Kyle Shreve- Missionary to Peru


Poor spiritual leadership #1- Flippant attitude towards the word of God
October 18, 2013, 8:30 am
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“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me:  Seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”

There are few things in this world, that are as precious as the Bible. Actually, there is nothing that should be more valuable to a Christian than the word of God. And if you have any amount of spiritual responsibility and leadership over another person or persons, you have even more reason to live from the Word.

But these priests here weren’t doing that. God says that they had rejected knowledge, and forgotten the law of their God! Sounds to me that they really didn’t care about what the Bible had to say.

Anytime a spiritual leader starts to drift from the word of God, his authority begins to wane. I know myself, personally, and I am far from qualified or wise enough to be a spiritual leader. But if I follow the plan for leadership and guidance listed in God’s word, I’ll probably be ok! Sticking with God’s word and authority is always the right thing to do for a spiritual leader.

While these priests give us an example of how not to handle the word of God, a proper leader will be one who is daily in the word for devotions and study, getting to know Christ in a more intimate way (which only comes through the word) and doesn’t take authority that he doesn’t have. The only authority a spiritual leader has is that which the word gives!

If a poor spiritual leader is one who reject knowledge and forget the law of God, let us commit to being spiritual leaders who are knowledgable in the things of God, and filled with the word of God.



Hosea 4:6-9 How to be a poor spiritual leader!
October 16, 2013, 8:30 am
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In Hosea chapter 4, we find the Lord making some strong statements about the priests of that time, especially verses 6 to 9:

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me:  Seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.  As they were increased, so they sinned against me: Therefore will I change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of my people, And they set their heart on their iniquity.  And there shall be, like people, like priest:  And I will punish them for their ways, And reward them their doings.” 

As I read through the passage over and over, I noticed 3 characteristics of these priests that stuck out to me as qualities of poor spiritual leaders.

1-Flippant attitude towards the word of God

2-Focused more or personal gain than the health of the flock

3-Ministers according to man’s opinion, not the word of God.

Over the next three posts, we will look at these errors in more detail, but also the opposite end of the spectrum, and how we can learn to be strong spiritual leaders and not make the same mistakes.



View on the call #3- Only the called are called!

The most common view that I heard growing up would be that only the called are called.

While this might seem redundant, it really isn’t. Simply put, if God hasn’t called you to be a missionary, stay home, and preach the gospel there. Unless God calls you to the mission field, you’re not called.

Those who believe only the called are called to the mission field/ministry aren’t advocating that only the called are to share or spread the gospel. They would, no doubt, say that all Christians are responsible to spread the gospel, but that only those who are called to go overseas should, and the rest should stay in America and preach here.

Spurgeon himself would have been very close to this belief. He states, in Lectures to my Students, “In the present dispensation, the priesthood is common to all the saints; but to prophesy, or what is analogous thereto, namely, to be moved by the Holy Ghost to give oneself up wholly to the proclamation of the gospel, is, as a matter of fact, the gift and calling of only a comparatively small number; and surely these need to be as sure of the rightfulness of their position as were the prophets; and yet how can they justify their office, except by a similar call? “

He believed that a small number of men would be called to full time preaching, and that they would need a call to justify such an office. Interesting to think about.

I would like to clarify, one more time, that the people who believe that only the called are called do not excuse the non-called from obedience to all the commands of the Bible, but would maintain that only the called to the mission field should go to the mission field.



View on the call #2- We are all called!

The second view on the call would be that we are all called to the mission field. This belief is that Christ, through the great commission, and other passages of scripture, has already given us a command to get the gospel to the world. The fact that we have been given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:17-21) is enough of a call.

These people see the biblical mandate for spreading the gospel, and believe we are to respond to it. Pretty simple.

Many famous missionaries have held this view, including Jim Elliot, when he said, “The command is plain: you go into the whole world and announce the good news. It cannot be dispensationalized, typicalized, rationalized. It stands a clear command, possible of realization because of the Commander’s following promise.”

Robert Speer echoed, “There are three elements which enter into the determination of a call to the mission field. The first is the need…. A second is absence of any personal disqualification; and we ourselves are not the best judges there…. The third element is absence of any insuperable hindrance, and of course the question whether it is insuperable or not depends upon the personal ability to get over the hindrance.” In summary, “The question for us to answer is not, Am I called to the foreign field? but, Can I show sufficient cause for not going?”*

This is a view that may seem radical at first, but upon closer study, can be found to be extremely biblical.

Truthfully, there is a biblical mandate to get the gospel to the whole world. I don’t believe that the great commission is an ordinance of the church, but I do believe that it was given to the church, and that it is our responsibility to get the gospel to the world.

