I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,” says the Lord (Jeremiah 23:4). People go to a church for many different reasons. Some go out of tradition, because their parents or relatives have attended that church for a long time. Others go because they feel obligated, their gnawing consciences urging them. Still others go because of the friends they meet there. In one church I pastored years ago, a lady told me that she went to a church all her life because her family had bought her a burial plot there. If she left, she’d lose her plot! A church is a feeding station for believers. The real reason for the existence of a local church is for believers to be fed spiritually so they can go out and reach their community for Jesus. A pastor’s primary job is to feed the sheep. Peter admonished pastors to feed the flock of God which is among you (1 Peter 5:2). At a pastors conference in Ephesus in Acts 20:28, Paul encouraged pastors to feed the church of God which He has purchased with His own blood. The Kenneth Wuest translation of Ephesians 4:11 says it well as it mentions the ministry gifts and ends with the phrase pastors who are also teachers. A pastor who is really doing his job is teaching the Word to his people. The Word is central to spiritual growth and maturity. A steady diet of the Word produces stability in life. Movements come and go, and certain things are emphasized at times in the body of Christ. I’ve been with Jesus now for over 30 years and at times I’ve seen so many different things emphasized at the expense of the Word. And I’ve seen it hinder and sometimes derail a person’s growth in God. Kenneth Hagin was being interviewed in the 1950’s and made a comment about those who are building their ministries on spiritual gifts rather than on the Word. He said that long after these ministries were gone he would still be preaching. He said that he was building his ministry on preaching the Word, and not on the manifestation of spiritual gifts. His ministry spanned the globe and is still touching lives worldwide. The Word produces fruit. Put God’s Word first in your life. Never place the moving of the Spirit before the Word of God. In looking for a church home, believers would be wise to ask the Lord to lead them to a church that teaches the Word and that is sensitive to the Holy Spirit. According to Jeremiah in the verse above, the Word taught will produce freedom from fear, from depression and oppression, and will produce blessing in the life of the hearer. Put God’s Word first today!
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