Posts Tagged ‘Pastor’


Galatians 6:6. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

Now the Apostle also addresses the hearers of the Word requesting them to bestow “all good things” upon those who have taught them the Gospel. I have often wondered why all the apostles reiterated this request with such embarrassing frequency. In the papacy I saw the people give generously for the erection and maintenance of luxurious church buildings and for the sustenance of men appointed to the idolatrous service of Rome. I saw bishops and priests grow rich until they possessed the choicest real estate. I thought then that Paul’s admonitions were overdone. I thought he should have requested the people to curtail their contributions. I saw how the generosity of the people of the Church was encouraging covetousness on the part of the clergy. I know better now.

As often as I read the admonitions of the Apostle to the effect that the churches should support their pastors and raise funds for the relief of impoverished Christians I am half ashamed to think that the great Apostle Paul had to touch upon this subject so frequently. In writing to the Corinthians he needed two chapters to impress this matter upon them. I would not want to discredit Wittenberg as Paul discredited the Corinthians by urging them at such length to contribute to the relief of the poor. It seems to be a by-product of the Gospel that nobody wants to contribute to the maintenance of the Gospel ministry. When the doctrine of the devil is preached people are prodigal in their willing support of those who deceive them.

We have come to understand why it is so necessary to repeat the admonition of this verse. When Satan cannot suppress the preaching of the Gospel by force he tries to accomplish his purpose by striking the ministers of the Gospel with poverty. He curtails their income to such an extent that they are forced out of the ministry because they cannot live by the Gospel. Without ministers to proclaim the Word of God the people go wild like savage beasts.

Paul’s admonition that the hearers of the Gospel share all good things with their pastors and teachers is certainly in order. To the Corinthians he wrote: “If we have sown unto you spiritual things is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?” (1Cr 9:11) In the old days when the Pope reigned supreme everybody paid plenty for masses. The begging friars brought in their share. Commercial priests counted the daily offerings. From these extortions our countrymen are now delivered by the Gospel. You would think they would be grateful for their emancipation and give generously for the support of the ministry of the Gospel and the relief of impoverished Christians. Instead, they rob Christ. When the members of a Christian congregation permit their pastor to struggle along in penury, they are worse than heathen.

Before very long they are going to suffer for their ingratitude. They will lose their temporal and spiritual possessions. This sin merits the severest punishment. The reason why the churches of Galatia, Corinth, and other places were troubled by false apostles was this, that they had so little regard for their faithful ministers. You cannot refuse to give God a penny who gives you all good things, even life eternal, and turn around and give the devil, the giver of all evil and death eternal, pieces of gold, and not be punished for it.

The words “in all good things: are not to be understood to mean that people are to give all they have to their ministers, but that they should support them liberally and give them enough to live well.

~ Martin Luther


“And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
Jeremiah 3:15 (KJV)

From this it is evident that there are five main tasks required in the pastoral office and true care of souls:

First: to lead to Christ our Lord and into His communion those who are still estranged from Him, whether through carnal excess or false worship.

Secondly: to restore those who had once been brought to Christ and into His church but have been drawn away again through the affairs of the flesh or false doctrine.

Thirdly: to assist in the true reformation of those who while remaining in the church of Christ have grievously fallen and sinned.

Fourthly: to re-establish in true Christian strength and health those who, while persevering in the fellowship of Christ and not doing anything particularly or grossly wrong, have become somewhat feeble and sick in the Christian life.

Fifthly: to protect from all offense and falling away and continually encourage in all good things those who stay within the flock and in Christ’s sheep-pen without grievously sinning or becoming weak and sick in their Christian walk.

~ from Concerning the True Care of Souls by Martin Bucer (1538) (p. 70)

{May this ever be my prayer, oh Lord my God}

*Note: Caring elders/pastors must seek the lost, bring back the wandering, restore the fallen, strengthen the weak, and encourage the strong. The Gospel brings salvation, healing, and deliverance.