There is no doubt that we, as Christians, are ambassadors of Christ, and there is less doubt that God is a missionary God, and wants His gospel preached all over the world.

 

 

*This quote obtained from the book The Missionary Call: Find Your Place in God’s Plan for the World, by M. David Sills

I reccomend you give it a read sometime.



View on the call #1- There is no call!
September 30, 2013, 8:30 am
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This view may seem to be shocking and anti-missionary at first, but it is not at all anti-missionary. In fact, it would seem that this view came from aggravation and annoyance at people not going to the mission field because they kept waiting on a call!

As long as you know that there is a need for missionaries to go around the world and spread the gospel (hint: there is!) then you ought to do so. Those who adhere to this belief would wonder why you, being free to choose the life of a missionary, would not choose to do so.

George Wilson asked this question, “Don’t wonder whether you have a call to go. ‘Have you had a distinct call from Christ to stay at home?” Obviously, Mr. Wilson would push hard for people to go to the mission field, even though he would not believe in a call as many others would.

While it may be wise to point out that the apostle Paul said that he was called to be an apostle (Greek κλητός meaning called or invited) I don’t feel that stands in contradiction to this point of view.

These people are not saying that God would not call or lead someone to a specific office or position to be involved in world evangelism, but that there is no call to missions, only a responsibility to be involved as either a goer or sender due to the vast need of men and women to carry the gospel.



Upcoming series: Views the missionary call
September 28, 2013, 8:30 am
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Talk to any missionary, and maybe even a pastor, for long enough, and you’ll no doubt come across the fact that, at some point, they felt like God called them to the mission field or pulpit.

The call has been something of much debate for a long while, and no two people agree exactly on it. There are those who say that there is no such thing as an individual call, and those who say that only those who are called should go to the field! The view on the call certainly goes from one end of the spectrum to the next!

Generally speaking, though, there are 3 main views on the call. This upcoming week, I want to take a look at those 3 views, as well as what other people have said about them. Here’s a tentative schedule of what to expect, Lord willing:

Monday-There is no call!

Wednesday-We’re all called!

Friday- Only the called are called!



Expository preaching is no less Spirit guided than other forms
September 27, 2013, 8:30 am
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I will admit that I have never actually had anyone tell me that expositional preaching quenches the Holy Spirit’s guidance, or is less guided by the spirit than other forms.

I have, however, heard it mentioned in conversations I was not a (known) part of, and seen it fought out on twitter (which seems to be the new theological debating ground for tech savvy preachers).

A good friend of mine who has much more experience in the ministry recently changed from non-expository to sequential-expository preaching (preaching through books) and said that he is really loving it. One of the main reasons he likes it so much is that it allows him to always know where he’s preaching next, and he doesn’t have to spend hours in prayer finding where to preach or what God wants him to preach.

I’m sure some would-be detractors of expositional preach would claim that it doesn’t let the Holy Spirit lead or direct where you should preach, since you’re following through and preaching whole books in order, but I would disagree.

I believe that the Holy Spirit wrote the Bible.

I believe that the Holy Spirit wants the Bible preached.

I believe that expositionally preaching through books is the best way to preach what the Spirit wrote as He wrote it!

If the Spirit really did write the Bible, and really did  start at the beginning of each letter or book, and wrote straight through all the way to the end of the letter/book, why wouldn’t you preach that way? Isn’t that how you read your devotions? So am I less Spirit filled if I sequentially read my devotions in order instead of jumping around?

The whole Bible is inspired and full of the Spirit. It really is God’s word. God already wrote the book out for us, and that is all we are to preach. So why, again am I less Spirit guided if I’m following what God gave me to preach, in the way that He gave it to me?

Oh wait, I’m not!

By following what God wrote, and preaching what He wrote, as He wrote it, there is more leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit, in my opinion, than anything else.



Expository preaching is not sequential reading and commenting
September 25, 2013, 8:30 am
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Sequentially reading verses and adding comments on them is not expositional preaching.

Let’s use Galatians 2 as an example for this blog

(I just randomly picked a passage, there’s no reason to it)

Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. 2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. 3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:

The following would not qualify as expositional preaching. Note that this is a fictitious transcript that I made up:

“Let’s take our Bibles and read Gal 2:1-3

Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.

You see there? He took 14 years to study! 14! Brothers, we need to be serious about our training! Paul took 14, and we’re no apostle. How much more training do we need?!

Look now at verse 2:

And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles,

How about that! He preached the gospel to the Gentiles! We cannot afford to be racists in this ministry! The gospel is too important to only share with one race of people.

