Tuesday, March 4, 2014


It’s a calling he’s already been living out for several years. But a few weeks back, Justin knelt before his church, before these elders, before Jesus Himself.

A kneeling, a submitting. A humbling appointment to ministry.

Hands were laid. God’s word was read. Prayers were spoken. Charges were given. The Lord’s Supper was observed. And God’s grace was sought in it all, as a young pastor publicly committed to continue loving Christ and His bride.

Gracious words of encouragement and conviction were spoken. My Dad (Pastor Rich) gave the ordination charge to Justin, and Pastor Paul gave the ordination charge to the church family. Both charges were powerful, incisive, and in every way worth remembering.

The words below are some of the words spoken by both of those men during the service. 


The ordination charge given by Pop to Justin: 

Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the elders. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. (II Timothy 4:12-16)

Justin, here are two things Paul urges Timothy to do with the utmost seriousness: Take heed to your life and to your doctrine. Justin, you are to watch out, and you are to continually watch out, and your life and your doctrine are to be the primary target of your vigilant watching. Paul is telling Timothy that there is nothing more important than for him to carefully target his life and his teaching, to make sure that his life and his teaching is thoroughly biblical and upright. And he is to persevere in doing so, making sure nothing slips in that would deter him from God’s word and God’s message.

Justin, as you receive your ordination, it brings you to a new place in your ministry; it is a final verification, or vindication, of your status in this ministry. The word ‘ordain’ means 'to appoint.’ There is a deadly serious appointment involved in ministry, and tonight’s ordination further deepens that holy appointment that has followed your ministry these last four and a half years. My charge to you as you go out into the ministry, bearing this ordination, is that you must demonstrate evidence of two realities: first, that you are watching your life, and second, that you are doctrinally sound.

First, you must be watching your life, disciplining it in order to grow more and more holy. See your life as set apart for the masters use, for the Lord Jesus Christ. And strive, by the grace of God, to grow more and more like Jesus as you do all for God’s glory. Be determined to always continue in this direction, no matter what the pressures are that will inevitably come upon you and test you, even as you have already been tested.

Hear these words of Spurgeon: “The great enemy of souls takes care to leave no stone unturned for the preacher’s ruin.” Justin, watch your life!

Secondly, you must demonstrate that you are doctrinally sound by steadfastly adhering to biblical truth. Justin, your teaching must, as the entirety of I Timothy 4 warns, stay away from anything and everything that veers you from the pristine magnificence of the word of God, no matter how intriguingly interesting or appealing another doctrine might be, no matter how intellectually inviting another teaching might seem, no matter how supposedly freeing a 'new' orthodoxy appeals to you, no matter how many people might be embracing some new teaching they want you to consider, no matter how obstinate or out of date your teaching might appear to others to be because of your tenacity in holding on faithfully to the entire corpus of the scripture. Don’t let yourself be swayed or deceived by any of it. None of it is new or what the church needs to become vibrant and alive. Further, never let yourself work to make your message seemingly more acceptable because people might object to the hard truths of the scriptures, but rather speak the truth in love. Remember just how subtle the attacks can be.

Why not a more appealing, embracing, and acceptable message? Why not something new? Why not just a sweet, soothing message of love? The words in 1 Timothy 4:16 answer this question completely: ‘Because in doing this… you will save both yourself and your hearers.’ Justin, watch your doctrine!

My charge to you is the same as Paul’s charge to Timothy: Justin, watch your life and watch your doctrine. Justin, remember these things and live them. You have done well in these first four and a half years of ministry, but never assume you have attained the goal. Instead, as Paul says, press on toward the goal.

Speaking about preachers, John MacArthur says this: “We are the agents by which God brings the grace of salvation to lost people. That's the sum of the ministry. And holiness and commitment to truth moves us along the persevering path of true salvation and makes us a blessing to all who hear our message.”

Justin, may God bless you as you seek to live and minister for him as an ordained minister of the glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.


The ordination charge given by Pastor Paul to the church family:

The older I get, the more the Bible seems to be telling me about love. God our Father acted out of love when He sent Christ to save us. In love for God and for us, Christ gave His life in our place. Love is the primary fruit or evidence of God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in a saint. And Paul and John and a host of other bible authors make the point that we are to authentically love one another.

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:9-10)

Now, you may think: I need to love my wife: check. I need to love my kids: check. I need to love my church: mostly check. But love my pastor? Isn’t it his job to love me?
Beloved, let me give you this one charge: Love your pastor!