My Journey of Faith
Gary DeSha

The dictionary defines “journey” as “a traveling from one place to another, usually taking a rather long time.” Faith is defined as “confidence or trust in a person or thing; belief that is not based on proof; belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of Christianity.” I believe my journey of faith began when I was born. The journey continued until, in the summer of 1972, when it took a turn and became defined by faith, that gift of God, which enabled me to trust in Him as my Savior and Lord. Thereafter, my journey has enable me to associate myself with many expressions of the Christian faith. Each one has left a lasting mark upon my soul, all of which I am thankful to God for the time and experiences.

My journey of faith has become like a Bridge. The Bridge allows me to access both the treasures of Orthodoxy and the treasures of the Reformation. So, let me tell you my story; the story of my journey of faith.

I became a born again Christian through the prayers and ministry of my father and the pastor of an independent Baptist Church in June of 1972. Shortly thereafter, I received baptism. From that day, I was discipled in the Christian faith through regular church attendance, teaching, prayer, and Bible study.

In January of 1973, while attending a worship service, I read the Holy Scripture from Joshua 1:8-9 which says, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” From this verse of Holy Scripture, and what the pastor was speaking on that day, I felt His Spirit upon me, and God calling me to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ; the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
From that day forth, I began deep study of God’s Word, and began a program of mentorship under very mature men of God, pastors, and leaders within the Church. In 1973, I began an active duty career in the United States Army Chaplains Corps as a Chaplains Assistant. In my career, these Chaplains were a great help to me in my spiritual growth.

In 1975, while listening to a radio broadcast by the Rev. R. W. Schambach, I received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues for the first time. After this wonderful experience of the infilling of the Holy Spirit, I sought out a Pentecostal church that would teach me the deeper spiritual things of God. I continued to grow in grace and in the knowledge of God. I received my license to preach from South Gardens Baptist Church, in Savannah, GA. The pastor (Bro. Chambliss) was a man on fire for God, a true soul winner and preacher of the Gospel.

Since that time, I have served the Lord in a variety of capacities. From ministering to the soldiers of the United States Army, to the saints in local churches, I preached and taught the Word of God to many. I have served as the Pentecostal Fellowship Pastor sponsored by the Church of God, Cleveland, TN ministry to the military. I have served as worship leader and evangelist for an Assemblies of God church in Arkansas. I have planted and pastored several churches across the country.

There came a time in my Christian life, where I was concerned about how the some churches viewed the Lord’s Supper. After much prayer, study, and thought, I discovered for the first time in my spirit, the reality of the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine served at Holy Communion. In 1995, I was ordained a priest in the Evangelical Episcopal Church. I served an Episcopal parish in the State of Georgia. In 1996, while still searching and seeking God, I discovered the Eastern Orthodox Church. At that time, I believed I had discovered the full true expression of the Christian faith in Holy Orthodoxy. I sought out a local priest and after dialogue with his bishop; in 1998 I was received into the Eastern Orthodox Church and ordained as an Eastern Orthodox Christian priest. I have since served as a local parish priest and assisted local Eastern Orthodox bishops in their divine services, and on November 15, 2012 was consecrated Bishop for the Eastern Orthodox diocese of Minneapolis and all of North Dakota.

An Eastern Orthodox bishop, depending on his jurisdiction and rank, may be called Bishop (usually auxiliary to an Archbishop); Metropolitan (head of a large city or a Diocese); Archbishop (head of an Orthodox country or capital city); Patriarch (head of an ancient or ethnic Church). The bishops of the ancient Sees of Rome and Alexandria are also called Popes. Eastern Orthodox clergy of all orders wear the cassock or riassa in public, but when participating in a church service wear the vestment of their own order and rank. The Greek Orthodox also wears a black cylinder-like hat on top of which the celibates (except deacons) wear a black veil dropping down the back.

An Eastern Orthodox presbyter (priest or pastor) is either married serving as a parish priest or celibate, generally belonging to a monastic order called “Archimandrite”.

Vladyka or Theophilestate Vladyka is the Russian or Greek Orthodox form of address for an Orthodox Bishop (the English word commonly used in the Protestant, Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches).

