(Taken from work on my current doctoral dissertation)
Our first part of Concerns for Un-Biblical Worship centered around the improper perception or perspective of who God is. The second part focuses on the object of our worship no longer being directed toward the God of the Bible but rather on man.
1 Peter 4:11 cautions us that “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things, God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Concerning the exegesis of 1 Peter 4:11, the context is in regards to preaching. This is an aspect of the ministry that cannot take away from the attention given toward God. Preaching, spoken by man, must give glory to God through Christ Jesus. The word “oracle” here is logion. “This word refers to God’s written revelation. The ministry of preaching must be confined within the bounds of God’s inspired Scriptures. And this should be done according to the power, ischuos, which God supplies. The supreme aim in preaching is to glorify God through Jesus Christ. When Christ is proclaimed in His power and glory, then God is glorified.”
Many preachers approach the pulpit lacking a sense of reverence and humility, but instead, as if the gift and calling bestowed upon them was of their own volition, preach with the subtext of God, but implicitly (or at times explicitly) claim the power as their own. It becomes a stage to introduce and showcase the wonderful talents, skills, knowledge, and intelligence, masked by the intent of preaching the Word of God for the purpose of the congregation’s edification, when in fact, the preaching is done to excite, motivate, inspire, and direct the emotional appeal of the lay person toward the one preaching, yet done, “all in the name of God.” When the preaching is given so that the attention is directed toward a fallen person, in need of a Savior, as opposed to the God who saves him, it is no longer Biblical.
How often do we come across preachers who bask in the glory they receive from their congregation members after preaching? Unfortunately, there are those who step off of the pulpit looking forward to the admiration given to them by their respective laity. It is what fuels them, inspires, motivates, and encourages them to continue “preaching” to others, as opposed to the sincere desire to bring glory to God by preaching His Word and edifying God’s children.
(Picture taken from http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/thumblarge_314/1222459336H79UV3.jpg)
 Isidro Annotated New Testament, p.454
This self-revelation came to me. A new nickname. Just call me… The Book Cover. Why? Because I get judged, that’s why. I’m just wondering if there’s some sort of vibe or look that I give off that makes people immediately judge me either positively or negatively. I’m not sure. But I always get the feeling that people see me differently than I really am. Maybe I should work on my first impression.
Or maybe it’s because I’m 26 and when people introduce me as a pastor it means nothing to them. Maybe in the eyes of many, I haven’t yet paid my dues, or my credibility is called into question, or maybe they “despise me because of my youth.” Maybe I haven’t made it around the circuit enough. Maybe I haven’t spoken at enough churches or taught at enough universities or my name isn’t as well known as others.
Maybe it’s the way I dress. Shorts, t-shirt, and some kicks don’t necessarily scream out that I’m a pastor. Maybe my look discredits me and leads others not to take me seriously when it comes to the ministry.
The Book Cover. Don’t judge me just yet.
I have to be honest. Most of the people who find out that I’m a pastor engage me in conversation and we begin to have a nice talk about the ministry, my life, my testimony, their life, their opinions and an overall “getting to know you, getting to know all about you” moment. But there are some that seem to not want to have anything to do with me when they find out that little nugget of information. And it’s not the people that first come to your mind.
These are the ones who are established members of various ministries. They are other pastors, teachers, Bible school professors. They are the elders, the deacons, the associate pastors and church leaders. They are the ones that have years of experience on me. They are the ones that I shake hands with and say but two words to me. They are the ones that I hope to look to for encouragement, advice, guidance, direction, and possible mentorship.
Maybe I’m making a big deal about it. Maybe it’s my insecurities. Maybe it’s me creating some sort of internal controversy to further motivate and inspire me to do more and be more for God.
Whatever it is, the fact still reminds.
I’m human. And I don’t like to be judged.
But what can I do about that? I don’t know. Prove to others that I’m not who they seem? Work harder to prove to myself that I’m not who people think I am? Judge others just as extensively and shallow as I seem to be judged by first impression, just to give them a taste of their own medicine?
I may just do that. All of it may be justified, even urged by others. I just may, but not just yet.
Because as of right now… I still have some reading to do.
Picture taken from http://blogacademy.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/first-impressions.jpg