Calling a Shepherd

May 30, 2021

Book: 1 Peter

Scripture: I Peter 5:1-5

What are the gifts, character qualities, responsibilities, and attitudes we are to look for in a shepherd-pastor?

Thank you. Thank you, worship team. This is not a sermon about Memorial Day, but it is worth taking a minute or two about Memorial Day, Memorial Day – I probably don’t need to say this to this group – is not about barbecues, although there’s nothing wrong with you having a barbecue on Memorial Day. Memorial Day is about remembering and Christians should be the foremost people in our society that are people about remembering. Now for Memorial Day, we remember all those who, as President Abraham Lincoln said, gave the last full measure of devotion to defend our nation, our freedom, our liberty, who gave their lives. We remember them. We remember their sacrifice. We remember as well what it was that they died fighting to defend: our liberty, our freedom, them fighting against tyranny. We remember because as someone has famously said, if we fail to remember the past, we’re doomed to repeat it, that tyranny can arise at any point. And that’s why we remember as well what they died fighting to defend. But Christians take it to even a new level. Christians are people of remembrance. The gospel is about remembering, is it not? We remember who we are, our identity because of what Christ has done. We remember God’s redemptive work all through history to get a sense of ourselves and where God is taking us and how we’re then to live. So for Christians, we remember and we honor those who gave their lives. But ultimately, Memorial Day points us forward to the one who is the supreme example of a sacrifice. I appreciate Micah addressing that as he prayed – the Lord Jesus Christ. We remember, and it points to our savior and all that he has done for us.

Well, again, this is not a sermon about Memorial Day. We are actually starting a new series that we’ll be in for at least the next couple of months. And it’s going to focus on a couple of texts that are either found like today in Peter or in first and second Timothy. And there will be different speakers over the coming weeks. But but we’re all going in the same direction. And I wanted to kind of frame that for you and give you an understanding of of what this series is about and the timing. So let me address the timing first. Next week, the pastor, excuse me, the chairman of our pastoral search team is going to be here and we’ll give a report on the progress of the pastoral search. And I’m not going to steal any of his thunder. So you’ll just have to come back to hear that report next week. But anticipating if God wills that according to our planning, we may see the conclusion of the pastoral search sometime this summer. That’s what we’re aiming for. Again, God is in control of the timing. But anticipating that we envisioned how do we prepare as a congregation to receive a new lead Pastor? What is it that we are looking for in a new lead pastor. And the word that I’d plant in your minds about this series is expectations. I’ve been thinking a lot about expectations. I’ve been listening to this wonderful series again by Tim and Kathy Keller on marriage. They gave it in 2012. It was a seminar to many young professionals in New York City, so many single people, many people who were newly married. And it was about marriage. And they addressed very pertinently, they addressed expectations. What is it that we expect as we go into marriage? What is it those of you who are married or have been married, what is it that you expected your spouse was going to be like as you approached marriage or those of you who are are hoping to get married what is it that you expect of a spouse as you envision marriage? I am ashamed to say it, but I carried this load of expectations that I put on my wife as I came into my marriage that made the first couple of years so much rockier than it had to be. And it was only by God’s grace that he worked in my life to help me see the issue in my marriage was not my wife. It was me. It was the wrong expectations that I put on her and what a wife was to be to me, Expectations driven by my family of origin, some good things from those expectations, some dysfunctional things from that family of origin and those expectations.

They were expectations that were driven by my needs, or at least what I perceived were my my needs that I placed upon my wife. And because of those expectations, God had to really do a work of grace to produce, to do the change in me, to produce the marriage I believe that we have today. Well, similarly, we carry expectations into what we envision as an incoming lead pastor. And whether you’ve consciously thought of those expectations that you have or not, you have them. And just as we bring into a marriage we bring from our family of origin, we bring expectations about what a spouse is to be like. We bring expectations from our church family of origin. You know, if you’ve grown up in a church, maybe one church or maybe a certain church culture, you bring expectations of what you are looking for, what you think the next lead pastor should be like. You bring those expectations into how you look at who God is raising up to be Calvary’s next lead pastor. And just as going into marriage, we often bring in our expectations that are formed from what we think are our needs, what we perceive are our needs. So we often bring into our view of a new incoming pastor expectations that are based on what we think we need, what we perceive we need, as God had to do an adjustment in me, in my marriage, orienting me on what are biblical expectations that I should have for a wife.

