How to Pray for Your Pastor

In the book of Malachi a scathing indictment is issued against priests who cut corners and received less than acceptable sacrifices from the people.  The priests were called to a special office of mediation between the people and God which made the charge against their office even more significant.  In Malachi 2:5-7  God reminds the priests about the covenant he had established with them through their fathers.

My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.
(Mal 2:5-7)

Pastors are not priests.  The pastoral ministry is significantly different than the ministry of Old Testament Priests especially considering the work of Christ.   Christ offered himself as the perfect sacrifice and now stands as the mediator between God and men (I Tim. 2:5, Hebrews 9:15, 12:24).   (This is one reason why many protestants stand so staunchly against the Roman Catholic notion of priest as mediators and mass as a perpetual offering of sacrifice.)

4 Ways to Pray for Your Pastor

Though Pastors are not priests, there are aspects of their ministry that parallel the duties of the priests in Malachi’s day.  Pastors are responsible to teach and oversee the body of the church. (Piper does a fantastic job of fleshing this out so I won’t belabor the point.)  It is from examining Malachi in this light that I have pulled application from the failure of the priest in Malachi into four ways to pray for pastors.

. . . . . . .

So here is how I pray for myself and the other pastors I know:

  1. To stand in fear and awe of God’s name
  2. True instruction to be found on his lips
  3. To walk with the Lord in peace and uprightness
  4. To turn people away from iniquity

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A Review of David Platt’s book “Radical”

To be honest I really have mixed reviews about David Platt’s book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. Maybe with all the hype, I was expecting more.  If you want my honest and straight forward opinion I think its weak, premature and largely borrows from the work of others without giving them fair credit: While at the same time, I sense that Dr. Platt is pointing us in the right direction.

First, I think Dr. Platt’s arguments are weak.  He is like a doctor who can find the pulse, but has no cure.  Yes, America is consumed with consumerism.  Yes, we are materialistic.  Yes, we are wealthy compared to three-quarters of the world. Yes,  a large portion of the world in need of the gospel and basic humanitarian aid.  Yes, we should change that.  If this book were just about that, it would be prophetic:  Find the issue, declare what God has said about it.  The weakness arises when Platt tries to usher a new way forward based on his limited experiences as the pastor of a mega-church.

That is why it may be a bit premature.  We are in no shortage of books touting short-term and even untried solutions.  Everyone sharing the gospel should have success stories to share.  The fact is that the Holy Spirit moves both in us and sometimes in spite of us as pastors, teachers, and leaders.  The real question is, will the “Radical Experiment” produce long-term results or will we have forgotten about it by next year?

I’m troubled that much of what Platt says appears to be patterned off of messages, books, and articles I’ve read by Dr. John Piper.  I guess I wouldn’t be as troubled if I saw that Platt recognized that he has been heavily influenced by Dr. Piper.  To me this just appears to be complete ignorance of the loudest voice and call to the “radical” lifestyle or intellectual dishonesty on Platt’s part.

That being said, I sense that Platt is on to something.  He is pointing in the right direction.  I heard enough of his voice in his writing to sense that he caries a genuine passion to revolutionize the world with the gospel.  I hope he does.  I pray that God uses him and his book to stir many more into awareness and action.   I really liked his 5 fold challenge to take up the ‘radical experiment’ at the end of the book.  I hope he writes another book or even revises “radical” in 10 years with more of what God has taught him.  He has a voice at the table of American evangelicalism, I pray he uses it well.

If you are looking for an emotional stirring to challenge you to take up the mantle of global missions to the poor,  this book is for you and I would recommend you to read it.  The retail price of Radical is $14.99 (Paperback), and is available around the web in places like for $5.50. I gave it three stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

50 Reasons: To Give Eternal Life To All Who Believe on Him

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I would be reading Piper’s book “50 Reasons why Jesus Came to Die” between Easter and Pentecost. You can get the scoop here

I apolagize for not posting much of last week and early this week.  Most of my computer time was spent writing and researching a few papers due for my Masters degree and a few other side projects that had more immediate deadlines.

To Give Eternal Life to All Who Believe on Him

Piper does a great job bringing out the beauty of eternal life in this quote, “It is the supreme and ever increasing happiness where all sin and all sadness will be gone.  All that is evil and harmful in this fallen creation will be removed.  All that is good – all that will bring true and lasting happiness- will be preserved, purified and intensified” (57).  Imagine ever increasing delight without an end.  That’s the point of eternal life.  Not an endless choir session of boring music.  If that is the future for all who believe on Christ… How should that inform the way we live now?

50 Reasons: To Provide the Basis for Our Justification

The other day I mentioned that I would be reading Piper’s book “50 Reasons why Jesus Came to Die” between Easter and Pentecost. You can get the scoop here.

