Jeremiah 31:27-32:44, 1 Timothy 3:1-16, Psalm 88:1-18, Proverbs 25:20-22
Today is the 18th day of October, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian, it is wonderful to be here with you today, as we gather around the Global Campfire and take the next step forward together. And by the way, hang out until the end today. I have a story to tell and an important resource to tell you about. So, we’ll do that at the end, but we are at the beginning. So, let’s step forward together, and that next step forward is always, well it always begins wherever we left off, and right now that happens to be the book of Jeremiah. And so, are step forward today leads us to Jeremiah chapter 31 verse 27 through 32 verse 44.
Okay so, in the letter, known as first Timothy, today, we got a list of criteria that’s not an unusual thing, as we move through these letters. This is very, very practical, and probably something that like we should know, we should understand. So, these are the pastoral letters, they are written from spiritual father to spiritual son, in this case Timothy, who is a pastor. And so, this is pastoral counsel and advice and encouragement, on part of that advice and encouragement in today’s reading are criteria for…for ordained office. And today we saw some criteria for two different functions: one - the office of the deacon of the diaconate, the other for the function of the overseer or the pastor. And regardless of what church you go to, whether it’s a denominational church and nondenominational church no matter what, there are likely criteria. In fact, if you go to a denominational church, I can practically guarantee you, there are criteria for a process of discernment and ordination into that fellowship of people, that denomination. In other words, there’s a process that one goes through to move toward one of these ordained functions in Jesus church. This process obviously begins in a person’s heart who feels drawn toward vocational ministry, like I want to give my life to God’s people and serve God’s people. They feel that begin to burn inside of your heart and start moving in that direction and depending on what direction you’re moving into, with what group of people, there may be in any number of things that you have to achieve. But regardless part of those things are going to incorporate first Timothy and the letter to Titus, because Paul is writing these things down and they will be referenced in the process of moving toward becoming a pastor or becoming an ordained deacon. So, if like you’re on that path and seeking to one day become a pastor or something, something like that, then you are probably already familiar with part of these processes. But even if you don’t have any desire at all to lead God’s people in any sort of vocational way, that doesn’t mean that these things are in, like are not valuable. Like reading first Timothy is not valuable. It’s very valuable for us to understand, this sort of gift mix, the kind of temperamental constitution or makeup that takes for this kind of leadership. And we’ll notice that as we look at the criteria that is laid out in first Timothy, some of these very, very much are temperamental things. Like, how is it that you conduct yourself, how is it that you behave among people. But then there are also moral criteria that are required. If these fundamental criteria aren’t met. I mean just think about it. You go to a church, you have a pastor, you really like that pastor, but that pastor actually has no criteria whatsoever. And so, so if that path, if that person falls into some sort of, let’s say they get involved in an affair in the church. And they’re involved with somebody that’s not their spouse. But is somebody else’s spouse. That can destroy, like literally destroy for the rest of your life the gospel, that can destroy a community and that’s just adultery. But any other number of criteria can be knit together to make a really, really bad mix for a leader. So, it also helps us, just as people who attend a congregation, who are part of a congregation to look and say okay this is, this is what I should, this is what we should be expecting because this is what is expected as told to us by the criteria in the New Testament. So, there are criteria for a pastor or an overseer or a priest or a presbyter or a bishop, depending on which tradition you’re in. The senior spiritual leader of your congregation, right your lead pastor, your founding pastor, like, however you want to name it. And according to first Timothy, a pastor must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be a faithful spouse to his wife, he must demonstrate self-control, he must live in wisdom, he must have a good reputation, he has to be willing to show hospitality, he’s obviously got to be able to teach. He can be a violent person, he can’t be prone to heavy drinking, he should be gentle and kind, not argumentative and quarrelsome. And he can’t have a love for money. His family should be managed well. He should have children who respect him and obey him. He shouldn’t be a new convert, like he shouldn’t have just come to the faith in Jesus because that would bring about some deficits that would have to be overcome. Like pride, overcoming spiritual pride, it actually takes some experience. And first Timothy tells us, he shouldn’t be a new believer, he might become proud, and the devil would sift him, would, would