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My Pastor, My Example?

by Pastor JR Cuevas

“in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:12)

I recall several conversations I had with seasoned pastors when I was on the brink of graduating from college – contemplating the idea of applying to seminary and pursuing a vocation in full-time ministry. Having heard the saying, “If you can see yourself doing anything else, do it…because being a pastor isn’t for everyone,” I entered into these conversations with the agenda of asking these godly men what it is about pastoral ministry that made the job so difficult. I heard many of the same things from them:

“You have to be one who does all out of a love for God,” some would say.

“You have to be a man who seeks the approval of God and not man at all times,” another would counsel.

“You need to discipline yourself more than you ever have before,” one would exhort.

“Your heart for people must be so big that you are willing to give your life up even for the most difficult of them,” another would warn.

One that particularly stood out was:

“You have to be able to live for your heavenly rewards, and be willing to forsake all earthly things.”

After pondering their counsel and after much prayer, I began to realize that the things that these men were saying all had nothing to do with skill, but everything to do with character. Or, more specifically, they had everything to do with godly character. As I prayed and wrestled with my emotions, I realized that – pastor or no pastor – I was called to pursue these character qualities that these men were remarking about, for as a Christian I was called to discipline myself for the purpose of godliness. In a nutshell, they were saying: “Being a pastor is so difficult, because in order to be one you really have to be like Christ!”

And, unless you call yourself an unbeliever, don’t we all? When Paul instructed Timothy to be an example – in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity – he called him to be so to all those who believe. The implication: Timothy was a model to be imitated not only by the other pastors and elders, but by the older men, younger men, older women, younger women, children, and widows. In other words, everyone – not just the leaders – were called to look to Timothy as their model for living. Why is topic of such importance today? It is because many in the church fail to see pastors as their examples. They see them as great preachers of the Word to be listened to, but when it comes to everyday living many a lay-person would deem the examples that their pastor puts forth as simply impractical for them. We’ve heard it too often: “It’s great that Pastor Bill does that, but he’s a pastor! You can’t expect me to do the same thing!” Because the congregation is deemed to consider their pastors and leaders as worthy of double honor, people often mistakenly place them on unfair pedestals. It often shows in either an overflow of criticism every time a pastor errs, or in a lack of emulation whenever a pastors excels. Pastors, as well as great men of the faith, are many times seen as figures to be admired, rather than as examples to be emulated. They are deemed as passionate men to be flattered, rather than as practical models to be followed. Sometimes, it’s as if there are two different Jesus figures to be conformed to: one for the pastors and leaders, and another for the lay-people.

But there is one Christ, and He alone is the head of the church. He alone is to be emulated, for those who follow Him are called to walk in the same manner that he walked. The Jesus that pastors are called to conform themselves to is the same Jesus that the rest of the church is called to emulate. He’s the same Jesus whom Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgeon followed. He’s the same Jesus whom Jim Elliot followed. He’s the same Jesus whom Paul followed. Thus, when we look at the exemplary lives of our senior (or associate) pastors and the great men of the faith, we are called to do more than to give them our applause while sitting back and excusing ourselves from doing the same thing. Rather, they do what they do so that we may look at them and say, “as a fellow follower of Christ, I shall do the same.” Practically, the pastors life is different from that of a lay person. A pastor is called to preach weekly; a lay-person is not. A pastor usually spends most of his work hours in the church; they lay-person spends most of his at a secular workplace. But though the practical outworking of things may be different, the essence of the example is the same. The faithfulness that a pastor shows to his people is the same faithfulness that every lay-person should exhibit. The sacrificial love that a pastor shows to his congregation should be exhibited by the latter to the same degree. The dignity and discipline of conduct that a pastor is called to is the same dignity and discipline that any other person in church is called to exhibit in his or her life. Thus, let us all give our leaders the honor and respect that God wills for us to give them, and let us do so by striving hard to emulate their example.