To Provide the Basis for Our Justification

Piper addresses a key aspect of what Jesus did for us through his death, burial and resurrection.  Many times we talk about how Christ took our sins and provided forgiveness, but seldom do we talk about being Justified (declared just) before God.  Being Justified and declared Righteous (tomorrow’s chapter) are essential in our salvation.

Saw this on YouTube this week.  Another good song that I don’t have on my Ipod, but sing all the time.  I was particularly engaged during the first part where it shows the scene involving the woman at the well.

50 Reasons: For the Forgiveness of Our Sins

The other day I mentioned that I would be reading Piper’s book “50 Reasons why Jesus Came to Die” between Easter and Pentecost. You can get the scoop here.

For the Forgiveness of Our Sins

I was blessed to read today’s chapter and was reminded of the cost of free.  Sometimes things are free to us because they are cheap.  Sometimes they are free because somebody wants something from you.  And in the case of forgiveness and salvation free because we could never afford it.  We could never merit God’s grace.  We could never earn salvation.  We could never purchase for ourselves what Christ purchased for us at Calvary.

50 Reasons: To Become a Ransom for Many

The other day I mentioned that I would be reading Piper’s book “50 Reasons why Jesus Came to Die” between Easter and Pentecost. You can get the scoop here.

To Become a Ransom for Many

I am excited that Piper highlights that the ransom here was paid to God and of course cites several verses in explanation.  There is an errant idea going through many Christian circles that the ransom was paid to Satan.  I think we often give Satan more credit than he deserves.  The idea that the ransom was due Satan originated with a theologian by the name of Origin (185 – 254 A.D.). (Wow! One of my undergrad professors would be proud.  He used to say that, “Origin was the origin of all heresy” and it stuck).

Anyway I’m glad that Jesus paid it all. Piper drives home an excellent point.  The ransom is for “many” (Mark 10:45) and not all are saved, but the offer is for everyone (I timothy 2:5-6).  Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell the people at your work place, “Jesus paid it all!”  If they don’t know, they need to hear: if they already know, they need to hear it again. I’ve been blessed to share with 5 people (apart from church related stuff) this week about why Jesus came to die!

50 Reasons: To Cancel the Legal Demands of the Law Against Us

The other day I mentioned that I would be reading Piper’s book “50 Reasons why Jesus Came to Die” between Easter and Pentecost. You can get the scoop here.

To Cancel the Legal Demands of the Law Against Us

As crazy as it sounds I used to think that God would be pleased with my deeds.  I was teaching and preaching the right thing, but living as though I could obtain God’s favor by my actions.  I shared this part of my story earlier on the blog.  You can catch it here.  I am so thankful that God didn’t see fit to let me try and work my way to him only to be frustrated and without him in the end.  Sorry to include two songs in a row, but as reminder of where I have come from and how I have been set free I sing, “Before the Throne of God Above” just about every day in my private worship.  It was especially sweet today.

Shane and Shane: Before The Throne (Pages Album Version) has an MP3 from their Pages Album with the song on it.  I don’t have it on my iphone.  I just memorized it from our college group several years back and it has carried me through.

50 Reasons: To Achieve His Own Resurrection From the Dead

The other day I mentioned that I would be reading Piper’s book “50 Reasons why Jesus Came to Die” between Easter and Pentecost. You can get the scoop here.

To Achieve His Own Resurrection From the Dead

I am reminded again today that without Jesus death, there would be no resurrection.  The resurrection is proof that Jesus did what He said he could do.  I could comment more here, but I found these words from the Apostle Paul more compelling…

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
(1 Corinthians 15:12-24 ESV)

Father, thank you that Christ was not only crucified on our behalf, but that he was raised from the dead.

50 Reasons: To Learn Obedience and Be Perfected

The other day I mentioned that I would be reading Piper’s book “50 Reasons why Jesus Came to Die” between Easter and Pentecost. You can get the scoop here.

To Learn Obedience and Be Perfected

Have you ever really thought about the obedience of Christ before?  I think about learning obedience and the first thought that comes to mind is “quit being disobedient.”  Piper does a great job in drawing out that Jesus didn’t have any “disobedience” to get rid of.  He was perfect.  So how do you learn to be obedient if you are perfect?  Answer: You continue to do what you are asked to do, even when it is difficult.  Every step to the cross was a step of obedience to God’s plan to save sinners.  Christ was perfect, not only because he didn’t sin, but also because he always did the right thing.

Father,  I was reminded today that Christ is doubly righteous.  Not only was he without sin, but he was also completely obedient.  Your plan to use the cross to reconcile us to Yourself is becoming more and more clear.  Thank you for your amazing love and great plan to save all who would call out to you.