So we need to be oriented about what are biblical expectations that we’re to have of a of a pastor, particularly of a lead pastor, the one you’re going to see a lot in this role right here in the pulpit. What is it that God’s word sets as the foundation for the the proper expectations that we should have? So that’s what these texts are going to move through over the course of the summer. What are the biblical foundations that form what we should expect, what we should look for in our next lead Pastor? Here’s the here’s the urgency of this. Just as many people going into a marriage with wrong expectations – less than biblical expectations. If there is not that work of grace or if they resist that work of grace and they cling to those expectations, those marriages don’t go very well. And so many end in separation or divorce. Well similarly many pastor church relationships can can go pretty rocky and not end well as both the congregation and the pastor bring in less than biblical expectations. And if there’s not that work of grace to adjust that out. So we’re going to look at these texts.

We’re going to see what is it that God shows us that that we can expect that we should look for, that we should pray for. I encourage you again to show up next Sunday night for the concert of prayer that as we pray for who God is raising up and that process, that even these expectations set what we pray for. The first Peter passage that we’re looking today, if you have your Bible, I encourage you to turn to 1 Peter 5. We’re looking primarily at the first four verses there. And it is this image of a shepherd, which if you paid attention to the songs today and the the scripture that the Bodde family read, you probably picked that up. It’s that image of a pastor as a shepherd. And that’s exactly where Peter goes. Now, it’s not on the slide here today. I think I left the slide out. But but in verse one, if you have your your Bibles with you, in verse one of chapter five, Peter writes to elders – I exhort the elders among you. And so you may rightly think, well, this isn’t really a passage about pastors. It’s a passage about elders. And what we need to understand is that Peter and Paul, as he writes to Timothy and to Titus, they use these terms interchangeably, pastor and elder. In fact, there’s three terms that we see often appear, and each of these terms is a little different and each of these terms brings in a slightly different perspective, and together they give us the whole picture of what we’re looking for in a pastor, what I’m going to refer to throughout the rest of my time here today as a as a pastor elder or an elder pastor, and the first term that we see here in verse one, and that is the term elder. So when we think of a pastor, the first thing we’re looking at is elder. And that that goes to character. Is there maturity of faith? Is there a maturity, relational maturity? Is there an emotional maturity? That’s what that elder term describes, that perspective of character. But secondly, we’re going to see another term that is used here by Peter and as well as by Paul, and that is overseer, overseeing. And that brings in another perspective. Overseeing brings in the perspective of the primary function, which we’ll get into of a pastor elder. And then the third term that we’ll see here, I’ve already mentioned, and that is Shepherd. There is a Greek word that the best translation of it means to tend, and that’s the idea of Shepherd. And it’s usually translated that way. Sometimes it’s translated by certain translations as pastor. That’s where we get our term pastor from and that focuses on the responsibilities. So you have the perspective of the character and the perspective of the primary function and the perspective of the responsibilities.

And we see these used interchangeably. And just so I don’t confuse you today, I’ll often refer to a Pastor Elder as we think about our expectations for our next lead pastor. So what is this idea of shepherd, of what it means to shepherd the flock? That’s that’s an image that is not only a New Testament image of of a pastor and the church. That is an image that goes all through scripture. God presents himself to the people of Israel and through us who come to faith in him, through Christ, as our shepherd, as leading us. And this image of Shepherd and the church as a flock, that is not the only New Testament image, but it has some key aspects of that relationship of, first of all, the church, the congregation to God. But secondly, the relationship between the pastor elder and the congregation. We need all the other different images. There are others that I’m not going to go in today. The church as a body, but all together, these give us a whole full balanced picture of the church and their pastor elders and their relationship to God himself. So here Peter uses this image of a shepherd to teach us what a Pastor Elder should be like. And and it’s not a common image to us today, I realize. But it was a very common image.

