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Pastor to Pastor

Vision for the Soul

We must not overlook this.

Pastoral Vision (6)

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6.4, 5

As shepherds, we must have a vision for the souls of those we serve. What affections should be active there. Where their primary desires are focused. How they should feed and care for their souls. And what evidence of faith should issue from souls rightly aligned with the Lord.

What does a soul look like which loves the Lord our God with all its heart? Surely such ideas as delighting in the Lord, being eager for His Word, amazed at His greatness, in awe of His majesty, and joyful for His Presence would be foremost in the soul of one who loves God with all his heart. The Spirit intends to order our affections and our thoughts for love (1 Tim. 1.5), both for God and our neighbor. A desire to learn and keep the Law of God would line up our hearts with the Spirit’s goal for us (Ezek. 36.16, 17).

That was John Calvin’s (1509-1564) understanding: “Now do we abstain from all wrong? Have we ever caused our fellowmen any offense? We have to come to the heart [of it], which prevents us from regulating and submitting our life in obedience to God. For God did not merely provide a civil law in order to make us live honestly, but he provided a law in conformity with his nature. We know that he is Spirit and wills for us to worship him in spirit and truth. That being the case, it is crucial for us to realize that he has not only ordered our hands and our feet, but also our affections and thoughts” (Sermons on the Ten Commandments).

The Law of God reveals both the character of God and the love by which He intends us to live. Obedience to that Law brings true blessing which begins within, in a heart of love for God and our neighbor. If we do not love God and His Law, we will not learn it, much less obey it, and our love will grow cold (Matt. 24.12).

If we truly love God and His Law, with all our heart, mind, and strength, then nothing will be able to keep us from living out the requirements of His Law in humble and glad obedience. The shepherd’s job is to proclaim the greatness and beauty and wonder of our God, as revealed in His Law and all His Word, to shape the hearts of the people that they might desire and delight in Him. For when they truly desire Him and delight in His Presence, then they will be careful to walk in His ways (1 Jn. 2.1-6), and love will flow from them in the living water of God’s Spirit (Jn. 6.63).

Resources for Shepherds
We hope you’ll visit our new Online Learning Page to discover the various mixed-media resources available to help you grow in your walk with and work for the Lord.

Men, our March Kingdom Conversation will be on the topic, “Practicing the Kingship of Jesus.” This is what the pagans in Thessalonica insisted the Christians were doing. They didn’t “practice” the faith everyone else did, whether of the ancient gods or in the cult of the emperor. They “practiced” Jesus as King. And they turned their world rightside-up for Him (Acts 17.1-8). Are we practicing the Kingship of Jesus? Our guide for this Conversation (though it is not required) is my book, The Kingship of Jesus (you can order a copy by clicking here). We’ll be gathering on Thursday, March 28, at 8:00 pm Eastern. You can sign up by sending me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I’ll send you some questions and exercises to work on in preparation for the Conversation. Limited to 18 men, so don’t wait to sign up.

Everything comes from Jesus, is sustained by and consists in Jesus, and must return to Jesus for His glory. This involves everything in our lives and everything we might study or learn. Our book, Know, Love, Serve, shows how all learning is Christocentric or it is incomplete. Learning is a circle and requires a set of skills and disciplines to help us know, love, and serve Jesus with greater power and joy. Order your copy of Know, Love, Serve, either in book form (click here) or free PDF (click here).

From the Celtic Revival
We gain additional insight to the greatness of Patrick by listening to some of his contemporaries, beginning with his close friend, Sechnall, who wrote Audite Omnes Amantes (“Listen up, all you who love [God]”), as the first Christian hymn written in Ireland:

Hearken, all you lovers of God, to the holy merits
of a man blessed in Christ, the bishop Patrick:
how through his good deeds he is like the angels,
and on account of his perfect life is made equal to the apostles.

He keeps Christ’s blessed commandments in all things,
his bright deeds shine forth among men;
and they follow his holy miraculous example,
so that they [too] magnify God the Father in heaven.

Constant in the fear of God, and immovable in faith,
upon whom, as upon Peter, the church is built:
whose apostleship has come from God,
against whom the gates of hell do not prevail.

 - Sechnall, Audite Omnes Amantes[1]

You can follow the remaining installments in Patrick’s story by subscribing to Crosfigell. Update your subscriptions or start a new one by clicking here. Soon we will begin a Crosfigell series on the high crosses of Ireland. Hope you’ll join us.

Want to learn about more of the great leaders of the Celtic Revival? You can download the PDF of our book, Lives of Irish Saints, by clicking here. For an overview of the Celtic Revival, download the PDF book, The Celtic Revival: A Brief Introduction (click here).

T. M. Moore

Support for Pastor to Pastor comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

And please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. You can contribute online, via PayPal or Anedot, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 103 Reynolds Lane, West Grove, PA 19390..

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

[1] All quotes are from John Carey, tr. and ed., King of Mysteries: Early Irish Religious Writings (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1998), pp. 147ff.

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.
Books by T. M. Moore

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