What Gospel Ministers Don’t Do (Part 1 of 4)

 October 05, 2020

Begg's Blog

For pastors, the Gospel ministry is not always smooth sailing. Jesus said we should anticipate hardship, and when we look at the lives of the apostles, we discover that is exactly what they faced. In 2 Corinthians 4:1–6, however, we find Paul making a series of great declarations concerning the call to ministry—declarations that stand to encourage today’s pastors in their vital work:

1Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

“You may be doing your best to preach the Bible, and yet you do not see the receptivity that you have read about in the biographies of the great heroes of the faith. Perhaps you’re wondering, ‘Is it my problem? Should I give up my methodology? What should I do?’

“We do not lose heart.”

This short phrase is the only one to appear twice in this chapter—once in verse 1, and again in verse 16. In fact, it makes for an interesting study in the life of Paul to see just how often he makes similar assertions throughout his writings. In Romans 1:16, for example, he declares, “I am not ashamed of the gospel.”

Certain commentators say this is just an example of litotes, that there is no possibility of Paul ever being ashamed. I don’t think we have to say that at all. Paul was a regular man. He was certainly anointed by the Spirit of God, and as an apostle, he was part of an unrepeatable group of individuals at the founding of the church. Even so, I’m sure he knew what it was like to look into the Corinthian context, or to walk into Athens, and feel a sense of shame, a sense of despondency, a sense of discouragement. What was he going to say to all these high-minded intellectuals?

To lose heart is both a real temptation and an understandable tendency. Certainly there was much in Paul’s life that would have caused him to be disheartened; as he writes in an earlier chapter, “We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death” (2 Cor. 1:8–9). When he says “We do not lose heart,” then, he’s not talking about some kind of arms-length theology; he is giving expression to his own convictions. Feeling overwhelmed, though, happened “to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (v. 9).

While today’s pastors may not have gone down the same roads as Paul, we certainly know that there is a real temptation to lose heart. Pastoral ministry presents peculiar challenges. There are expectations we can’t fulfill. There are accusations that we can’t avoid. There are indifferences that we can’t overcome. You may be doing your best to preach the Bible, and yet you do not see the receptivity that you have read about in the biographies of the great heroes of the faith. Perhaps you’re wondering, “Is it my problem? Should I give up my methodology? What should I do?”

While I may not be able to answer that question, I can tell you this: the one thing you must not do is lose heart. As Paul reminds us, the lost are affected by a blindness that we ourselves cannot relieve: “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4). When we add to that reality our own personalities, our own personal challenges, and all the sins that so easily beset us, we see how important it is to take the Bible’s admonishment here and and strap ourselves to it.

As we think about going back to the challenges of this coming Sunday, may the Lord Jesus enable us to say with Paul today, “We do not lose heart”!

Other articles in this series:

Darwin and His Followers Draw the Wrong Conclusions

Darwin and His Followers Draw the Wrong Conclusions

2 Peter 3:6
“Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished…”

Charles Darwin once wrote of the fossil record, “No organism wholly soft can be preserved.” That’s because evolutionary orthodoxy says that fossils are buried and formed by slow, natural processes. In reality, there are many fossils of soft-bodied animals like jellyfish and squid. That is evidence, of course, of rapid, catastrophic burial at the time of the flood. Darwin rejected the flood and therefore got the science wrong.

It is not unusual to find deep sea creatures in the lowest levels of fossil-bearing rocks. This, too, would make sense in light of the flood. But it is clear that Darwin was wrong again. While living specimens of some of the fossilized squids have now been found, they also have all of the complete features of modern squids. They all have fully functional refracting-lens eyes and the well-known “jet propulsion” of modern squid. One fossilized squid, dated 150 million years old by evolutionists, was so perfectly preserved it looked like it could still have ink. Researchers even reconstituted real ink from its fossilized ink sac. The ink, which looks the same as modern squid ink, was even used to draw a picture of the fossil. There should have been no ink after all that time, so it looks like the Darwinists were wrong on the age, too.

