Dealing with criticism is a common challenge facing all pastors and an especially difficult one for many of them. If you are a pastor, you know what it is to be criticized. If are not a pastor but have one (or more), I can assure you that you are being shepherded by a man (or men) who has dealt with the challenge of criticism.
Last week I gave a message at a small pastors’ conference for the network our church is a part of (check them out!) on this very issue; dealing with the challenge of criticism. It was a good subject for me to work through, since for me personally, the steady flow of criticism has been the challenge that has most frequently led me to question whether I can endure as a pastor for the long haul, and whether I even want to do so. … Continue reading
“How, then, is true brotherly service performed in the Christian community?” German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer asks this very practical question near the outset of the fourth chapter in his relevant and helpful book Life Together. In an attempt to flesh out the ways Christians are to serve one another in the church, Bonoeffer begins with a ministry that many of us are prone to overlook – the ministry of listening.
“The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to his Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them.
… Continue reading
I am convinced that one of the sweetest and most valuable expressions of God’s grace in the life of a Christian is that of good, godly, truthful friends. The second wisest man ever to have lived seemed to agree when he said: The sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel (Prov 27:9).
Some of the most beneficial conversations in my life have been the hardest conversations I have ever been a part of. On many occasions throughout my life, it has taken the honest and loving rebuke of a good, godly, and truthful friend to help me see some way that I need to change; and nearly every time, what my friends have had to point out in my life have been things I would have never seen with my own two eyes.… Continue reading
There is a simple and deadly serious command to parents, specifically to dads, found in Paul’s letter to the Colossians that I’d like to focus briefly on in today’s post. The verse is Colossians 3:21 and it reads, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart” (NASB).
So simple and yet so serious.
In this portion of Colossians 3, the Apostle Paul is helping Christians understand what it means to live under the Lordship of Christ in their earthly relationships, and at home in particular. In Colossians 3:17, he tells us that we are to do “everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,” and beginning in 3:18 he expands upon what he means by the word “everything.” Everything includes the things we do at home. … Continue reading
Last month by God’s grace, I reached my five-year anniversary as the preaching pastor of my local church and surpassed a decade of vocational pastoral ministry. I realize that this is not an incredibly long time and that compared to many faithful pastors, I’m still a snot-nosed kid with all kinds of things yet to learn. Yet, I actually find it astonishing that I’ve made it this far. Truly, this is all of grace. I say that because I’ve come to realize that being in ministry poses a myriad of threats to a man’s spiritual health.
I remember hearing it said somewhere that ministry will either make you a better man, or a far worse one. … Continue reading