While I believe he was joking, I wondered if that was how people really felt? Well, if you are one of those, let me fill you in on what a bi-vocational pastor really does.
Spare time: A bi-vocational pastor spends every available (spare) minute praying, preparing, or studying. He uses his lunch break at work to pray, prepare, study, make phone calls, and make visits if time allows.
Vacations: A bi-vocational pastor uses his vacation time for visiting people in hospitals, shut-ins, helping with Vacation Bible School, and sick days for when he is the one sick. When the kids ask "Daddy, are we going to be able to go on a real vacation this year?" The answer is typically, "I'm sorry but I don't have enough days left and I don't have anyone to fill in for me at Church."
Wednesday Hump-Day!: While everyone else is celebrating the middle of the week knowing they are closer to the weekend, the bi-vocational pastor is scrambling to put the Wednesday message together while at work and praying he is able to fight traffic on Wednesday evening so he can get to Church by starting time.
Saturday Palooza: A bi-vocational pastor spends his entire Saturday preparing the message for Sunday and doing visitation. When his kids ask "Daddy, do you think we can do something as a family today?" The answer is typically, "I'm sorry but I've got to prepare for tomorrow's messages," or "so and so is in the hospital, etc..." The bi-vocational pastor drags his family along with him to make visits so he can spend some time with them.
Sunday Fun-day!: A bi-vocational pastor spends his entire Sunday preaching, praying, studying, and preparing. While everyone else is running out to eat after Church and then coming home and napping, the pastor is in the study wondering if the morning message made a difference in anyone's life or if it was pleasing to the Lord. Then he spends the rest of the afternoon preparing for the evening message.
Monday Sleep-in!: A bi-vocational pastor has to get up on Monday morning worn-out, exhausted, and often feeling physically and spiritually defeated, yet having to go in to work and start the same routine over again.
All That Other Spare Time: Of course we can't forget that a bi-vocational is also on call 24/7. If someone is sick or in need the pastor is always wiling and available to help. If this means going out at midnight to someone's home or the emergency room then so be it. Just remember that the bi-vocational pastor still has to go in to work the next day regardless of how/where he spent his night.
Am I complaining? No, not at all. I am simply trying to make you see the reality of what your bi-vocational pastor goes through. It's not all fun and games and chicken eating!
I can't quote Scripture like James Langston or Boyd Bingham. I can't tell jokes like Tony Hutson. I can't write songs like Craig Edwards. I can't sing like Lester Rolloff. I don't have the wisdom of Clarence Sexton or John MacArthur. I can't tell stories like Phil Kidd. I don't have the recognizable voice of Stinnett Ballew. I can't ring the rafters like Charles Lawson. I can't write books like Oliver Greene. I can't fill a revival tent like Ralph Sexton Jr. While I admire and listen to each of these men, I can only be me. It took me a while before I realized that fact.
I notice a lot of young preachers today trying to imitate certain preachers, use their catch phrases, etc... Let me urge you to just be yourself the way God made you. There is probably something about you that no other preacher possesses. Just preach the Word and be the genuine article.
There are a lot of great free resources out there for people to use. Two of my favorites are e-sword, and Precept Austin. If there was one set of commentaries I would recommend for a beginner or someone newly teaching it would be J. Vernon McGee's, Thru the Bible Series, mainly because of their simplicity.
So, don't be afraid of the Bible. The Lord intends for us to read it and understand it. You can do it if you just put forth effort. After all, I'm living proof!
You never know what small thing you do may mean to someone going through a trial or struggle in life. The only way for us to know whether or not it is the Holy Spirit leading us to do things, is if we are living in the Spirit. To live in the Spirit we must abide in God; prayer, meditation, Bible reading, walking with the Lord. If you are in to everything else under the sun and leaving God out of your life you will not be directed by the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:16 says: "This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh."
