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Recently, while going through an airport during one of his many trips, President Bush encountered a man with long gray hair and beard, wearing a white robe and sandals, holding a staff.

President Bush went up to the man and said, "Has anyone told you that you look like Moses?" The man didn't answer. He just kept staring straight ahead.

The president said, "Moses!" in a loud voice. The man just stared ahead, never acknowledging the president.

The president pulled a Secret Service agent aside and, pointing to the robed man, asked him, "Am I crazy or does that man not look like Moses to you?"
The Secret Service agent looked at the man and agreed.

"Well," said the president, "every time I say his name, he ignores me and stares straight ahead, refusing to speak. Watch!"

Again the president yelled, "Moses!" and again the man ignored him.

The Secret Service agent went up to the man in the white robe and whispered, "You look just like Moses. Are you Moses?"

The man leaned over and whispered back, "Shhhh! Yes, I am Moses. The last time I talked to a bush, I spent 40 years wandering in the desert and ended up leading my people to the only spot in the entire Middle East with no oil."

"Be ye followers of me as I am of Christ"

Sheep follow the shepherd. The history of Israel and Judah points up a truth taught clearly enough by all history - that the masses are or soon will be what their leaders are. The kings set the moral pace for the people.

Whatever sort of man the king turned out to be the people were soon following his leadership. They followed David in the worship of Jehovah, Solomon in the building of the Temple, Jeroboam in the making of a calf and Hezekiah in the restoration of the temple worship.

Today Christianity in the Western world is what its leaders were in the recent past and is becoming what its present leaders are. The local church soon becomes like its pastor.

Personal Life: Healing Silence

And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. --Mark 6:46

Very few of us know the secret of bathing our souls in silence. It was a secret our Lord Jesus Christ knew very well. There were times when He had to send the multitudes away so He could retire alone into the silence of the mountainside. There He would turn the God-ward side of His soul toward heaven and for a long time expose Himself to the face of His Father in heaven....

My eyes and ears and spirit are aware of the immaturities in the so-called evangelicalism of our time. The more noise we make, the happier we seem to be. All of the signs of immaturity are among us.

We are seeing a general abhorrence of being alone, of being silent before the Lord. We shrink from allowing our souls to be bathed in the healing silences. From "Men Who Met God", 103-104.

Remember when Moses "was with the Lord 40 days and 40 nights" and came down and wist not, Knew not, that his face shone" Ex 34:28-35. We that minister for the Lord, we who are leaders, need our faces to radiate the Lord God of Glory. We too could get it if we spent that much time talking with the Lord alone! Make sense?

As Goes The Sunday School, So Goes The Church

“As goes the Sunday School, so goes the church” is a tough statement for many church leaders to handle.

To make the Sunday School go, like God wants, we will need to start with Exodus 18. Note the phrase that Jethro is using when he is showing some displeasure for Moses. He asked him twice what he was doing “to” the people.

And when Moses' father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? (Study verses 13-27 )

It seems strange that Moses was working hard. He was going to God to get guidance to help his “church”, yet something was missing .What was the problem? Well one was that Moses was using the "Master Teacher" plan that’s done so much harm to many of our Sunday schools.

He was the teacher. No one else was serving God .The people were doing nothing, and Pastor Moses was doing everything. What was he doing “to the people"? He was doing what a lot are doing; he was not letting them have a Sunday school class. (Study the rest of the verses) Its obvious why Moses was wearing out, but how can the people wear out? They are doing nothing.

Note these words from Jethro, speaking as led by God:

And Moses' father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good. 18 Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee:

Moses was going to wear away just like a bunch of preachers do every year. He was wearing his people out by not letting them serve God. The truth is it was a “one man show”. Very, very tiring for the pastor and very tiring for the people. Church is boring. Church is powerless. Church is no fun.

Most Sunday schools are done by a man with a Bible and/or some notes, and it is Sunday morning sermon number one.

Bulletin Bloopers

My appointment as pastor coincided with the church's appeal for aid for victims of a hurricane. Unfortunately, on my first Sunday in the parish, the center page of the church bulletin was accidentally omitted.

So members of the congregation read from the bottom of the second page to the top of the last page: "Welcome to the Rev. Andrew Jensen and his family ... the worst disaster to hit the area in this century. The full extent of the tragedy is not yet known."

