A Word from Our Senior Pastor
Posted October 4 | Dr. Blair Waddell
I have been overwhelmed from the encouragement I have received from you since becoming your pastor. I consider being the pastor of Providence Baptist Church to be a great privilege. Lisa, the girls and I are looking forward to being with you on a regular basis sometime in the near future. Many of you have been so kind to ask ‘Is there anything we can do for you?’ The answer to that question is a resounding ‘Yes!’. There is something very important I need you to do for me. I need you to pray for me. While I certainly appreciate all the cards, offers to help fix up our house to sell, adverts of houses available in your neighborhood, I desperately need you to pray for me.
The Apostle Paul was always asking for the churches to pray for him (2 Corinthians 1:11, Colossians 4:3, 1 Thessalonians 5:25, 2 Thessalonians 3:1). If a personality as great as Paul needed prayer, then one such as I, who is much weaker, definitely needs it. There are many things for which I need supplications: my personal integrity, sanctification, spiritual protection, personal needs for my family etc… But there is one thing I truly need you to pray for me more than any thing else. Towards the end of his letter to the Ephesians, just after Paul emphasized the need for prayer in the Christian’s spiritual armor, he wrote these words:
praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:18-20 (ESV)
I find this to be startling when you consider the context. Paul was in prison for preaching the gospel. Most likely, much of Paul’s suffering would have been relieved if he would have just kept quiet so he wouldn’t be a nuisance to the religious authorities and the Roman Empire. But Paul prays that his chains not be a deterrent to his duty. He asks for prayer that the words that preached would be clear and uncompromising (see ‘ought to speak’), that he would actually open his mouth to perform this action and that he would be bold in sharing the gospel. Paul desired the prayer support of the church in order continue his mission despite his chains and the temptation to ease his suffering.
While I am not in chains and I find it a joy to serve at PBC, I need this prayer as well. There is pressure upon me from without and within as I proclaim the gospel every Sunday morning. The pressure from without comes from the world. It is apparent that pastors are asked to keep their mouths shut about various subjects rather than proclaim to totality of God’s truth. No one likes to be reviled, mocked or picketed. But despite what the world would have me do, I must boldly proclaim the mystery of the gospel. I need to share that sinners need a savior. And of course, there is pressure from within. My own nature craves attention and desires you to like me. It would be very easy to give you messages that tickle your ears in order to gratify my ego. But I must declare God’s word as I ‘ought to speak’ for his glory and not my own. Even saved sinners still need to hear about a glorious savior. I do not want to be shackled by my own self-interest.
October is Pastor Appreciation month. Could I ask you to please pray Ephesians 6:19-20 for me through out the month? This is the one thing I need. Of course this means if you pray for me to have freedom to speak God’s truth in the pulpit, you are also willing to receive the message in the spirit in which it is intended. Pray that God would use me to speak to you. (As I reread that last sentence, I realize I am being very bold and it humbles me to be the messenger). I can think of no greater act of service that you can do for me. Brothers and Sisters, pray for me!