This week my wife and I took a week’s vacation at beautiful Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Though Myrtle Beach offers many venues of entertainment; we came with the purpose to rest and recuperate. There are many places we could have chosen but one of our favorites is Brookgreen Gardens.
I think it is one of the most beautiful places in the South. I especially love the beautiful oaks with the Spanish Moss. The Gardens also has fantastic sculptures, water gardens, flowers, native wildlife and much more.As we were walk under the towering oaks, I commented to my wife if this is so awesome, I cannot imagine what the Garden of Eden was like.
Some ‘scholars’ say that the Garden was a myth as was Adam and Eve. I choose to believe God’s Word and believe the Garden was a reality. Some ask the question, “Is heaven just the Garden restored?”
Yes, the Garden of Eden will be very much like heaven but heaven will be so much better as to not even compare with it. The best part is that God will dwell with His people. The New Jerusalem and the Garden of Eden also had one more thing in common — God was in their presence.
I don’t think humans have the capacity to fully understand the grandeur of God’s creation.The Garden of Eden would have been a climatic paradise; everything about God’s creation would have been perfect; after all, He had pronounced it “very good.”
Genesis 1:31). What God says is ‘very good’ cannot have any flaws whatsoever. Therefore, the world in which Adam and Eve lived would have been the perfect temperature, the perfect humidity, without pests or diseases, and without anything that would detract from their enjoyment of knowing God in a perfect, undiluted way. Surely, this is what is meant by the word ‘paradise’.
I think the songwriter was correct, “Where Jesus is this heaven there.”
The perfect pastor preaches exactly 10 minutes.
He condemns sin but never hurts anyone’s feelings.
He works from 8am until midnight and is also the church janitor.
The perfect pastor makes $40 a week, wears good clothes, drives a good car, buys good books, and donates $30 a week to the church.
He is 29 years old and has 40 years experience.
Above all, he is handsome.
The perfect pastor has a burning desire to work with teenagers, and he spends most of his time with the senior citizens.
He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his church.
He makes 15 home visits a day and is always in his office to be handy when needed.
He never misses the meeting of any church organization and is always busy evangelizing the unchurched.
Let me say up front, this blog is not a criticism of pastors but rather an observation. I have been a pastor for 30+ years, so I think I have some credibility about the subject. If you are a pastor reading this blog, please read with an open mind.
Observation #1: Pastors are under tremendous pressure to succeed. The pressure may come from others or from themselves. The problem is how we (and pastors) define success. When two pastors meet each other, inevitably they will ask THE question. How was your Sunday? Ninety-nine percent of pastors will reply, “We had 126 (or some other number) for morning worship.” Success to them (and others) is based on attendance, Jesus was never impressed by the size of the crowds. Often Jesus would leave the multitudes to minister to a single individual.
Observation # 2: Pastors need to refocus. By that I mean, Pastors need to take a serious look at the motivation of their ministry. Jesus never intended pastors to gather a large following. A pastor’s goal should be to have a healthy church. Making and maturing true disciples of Christ. Matthew 28:19
Observation # 3 Pastors should not be in competition with each other. Sometimes people choose to change churches and pastors take it personal. (Pastors should never intentionally try influence people from leaving their church to join theirs.) Pastor, we are all in this together. We are all on the same side! The important thing is they are in HIS kingdom! “”Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” Mark 9:38
Observation # 4 Pastor need to remember whose Kingdom they are building. Jesus once said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” He said He would build HIS church. We need pastors (and congregations) that are Kingdom focused. It is His church and His Kingdom.