Hello, my name is Zach, and I am a nobody. I am a pastor of a church of about 150 people. I have not written any books. I don’t have a podcast. You won’t hear me on the radio. I don’t preach at conferences. I am quite certain that if you are reading this blog and 1) are not a member of my family, 2) a member of my church, 3) a personal friend, nor 4) one of the other writers of this blog – you do not know me from Adam. A high-profile pastor or ministry leader, I am not. I observe the happenings of high-profile Christians and Christian ministries from afar; from the “cheap seats,” as they say. And in recent days, there has been quite the abundance of noteworthy happenings to observe, many of them rather troubling, at least from where I’m sitting.
I have no desire to dive into any of the particular happenings I’m referring to. You likely know what kinds of things I’m talking about. Sex scandals. Firings. Debates about the value of third-party reviews. Apologies for public statements. And things like these. I have no inside track perspective about any of these things, and I am woefully under-qualified to wade into public debate about who should’ve done what, and when, and why. But, watching a number of recent situations involving high-profile pastors and Christian leaders unfold, is leading me to a number of conclusions. And I thought there may be some value in sharing those thoughts here. So, here goes…
The spiritual dangers that
attend wide visibility & influence are myriad.… Continue reading
In late November of last
year, I wrapped up what turned out to be a two-year and two-month study of the
book of Romans; a letter that many students of the Bible have regarded as the
Apostle Paul’s magnum opus and one that a particular pastor even calls “the
greatest letter ever written.” (His
words, not mine. Given that I’m just not
sure how to square those words with the plenary inspiration of the Bible, I’d
rather call Romans “one of the greatest letters ever written.” But I digress.)
After spending over two solid years in a single biblical book, it can become easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. It was for that reason that I decided to cap off our study of Romans with a simple outline that I hoped the folks at our church could store away in their minds for further meditation upon the truths we explored in our study. Some have shared that this outline was helpful to them, so I thought it may be worth passing on to you.… Continue reading
Fellowship. It’s such a rich and meaningful word in the Bible, and yet a somewhat generic catch-all term in the vernacular of modern Christians. What is fellowship? In Scripture, fellowship is a word used to describe the common life that Christians enjoy with one another, as those who have been brought into a reconciled relationship with God through Christ by grace. Entire books have been written to flesh out this one word, given the depth and breadth of its use in the Bible.
If we were to do a study together of the concept (not just the word itself) of fellowship in the NT – at least as it concerns fellowship between Christians – we would see five major themes emerge from that study. … Continue reading
Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a handful of conversations and heard a number of my friends express sentiments that reveal an ironic situation, namely, that many Christians are finding it more difficult than ever to remain focused on Christ during the Christmas season. Amid frantic last-minute shopping trips, home decorations, meal preparations, family gatherings, and holiday parties, the Christ can become almost entirely eclipsed by all of our Christmas activity. I’ve lost count of the number of times this year alone, that I have heard other Christians express their desire to remain focused on Christ this Christmas. This is obviously a good desire, but how do we do it? In this brief post I want to suggest one simple way to help keep yourself and your family (if you have one) focused on Christ this Christmas: Attend your local church’s Christmas Eve worship service.… Continue reading
If there is anything I’ve learned over the last decade of life and ministry, it is that everyone is dealing with something big. Everyone has fallen in some way. Everyone is struggling with sin (or willingly giving into it). Everyone needs grace. And yet, it is striking that most of us seem to have such a hard time admitting these things personally, with any real detail. We tend to treat our personal struggle with sin as a thing to conceal, rather than as a thing to confess.
Several years ago, a good friend of mine counseled me with a penetrating tidbit of wisdom that I will not soon forget. … Continue reading