cause him to fall. And he should have a respectable reputation that goes beyond the church’s walls. People that are outside of the church, should also have respect for who he is and the job that he’s doing, he should be respectable, so that he won’t experience disgrace. So, those are some criteria that are set down in first Timothy for what a pastor is supposed to look like. And a pastor’s role is to care for the Spirit, the spirituality, spiritual care of a congregation, leading them into the knowledge and relationship with God. There was another office that was talked about today, that of the deacon. Many of our churches have the diaconate. Lots of churches, consider this to be an ordained ministry and actual function of the church, while others consider it to be a voluntary position. Regardless, there are criteria for what a deacon is supposed to look like. And a deacon is to serve the pastor. The pastor is looking out for the spiritual well-being of a congregation and the deacon is there to serve the pastor and the congregation by caring for the physical needs of the congregation, the concerns of the earth. And according first Timothy, a deacon must have integrity, must be well respected, he can’t be a heavy drinker or dishonest with money and they should be committed to Jesus and faith in Jesus and live, live that faith, but live that faith with a clear conscience. Their wives must be respected and not be gossips and they have to be able to exercise self-control and be faithful in what they have been consecrated to do, serve God’s people. A deacon has to be faithful in their marriage and they have to be faithful to their children, manage their household, be respected within their household. And so, again, anyone seeking ordained office to serve in God’s church, there’s like virtually no change, you’re not gonna run into what’s been reading about in first Timothy along the way. As criteria for self-examination and even public examination. But these criteria being in the New Testament for us, regardless of whether we’re seeking ordained office or not, lets us know what is expected, what is required. Like, we don’t we don’t see anything here that allows first spiritual abuse, in any sort of way. And really don’t see anything here about celebrity or an unhealthy pursuit of…of influence. If anything, we see the encouragement for a pastor and/or a deacon to serve God’s people by understanding that they’ve been installed there by Jesus, to work on Jesus’s behalf as his hands and feet, to protect people. And we should expect that, we should also be aware, because we’ve been reading the Bible a while now and we see how people are, it’s not like we don’t already know this, but we see how people are in the Bible. We see great leaders like Moses, struggling mightily to keep the people on the same page. We see Jesus struggling mighty, mightily, to get the message across. We see the apostles who were out planting churches, like the apostle Paul, struggling mightily everywhere he goes to try to keep people on the same page. It is not an easy job. So, we can read this criteria and then kind of like lambaste our spiritual leaders for their failures. But until we’ve walked in those shoes, we have no idea how difficult it can be. So, yes, there are some things that we should expect and if you are moving toward vocational ministry, these are things that you’re going to need. It’s not like a list of criteria that you gotta measure up to, you’re gonna need these things, to care for God’s people. So, we can read a list and go, well my pastor doesn’t look like that, my pastor doesn’t look like that. Well, he does look like these three, but that one, definitely not. And we can just like grade or judge our pastor, when that is not, there is no function for that in what we read today. What we can do is pray for them, knowing that their success, is our spiritual growth. Knowing that when they thrive, we can thrive too as a community. When they’re being judged from every angle and discouraged in every way, that is not a direct recipe. There have been, there has been some research and some polling that’s been done since COVID that is really alarming, that more than half of the pastors that have had to lead through the last season are very, very discouraged and thinking about quitting. We need to encourage those in spiritual authority over us. Yes, there are some things that we should expect but understand that a pastor is a person, a human being, like no special underwear is given out when you become a pastor that gives you special powers, as long as you’re wearing it underneath your clergy outfit, whether that be, well, no matter what that is. Pastors, deacons are people with all of the same struggles that every single other person has to deal with. It’s just that they have to model an example and live it out loud in front of everybody. So, often in order to keep everyone strong, a pastor has to endure a lot of things alone. So, let’s take this criteria and let’s take this opportunity that the Bible has just gifted us today, to remember those in spiritual authority over us, those that we have respect for, those that we find who are in leadership over us, those that will, we’re counting on to show us the truth. And let’s understand, it wasn’t just downloaded to them. This is an ongoing office, an ongoing function in God’s church and it can be discouraging at times.
