Commending Them to God

Those who read this blog have probably already heard the news by now, but figure it is about time to say it in public. Long story short is that I will be stepping down from the pastoral ministry, having concluded over a long period of struggling that I am not yet fit to be in the pastoral role, finding myself lacking both a clear calling and a sufficient training. 

I came here to Taiwan to try to serve the church here, out of love for them upon hearing that they would be without a pastor--but not out of a response to the call of God. Even now, it is still this man-centered desire ("I can still do it!") that makes me want to continue and be there for them. Yet, if God has not called me here, then I ought not to be here. I also came without finishing a full seminary training and without sufficient time "learning the ropes" in practical ministry experience, with the result that I really am just not equipped to do the work here.  

I have decided with counsel that I am not suited for this, at least not at this juncture. We will see what God has prepared for the future. But if there is a next time, it will be approached more cautiously and preceded by completed training. I plan for now to return to EBCB as a normal member, work as a programmer, and grow as a Christian.

Many have wished I would have continued and persevered. Many are possibly shocked by this news. Hadn't I just said I was seeking to grow in faithfulness and perseverance? What made this decision easy and fast at the end was when things came into clear focus and I realized it was not an issue of perseverance, but of principle. While the struggles here were the occasion of me asking hard questions about whether I am fit here, they were not ultimately the cause. In the end, if I am doing this only because I want to help people, and not in obedience to God's call, and if I am not adequately trained, then I simply should not keep doing it. So that is the plan for now. 

Pastor John visited here this past weekend to talk to the church about how this decision affects them. They will be continuing (at least for the next 6 months) to meet together and pray together for God's provision of another pastor. Please pray with them as I will surely be doing. The great comfort to me at this time is that the Lord is my Shepherd, and the Lord is their Shepherd. It has been an amazing privilege to serve them and be used for the salvation of some and the spiritual growth of others. Yet, it is time for me to set this lofty position down for now and entrust them to God.

Acts 20:32 seem to be the right words to close with:

And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Now I get two more sermons to help prepare them to wait, and to prepare them to receive the next pastor who comes. Please pray I can invest as much as I can into them in these next two weeks. I will return to America on Oct. 31. Thank you for your faithful prayers on our behalf. Please keep them coming for the church.




Faith Is Greater than Reason

I found an insightful comment from a puritan prayer I read this morning, entitled "Belonging to Jesus":

I thank thee for showing me the vast difference
    between knowing things by reason,
    and knowing them by the spirit of faith.

By reason I see a thing is so;
    by faith I know it as it is.

I have seen thee by reason and have not been amazed,

I have seen thee as thou art in thy Son and have been ravished to behold thee.

Indeed. I desire to know God not simply by reason as a list of facts which do not affect my heart and do not lead to amazement and worship, but rather to see him through the eye of faith to know him truly as he is. I desire to know God more and not simply know more about him. I so desire also to have God's blessing upon my ministry such that the Spirit of God might effect this in the hearts of others as well.




Sermon Preparation Prayer

Lord, help me to...

Study diligently

Think carefully

Feel deeply

Write clearly

Speak passionately

and then entrust all the rest to You.




How to Pray for Your Pastor

How to Pray for the Pastoral Staff, John Piper.

 It is wise indeed to instruct churches on how to pray for their pastors. On this hangs the strength and effectiveness of the leadership, and in particular their gospel-work, which in turn results in a strengthened church. At issue is no less than the advance of the gospel in the world and the glory of Christ through this. I can recall before entering the ministry being asked to pray for my pastor in a prayer meeting, and not knowing much of what to say. A church that doesn't pray for its pastor will have a weary pastor and will be an ever-weakening church. 

Let us pray for our pastors and elders in particular. Piper offers here a helpful guide on how to do so. 

Matt Hauck (郝柏昇)

A once enemy now son, forgiven and freed by Jesus' blood, adopted and called by grace for glory.   (more...)