Consider verse 3 with me

But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek,

Aha! He had someone with him. Paul knew that discipleship was important. He was training Titus for the ministry, and we should have a disciple too!

Heads bowed, eyes closed.

Holy Spirit, help us to apply these truths in our lives.

Amen”

Paul’s original intent here was not to comment on his training, racial boundaries, or discipleship! While everything that was said is true, and can be backed up by other parts of scripture, that would not be expositional preaching.

That would be sequential commentary without respect to a central theme or idea.

Each section of text (also known as expositional units or paragraphs) is about a central theme or idea, not a jumble of random non-related haphazardly placed themes.

Gal 2:1-10 is a complete unit with the central theme or idea being about Paul’s acceptance by the apostles.

A real expositional message would be about the central theme of a passage or passages, not just random commenting on the verses. Find out what the author was saying when he originally wrote the passage, and that should be the central theme of your message.

Remember, your message is about 1 thing, and 1 thing only. It should be the authors original intent, not your running commentary on the verses.

I once heard a would-be expositional preacher say something along the lines of, “Well, this is a hard passage to preach, but when you exposit like this, sometimes you don’t have a central meaning. It’s like a grenade and the shrapnel just flies where the holy Spirit leads it to. I just tried to comment on it as best I could, and let God handle the rest.”

Close, but not close enough to be called expositional preaching.

Sure, there are hard passages to go through, but there’s never NOT a central theme, or main idea in the text!

To just run through a text, wildly dispensing comments at will is not expositional preaching.



Expository preaching is not a style of homiletics or oral delivery!
September 23, 2013, 8:30 am
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It seems (at least to me) that when expository preaching is brought up, it often is assumed to be rather boring and dry. In truth, if done properly, it is neither!

I used to think that is was a style that meant less yelling, running, shouting, and certainly no amen-ing from the crowd, but I have come to find that to be simply not true.

Boring

The delivery and presentation of the message has absolutely nothing to do with the actual message! I have heard hermeneutically sound messages that were enticing and wonderful to listen to, and some that were not as drawing. I have also heard messages that were hermeneutically flawed in some major areas that were both enticing and drawing, and some that were less enjoyable.

The point is this: how you deliver your message does not determine whether or not it is an expositional message. I do not know how good I am at it, but I try to be an expositional preacher. In the team of missionaries I work with, there are others who are expositional preachers as well.

Do we all deliver a message the same way? surely not!

Does this mean that only one of is an expositional preacher and the rest are frauds? Again, surely not!

Just because you are an expositional preacher does not mean that you are a boring, dry, slow speaking, monotone speaker. My pastor is an expository preacher, and is one of the most passionate preachers I have ever heard!

Expositional preaching is many things, but it is a method of studying a text, not a method of oral delivery.

I once heard it mentioned that someone became an expository preacher because of growing up in a church which was very emotionally involved in the message (amen-ing, running the aisles, hand waving, crying at the alter etc…) and was an expository preacher as a reaction to the other side of the spectrum as a disdain for such things!

The only problem with that is you are comparing two different spectrums! That would be like saying “My dad listened to loud music when I was growing up, and that’s why I like oranges.” There is no correlation between the two!

Expository has the following definition: .A statement or rhetorical discourse intended to give information about or an explanation of difficult material.

Notice that there is nothing mentioned about HOW the message is delivered, but rather WHAT is delivered: an explanation of the text!You can be a very emotional, yelling, shouting, screaming expositional preacher! You can be the exact opposite and be a preacher as well!

An expositional message is one that goes to the text, takes the author’s original intent, explains what he meant, and then explains how that applies for life today. That’s it.

It has nothing to do with delivery.

Nothing!

Here’s to shouting and non-shouting, crying and non-crying, northern and southern expositional preachers.



Upcoming series: What expository preaching is NOT!
September 21, 2013, 11:12 am
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I’m a big believer in expositional preaching. If you know me, you know that. I’ve done a couple series on why I believe in it, or why I (try to be) am an expositional preacher.

I also feel like there is some ambiguity on what is expositional preaching, and what it is not!

Starting Monday, we will begin (at least, maybe more) 3 things that are NOT expositional preaching, but often are assumed to be.

Here are the first 3 posts you can expect

Monday-Expositional preaching is not a style of homiletics or oral delivery

Wednesday-Expositional preaching is not sequentially reading some verses and adding random comments and opinions to them as you go

Friday- Expositional preaching is not any less led by, guided by or filled with the Holy Spirit than any other method of preaching.

I have these 3 blogs ready to go, so I can say for sure that they will be coming out on the appointed dates. If I feel like adding more, I will continue this series. If not, we’ll start something new.