Back to Basics: Being Blessed at the Cove

Written By: Daniel Gregory - Oct• 11•12

PDF of Article


As many of you know I had the privilege of recently attending a pastor’s seminar at The Cove in Asheville, NC. This was the fifth or sixth time I have been and I was blessed yet again by through the teaching that was given. Our speaker this time as Dr. Alistar Begg who is Senior Pastor of Cleveland’s Parkside Church. He also has a radio and internet ministry at and is an incredible speaker that I would highly recommend to anyone wanting to hear good solid preaching.


As we were their Dr. Begg began his teaching by saying a few words and giving us the direction we were going in for the day. He told us that he does not do any elaborate training or contemporary themes that engage the culture. Rather what he was going to focus on was getting back to basics. We had three sessions, each of which looked at a the pastor pastor in light of the Scriptures and through them we studied the ministry and focus of a pastor and I must say I was truly blessed to hear again about the work a pastor is called to.


Interestingly 95% of what I heard that day were things I had heard before but it had been so long it since I had been engaged with these teachings it was like receiving a cold cup of water on a hot day. It refreshed and renewed my strength and restored a passion for preaching and the pastoral ministry.


Below I’ll give an outline of the lessons of that day but before I do I wanted to bring to light a truth that I was struck with while at the Cove. The truth is this, the basics are vitally important. As I said before almost none of the things I heard at the Cove were new to me. I knew I needed to preach clearly, preach in a Christ centered manner, and to love people as a pastor and not love the position of pastor. I knew and had heard all this before but I needed to have those truths renewed in my mind and heart because I am a person that forgets. You know if we’re honest we are all people that forget. That is why we need even the basics of the Christian faith refreshed in our minds, because our human mind forgets, this world in which we live in wants us to forget, and the devil surely wants us to forget the basic things of God.


Things like the everlasting nature of God’s love that does not rely upon what we do, have done, or even our attitude. Things like God loves us regardless of who we are, the ever present opportunity we have to be forgiven from our sins by God and desire God has that all would be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Things like the fact that anytime, anywhere, for any reason we can communicate to our heavenly Father who is all powerful and there is NOTHING that is too difficult for Him. Truths like if we have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior there is nothing in this life to fear because we will spend forever and forever and forever in heaven with God. All these are simple truths that we know but what a refreshing experience to revisiting them and renew them in our minds.


Let me encourage you, as I was encouraged, if you are feeling down and out or weak in spirit, go back to the basics of your faith. The simple rock solid truths that you know are true regardless of who you feel or the situation that you are in. Write them down so you can see them and read them aloud, think about them and what they mean for your life and I know that you will have your faith renewed and be blessed greatly by God.



Session 1 – The Pastor as Shepherd

Text –

Illegitimate Goals as a Pastor (things we should not want)

  • to be well known or respected
  • to have a large church
  • to attach people to ourselves
  • to make ourselves indispensable

A business model can never be the church’s model for a pastor it must solely be grounded in the Bible


  • a desire to feed the flock
  • what good is a shepherd who does not feed the sheep
  • the shepherd is to lead the flock into green pastures – am I doing it?
  • Is what I am feed – balanced, beneficial, and basic
  • it is not about did you have fun today but did you earn anything today
  • the goal is unreserved obedience
  • as a shepherd we are to be concerned about every sheep


  • not under compulsion but willingly
  • eagerly not for selfish gain
  • tenderly, not domineering but being an example to the flock
  • Peter – who wrote this – knew what it was to lead and to dominate
  • beware the big head syndrome


  • Not using human resources but the Spirit of God that rested on Christ that also rest upon us


Session 2 – The Nature and Necessity of Expository Preaching

Text –

Richard Baxter quote – “It is no small matter to stand up in the face of the congregation, and to deliver a message of salvation or damnation, as from the living God, in the name of the Redeemer. It is no easy matter to speak so plainly, that the most ignorant may understand us; and so seriously that the deadest hearts may feel us; and so convincingly, that the contradicting cavillers may be silenced.”

3 Things about Expository Preaching

  • It is framed by and grounded in the text of Scripture
  • It pays careful attention to the type of text it is
  • expository preaching seeks to fuse the two horizons of the biblical text and the contemporary world


Session 3 – The Primary Performance of our Pastoral Duty

  • We need Spiritual wisdom and understanding of the mysteries of the Gospel
  • We need to experience the power of truth in our own souls
  • We need to have skill in dividing the Word of God correctly
  • We need spiritual discernment of the congregation
  • We need zeal for the Glory of God and compassion for the souls of men

We need to preach the Gospel to ourselves everyday–
if we don’t we will become a liar or a lunatic”
– Alistair Begg

5:1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

21:1 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who had been reclining at table close to him and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” 23 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

8:1 And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 11 So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12 And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.

13 On the second day the heads of fathers’ houses of all the people, with the priests and the Levites, came together to Ezra the scribe in order to study the words of the Law. 14 And they found it written in the Law that the Lord had commanded by Moses that the people of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month, 15 and that they should proclaim it and publish it in all their towns and in Jerusalem, “Go out to the hills and bring branches of olive, wild olive, myrtle, palm, and other leafy trees to make booths, as it is written.” 16 So the people went out and brought them and made booths for themselves, each on his roof, and in their courts and in the courts of the house of God, and in the square at the Water Gate and in the square at the Gate of Ephraim. 17 And all the assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in the booths, for from the days of Jeshua the son of Nun to that day the people of Israel had not done so. And there was very great rejoicing. 18 And day by day, from the first day to the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God. They kept the feast seven days, and on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly, according to the rule.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1. Fae Verhague says:

    I discovered what I had been searching for. excellent article, thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *