When Jesus called Saul to become the outstanding apostle that God had predestined him to be, He put it in these terms:

. . . this man is My chosen vessel to carry My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and sons of Israel.
Acts 9:15

What a commission! Huge. Daunting. Remarkable.

But he fulfilled it!

Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, but as this commission indicates, he would also carry the message to Jews as well. The Book of Acts is the record of what the Spirit of God can do through one man who gave His whole life over to the work of the Lord. Paul (his new Christian name) carried the Gospel throughout Jerusalem, Palestine, Asia Minor, and southern Europe. On a map superimposed over a map of the United States, if you start with Antioch in Syria (located exactly over top of Washington D.C), you will discover that he travelled as far as Pierre, South Dakota! And that was in a day when travel was not only difficult, but dangerous. Along the way there were thieves and cutthroats; there were shipwrecks and rough terrain; there were beatings, stonings, and imprisonments and betrayals, awaiting him. You name it—if it was bad, Paul probably experienced it! But in spite of it all, at the end of his life he was able to say that he had finished the course, fought the good fight, and was ready to receive the crown of righteousness that was laid up for him at the conclusion of the race.

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Lord, today there may be someone
__who needs me
__as an arm to lift life’s load,
__an eye to lead the lost,
__a mind to learn Love’s law.
May my arm not be slack,
__my eye not grow dim
__nor my mind fail to comprehend.
Rather, make me strong,
__give me discernment,
__fill me with truth.
Lord, I don’t want to be
__unprepared, unsteady, unsure
__when his need is made known.
So, help me and use me
__to bless my neighbor
__according to Your will
_____________and in Your Name,

Where Does the Problem Lie?

If you are having problems with your minister, consider this neglected possibility:

Congregations often “heap up teachers who are in keeping with their own desires.” (2 Timothy 4: 3b).

The difficulty, in such cases, is that the problem isn’t only with your minister—it may also be with the flock! The fault is, Paul said, teachers are frequently chosen by congregations because they think that they will cater to their desires by scratching their ears!” (4:3a).  Such congregations don’t want to hear the preaching of sound doctrine because it often doesn’t do so.  Indeed, good teachers—those God approves—will often say just the opposite of what a congregation wants to hear.

Look around—is the kind of minister one that pretty well teaches what your church wants to hear? Is he soft on sin and easy on commendation? Or is he a faithful preacher of the Word who speaks truth, whether or not, those listening want to hear it.