My sermons may never be published in the Sword of the Lord. You'll probably never hear me on Conference Pulpit. Larry King live will never ask to interview me. I most likely will never preach to 30,000 people at once like Billy Graham or be on the cover of Preaching Magazine. But, I am right where the Lord wants me to be, shepherding the flock that he has trusted me with and if this is where he wants me to be until I die or he comes and takes us out of here, I will keep pressing on!
|Pastor Byron and wife Mary with the Houser Family|
|The Houser Family|
After church my family and I drove over to the home of one of our shut-in's and spent some time with her, singing, talking, and praying. She is always a delight to be around and loves being visited. Her heart's desire is to be able to come back to church and if her health would allow it, she certainly would be right there.
My family rarely ever eats out on a Sunday but today we made an exception and stopped off at the Mandarin House Chinese Buffet. We had a delicious meal and even though it was a buffet I didn't really over do it on the food.
Tonight I brought a message about John the Baptist and expounded upon 4 attributes that made him such a great man of God and a true hero. I spoke of his purpose, his truth, his humility, and his impact. During the invitation period one precious girl walked the aisle and prayed to be saved. What a blessing it was to know that God is still convicting hearts and saving souls. As a pastor, I could not have asked for a better day. I wish it never had to end. I am definitely one blessed man.
As you can imagine, I am one proud father, as I sat and listened to my little 12-year old daughter, Elizabeth, use her talents to exalt the Lord Jesus during last Sunday's service. I am so happy I can call her my sister in Christ as well. I pray that she always devotes her life to Him.
Well, that got me to thinking, what does the Bible say about how and what we should preach? Does preaching style really matter, or is it just the content of what is preached? After much studying, I came to the conclusion that both actually matter.
Below are a FEW examples from the Bible on how and what men are supposed to preach:
|My papaw's house. As close to an earthly mansion as I've ever been|
Well, my dear reader, this has bothered me for some time, so I decided to examine the song for it's Scriptural content and see if it cuts the mustard.
A little silver and a little gold
But in that city where the ransomed will shine
I want a gold one that's silver lined
(Satisfied while here below)
In that bright land where we'll never grow old
And some day yonder we will never more wander
But walk on streets that are purest gold
(Mansions in Heaven)
(In that bright land)
(Streets of pure gold)
(Often tempted and tormented and tested)
(The prophet’s pillow of stone)
(No permanent dwelling here)
I'm not discouraged I'm heaven bound
I'm just a pilgrim in search of a city
I want a mansion, a harp and a crown
(Not concerned about being poor)
(Pilgrim in search of a city)
I am excited that we voted this past Wednesday night to begin supporting three new missionary families. I have personally met and worshiped with all three of them and look forward to being part of their ministry for many years to come. This now makes 6 missionaries that our Church supports.
Justin and Danielle Sauder - Missionaries to Zambia, Africa
Jonathan and Natalie Vandenhurk - Missionaries to England
Brandyn and Alicia Knight - Missionaries to the U.S. Military and their families
|Alan and Becky Jackson, Missionaries to the Honduras|
As always, the Jackson's were very friendly and we shared great Christian fellowship together. Bro. Allen shared their missions via a slide show and then he brought a wonderful message from Mark 5, concerning the maniac in Gadarenes. He titled it "From a Maniac to a Missionary."
|Pastor Byron Chesney with Alan and Becky Jackson|
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.After reciting our memory verses, Elizabeth lead us in prayer and asked the Lord to help my Aunt June after the death of her daughter. She also thanked Him for letting us have food and shelter. She is always so thoughtful.
|Jeremy, Michelle, and Lila Blanz|
|Me (Byron Chesney) and Jeremy Blanz|
|Blanz Family Mission table|
You can listen to Bro. Jeremy's message HERE or at the link below:
On June 30, 2012, I lost someone very dear to me. Mr. Buckner was one of my heroes in the faith. He was someone that I admired and looked up to. He was one of the most kind and God-driven men I have ever met. He is one of the reasons I am where I am today. Even in his 90's he had more spunk and vigor than anyone in the whole Church. Anytime I ever needed someone to help out or if I asked if anyone had a testimony to share, he was always the first one to volunteer. His passion and love for the Lord was so evident in his life.
Even after he got so sick and unable to walk, I would visit him in the rehabilitation center and he was always so upbeat and determined that he was going to get better and be back in Church. I would go in hopes of bringing him some joy but in all reality, he was the one that gave me joy on my visits. He always asked about my family, about the Church, and then he would start talking about the Lord. He always told me that he was ready if the Lord decided to take him but he was also willing to keep pressing on if he was going to stay around.
