Aged Preachers – “Seeking an Answer”

Aged Preachers – “Seeking an Answer”

Baptisms and burials, over a lifetime the preacher performed a great number of these.  From Genesis to Revelation, his words carefully uttered the precepts of God.  His hair was once full and his face youthfully smooth.  Now the hair sports only grey and wrinkles outline his face.  God called him through the gospel and the preacher answered.  He knows spiritual peace as every day brings him closer to his Heavenly Father.  Yet, the preacher seeks answers.  How long will he be able to continue preaching?  He feels strong now, but for how much longer?  His wife believes in him, but she moves slower these days.  How will he provide for her when he can no longer preach?  Still, God watched over them all of these years and the preacher knows He will continue to do so.  He grabs his Bible and begins a new day.

Is your aged preacher unsound?  Is he unable to preach?  If not, why would you dishonor him and disservice the Church by seeking a replacement

Is your aged preacher unsound? Is he unable to preach? If not, why would you dishonor him and disservice the Church by seeking a replacement?

 Psalm 71:18 – “Yea, even when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not, Until I have declared thy strength unto the next generation, Thy might to every one that is to come.”

“We need a young preacher who can relate to the teenagers!” “I asked him a question the other day and it took him a long time to respond, I think his mind is going.”  “We need a preacher who can go up and down the street knocking doors.”  Words such as these pop up in congregations around the land.  Regardless of motive, accuracy, or wisdom, they represent a body of believers who believe the aged preacher is lacking something.  That perceived lack may cause them to pursue the preacher’s replacement.  An alarming number of Sound gospel preachers have been abruptly dismissed from a congregation because they were “too old”.  Eventually, everyone ages.  Does this make them worthless?  Understand this, the only factors that matter when considering a preacher should be:  Is this a sound man who can deliver a sound message?

Proverbs 20:29 – The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.

What does a sound, but aged preacher lack?  He does indeed lack youth.  A number of cultures prize youth above old age.  A person’s energy level certainly does change as they get older.  Appearance transforms, hearing and eyesight dull, and the bone structure weakens.  Response times cannot compare in most cases with younger people.  A preacher may also lack modern vernacular.  In other words, not only the terms or meanings have changed between the age of the preacher and the youth, but the topics of conversation are different as well.  Most likely, the preacher also lacks knowledge of the latest gadgets.  This particular preacher is one of them.  I-pad, i-phone, tablet, kindles, Blue Ray… no clue.  I know aged preachers who cannot operate a basic computer, let alone consider the newest technology.  It might be asked by some: “How can the old preacher possibly relate without this knowledge?”  Yes, the aged preacher may indeed lack some things that others prize.  The greatest question to be asked is:  “How much does God prize the preacher despite what he lacks?”

It seems a fair examination to note things an aged preacher lacks that might concern some people.  Logic also appeals to the need to examine what a sound, but aged preacher does not lack.

An aged preacher does not lack experience.  A preacher sees the good and the bad over the years.  Bickering members, doctrinal disputes, debates, firings, church discipline, church takeovers, church splits, rebukes, adulteries, fornications, abused children, homosexuality, pedophilia, sermon interruptions, members storming out, weak elderships, overbearing elderships, elderships asked to step down, false teachers, addictions to drugs, gambling, sex, pornography, … the list of what a preacher has seen could go on and on.  He has dealt with innumerable spiritual “catastrophes”.   An aged preacher should be thought of as a spiritual warrior (Ephesians 6:10-18).  He fights battle after battle in service of his king.  He should not become a forgotten hero.  Understand sin does not change!  Yes, it tries to take different forms, but a man who knows the Word, knows when transgression occurs.  An aged preacher does not lack experience fighting spiritual battles.

An aged preacher does not lack wisdom, he fears God for he has spent his life coming to know him (Proverbs 9:10).  The preacher studies the Word, the mind of God, and imparts it to others.  As the years go by he becomes not simply an “old man”, rather, he is a sage.  An aged preacher friend of mine noted this last year that his mentors have all died off.  Now, the mentored had become the mentor.  While a preacher may not be an elder, quite often elderships confide in him to avoid difficulties and strengthen weak areas of a congregation.  Knowledge gathered and applied over forty to fifty years of preaching must be respected.  It cannot be replaced by good hair and a Powerpoint projector.  A man who has likely raised children and seen thousands of others raised knows something about youth that a twenty year old kid with a Bible degree does not.  Christians need to take time to listen to their aged preacher.  They need to reach out to them while slowing down in their lives enough to pay attention.  Biblical understanding trumps the emotions of members often letting the world have too much pull in their lives.