And to his original recipients of his letter, they would have understood the image that a pastor elder as a shepherd. A shepherd is one who is responsible for the overall supervision and watchful care of a flock. We see this idea somewhat in Proverbs – Proverbs 27:32 – know well the condition of your flock and pay attention to your herds. There’s that idea of that overall watch care over a flock, over a congregation. Well, who do the flock represent? I mean, you probably already deduced this, but the flock are all of us. Even the pastor himself is part of the flock. The flock represents a group of sheep. And humanly, I got to be honest with you, I don’t like that image that we are sheep. But what a biblical image that is going all the way back through the Old Testament. We even sang about it today. We sang How We Are Sheep that so easily go astray. We seek, in other words, to live life our own way apart from God. That’s where we naturally go like a sheep, naturally wandering or straying from the flock. And we sang about how Christ the Great Shepherd is the one that goes out and seeks us and brings us into the fold when we are lost and we are straying. So we are sheep. Like it or not, the the image fits us very well. And as you think about sheep, again, I realize we don’t know a lot about sheep in our culture, but the well-being of sheep requires a great deal of care and attention, and that’s us spiritually.

We need a great deal of care and attention. We need to be fed and like sheep need to be fed. We need to be fed spiritually. We need to be protected just like like sheep needed to be protected from predators, we need to be protected from spiritual predators, from false teaching. We need regular encouragement. We need regular comfort. We need regular guidance. We even need whether we like it or not, regular correction. Sometimes we even need discipline. That’s all part of the responsibility of a shepherd being responsible for the care and the attention of the flock. Now, the other thing that we see in this text is the church. The congregation doesn’t belong to the pastor elder. It is the flock of God. The shepherd doesn’t own the flock. The shepherd is entrusted for a time with the care of the flock. The flock belongs to the Lord God. He’s the one who bought it with his own blood, with the blood of Christ. And so God entrusts to pastor elders for a time temporarily the care of the flock. And the pastor elder who is wise and knows the scripture knows that they will have to answer to God one day for how they cared and watched over the flock.

Well, Peter teaches here that shepherding involves overseer. And that’s what we get in that term in verse two exercising oversight. In fact, I will explain a little bit more as I show you the bigger structure. But the main verb here, the imperative the command is shepherding, exercising oversight is a participle. And what that does is it brings some clarity. It helps us understand what it means to shepherd here. Exercising oversight clarifies how it is that a pastor elder is to shepherd. Exercising oversight means to watch over. It means to oversee. It means to superintend. Again, all of this works best if we understand better the picture of shepherding, shepherding in the Near East where the land of Israel was. This is not by any means and an all encompassing description of shepherding there in the area of Palestine. But let me point out a few key things. So a shepherd who is entrusted with a flock out in the wilderness every day had to choose which direction the flock would take. He had to discern based on his wisdom and his experience, where is it that I’m going to be able to lead this flock where they’re going to find food, where they’re going to be able to forage? Where is it that I’m going to be able to find water for the flock? Where is it that I’m going to be able to find protection from predators and from adverse weather conditions? So every morning and every evening, the shepherd would go up to the highest hill that they could see around the flock.

And they look beyond where the flock was currently. They’d look at the land beyond them to decide what’s the best course towards the best area. So there’s a discerning, there’s a discerning on where am I to lead the flock for the good of the flock. Where is it that I am supposed to take the flock so that they are fed and watered and provided for and protected? That’s the concept of overseeing. It is discerning direction and that is implicit in what it means to be a lead pastor, to work with the other pastor elders in the congregation to discern where is it that this congregation is to go if it is to be on mission for Christ. Where is it, given our current circumstances and what’s going on in our community and world around us, where is it that we can most be deployed to fulfill the mission that Christ has entrusted to us? How can we do that in a way that that equips the body to serve and be part of living out that mission? That takes discernment. That takes leadership. That’s all implied in the idea of overseeing here. Shepherds not only determine the direction to go, shepherds actually had to lead the flock to get there. And this is a difference between the model of Western Shepherd shepherding of sheep that we might see even today in the United States and shepherding there in the Near East.

