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Retired, but Still Productive

As an "aging" Pastor of 93, I feel relatively qualified to pass along to you a few suggestions for offsetting those feelings of boredom and non-productivity which we all share once we have lost the allure of "going out to pasture."

Pastors
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Life in the Candidate Waiting Room

It’s time we talked about one of the most agonizing experiences of preparing for ministry: that of waiting for a call. Seminary graduates who are declared by synod as candidates for ministry enter into a period of searching, researching, and waiting. For a number of years they have been dreaming of serving

Pastors
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Annual Home Visits and Small Group Participation

In working with congregational leaders, I often point out that the ultimate goal of congregational care is discipleship – helping people mature in Christ.  This too is the ultimate goal for the annual home visit, even though few churches do this well consistently. For this reason, some congregations have replaced the pastoral care activities of elders with an emphasis on small group ministry.

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The Whole of God's Mission

What picture comes into your mind when you hear the word “missions?”  Does the picture change when you read “missio dei? Or missional?”  Recently I had someone rather vigorously object to the term missions.  For him the missio dei was a good thing and missions were evil.  I’ve had similar...

Pastors
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It's Closin' Time

Leonard Cohen sings a long, complex song called “It’s Closin’ Time.” It’s full of varied images and scenes that evoke life’s excitement, unpredictability, the rare possibility of controlling much, but dealing with it without anxiety. Sort of like The Network. 

Pastors
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A New E-newsletter...For Pastors

Today we’re starting a new, weekly e-newsletter for pastors in the CRC.Why? If you are like many pastors we know, your email inbox fills up fast. Too fast. And we are partly responsible. Consolidating the announcements we send you into a single email allows us to reduce the number of mailings without cutting you off from information you might want and need.But this isn’t just about sharing announcements. It’s also about pastors sharing with each other...

Pastors
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Easter Meditation: What Good is the Resurrection?

Denying Jesus' resurrection started the day he arose. It’s natural to deny the resurrection. We modern folks like to get to the root of things. And at the root of all things biological is that life will end in death. That's all there is, folks. There ain't no more.

Pastors
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Lenten Meditation: Praying in Lent--and Always

Many say Lent’s 42 days mesh with Jesus’ 40 days of desert temptation by the devil. He was sustained by praying. Lent is still a time for praying. When do you pray? Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nobel Prize winning novelist, was once asked when he prayed. Singer famously answered, “"I only pray when I'm in trouble. But I'm in trouble all the time, so I always pray."

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The New Old, Old Story

This is the time of year when we start (or ought to!) thinking about planning for preaching, worship and teaching for the school/church year starting in September. I invite you to take a good look at the website for The Story to learn about what I think is a very worthwhile potential preaching, worship and teaching

Pastors
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Two Books--Reviews: Both Bouquets and Near Brickbats

Over the last month or so Mars Hill pastor Rob Bell’s Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived has garnered much pre-publication attention. A colleague told me that it has been discussed on page one of CNN.com and that it is vying with none other than Justin Bieber for attention.

Pastors
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A Word from the Library

We are “people of the Book and of the Word.” All good books, all good words derive from the Word of God, living eternally in the Word made flesh before time began. We as preachers and members have a happy duty to train ourselves in good words used carefully—not just in sermons, but in reading, promoting literature. Church libraries can help. Can we help church libraries?

Pastors
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Have You Ever Abandoned Your Vocation--or Been Tempted To?

David, a member of Jesus' family, was “a man after God’s own heart.” Great Big Sea sings in one sad song, “Time makes the strongest tree to bend. Kings and queens have no defense. Time brings all things to an end.” It could be the end for David in 2 Samuel 11 and 12: He QUITS being king. We read, “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war . . . 

Pastors
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Pastors Losing Family Members to Death

How do churches and pastors carry on after an immediate family member has died--whether suddenly or after an illness? I know two colleagues whose wives have died in automobile accidents and another whose young daughter died after a long illness. They were all faithful servants. Their congregations treated them well before and following those tragedies but . . .

Pastors
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The Love of God in Belhar?

The Belhar Confession IS important—isn’t it???? Are we quiet about this because we’re thinking? Or are we quiet about it because we’re not really engaging in the discussion except to say we’re “fer it or agin it”? I pray it’s not the latter . . .

Pastors
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A Bit More on NOT Tweeting

Early on in the stone age of The Network (about ten months ago), I blogged about why I did not tweet and rarely use my Facebook page. My use of those social networks has not changed appreciably since then.

Pastors
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An R-Rated Epiphany Story

The names in Matthew 1:1-17 give a thumbnail sketch of Jesus’ family. Don’t skip them; look up their names and stories in the Bible. All in some way point to or reveal Jesus, who redeems people and the world from sin. But some point very crookedly. 

Pastors
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Jesus in Every Book of the Bible--and on the Internet!

We hear a lot about wicked and dangerous stuff on the internet. But God is the Lord of all technology, including the internet, which can be used for much good. I'm going to invite you to check a four-minute video below of an enthusiastic eleven-year old boy powerfully declaiming in a service at Salem Lutheran Church, Tomball, Texas. (If the introductory frame actually introduces the speaker, he is Jack Stockton.) Here young Jack he names all 66 Bible books, mentioning briefly how each book reveals Jesus.

Pastors
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Conflict: Inevitable, So Learn to Understand and Lead Through It

On the Church Administration Network colleague Sheri Laninga has posted a blog with this fine article from the Alban Institute about understanding and managing conflict in churches. er you read that article and chew on it a bit, let me suggest that you go to this remarkably closely-related YouTube video about understanding leadership and being a "differentiated leader."

Pastors
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Christmas in the Rear-view Mirror

The week before Christmas was supposed to be easy. On my Monday off I took a pick-up load of scrap metal to Adelstein’s Recycling and pocketed $129.60; more than paid for stocking stuffers for the children and grandchildren who would start trickling in on Wednesday. They’d stay till December 27. Menus were planned, groceries bought.

Pastors
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Twelve Years of Christmas in Chicago

Christmas really is about giving and receiving. One Christmas gift I never thought about receiving till Army time was the forgiveness that the Christ child was born to give by giving up his life.

Pastors
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More on Mall Music--Hallelujah, Amen!!

As some or many of you know, that YouTube video I linked in this blog two weeks ago of Chorus Niagara singing "The Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah has "gone viral," as they say. With over 13,000,000 hits and counting, this stirring piece has captivated millions for a few minutes--or more; 13,000,000 is more than one-third of the population of Canada.

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