Summary: This message is directed to pastors and preachers and explains that difficulties are normal in the ministry.

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PHIL. 1:12-18

By Cooper Abrams

INTRO: This message is for preachers, missionaries and those who serve the Lord. It comes from the Apostle Paul a preacher God chose to write most of the New Testament. There is often a misunderstanding concerning the reality of the what it means to be a preacher of the Gospel. In a love for the truth and with a deep desire to encourage I prepared this message.

The real test of the genuineness of one’s commitment to the Lord and one’s understanding of the Bible is witnessed when one finds himself under pressure, provocation or persecution.

It tests our knowledge, understanding and trust in God’s Word.

1. Our real character or lack of it is revealed when unexpected changes and problems come up.

2. Our reactions reveal our spiritual condition. It is God’s POP TEST which shows how we are growing and maturing in Christ.

3. When pressures and difficulty comes what we really are inside comes out. It show what we really believe and trust in.

4. Contrary to popular opinion preachers and pastors are subject to the problems and troubles just like everyone else....the only difference is...I believe the problems come more often and come in greater magnitude.!!

5. All of us will at times get to go up on the mountain top where things go good. It is a beautiful place without stress and difficulty. It is peaceful too and so very relaxing. It is a nice place to be, but it is a place we visit, I don’t know anyone who lives there!

6. We hear of preachers and missionaries quitting the ministry all the time. We hear of pastors many pastors having difficulty, burn-out and discouragement. When I hear of a brother falling by the way side I wonder if he truly knew what God had called him too. I wonder if he understood what being a preacher of he Gospel truly entails. Maybe if he had known he would not have become a castaway.

When we see men having great difficulty and suffering because of their ministry, in our minds we think, "What a tragic thing, how terrible, this should not be, what can be do to stop it or keep it from happening.

I think this shows a serious flaw in our understanding of the job that preachers, pastors and missionaries have been called. I think we need a BIBLICAL understanding....a Scriptural UNDERSTANDING OF THE MATTER OF PROBLEMS AND DIFFICULTIES THAT COME FROM THE MINISTRY GOD HAS CALLED US TOO.

ILLUS: A pastor friend of mine, (Brother Jack Gassaway) preached for me one Sunday night on the "Storms of Life." He said, "You are in a storm, getting ready to enter one, or just passed through one!" How true that statement is.

7. Over the years I have talked to a lot of pastors who are very discouraged. I know a number of preachers who were once good sound men who had fruitful ministries serving the Lord. Many now out of the ministry, shipwrecked in God’s service.

a. I do not have an instant cure to offer you. Not because cure cannot be instant, but because most times we are slow to obey, and at times hard to be taught. Most of us are at times weak in faith and it hinders God’s ability to strengthen us and keep us going.

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