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Archive for October, 2017

Who would you trust with to cut on you with a scalpel? Would you trust me with operating on you? If you did, it would be utter foolishness, since I have had zero medical training, I have never been taught how to yield a scalpel, nor have I ever practice the use of one. Chances are high that if you let me lose on you, you will be severely injured, you will end up scarred, maimed, and handicapped, with a very high probability of you dying.

If something needs to be sewed around the Frei household, it will be Susie doing the sowing. Why? Because she’s acquired sowing skills. Anything I’d sow you would either quietly smile at or outright burst into laughter. On the other hand, when it comes to working on our cars I have more skill and practice than she does. If she started wrenching she might make things worse.

Paul reminded the young preacher Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB). The word “accurately” can also translated correctly or skillfully, as in cutting something straight, building something plumb, plowing in straight lines. The Apostle Paul was keenly aware that mishandling the word of God, the scriptures, the Bible, can greatly injure people or make the truth laughable. He understood the scriptures to be sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17), cognizant that, “the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” Hebrews 4:12 (NIV). He wanted Timothy to not forget that the Bible is designed to work deeply within the human heart, mind, and soul and therefore needs to be handle with skill, with care, and with precision, none of which are acquired by just inspiration but by diligence, study, and practice.

Traveling over the three continents the past three weeks I was deeply grieved over how much careless, lazy, manipulative, and crooked preaching and teaching I encountered. I was struck again how little discernment listeners in churches showed; how many mistake charisma, hype, slogans, emotional engagement and personal agreement, with truth, sound teaching and preaching, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. My heart weeps for those who are being used, abused, wounded, misled, and made dependent by careless, deceptive, and unskilled handling of God’s word by those, preachers and teachers, who have been tasked to bless, correct, equip, strengthen, and liberate people with God’s word. And as God would have it I found myself reading the pastoral epistles (1&2 Timothy, Titus) while traveling, being reminded of my own responsibility to accurately, diligently, carefully, skillfully, and faithfully preach and teach the written word of God.

How good are you in discerning good biblical preaching and teaching from lousy, shallow, manipulative, and outright deceptive preaching and teaching? How do you learn to discern the difference? You have to read things for yourself, you need to learn basic principles of solid biblical interpretation (biblical hermeneutics) yourself. I encourage you to be more careful as to whom you give permission to yield the scalpel of the word of God than you are picking the surgeon operating on your body, because the consequences are greater.

To finish this pastor’s note let me tell you about Ray, Hans, and Tom and operating a chainsaw. I loved Ray, but I didn’t come anywhere near him when was operating a chainsaw, he was downright dangerous to himself and anyone around with a chainsaw in his hand. I was aware of the dangers because I have learned to operate a chainsaw correctly, in fact I have gained some decent chainsaw skills. However, my chainsaw skills are nowhere near Tom’s. So, there have been times I called on him to help me because I knew I needed his skills or else endanger myself and others. Right now, you might be a Ray when it comes to accurately handling the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, and you might never become as skilled as Tom, but you can acquire enough skill to be like Hans enabling you to discern dangerous preaching and teaching from trustworthy and outstanding preaching and teaching; what to stay away from and what to embrace; whom to dismiss and whom to trust.

To God be all glory, Pastor Hans

 

 

 

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Dear Church Family,

As it is Pastor Appreciation Month, and I happen to be married to the pastor, I’d like to share some things about your pastor that you may, or may not know.  Mostly, I’d like to encourage you to pray for my husband.  He has been hard at it for over 33 years now.  We’ve raised our four children and other’s children during these years.  Raising our kids, learning how to do ministry, continuing our education, working other jobs, being involved in community and church life… it all adds up to a heap of experience, heartache, challenges, disappointment, loss, friendships, farewells, and abundant joys.  As a pastor in a rural community with only one church, Hans has been called upon to do an assortment of things over the years.  Many of these activities would never be on the resume of a typical city pastor, however, Hans has been called upon as a pastor to do:

  • Mechanic work
  • Garbage pick-up
  • Yard work
  • Handyman
  • Counselor
  • Personal shopper
  • Local park security watch
  • Recycler
  • Mover
  • Clean-up after a move
  • School Teacher
  • Coach (basketball, soccer)
  • Painter
  • Animal control (wild Bobcat kittens, dying goat, etc.)
  • Conflict Manager
  • Song writer
  • Musician
  • Property repossession
  • Driver
  • Academic tutor
  • Rattlesnake exterminator
  • Community meeting facilitator
  • Gardner
  • Tree faller
  • Wood cutter

And, of course, his normal pastoral duties: preach, teach, counsel, administrative, hospital visits, jail visits, youth work, worship, service planning, write pastor’s note, funerals, missions, camp, VBS, baptisms, and weddings.  Hans does all these things well, humbly, quietly, sincerely, without fan-fare or needing recognition.  He loves God’s work, God’s church, and God’s kingdom agenda.  You and I are beyond blessed to have him as our pastor.  And my encouragement to you, as his church family, is to pray for him, remind him to take time for rest, share your blessings with him, and let him know you appreciate him.  Not just during the month of October, but when you find yourself needing your pastor and he’s there, as he has been for 33 years.

Grace be with you,

Susie Frei

 

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