And so, Father, we invite You into that. We pray for all of those that You have called into spiritual leadership in any kind of capacity, but specifically what we’re talking about today, serving inside of Your church. We pray for our pastors. We pray for our deacons. We acknowledge that it is difficult to manage people in any kind of capacity, but it’s really difficult spiritually, when everybody has an opinion about every single possible eventuality. Help us Lord to lead well and we will do that by mirroring You, not something only for pastors, something that everybody is supposed to live into. So, help us, as leaders, to mirror You, to lead people to You. And help us as congregants, to mirror You and get on board with where You are leading, instead of gumming up the works at every possible situation, wherever we can insert our opinion, help us, Lord. We acknowledge the difficulties of being one of being knit together in unity. We can never do this; we’ll never succeed at this without Your help and without Your leadership and without Your example. So, come Holy Spirit, lead us into all truth. We pray in Jesus name we ask. Amen.
Okay, so I said to hang around until the end. I have a story to tell and a something to tell you about that is going to be becoming available. And I guess I needed, I need to start the story and I don’t think it’s like a been a big secret, but I…I tried to make it a point to not insert myself, like to make myself the point of any of what we do here. We’re not here because of me. Jill and I and Ezekiel and China, like we are all here for the same reason that you are, that we desperately need the Scriptures in our lives every day, leading and directing and guiding us. So, it’s not super big secret, I’ve talked about it, along the way, but the last several years, the last five years have been very, very difficult, challenging, painful seasons, that have been necessary, have been growth inspiring, have been character building, have been kind of years of swimming in so many ways in the unknown. Kind of beginning, like now that there’s some perspective there’s been some time, some years, some reflection, kind of beginning, when my mom really, really got sick. And she passed away on the 13th of January, and this past January was the fifth anniversary of that. And I gotta tell ya, I don’t know that I’ve been through something more long term painful, than the grief of losing your mom. And I know, that even as I say that I’m saying that that thousands of people who have experienced that. And even this year, hearing the stories come in of walking through that, it’s just, for me, it was, it was and is still strange. I didn’t quite fully appreciate what my mom, like the glue that she was in my life until it wasn’t there. And then, just having this feeling of like both my parents are gone. I’m an orphan in this world. And I know that’s weird but it’s real, like it's…it’s this feeling that you get like, I’m in a new season. Like I have grown up to become them and they have moved on and now I have this role and my parents of my life, they’re giants in my life. It’s like, how can I fill those shoes. And so, there’s this weirdness about grief that kind of takes you all over the place. And I have good people in my life, surrounding me, that are well educated in the seasons of grief. And so, I’ve been able to give myself a pass, like this doesn’t, you can’t just give yourself 30 days and then you go okay, well the months over now, I’m not grieving anymore. Because at five years later, still feel it, at some point, most every day. So, that’s kind like this beginning. And I remember really, really embracing the Lord in all of it. But also, then really, really immersing myself in the Scriptures, really going deeper, really doing the scholarship, really digging deep because I had a deadline and even though I was grieving, I still had to write The God of Your Story, under deadline. And so, all of that is happening and I’m just kind of feeling really, really exhausted. And then we began developing a farm and construction and building and that’s a whole other thing, a whole other way of finding yourself, frustrated and not knowing how, how you’re going to bring major projects in for a landing. And then during all this time China, our daughter was married, now, she has baby Reagan, like all of these beautiful things but there’s no, like a lot of change. We have a lot of disruption and a lot of change and a layer of grief and a little bit of a layer of like just feeling over, just feeling like you’re swimming in waters that are way too deep for you. It ends up affecting how well you’re able to rest. And that was never really even a category. Like, my whole life, I’ve just been hard charging ahead, like a strategic planner and execute the plan and you know, adjust for the things that you couldn’t see forward but just keep going forward, not really paying attention to rest because rest was abundant, I could lay my head down on the pillow and be asleep in about a minute and sleep all night and wake up excited and ready for the next day. Until this season, like that I’ve just described, began to happen and it begin to affect the way I was resting. And I could tell if I hadn’t rested well. I could tell like the brain fog, just the stuff, I don’t know, the emotional, the emotional state that you can get it when you’re really, really tired. The things you can get aggravated about, the things that you can get emotional over, just all of this stuff that kind of goes with being tired and not really embracing