In contrast, God’s Word stands vindicated.

Prayer: Father, lead me into all truth, and preserve me and Your church from being misled by falsehoods. Amen.

Author: Paul A. Bartz

Ref: Acts & Facts, 8/10, p. 18, Brian Thomas, “Tentacular Squid, Re-writing Squid Stories Before the Ink Dries.”

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Founded in 1963, Creation Moments remains committed to building up the Church and enlightening the world to the wonder of God’s creation. For nearly three decades, this ministry’s radio broadcast has proclaimed the truth of biblical creation throughout the world and has provided irrefutable evidence that the Bible can be trusted from the very first verse to the last. In addition to its radio outreach, Creation Moments offers hundreds of free resources on the Bible and science at its website: CreationMoments.com.

About Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor, the on-air voice of Creation Moments, was born in Ashton-under-Lyne near Manchester in the North of England. After obtaining a degree in Chemistry and a teaching certificate from the University of Nottingham, he began an 18-year-long career as a high school science teacher. Outside of work, he was involved in his church, preaching, teaching and leading worship, as well as writing worship songs. In 2005, he joined Answers in Genesis and worked in their UK office for six years. He then moved to the United States in 2011 to work for Creation Today, in Pensacola, Florida. Today, he is Director of the Mount St. Helens Creation Center in Silverlake, Washington. From this base, he continues to travel around the United States, speaking on creation, Genesis and apologetics. Paul now writes scripts for the Creation Moments radio program and is host of the broadcast as well. Paul is available to speak at churches, conferences and events. For more information, contact Creation Moments at 1-800-422-4253.

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5 Legendary Palaces You Should SeE

It’s nice to fantasize about living in a palace, exploring the halls, waking up to have someone draw your curtains, hosting grand balls, and so on. But unless you’re Meghan Markle, that’s probably not going to happen for you. Luckily, many of the world’s most famous palaces are now museums, and anyone can visit their splendor. So if you’ve always dreamed of being a princess or prince, or just appreciate incredible architecture and rich history, here are 5 legendary palaces you should definitely check out:

La Alhambra (Granada, Spain)

Credit: typo-graphics/ iStock

This 13th-century palace has gone through several iterations over the centuries. From an architectural standpoint, it is a unique beauty because of the fusion of Muslim and European influences. La Alhambra was first built by a Moorish king, the Moors being the North African Muslim invaders who inhabited various parts of Spain for about 800 years. The royal residence and fortress overlook the valley below, making it the ideal place for a military leader to reside.

The architecture is extremely ornate, and the architects made it their goal to have every surface covered in detail. Muslim tradition doesn’t allow for artistic representations of people, so there are poems artistically inscribed on columns and arches, as well as stylized flora. The tile mosaics are another impressive highlight of La Alhambra, bringing in bright colors and stunning patterns. Under the Catholic Monarchs, Charles V demolished part of La Alhambra to build his own palace, Charles the V Palace. These connecting palaces mean visitors can see a variety of architectural styles and influences all in one place.

Mysuru Palace (Mysuru, India)

Credit: BrianGM/ Shutterstock

Travel to India and you must see Mysuru Palace, or Mysore Palace as it’s sometimes known. After the Taj Mahal, Mysuru Palace is the most visited place in India, and rightfully so. While three other palaces have stood in this location in centuries past, the current castle was built between 1897 and 1912 by the Maharaja Krishnaraja Kodeyar IV after a fire destroyed the former palace. The Maharaja commissioned the British architect Henry Irwin to build it. Irwin was well-versed in Indian architecture after studying in India for many years, but you can still certainly see European influence. If you’re an architecture junkie, you’ll see a fascinating blend of Hindi, Islamic, and Gothic styles.

When you visit Mysuru Palace, you can take a tour of the building and watch a brilliant light and sound show if you’re there in the evening. It’s a 45-minutes show, telling the story of the 400-year history of Mysuru.

