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Thursday, November 14, 2013

When You Lose a Pastor

I was reading online about a Georgia pastor who committed suicide, and I felt a heavy burden for the congregation that he left behind. Recently we lost our Pastor by natural causes. I have lost pastors before, when they had moved on or the organization ceases to operate. But that loss cannot compare to a pastor passing away. It seems it would be like a sheep missing his or her Shepherd.

First, there is a loss of fellowship. The shepherd is no longer where you expect to see him. You look in the office. He is not there. You look in the pulpit, but he is no longer there. You see his number in your contact list and you know he will not answer if you call. Fellowship is gone. The sheep no longer see him in the fold, the pastures, and the mountains of their life.

 Second, there is a loss of leadership. The sheep have to shake of a sense of confusion. They seek the pastor for guidance, but he is not there. The sheep used to hear the shepherd’s voice, but now it is quiet.

 Third and final, there is a loss of example. As Paul took his disciples to follow him as he followed Jesus (see reference below), the pastor was always an example of how the sheep were to follow the Lord. Now the sheep are at a loss to see any other example outside of scripture to pattern their lives for the Lord’s service.

 But the sheep can be of good cheer. If the pastor did his job right, the sheep will be able to draw even closer to the “Head Shepherd” and gain an even deeper sense of fellowship with the Lord. The sheep would have been taught how to hear the “Head Shepherd’s” voice for comfort and trust He will send another trustworthy shepherd to take the pastor’s place. The sheep will look back at the passing pastor’s example and give glory to God for sending them such a shepherd.

1 Corinthians 4:16 , 2 Thessalonians 2:7 & 9

Saturday, November 02, 2013

The Christian’s Three Families

Attending our Pastor’s funeral the other day I noticed how so many had been touched by his life. How there were many who grieved as if they were family. I had seen this before at my Dad's funeral years ago. As I stood ready to take a seat with other family members, I looked up and saw the grief in the eyes of many people who attended Church with him. Some of these had been by his side when I was not around. They grieved as much as I did, if not more. But custom dictates the family was to be taken care of. The Church treated us like royalty. But, it had always troubled me that those people where close to my Dad more than I was and therefore, their hurt was just as real. So here I stood in their shoes with the same hurt. So I wondered about this. And the Lord showed me how we have three family groups in our lives. Being made up of Body, Soul and Spirit, why couldn't I have three families?

First we have the physical family or blood family if you wish. This includes those we are linked by blood to and those that are married into the family. When two become one in marriage, they are also joined to the family. No doubt the grief of a loved one in this group should never be treated lightly. Even family members that are not close can still feel a very deep loss of someone in this group.

Second is the soul or soulish family. This is made up of friends and acquaintances. Some of these can be very close to the person and sometimes said to be "close as a brother" or "He was like a Father to me". The grief of these can be really hard to handle. If a person in both groups, blood and soul, then they can count themselves double blessed.

The Third group is the Spirit Family. To the Christian we say they are "Church Family.” In this article I will be referring to the Christian Church in general. The grief in this group can be pretty strong. If some find themselves in the physical, blood and Spirit families, then they are triply blessed. The Church family by custom usually takes care of the physical and soulish families during the funeral and dinners. And this is rightly so. For the Church family will see the departed again. And they have a the Comforter for their grief. If those in the physical & soulish family groups do not belong to the Church family, then their grief is hard because they have no hope of ever seeing the loved one again. They need comforting from the Church family. That is what we are for. To be the comforting arms of the Lord to those hurting.

So I comfort those that are in the physical and soulish family members of our Pastor that are also in the Church that we will see him again in Glory. Those that are not, I strongly urge you to become "Born Again" (John 3) so that you may join us and see Him again.