Moses…Man of God, Friend of God

Friend of God

Wednesday 09/04/19

Series: Thru the Bible

Message – Moses…Man of God, Friend of God – Deut. 33-34


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Deuteronomy 33-34

These two final chapters mark the end of one of histories greatest friendships / romances ever witnessed.

Now at the culmination of Moses’ earthly walk, he looks over these people who he has led out of Egyptian captivity, laughed over, cried over, fought for and bled for and led through a wilderness for the last 3rd of his life…he looks over them like a father and a shepherd and is moved by the Spirit to speak parting words over them. Moses prophecies over each tribe (except Simeon) confirming and expanding upon the prophecies pronounced over their patriarchal tribal fathers.

Deuteronomy then concludes in one of the most revealing events of the Bible. The tenderness and love of the heart of God is revealed in such candid display it both raptures the heart and breaks it all in one event.

God, had to call Moses home BEFORE Israel entered the Promised Land out of respect for Jesus, Whom Moses dishonored at the Rock at Horeb. Moses KNEW Jesus – God had reveal Him it him. Jesus even confirmed this in His ministry.

John 5:46-47, “(46) For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. (47) But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

The beauty of this discourse is often lost on most, but it is truly wondrous to behold for those who have eyes to see.

Jesus was not offended at Moses, but the Father was due to His deep devotion and respect for Jesus which is WHO the rock, Moses struck twice, represented.

However, even though God had to call Moses home early, He still honored His friend by never letting his strength fail nor his eyes to dim, (Deut. 34:7,  Moses was 120 years old when he died; his eyes were not weak, and his vitality had not left him.) so at the end of his life he could take one final walk with God up a mountain to see all the land Promised to Abraham and his descendants, before passing from this temporal life into the arms of his beloved friend, Who buried him with His own hands.

Behold how good is our God!

Deut. 33:1-29, 

“(1) This is the blessing that Moses, the man of God, gave the Israelites before his death.  

I like Guzik’s words, he says,

“As he looked at Israel with a shepherd’s heart, he could not leave them without blessing them. It must be this way. Moses could not leave this earth without a final blessing of the people he has loved and served in the LORD for these 40 years.”

Anyone who is familiar with the blessing Jacob pronounced over his children in Gen. 49, will immediately see some similarities between that chapter and this.

Knowing that God revealed Jacob’s words to Moses as he wrote out the book of beginnings (Genesis) it is not a stretch to think that this is why so much of the blessing is similar.

This is NOT to imply plagiarism on Moses’ part, but that like any real shepherd, Moses sought to know his sheep and when the Lord God revealed the blessing of Jacob over his sons who were the founding fathers of this motley crew Moses was leading through the desert – no doubt he studied these words in order to better understand the tribes and like a good parent “guide them according to their bend”.

But, as is true with all of scripture, let us guard our hearts against believing this chapter or any chapter is about the people themselves – they ARE important – but only because they are at the heart of HIS Story…but the story is still about God.

The Next Step in God’s plan of redemption for man…

“(2)  He said: The LORD came from Sinai and appeared to them from Seir; He shone on them from Mount Paran and came with ten thousand holy ones, with lightning from His right hand for them.  

(3)  Indeed He loves the people. All Your holy ones are in Your hand, and they assemble at Your feet. Each receives Your words.”

The first mention of the words “holy ones” appears to be a reference to angels.

The second is a clear reference to Israel.

“ (4)  Moses gave us instruction, a possession for the assembly of Jacob.  (5) So He became King in Jeshurun when the leaders of the people gathered with the tribes of Israel.”

Jeshurun is a type of poetic name for Israel. It appeared in “Moses’ song” in chapter 33, here in this chapter and in the prophecy of Isaiah found in Isa. 44:2. It means “the upright one”.

Moses prophecies over the People

“(6)  Let Reuben live and not die though his people become few. 

  • “Unstable as water, you shall not excel:” Because of Reuben’s instability the birthright ends up being divided. Usually the firstborn was the spiritual and social leader of the “clan”; but the rights of blessing, priesthood, and ruling authority were divided among the sons of Israel rather than being centralized in one.
  • “You shall not excel”: The tribe of Reuben never did excel. No prophet, no judge, or no king ever came from the tribe of Reuben. Reuben is a great example of how the first can be last (Matt. 19:30).

(7)  He said this about Judah: LORD, hear Judah’s cry and bring him to his people. He fights for his cause with his own hands, but may You be a help against his foes.  

