Thank you to all of our friends, mission partners, and brothers and sisters in Christ for your ongoing prayers and support. This month I will briefly share some urgent prayer requests and share an article I wrote a couple of months ago from personal experience in the ministry which was originally written in Spanish, but due to some encouraging and positive feedback, I decided to translate it to share it here for everyone in English as well.
But first and foremost, Pray!
Our entire family has been under attack in every way imaginable. Our marriage, our children, the church, an all out war of the worst kind. Sadly, we feel at times that we are barely remaining afloat but desperatley desire the prayers of the saints back home. Please pray for us during this time of difficulty. We have been affected spiritually, emotionally, physically and it has been just all around draining. Enduring the storm is never easy, and we don’t recall a time it has grown to this intensity, but we know that the Lord walks with us through it. I ask that you please intercede specifically for each of us by name when you remember our family.
Antonio Salgado Jr, Christen Salgado, Trinity Salgado (although not present with us here), Maya Salgado, Antonio Salgado III, Sahira Lora, Yeison Rosario, and our nephew Dominic who is here spending a few months with us. May the Lord protect us, strengthen us, and teach us in this process for our own good and His ultimate glory. Pray brethren. Thank you and God bless.
The article begins below, and I pray some pastor or preacher out there may be encouraged by it. Also that some brother or sister out there would stop, think and come to a realization to show the love that they may be lacking in situations as the one presented. If the shoe fits…wear it.
“For it is said, “His letters are weighty and powerful, but his physical presence is weak and his public speaking amounts to nothing.””
2 Corinthians 10:10 CSB
The apostle Paul was an extremely intelligent man. To Him had been revealed the mysteries of God hidden to those generations before him. His letters and sermons were extremely deep and theologically weighty.
However, we see it had ironically been said about him, “his presence is weak and his public speaking amounts to nothing”. (really!?)
Even with the incredible amount of knowledge he had, by God’s grace of course, there were critics (and we all have them, especially preachers), that simply did not like his preaching or way of speaking. He would speak true and beautiful things, pure words from God, nothing unbiblical in any way. But perhaps he was not as eloquent as other preachers or even the philosophers of his day. You should remember this before we are so quick to judge your pastor, or any other preacher of the Word of God.
God has given us pastors and teachers as gifts to His church for our edification. At the same time, just like with the different human authors of the gospels, each of them have, (and each of us too) will have a unique way, due to our different characters, personalities, education, etc. of communicating the same truths. Some may just sound better than others, some may have more passion that others. Some are certainly more eloquent and academic or teacherly than others. Each one of them are their own individual persons as God created them. And its is quite probable that none of them may ever meet your own persoanl standard, please you in their way of thinking or philosophy of ministry, according to your personal preference, opinion, or tradition perfectly. (NONE of which ultimately matter anyway).
The question is , are they preaching the Scriptures or not? Do they love the Word, do they love the Lord, and do they love and care for His church?
They may or may not preach exactly to your preferred method, they may fail at times. We all have those days where we just preach a bad sermon, or miss a point of the text or a certain detail you thought should have been emphasized more in the text here and there.
But he question is, is the Lord using this man to grow and edify the church or not? This is not about if he will have his own weaknesses, struggles and even sins? Of course he will! Someone once said that even the best men are still just men at best.
Will they perhaps even have even a few different (hopefully secondary) theological views on certain things that you may understand differently in the Scriptures? Yes of course, and if you don’t see it now, eventually you will.
Almost always, there will be something you eventually will disagree with for sure. But guess what…its ok! Its good and well so long as they aren’t missing the mark on the fundamentals of the faith. Isn’t it time we show ourselves mature? There should always be unity in the main things, liberty on the secondary issues, but love in everything. And there is truly an amazing beauty in such a diversity.
We have examples in Scripture of men who preach or tell of histories correctly, but in slightly different ways or with some different details. Many men praised Apollos for his great eloquence, while others despised or at least had no appreciation for Paul. Some preachers today include some details and applications that others don’t. So what!
But again the question is, “are they preaching the Word in such a way that what they are saying can be seen and understood from the text, and is the congregation being edified and benefitted from the teaching/ preaching!?”
Are people in the church joyful and expressing so after the preaching, as God has spoken and taught them something new through His living Word that they now understand that something should change in their life? Are giving thanks to God for those same sermons that others despise and judge?!
Just look at the men that God has used greatly in the past and compare their sermons. Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, Whitfield, Pink, Tozer, Piper, MacArthur, etc. Everyone preaches the Word, and most with excellence! Some with different methods, some with more passion. Not only in the communication of the message, but also in the way of organizing it.
But it is beautiful how God, through different men and in different ways, always does His will through His Spirit to speak through a man and edify His people. Anyone familiar with Spurgeon’s sermons could attest that many times they sounded more like poetry than anything else.
When we cry out to everyone that we all must cling to only ONE single method, and in our useless way, try to limit the Holy Spirit of God by saying that only in SUCH a way should a sermon be delivered, and if it is not, then people will not be edified, we are showing nothing more than a deep pride in our hearts and very much immaturity. (And this is coming from a person who is an avid promoter of good, sound exegesis and expository preaching.)
Now, THE most important thing in any message of any preacher is that God is being glorified and Christ is being lifted up, … but also brothers, there is much wisdom in the following verse. Dont miss it…
“Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying: “Nothing beyond what is written.” The purpose is that none of you will be arrogant, favoring one person over another.”
1 Corinthians 4:6 CSB
It is true that there are better and more accurate methods of preaching than others. There are ways to preach more effectively academically than others, but when we place ourselves as the judge of these things, (especially when it comes from those who are not pastors), we do not know the inner struggles of each man, or when we are not appreciating the time and effort that man dedicated to be able to preach that message to the best of his ability at that moment, the time spent in prayer and mediating on the text….. we are doing just what the Word forbids. Just being a discontent hater and, murmuring…
“Do everything without grumbling and arguing,”
Philippians 2:14 CSB
(For my theologians out there- yes I understand the immediate context of this text, however this can easily be applied to every aspect of the Christian life)
Oh how easy it is to judge another man instead of loving him and receiving the much good of the message that was preached! Mature people eat the meat and spit out the bones. But sadly, it seems that for many it is far too easy for them to desire another church, another pastor, or a better specific method of preaching, INSTEAD of loving and serving the church they have, loving and helping the pastor they have, and looking for the good in what was preached instead of judging with arms crossed as the expert that most certainly are not. There seems to be at least one in every crowd these days. Especially moreso among certain circles that shall not be named. That overly critical spirit is one of the ugliest personality traits a child of God can show, ESPECIALLY when its towards another brother or sister in Christ.
Let us be very careful as to how we treat our spiritual family. Philippians 2 teaches us that the humility of Christ is what brings unity in His church. And the lack of humility in any member of the church for any reason, will only bring division and the opposite of what Christ wants from us.
“Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4:8
“A fool does not delight in understanding, but only wants to show off his opinions.”
“The one who has knowledge restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a person of understanding.”