I Don’t Sing!

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“I’m not a singer”

“Nobody wants to hear my tone-deaf voice”

“I’ve heard cats fighting that sound better than me when I sing.”

“Children turn around and stare at me in church if I open my mouth.”

In my years of music ministry I’ve heard every excuse in the book as to why someone should not sing. Frankly, it’s often the excuses made that make me cringe, not the voices. As George Sweeting once said, “Excuses only satisfy the one who gives it”.

I don’t believe it honors God to infer that the very thing He created you to do, He messed up. Continue reading

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Dealing with Criticism in Ministry

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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

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How to Avoid Disappointing Beliefs

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Disciple-making can be a tough, slow, and arduous process. God tells us, “He who began a good work in you, He will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6). Verses like this remind us people grow on God’s time table. Although our friend has faith in Christ, sometimes the unbelief, wrong thinking, or sinful actions take a while to change. The longer we walk with Christ, the more our responsibilities to be involved in disciple making. As we age in our walk, we recognize the call to be a Titus 2 disciple maker where older men train up younger men to walk sensibly and women share similar responsibilities towards younger women.… Continue reading

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Bonhoeffer on the Ministry of Listening

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“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.

He writes,

“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. 

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Making the Most of Fellowship

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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

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