Lectures To My Students -C.H. Spurgeon pt.1

Hey everyone! How are you? I hope all is well!

So I’ve just started reading Lectures To My Students by Charles H. Spurgeon. Why?

This is a trustworthy saying: “If someone aspires to be an elder, he desires an honorable position.”

1 Timothy 3:1

Right now, I’m being prepared for the service of ministry. I think the calling of a pastor is a big deal more than a doctor who deals with the body. A pastor deals with the souls of people. They are dealing with God’s Holy Word and God’s people. I was really mediating on this passage today,

Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

1 Timothy 4:16 ESV

I love God and I love people. I desire to be a pastor. I feel (heart-emotions) and  know (mind-understanding) the calling is from God. I know it is God who has placed that desire in me because I wanted to something in the field of business, but God changes our plans. I’m doing the work of an evangelist right now and my desire is to share the gospel with anyone in any place.  It is a real honor to serve God in my youth. When will this happen (be a pastor)? I don’t know I’m going to be turning 22 soon and graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical and Theological Studies. I’m single, can a man be an elder being single? (controversy) Maybe I need to pray and start looking for a wife lol. :) A lot of questions, but God is Sovereign, and when the time is right He will let me know. Seminary, most likely, but I’m not sure if I will go straight into it right after Biola or wait a few years. I’m a young man who has a lot of passion to do great things for God of which I think is better than not having any at all. God does not need me at all, I know this, but out of love for my Heavenly Father I want to work with Him in this task that people would come to know Him and live for Him.

Anyway, I want to read Spurgeon’s Lectures To My Students of which I know it’ll be applicable to me today as a student who desires to serve God and people. One of the things you can pray for me right now is for patience.

Today I just want to share a quick word that I read in the book that reminded me of this passage of Scripture,

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.

2 Timothy 4:3 NLT

People go to their place of worship and sit down comfortably, and think they must be Christians, when all the time all their religion consists in, is listening to an orator, having their ears tickled with music, and perhaps their eyes amused with graceful action and fashionable manners; the whole being no better than what they hear and see at the opera– not so good, perhaps, in point of aesthetic beauty, and not an atom more spiritual. Thousands are congratulating themselves, and even blessing God that they are devout worshippers, when at the same time they are living in an unregenerate Christless state, having the form of godliness, but denying the power of thereof. He who presides over a system which aims at nothing higher than formalism, is far more a servant of the devil than a minster of God.

-Charles H. Spurgeon in Lectures To My Students (pg. 6)

I feel as if being a Pastor is a great calling that God has given to some men. There are qualifications that must not be ignored.  Spurgeon’s first point is, 1. It Should Be One of Our First Cares That We Ourselves Be Saved Men” I think we assume because a man stands on a pulpit or is called a pastor therefore he is born again and is a a saved man. There are many men who preach God’s word but may not be converted themselves as Jesus will tell them,

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Matthew 7:21-23 NIV

I’m learning and being challenge as I listen to Charles H. Spurgeon teach on what it means to pursue the calling of a Pastor. Keep praying for me, in the meantime I am enjoying learning and serving God where I am right now!

-Always, for God’s glory and our joy in Him!

Kevin Nunez

Our Sufficiency for Outreach —John MacArthur Jr.

Hey everyone! How are you? I hope all is well!

Today I want to share some insights from Pastor John MacArthur on outreach/evangelism. I’m always eager to learn how to be a better witness for Christ. This is primarily addressed to pastors but you don’t have to be a pastor to benefit from this reading because I hope everyone who reads this has a pastor and home church were they are involved and growing.

I personally want to take the Apostle Paul’s words seriously in my life, even as I’m in the development to becoming a pastor,

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

2 Timothy 4:2

 I’m taking advantage of the massive amount of resources I have in Logos Bible Software, A LOT!!! Enjoy and be edified! :)

Our Sufficiency for Outreach

My calling as pastor is to lift God’s people before the Lord, to bring his Word to his people, and to equip them for their calling. Unbelievers, in a sense, are incidental to that primary purpose.

—John MacArthur Jr.

I receive many letters from pastors who feel intimidated by today’s church trends. They see the exploding seeker church, but the bottom line is, they’re not in the same league as its pastor. They can’t pull off the techniques. And they can’t afford to do it. The creativity isn’t there, the money isn’t there, and the crowd isn’t there.