Pena National Palace (Sintra, Portugal)

Credit: vwalakte/ iStock

When you imagine castles of old, what you picture is probably a lot like Pena National Palace in Sintra, Portugal. Built in the Romantic style in the late 19th century, this palace sits high on a hill, overlooking the park below, and beyond the city. Due to recent restorations, including brilliant red and gold paint to the exterior, Pena National Palace is more stunning than ever. A monastery used to sit on top of the hill, but King Ferdinand II acquired the land, renovated the monastery, and added onto it to create the palace where he would live.

The park grounds are just as compelling as the palace, with over 500 species of trees, including ones meant to represent the four corners of the world. Ferdinand II had a summer house built for his wife on the grounds as well. The summer house is another destination you shouldn’t miss if you visit the park and palace. The palace was only a royal residence for a handful of decades, since the Republic was formed in 1910. Shortly after the end of the monarchy, Pena National Palace was opened as a museum, and visitors have enjoyed it ever since.Culture3ptsTest Your Knowledge!What is the most common official state beverage?PLAY!

Chateau de Chambord (Chambord, France)

Credit: Vladimir Sazonov/ Shutterstock

Everyone knows about the Palace of Versailles, but we wanted to make sure you also knew about this incredible French palace. The Chateau de Chambord is a masterpiece of the French Renaissance, commissioned by King François I in 1519. It’s truly an astonishing sight to behold. The king had the palace built to be his hunting lodge, but he hardly stayed there due to the drafty, cold rooms. Unlike some of the other palaces we’ve mentioned, Chambord was never meant to be an actual fortress. The moat and watchtowers are only decorative.

Over the centuries, people stripped materials from certain parts of the palace, and it was vacant for many years, despite attempts to restore it. Today, however, you can visit Chambord, and hundreds of thousands of people do each year. Visitors can explore the French formal gardens and the chateau itself. It will surely take you back to a time of incredible feats of humankind, as well as remarkable excess.

Potala Palace (Tibet, China)

Credit: guenterguni/ iStock

With architecture making its way up Marpo Ri Hill in Lhasa, Tibet, the Potala Palace will take your breath away from miles around. Potala Palace served as the winter palace for the Dalai Lama until 1959 and is also the main symbol of Tibetan Buddhism. When visiting the site, you see the White and the Red Palaces. The Red Palace is the later addition, built on top of the White Palace. An impressive Buddhist monastery already existed at this location when construction of the palace began in the 7th century.

Given that this palace has stood on this hill for more than a millennium, it certainly deserves its spot as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Now that the Dalai Lama no longer resides here, the palace acts as a museum. People come from far and wide to see the site, but preservation is also a concern for UNESCO. The ancient materials, and even the restored sections, can’t handle the amount of foot traffic that tourism and religious pilgrims could bring. To counteract this, China enacted a visitor quota to protect the palace. The quota has changed over the years as modernization has provided the area with even more access. While preservation and sharing this stunning piece of architecture is a careful balance, we highly recommend you see Potala Palace for yourself if you ever have the chance!

Portrait of Travel Trivia Editorial

Written by Travel Trivia EditorialOctober 23, 2019

Let’s Go Swiss


A couple of months ago we took a little stroll through my home state, Montana, via the lenses of several very talented photographers.

Then the next day I invited you to Switzerland where our daughter, DeAna, lives with her husband and family. It’s our go-to place when we have saved up enough to travel… and are free to do so. Three of our grandchildren are there. Of course, it’s a wonderful place to “have to” go!!

Today in my “Antelope and Attitude” post I told you I dream of traveling in 2021 back to Switzerland. For my new followers, I dug out this old post and decided to update it and let you see why I love Switzerland so much.

We sat on a patio with this view eating raclette with our daughter last time we visited her in Sierre, Switzerland, spring of 2018.

We visited that quaint village and…

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