rest well, or not being able to embrace resting well. So, Jill and I especially over the last, I’d say 18 months, two years have really been intentional about like, Sabbath type of rest, like actually trying to find space in our lives to do nothing but rest and not feel guilty about it and that has helped immensely. But even as all of this season was kind of being inaugurated in my life, I had plans, I had this idea, actually several ideas to create resources that helped us as a community going through the Bible every year, to be engaged with the terrain or the landscape of our hearts. And so, there was a project, a couple years ago called Heart, A Contemplative Journey, songs for the heart. And so, there were guided prayers in that project and then music to kind of allow us to take the prayer and meditate upon it and go deeper in it. And that has been a very, very important resource in the community here for many, many, many, many people. And just the nerve that that project touched, I thought it was there, but just hearing the feedback like this really allowed me to have words and language for things that were going on inside of me, that I, that I couldn’t put together in some sort of way that I could think about. And so, putting these things together as prayers really unlocked these things and the music just really allowed all this to go deeper. And so, The Heart resources like, a fantastic resource that we use when we do the Daily Audio Bible Long Walk in July and throughout the rest of the year, anytime we just need a minute to get away and reconnect with our own hearts and reconnect our own hearts with the heart of God. That project took quite a long time to make, but I always thought it would be a series of things that could continually aim our hearts in a direction that it needs to be familiar with. And rest and sleep have been one of the projects, one of the goals, one of the resources that I felt the need to make for myself, knowing that I am not alone at all. And so, it took a couple years to kind of carve out this space that it takes to create like that. And that was able to happen during the summertime this year. And I sat down to create a resource to create a musical journey of the heart, one intended to guide us and lull us into deep, abundant, restorative, rejuvenate, sleep. And most of you know that, you know, my background before ministry was music industry, was being in the recording studio every day of my life, creating music. And so, as an audio engineer, I’ve kind of always kept up with what was going on in that industry. I spent an awful lot of my life in that industry. And in the last couple years, an initiative has happened in the music industry called spatial audio or Dolby Atmos audio which is in effect like a surround sound technology inside of your earbuds. So that inside of your earbuds you don’t just like have a left and right ear perception, but you have perception of what could be above you or what could be behind you or what could be directly in front of you, or what could be off at a distance. Like this, the space is not just stereo left and right, the space is all around you. And I’ve been listening to stuff in spatial audio for well over a year now. Some really, really, it’s been really cool to hear like old Frank Sinatra remixed in spatial audio it’s like holy moly, I’m in the same room with Frank. So, I have very, very much enjoyed the technology itself. It reminds me back in the music business when 5.1 surround audio kinda came out for home, so you could like, have a home theater. And mixing music in 5.1 and having to set up a studio for that and all that way back in the days gone by but that never really caught on for music because you need special equipment for it. But with this new spatial audio you don’t. And so, I read some technical papers and just try to get myself up on what is this and how is this done. Because I’d really love to create a space for sleeping, that is wide and big and expansive and enveloping, like a warm blanket, like a nice hug. And so, I jumped in the hoops to get myself familiar technically with what’s going on and figuring out like what kind of changes to the workflow that I’m familiar with. Like, what would need to change here, how would this need to be done. I figured that all out and then started to compose using spatial audio technology and realizes, wow, this is, this is lovely. Especially for a project like this. This is lovely. Where all of the orchestration all of the arrangement all of the sounds are really meant to be round and soft and pleasing and encouraging and warm. And you know, you can’t have like, all these shocking surprise noises all over the place when you’re trying to go to sleep. So, just to be enveloped in this kind of space. And as I begin to create, I fell in love with it, I enjoyed it immensely. And then and then once I was done creating, then I had to figure out like okay, what you do with this now. Like, how does this end up somewhere like, how does this end up in the digital domain, with all the screaming in and, and digital store services. Because it’s a different file type, is a different thing altogether. So, jump through those hoops, figure that out, held my breath, push the button, released into the atmosphere, released into the internet, hoping everything was going to go well. And everything has gone well. And so, with that little story and the why of the story and the need that is inherent for us to embrace rest and to sleep well and to have sharp and open minds, as we navigate our days on