I'm here in Mexico, and tomorrow I get the honor to speak to hundreds of Pastors in the morning service.
The theme of the conference is called, "Making History." While at the same time there is a special service to honor my father-n-law, Dale Yerton, for his 40 years of ministry to Mexico.
Here is what I feel in my heart to share.
I've always looked at my relationship with Dale as a Paul/Timothy relationship. He truly is more than just a spiritual father; however, it was when we were ministering in Peru together that the Pastor introduced us as "Moses and Joshua."
That phrase has echoed in my ears.
What could I say to a group of pastors who many have served for years in their churches, some just starting out?
What words do I pen to drive home the theme, "Making History"?
I've chosen to look at two major time frames in the life of Moses. When it comes to making history, Moses sure does take the top of the list. But the thing that I want to point is when he was first "called into ministry" and when he "exits the ministry."
Think about this: Moses was the first person ever called into full-time vocational ministry.
Many people up to this point loved God, lived for God, did great things for God; however Moses was the first who had the responsibility to "pastor" people.
Question: What will be the difference between you making history and watching history being made?
When called by God Moses gives five excuses or reasons why he can't be the one. We all do this. Each time God gives Moses the answer. I'll paraphrase, you can find this in Exodus 3 and 4.
1. Moses, Who am I?
God, You're the one I'm with.
2. Moses, Who are you?
God, I AM, so don't worry about it.
3. Moses, What if they don't believe.
God, I turn dead things alive, I'm not worried about unbelief.
4. Moses, I'm not adequate for the job.
God, are you saying I make poor choices?
5. Moses, Is there anyone else you could send?
God, I know the value of relationships, I'll give you a helper.
In the midst of all this, God asks Moses a question, "What is in your hand?" Moses responds, "a rod." After this God does a miracle.
Two things about this. 1. When God asks a question its not because He doesn't know the answer, and 2. God never does a miracle to "show off."
The rod represented 3 things about Moses: his identity, his income and his influence. It's as if God is saying, "Moses as long as you hold on to that which is in your hand it will remain dead, but if you give me your identity, your influence, your income, I'll make that thing that is dead, become alive."
It was after this Moses's staff is forever called, "The Rod of God."
The Difference? Will you hold on or will you give over?
There is so much I write about this but I want to keep it short, so here I try. This happens in Numbers 27:12.
God tells Moses, "your purpose in live will be completed, even though you won't get to go into the promise land, your people will. You're going to die here, they will enter the land."
Point---When a man of God dies, the plans of God do not.
We all leave some day. It may be by death, resignation, firing, etc. The plans of God will continue after we're gone. So who (to pastors) are you going to hand the torch to?
Moses only has two requests, (found in verse 16-17) 1. God you decide who it should be. It's amazing that Moses didn't bring a list and say, "here are some that I've been looking at, what do you think?" He simply says, "God whoever you want, I want." 2. "Let him be a person with the people." Someone who is a people person, good with people, someone who doesn't shy away from being there in the midst of the people." It's not to say that administration skills or teaching, preaching skills aren't needed but it's not the main thing.
God tells him it will be, Joshua.
Why Joshua? What's the difference between Joshua and anyone else. Up to this point only two were qualified, Caleb and Joshua. (ten spy ordeal) But we see that it was Joshua that served Moses from his youth. Joshua knew the heart of Moses and had been with Moses as an armor bearer. I think this has great significance in the Kingdom.
I think it's the difference worth paying attention to.
Footnote: This is in my heart, I see it in scripture, I think it's one of the greatest mistakes we as leaders/pastors and young leaders make. There is a difference between success and significance. Pastors you must think beyond your years. I thank God for Willy George in waking up a church in the 90's with the understanding of "turning the hearts of the father to the children" youth movement. But it must not end there. We need some spiritual fathers turning their heart to some spiritual sons and let God pick who its going to be after you're gone.
For those of you who know me, you know I enter a lot of "youtube" video contest. I got a rude awakening with one of the contest. In the detail entry it said, "if you're old, you can't enter." I laughed and clicked on it, to discover no one over the age of 25 was allowed to enter. Now I'm 33 and not old, but you know what? Yea! Probably some truth in there.
If you're a Pastor in your 30's, now is the time to start fathering as many as you can.
If you're a Pastor in your 40's, it's not to late, but you do have one day less than you did yesterday!
If you're in your 50's, and your not fathering, shame on you because you're not seeing the big picture. You think you're in your prime, and you're not. (don't confuse prime with relevant)
If you're in your 60's and your just starting the process----you're probably just looking for someone to keep doing what you did. Keep everyone happy, don't rock the boat, after all you've been successful---keep the success going, right? Nope, here's a truth, your predecessor will most always be different than you. (and that's good)
Past this, you should be enjoying watching your sons and grandsons in the church lead.
(ok, think I've offended everyone with the above, so I'm done now)