One pastor who read my book Our Sufficiency in Christ called me in tears. He said, “I was beginning to wonder if what I have always believed about ministry was wrong. This helped me realize that what I’ve always been committed to is what I need to stay committed to. I just needed to hear that what I’m doing is okay.”

Pastors hear the therapists on the radio and they read the books of renowned Christian counselors who say, “Pastors often do more harm than non-Christian counselors,” and they get intimidated. So these pastors think, I can’t counsel anybody. Somebody’s going to kill himself; I’ll get sued and be in court for ten years. I better not say anything. They hear about the mystical experiences of the charismatics, and they’ve never seen a sign or wonder in their life. They wonder why they’re in ministry if they can’t make the lame walk or see a mystical vision.

All across our nation pastors who are godly and welltrained are wondering if they are competent for the task of ministry. What is our sufficiency for ministry? How can we carry on successful outreach in our contemporary culture? I believe the answer lies in a few key principles.

A church for saints

Many people come to church for less than ideal reasons: to be part of something exciting, big, and thriving; to be entertained or inspired; to get a spiritual lift to help them through the week; to give the kids some religious training; to see the preacher they’ve heard on the radio.

So thinking up a strategy to get an unbeliever to church isn’t difficult. All you do is find their hot buttons and press them. If they like dancing elephants, you get dancing elephants. If they want to be successful in their business, you hold a business-success seminar. If they’re worried about their kids, you hold parenting workshops.

I’m not guided by that. My calling as pastor is to lift God’s people before the Lord, to bring his Word to his people, and to equip them for their calling. Unbelievers, in a sense, are incidental to that primary purpose.

I would never think, How can I structure this service to accommodate unbelievers? or How can I make unbelievers want to attend? because that’s not our purpose—unless we are gearing a special meeting for evangelism. We do have an evangelism outreach on some Saturday and Sunday nights. But we would primarily ask our people to bring those they know.

The biblical pattern is that the church gathers to worship and be edified. It scatters to evangelize.

Although my preaching in a regular church service is focused on those who are already believers, the effect is often evangelism. One recent Sunday night in our baptism service, the last guy to come into the water announced during his testimony that he had been a homosexual for twenty years. He was HIV positive, and he knew he was going to die.

“I came to this church,” he said, “because somebody told me that this was the church that preached the truth for a desperate man. When I walked in, the first thing out of your mouth was Psalm 107, which you stood up and read during worship. God directed that at my heart; that whole psalm described me. Before that hour was over, I had heard enough of the gospel to commit my life to Jesus Christ.”

What primarily attracts newcomers to Grace Community Church is personal relationships. The strength of the church has always been people bringing people. In our first six years, the church doubled every two years, without our doing any advertising.

So I basically instruct people:

“Honor Christ with your life, take every opportunity to present the gospel, be aggressive in scattering your seed. It isn’t the skill of the sower; it’s the state of the soil.”

It isn’t a marketing strategy; it’s letting others see the obvious benediction that Christ has become to your life, your marriage, your family, that makes the gospel attractive. Christians have something non-Christians want. I trust that by giving our church people a clear understanding of the gospel, they will be able, when doors open, to start where people are and lead them to the good news of forgiveness and salvation.

A transformation for believers

From the outset we have concentrated on life-changing truth. People had their lives changed and began bringing others, and that continues today. Our church continues to have a tremendous response from unbelievers. I give an invitation every service, and there’s not a service after which we don’t have people coming into the prayer room to respond to Christ. We baptize anywhere from five to twenty people on a Sunday night, every week, 90 percent of them led to Christ by somebody else in the church.

Even when we hold a special concert, we don’t advertise; we just let our people know that this is a special time for them to bring unbelieving friends.

It’s easy to get sidetracked from our purpose, which is spiritual transformation. One diversion is an excessive focus on felt needs.

A man came up to me one night after a recent sermon and said, “I’m not a Christian. My marriage is falling apart. My business is going bad. Can you help me?”

I could have offered some thoughts on marriage enrichment or business principles, but that wasn’t the real issue. Instead I replied, “It sounds like you need an invisible means of support.”

“Yeah, that’s it!” he said. “That’s exactly what I need.” So I started from there, explaining how Christ could come personally into his life and circumstances.

Unbelievers come in different shapes and sizes, with all different kinds of felt needs. The most compelling—even more than “How do I fix my marriage?”—is sin. By sticking on a Band-Aid, we may fail to address the need for a transformation of life.

