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The Pastoral Practice of Self-Reflection

Self-reflection is difficult. It encourages us to be honest with ourselves and acknowledge our limitations. It requires that we ask ourselves personal questions, the answers to which will force us out of comfort zones. 

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Beware of Dissing the Preacher

As I read through sermons by the great Reformer Martin Luther, I got stuck on a sermon from Luke 2:41-52. Was I concluding that Luther preached a good sermon but did not preach the text?

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Controlling the Holy Spirit

Two unrelated conversations with two different church leaders: our church began its decline when, at a particular moment in the history of our congregation, the leadership tried to control the Holy Spirit...

Pastors
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The Evolution of the Pastoral Ministry

Throughout the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth, American Protestants identified four primary functions for their pastors. What do we expect of our pastors today?

Pastors
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Sermon-Centricity on Sunday

Little attention has been given to the role of the sermon. Yet, according to a recent survey, the sermon is the focal point of the Sunday service. Here’s the backstory to that research.

PastorsWorship
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The Holy Spirit and the Sermon – A Friendly Reminder For Those Who Preach

Among all too many of us there is a hidden, unspoken, forgivable kind of blasphemy. It is the protest of Jeremiah when the Lord appointed him a prophet to the nations: “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak” (Jeremiah 1:6). Unintended blasphemy – to preach, or refuse to preach, as if successful preaching depended primarily on me. The blasphemy is the implication that preaching is...

Pastors
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I Don't Want to Be One of Those Pastors

I don’t want to be one of those pastors. I don’t want to be one who stays in a church even though it’s not a good fit, who keeps working just to get a paycheck, who refuses to retire even though the congregation is unhealthy and in need of new leadership. But I can see how I might just be tempted. Greeting at the local Wal-Mart just won’t pay the bills... 

Pastors
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Fractured Flocks - A Good Reason to Consider Another Option

Fifty years or so ago, CRCNA congregations, much like McDonalds franchises, shared countless similarities. They shared a similar culture, similar liturgies, identical creeds, confessions and hymn books, and almost identical menus of ministry. As a result, you could attend almost any Christian Reformed congregation in North America and find it similar to your home church...

Pastors
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Peterson's Memoir On the Life and Ministry of the Pastor

This past Christmas my children blessed me with Eugene H. Peterson’s memoir The Pastor. What a joy it has been to take a leisurely stroll through Peterson’s reflections on his life and ministry. Here’s one word that echoed in my life: Was it realistic to think I could develop from being a competitive pastor to something more like a contemplative pastor ...

Pastors
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What is a Reformed Charismatic?

I would like to think that I am a Reformed Charismatic but I wonder what that means. So, here’s one attempt to clarify the convictions of a Christ-follower who believes that the Holy Spirit is alive and well and that John Calvin had a pretty good understanding of the apostle Paul. 

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