This is not the image that most readily comes to mind when we think of pastoral ministry. Nobody flocks to pastor's conferences to learn about this. But it is incredibly important.
On this Reformation Day anniversary, here is a reflection on sola fide for the pastor and an encouragement to shepherd "by faith, and not by sight."
We don’t begin by the Spirit and continue by the flesh (Gal. 3:3). We are not followers of Christ-and-something-else-ianity.
In the beginning, God created my body and mind.
But my heart was without form and void . . .
This mystery is grasp-able because it itself comes near and grasps.
The truth is, you’ve never met a wronged spouse like Jesus.
"The Christian life is the life of sons and daughters; it is not the life of slaves. It is freedom, not bondage. Of course, we are slaves of God, of Christ, and of one another. We belong to God, to Christ, to one another, and we love to serve those to whom we belong. But this kind of service is freedom.
"What the Christian life is not, is…
Discipleship to Christ is very difficult. But it is incomparably joyful.
One of the most valuable sentences in a pastor's arsenal is "I don't know."
There is this really magical thing that happens in homes all over the world. When you first have a child, you want your child to crawl. And then you want your kid to walk. My first child, Audrey, pulled herself to the coffee table. When she got to the coffee table, she began to bounce on her knees, and then she began to coast along. From there she started…
We need the Jesus who loves us in our Genesis 13 moments and our Genesis 12 moments.
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—- unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance…
- 1 Corinthians 15:1-3
To be gospel-centered is to be Christ-centered. But as it pertains…
When you have Christ, you have everything.
In the pastoral ministry world, we sometimes get the impression from the Bright Minds Among Us that only losers quit. Well, maybe so. But Jesus came for losers.
Two sweet words start the reversal of our will and fate.
If God came as a vulnerable, needful, weak baby, we have no need to fear for our own vulnerability, needfulness, and weakness.
He emptied himself so that we would not see our own emptiness as a hopeless cause.
Many things can and will make us happy.
There is no joy but in Jesus Christ.
"To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives or children or the company of earthly friends are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but the scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but the streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops; but God is…
He's not sighing or sulking. He is more eager to forgive than we are to sin.
Too often we envision “successful ministry” and pour our energies and affections into seeing that vision become a reality.
There is no sin so great that God's gospel is not greater still.
The grace of God in Jesus Christ meets all of our needs and satisfies our deepest desires.
In the end, the Incarnation is not for analysis but for worship.
What we see in the wonder of the God-Man is a miraculous extension, not reduction!
When we go through something difficult, that is typically when we begin to question whether God is actually good, whether he's actually remembered us, whether he even cares, if we're even saved!
If the emphasis of our preaching is on being more like Jesus and not on the good news of grace despite our not being able to be like Jesus, we end up actually achieving the opposite of our intent. We inadvertently become legalists, actually.
Every word of Scripture from Genesis 1:1's "In" to Revelation 22:21's "Amen" is le mot juste.
The ferment of the gospel needs the wineskin of the church.
This short checklist reflects the irreduceable complexity of true Christian preaching.
So you keep going. Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. What’s the definition of insanity again?
You don't need "more" to be satisfied in God.
Open yourself to hard questions, challenges, conflicts in opinions, loving rebukes, and constructive criticism. People who only tell you what you want to hear are not your friends and are doing you harm.
But Moses' hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.—Exodus 17:12
Yesterday I sat with Natalie and read to her from 2 Corinthians (at her request)…
Pastoral ministry is about souls, not stats. If your number of souls grows, fantastic. To God be the glory. Let’s just remember that we are responsible mainly for the care of the souls, not the accumulation of them.
(35) Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (36) But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. (37) All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. (38) For I have come down…
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.—1 Thessalonians 5:23
Not a single one of us is a perfect repenter. And not a single one of us ever will be. I do believe we cooperate in the work of our sanctification, working out what God…
It seems that every week brings more stories of abuse occurring on church premises. We are hearing about this more and more, and there should be no doubt that the problem is actually more prevalent than what we see reported. And quite often in retrospect these cases reveal not simply mistakes made but systemic dysfunctions in a church community and a church's discipleship culture.
Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."
- Luke 17:20-21
In Jesus' day, the Jewish world was fractured into factions, each of which sought to…
The chapter and verse numbers in the Scriptures are not inspired, of course, but there is something about Genesis 8:1—specifically in the phrase "But God remembered Noah"—which is a nice correlation to Romans 8:1…
When you are stuck, deep, despondent, or in despair, think back to what God has delivered you from in difficult times past.
Turning prayers for material provision inside out.
About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way.—Acts 19:23
That is what we long for, deep down. That the Spirit of God would move afresh in our day with wonderful, healing disruptive force—that he would upend our self-regard and self-sovereignty, that he would come into our temples where we trade the currency of excuses for our sins and present such tidiness in our self-righteousness…
In our play we create and imagine and therefore tap into the very creative heart of God.
It was not justice for the state to sanction same-sex marriage. It is in fact injustice, because it sanctions as "righteous" what God has called unrighteous.
So how can a pastor work to protect himself from crashing and burning? Incorporate the necessary ministry rhythm of RBM.
You shouldn't trust your illustration to do what only God's word can.
If everything is exciting, nothing is.
A glorious throne set on high from the beginning
is the place of our sanctuary.—Jeremiah 15:12
As overwhelming as our trials can be, as enveloping as the darkness appears, as deep as the floodwaters grow, we can find solace of heart in knowing our souls are safe in a place bigger, broader, deeper than any distress. Our place of safety is no refugee tent thrown together…