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Ministry out of the ‘overflow’ avoids ‘overwork,’ Wolf says


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Fred Wolfe is convinced that the ministry of servants of God ought to be an overflow of their relationship with Jesus Christ. Speaking to the Nov. 30 at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wolf said, “If we don’t minister out of the overflow … it’s gonna be overwork.”

Wolfe was pastor of Cottage Hill Baptist Church in Mobile, Ala., for 25 years before launching Barnabas: A Ministry of Encouragement.

Wolfe used Philippians 3:7-10 as his text for a chapel message that left many students in silent reflection. “We need to have the passion to know Jesus intimately,” he said, “and to know Jesus personally and to have such a walk with him that we will minister out of the overflow of our relationship with Christ and not out of overwork.”

He added, “The measure of your success will be how intimate you are, how close you are, how well you know the Son of God! If you lose your intimacy with Jesus, it can really be difficult.”

Describing a servant’s heart in the context of the disciples meeting with Jesus in the upper room, Wolfe asked, “Has it ever occurred to you that the one who created their feet, washed their feet? Has it ever occurred to you that the living God was on his knees washing the feet of fallible men when God called you into the ministry. He called you to be a servant.”

Wolfe said a surrendered heart is described in the biblical account of Jesus praying at Gethsemane. “I never understood the humanity of Jesus until I went with him into Gethsemane,” Wolf said. “You’ve got to have a surrendered heart if you’re going to know him.”

In the description of Jesus on the cross at Golgotha, Wolf described a sacrificial heart:

— “Positionally, we’ve already been there with him,” he said, citing Gal. 2:20.

— “Practically, he takes us there every day,” he continued. And yet, for Christ to be manifested in the believer’s life, the focus must be taken off of “your ability, your personality, and your gifts,” he said.

In the empty tomb is a supernatural heart, Wolf said. “The Christian life is a supernatural life. You can’t live the Christian life in human power.”

While Jesus said to love your enemies, Wolf acknowledged his own difficulty following that instruction. But as Christ lives through the individual believer, others see “the hope of glory,” he said.

“How well do you know him?” Wolf asked in closing. “Do you have a passion to be intimate with the Son of God? Do you desire to minister out of the overflow?”

Penn is a news writer at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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  • Rodney E. Penn