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Weekly Links (1/15/10)

by Stephen Rodgers

Well, it was hard to pare it down this week, but I think you’ll enjoy the following articles that survived the culling:

  • First up, the most significant news of the week had to be the massive earthquake in Haiti and the ensuing suffering and tragedy. Al Mohler has posted an article addressing the question (and some insensitive and bizarre comments) entitled “Does God Hate Haiti?” I highly recommend it to you. Also, Tim Challies reflects on the tragedy and fears that in our information-age, we will be informed and updated far more than we will be moved.
  • I can’t vouch for any of the other videos that this user posted, but I found this one entitled “I am a chair” to be rather thought-provoking, particularly in light of Christian love (not to mention obedience, and yes, they can be the same thing), necessitating evangelism.
  • Changing gears, on the topics of Christian ethics and modern culture, I found two articles on the Stand to Reason blog this week to be interesting and food for thought. Both deal with approaches to hot topics in light of Christian ethics. The first is on the subject of same-sex marriage, and the second deals with the issue of abortion.
  • Mark Driscoll wraps up his interview with RC Sproul, reflecting on his impact on a generation of Christians.
  • Kevin DeYoung asks the question “Why Are We So Offended All The Time?
  • In honor of Pastor Patrick coming up on his ordination, I thought that I would refer you (and him if he reads this) to an article on the 9Marks blog on the remarkable ordinariness of pastoral ministry.
  • And ending with a bang, I think you’ll agree that the author of this article nails it when he explores the theology of “The Smaller You Get, The Freer You’ll Be.”

Pro Rege

Care Ministry

by Chris Lim

Increase Your Passion in 2010…by joining Care Ministry!

Lighthouse Bible Church has a three-fold mission, vision and passion commonly referred to as our M.V.P. statement. Our passion statement is to “love God and love people” taken from Matthew 22:37-40. By having a deep and growing love relationship with God, it allows us look outside of ourselves and desire to care for the people God has placed in our lives.

Do you want to increase your “passion” for serving others? Then consider joining Care Ministry. Care Ministry seeks to serve and care for the church body in very practical and tangible ways ranging from a note of encouragement, a timely care package or more recently, a discerning set of eyes to check your automobile for any car trouble you’ve noticed lately.

While mostly behind the scenes, Care Ministry is one of the most pervasive ministries at Lighthouse as we seek to care for the different needs of our fellowship groups (college, singles and families) and also celebrate special “life events” such as the birth of a new child or those getting married.

Our seven current Care sub-ministries are:

  1. Meal Ministry – Provides and delivers meals to individuals/families due to sickness, special needs or most commonly the arrival of a newborn.
  2. Special Events Ministry – Serves the church body by adding a special “touch” to church events like our Christmas Concert, Baptisms, Annual Church Banquet and other church-wide events.
  3. Encouragement Box Ministry – Seeks to encourage people in the church by writing a note of encouragement to them (available each Sunday)
  4. Care Package Ministry – Makes and delivers care packages for College students during finals exams or for those sent on military deployments.
  5. Baby Shower Ministry – Plans a time of encouragement/fellowship for expecting moms
  6. Bridal Shower Ministry – Organizes a party for a bride-to-be in anticipation for her wedding
  7. February Care Month Ministry – Devotes a month to direct the church’s attention to how they can actively participate in our care ministries.

The next three sub-ministries have just started or will be starting very soon:

  1. Car Care Ministry (already started) – Seeks to maintain, correct and prevent any vehicular problem (big or small) or to get an honest assessment of your vehicle and its needs before going to the mechanic. For a check-up, contact Thomas Fong, Quang Duong or Randy Sarmiento.
  2. LBC Babysitting Ministry (starting February 2010) – Provides complimentary babysitting/childcare for those in LBC’s Gracelife/Family ministry so that they can enjoy the evening out.
  3. Elder Care Ministry (starting January 2010) – Seeks to encourage and support our Elders and Pastors and their families.

As some of you are familiar, each February at Lighthouse is known as “Care Month,” where we will brainstorm a few special ways for the church body to serve and encourage each other. In previous years, we have put together encouragement scrapbooks for our elders and formed an “Adopt-A-Family” concept that allowed singles and college small groups to get to know the families better. Last year, we had a special “Mother/Sister” lunch event that allowed the moms/wives to hangout with the singles ladies at the UTC Food Court. If you’d like to help out for Care Month 2010, our team is forming very shortly.