Judah is mentioned next though he was the fourth born. This is likely because he was the one who largely supplanted his older brother in that Judah never ceased to have one of his sons on a throne in Israel. One of the ways this was accomplished was through the division of the kingdom – and even now the Lion of the tribe of Judah is and forever will be King!

  • Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?
    • Judah as a tribe has a rich heritage. Reference is made to a whelp, most probably due to the fact that even though Judah had been a small tribe when they first came into the promised land, they were the first to go up against the Canaanites and overcome them (Judges 1:1) they were strong, courageous and also great in generosity. But as the tribe matured and grew they, like a mature lion, rose to prominence both in separation and ruling like a lion residing on the tops of the mountains after it has been satisfied by its prey. Like David who after years of war enjoyed peace “had rest from all his enemies” which was also realized throughout the reign of his son Solomon.
    • Of course the greatest realization of this “lion” metaphor was and will be realized in Jesus Who is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah. –  Rev. 5:5
  • The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh (Messiah) comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people. Binding his donkey to the vine, And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, And his clothes in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, And his teeth whiter than milk.”
    • Throughout their history the tribe of Judah distinguished itself from it’s brethren by always having a ruler or governor of some sort until Christ came. Either a king, a sceptre bearer, as there was unto the captivity; or a governor, though under others as in the case of Nehemiah in the Persian Empire, but this happened under the Babylonians, Grecians, and Romans as well. In particular the sanhedrin court, the members were largely of the tribe of Judah, and the head of the sanhedrin was ALWAYS of that tribe, and retained their power to the latter end of Herod’s reign, when Christ came; and though it was greatly diminished, it had some power remaining, even at the death of Christ, but quickly after His resurrection – they had none at all – thus fulfilling this prophecy!!  As such it could be argued that Judah obtained the inherited leadership aspect of birthright which Reuben lost.
      • It is interesting that the rabbis considered it a disaster of unfulfilled Scripture when authority departed from Judah and yet by their estimation, Messiah had not come . So instead of re-evaluating their understanding of scripture, the rabbis walked the streets of Jerusalem and said, “Woe unto us, for the scepter has been taken away from Judah, and Shiloh has not come.” Yet God’s word had not been broken.
      • The portion of the prophecy which mentions wine and milk is both prophetic of the land and produce of Judah whose vineyards were the best, and that of Messiah Himself.
      • “as his donkey to the vine:” may have had a reference to the Gentiles coming to the vine of Christ, since a donkey was considered a base and ignoble creature.

(8)  He said about Levi: Your Thummim and Urim belong to Your faithful one; You tested him at Massah and contended with him at the waters of Meribah.  (9) He said about his father and mother, “I do not regard them.” He disregarded his brothers and didn’t acknowledge his sons, for they kept Your word and maintained Your covenant.  [If you remember the reason why God separated Levi as His Own was because they were zealous for God and when told not to spare the sword on relatives or friends who did not honor God they quickly destroyed all who were disloyal.] (10)  They will teach Your ordinances to Jacob and Your instruction to Israel; they will set incense before You and whole burnt offerings on Your altar.  (11) LORD, bless his possessions, and accept the work of his hands. Smash the loins of his adversaries and enemies, so that they cannot rise again.  

The original prophecy over Levi included Simeon since they were co-conspirators of cruelty.

“Simeon and Levi are brothers;

Instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place.

Let not my soul enter their council;

Let not my honor be united to their assembly;

For in their anger they slew a man,

And in their self-will they hamstrung an ox.

Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce;

And their wrath, for it is cruel!

I will divide them in Jacob

And scatter them in Israel.