If you’ve ever had any experience. I’ve been out west. I’ve seen I grew up in Colorado. I’ve seen some shepherding of sheep, it’s a different model than what was in Palestine, Western shepherds, shepherds herd their sheep. So they’re on horseback generally. They have you know, they have sheep dogs and they from behind, they drive the sheep forward. You know, they circle behind them. They have the dogs run round and bark to move, to motivate and move the flock forward. That’s not the Near Eastern model of shepherding. Near Eastern Shepherds did not drive the sheep. They led them. They led them by going before them. They led them by walking in front of them. And as the sheep came to know and to trust the shepherd, the sheep would hear the voice of the shepherd and follow after the sheep. That’s the model of overseeing here. It’s not exercising control. It’s not manipulating or guilting or otherwise coercing or using power to drive a congregation in a direction that that the shepherd feels they should go. It’s being out in front. It’s going on before it’s leading by example. We’ve been so encouraged. It’s my privilege to be able to coach the pastoral search team. So I’m in on the interviews when the team interviews these candidates.

And I know we’ve been encouraged by several of the candidates who, as they’re there talking about how a congregation that they have shepherded has grown in its ability to share its faith. We hear the stories of how they’re in the front end of that, how it’s not just that they’re up there preaching and teaching about it, that their congregation sees them out in their neighborhoods and out in their community, sharing their faith. That’s leadership by going before by walking in front of. That’s leadership that draws the flock by example to follow them. So for Calvary’s next lead pastor, we are looking for a leader. I know the term used to be senior pastor. I’m glad that’s been changed. Lead pastor describes – we’re looking for that one who working with the other elder pastors in the congregation, discerns the direction of the congregation. What is our vision? How do we fulfil the mission that Christ has entrusted to us? But as well, we’re looking for in our next lead pastor, a shepherd who leads by setting the example, who leads by being out in front, who live leads by the example of his life, not by his title, not by his position, not by manipulation or guilt or coercion. That that image of a shepherd who shepherds by overseeing. Now I’m going to do something that I think is the first time I’ve ever done it here. I’m going to show you the structure of this verse.

This is something I do every time I study a text, but I rarely share it because it’s a little dry, you know, to be honest with you. But here, the structure really helps you understand how Peter is helping us see the detail of this, just like an English sentence can be diagrammed. So the biblical Greek that the New Testament is written in here can be diagrammed as well. And here you see it, at least by my attempt to diagram it. You can see – this is also in your bulletin, by the way – you can see at the top there, you can see the main verb shepherd. That is the imperative, that is the command out of everything else in these few verses hinges. And then underneath and coming out of that command, you see the participle exercising oversight. That clarifies what Peter is talking about when he talks about Shepherd. And then Peter does this very incredibly helpful thing, because right now it’s just kind of loose and vague in our minds what it means to exercise oversight. But he gives us three contrasts of what this looks like and practice. He shows us three times. He shows us what it’s not to look like, what it’s easy for it to drift into, but is actually harmful for the flock, for a congregation. And then he contrast that with three ways that it is to look like, that this is what it looks like when it’s healthy and happening in a pastor elder church relationship.