We do need some point of contact with a non-Christian, however. I’m not saying we never address felt needs. We just don’t want that to become a diversion.

A second diversion is entertaining people in church. Of course to bring about spiritual transformation we need to be adept at keeping people’s interest. When we explain the Bible, we need to focus on the things that people find significant. We need to illustrate well. But the difference between maintaining interest and merely entertaining is the purpose: Is it for the sake of being interesting? Or for the sake of truth and spiritual transformation?

It gets back to the preacher’s motivation. I’m not concerned with whether listeners think I’m novel, witty, or entertaining. I’m concerned that they get the truth.

I’m not really a student of communication technique, but I have learned how to keep people’s attention. What rivets people is anticipation, the expectation that I’m about to say something they want to know. As long as they think I’m about to say something funny or helpful or informative, I will have their attention, and as soon as they decide I don’t have anything worthwhile, they’re gone. So I don’t try to hold listeners by entertaining them in some superficial way, but by giving them the sense that I’m going to say something worthwhile.

A worship for God

The galloping pragmatism I see in the church mitigates the confrontive character of the gospel.

When the church becomes enamored with influence and image as the key to evangelization, it is no longer depending on Christ. The philosophy in some churches is, If they really like us, they’ll like Jesus. I’m not sure there’s any correlation whatsoever.

Therefore, I have trouble with the idea of a “user-friendly church.” We don’t want to be personally or institutionally offensive, but we cannot buffer the offense of the Cross.

At Grace Community Church we do everything possible to let visitors know we’re thrilled they’re there. We put high priority on treating visitors with real love and care. We have a host ministry that moves throughout the campus identifying people that look new and integrating them into the flow. In the service I take special care to welcome first-time guests. We give them a booklet that explains things in which our church is involved. In the worship service I think most are impressed with the music, which is exceptional. If they are offended, it is always the message that does it. They don’t get offended until I get up to preach!

I’ve often encouraged pastors, “Don’t let your church look like anything but the most well-cared-for property in town. If the bank looks better than your church, you’re in trouble. The bank is saying, ‘We care more about you than the church.’ ”

We have a beautiful, well-manicured facility. In fact, I remember one couple visited, came to Christ, and later said, “We thought if you took care of flowers, you probably cared about people.”

I read a study that ranked the things that determined where people would go to church: Looks of the facility was number one. Parking, two. Nursery, three. Friendliness, four. Pastor, five. So yes, I think our parking, our shuttle service, and our nursery care are crucial.

So there’s nothing wrong with being creative, doing things that make outsiders take a look at your church, things that attract needy unbelievers, as long as it doesn’t mitigate the message that God is central. God has given us a beautiful world, and we ought to do everything we can, as Adam did, to dress the garden. In addition we want to keep as nice as possible the things that represent him.

All of this is based on our understanding of human nature: people gravitate toward things that are nice, things that are lovely. I have no problem with anything that doesn’t compromise the message or depreciate worship. What happens when churches are so concerned about unbelievers’ reactions, though, is they depreciate worship. They put God-centeredness somewhere down the line.

There’s a big difference between appealing to human nature’s attraction to beauty versus human nature’s attraction to entertainment. We are here to demonstrate the beauty and the graciousness of God. We’re not here to entertain people. When you move to entertainment, you’ve taken a major jump.

I object to the user-friendly church idea because even though its proponents may assume the spiritual foundation of ministry, the presentation tends to make people think that the methods are essential. I would rather see a book or seminar say, “Preach the gospel, and by the way, don’t forget to provide ample parking.” Much of the time it’s a matter of emphasis.

The bottom line: Our sufficiency isn’t in our techniques, skills, or experiences. Our sufficiency is in Christ.

Taken from:

Growing your church through evangelism and outreach. 1996 (1st ed.).

Library of Christian leadership. Nashville. Tenn.: Moorings.

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-Always, for God’s glory and our joy in Him!

Kevin Nunez

Prophet of Purpose The Life of Rick Warren book review.

Hey everyone! How are you? I hope all is well.

Let me tell you a little about Rick Warren:

Rick Warren is arguably the most influential man in American religion today. Megachurch pastor, friend of world leaders, and trendsetting spiritual entrepreneur, he is widely recognized as the new public face of evangelical Christianity in America. No other modern churchman has matched his success as a leader and motivator of Christians. His book The Purpose-Driven Life is the bestselling nonfiction hardcover of all time, with more than thirty million copies sold. And at the time when Evangelicalism stands at a political and cultural crossroads, his stature continues to rise.

