Welcome to our Red Roof Church Blog for this week. I’m Lee Harder, the senior pastor at St. Paul, and it is a joy to visit with you again. The folks at St. Paul would like to invite you to worship with us this Sunday at either 8:30 AM for our traditional celebration or at 10:45 AM for our contemporary worship. I can promise you that the Red Roof Church is a place Where God’s Word Is Heard every week. It just might be the spiritual home you’ve been looking for. Join us.
This week in our regular Thursday Bible Study classes (3 classes every Thursday at 8:00 & 10:00 AM and at 6:30 PM so anyone can fit it in their schedule to attend) as we explored the pressures the world is applying to our Christian faith, I was asked rather directly, “With all the trouble the church is dealing with, why do you do what you do, pastor?”
An interesting question, to say the least. It caused me to pause and think before responding. Why do I do what I do as I have been for the last 40 years as a pastor. Why to I continue to preach sermons, week after week, month after month, year after year even when I know the message is not being taken to heart with the frequency I would cherish? Why do I research, write, prepare & teach Bible study classes for the youth, for the adults, for new people to the church, and more on a regular basis? I answered slowly because there was no singular reason.
First, it is because I feel called by God to serve as a pastor with gifts, talents and abilities, He has provided for me to do so. But even more important is the fact I love the Lord and if this is His plan for my life I will accept His will. Second, I suppose I do it and have done it because it’s a living. While I have never gotten rich and don’t expect to start now, I have always been content because God has provided.
Third, and this can sometimes be a challenge. I love the people of this congregation that I serve as pastor. Even those who can be occasionally difficult (I can be too), are loved by me. Why? Because I want them to know the love of Christ and be able to spend eternity in heaven. So I preach God’s Word and I teach His Word to the best of my ability. I believe Scripture and I am passionate about sharing it.
My continual prayer is that God will allow me many more years of doing these very same things. After 40 years of preaching an untold number of sermons in the thousands and writing my own educational materials for all learning levels and then teaching that material in many more thousands of lessons and classes, I still love what I do.
It is that love that makes me unwilling to dilute His Word or compromise it in any way. When I am preparing for a sermon, any sermon, every sermon, I try to make sure I remain true to God’s intent and deliver a message that expresses the truth from the heart of Scripture. I know not everyone appreciates that since God’s Word can be tough. However, I love those He has given me to minister to, so I’m going to do the best I can with the gifts He has blessed me with to serve Him.
I’m the luckiest guy I know (even if there are those challenging days) because I get paid to do the work of a Christian pastor. I work with great people who are also dedicated to His service out of their love for the Lord. What’s not to love about my job, my career, my vocation?
And those are my thoughts and now you know more about me than maybe you wanted to know. Talk to you next week.
Pastor Lee R. Harder