Interview with Pastor Josh

Hello sisters! We want to hear from many in our church body, so our vision is to have a series of several “mini-interviews” with staff members, as well as with several of you. To kick us off, here is Pastor Josh, our dear leader, sharing his love of God’s Word with us, as well as specific ways we, as his sisters, can specifically lift him up before the Lord. I personally have been making new committments regarding prayer lately, especially regarding our church and church leadership. My challenge to you: print off his requests and spend the next week interceding on his behalf! I am quite certain our God will hear us and answer.

Enjoy!

You have a strong desire and heart for God’s Word. What motivates your desire to faithfully pursue the knowledge of God through the study of the Word?

I will say two things here.  One about my motivation to feed on the Word of God and another about how I approach the Word of God (faithfulness).

MY MOTIVATION: My motivation to study and read God’s Word comes from my understanding of what God’s Word is.  As I increase in my understanding of what the Bible says about itself, I increase in my desire to feast on the Word.  Let me give some examples.

  1. The Word of God is Inspired (2 Tim. 3:15-17).  The Bible is God’s Word!  God has made himself known to us!  This is an incredible reality.  God wants to be known by his creation and has therefore revealed himself to us.  The Bible is the main way that we engage in relationship with God – which is a revelation-response rhythm (cf. Isa. 66:2b).  As God reveals himself to us, we respond to him in worship (cf. Deut. 6; Isa. 6).  As I study God’s Word, I want to know him more.  As I desire to know and love him more, I’m driven to his Word.  So the inspiration of Scripture motivates me.
  2. The Word of God is Authoritative (Mt. 28:18-19).  Because God’s Word is the ultimate authority – the scepter by which Christ rules his church – and disciples by definition are those who submit to the Word of God, I am motivated to know God’s Word and have it order the way I think, feel, and live.  In my flesh, my ways are contrary to God’s ways.  But God’s Spirit has made God’s ways known and will continue to transform me by conforming my life to the Word of God.  If I want to be like Christ, I have to submit to the authoritative Word of Christ.  If I’m going to submit to the authoritative Word of God, I have to know it.

I could go on to show how the effectiveness, sufficiency, clarity, and Christ-centeredness of God’s Word motivates me to delight in it and meditate on it (Ps. 1:2), but you get the idea.

MY APPROACH/FAITHFULNESS: My commitment to faithfulness to God’s Word and therefore my approach to God’s Word are also driven by my understanding of what God’s Word is and what it does.  I’ll simply list three examples.

  1. The Word of God is Inspired and Authoritative.  Because God speaks authoritatively to his people through his Word, I want to approach God’s Word in such a way that I allow God to speak for himself.  There is a great temptation to use God’s Word to say what I want it to say; we have itching ears (2 Tim. 4:3).  In order to be faithful I must take the study of Scripture very seriously; I want to “cut it straight” (2 Tim. 2:15).  Through faithful study, I believe the voice of God is heard.  This requires hard work and a constant sharpening of my study skills.
  2. The Word of God is Effective and Sufficient.  God’s Word gets God’s work done in the lives of God’s people.  Isaiah 55:10-11 illustrates this truth so well.  So many of us believe that God’s Word – the gospel – saves us (Rom. 10:14ff), but then we start to look to our own efforts or other methods for sanctification (Colossians addresses this issue).  Because God’s Word does the work, I want to let it continually speak, both in my life and in the lives of those I teach so that God is allowed the opportunity to work!
  3. The Word of God is Christ-Centered.  If it is true that the entire Bible points to Christ and God’s glorious gospel (Lk. 24:27, 44-47), then I want to make sure that all of my study and teaching of God’s Word points to Christ.  I want to keep the commands of Scripture grounded in the fulfilled promises of Scripture (cf. Ex. 20:1-3).  We love because he first loved us (1 Jn. 4:19).  We forgive because in Christ we are forgiven (Eph. 4:32).  We give because he has generously given us all things in Christ (2 Cor. 8:9).  We must never lose sight of the Bible’s emphasis on grace; otherwise we’ll be prone toward despair or pride.  Faithfulness to the Word of God requires faithfully putting the Work of God in Christ first in my study and teaching.  In order to do this, I need to have a firm grasp on the larger story-line of the Bible looking not only at the immediate, grammatical-historical context in my study, but also the broader, redemptive-historical context.

How can the women of First Free be praying for you?

Preaching: I consistently ask for prayer in four areas as it relates to the preaching/teaching of God’s Word.  I would ask for you to pray in these areas as well.  The verses cited will help you pray within God’s revealed will.

  1. Faithfulness (2 Tim. 2:15; 4:1-2; 2 Cor. 4:2)
  2. Relevance (cf. Acts 20:28; 1 Pt. 5:1ff)
  3. Clarity (Neh. 8:8; Ezra 7; 2 Cor. 11:6; Col. 4:4)
  4. Holy Spirit, “unction,” in prep, delivery, the hearts of my hearers, etc. (1 Cor. 1:18; 2:4-5; Isa. 55:10-11; Heb. 4:12-13)

Preacher: In addition to the preaching itself, I ask for prayer for the preacher, myself.

  1. Pray that I would tremble at his Word (Isa. 66:2b).
  2. Pray that I would keep a close watch on myself and the teaching (1 Timothy 4:16; Acts 20:28)
  3. Pray that I would manage my own family well (1 Tim. 3:1ff; Titus 1)

There is a word-picture from Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress of Christian at the Interpreter’s house that helps me pray for myself:

Christian saw a picture of a very grave person hang up against the wall, and this was the fashion of it: it had eyes lift up to Heaven, the best of books in its hand, the law of truth was written upon its lips, the world was behind its back; it stood as if it pleaded with men, and a crown of gold did hang over its head.

The man whose picture this is, is one of a thousand; he can beget children, travail in birth with children, and nurse them himself when they are born.  And whereas thou seest him with his eyes lift up to heaven, the best of books in his hand, and the law of truth writ on his lips, it is to show thee that his work is to know, and unfold dark things to sinners even as also thou seest him stand as if he pleaded with men; and whereas thou seest the world as cast behind him, and that a crown hangs over his head, that is to show thee that slighting and despising the things that are present, for the love that he hath to his Master’s service, he is sure in the world that comes next to have glory for his reward … this is the only man whom the Lord of the Place whither thou art going hath authorized to be thy guide in all difficult places thou mayest meet with in the way.

 

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