To Pastors, Today

Published on February 7, 2010 by CT in Blog, Thoughts

9

Let me start by saying I have no ecclesiastical authority to be giving pastors advice at all.  And God’s servants who minister to their local flocks should be esteemed for their service in a holy calling.  So I begin this post with the humility of a member of the universal body, under the authority of the elders of a local body, encouraging pastors in the global body in the care of their flocks.

I know some churches will have their normal Sunday evening services tonight, and that’s great.  And others will cancel their normal Sunday evening services tonight to provide space for their congregations to engage in their communities, and that’s great.  And some churches don’t have Sunday evening services at all, and that’s great.

Mark Driscoll will be preaching this evening and TIVOing the gameCJ Mahaney will be watching the event and bringing an eternal perspective to a temporal game.  Thousands of other pastors whose names are known only to God and their congregations will be preaching tonight to smaller-than-normal gatherings because they love the word of God and know preaching to be one of its most powerful expressions.

But there will be some pastors who tell their congregations today that they need to choose between the Super Bowl and church, and I suppose a minority may do it with the right heart.  But there will be others who pose the choice as a false choice of faith—do you love Jesus more than football?

I call it a false choice because today is not the day to be asking this kind of question.  Every day is the day to be asking this kind of question.  Every sermon you preach is an opportunity to ask your flock this question—do you love Jesus, or do you love the world?

We as the church need this kind of question, this kind of preaching, every time we sit to hear you speak.  We need to be constantly reminded that “whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake…will save it.  For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul” (Mark 8:35-36).  We face this choice—Jesus or the world—every day as we rise, and work, and eat, and drink, and talk, and we need you to constantly point us to the superior value of Christ over anything the world can offer.

If you only ask this question on Super Bowl Sunday, you are likely going to be teaching your people to feel one of two things—either moral superiority, which will lead them straight down the path towards pride, or guilt, which will lead them straight down the path towards shame.  And pride and shame won’t encourage your people to value Jesus as their greatest treasure.

So maybe the best thing to do is to preach if you are scheduled to preach, and don’t preach if you’re not scheduled to preach.  And encourage your people to love God more than a game, even if they choose to watch the game.

And as the breathless victors lift up the Lombardi Trophy this evening, may we all be reminded of the victory gained on our behalf when the Son of God was lifted up and drew his final breath that beautiful evening centuries ago.

  • Craig T Owens

    What a fantastic post! I wish I would have seen this yesterday, but it's still good today.

    We're in the category that doesn't have a Sunday evening adult service (KidZone from 5-6pm).

    You are right on the mark, Chris!

  • http://www.christianclothingblog.com Greg Ryan

    Great post, I had a similar take but different verse. Ex 20:3 And you shall have no other gods before Me. As I read this, as long as God is first it doesn't matter what is second, third, etc. the Super Bowl doesn't hit the radar in April but the first week in Feb. It is a bigger deal.

    How are we to relate to the people around us if we don't have an interest in what they are interested in? Football is one of my "interests", but I don't care much for tennis. The U.S Open in tennis has little draw for me but I have friends that go to New York to watch it. (They even miss church those two weekends)

    Must stop…great post.
    My recent post New Orleans Saints Super Bowl Champions

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Chris_Tomlinson Chris_Tomlinson

      Greg, welcome. I'm glad you came by. It's an interesting question–how to balance living in the world and engaging with people without sharing their idols. Please check back in; I think I'd enjoy dialoguing with you in the future on topics that come up.

    • http://www.christianclothingblog.com Greg Ryan

      Thanks Chris,
      I will be back, God is so good and I enjoy being around people that love Him and want to know Him more. Put me down as someone that wants more of God.
      My recent post New Orleans Saints Super Bowl Champions

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000685719087 Paul Eric

    Great post. Spot on and with tact! The truth can certainly be told with Love. This is good example.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Chris_Tomlinson Chris_Tomlinson

      I've had to learn this the hard way =)

  • Alberto Morales

    Well, im surprised of this kind of revelation of what realy means to choose for Jesus

    I was that kind of people that make the "wrong choice of faith" , thanks that Gods loves me to much that help me with this, but it is a reaity to change in our christian communities today…
    Lets preach it every day!!!

  • Pastor Ralph

    Thanks for noticing the condition of the church today, we americans are especially use to having it our way even when it comes to GOD, we choose when and how much GOD we'll have, and we justify it all becuase of our faith in Jesus. Yet Jesus nhimself told us how were to serve the Lord, he said unless we Love him more than our families we are not worthy of him. The ealry church worshiped him of the first day of the week which became our Sabbath unto the Lord, its a time of seperation and devotion to the Lord (the whole day), example if it is your birthday you won't celebrate half the day its the whole day and GOD expects the same dedication between us and him.

  • pastor Ralph

    In the early history of this great nation, very few businesses were allowed to be opened on sunday even as recent as 1965 in the south (bible belt) only one gas station and one pharmacy was allowed to remain open on sunday in large cities for emergencies. Today the people refuse to honor the whole day for the Lord and so the Pastors have conceded to the human infulence and changed what was not so from the beginning. If we are ever going to win a battle for souls it won't be our becoming more like the world. James 4:4
    You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world's friend is being God's enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God.
    1 John 2:15
    Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.

    Pastor Ralph