The Heart Of God And Preparation Of The Pastor -- By: Michael J. Anthony
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The Heart Of God And Preparation Of The Pastor
* This is the second article in the four-part series “The Heart of God,” delivered as the W. H. Griffith Thomas lectures at Dallas Theological Seminary, February 6–9, 2018.
Michael J. Anthony is research professor of Christian education at Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, California.
The previous article examined an important element of our relationship with God: his heart. That brief exploration revealed that verses referencing God’s heart might be speaking of different things. Sometimes it refers to an emotion—such as his regret in making Saul king over the nation of Israel. More often than not, it refers to his determination and desire. I referenced Hans Wolff’s excellent Anthropology of the Old Testament, where in one chapter he summarizes twenty-six Old Testament passages referring to God’s heart by saying, “They generally attest to His steadfast will and His longing desire—usually in regards to His plans for the future to which His whole will is completely committed.”1
This article turns its attention to the heart of God as it pertains to the preparation of his servants—in our case, ministry leaders. I have chosen to divide this presentation into three sections: The Whisper of His Invitation, His Calling to Service, and finally, a more challenging section, The Paradox of Preparation.
The Whisper Of His Invitation
In the first days of recorded history we read of God’s intimate journey with mankind. Both Adam and Eve, made in the very image of
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their eternal Creator, enjoyed regular fellowship with God. We know from Genesis 1:31 that at the end of the sixth day, God pronounced his work “very good.” The condition of Eden was marked by unity with its Creator, harmony among all created beings, and a state of tranquility. Adam was invited into fellowship with God and given a job with meaning and purpose. It appears that God walked with Adam, conversed with him as with a friend, and allowed Adam a certain degree of autonomy and authority over creation.
In Genesis 3:8 we read that after Adam and Eve’s fall they heard the voice of the Lord God “walking in the garden in the cool of the day”—literally, “the wind of the day,”2 presumably the evening hours when the late afternoon wind cooled the earth from the sweltering heat of the noonday sun. K...
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