But who is Rick Warren? What can be learned from the story of the man behind the message? And what does his life say about the sate of Christianity?

Prophet of Purpose: The Life of Rick Warren traces the road  Warren has traveled, the influences in his life, his trials and tribulations, and opposition he has encountered along the way. Honest, thorough, and insightful, the book  explores his spiritual coming-of-age during the trubulent 1860s, his principled determination to sit out the divise battles between fundamentalists and moderates in the Southern Baptist Convention in the late 1970s, and his audacious endeavor in the 1980s to build a “church for people who hate church” in the suburbs of Los Angeles. From a handful of worshipers meeting at a tiny apartment, he grew a vibrant congregation of more than twenty-two thousand, as well as a global network of pastors who follow his strategies for building chuches and transforming lives.

I don’t necessarily agree with some of Rick Warren’s methods, one is of reaching the lost (decisions for Christ evangelism) or even catering church for non-believers (seeker-sensitive service). I lean more to the reformed view of salvation (regeneration being a supernatural work of God John 3) and church for believers. God is sovereign even in allowing him to be where he is at, it is God who has placed him there. It is God who has opened the doors for him to be widely known and influential. We always look at the negative things, but can we see the positive things in his life by the grace of God? His PEACE plan is something we can pray for and be for. He has given his life to one church of which he loves and cares deeply for. Can we pray for Him and ask that the Lord would grant his wisdom and  grace.

I read the book because in all honesty I knew little about Pastor Rick Warren and wanted to know him a little better. All I can say in regards to Pastor Rick Warren and other pastors of mega-churches is, “…Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” Luke 12:48 I believe it is a huge responsibility given to him by God and only by God’s grace can it be done.

Let’s pray for him! I also want to add the discussion of Pastor John Piper and Pastor Rick Warren on doctrine in Purpose Driven Life. Watch it to see what he really believes! I’m really appreciative of his humbleness to even want to discuss it with Pastor John Piper and let people see.

I appreciate John Piper’s words:

Near the end of the interview, with great respect and appreciation for the stewardship of influence that Rick carries, I exhort him and pray for him that God will make the final chapter of his ministry a deepening one, that leaves a legacy of biblical and doctrinal truth more explicitly and firmly in the minds and hearts of the generations that will follow him.

Rick and I are very different in methodological instincts and inclinations. I take almost the exact opposite approach in preaching—wanting to make the theological categories explicit and to show how I got them from the text. But then I am not even close to the fruitful evangelist that Rick is.

So watch the video interview, I’d like to hear some of your thoughts.

Click on the picture to go to the website to watch the video:

Oh and here am I with Pastor Rick Warren,

-Always, for God’s glory and our joy in Him!
Kevin Nunez

The Pastor and Evangelism

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The Pastor and Evangelism

Desiring God 2009 Conference for Pastors

February 03, 2009 | by Mark Dever | Topic: Pastoral Ministry

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A lot of times as pastors we have to admit that we are not exempt from the challenges that people in our congregations face. Some of us come from places where evangelism is illegal or so socially awkward that it feels illegal.

And we have excuses for why we don’t evangelize. We need to know about ourselves that the heart that doesn’t want to share the gospel will use any excuse.

Pray that God will use these sessions to inflame your heart and give you more ideas for how to be a better evangelist yourself and a model for the flock.

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Things We Can Mistake for Evangelism

1) Imposition

We mistakenly take evangelism to be manipulation. But that’s what the world says. In truth, we’re not trying to impose our beliefs on anybody. Biblically, we can’t impose our beliefs on anybody. Force and coercion cannot finally bring about the change that God demands. You can’t expand Christianity by the sword. Evangelism is not some sort of intellectual imposition.

To believe that something is true and to share that with others is not coercion. We don’t impose when we evangelize. We freely offer it to all and do not, cannot, force it on anybody.

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2) Personal Testimony

A personal testimony is a wonderful thing. The Bible is full of examples of it, and we should testify to the wonderful experience of receiving God’s mercy.

But consider John 9 and the man born blind. He gives his testimony but doesn’t even know who Jesus is. His words glorify God, but they don’t present the gospel. This is not evangelism.