As a final reminder, there are no special talents required to join Care Ministry – just a desire and heart to serve. For questions or more information about participating in Care Ministry or Care Month, please contact Chris Lim at cmlim@mail.com

Living Theology #7 – The Sufficiency of Scripture

by Garrett Glende

We now come to the final Characteristic of Scripture: its sufficiency. To say that Scripture is sufficient is to trust in its usefulness for all areas that it addresses. Grudem defines the doctrine in his own terms:

“The sufficiency of Scripture means that Scripture contained all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains everything we need God to tell us for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly.”

This is not to say that the Bible is some sort of encyclopedia, capturing all the knowledge available to us, but rather that it is sufficient for the matters it addresses, mainly knowing and obeying God. The Bible is not sufficient for a calculus education, but it is for salvation. Sola Scriptura, a proclamation of the reformers, gets to the heart of what this means. Scripture alone is the source of God’s word and it is enough for us to come to know Him and obey Him in light of the gospel of grace revealed to us.

Scripture itself attests to its sufficiency in bringing about an understanding of salvation as well as how to live and grow in sanctification once saved. Paul makes it clear to Timothy that the word of God as revealed in Scripture is “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). Peter also declares that Christians have been “born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). The words found in the Bible, the very words of God, are the only way to enlighten hearts to salvation. Any other method claiming a path to salvation is insufficient. Every other religious text falls short in its claims, both in truth and efficacy. The word of God as revealed in Scripture stand tall above the sacred writings of Islam, Buddhism, and the cultic offering of the Mormons. It needs no additional laws from Rome. Salvation is found in no one but Christ, whose holy word is brought forth through the pages of Scripture.

Scripture is also sufficient for our growth as Christians and for perfect obedience to our Lord. Psalm 119:1 declares, “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!” The Law is referring to God’s word revealed to His people so that they might live lives pleasing to Him, thus the psalmist is saying that people are able to be blessed and blameless by walking according to what Scripture says. God truly has given us all that we need for life and godliness, especially through His word, inspired by Him so “that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17). This section (verses 15-17) describes the absolute adequacy of the Bible’s revelation for the Christian and leaves us confident that we need not look elsewhere for instruction.

But how often do we go to another source of wisdom? The world goes to Oprah and Dr. Phil, but surely this is not where the Christian finds his or her guidance – or is it? How many of us ignore what God has spoken and carry on in the ways of the world? There should be no competition in our hearts or minds between the words of the world’s counselors and the word of God, as it is sufficient to guide us in obedience to Him. If Scripture is not our guide for our daily decisions then we are demonstrating that we don’t believe that it is sufficient. This is not to say that there is no room for practical considerations, but the principles that the Bible lays out for us are enough to make God glorifying choices.

Love of the Cross

by Elder Mike Chon

It is amazing how many people in the world actually celebrate Christmas and never take time to consider the true meaning of Christmas. I remember as an unbeliever making fun of my Christian friend who used to try to tell me that Christmas was about Jesus Christ. Even explaining how the word Christ is found in Christmas. As an unbeliever I would just laugh at him and think how ridiculous it was to believe that Christmas was about Jesus. Now looking back I can’t believe how ignorant and hardened I truly was as an unbeliever. But isn’t this true of so many things in our life, that the true meaning behind the words we use get redefined by what we perceive the meaning “should” be.

For the believer, words such as truth, God, servant, hope, joy, and love are defined not by Webster’s dictionary, but by the Word of God. It is the Word of God that reveals to us the depth of the meaning of these words. Without God’s Word we would never know what truth is, we would never know the one and true God, we would have false hope, and our joy would be a fleeting sense of happiness that changes as much as the wind. We see how the world has treated the meaning of love in today’s culture and the result of that in today’s families and marriages. Even for the believer, I believe we may not fully grasp the biblical view of love until you experience the greatest expression of love that has ever been displayed in the history of this world.