I was sitting in my living room talking to my wife about Mr. Buckner when my phone rang. It was his son telling me that his father had just passed away. I had mixed feelings really. I was very sad that my dear friend was gone but I was also overjoyed that he was now in the place he always longed for. I never knew his wife, she had past away before I knew him, but he talked about her often. He would point to a picture of her beside his bed and tell me about her. I can only imagine what a reunion they had together when he arrived in Heaven.
There will never be another man like Mr. Buckner but just in the short 6-years that I knew him, I like to think that he helped shape and mold me into the kind of pastor that God would have me to be. The world sure could use a lot more Mr. Buckner's...
Today was our Church's 70th Annual Homecoming Celebration. Just in case you didn't know it, platinum is the "color" for 70-years, thus the title of this post.
I've got to say that I never in a million years would have dreamed this day would have ever came. It's one of those events that you don't really ever expect to happen but secretly in the back of your mind you wish would. Oh, okay, I'll quit dragging on and just write about what took place.
I guess it would be best if you, dear reader, would read THIS post to understand why I'm writing this. Okay, now that you've read that post I can proceed...
So, as I mentioned this was our 70th Homecoming. I knew from the very first minute we began making plans that I was going to ask Bro. Charlie to preach. For weeks I prayed about it, thought about it, worried about it, talked to my wife about it, and finally about 2-months before the date, I got up the courage to call him and ask. You can imagine my delight when he replied that he would love to come and preach the Homecoming. Immediately when I got off the phone I texted my wife to let her know the good news! I was so excited.
I felt like a little boy as I stood in the presence of my hero preacher. Silly sounding, I know, but like I wrote in THIS post, some people get all excited over movie stars and famous singers but I get excited over people that I admire and look up to. Charlie was his usual self, walking around the Church talking to everybody, shaking hands, and laughing. I stood up at the front of the Church and just watched him as he interacted with people and wished once again that I could be more like him.
my grandfather, Preacher Ed Spencer.
I sat there for 45 minutes and prayed, Amened, and cried while Bro. Charlie preached. He brought a wonderful message called "GPS" (God's Plan of Salvation) from one of my favorite passages of Scripture, John 14:1-4. Yes, it was certainly a platinum day for this preacher! You can watch the video below or go to this link if you prefer to listen only: http://www.sermon.net/bchesney/sermonid/1199782666
I know if I feel that way that other people do as well. It is very easy to just say "well, if you believe in God then there is no reason to worry because He has it all under control." And of course in 1 Peter 5:7 we have this blessed promise: "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." And, I do believe that, however, I still can't help but feel drained of it all. At times I feel like I'm holding a dying person up out of the water just enough for them to catch a breath, all the while I am trying my best to kick my legs to keep from letting us both drown.
As I sat here tonight looking at an old Pastor's Manual that was printed in 1934, I came across a very fitting poem which was written by Frank L. Stanton. I read it over several times and it brought some comfort to me so I thought I would share it with you.
I am of course nervous knowing the awesome responsibility that has been placed upon me and my family. I feel that the Lord has worked everything out just the way that He saw fit. I am trusting Him to be there and I intend to hold His hand in everything that I do. It is after all His Church and not mine. I am just being trusted to Shepherd it for Him right now.
I felt a great burden lifted from me today after they announced that I had received a unanimous 100% of the vote. Everyone has a desire to be liked but for a Pastor it means a lot to have every one's backing. I will do my dead-level best to be the best Pastor the Church has ever had. I realize that's some mighty tall order to fill. I think of my Grandfather, Pastor Ed Spencer, who was the founder of Highland Baptist and pastored for 9-years. I think of Charlie Lynch who pastored for 10-years and lead the Church out of despair. I think of Jerry Copeland, the man that pastored the Church the longest, 20-years, and how much he was loved and how much he did for the Church. There have been some great men in the history of the Church and I pray that I can be counted among them one day.
Well, I am going to sign off for tonight. It has been a very long and busy day. I need to spend some time with my wife before I have to go to work tomorrow.