So what are those three contrasts? You can see them there. Not under compulsion. He oversees not because he is under compulsion, but willingly, not for shameful gain, but eagerly not domineering or lording it over, but by being examples. And what he’s giving us here, Alexander Strauch helpfully points out, are the the motives, the attitudes and the methods of those who lead his people, Strauch says God is preeminently concerned as he communicates through Peter here, the motives and the attitudes and the methods of those who lead his people. So even as we search for a lead pastor, this is what we’re seeking to discern as we come together to pray. Next Sunday night, this is what we’re praying that the spirit clearly shows us. We can’t read a man’s heart. But as much as the spirit will reveal to us what motivates him, what is his attitude in pasturing and shepherding and what are his his methods, his manner in doing that, let’s break those down one by one. The first one is not under compulsion. If you have the new living translation, which I love, the new translation, it’s not grudgingly, which really gives some definition to it. Another one, the new English translation, not as a duty. What’s that talking about? Leonski, a commentator, helpfully says it’s like the difference between going into the armed forces voluntarily, because you sign up, because there is there is maybe a national crisis. And so you go down and you register and you enlist or being drafted. You don’t want to do it, but you’re drafted into it. You’re serving because you’re compelled to do it. What we’re given a picture of that, just how this word is used elsewhere in the New Testament within The Passion of Christ in Matthew 27:32. We know Jesus who is carrying his cross to Golgotha out of all the torture he’d been through, he stumbles at one point and can’t carry the cross any further. And so the Roman soldiers we’re told draft somebody coming into the city, Simon of Cyrene. And Matthew tells us the soldiers compelled Simon to carry Jesus’s cross. It’s that idea of external pressure that’s applied by others. And you might think does anybody get into pastoral ministry because they’re compelled by others. Well, yes, it may be more subtle than that. I know a young man whose father was a pastor, whose grandfather was a pastor. And so he grew up just the climate, the culture of his family that he was expected to carry on that family name and pastoring. And he went into pastoring and ultimately left the ministry because it wasn’t his calling. There’s a sense in which he was compelled to go in that that was not a free decision on his own.

I’d even add a more subtle form of this is people pleasing. Pastoral ministry, like other professions, people helping professions tends to attract people who have people pleasing tendencies. There’s nothing wrong with a certain measure of that. But if that is the dominating force in a person’s make up that they are living to please other people and keep other people happy, they’re operating by compulsion because there’s always going to be somebody who is unhappy with them. And if they’re driven by trying to keep everyone happy, they’re serving under compulsion. That is what is not healthy. But then Peter goes on to say, here’s the other side of it – willingly. Willingly is the idea that we see even in the picture of how are to give in second Corinthians nine, verse seven, each one of you give, as you have decided in your heart. It’s an intentional conscious decision, not reluctantly or under compulsion. There’s the opposite of that, for God loves a cheerful giver. God loves you. Someone who is giving joyfully, who’s giving volitionally, who’s giving intentionally, who’s giving willingly. And that is the same contrast that is seen here in pastoral ministry. We see the idea of that this is really a God given motivation. This isn’t something that a man just stirs up in his heart by his own.

We see that in the phrase, according to God, willingly according to God, or if you have the new American standard version, it brings in a couple of words that are you can infer according to the will of God. So really what we’re seeing here is this is a contrast of whether there’s a true calling or not. Is this man compelled by his people pleasing tendencies or some other less than godly motivation, or is this man genuinely called by God into pastoral ministry? I need to tell you, it is very challenging to try and measure somebody’s call. There’s many people who say or think they’re called. How do we really know whether a man has been called? How do we discern pastoral calling? I think we can ask some questions particularly, not just of the man, but particularly as we pray. Why does the man serve in pastoral ministry? What is it that motivates him? And along with that, what first drew him into pastoral ministry in the first place? What are the circumstances of how God worked in his life that initially drew him in and equally as important, what keeps him in pastoral ministry? Sadly, I’ve known men who have been pastoring for years who don’t feel a sense of call, but they’re stuck, or at least they feel stuck. They feel like, what else could I do? And rather than courageously saying I’m not called and I need to find something else, even if I don’t know what that will be, they stay because they think they’re stuck.

