We have had sermons and articles on a wide variety of topics dealing with Shepherds in the Lord’s church since the beginning of the year. There have been many opportunities to study, to ask questions, and to seek out answers from the scriptures together.
The first half of this month was devoted to submitting names for consideration to serve as shepherds at O’Connor Road. Now, the men nominated must evaluate themselves and the scriptures to see if they are ready and willing to be examined by the church and possibly selected to serve. At this stage in the process there are three things we want to keep in mind.
The Order and Decency— We seek to maintain an order that is pleasing to God. There is much discretion provided to churches in the process in selecting men to serve as shepherds. However, principles of scriptures are to always guide our discretions to act in accordance with the wisdom of God. One such principle is “for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” (I Corinthians 14:33) “For” meaning “Because”. The immediate context is of the proper “order” of worship as it relates to the gift of tongues and prophecy in the 1st generation church. The argument being made for the order is the principle of God’s nature—He is not a God of confusion—He is orderly. All that represents God should show forth the same quality.
1. This then being the principle, the Holy Spirit sets forth the command, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” (I Corinthians 14:40) We are trying to apply this principle throughout this process in order to reflect the peace of our God. His nature. His will.
2. The Golden Rule— “In everything therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12) The men who have had their names put forward are (in alphabetical order) Charles Caknupp, Moises Flores, David Osteen, David Pool, Chris Russell, Tony Vasquez, and Gerardo Vielma. These men are spending a few weeks speaking with their families, evaluating themselves, studying the scriptures, and making the serious decision whether or not to proceed with the next stage of the process. Throughout the remainder of this process may the words of Jesus echo in our hearts. Lets treat them how we would want to be treated. Respect them. Encourage them. Pray for them. Especially, pray for them. This is not a duty or responsibility that any of them take lightly. Support them in the ways you would want to be supported if you were in their shoes.
3. The Humility and Unity—”Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3) We have sought godly unity throughout this process. Humility is at the core of that. The humility to study the scriptures anew about this subject of shepherds. The humility to ask questions. The humility to challenge our thinking and biases. The humility and gentleness and patience to go through this process. It’s not an easy process, but together, walking the way God desires us to, we can become more united and glorify God through it all.
May the Lord continue to bless us throughout this process and many we bless one another by showing the love of Christ living in our hearts.