I can think of many things to tell you. I could tell how you ought to listen to sermons or give him your money or support his decisions, because I have many strong and opinionated opinions about such things. But I choose to tell you one thing, that I think will guide all those other things. Love your pastor.

Love his preaching ~ He may not be the most remarkable preacher you ever hear. But I cannot find a single text of Scripture that suggests he should be. I see many texts that say he must be faithful, and I can tell you that nothing will encourage his deep study and prolonged faithfulness in the pulpit more than a people who love to hear God’s Word preached. If you love his preaching, you should tell him. You need not worry about puffing him up. There are far too many other things in his life to pop that bubble. But you will help him and strengthen him if you tell him how God is using his preaching ministry in your life. What’s more, if you love his preaching you will pray for his preaching. And if you get to praying for his preaching every week, then you had best hang on for what the Lord is going to do.

Love his wife. ~ Let me tell you a secret, one great way to have a happy pastor is to have a happy pastor’s wife. Few things will encourage your pastor more than when you love the one he loves most of all. Remember that she helps to carry his load, but is not paid for it; she enables him to be hospitable, which he must be in order to preach; she carries the brunt of raising faithful children, which he must have in order to preach. Oh, you honour and love this woman. You don’t deserve her, but you got her. So, don’t tell anyone about her – just love her and encourage her and thank God for her.

Love his children. ~ There is a silent pressure on every pastor. It can weigh on him like a bag of wet cement. His children. He knows he is called to prioritize them and teach them the ways of God, but like you, he has to learn all this as he goes, on the fly, while trying to have something to say to everyone else about how to do it! I have been in churches where things are not going well in a pastor’s child’s life. Some of those churches know just what to do. They come alongside their pastor with encouraging words and they actually get down on their knees and pray for that man’s kids.  If you are going to love this man, you will truly love his children. You will not judge them or hold them to some higher standard. You will expect they need to hear the Gospel as much as the other kids in the church. You will not be fooled by their Sunday School answers You will not demand they all become pastors and deacons. You will love them for who they are.

Love him with your complaints. ~ Christians have a hard time with this, but I want to call you to it. We have lost the art of disagreement. We have become numb to the Bible texts that teach us to speak the truth… in love. We are more discipled in our methodology by Jerry Springer than by the Apostle Paul. But if you love this man, you will learn to come in all humility and speak privately to him of your concerns. You will not make snide remarks or gossip or spread disunity or hold resentments that spread into gangrenous bitterness. When you truly love someone you can come to them quietly and submissively with honest questions and self-searching that allows for disagreements to lead to agreements.

Love him when you don’t understand him. ~ It is an odd thing to be a pastor. We become involved in all the intricacies of others lives and sometimes we know things about others or a situation that we simply cannot divulge. Often, it is in these times when misunderstandings grow. Why aren’t you doing this or putting a stop to that? Where were you when this happened? Why didn’t you come when we asked? How come I have to wait so long to meet with you? If you love him, you will HOPE ALL THINGS! Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:7) You will assume he is wise in the use of his time. You will expect there are things he knows, that you don’t know nor need to know. You will bless him even when he seems to go in a direction you find less than compelling. Love him when you don’t understand him!

Love him for a long time. ~ There is a curse on the pulpits of Canada. Men are afraid to stay long in any one place. Or, they stay long but stop growing in Christ. Both are a scourge. But a wise church will set her heart on loving her pastors for a long time. Not just putting up with them – but loving them .You must commit to loving him for the long term. You want a man to be here to bless your babies, baptize your believers and bury your dead. You don’t want a stranger to do that. If that is so, then you must commit to much more than tolerating this man. You must love him. Love him so much he thinks to himself on his worst days, “I’d be a fool to move on from here!”

Finally, love him because God loved you. ~ The final and great motivation to our love is never what it gets us. True love is seen in Christ.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Copy God. Do what He does. Be like Him. Walk in Love. Yes, by all means, with one another. But remember to love your pastor, too.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Above, the elders who ordained him. These are men who are his mentors, his friends, his family, and beloved co-laborers: Pastor Ken Davis, Pastor John Bell, Pastor Paul Martin, (Pastor Justin Galotti,) Pastor Rich Ganz, Pastor Don Whiteside, Pastor Julian Freeman

Above, Justin with Pop. 

Above, Justin with his Dad.

Above, Justin with me. :)

Above, Justin with a friend and dear brother, Ian, from seminary days.