Before we begin defining love with mere words, we need to start where infinite love was displayed, which was on the cross. This is where the believer must start before we begin talking about how love is patient, kind…etc. As horrific as the sight was for those viewing the crucifixion on the day of Christ’s death, it was at the same time the greatest expression of love that has ever been manifested by any individual in this world. Love that drove the creator of the universe to become a mere man and suffer in the hands of those He created, accept the torment of Satan and the demons, and ultimately experiencing the wrath and separation of God. Not what we would consider love in these days, but true love indeed. All of us have experienced a moment in our past when we knew someone loves us by their gesture or gift. Such as when our mom would painstakingly stay up through the night when we were sick, when a friend would bring by your favorite meal, or when someone wrote or spoke words of encouragement when we were going through a difficult time. All of these were expressions of love to us because they met a need we had at a specific point in our lives. It wouldn’t be love if our mom decided to make us run five miles outside in the rain while you had a fever, even if you were a little overweight. Love expressed is very specific to the person receiving the love. It wouldn’t do you any good if you needed surgery to have your friend bring books about how you need surgery. That isn’t true love expressed even though they were sincere about their gesture. It just shows that they really don’t know you well enough.

On the cross, Christ displayed his love for the world. Not just because he endured physical torture and spiritual torment, but because through the cross, Christ extended His love to us by meeting the greatest need that we all had. That was our need to be reconciled to the Holy God. If the cross only accomplished a possibility for us to be saved, it wouldn’t be the greatest love. If the cross was only a sentimental death, it wouldn’t be the greatest love. If the cross was only heroic, it wouldn’t be the greatest love. The cross actually reconciled unbelievers to God, which is the greatest expression of love because it was the greatest need that we all had. There is nothing else that can compare to the gift that Jesus gave to us through the cross. There is no greater love than what Christ accomplished on the cross. May we as followers of Christ extend love to each other so that we would be a testimony of Christ’s love to this world. Below are several passages to read and meditate on. Notice how the love of God and Christ is linked to the cross.

John 3:16 (ESV) 16“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 15:12 – 13 (ESV) 12“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.

Romans 5:6 – 11 (ESV) 6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:14 – 15 (ESV) 14For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Ephesians 5:1 – 2 (ESV) 1Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:25 – 27 (ESV) 25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

1 John 3:16 (ESV) 16By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

1 John 4:7 – 12 (ESV) 7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

Let us love one another purposefully and thoughtfully to encourage our church to grow in their affection for one another and for God. Let us put aside grudges and any excuses to hold back forgives and reconciliation when Christ did not on the cross by completely reconciling us to God. May we learn together and practice together the love that was displayed to us on the cross with each other, to be able to lift up the faint hearted, to strengthen the weary, to encourage the sorrowful, all to the glory of God.

Weekly Links (1/08/10)

by Stephen Rodgers

Alright, well this might be a little bit longer than usual, since a LOT happened this week. But here we go. First up, a small collection of articles with a New Year’s theme that were missed in the last update:

Alright, I think that takes care of that. So, moving on to the non-New Year’s themed articles of the week:

  • This might not be interesting to absolutely everyone, but over at Kevin DeYoung’s blog, he has a three-part series of posts on the topic of writing. You can find them here, here, and here. Which naturally begs the question of, “when do you have time to read?
  • In a similar vein, Dan Phillips over at PyroManiacs has a post entitled “Why I Believe In Blogging.”
  • Please understand that this is not an attempt to push a political agenda, but I couldn’t help but notice that amidst all the craziness this week in misrepresenting the Gospel, Ann Coulter got it right.
  • Considering that his book has had a major impact on our church, you might be interested to know that CJ Mahaney did a two-part interview with Ken Sande, which can be found here and here.
  • Mark Driscoll continues his interview of RC Sproul, asking him “How Has Your Wife Impacted You?” He seems to take the question quite literally.
  • Speaking of, over at the Mars Hill blog there’s a very thought-provoking article that challenges us to look at sinful addictions as worship disorders.
  • Over at the Desiring God blog, John Piper writes about The Strange Way God Arranges to Forgive.
  • And let’s wrap this up with a topic I’ve been thinking more about lately: missionaries. Over at his blog, David Doran has a great thought on Human Sympathy vs. Missionary Compassion. And back at the Gospel Coalition, there’s an article on 10 Ways to Encourage a Missionary.

