“Peter Berger captures the style of witness that is dead to most people today: ‘A peculiar mixture of arrogance (‘I know the truth’) and benevolence (‘I want to save you’) has always been the chief psychological hallmark of missionary activity.’ People can smell this combination of arrogance and benevolence a mile away...
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Dr. Darrell L. Bock in The NIV Application Commentary, Luke rather in passing made the connection between the widow's persistence and the “wearing down” of the unrighteous judge, and the praying of Peter and the church in Acts 4:23-31. He wrote: “Do we as the church community 'wear God down' with such a request for vindication?”
The prism of Christian denominations excites me. I find great spiritual benefit in relationships with many kinds of Christians. The pure light of God split when it hit the prism of our depravity and one result is our great variety of worship. True worshippers, however, are always pushing to get back through the prism.
One of the most profitable things a preacher can do in studying God’s Word is to engage in word studies of key words in a passage of Scripture. And I am talking about word studies not based on English words but on the Hebrew and Greek words. We can often gain surprising insights from such studies.
Like most people, I want what I want, and I want it five minutes ago. But I know better. I know that “patience” is an important Christian virtue–no less than a “Fruit of the Spirit.” And I know that a little patience can do a lot to make life more pleasant. So I’m doing what I can to cultivate a little more patience in my life.
At the risk of not keeping your attention I won’t make this entry too long. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the state or lack-there-of of critical thinking abilities among people, especially as a pastor. People today tend to process many ideas and information without seriously thinking about anything in particular except
What do you do when your life doesn’t turn out as you expected? In the Army, as I suspect in the other branches, the unexpected is oftentimes the norm. In fact, as a play on the Marine Corps motto, “Semper Fi” (Always Faithful), we often say, “Semper Gumby” (Always Flexible).
I understand that seminaries cannot fully teach all of God’s truth in all of the scientific spheres to their students. But by choosing to focus solely/primarily on just one or two of God’s revelatory spheres – the Bible and church tradition – are they not risking a ‘closed shuttered’ isolationism that could lead to idolatry?
It has been so many decades ago that I don't even recall whether we won more games than we lost, but what we were learning was going to last a lifetime, even for me who knew then that I was entering ministry.
Those who have spent hours learning biblical languages all too often let them fall by the wayside in the midst of busy church activities. But paying attention to some of the smallest words in the orginal language can reap rich exegetical insights.
Evangelism, outreach, church planting, and mission can become a normal part of our congregation’s life. But, we must make a major shift in our thinking and begin to think like evangelists. We need to start thinking, living, and strategizing like missionaries to our local contexts.
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.