Acts 6:1-4 / Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
The ministry of the Word, and prayer. These are the two central responsibilities of those called to the pastoral role. Be they vocational, or bi-vocational, or completely volunteer, there are those in every assembly (usually a mixture of these 3) who take up these two burdens, even as there are those who take up other burdens so that these can keep prayer and the ministry of the Word their main focus. They both do it, and/or see that it is done. It is a simple but profound arrangement. It should go without saying that neither group is comprised of super-saints. Yet those in each group should be known for their striving after Christ-likeness.
Now it isn’t a stretch to imagine what is involved with the ministry of the Word. This (it seems pretty evident) falls into two primary things: a. Preparation and, b. Proclamation. Some give themselves to the study of God’s Word (and its attendant disciplines) so that they can effectively and soundly teach God’s Word – and keep the local Church Biblically based. It is in the preaching of the Word that sinners are called to faith and repentance, and the Saints are instructed, fed, rebuked, exhorted and encouraged.
But when it comes to prayer, just what does that look like? I’d like to give you a look into ONE of the ways I (not to mention how the other Elders) pray for this Church – for us here at ECF. Maybe it will be instructive for you to understand how the Word presses upon my own heart, for myself, my wife and daughter and grand-kids and son-in-law. For all my family and yours. For this Church family. I hope you will take comfort and direction in putting in front of you ONE of the key areas I am in constant prayer for you all – beyond the needs that arise out of individual circumstances. This is my ongoing burden in prayer for us.
You should know, that each and every day, often several times a day – I am seeking God for us, for what Paul prayed for the Ephesian church in Eph. 3:14-19. What I am believing God to manifest among us more and more as the years progress. I am bowing my knees before the King of Heaven and Earth, who created and owns all things – and has made them for His glory, that I, that WE, might be granted supernatural strength – on par with the unfathomable riches of His glory. To the end that by this work of the Spirit within each of us, Christ may have the place of being our supreme treasure, perpetually informing everything we think, feel, say and do. And that by finding our deepest roots in the Divine soil of His infinite and perfect love for us, each of us may grow together to fully realize and experience the height, depth, length and breadth of His humanly unsearchable love of Christ – so that we might be absolutely filled with the fullness of His own infinite fullness. So that we are God saturated in every part of our being – lacking nothing in even the smallest sense.
Beloved, this is what I want for you all – for US all – above anything else. And I plead with Him for it. With Him who is able not only to do this – but to do it in a way that far outstrips our most vivid conceptions of it.
We Elders give ourselves to seek this for ECF. For you. Each and every one of you. And we do it, anticipating the working of His Spirit to move us into more and more of it as we go.
I just thought you’d like to know how you’ve been, and will be prayed for today. Till Christ returns or I am called home.
I love you all.