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Summary: A pastor is the backbone of the church. He needs to live to the highest esteem as an example. He can be there when you are born or when your life ends.

LAYING DOWN HIS LIFE- Pastor Winston McClurg

INTRODUCTION

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

It is love to the highest degree. M.H.

Amplified Version John 15:13 No one has greater love--no one has shown stronger affection--than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Eph. 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

I. THE UNDER-SHEPHERD --- The man who is laying down his life.

Paraphrased Eph. 5:2 And walk in love, as Winston McClurg also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

No, his sacrifice is not redemptive as was Christ's, but it is an "offering and a sacrifice to God."

II. THE FRIENDS --- are they who have been given unto his care. You are "his friends."

A. They are the sick and afflicted who have come for healing and comfort.

B. They are the hungry who have come for food.

C. They are the naked who have come for clothing.

D. They are the lost who by his ministry and sacrifice have found their way to the cross

and the Christ of Calvary.

III. IN WHAT WAYS has he "lay down his life for his friends? (He is not dead. What life?)

A. Leaving secular employment with its steady pay-check and benefits such as medical

Insurance and retirement. We call it making a living. (-- God has blessed him

for his obedience.)

B. Spending time with and for the "friends" instead of with his wife.

C. Spending time with and for the "friends" instead of with his sons.

D. Spending time with and for the "friends" instead of with his grandchildren.

--And without complaining about it.

IV. THE DIFFICULTY OF PASTORING TODAY --- Use Illustration

RESCUING MY PASTOR

by Joe McKeever

Recently I visited a Canadian family living temporarily in my town due to the husband's job. The wife told me she grew up in a church that her father pastored. I asked, "Is he still pastoring?" "No," she said. "The doctor said the stress was killing him---so now he's running a funeral home." We both laughed at what it implied: that running a mortuary is less stressful than pastoring a church.

Most people do not think of a pastor's life as particularly stressful. After all, what does he do but read his Bible and pray and preach once or twice a week . . . right?

Consider the expectations most pastor's work under:

-- The need to grow the church spiritually, numerically and financially.

The necessity of church programs for all age groups. He does it or sees that it gets done.

-- The upkeep and care of all buildings and grounds.

-- He preaches at least two or three sermons a week, and all of them must be winners.

-- He visits the sick, counsels those in trouble, oversees the church office, holds weddings

and funerals, goes to denominational meetings, and represents the church in the community.

He does all this and a hundred other jobs. But, it's the little things that are the preacher-killers. Things like:

-- The anonymous note criticizing him when he's done his best.

-- The family he cared for through a crisis moving their membership to another church

without so much as a "thank you."

-- The silence of church members when there's a motion on the floor to give him

some time away, or a book allowance, or a needed raise.

-- The criticism--never expressed to him directly but to everyone else within earshot—

that "I was sick and he didn't even visit me."

-- Mean-spiritedness in church business meetings in people who are supposed to be

mature Christians.

Your pastor does not need sympathy. He does not need a "pastor appreciation day" [ as much as we do] with lemonade and handshakes or another plaque on the wall. What he needs and desperately craves is understanding and love and prayer. He needs you to do your job well, to be faithful. He needs you to attend church business meetings and to speak up. And if you think he's doing a good job, he'd a hundred times rather you would say it to another member or to someone in the community than to him personally. That way it blesses the work of the Lord, and when it eventually gets back to him, as it will, it carries a greater weight of authenticity. Then, it blesses him in a far greater proportion than if you had simply told him and let it go at that.

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