Bob the Beloved

Williamsburg, VA -- Last night was the first session of Minister's Retreat here in our district. This year's theme is "Together;" to reinforce the idea that no man is an island, we had a luau as the kickoff event. The Crosswalk Community Church pastored by Mark Morrow hosted the event in a large tent on their lawn. With fresh fruit, shrimp cocktail, chicken kabobs, and sliced pork and roast beef, it was a feast! Everyone enjoyed the festive spirit, enhanced by the live goldfish in the centerpiece vases, the complimentary leis we received, and the calypso music broadcast from the speakers.

Our speaker for the evening was Dr. Bob Rhoden, our forme district superintendent, and as always, he was excellent! As one woman said this morning, "That man can say more in 20 minutes than most preachers can say in two hours."

He preached from I Cor. 3:5-15, "The Test of Fire." He asked three powerful questions about the ministry we will eventually present before the Lord.
  1. What is our motivation? It's very easy for what was originally a calling to become a career, and the temptation is to start making "career" decision, rather than following our calling.
  2. What is our level of obedience?
  3. What is your source of power? The temptation is to let the "machine" of church carry the ministry, rather than being led by the Spirit of God. Too often we develop slick programs, marketing campaigns, and organizations, but we get further and further from the the Acts model of the true Church. We are a Pentecostal people--not businessmen.

After raising these profound points, he referred to Numbers 16:48. Aaron, as the High Priest, stood in the midst of the plagued camp of Israelites, offering up the atonement (holy incense and holy fire), standing in the annointing of the Lord--that's the responsibility we each have as ministers--no less than standing between the living and the dead.

Ariel Rainey