All too often pastors, especially young pastors, try to act like they have all the answers; like they are the experts. Well technically they are. Unfortunately, what they are missing is the grace of God that comes through life.
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One striking difference between pastoring and social work is the function and role of supervision. Professional supervision consists of a candid review and empowering of both the social worker’s practice and personhood in order to practice ethically and therapeutically and “do no harm” to the clients. I believe that pastors need a similar kind of supervision.
Does “a rose by any other name” sound as sweet? Synod 2012 agreed with the Candidacy Committee that there is a more fitting name for those ordained via Article 23 of the CRC Church Order. The office formerly known as “ministry associate” is now known as “commissioned pastor”.
I don't believe I remember today's pastor ever raising his voice. He never pounded the Bible, even though it was forever in his hands as he preached, as if he were almost afraid of letting it go. He never shouted, never put a fist to the pulpit, never flailed those in front of him with anything more or less than love...
Last month at youth group, I asked, "What is faith." I got some shallow answers and then one of my youth leaders commented, "You know, I just do not know for sure sometimes." That got me thinking. What difference does faith make in the small things in life?
Imagine being part of a church that grew from 120 to over 3000 people in a few weeks? It sounds thrilling and exciting until you begin to realize you now have a lot of discipleship, care, baptizing, and teaching to do. The question for us today is, if something like this were to happen in our churches, would we be ready?
“The church is full of hypocrites.” I regularly see Gandhi’s famous Christ quote on a bumper sticker at my child’s school. “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Fair enough. If you can’t find much of value in my tribe, I can appreciate...
It’s common to speak of Luke’s Gospel as showing that God has a special preference for the poor, but it’s worth noting that Jesus is not saying this to the greedy brother who won’t divide the inheritance. He’s saying it to the greedy brother who's comparatively poor. In my own experience, some of the greediest people I’ve met have been the poorest...
I am a pastor. According to statistics I am a sad breed. Pastors are the most depressed, lonely, burnt out, over worked, underpaid, fat, and unhealthy people on the planet. Our families are a mess. Our finances are a mess. It is hard to have friends. Our work is unseen and is seen as unnecessary to some.
In my tradition, twice was the norm. Growing up in the Christian Reformed Church, attending church twice every Sunday was a non-negotiable, a near creational given. ”Oncers” were deemed on a slippery slope to perdition, an accommodation to the ease of culture and all its entertainments ...
Jack Hayford writes about leadership from the biblical perspective of a shepherd and sheep. He affirms that pastors must lead like a shepherd. What does this mean? A shepherd feeds, protects, and cares for his sheep. If he does not do these basic tasks, he is a bad shepherd, a mere hired hand...
The past couple of months have shown me how important hope is in our lives. Without hope life becomes meaningless for many people; so meaningless that life can become optional or even undesirable to them. Paul tells us that there are 3 key things ... but the greatest of these is love. I'm not going to argue with Paul, but I'm seeing that without hope there is no
When I was a kid in Sunday school, I earned a little plastic plaque that read, "Prayer changes things." It glowed a sort of neon green in the dark and I remember waking up in the night and thinking it was cool. It took me a while longer to think that praying was even more cool then glowing in the dark. I have been slow in coming to love to pray.
My take on the Genesis flood is a bit different. A very common, perhaps the MOST common world saving strategy is “reward and rescue the good people, marginalize or eliminate the bad people.” This strategy in fact I believe is read onto the Bible.
I recently preached a sermon about Peter’s denial of Jesus, as recorded in John 18:15-27. In my study of that passage I saw something I never noticed before—something which I think highlights the blessing of doing ministry in the company of fellow disciples.
The Final Four is done. I picked the two final teams in my bracket and also picked the winner as Kentucky rolled over Kansas. I loved picking correctly. I love basketball. I played basketball in high school because I was tall. Coach Swanson was my coach. He taught me important life lessons.
There is no greater thrill in ministry to watch a person move from death to life and put their trust in Jesus. But is conversion to Jesus and his gospel enough? What I mean is - is this the only conversion that needs to happen in the life of a Christian? Or could there be more “converting” work that needs to be done...
The highway lays before me, curving off to the left over the bridge and I am nine years old, bringing my Schwinn Stingray bike to a sudden halt as I round the base of the hill. Slightly to the left of me is a red Honda 70. A blanket lies over a mound stretched across the centerline and perpendicular to the road. I notice the...
Some folks assume that forgiveness and reconciliation are the same thing. They aren't. Forgiveness is what *I* do; Reconciliation is what *we* do. Forgiveness has to do with releasing a debt caused by behavior; Reconciliation has to do with re-building broken trust.
On April 16-18, a first-ever Prayer Summit for our denomination will take place in Los Angeles, Calif. By way of the “Each Church Send One!” campaign, I am inviting — and strongly encouraging — your congregation to send at least one person to this event.
I don’t think it’s a bad thing for Protestants to poke around a bit more in the early history of the Christian church. Ignorance of this era has allowed a fair amount of sloppy skepticism regarding what is pretty solidly knowable about the origins of the founding of our faith.
There is a journey of renewed identity that some churches experience. They remember fondly the fruitfulness in their land of the past. Then they cross the first holy river into the desert where, through prayer and holy conversation, they climb the jagged mountains to discover renewed vision. They cross deep valleys
When Lent rolled around and I began to think about the state of my life, I decided it was time to stop using online Tetris as a crutch. It was keeping me from building a life, for crying out loud! It was keeping me from flourishing, which is what God desires, isn’t it?