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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Need to Feed

Recently I was pounding hard on this text, searching hard to understand it's meaning: 
Philippians 2:12–13 (ESV) 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 
My thinking and writing about the text reminded me of a story I heard Bill Hybels tell years ago about being asked to visit with Billy Graham and then being asked by Graham after having visited for a while to "feed" him, to speak to him from scripture. Billy Graham is perhaps the most well known Christian ever outside of the apostles, having ministered all over the world in his long career. Yet he longed for a man 30 years his junior to minister the word to him.

You will never outgrow the need for hearing the word of God preached, for being in fellowship with other believers, to worship and to submit to the life of a church body. However, that does not mean that we are to stay dependent on a high powered spiritual leader to keep us moving in the right direction. 

I'm still working on the greater implications of this text and looking forward to preaching on it this week.

What are your thoughts about the need to intentionally submit yourself to the leadership and teaching ministry of a strong church?


  1. I find that the way you have directed your question is very interesting. It is my belief that the leadership and teaching ministry (as long as it is Biblically sound teaching) is what makes a church strong. Many things can make a church large, exciting, socially appealing... but do these make a church strong? Not in my opinion. So to answer your question, I willingly submit myself,intentionally submit myself to the leadership and teaching ministry of my church. Thank you for your posts!

    1. I realize that my views on what makes a church strong have evolved over time. I am back where I started. I grew up under strong passionate exegetical preaching through my high school and college years. However for a many years in my early ministry I became enamored with techniques that were effective in large churches in other parts of the world. But for the last 15 or so years I have been back solidly in the camp of believing that faithful passionate exegetical preaching is what God uses to shape lives and build churches. Creative strategies are great done for the right reasons, but the preaching of the gospel is the main diet.

  2. What makes a person strong is the pursuit of the Father. That's also what makes a church strong. I can willingly submit to the teachings of a leader who is running the same race as me and who is grasping for the same goal, Jesus Christ. No other goal matters. I can trust the teachings of such a person, so I am able to submit.

    I think we need to be fed in order to feed. But we need to be sure the one feeding us is providing nourishing food; make sure he is choosing from the Father's menu!

    1. I don't disagree with you, i would only add that I would say that what makes a person strong is pursuit of the Father, through his word. I think our best praying is that praying done motivated and directed from scripture. Often I find my heart cold to the Father and in need of reawakening. Scripture is the fuel for that fire.

      And yes we certainly have the responsibility to place ourselves under the leadership of someone "choosing from the Father's menu!" :)