Personal Life: Alone With God

And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. --John 6:3

Just prior to this miraculous multiplying of the bread and fish, Jesus "went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples"(6:3). That fact is noteworthy. It seems plain that Jesus withdrew purposely from the great press of people who had been pursuing Him.

There are some things that you and I will never learn when others are present. I believe in church and I love the fellowship of the assembly. There is much we can learn when we come together on Sundays and sit among the saints. But there are certain things that you and I will never learn in the presence of other people.

Unquestionably, part of our failure today is religious activity that is not preceded by aloneness, by inactivity. I mean getting alone with God and waiting in silence and quietness until we are charged with God's Spirit. Then, when we act, our activity really amounts to something because we have been prepared by God for it....

Now, in the case of our Lord, the people came to Him, John reports, and He was ready for them. He had been quiet and silent. He had sat alone with His disciples and meditated. Looking upward, He waited until the whole hiatus of divine life moved down from the throne of God into His own soul. He was a violin tuned. He was a battery recharged. He was poised and prepared for the people when they came. Faith Beyond

"Lord, I'll spend a lot of time in the company of people today, but just now I come in quietness and silence to wait for You to fill me. Amen."

Pastoral Pressures, and How We Can Help

Too often, we fail to recognize how close our ministers and their families are to burnout. Studies and articles reflect the hard truth about American pastoral ministry:

The average tenure in ministry has declined from 21 years in 1990 to 12 years today.
94% of pastors say they feel pressure to have a perfect family.
90% feel inadequately trained to cope with the demands of ministry.
80% of pastors say ministry has a negative impact on their own families.
70% say their self-esteem was higher before they began ministry.
40% consider quitting every Monday morning.
25% of clergy marriages end in divorce.

Pressures like these drive 1,600 shepherds out of the ministry every month. That's 19,000 pastors each year - not including the missionaries and specialized ministers who add the pressures of crossing cultures and raising funds to the mix.

How we, in the pew, need to encourage and pray for our pastors. You go to church for encouragement and your pastor tries hard to do that. "Exhort one another, DAILY, lest any be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" Heb 3:13. Now, you drop your pastor a note of encouragement and prayer this week. Make sense?

The Holy Spirit, The Leader of the Church

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. --Romans 1:16

The greatest event in history was the coming of Jesus Christ into the world to live and to die for man's sins. The next greatest event was the going forth of the Church to embody the life of Christ and to spread the knowledge of His salvation throughout the earth.

It was not an easy task which the Church faced when she came down from that upper room.... Left to herself the Church must have perished as a thousand abortive sects had done before her, and have left nothing for a future generation to remember.

That the Church did not so perish was due entirely to the miraculous element within her. That element was supplied by the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost to empower her for her task. For the Church was not an organization merely, not a movement, but a walking incarnation of spiritual energy. And she accomplished within a few brief years such prodigies of moral conquest as to leave us wholly without an explanation--apart from God. Paths to Power, 7-8. by A. M. Towzer

"We continue to need that power, Lord, or we still are hopelessly incapable of the task You've left us. Empower us for our work, Holy Spirit, even as You empowered the early church. In Jesus name, Amen."

Spiritual Warfare and Sin: Don't Suffer Shipwreck

This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck.... --1 Timothy 1:18-19

Yet the ministry is one of the most perilous of professions. The devil hates the Spirit-filled minister with an intensity second only to that which he feels for Christ Himself. The source of this hatred is not difficult to discover. An effective, Christ-like minister is a constant embarrassment to the devil, a threat to his dominion, a rebuttal of his best arguments and a dogged reminder of his coming overthrow. No wonder he hates him.

Satan knows that the downfall of a prophet of God is a strategic victory for him, so he rests not day or night devising hidden snares and deadfalls for the ministry. Perhaps a better figure would be the poison dart that only paralyzes its victim, for I think that Satan has little interest in killing the preacher outright. An ineffective, half-alive minister is a better advertisement for hell than a good man dead. So the preacher's dangers are likely to be spiritual rather than physical, though sometimes the enemy works through bodily weaknesses to get to the preacher's soul. "Lord, the battle is intense and the enemy is strong. I pray for every one of my fellow-servants this morning, especially those who may be close to succumbing. Give Your great grace and victory today. Amen."

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