Since the summer of 2008, when my wife of 21 years passed away having lost her battle with breast cancer, I decided to re-look at my call to ministry, to determine exactly where God wanted me, and to take inventory of my Christian life. I discovered that I needed to be free of the Eastern Orthodox mindset I understood as being exclusive, a thought process that excluded other true branches of the Christian Church from one another. I could not accept that the traditions of men overruled the Word of God, the Bible as the final authority for faith and practice. I could not accept the fact the pagan worship practices had crept into the Church. The tradition of the Church is were useful to a point, this is true just so long as it maintains its integrity with what Jesus taught the Apostles. True church tradition is what the Apostles of Jesus Christ taught. I also discovered that I must take what I have learned from the Eastern Orthodox Church and weave that into what I learned many, many years before. God has brought me back to my first love, the true preaching, and teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Kingdom of God. I am a student of the Word of God, and I am learning more and more each day. I must move in line with where God is taking me, and from where God has brought me thus far.

However, God did revealed to me something very wonderful. The most interesting event during my Christian life and ministry was the discovery of the truths of the teaching that came out of the Reformation of the 16th century. Almost three years ago, my journey and the process of learning as a Christian were aided by serving as associate pastor at a Lutheran Church in my local area. I served as preaching pastor for a new plant, and youth pastor for the parent congregation. During this time, I studied the Book of Concord, Lutheran doctrine, and really dove into what Martin Luther discovered. God opened this door for me to come to the knowledge of the truths of the Reformation. There were some aspects of Lutheran doctrine that I could not biblically confirm. To me, they were inconsistent with Luther’s discovery in the Word. I was confused as to why he held on to some of them. Anyway, I dove into the writings of John Calvin, and other infamous theologians and scholars. The doctrines of grace were being opened up to me, piece by piece. Some I had understood earlier in my Christian life, and then there were those things that were new to me. I had to change my thinking on some things too! The final step the Holy Spirit took was for me to read and understand the Canon’s of the Synod of Dort. God’s light shown that day, when reading the canons, and from there I have been assimilating Reformation teaching. I have determined what I must hold dear from my past and what I must depart from. What a glorious time of revelation it has been for my wife, Sue, and me. God has truly blessed us!

Therefore, I would like to reaffirm that: I believe God called me to preach the Gospel. I believe God called me to preach freedom those who are captive. I believe God called me to bring the healing power of God to those who are sick and infirm. I believe that God called me to care for the poor, the naked, and the homeless. I believe God called me to preach the full Gospel, the whole counsel of God, the true Apostolic teaching once delivered unto the saints. That Gospel is sans ritualism and formalism, yet it is complete with the understanding of what the Apostles themselves received from Jesus Christ and handed down to the churches. It is the succession of this apostolic teaching that is what I have been entrusted to uphold and guard. We measure not this full Gospel by what man has done or will do, but measure it by preaching the Gospel in the power and might of the Holy Spirit of God. We experience the full Gospel by how God uses his gifted people, Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers to equip and build up the Body of Christ. We experience the full Gospel by how God gives gifts to the Body of Christ for edification and revelation.

In conclusion, I would like to say that I am a Reformed Christian who believes in the continuation of the experience of Pentecost with all of the biblical gifts and anointed treasures He has bestowed upon the Church. How can I be an Eastern Orthodox Christian, when in actuality I am not?

I would like to share my statement of faith. I believe that the most important statement of faith in the Christian Church is the Nicene Creed, the product of two Ecumenical Councils in the fourth century. Delineated in the midst of a life-and-death controversy, I believe it contains the essence of the full apostolic Gospel teaching about God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Virgin birth, the Church, and the sacraments, guarding that life-giving truth against those who would change the very nature of God and reduce Jesus Christ to a created being, rather than God in the flesh. The Nicene Creed gives me a sure interpretation of the Scriptures against those who would distort them to support their own religious schemes. Called the “symbol of faith” and confessed in many of the services of the Christian Church, the Nicene Creed constantly reminds me of what I personally believe, keeping my faith on track.

The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (æons), Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;
by Whom all things were made;
Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man;
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father;
from He shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and the dead;
Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, Who spoke by the prophets.
In one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church; I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

May God bless and keep you in His love and grace. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.