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Three Questions for Elizabeth Talbot
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By Lyle Arakaki
 
 
For a pastor, when he or she is studying Scripture and does not feel that burning heart or “Woo-hoo!” what advice would you have?
 
My advice is to make sure that you go deep enough in your study until you find the “Water of Life.”  If the “woo-hoo!” is not there, it is because we have not gone deep enough to understand how that particular doctrine or principle relates to the cross.  Jesus said, “If I am lifted up, I will draw all men to Myself,” So if there is no drawing happening, we have not lifted up Jesus. 
 
There is a possibility to be preaching doctrines and different things separately without putting them at the foot of the cross, and the “woo-hoo!” won’t be there.  When we say, “Woo-hoo!” we mean the joy of our salvation, the burning heart, the “Wow! I’ve got it!”  So my advice would be to keep going deeper and deeper and deeper until you find how that relates to Jesus.  Then you’ll get the “woo-hoo!” because the “woo-hoo!” is something the Holy Spirit gives you, the burning of your heart, the joy of your salvation!
 
With all the demands and expectations that a pastor faces, how would you encourage pastors to carve out that time to spend in the Word?
 
I think that one of the greatest tools in the devil’s hands for pastors is busyness.  We have so many demands.  It is so easy to get lost in that.  Actually, God said, “Look, you need to spend time with Me because that’s the only way you are going to recharge.”  So I think setting boundaries is a must for a pastor.  And if a pastor doesn’t know how to, that pastor needs to get help, needs to get help to know how to say, “No.  This is my day to be with God.  I’m going to the mountains.  I’m going to hike, I’m going to read the Scriptures, I’m going to learn from God.  Because if you don’t recharge, like people say on the airplane, if you don’t put the oxygen mask on yourself first, very soon you will run out of oxygen, and you won’t be able to put the oxygen mask on anyone else.  So the boundaries that the pastor sets to guard that time with God are a must for ministry.
 
Where would be the best place to start in terms of study for a pastor?
 
I always tell pastors that the four gospels is the place to start because all of the Old Testament is the DNA of Jesus.  The Old Testament tells us Who was going to come, what He was going to do, what we were going to find in Him, the rest He was going to give us.  The four biographies of Jesus are the main event of human history and the whole universe for that matter.  The rest of the New Testament explains what happened at the cross and at the resurrection.  So, you start at the Christ-event, the salvific event, and you’ll be taken over by this joy.  Then after that, you start to connect all the dots, and all of a sudden, you will be studying from Genesis to Revelation in the light of the cross.
 
Elizabeth Talbot is the director of Jesus 101. 
Lyle Arakaki is pastor for the
Forest Park Seventh-day Adventist Church in Everett, Washington