  • If you read this chapter hopefully you paid enough attention to realize that Moses does not bless the tribe of Simeon – in fact he doesn’t even mention them. The last two sentences of Jacob’s prophetic pronouncement over them is the reason why.
  • Both Levi & Simeon are most noted in their lives for the exceeding evil they brought against the men of Shechem, they also shared in the same prophetic pronouncement over their lives – Gen. 34:25-29
  • Guzik points out that, “The sins of our past can come back and haunt us. Even when forgiven, they may carry consequences we must face for a lifetime.”
  • Both these brothers had uncontrolled rage and because of the sin produced from their rage Jacob scattered them both in Israel.
  • For Simeon, this was manifest by his tribe becoming that with the fewest offspring (Num. 26:14). Their tribe was the 3rd largest when they departed from Egypt 430 years after the prophecy, but they became the smallest during the wilderness wanderings. 63% of the tribe perished and they became the smallest tribe (Num. 26:14). It is said that this decrease “MAY” have happened during the plague that broke out among the people for fornication and idolatry mentioned in Numbers 25.
  • Also the lot fell to them to share a portion of land appointed to Judah. In fact it was in the middle of the land appointed to Judah. (Josh. 19:1, “(1) The second lot came out for Simeon, for the tribe of his descendants by their clans, but their inheritance was within the portion of Judah’s descendants.” ). 
  • For Levi, the prophecy took on a different expression. In the same way that God protects the righteous and preserves them – He will also equally not spare the wicked. But what does God do, when a people have been punished due to the sins of their fathers – yet they themselves produce actions of righteousness? God is brilliant – He can both honor His obligation to punish and yet exalt and preserve all in the same action! You see, in Exodus 32:26-28 we learn that Levi, because of the faithfulness of this tribe during the rebellion of the golden calf (Exod.32:26-28), their scattering took the form of being separated from Israel for the service of the Lord. They would enjoy NO inheritance in the land, but the Lord would be their inheritance! Also to them, the other tribes would pay tithes of all – Joshua 13:32-33,  “(32) These are the inheritances that Moses distributed in the plains of Moab, beyond the Jordan east of Jericho.  (33) But to the tribe of Levi Moses gave no inheritance; the LORD God of Israel is their inheritance, just as he said to them.”
  • Guzik offers a GREAT quote here from an American author which I quite personally dislike, but the quote stands alone from the man as being worthy of hearing. It says, “It lightens the stroke to draw near to him who handles the rod.” Guzik then says, “When we suffer from our sin, we should draw near to God and anticipate that in mercy He will turn suffering into blessing.”

(12)  He said about Benjamin: The LORD’s beloved rests securely on Him. He shields him all day long, and he rests on His shoulders.  

Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;

In the morning he shall devour the prey,

And at night he shall divide the spoil.”

  • Benjamin’s was the tribe with a reputation for fierceness.
  • The tribe of Benjamin in one battle won against 400,000 men with only 26,000 men.
  • It is also realized in some of it’s people, like King Saul who as soon as he took the kingdom of Israel, in the morning, in the beginning of that state, fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, Ammon, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines, and the Amalekites, 1Samuel 14:47.
  • Also, Mordecai and Esther, who were of this tribe, divided the spoil of Haman, Ester 8:1.
  • Also of the Apostle Paul, who was of the tribe of Benjamin and who, in the early morning of his life when he was Saul (and therefore another man) held the coat of a man who along with others stoned Stephen to death and who was (and I quote from Guzik) “a fierce and ravenous persecutor, and made havoc of the church of God” but who in the  evening of his life, spent his days in dividing the spoil of Satan among the Gentiles, taking the prey out of his hands, turning men from the power of Satan unto God, and distributed food to the souls of men. In a spiritual sense he was a warlike man, a good soldier of Christ, and accounted as such, had a warfare to accomplish, and enemies to fight with; and did fight the good fight of faith, conquered, and was more than a conqueror through Christ, and is now crowned: 
  • However, the cruelty of this tribe in general can be seen in Jdg. 19-20.

(13)  He said about Joseph: May his land be blessed by the LORD with the dew of heaven’s bounty and the watery depths that lie beneath;  (14) with the bountiful harvest from the sun and the abundant yield of the seasons; (15) with the best products of the ancient mountains and the bounty of the eternal hills;  (16) with the choice gifts of the land and everything in it; and with the favor of Him who appeared in the burning bush. May these rest on the head of Joseph, on the crown of the prince of his brothers.  

  • (17)  His firstborn bull has splendor, and horns like those of a wild ox; he gores all the peoples with them to the ends of the earth. Such are the ten thousands of Ephraim [the younger], and such are the thousands of Manasseh [the older].  

“Joseph is a fruitful bough,

A fruitful bough by a well;

His branches run over the wall.

The archers have bitterly grieved him,

Shot at him and hated him.

But his bow remained in strength,

And the arms of his hands were made strong

By the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob

(From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),

By the God of your father Who will help you,

And by the Almighty Who will bless you

With blessings of heaven above,

Blessings of the deep that lies beneath,

Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.

The blessings of your father

Have excelled the blessings of my ancestors,

Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills.

They shall be on the head of Joseph,

And on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.”

  • Joseph was truly a fruitful bough
  • The archers have bitterly grieved him: This would most likely refer to his brothers.
  • Guzik says, “Joseph was certainly blessed in his posterity. His tribes were some of the most populous. In this sense, he received the “material blessing,” the double portion aspect of the inheritance of the firstborn.”
  • A quote from Wikipedia about Ephraim: As recorded in the Book of Joshua, the territory allocated to the Tribe of Ephraim was at the center of Canaan, west of the Jordan, south of the territory of Manasseh, and north of the Tribe of Benjamin. The region later named Samaria (as distinguished from Judea or Galilee) consisted mostly of Ephraim’s territory. The area was mountainous, giving it protection, and also highly fertile, giving prosperity, The territory of Ephraim contained the early centers of Israelite religion – Shechem and Shiloh.These factors contributed to making Ephraim the most dominant of the tribes in the Kingdom of Israel, and led to Ephraim becoming a synonym for the entire kingdom.
    • It is a sad reality that disreputable and secular scholars have influenced the person or people who created and/or edited the Wikipedia entry on Ephriam since they repeatedly accuse the Biblical book of Joshua as being non-historical and unreliable and they do so as fools “answering a matter before they’ve understood it.”Prov. 18:13
    • One of the objections to the validity of the book of Joshua is that they claim they have genetic evidence that the people of Canaan were not eliminated since their genetic profile continues on today in living descendants. This is of course stupid to claim since to date, there is no way of reliably testing the DNA of bones from thousands of years ago. Modern geneticists often discard DNA samples kept in pristine conditions in freezers after one year since at that point the samples begin to yield unreliable data. How much more so for samples taken from corpses thousands of years old under less than ideal and fluctuating conditions? Also, even if they were magically preserved with 100% integrity – how are they to know whose DNA they are sampling? Canaanites OFTEN intermarried with other nations, so the pool from which the genetic information was taken would be contaminated from the onset. This is just one more attempt to sell sensationalized and overstated information to a gullible public looking for reasons not to believe. 
    • A second objection which is often touted is the lack of destroyed cities with new cities build upon their ruins from that time period. This objection is used to discredit the Biblical account of Joshua in Israel taking the promised land from the Canaanites. However, they again are answering a matter before they’ve heard it – or rather read it. God did not promise Israel the opportunity to build new cities upon the ruins of conquered Canaan – He told them they would take of habitation in cities they had not built. Meaning, they would not destroy the cities – just the people – they would live in the cities. So far from discrediting the Biblical account it actually confirms it!
    • Lastly one of the expectations of secular archaeologists was to find archaeological evidence to support widespread destruction of Canaanite cities between the Bronze and Iron Ages. They expected, and I quote “ cities on the Levant coast such as Sidon and Tyre show continuity of occupation until the present day.” – Haber However, the conquest of the Promised Land under Joshua took place mainly in the hill country and in Galilee. The plains and other coastal regions from Gaza in the south to Sidon in the north remained largely untouched by the Israelites and remained under Canaanite control. Nowhere in the Bible does it claim that Israel held military campaigns to the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon, so there is no biblical reason to expect any archaeological evidence of these cities being conquered by Israel.

(18)  He said about Zebulun: Rejoice, Zebulun, in your journeys, and Issachar, in your tents.  (19) They summon the peoples to a mountain; there they offer acceptable sacrifices. For they draw from the wealth of the seas and the hidden treasures of the sand.  

“Zebulun shall dwell by the haven of the sea;

He shall become a haven for ships,

And his border shall adjoin Sidon.”

  • The tribe of Zebulun was noted for its faithfulness to David, supplying the largest number of soldiers to David’s army of any single tribe: of Zebulun there were fifty thousand who went out to battle, expert in war with all weapons of war, stout-hearted men who could keep ranks (1Chron. 12:33).
  • “He shall become a haven for ships:” The tribe of Zebulun’s land which fell to it by lot sat between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Galilee. This was not something they could have controlled – it was the “decision of the Lord”

“Issachar is a strong donkey,

Lying down between two burdens;

He saw that rest was good,

And that the land was pleasant;

He bowed his shoulder to bear a burden,

And became a band of slaves.”

  • Issachar was a large tribe – third in size according to the Num. 26:1-65 census. Because of their size and abundance, they were often targets of oppressive foreign armies who put them into servitude. Thus, they became a band of slaves.
  • “The meaning seems to be that Issachar was strong, but docile and lazy. He would enjoy the good land assigned him but would not strive for it. Therefore, eventually he would be pressed into servitude and the mere bearing of burdens for his masters.” (Leupold)

(20)  He said about Gad: The one who enlarges Gad’s territory will be blessed. He lies down like a lion and tears off an arm or even a head.  (21) He chose the best part for himself, because a ruler’s portion was assigned there for him. He came with the leaders of the people; he carried out the LORD’s justice and His ordinances for Israel.  