this earth. Has led to the creation of this resource. It’s called Sleep, A Contemplative Journey. And it is kind of volume 2 of this series of resources that began with Heart, A Contemplative Journey. Although Sleep, A Contemplative, Contemplative Journey, is very different than Heart. It kind of follows the same pattern. Rather than a kind of guided prayer journey, I’ve gone through the Scriptures to find hope and hopeful Scriptures for rest and for calm and for sleep. So, this can certainly be used for sleep, but it can also just, it can be used to just find calm within, in these crazy days. So, Sleep, A Contemplative Journey, will release on November first, which is two weeks from today. And you can preorder it now, wherever it is that you get your music. Songs for sleep will, the music part, will be available for streaming but the verse, like the spoken part, the part that kind of pulls it together as that type of project, we’ll need to be purchased from whatever store it is that’s connected to your device. So, like I, kind of an Apple music person, have sort of been that guy since it released all those years ago. And so, like you have to go to the iTunes store and search for Sleep or Brian Hardin. You’ll find Sleep, A Contemplative Journey, search for that and it will come up in the iTunes store and you can preorder the project. That way, on November 1st, it downloads for you automatically and is ready to go. With this brand-new resource that I’ve been my own beta tester and it works really well. This resource will be available, two weeks from today, November 1st. And it is available for preorder right now. And I decided to release it at this time of the year instead of kind of waiting till next year or something because we are navigating ourselves into the busiest time of the year. Over these next couple of months all kinds of reasons to lose sleep, just seem to come out of the woodwork, all time, all kinds of reasons to be exhausted. They just seem to present themselves at this time of the year. And I was thinking, we always look toward the end of the year and we always talk about finishing well because if we don’t finish what we’re doing well, then how can we start we’re going to do next, well. And we’re going to start a new year in a couple of months. What if we went into that new year rested? What if we paid attention to the calm that is necessary for us to have a sense of equilibrium? What if we were intentional about that in this season that we are moving into? And so, Sleep, A Contemplative Journey, will release two weeks from today. And you can go and get your copy right now and I hope you will. Every time we do this, we invite brothers and sisters who have no idea that there’s a Global Campfire, who come across these resources and are led into the family here. So, I hope you can participate. Just search for Sleep, A Contemplative Journey in whatever store that you use for music. And that’s my story and that’s what’s coming next.
And that’s it for today, I’m Brian, I love you and I will be waiting for you here, tomorrow.
Prayer and Encouragement:
Good morning DAB family, this is Saved by Grace in California. I just want to lift up Mary, the friend of one of our DAB family, who has brain cancer and does not know the Lord. Father, in the name of Jesus, I lift up Your child, Mary to You, Father God. Opened her eyes, spiritual eyes to see her need for you in her life, Lord God. Make Yourself ever so present and real in her life right now, in the name of Jesus. We pray for healing in her body. I pray Father, that this tumor would shrink in size, Father God. That, we pray for miracles Father God, You are the same God that parted the Red Sea, Father God. So, we know Father, that You are and still a miracle worker. And I just pray that our sister Mary Father God, would see that You are still in the miracle working business, Father God. And that she can depend on You, Lord and know You Father God. And Lord, I pray that You would send your laborers in her pathway, Father. Speak to her the words of life through Jesus Christ. And Lord, prepare her heart to receive that and we thank You for her, we thank You Lord for what You’re gonna do in her life and the testimony that she’s going to have Lord, that will glorify You and lead others to You. We pray this …
Good afternoon, Daily Audio Bible Family. My name is Valeria, I’m from Kay Springs, Arkansas. It is Thursday, October 13th. And I’m calling today because my heart is so heavy. I’ve two beautiful grand babies ages 2 and 3, a little boy and a little girl. And they were taken from their parents a year ago due to drugs, fighting and neglect. And they have been in a guardianship with a great aunt and uncle now for over year. When they came to these people, they were very emotionally disturbed. Right now, they are very happy, stable, loved and are very well taken care of. But I just found out today, that the dad has filed to dissolve the guardianship and get the kids back. And unbelievably, the judge has signed off on it. The dad is on fentanyl, he smokes, drinks; he can’t hold a job. He’s very angry, dysfunctional. He’s just really messed up. And he’s, in no way, can take care of these sweet babies. In fact, even on the visits he’s had, the little girl is terrified of him and she has nightmares, every time she sees him and scared that he’s going to kidnap her. It would just literally destroy these sweet babies if this happens. But I know that God will not let it happen. It can’t happen. And I truly appreciate every one’s prayers. Thank you so much.
