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Spreading God's Word from Cary NC

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson
The Truth Network Radio
September 23, 2022 7:00 pm

Spreading God's Word from Cary NC

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson

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September 23, 2022 7:00 pm

Join Stu and Dr. Stephen Davey.  for the story of how it all started 36 years ago with the Shepherds Church.

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This is Hans Schile from the Finishing Well Podcast.

On Finishing Well, we help you make godly choices about Medicare, long-term care, and your money. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just seconds. Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and choosing the Truth Podcast Network. This is the Truth Network. I'm sitting in a chair on what used to be a cow field in a remote area of North Carolina that was a bunch of farming and who knows what, agriculture, industrial, and I'm sitting with a man of God, except we're in an office and there's a bunch of Bible books and some books you've written and there's a Christian school, a seminary, a church going on here. Dr. Stephen Davey, what has happened? Take us back to decades ago when this was... Tell us the story of Shepherd's Church, Shepherd's Seminary.

Sure, thank you. Hey, listen, great to be with you and those of you listening. Well, Stu, it isn't the arm of flesh, it's the spirit of God who chooses to do what he does and we're like Abraham, right? We're just in the way, being in the way the Lord led him.

I like that passage because I can get in the way. So, being in the way the Lord led him and that's what happened to us. We finished seminary, pray that God would lead us to an area that was needy and we came to this little bedroom community of Cary, North Carolina.

Nobody worked here, they just lived here and a lot of farmland. We're right now on Tryon Road which used to dead end down the road a bit and Kildare Farm Road which dead ended into a dairy farm and 30,000 people lived here in this community and so we started the church 36 years ago. I put an ad in the newspaper and 28 people read it and came, Sunday morning. I remember one couple calling me on Saturday night and they said, hello pastor, we just read this article in the paper and we're going to come. And I said, that's wonderful. And so, Sunday morning, the next morning we set up a few chairs at East Cary Middle School which we had rented and I went out on the sidewalk to wait for that one couple and here comes a couple walking up and I said, oh, well, you must be the couple I talked to and they said, no, we haven't spoken with you. And I thought, we just doubled our attendance here in just a matter of moments. Another couple came walking up and I said, oh, you're the ones I talked to last night?

No. And I thought, wow. Well, we had 28 total strangers there that first Sunday morning and nine weeks later we were self-supporting and my wife and I were able to drop our support that we'd raised from friends and family.

Of course, it was only $600 a month, so it wasn't a lot. But the Lord provided and now 36 years later, yes, the Lord's given us a seminary, we started it 20 years ago. Coming up on our 20th anniversary, we have 267 students this fall, so the Lord continues to grow it. We have master's degree students, masters of arts, master of divinity, THM students, demon students. We have sites in Wyoming. We have a site in Bryan, Texas and our main site here at the Shepherd's Church. So, this is where we spend our time.

So, I teach a couple of classes, pastoral theology and creative Bible teaching, which is sort of homiletics one. And I'm on the radio with you. So, hey, I'm a busy guy and I'm grateful.

It keeps me off the street. Well, funny story, we had a meeting at two o'clock and I was sitting in my car and your program came on. And I'm like at that point, I'm in an impasse here. I got Dr. Davey waiting on me, but I'm listening to Dr. Davey on the radio and you were right in the middle of a great point, a great story, a marriage illustration, which I love illustrations because when I teach and when I share and I struggle with that, Dr. Davey.

Fortunately, God worked it out because you were running a little bit behind too. But people hear you on the radio, they read your books, they come to a church and it's like, wow, where did this church come from? Where did all these people come from? People that attend your church, Shepherd's Church in Cary, North Carolina. By the way, don't move to Cary because wherever you move from to Cary, people will never hear from you again because this place is exploding.

You can't even get a house on the market. It's just the growth and God's used this church, but they see this international radio program and all these languages you're on, Trans World Radio, you're on all over the place, Dr. Davey. And yet you often have told me the secret to all of this.

It's that book that you teach from. Talk about what inspired you to take up God's book. Talk about maybe how you came to Christ real quick and then what trained you in the word to rightly divide the word. That's what you're about.

