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Holiness Unto the Lord

The longer I occupy the office of pastor on my own without the benefit of a “senior pastor” the more aware I become that Jesus Christ is my Senior Pastor. Much of what I do as a pastor on a daily basis is an imitation of the two senior pastors under whom I served for the last five years. That is a good thing for I served under two great men who were also great pastors. They had great hearts for people – they loved folks and if I can do any more than that it will be by the grace of God.

I am now discovering that as I recognize the undeniable reality that Jesus is my Senior Pastor – and he’s been that all along whether I recognized it or not – I’m to imitate Jesus. Just like those two men under whom I served, I find that I want to imitate my current Senior Pastor and the terrifying reality of what that means has caused me to reevaluate how I live my life. The reason for this is because I now have a deep desire to live my life as an imitation of Christ’s life and in order to do that I have to become familiar with how Jesus lived.

Do you know what this means?

Phil 2:1-8 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.

Can you imagine a man like me, a man of unclean heart who dwells among a people of unclean hearts, praying these words about Christ? What does God do with a man whose kenotic prayer is actually serious, or with a man who strains to beat his breast and say “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”? I think I’m experiencing what God does and it is at the same time painful and euphoric. It’s a reshaping of the heart so that I can actually love people. Not to pretend to love people because that’s what I’m supposed to look like as a pastor, but actually and truthfully love people.

Of course, that’s not all it means but it’s a start for me. Join me, but be realistic and know that it means becoming empty no matter how much we fight it. I should know because my heart and mind are putting up the fight of their lives.

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