Hi this is Darren from LA. And I’m calling specifically to pray for God’s Tree’s little niece, Ty. God’s Tree, you were there for me, you prayed for me and it is an honor to intercede on behalf of your niece, Ty. Father God, we pray in the name of Jesus. We thank You, God that we can come to you, in confidence Lord knowing, that You are healer, Jehovah Rafa. We call out Your name and we trust in You. We bring this transplant operation that is about to happen, we bring it to You Lord. And we ask that You be with the doctors, Lord, that You give them a deft hand, Lord. We pray for the organs, that they will be received by Ty’s body. We pray for the donor and her family Lord, that You would give them comfort, knowing that there, there lost ones organs are now being transplanted into somebody that loves You, God. And most of all, I just pray for God’s Tree and her family, Lord. That You would just give them reassurance and comfort to know that You’re on it, You’re in it, You’re through it, You’ve got them. Father, we just come before You, just seeking Your glory in the situation, Lord. And we’re just trusting in You, that there’s a great testimony coming forth, Lord. As we speak forth Your healing over Ty. And we pray in the name of Jesus. Amen. God’s Tree, I love you and I thank you for all that you did for me and I will be continuing along with the DAB family, continuing to intercede on behalf of Ty. God bless you, my sister.
Hi, DAB family. I’ve been listening for I guess 10 years but this is my first time calling. I have a very heavy heart. My friend Gretchen was diagnosed with breast cancer at 41, stage 3. Her mom had stage 2 and her sister, stage 4. She finished all her treatments and she’s going to be 44 in December. And she just found out that it’s spread to her bones. And obviously, that’s isn’t, her daughters gonna be 4, actually just a month from today. So, just asking for prayers. She is searching and she says that she believes but then she doubts. You know, first and foremost, I pray for her salvation. But I’m asking for prayers for peace and for healing upon her body and strength for her fiancé and her daughter. And of course, we just want long days for her. And good health, cause she’s had so much happening to her and to her family. So, definitely discouraged over this news but we know that God’s still in control and He is the great healer. So, just looking for prayers for Gretchen and her family. And thanks so much. Love you all. I listen and I pray alongside you and for you and just thanks to Brian and his family for this wonderful platform.
Good morning Daily Audio Bible Family. This is A Girl After God’s Heart, sitting here with my beautiful daughter and we thought that we’d give you a call and lift up a prayer for our little niece Ellie and our cousin Ellie. And she is sick again. She just tiny, she’s 6 months old and this is probably her fourth or fifth respiratory infection, including RSV. So, we just ask that you pray for her. And we just wanted to lift up some prayers from the prayer request today. Number 1, for Lazarus, you said something about maybe we should call you Legion and my heart just jumped and I got cold chills. And I just want you to know that I’m praying for you Lazarus. Obviously, somethings going on. And just know that we’re lifting up prayers for you and I know that you’ve been in tough situations in your life. And I just pray for deliverance over that. And I also wanna lift up Laurie from South Carolina, who talked about her mom dying. And Laurie, I lost my mom a year ago and Lisa the Encourager just lost her mom. Biola, lost her mom. We are in that unfortunate club of the Lost Moms Club, or the moms who went home club. I want to tray and reframe my thinking into that. As Pastor Brian was reading from Psalm 84 today. It just really touched my heart and reminded me, what my journey is and what my mom’s journey. I hope that you’ll re-read that and be blessed by it, like I was. And I want to lift up Colleen from Wala Wala, suffering from stage 4 pancreatic cancer. All of those suffering from pancreatic cancer, know that you are in my prayers. And a special prayer for D2 as he gets out of prison. His life will …