Pro Rege

Single Life Ministry

by Pastor John Kim

Single Life represents the ministry at LBC that focuses on providing opportunities for those who are single adults to gather for fellowship and mutual edification. It is a challenging period of life for many who are uncertain as to where the future will lead but there is one thing that really can take place and that is the cultivating of spiritual growth. Regardless of educational, vocational, or relational status, there is one thing that is quite certain – growing in the grace and truth of God must be foundational if anything else in life is going to be purposeful and meaningful. As we often are reminded that all of life is to be lived to God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31), there is never a stage of life where we are justified in thinking that somehow we are given some kind of entitlement to live for ourselves. If the love of Christ truly controls us (2 Corinthians 5:14-15), then it should visible affect the way we live, starting from our heart motivations resulting in a life that exudes the reality of the Lordship of Christ.

It is no surprise that for many single adults, life is filled with a lot of change and upheaval. The pursuit of further education, seeking to land a decent job, and the hope of maybe finding a spouse can cause a lot of stress and anxiety, even depression. Many churches struggle to even have ministries that focus on single adults due to the transient nature of this stage of life.

So we are quite thankful that for the past few years we have been able to see the Single Life Ministry at LBC grow. It has not been without its struggles as there has been difficulty in keeping things consistent, but this past fall has been greatly encouraging as we have been able to find more focus in what we do.

Friday Night Light takes place weekly on Friday evenings as we spend time in growing in God’s Word and having opportunities to fellowship together. There is a staff that has committed themselves to serving each Friday by fulfilling various roles such as the praise team, new visitors, setup, refreshments, and others. Our theme has been “Getting to Know the Holy Spirit” as we have been studying what is often a neglected theme in many churches: the person and role of the Holy Spirit. It has been very encouraging to hear how many are learning and growing in their understanding of how the Bible describes the Holy Spirit and we look forward to continuing the study in the new year.

Friday nights have also provided many opportunities for the singles to just hang out together as we have a time after Bible study for various activities. We have a refreshments station where the staff organizes various treats each Friday for people to enjoy. There are staff that are available for counseling or to ask questions regarding the message. We also have ping pong and foosball for those who would like a little recreation. Many just spend time talking in the sanctuary as well, and it has been very encouraging to see more interaction as we have had many newer people join us on Friday nights.

We recently started accountability small groups where those who have the desire to have more personal accountability and interaction sign up to be committed for the term, which goes until June 2010. It is a great opportunity for people to not only get connected but to also have a smaller group of fellow believers that come alongside to provide encouragement and support in pursuing spiritual growth. I believe this is a very significant ministry that provides greater depth and ministry that goes beyond the surface. This of course takes cooperation and willingness for each individual to be willing to be open and vulnerable and it often takes some time for this to develop. But once it does, it does bring a lot of encouragement to the group and many are able to develop a stronger sense of belonging to the church family.

Each year we also have our annual spring retreat where we gather over at Pine Valley Bible Conference Center for a weekend together. Last year was a wonderful time as Pastor James Shin of Cornerstone Bible Church came to minister along with his family. The centrality of the gospel was clearly communicated as James addressed the motivations of the heart and many of our singles were impacted in a profound way. This spring we are looking forward to again having our retreat on March 19-21, 2010 at Pine Valley and this time we will be having Pastor Nam Park of Immanuel Bible Church come to preach. I would encourage all the singles to set aside this weekend as it will be a wonderful opportunity to grow as well as have fellowship with one another.

Please continue to pray for Single Life, that the ministry would be faithful to present the truth of God and that the love of Christ would be manifested genuinely and sincerely to all who come.


About

The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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