Lessons from Pastors: Speak Words of Substance

In this week’s Spot of Grace, I would like to continue to consider the subject of the pastor being a blessing to the church. For the past two weeks, we talked about the need for humility and having the heart of a shepherd. Now I would like to share some simple advice that was given to me by a friend a few years ago as I transitioned from serving as a youth pastor to serving as a senior pastor. One of the biggest changes for me was the weekly preparation of messages to bless and encourage the people entrusted to me. His advice was a simple call for focus. My friend said, “Do two things, Glyn. Preach the Word and love the people.” Great words for sure. II Timothy 4:1-2 says:

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”

I have been seeking to preach the Word for over ten years now. God’s Word is amazing and relevant to all situations. I regularly pray as I prepare and rehearse my sermons, “God, let this be Your message for Your people.” Every pastor needs to remember that the power is in the Word and not in the messenger. I am so grateful that God has called me to serve in a church that is hungry for and receptive to God’s Word. One of the main reasons our church is so receptive to preaching aside from the faithfulness of God, is because the founding pastor taught the church so faithfully for so many years.

As I think about the many testimonies I’ve heard about our founding pastor, Milo Nussbaum, one of the things that stands out to me is how many people remember his benedictions. As I prepared for his funeral, I wondered what was so special about his benedictions. To be honest with you, I hadn’t given a lot of thought to benedictions over the years. I usually pick a short summary of the message or share a key part of the message. But I’m doing way more than that now.

As I heard from folks who remembered Pastor Milo’s benedictions, three in particular stood out. To close, let me share them for your encouragement:

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21 ESV

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26 ESV

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 1:24-25 ESV