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Resurgence Text & Context: Pastoral Character and Loving People by CJ Mahaney

March 14, 2008

Here are my notes from CJ Mahaney’s talk at Resurgence titled Pastoral Character and Loving People. You can download the audio at The Resurgence

Pastoral Character and Loving People
CJ Mahaney

Hidden in Plain Site
Gave an illustration from the Washington Post of Joshua Bell who is a violinist. The article was an experiment in context. They put an international award winning violinist at a subway stop and had him play. Hardly anyone paid attention and he only got a few dollars. Later that night he played in a large concert hall and people paid hundreds to hear the same guy. This great artist was hidden in plain site and they didn’t notice.

1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Like the violinist, this passage contains a wealth of beauty in plain site. They are not a mere expression of ancient etiquette. Hidden in plain site is a compelling example of cross-centered pastoral ministry.

The Corinthian church is a mess. Seduced by human wisdom, the cross was no longer central. Paul says in verse 4 that he gives thanks to God for them. Paul has a divine perspective of the church which allows him to praise God for his people.

Behold the transforming effects of the proper perspective. Do we have our perspective or Gods perspective?

Elements of the Divine Perspective
1. Paul’s understanding of Gods calling on Paul and on the Corinthian church. (past)

CJ’s personal reflection: “to read a reference to the call of God affects me greatly as it reminds me of Gods call on my life.”

For those who have joined us, God has called them to us. Be aware of the divine initiative rather than their areas of immaturity.

Be always aware if the influence of indwelling sin. Do not correct others that you do not have faith for and affection toward. Remind yourself that they have been the object of divine activity. Remind yourself of 1 Corinthians 1:1-9. In this, you give them hope that the gospel provides. We can then counsel effectively in grace those who have been in our care.

2. The grace given (vs 4-9) (present)
These gifts were evidences of Gods grace. Only the humble can identify evidences of Gods grace in people who are doing so poorly.

Which are you more aware of in others? The parts of their life where they are in error or the evidences of Gods grace? Be aware of always working on deficiencies in the church.

Your evaluation of the church (or your wife or others) must begin with an appreciation of the evidences of Gods grace! Do you perceive this divine perspective?

Evidences of Grace Starters Kit
Spend time refamiliarizing yourself with the gifts/fruits of the Spirit and you will find God at work everywhere! Don’t go long without making others aware of evidences of Gods grace in their lives. The best way to prepare our hearts is to acknowledge Gods good work. Fresh faith and fresh affection are renewed.

Celebrate evidences of Gods grace: People are more aware of the absence of God than they are aware of evidences of Gods grace. Remind them of it! Too many of them are looking for God at work in spectacular ways. The truth is that God often works more subtlety.

3. Confidence in Gods Faithfulness (v9) (future)
Our confidence regarding my marriage, my family and the church are based on my trust in the faithfulness of God.

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