Finally, an aged preacher does not lack leadership.  Early on, the feelings of fatherhood develop in him as he shares the Word of God to the Church.  He begins to view the Christians as his children more and more.  This can even be seen in the words of the apostles as they write to the Christians, calling them “children” or “my child”.  They understand that as they appear before the congregation each week and interact in their daily lives, others will try to emulate them.  Thus, they work to set a standard.  They try to lead souls to Christ by living godly lives.  Everyone desires to see their children grow.  No less does the preacher with the Christians not only in his location, but in the others he visits or reaches through recordings or writings.  Yes, the preacher rebukes at times.  He warns.  He chastens.  He exhorts Christians to avoid all forms of evil.  Unfortunately, some may just view him as an overly cautious worrier.  This conclusion comes not from the scriptures, but from congregants viewing the preacher as an old man rather than a speaker of God’s truths.  That problem lies not within the preacher, but within the Christian.  Christians would do wise to consider this leader of men (Proverbs 23:22).

Aged preachers do lack in some areas, but they more than make up for it in others.  However, when considering an aged preacher, consider two items a congregation should not lack:  honor and compassion.  A congregation should behave in an honorable manner toward aged preachers.  If a preacher can preach soundly don’t you dare hinder him.  If due to age, he is struggling, elders talk about how you can help.  Perhaps he would appreciate doing a few things differently or would like to preach only part time.  Work with this man who has given his life to God.  Do not pull his life line or passion out from under him.  Again, act honorably and treat him well.  Even if he is no longer able to preach full time, find ways to engage him in shorter venues or upon special occasions.  Compassion is something Jesus demonstrated throughout his earthly life.  Compassion goes a great way when dealing with an aged preacher.  We are to treat all of our brothers and sisters well.  If a preacher reaches the point he steps down, do not forget him.  Do not fail to care for him as he has cared for so many over the years.  Do not give him a chance to regret any service.  Show him that his children loved him and learned from him.

A sound, aged preacher is worth more than gold.  He may be lacking, but not as a Christian.  He is experienced, wise, and a leader of generations.   Have honor and compassion upon him.  Pray that he finds the answer to his life of service as did Abram: “But thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.” (Genesis 15:15)  Give him peace by providing him opportunity to preach until the end.  Give him peace by caring for him and his wife.  Give him peace by knowing you heard the Word he shared and the Word he lived.

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Prepared for Eternity

Prepared for Eternity

Paul admonishes his readers that the life of a Christian is one that seeks to be pleasing to the Lord. This is true because we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and receive life or death according to the lives we have lived her on earth. “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” to live in such a way as to be prepared for that day (2 Corinthians 5:9–11). Here are some suggestions Paul makes to ensure we are prepared.

Are you prepared for the road of eternity?

Are you prepared for the road of eternity?

BE A NEW CREATURE. This means putting away our old ways and following the ways of the Lord (5:17).

BE RECONCILED. Sin separates us form God but the blood of Christ reunites us with Him (5:20–21).

WORK TOGETHER. There is much to do and we need to be working, with God, to bring as many souls to Christ as we can (6:1–2).

BE NOT UNEQUALLY YOKED. Being in fellowship with God and His children means being separate from those who walk in darkness. Remember you cannot serve both God and worldliness (6:14–17).

HAVE GODLY SORROW (7:9–10). There are a lot of people who are only sorry for their sins when they get caught. Godly sorry, true sorrow, will move one to make the necessary changes in his life.

CLEANSE YOURSELF (7:1).
Obedience to the gospel through faith, confession, repentance, and baptism is the beginning of our cleansing. Walking in the light and preparing for eternity allows the blood of Jesus to continue to cleanse us (Acts 22:16; 1 John 1:7) and keep us unto that day. Be faithful!

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CONFRONTANDO A UN HERMANO FUERTE

CONFRONTANDO A UN HERMANO FUERTE

Cuando la Biblia enseña que solamente Jesús no pecó, es porque realmente ese es el caso. De ahí en adelante todos nosotros tenemos errores y sino hemos cometido errores le hacemos a él mentiroso dice Juan en su primera carta en el capítulo 7. La atracción sexual quizás, o el manoseo indebido de dineros que no son suyos,  probablemente las mentiras  entre otras…son cosas en las que todos incluido este escritor estamos expuestos y nos vamos a ver tentado en algún momento. La tentación en sí es un problema sino cuando perdemos la cabeza al rededor de la tentación. En el 2014 en la ceremonia de graduación de la escuela de predicadores recuerdo el encargo enfático de los ancianos. Uno de ellos dijo: “ Tengan cuidado de; las mujeres, el dinero y el poder”. Hasta el día de hoy esas palabras resuenan en mi mente y corazón ya que han sido las tres causas principales de la deserción de tan buenos predicadores del evangelio. ¿Que hacer cuando estamos frente una situación realmente difícil y cuando usted tenga que confrontar a un hermano que posee buena reputación, que tiene mucha más experiencia que usted, a quién quizás usted ha guardado mucho respeto por su trayectoria en el Señor y por su sana doctrina?.

Amado hermano, los cristianos siempre buscaremos como hacer lo correcto aunque las emociones estén en medio de todo… la razón no puede verse empañada.

Amado hermano, los cristianos siempre buscaremos como hacer lo correcto aunque las emociones estén en medio de todo… la razón no puede verse empañada.

