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Let’s take a quick look at Hebrews 11:32-38. This portion of Scripture is often the focus of our attention because it is included in this wonderful chapter about faith.

“And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Samson of and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, mighty in war, foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”

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In the last post about how we Christians are to commend Church leaders, we asked these questions:

What do we value in the Church?

What is commendable?

What kind of people are we looking for in our pastors and leaders?

Are the criteria we use for making these value judgments biblical?

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Is there a difference between how the contemporary evangelical church commends its leaders and how the Apostle Paul did?

There is no comparison. Let me begin with a true story, although the names have been changed, as noted by an asterisk.

Dave Hutchinson*, pastor of a new church plant in the urban core of our city, called and invited me to have a cup of coffee at a downtown Starbucks recently. I admired Dave. He was attempting a very demanding task. As we discussed his struggles, he told me about the difficulty of living in the shadow of the mega-church from which his little work was birthed.

“I spoke at their men’s breakfast a couple of months ago, and although I know it’s dumb, I really, really wanted one of the men’s group leaders to tell Chris (the pastor of the mega-church) what a great job I’d done. I know it’s not right. But I really, really wanted that to happen.”

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