Pastoral 2014

Church Leaders’ Pitfalls

Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Sunday, 23 February 2014

Print

Pitfall #4: Self-pity that Excuses Worry, Bitterness and Other Sins

The struggles of a church leader are seldom fully understood by those who are around him. Paul has captured the troubles of the church leaders the best, when he wrote, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

Some in the ministry have been so plagued by problems that they allow their souls to plunge into self-pity and many other sins that accompany anxiety, worry and fear. Some leaders have used their needs, loneliness, problems to excuse their sins of greed, theft, sexual promiscuity, abusive behaviour, etc. They would say, “Nobody understands my problems. Nobody seems to care that I also have to take care of my family’s needs. It is such pressure that led me to steal.” Or “Nobody else seems to feel for me in my loneliness the way she does. If any of them knew what I was going through in this leadership role, they would understand why I need this kind of embrace, why I need this kind of ‘unconditional acceptance’. I have borne enough of the burden of being everybody’s spiritual example; I can’t take it any more. And I don’t care if they don’t approve.”

Self-pity is a subtle sin; and it is packed with deceptive power. It looks so meek and weak. But underneath it is pride. Self-pity is a blind leader of proud men, which guides them into pits of sins.

Every leader must learn to find his strength, wisdom, courage and provision in the Lord. The Lord—and He alone—must be our portion, or we will give in to self-pity and all the sins that accompany it. We must seek the presence of God where there is “fulness of joy” and “at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore”. Let us learn to draw near to God when all kinds of troubles arise before us. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2).

Thoughts of Cheerful Givers
From the offering bags.

17 February 2014

For Missionary Conference Fund

Thank God that there is yet another opportunity to give unto His glorious work, to bring His missionaries together for a time of rejoicing, remembering, edification and building up of one another in the LORD.

May the LORD be pleased to multiply this humble effort.

 

 

Pitfall #5: Falling in Love with the Present World

“For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica. . . .” (2 Timothy 4:10). Demas was a fellow labourer of Paul in the work of the Gospel (cf. Colossians 4:14; Philemon 24). Paul mentioned him along with the early church leaders like Luke, Marcus and Aristarchus.

Demas left Paul and the ministry after he fell in love with this present world. What is it about the world that leaders like Demas in particular are tempted to love?

In Luke 8:14, Jesus cautioned, “. . .when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.” Our Saviour mentioned three causes that could lead a man away from being fruitful in the kingdom of God. They are cares of this life, riches of this world and pleasures of this world.

Demas’ motive for forsaking Paul might have been his love for worldly ease, safety, comforts and disinclination to brave danger with Paul.

Anyone who sincerely serves the Lord would soon find that he needs to sacrifice all his desires for the comfort, pleasure and glory of this world. Anyone who entertains an immoderate love for this material world, its gain, pleasure and glory, will not be able to serve God fervently and faithfully. He will soon wilfully abandon the cause of the Gospel because of his love for this material world.

The best protection from this pitfall is to always set our mind on the glory of God and His kingdom. Paul said, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14). The spell of sin’s fascination is broken when the superior pleasures of God’s presence becomes the preoccupation.

If we love the Lord and His work, then we must also remind ourselves that “the friendship of the world is enmity with God” and “whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). Think long and hard about those who have fallen so painfully and drastically, having drunk the deadly poison of worldliness.

 

 

Pangasinan Mission Report
Donald dela Cruz

 

 

Pastoral Visitation Team
Prabhudas Koshy

 

It has become almost an impossible mission to pay a pastoral visitation, even within a year, to every home of our members and regular worshippers. Many factors have contributed to such a situation. Hence, it became a deep concern of my heart throughout the past year, constraining me to pray for wisdom to find a way for elders and me to make pastoral visitations to members’ homes. Providentially, while I was reading the biography of the well-known Scottish pastor, Robert M’Cheyne (1813-1843), I realised that he held neighbourhood meetings that enabled him to meet with most of the members of his large church. It dawned on me that M’Cheyne’s idea of holding neighbourhood meetings would be an excellent way to provide pastoral visitation.

Elder Ng Poh Kok will co-labour with me to conduct pastoral visitations in various “neighbourhoods”. We have formed a team of brothers (David Tan, Danny Chu and David Lau) to assist us with organising the meetings in various neighbourhoods. From time to time, there will be announcements of such meetings. May I exhort members and regular worshippers to join these meetings. When the team members approach you on my behalf, please extend your utmost cooperation to help them facilitate such meetings.