Old Paths, New Power, Pt 10

Chapter 10: Men to Match the Message

This post is part 10 in a series where I post excerpts from the book Old Paths New Power written by Daniel Henderson. I resist making a commentary on the book. Rather, I pull out excerpts that caught my attention at this stage of my pastoral journey.

Character matters, as pastor and author Carey Nieuwhof reminds us: character – for more than skill set – determines how deeply and passionately people follow you. A leader with character is a leader worth following. Page 170

The Scriptures are clear on the nature of a need for character among those who lead the church, as outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-3 and Titus 1:5-9. Page 170

The key to humility is a high view of God. As Puritan Thomas Watson noted, “A sight of God’s glory humbles. The stars vanish when the sun appears.” Page 170

I’ve often encouraged my worship team with a reminder that they are not worship leaders but rather lead worshipers. Page 170

I’ve often said, “pride is like bad breath – everyone knows you have it but you.” Page 171

The spirit of an awakening is sparked when pastors experience and express a new humility that would shape the environment in their churches. Page 171

The danger exists for any preacher to love the pulpit and use the people rather than loving the people and using the pulpit. Preaching is one of the great expressions of God’s heart of love for his people. Page 172

I have prayed as I approached the pulpit to preach, “Lord, help me to look out on a family to be loved, not a crowd to be feared.” Page 173

I have defined love as “an act of self-sacrifice, flowing from the heart, produced by the Holy Spirit – for the good of others and the glory of God.” Page 173

Of course, we are not just preachers, but shepherds, called to care for the sheep entrusted to our oversight. As the good Shepherd was moved with compassion at the condition of the wandering sheep, so must our hearts be overwhelmed with his heart for the lost, hurting, and broken. Page 174

Paul underscores a love-driven pulpit with this overarching decoration, “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” Page 174

As I was writing this book, I post a question on Facebook, asking my circle of friends what they thought was the most important quality of a pastor, especially as he preached from the pulpit. Among almost 200 responses, the top two were humility and authenticity/transparency. Page 174

Carey Nieuwhof suggests that a leader process current issues privately, within a tight-knit circle (spouse, elders, close friends, mentors, and counselors).

Next, Nieuwhof counsels a leader to express publicly only what is processed privately and to share only what will help the listener, not himself. Page 175

A leader who seeks God’s face, personally and with this people cannot help but desire authenticity. Page 176

I would add that this includes truth that you cannot preach until you have applied it to your own life and struggles, based on a solid understanding of the text. Pastor Timothy Keller says it well, “The temptation will be to let the pulpit drive you to the word, but instead, you must let the word drive you to the pulpit.” Page 176

Often, as I speak to pastors groups, the question is asked, “Where should I start with a prayer emphasis in my church?” I always recommend they begin with a regular time of prayer on Sunday mornings, prior to the worship service. Page 177

“It may in the all-revealing day be so with us,” Spurgeon then comments. “We may discover after having labored long and wearily in preaching, that all the honor belongs to another builder, whose prayers were gold, silver and precious stones. While our sermonizing being apart from prayer were but hay and stubble.” Page 178

Spurgeon underscores this priority, “The sinew of the minister’s strength under God is the supplication of his church. We can do anything and everything with praying people around us.” Page 178

Effective preaching must be understood as a supernatural work, not just an intellectual exercise. Page 178

!Worship of a holy God by sinful man always exalts the reconciling grace the gospel, because apart from the cross we could never worship “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24″.