La respuesta simplemente no es fácil es una de esas condiciones difíciles donde somos probados y donde satanás demanda su cabeza y usted lo sabe. Aquí algunas cosas que usted puede considerar antes de proceder:

  • Orar: Ore a Dios ya que usted se dará cuenta que en los momentos cuando su corazón está agitado y su alma en mucha dificultad es cuando más “tonterías” pueden ser cometidas tanto que hasta le falta la respiración y las palabras no le salen de la boca. La oración es la única herramienta donde usted puede desahogarse  con alguien sin caer en murmuración o Chisme. Dios siempre está en control de todo aún cuando usted no ore, Dios sabe lo que está sucediendo aún cuando usted no le cuente, sin embargo el privilegio de la oración es más un beneficio para usted y para mí que para Dios. ¿Ha notado usted que después de orar por algo que le aflige se siente más tranquilo, y además la paz rodea su espíritu? Adquiere un mejor juicio propio para tomar desiciones y una mente lucida. Aparte de eso el Señor desea escuchar su corazón al usted hablar con El. En su desesperación porque la presencia de Dios no se apartara de él, David confiesa su pecado en Salmo 51 y escribe en el v17: “Los sacrificios de Dios son el espíritu quebrantado; Al corazón contrito y humillado no despreciarás tú, oh Dios.” Podríamos decir que los momentos más tristes y desafortunados de la vida de un ser humano son las oportunidades más claras para acercarse al Señor.
  • Investigue. Antes de confrontar a un hermano fuerte, sano y con buena reputación que usted sabe que ha pecado, por favor investigue a fondo todos los acontecimientos que rodean  a sus sospechas. No existe nada más desastroso que una falsa acusación hacia un hermano fiel. En tal caso usted será culpado ante el Señor por hacer tropezar a un hombre de Dios (Mt.18:6). Por esa razón la oración va de primero, ya que le dará la sabiduría necesaria para aguantar e investigar más los hechos. El tiempo juega un papel relevante, no permita que le juegue una mala pasada, porque cuando las cosas están mal solo es cuestión de tiempo (Lc.8:17). Con todo tampoco el tiempo puede ser muy prolongado para que usted haga la confrontación que necesita hacer. Amigo lector esto es complicado y las mejores palabras que usted puede darle a su mente son las palabras de Salmos 130:5 “Espero en el SEÑOR; en El espera mi alma, y en su palabra tengo mi esperanza.”(LBLA).
  • Tenga Evidencia: Una vez que el tiempo de investigación ha concluido si hay culpabilidad de aquel hermano a quien se tiene como sospechoso la evidencia será una evidencia firme y la obtendrá por sí misma pero sino hay evidencia como en las matemáticas simple…no hay culpabilidad de nada. Es ahí cuando usted tendrá que trabajar con su mente porque probablemente todo ha sido una estrategia más del diablo para envolverlo en un problema muy grave; como lo es una confrontación infundada hacia un hermano fuerte y fiel. A este punto deberá usted de, al menos tratar de comprender que es lo que su enemigo está tratando de elaborar. Muchas veces nos quedamos tan enfocados en nosotros que no podemos ver de la manera que el diablo está viendo las cosas. En una acusación infundada hacia un hermano fuerte no solamente el diablo ha trabajado en su mente y ha logrado que usted caiga sino que también ha logrado meterle la “zancadilla” o ponerle freno a aquel hombre de Dios que tanto daño le estaba haciendo. No permita que el diablo le utilice a usted para sus propósitos. Por otra parte al tener usted la evidencia recaudada, haga análisis, piense bien, busque claramente la razón en aquello que usted ha encontrado como prueba y si realmente es relevante … Por favor guárdele para luego poder demostrar y hablar con evidencia fuerte en la mano. 
  • Confrontando: Cuando  esto va a suceder el amor debe de ser su motivación principal. Es cierto que la reputación es algo que esta en juego pero usted debe de entender que el alma de su hermano esta en peligro de ir a condenación, así que usted debe de estar dispuesto a cualquier cosa para que su hermano se arrepienta. Usted va a sentirse intimidado probablemente para hacer la exhortación de frente pero es necesario que lo haga, es necesario que sea firme, es necesario que ponga en su mente que frente a la cruz  de Cristo todos somos iguales y que con respecto a la responsabilidad suya con Dios se encuentra en el deber de hacerlo. Si su hermano se arrepiente por favor es imperativo que de usted no salga nada para con terceras personas. Es igualmente trascendental que la confrontación  la haga usted a solas con el hermano… ¡No sea cobarde! en tomar a otros consigo y planear una emboscada para confrontar a su hermano, ¡eso está mal!, es anti-cristiano y el Señor le hará responsable por obrar de esa mala manera.

Amado hermano, los cristianos siempre buscaremos como hacer lo correcto aunque las emociones estén en medio de todo… la razón no puede verse empañada. La instrucción bíblica es clara en Mateo 18 “Estando tu y el solos” sin embargo la intención de este artículo ha estado en ayudarle  un poco más para que usted lleve a cabo este mandamiento. El Señor siempre desea que nuestros problemas sean solucionados entre nosotros y que la crisis no avance por el bien de muchos, por lo tanto nosotros deberíamos de desear eso que Dios también desea.

 

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