“Gad, a troop shall tramp upon him,

But he shall triumph at last.”

  • In keeping with his name’s meaning “Behold a troop comes”, The tribe of Gad supplied many fine troops for David (1Chorn. 12:14).
  • However, many times in Gad’s future they would be trampled down by many alien armies. – Jer. 49:1
  • In the census taken in the second year after the Exodus, the tribe of Gad numbered 46,650 (Numbers 2: 14-15) but at the time of the second census, their numbers were reduced to 40,500 (Numbers 26:18). Here, in the blessing of Moses (Deuteronomy 33:20), it is said, “Blessed is he who enlarges Gad.“. In Revelation 7:1-8, Gad is among the tribes who are promised the Seal of God for 12,000 of its members.

(22)  He said about Dan: Dan is a young lion, leaping out of Bashan.


“Dan shall judge his people

As one of the tribes of Israel.

Dan shall be a serpent by the way,

A viper by the path,

That bites the horse’s heels

So that its rider shall fall backward.

I have waited for your salvation, O LORD!” 

  • The tribe of Dan did judge His people. They supplied one of the most prominent of the Judges of Israel’s history – Samson Jdg. 13:2.
  • Samson’s “adopted city” was Timnah, the city of his lover and also a city of Bashan.
  • But Dan was also a troublesome tribe.
    • They re-introduced idolatry into Israel (Jdg. 18:30)
    • Jeroboam set up one of his idolatrous golden calves in Dan (1Kings 12:26-30)
    • Dan became a center of idol worship in Israel (Amos 8:14).
    • It is interesting that Dan is left out of the listing of tribes regarding the 144,000 in Rev. 7:5-8. But Dan is the first tribe listed in Ezekiel’s millennial roll call of the tribes (Ezek. 48:1-35). This is a remarkable sign of God’s redemption as the prophecy says, “I have waited for your salvation, O LORD:” The Hebrew word for salvation is “Yeshuwah.”

(23)  He said about Naphtali: Naphtali, enjoying approval, full of the LORD’s blessing, take possession to the west and the south.  

“Naphtali is a deer let loose;

He uses beautiful words.”

  • Naphtali’s land was near the Sea of Galilee, the region where Jesus did much of His teaching and ministry. It is fitting therefore to say of this tribe that “he gives goodly words”.
  • Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned” (Matt. 4:12-16).

(24)  He said about Asher: May Asher be the most blessed of the sons; may he be the most favored among his brothers and dip his foot in olive oil.  (25) May the bolts of your gate be iron and bronze, and your strength last as long as you live.  

“Bread from Asher shall be rich,

And he shall yield royal dainties.”

  • As history reveals, this tribe had a enough provisions from their own land as to require no aid from other tribes or lands. Also the land itself was very rich. It was said to be exceeding fruitful in wine and oil, and especially in the best whea. One particular writer observes that the land contained a valley more than ten miles in length; the soil of which was exceeding rich and produced the most delicate wine and wheat!

(26)  There is none like the God of Jeshurun, who rides the heavens to your aid on the clouds in His majesty.  

(27)  The God of old is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms

He drives out the enemy before you, and commands, “Destroy!”  

(28)  So Israel dwells securely; Jacob lives untroubled in a land of grain and new wine; even his skies drip with dew.  

(29)  How happy you are, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is the shield that protects you, the sword you boast in. Your enemies will cringe before you, and you will tread on their backs.”

God Honors and Buries His friend

Deut. 34:1-12,  

“(1) Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which faces Jericho, and the LORD showed him all the land: Gilead as far as Dan,  (2) all of Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, (3) the Negev, and the region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar.  (4) The LORD then said to him, “This is the land I promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your own eyes, but you will not cross into it.” (5) So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, as the LORD had said.  (6) He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab facing Beth-peor, and no one to this day knows where his grave is. (7) Moses was 120 years old when he died; his eyes were not weak, and his vitality had not left him. (8) The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab 30 days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses came to an end.  (9) Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites obeyed him and did as the LORD had commanded Moses. (10) No prophet has arisen again in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face. (11) He was unparalleled for all the signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do against the land of Egypt–to Pharaoh, to all his officials, and to all his land,  (12) and for all the mighty acts of power and terrifying deeds that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.”


I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.

We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!

If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.

If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!