I mean, people aren't coming to see you juggle things and spit fire and tell cool jokes, I guess, are they not? I mean, tell us what is the driving force and tell us a little bit about, weave that into your testimony, if you would. Well, I was raised by missionary parents in stateside and my dad would disciple sailors. He reached the servicemen there in Norfolk, Virginia. He started missions to military 65 years ago. And today he's 92 and retired somewhat, still calls me every Sunday morning to pray with me.

And I joke with him that he's calling me to see if I'm out of bed. That's what he's doing. But I remember as a kid listening to him teach, he taught verse by verse. He was self-taught and had a library that went around this room and loved the word of God. I have carved into my pulpit today the words sola scriptura, and that means the scriptures alone. That's what it's all about.

That's the commission. Paul told Timothy to teach faithful men who will then teach others also. Making disciples means we get people into the discipleship manual, which is God's word. So, this isn't me. This isn't anything about us. It's like Truth Network. You're communicating the truth of God's word. That's the life. That's the power. The power's not in us. We're simply heralds of the gospel, and the Lord opens the curtain and puts us on stage, and we deliver his word.

And then when he chooses, he's gonna close the curtain and take us home, and he's gonna bring somebody else. That's it. So, when somebody comes up and says, oh, man, you make the Bible come alive.

No, no, no, no, no. The Bible is alive already. We're simply teaching it. And as long as we stay within the covers of that book, that's where the power of God resides to produce what only God can produce, and that's spiritual fruit. Well, and, Dr. Davey, that's really spilled over, not just into your pulpit ministry, which people can hear through radio and other things, but that's spilled over into the seminary. And you talk about the passion, and also talk about in terms of relaying important information to people about being equipped. Pastors get equipped to teach the word, maybe even pastor in 50 years.

Go get sharpened to better feed the flock. When someone comes to Shepherd's Seminary, and speak on behalf of all the good seminaries that are teaching expository preaching, but when someone comes to train at Shepherd's Seminary, are they gonna get a lot of pop psychology classes and a lot of how to entertain the youth group and the 25 steps of administration? What is it about the importance of a word-focused, Christocentric, bibliocentric, missiocentric teaching? Can you talk really quick the importance of that and exhort our listeners for that pursuit? Well, I think the first thing that comes to my mind is what David said when he said, I have found your word and am now able to walk about in liberty. Because of God's word, we're at peace.

We find the promises of God to be true. There are a lot of ministries today and a lot of guys going into the ministry today that are, the way I like to say it is they're being trained on how to expound on life and illustrate with Scripture. What we need to do is train them to be able to expound on Scripture and illustrate with life. That's the difference. There are a lot of guys out there that are very clever.

I mean, they're bright. They can explain the human condition and human relationships, and I'm amazed, but, and it isn't unbiblical, but it isn't the Bible. There's a difference between relaying biblical concepts and actually expounding the Bible. And so, we're training men to expound on Scripture and illustrate with life. Let's not be boring. My favorite professor at Dallas Seminary is Howard Hendricks who said, it's a sin to be boring. I mean, he was passionate about that.

Let's do it rather lively. It is an exciting book. It's the greatest book on the planet. It's the only book you'll ever have in your library that's able to transform your life. It isn't just information.

It's transformation that's at stake here. And so, we're training individuals to think Scriptures first and expound that and then do it with excitement and joy and illustrate with life. Because most pastors are going to say, oh, I agree. The Bible, it's all authoritative. It's sola scriptura.

It's infallible. It's the word of God. They say that, but then they teach about the Bible or they teach, they read a verse and they go on with some great stories in 12 steps. But what you're saying is actually the difference between teaching about the word and teaching the word or preaching the word like Paul has worked in 7 Timothy 4. Is that right?

Scott That's exactly right. So, my question would be, okay, tell me what passage you're preaching through. What verse did you deal with last Lord's Day? What word in that verse did you deal with last Lord's Day? So, I'm working right now in the Gospel of Luke.

We'll be in it probably for four years. And that's kind of fast for me. We took about seven to get through Romans, but we're in Luke. And so, I get to the Lord's Prayer, which is in reality the disciples prayer. The Lord wouldn't pray that prayer, all of it, because he didn't have to confess any sin, but he's teaching his disciples how to pray. So, you begin to explore our Father, like your buddy said to you today. Well, there's so much there as we look at the Scriptures. And what does it mean to say Father and how unique was that in that world?

Here's the privilege. Here's how everything in the prayer relates to the fact that this is family talk. We're talking to our Father. Well, I have to spend a sermon just explaining the richness of our Father.

And I'm not unique, by the way, Stu. In fact, I purchased this summer while I was off about five or six books just on the Lord's Prayer by J. I. Packer and Warren Wiersbe and Philip Keller. And they have entire chapters on each word or phrase. So, pastors, it's there. And I encourage deacons and church leaders, what kind of library allowance are you giving your pastor?

Is he able to buy books? Don't expect a man to get up and communicate what he's never learned. He can only teach what he has himself learned. So, I encourage churches to think about how to help their pastor get educated. And it might be taking a course here at Shepherd Seminary. You can do it online.

And you can do it anytime during the day. And we have pastors all around the country, zooming into classes and taking classes online and enriching their own personal lives. Dr. Stephen Davey, he's the founder president of Shepherd's Church, Shepherd's Theological Seminary. Also, the well-known pastor teacher on the radio program, Wisdom from the Heart and the Wisdom Journey, a new daily verse-by-verse journey through the whole Bible. Dr. Davey, just as we wrap up, someone's gonna say, well, this just sounds like a bunch of academics.

Well, this, you know, someone's trying to sound so smart about one, you know, going in. But the fact, we're talking about a sacred book that is the very Word of God. Hebrews 4, 12 comes to mind, quick and powerful, sharper than two inches of sword.

Jesus' words in Luke 4, 4, Matthew 4, 4, man shall not live by bread alone. So, there's something, so when you open the text, there's something supernatural because of the author that happens when you, when you exposit God's Word. Can you close us out with just, what is it about the Word of God that changes heart? I think of Psalm 19.

Yeah. Well, here's the role of the pastor teacher. It isn't to become an academic or a scholar, which I am not, personally. I just love studying the Word of God and finding out what's in there and then delivering it to the congregation. Exegesis is, let me illustrate it this way. It's like diving into the ocean and finding pearls and you bring that handful of pearls up. That's exegesis. Exposition is taking those pearls and fashioning it into a necklace. Application of that exposition is helping people know how to put that necklace on. So, the role is, let's dive for the pearls.

They're not necessarily on the surface. A lot of good helps out there, a lot of good sources. And by the way, the English Bible is the best source of all, because there's so much there that's immediately apparent to us as readers.

Diving at the pearls, spend time in the study, fashioning the necklace, and then get up and help people understand how to put it on. And some people might say, Stu, well, yeah, okay, Steven's got a big church, so it's easy for him to do that. We started this back in the band room with 28 people, verse by verse, through books of the Bible. And I encourage pastors to take books of the Bible and teach through those.

That's the best menu. Each unit is its own unit, even though it's part of one unit. But teach a book, teach a chapter, teach a passage, like you're doing with your men's Bible study. And the richness just comes to the, it comes to the surface because God's word is alive and you communicate it, and then guess what happens? It's not just somebody got smarter out there in your audience, it's that they were transformed. There was something they could believe, something they could start, something they could stop, something that gave them hope. That's the word of God.

That's not Steven, that's not Stu. That's God's word. And I have to ask you on a more personal note here, as a teacher of God's word, all these years, Dr. Davey, I've heard it said that the Bible is the only book that you read, but it reads you, that you study, but it actually studies you. Will you talk about the personal impact God's words had on you over the years and in your pilgrimage and your growth that it's, you know, the teacher learns twice, they say too, but go ahead and share about that. Well, as a pastor, and if I'm speaking to pastors, the most encouraging thing to be is an expositor because it forces you into the Bible. I'm so grateful that the Lord has put my nose in that book because I have to have it in there and I have to study it. But if you're teaching the word of God, it saves you from a number of things as a church leader. It saves you from distraction. It's easy for us as pastors to get distracted.

