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There was a man in the church who did not like change. He wore the same suits that he purchased thirty or forty years ago. Even though the jackets were threadbare in places he saw no reason to change them. He was also very vocal about how he disliked these new changes and this new pastor. His friends, equally disgruntled about changes in their lives, frequently came together to dine on pastor potluck. This man did not want any pastor to lead him, but he did need a shepherd to care for him.
In Acts 20:17 – 21:6 Paul is preparing to go to Jerusalem and face resistance. There are some key insights from this passage geared to pastors in all types and sizes of churches to shepherd those who do not want your shepherding.
Know your calling.
Paul knew his calling. He was to go to Jerusalem to testify about the grace of God to the Gentiles. Fulfilling his calling was going to press him into adversity. The difficulty did not derail Paul. Nor should difficulty derail you.
Knowledge - Identity - Rests - Christ - Death
To shepherd those who do not want your shepherding you must possess the unshakable knowledge that your identity rests in Christ and his atoning death and resurrection. Your identity does not rest in the size of your church, the eloquence of your sermons, or the number of books you have published. Know that you know that you know that your calling is first to Jesus, then to the ministry.
Difficulty defines you.
People - Seasons - Life - Problems - Transforms
Few people enjoy difficult seasons of life. Many look at their problems and cannot wait for them to be over. The Bible though transforms tragedy to triumph by calling on you to demonstrate faithfulness through the difficulty. God is able to use difficult moments, difficult people and difficult churches to refine you as his servant.
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