That is not the sense here of willingly according to the will of God. So even as our pastoral search team prays and evaluates candidates, this is part of the interviewing process. They’re there seeking to discern. Does the path that we see in this man’s, this candidate’s pastoral ministry, does it show evidence of God providentially shaping him for pastoral ministry, molding him in pastoral ministry, directing him even to consider our church? Does it show evidence? Does do we see evidence of a willingness, of a desire to serve that this burns within him, the desire to preach and to serve as a pastor? How do we evaluate this? Again, if we were doing this all on our human abilities, we’d come up bankrupt really quickly. We do it prayerfully. We seek the spirit’s guidance. We seek the body, the congregation of Calvary, praying around us. But we seek, especially since we’re interviewing people that we don’t know, we see what do other people say? We check references. What do others who have mentored perhaps this man or served with this man? What do they say about him and what they see in him? Do we see a confirmation of his calling by the church bodies that he has served in? It’s not just that he feels he’s called, but the church that that he serves in or the churches that he served in would affirm that calling. John Davido puts it this way.

Scripture reveals how we recognize both a desire for ministry in the man, that’s willingness, as well as a confirmation of gifts and ministry by the church community around him. That’s the idea of the internal call. A man generally has to feel called within his heart, but also the external call that the body, the church body, the Church of Christ, affirms this man’s call and this man’s gifting. Well, let me move on for the sake of time to the next contrast, not for shameful gain. And it looks like our system’s coming back online there. But if you have your scripture open, it’s also verse two, not for shameful game. See, the issue is there are men who serve willingly, but not for the right reasons, not for the right motives. They’re excited about serving. They’re excited about a pastoral call, but their motives are less than God would have them, not for shameful gain. That may give you the idea of they’re in it for the money. You know, that can be true to some extent. A man who considers moving from one church to another just because it represents a better compensation package that might fall under that category. But Jesus even fleshes out even further as he addresses the religious leaders of the day. In Luke, 16, he says you can’t serve God and be enslaved to money. Materialism.

It can’t be your driving focus in life moving up into a better car and a better house. That’s incompatible, he says, with serving God. In Matthew 23 Jesus confronts the religious leaders of that day directly. And one of the things that he condemns is, is something that may be a little foreign to us, devouring widows houses. What’s he talking about? They’re using their position as a spiritual leader to get the advantage over somebody in their care for your own personal gain. That advantage can be material, that advantage can be sexual, that advantage can be probably many other forms. Jesus also condemns in Matthew 23, those who are motivated in religious or spiritual leadership by the desire for everybody to recognize them. You know, this would be the person who’s motivated by I want the spotlight to be on me. I want the attention to be on me. I want people to use my title and respect me and honor me. And Jesus would say that falls under the area of seeking to lead out of shameful gain. The opposite of that is eagerly. What is eagerly? Eagerly has the idea of a zeal that is sacrificial, that is without any self gain. And that doesn’t mean a man should not consider whether he is going to be able to provide for his family.

But his primary driving force is God has called him to this work and he believes God is going to provide. And so if he senses God’s call, he is going to obey that call going on to the third contrast, not lording it over or domineering over the flock. And that Greek word that Peter uses there, that’s translated either as lording it over or domineering over it has the idea of forcefully gaining mastery over others. A good example we see of this in scripture. We see in third John, where John is writing to a church congregation and he’s writing about one of their church leaders, a man named Diotrephes, who he says Diotrephes loves to be first among them, John goes on to describe how what he hears about Dioptrephes is Diotrephes challenges anyone else that he thinks somehow threatens his position of leadership. And he uses manipulation and power to keep himself in place. So this describes an authoritarian attitude. The church belongs to me. I’m Lord over the church. This describes an autocracy. Sadly, sometimes my role as as a transition pastor takes me into highly conflicted churches and almost without exception, at the center of a highly conflicted church is a leader or leaders who view their role as ruling, view themselves almost as an autocracy. I think of one church in particular where there was a small group of leaders were self selected and they thought they were the ones who selected anyone who would join that circle.