Unless you’re explicit about Jesus Christ and the cross then it is not the gospel.

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3) Social Action / Public Involvement

Mercy ministries display God’s kindness, and they are good and appropriate for the Christian to do. But such actions are not evangelism. They may commend the gospel to others, but only if someone has told them the gospel. They need to have the gospel added to them. Helping others or doing our jobs well, whatever they are, in and of themselves are not evangelism.

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4) Apologetics

Apologetics are valuable, but they have their own set of dangers. You can get bogged down in talking about purely intellectual or peripheral matters and never get to the gospel.

It’s fine for us to talk with unbelieving friends about questions that they have, but our attempts to try and answer them without setting the gospel as the foundation does no good. Jesus must set the agenda for evangelism.

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5) The Results of Evangelism

2 Corinthians 2:15

For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?

Note that the same ministry has two different effects. It’s like the parable of the soil: same seed, different results.

We cannot finally judge the correctness of what we do by the immediate response that we get. The need for numbers puts an unnecessary stress on pastors and misunderstands the way that God saves.

We must practice our ministries realizing that some of us will be like Adoniram Judson or William Carey, who had no converts until after seven years of faithful gospel ministry. It’s a fact that most people don’t believe the gospel the first time they hear it.

Don’t let the gospel that you preach be molded by what it is that gets an immediate response. Preach the gospel, trying to persuade—pleading for your hearers to believe—but knowing that you cannot convert a person. And then let God do with it what he will. He alone can call the dead to life. The gospel is powerful, and God is committed to using us to spread this good news.

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What Should Pastors Be Like As Evangelists?

We don’t fail in our evangelism if we faithfully tell the gospel and the person is not converted. We fail when we don’t tell the gospel at all.

Evangelism itself isn’t converting people. It is telling people the gospel. We don’t hope to evangelize. We do it, knowing that God is glorified in it. It is not a guilt-driven burden, but a joyful privilege.

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What should the pastor-evangelist pray that God would do in him?

1) Make sure that you are yourself a Christian.

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2) Be humble in your evangelism. Don’t paint a picture that you are perfect in your faith. Be humble about your weaknesses. God loves to use weak things. He gets more glory that way.

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3) Pray for compassion. This was Christ’s disposition when he saw the crowds who were like sheep without a shepherd.

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4) Know the word well. Be Bible-saturated.

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5) Be gospel confident. God loves evangelists. Knowing that we have his pleasure in it, we should be bold, like the apostles.

This shows itself in your response to people who don’t repent when you share the gospel with them. Consider Jesus’ example in Matthew 11:20-29. When people rejected his calls, he prayed, reaffirmed God’s sovereignty, and continued to invite all to come, repent, and believe.

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6) Recognize some of the glory of what we’re doing when we evangelize. We’re speaking the truth about him, and he uses that to bring glory to himself.

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7) Be provocative. One way to do that is by asking honest questions. Even in my own sermons I sometimes have questions that are purposefully designed to undermine the faith of non-believers. Randy Newman’s books on evangelism are good on this point.

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8.) Be hospitable. Use the credit that hospitality gives you with unbelievers to say a word about Christ.

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9) Preach the gospel from the pulpit. We pastors shouldn’t feel guilty that our primary way of evangelism is preaching.

When God calls us to be pastors, he calls us away from the front lines of evangelism in order to make us those who equip others to occupy the front lines. Someone who just wants a church desk job in order to get away from the front lines is not fit to be a pastor.

We need to present the gospel in every sermon. Preach the whole gospel in every sermon. Visitors need to hear it. When we speak to non-Christians, we also model evangelism to our people and re-expose the weightiness and depth of sin to them.

People need to hear that God calls them to admit their sins and confess them to him. We don’t ever want to teach people that an outward physical response is a sincere response.

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10) Regularly pray for non-believing friends and family. Encourage and model praying for non-Christians.

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11) Keep your gratitude for your own conversion fresh.

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12) Visit the same restaurants, barbers, dry cleaners, banks, so that you can build relationships and share the gospel with people. Be a good tipper at restaurants. Be willing to give people time in conversation.

We don’t want to have so much a program for evangelism but a culture of evangelism. The pastor should make sure that others in the congregation are equipped for evangelism. Do this by the books you give out, by the way you admit new members, etc.

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Listen to the sermon: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/the-pastor-and-evangelism 

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:desiringGod.org