Fairview Baptist Tabernacle
Friday, September 22, 2017
Staying Connected
 Archived Pastor's Desk 2016.10.30

October 30 – November 5 


Scripture Passage: “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”    Acts 20:24


Dear Friends,  

     This passage of Scripture is part of the Apostle Paul’s farewell address to the church at Ephesus.  He was aware that his life was winding down and the time of his death was near.  He had enjoyed mountaintop experiences, but he had also walked through the valley of suffering and discouragement.  He looked back and stated with bold confidence that none of the things he suffered had deterred his love for Christ. He looked forward and saw the finish line in sight.  He took time to reevaluate his ministry and affirmed that his mission had never changed.  He had been ordained by Christ to testify of the gospel of the grace of God.  As he contemplated future events, he prioritized his commitments, fulfilled his responsibilities, and set his eyes on the finish line with a determination to finish well.  May we do the same as we evaluate our own lives. 


     God made you with a divine purpose in mind.  He saved you from sin and set you apart to be used by Him.  Your life is a gift from God.  If you live your life selfishly for yourself, then your gift has been wasted. Selfish people are the unhappiest people on the face of the earth.   If you live your life in service to God and others, then your life has been spent wisely.  Warren Wiersbe says that your talents and abilities, your interests, your strengths, and even your weaknesses, are all part of God’s divine plan for your life.  Jesus said, “He that saves his life shall lose it, but he that loses his life for my sake and the Gospel’s, the same shall save it.” (Mark 8:35)  We must remember that our life is not a treasure to guard, but a gift to invest.  No wonder Paul could say that he did not count his life dear unto himself, he had spent his life as a drink offering being poured out unto God.  (II Timothy 4:6)  Because he gave, the Gospel was presented unto me and I was saved.  The life lived for Christ is the gift that keeps on giving. 


     If the truth were known, I wonder how much of my life has been spent running rabbit trails.  Some people are born knowing what they want to be, I was not.  I had a wonderful childhood, but I promise you my mind did not stay in one place long enough to formulate a course of action.  When I tried to be an athlete, I had a hard time staying where the coach put me.  When I tried to be a musician, I got bored practicing and had to go outside to play.  When I tried to be a carpenter, I busted my thumb with the hammer.  When I tried to be a farmer, I got tired of the sweat and dirt.  I have always worked and enjoyed being outside, I just haven’t always known what I was here for.  Somewhere about my Senior year in high school I decided to be a teacher and started preparing for it.  I wanted to be a band director producing championship bands.  I worked hard, earned my degree, and taught school for twenty-one years.  During that time I farmed, did carpenter work, played on church league basketball teams, and played music.  The only thing that remained consistent and did not change was my service to the Lord.  It is the only course in my life that I have ever really stuck with.  So looking forward to the future, I want to finish my course with joy.  I have had a good life, but I need to finish what the Lord started in me a long time ago. 


     I believe one of the most misunderstood words in church terminology is the word ministry.  Webster says that ministry is the occupation of one ordained to attend to the spiritual needs of others.  Johnny Carr says it is a calling to attend to the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of others by serving them.  Webster’s definition is reserved for a small group of professionals. Johnny Carr’s definition is open to all who feel God’s calling to serve others.  I know a lot of ministers who do not minister.  I know a lot of ladies who do not profess to be preachers, that minister to the needs of family and community very effectively.  So what is the accurate definition of ministry?   Paul said it was to testify the Gospel of the grace of God.  The Gospel is the good news of salvation and grace is the unmerited, unearned, favor of God.  I believe everyone Christ saves is automatically called to testify from personal experience what Christ has done for them.  My course will never be finished until my ministry is completed.  My ministry will not be completed until my life is spent.  Until that time, may none of my suffering or discouragement move me from my goal.  The finish line is in sight. 


In Christ,



Pastor Johnny