Pastor’s Desk November 19th

Scripture Passage:  “Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!  It is like the precious ointment upon the head,  that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.”   Psalms 133:1-3 Dear Friends,
     This past week Tony and I attended the Tennessee Baptist Convention in Jackson, Tennessee.  I love the Pastor’s Conference. It gives me the opportunity to hear some of the best preachers across our denomination.  The convention itself is not one of the highlights of my year.  I feel responsible to represent my church and vote on issues that arise that agree with or contradict what we believe and stand for.  On the other hand I am not a confrontational person and do not debate and present motions from the floor to draw attention to myself or my church.  Neither am I a conformist.  I will let you know where I and the majority of our church stands where these issues are concerned.  Some years our convention is very tense and divisive.  Issues that are being discussed across our nation and among other denominational groups tend to end up on the floor of our convention.  This year was the calmest and most unified I have seen our convention in all the years I have been attending.  The one issue that could have been divisive was women in the role of pastor.  The committee handled it in such a way as to affirm our appreciation for all the women do in our churches and to affirm their worth and value, while still holding to the Scriptural mandate that excludes women as pastors.  The meetings ran smoothly and the votes were unanimous.  I left feeling a sense of pride for the unity that was exhibited. The issue that was addressed the most and intensely focused on was the lost people of Tennessee and the need to intentionally witness to and win them to Christ.  In the words of one of our African American pastor’s, “There are only two classifications of people in Tennessee – saved or lost.  Not democrat or republican.  Not black or white. Not Asian or Hispanic.  Not rich or poor or intellectuals or simpletons.”  According to him if people come to know Christ and follow him, the majority of our problems would fix themselves. I agree.
     King David knew what it was to lead a divided nation and a divided family.  He went from the serenity of leading sheep in the solitude of the desert to leading twelve tribes who were constantly jockeying for position and fighting among themselves.  They were more interested in what would benefit their tribe than they were what would benefit the nation.  David unified the tribes and unified their worship by making Jerusalem their capital and center of worship.  The Ark of the Covenant was brought back home and placed in the tabernacle at Jerusalem.  The people were unified under one God and one king and experienced a time of great prosperity and periods of peace.  Some of the worst trials David faced after he became king resulted from his own sins and family disunity.
     David described unity in this way.  It is good and pleasant when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity and “get along.”  Spiritual oneness leads to national unity and the only way people can truly get along is to put aside personal differences and work together.  When a prophet, priest or king was anointed for service, they were sprinkled with the blood of a sacrifice and anointed with oil which ran over their heads, down their beards, and over the breastplate containing twelve stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel.  This was symbolic of the Holy Spirit and man’s need for spiritual help to be able to minister effectively.  The land of Israel is an arid region that relies on early and latter rains, as well as well as dew, to water their crops and sustain life.  “In Scripture, dew symbolizes the life giving Word of God (Deut. 32:2), the blessing of God that brings fruitfulness (Gen. 27:28, 39), and God’s special refreshing on His people (Hos 14:5; Zech.8:12).”  Warren Wiersbe    Mt. Hermon is the highest mountain range in Israel and remains snow covered most of the year.  Mt. Zion, the mount where Jerusalem is found, is one of the lower mountain ranges and both are watered by the dew even though they are two hundred miles apart.  So the dew represents that which is good and the oil the pleasing fragrance of the Holy Spirit that dwells within.  When we dwell together in unity we enjoy the best that both have to offer.
In Christ,
Pastor Johnny