacons and any other church leader for that matter.
One’s ability to communicate or teach is important, but dishonesty, immorality or arrogance will undercut one’s credibility in an instant.
To church members, have high expectations first for the character of your leaders, then explore his competencies. To church leaders, prioritize your character. Submit yourself to the Word of God. Pursue personal accountability. Learn from your critics. Seek to become like Jesus.
Then, by all means, improve your competencies. But beware lest your competencies and gifts take you farther than your character can keep you.

6/3/2019 11:17:25 AM by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for June 16: Hannah: Faith that Prays

June 3 2019 by Randy Mann, pastor, Central Baptist Church, Henderson

Focal passages: 1 Samuel 1:1-2, 9-11, 17-18, 26-28; 2:1-3
As a pastor, one of my greatest frustrations is to hear someone facing a difficult situation say something like, “Well, I guess all we can do is pray,” as if they have exhausted all of the good options and are now left with prayer as a less desirable, but last available, response. God often quickly brings conviction upon my own heart, however, when I get too critical about such comments.
He quickly reminds me how, even as a pastor, it is very easy to slip into a practice of self-sufficiency where I can spend much of my time preparing and planning and, by contrast, precious little time praying – unless, of course, I have come up on a difficult situation where it seems that prayer is my only remaining option.
There is no doubt that Hannah was in a very heavy and painful situation. She was a broken-hearted woman who had no children, but desperately longed for them. In her case, there was nothing she could do to remedy her painful circumstance. In that time of great distress, she chose not to wallow in self-pity or to walk in self-sufficiency. Instead, she took her situation, by faith, to the only one who could give hope. She acknowledged God for who He was – the Lord of Hosts, the Holy One, her solid Rock. She trusted Him as she asked. She praised Him when He answered.
God desires that we walk by faith and that we demonstrate that faith as we “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). Prayer should not be a last resort, all else has failed, kind of endeavor. It should be the consistent practice of our lives – praising God for who He is, declaring our faith in Him, and asking Him to do what is necessary in our lives, both for our good and His glory.
Are you walking with God, by faith, in consistent, dependent prayer? Are you casting your cares on Him, knowing He cares for you? As a grateful child of a faithful Father, do you intentionally stop to give Him thanks as you see Him answer?

6/3/2019 11:12:35 AM by Randy Mann, pastor, Central Baptist Church, Henderson | with 0 comments