They had terms for life. They were they were not open to any input from the congregation and there was no way to remove them. That’s the definition of a closed power system. That’s the definition of a group of people, a group of leaders who use their role to domineer over the flock. I had one of those pastor elders tell me that it was his right to be in that position and have that role. And that alone showed me he was disqualified. Well, in contrast to the abusive use of authority to control the sheep, elder pastors are to lead by being examples. I’m not sure what’s going on with the slides, but Ann will find out and catch me up on that. Again, if you’re following along, you will see this in verse three. They’re not domineering over, not lording it over, but by being examples to the flock. Again, that’s that idea of the difference between Western shepherding a Near Eastern shepherding. A pastor elder and the model of the kind of shepherd that we’re given here, Alexander Strauch says, is not to stand behind the sheep, the congregation driving them forward, manipulating them, coercing them, but to go before the sheep leading the way. And again, that’s what the pastoral search team has been most impressed by, those who we see their leadership and their effect upon their congregations that they have pastored in by how they’ve gone before and led them by example.

Peter brings this section of this chapter to a close in verse four by reminding us of the ultimate model, the chief shepherd, when the chief shepherd appears. And here’s how I’d bring it home to Calvary. We are looking for a pastor and a pastor elder who leads with the knowledge that he is only an under shepherd. He is first one of the flock. He is a sheep himself. But even in his shepherding role, he is an under shepherd. And that a term as well comes from Near Eastern shepherding and in very large flocks there in the area of Palestine, generally a large flock was made up of several smaller flocks. And each of those smaller flocks had an under shepherd. But at the front of this large flock was a head shepherd or what Peter would refer to as a chief shepherd. That’s the image here of a pastor, a shepherd, pastor elder and his relationship with his congregation to the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter rightly identifies Jesus Christ as the head shepherd, the chief shepherd here. And he no doubt remembers what Jesus said about himself. What you heard the Bodde family read from John Ten today, that Jesus identifies himself as not only the chief shepherd, but he says, I have other sheep, too, who are not in the sheepfold.

I must bring them on so they will listen to my voice. And here it is. They will be one flock with one shepherd, no matter what congregation that you are part of, no matter how much you love that particular pastor, that pastor is an under shepherd, under the chief shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. That congregation, that flock is is part of the greater flock that the Lord Jesus Christ gathers to himself. And the kind of pastor elder that we’re looking for here at Calvary is a man who gets that, a man who has the same desire as John the Baptist when John the Baptist said as Jesus came on the scene, he must increase and I must decrease. We’re looking for a man who doesn’t point to himself, doesn’t bring attention on himself. We’re looking for a man who ultimately points us to Christ, who even when we hear him speak and we hear him deliver the word, we are brought to the foot of the cross, not to his feet. We are looking for a man who will keep pointing us to the chief shepherd, Jesus Christ, because only Christ is the incomparable Good Shepherd. Christ is the one who ultimately loves the sheep. He loves every one of us. Christ ultimately is the one who laid down his life for the sheep. It’s in him that we are saved. Not any man, not any woman.

Christ is the one who knows his sheep and calls them by name. And Christ is the one who someday will return in glory to gather his flock to be with him. So that, in the words of John the Revelator in Revelation seven, he shall be our shepherd and he shall guide us to the springs of the water of life.

Let’s pray. We thank you, Lord, for clearly giving us the grounds for proper biblical expectations as we search for the next lead pastor of Calvary, we are longing for that time to come. Lord, when you raise him up and he is called and he comes and he’s here and we want to meet him and have your expectations, it is so easy just like as I went into my marriage and my expectations of my wife to bring in expectations that that are not pleasing to you and that can even be harmful to the relationship. Lord, we pray that through the words of Peter and and later, as we go through the next couple of weeks, the words of Paul to Timothy that you would reset our expectations. So when that day comes, when our new lead pastor arrives, we meet him and look for him to point us to you. Lord Jesus, the chief shepherd. We thank you that you gave your life for us. We thank you that you know us by name. We thank you that you love us. We pray in your name. Amen.

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