Look at all the things that are going on around us. Well, how do you not get up in the pulpit and go from one thing to the next? Well, because you're gonna deal with the next verse.

That's what you're gonna deal with. It keeps you from distraction. I think it keeps you from discouragement. There's something about being in the word that buoys your own spirit, that encourages your own spirit, no matter what you're going through. And I've got a lot of things I've gone through over 36 years. I like to say there are holes where people have shot at me and now they're just old holes.

Things slip through easier. But what keeps me going is the word encourages me as I'm preparing. It also protects you from pride because it isn't our message. The one thing about a pastor is that he's never original. I'm never original. If I am, I'm probably heretical.

I didn't come up with anything. It's God's word. So that saves me. So when somebody comes up and says, well, that was a good message.

Well, I'll respond. That was a wonderful text because it wasn't anything with me. It was God's word.

So it saves you from that pride and arrogance, which is a prelude to a fall. And it's a dangerous thing to have people sitting out there looking up at you and listening and learning. So I just say, let's go back to what Paul told Timothy. He said to Timothy, look, God is watching and you're going to stand accountable one day before God. So preach the word. And when you preach the word, you're actually preaching the words of God. You're not just preaching the word of God. You're preaching the words of God. We believe in inspiration. These are the very words of God. Every word is freighted with meaning. We just have to take the time to plumb the depths and go diving for pearls.

Wow. From a cow field to a church, seminary, school. You guys are using every ounce and inch of this property and you're growing. You're trying to add more people want to hear and learn how to teach God's word and plant churches in the cities. You guys have all these church plants coming out of Shepherd Seminary. And the seminary is right in the middle of a church.

So it's hands-on. You've got a godly staff, godly faculty from all over that are equipping and training. It's like, I think, in Matthew 13, talking about cow fields, you know, the sower went to sow a seed. You're equipping sowers to go out and sow the word of God into the hearts of men to build up discipleship factories all over until the king returns. Your final challenge there went out there, Dr. Davey, and we'll wrap it up. I've taken way too much of your time.

Oh, no, Stu. Listen, this has been encouraging just to talk about the word, the Lord, the ministry. And I want to encourage those, especially who are church leaders, we don't determine the breadth of our ministry. We are responsible for the depth of ministry.

And so focus on what God has. I tell pastors all the time, focus on the chair that's full in your auditorium, not the chair that's empty. Because God hasn't necessarily called us to try and go fill every seat. A lot of error has occurred because we've tried to fill seats. And frankly, you know, the effectiveness of a church is not how many it seats, but how many it sends, right?

But focus on the chair where somebody's sitting there. And I remember when we first started our church, 28 people showed up. That night, 12 people came back. And I remember deciding to do a series from Ephesians on the home because I felt like that would probably be just a really practical series on the home from what Paul delivered to the church in Ephesus. Well, of the 12, six of them were elderly widows. And I remembered thinking, okay, this was my idea, not God's.

And so I went back to the drawing board on that. So you don't always get it right. But God brings those people and I'm amazed at the miracle of anyone showing up today at church. It's harder than ever for someone to decide to go to a church, especially a church that holds to Scripture. We're fossils in this community. I told our new members class this past Sunday night, if they join this church, they need to understand they are joining a church that is more and more at odds with culture. The further we go down the road, the more odd we will be.

But that's okay as long as we stand on the Word of God. A treat to visit with my friend, Dr. Steven Davey. I'm soaking it all in.

I need to take copious notes. I'll probably listen to this podcast many times myself. Share this with your pastor.

Share this with your friends. Go to a church that teaches God's Word. Go to a seminary that equips men of God to preach and teach the Word of God. You know, I want to go to a liberal seminary.

I want to get sharper. Look, go spend the whole life reaching people that don't believe the Bible. Don't go get trained by them. Come somewhere like Shepherds where they're going to feed you and equip you to teach the Word like they're doing.

They're at capacity, but they've got room for you, and they're trying to grow. So learn more at Shepherds. You just google Shepherds Seminary. Write the bishop online. Best way or shepherds.edu. This is the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-09 12:32:01 / 2023-01-09 12:41:00 / 9

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