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Pastor to Pastor

If

Fruitfulness is conditional.

Edwards on the Ministry (21)

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14.16, 17

Effectiveness in ministry is conditional. So is fruitfulness in the life of faith. Effective ministry and fruitful Christian living are not automatic. They don’t just happen. Each requires that we receive the gifts of God, develop them according to His Word, and put them to proper use day by day. We must work out our salvation and work at our calling with focus and vigor.

But we must draw on the Spirit of God for this to be the case. As Edwards put it, “If we have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us, we shall have Christ himself thereby dwelling in us, and then we shall undoubtedly live like Him. If that fountain of life dwells richly in us, we shall shine like Him, and so shall be burning and shining lights. That we may be and behave like Christ, we should earnestly seek much acquaintance with Him, and be much in secret converse with Him” (Christ the Example of Ministers).

Who can argue with that? Edwards explained. “If…” Do you sense the encouragement to constant introspection suggested by such language? Not “since,” but “if.” Fruitfulness is conditional. Do we really love Jesus? Do we know Him well enough to love Him as we should – as He loved us? Is the Spirit of God truly dwelling in and filling us, as the Lord expects? Are we constant in His Word and prayer? We must be always circumspect to make sure that the motives of our ministry derive from our love for Jesus, and that the power for our ministry is from the indwelling Spirit, and not our own strength. Then, as the Spirit forms Jesus within us by long acquaintance and frequent conversation, we strive to imitate Jesus in all our work and ways.

If we’ll do that – “earnestly seek much acquaintance with Him, and be much in converse with Him” – then we “shall be burning and shining lights.”

If.

Resources for Shepherds
Here is the schedule for the four reading groups we will be sponsoring in the fall and winter:

The Patient Ferment of the Early Church, by Alan Kreider. The first Christians won their neighbors by their habitus more than their preaching. Ralph Elmerick and I will lead. Every other Friday, September 2 through January 13 (excluding 11/25), via Zoom 3-4pm Eastern. See my brief review of this excellent book on the Resources for Shepherds page at www.ailbe.org.

The Case for the Psalms, by N. T. Wright. David Timbie and I will lead this study on why the psalms matter and how to make best use of them. We’ll meet every other Wednesday, 2-3pm Eastern via Zoom. We’re going to take on the challenge of learning to pray the psalms as we work through this book, September 14 through December 7.

The Sermons of Columbanus. I’ll be leading our discussion of the thirteen extant sermons by this greatest of the Irish peregrini. Our next series in the Pastor to Pastor newsletter will look at Columbanus and excerpts from his sermons. I’ll be leading a discussion of each of his 13 homilies every Monday (they’re real short, I promise) 4-5pm, September 12 through December 5. When you sign up, I’ll send you his sermons in PDF for free.

Our discussion of Pagans and Christians in the City, by Steve Smith will be held every other Friday, 3-4pm, September 9 through January 20.

If you would like to enroll in any of these discussion groups, drop me a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. indicating which group(s) you will be joining for the fall.

Remember, our free course, “Parameters of Prayer”, is still available for any men who are interested. This is a six-lesson study that can help you stretch out and go deeper in your prayers. It’s a free resource you can use for leadership training or making disciples. Each of the six lessons has seven parts. Read and reflect, then answer the questions for discussion at the end. You can take the course on your own, or one of our Fellowship Brothers will happily meet with you via Zoom to review each lesson. If you’re interested, send an email to David Timbie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

From the Celtic Revival
On the impact of Colum Cille’s ministry on and from the island of Iona by his first biographer:

And this great favour was also conferred by God on that man of blessed memory, that, although he lived in this small and remote island of the Britannic ocean, he merited that his name should not only be illustriously renowned throughout our Ireland, and throughout Britain...but that it should reach even as far as Spain, and Gaul, and Italy...also the Roman city itself...

  - Adomnán, Life of Columba, Irish, 8th century[1]

Never despise the day of small beginnings. Always remember the widow’s mite, and that God is not constrained to save whether by many or by few. Little is much when God is in it!

Sign-up at our website, www.ailbe.org, to receive Crosfigell every Tuesday and Thursday and learn more from and about the great leaders of the Celtic Revival.

Click here for a free copy of our PDF, The Celtic Revival: A Brief Introduction.

T. M. Moore.

Please pray

It is our privilege to provide resources and opportunities to equip and encourage church leaders in building the Lord’s Church and advancing His Kingdom. Please pray that God will move many of those we serve through this ministry to share with us financially in its support. If the Lord moves you to give, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal or Anedot, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[1] Anderson and Anderson, p. 233.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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