Pursuits More Important Than Politics (Reprise)

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Yesterday was yet another election day in the United States; a day when a healthy percentage of the American population visited their designated polling places to lend their voice to decide who will lead and represent our states, for the next couple of years at least.  (Or, they mailed in their ballots weeks ago, which I wish I would have done, but didn’t.)

I wrote this post a couple of years ago on the day of our most recent Presidential election.  I stand by it today, and offer it to you once again, in hope that it will help Christians in some small way to stay focused on things that are most important concerning this life, namely, things that concern eternity and the life to come.… 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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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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Reprise: Being a Spiritual Dad

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I am not a father. I do not have children. My wife and I would love to have children, but God has not permitted that for us in our first 9 years of marriage. Now because I am not a dad, my usual reaction to all books and sermons and being a dad or raising kids is one of checking out. “I am not in that stage of life,” I tell myself. “Therefore, I will move on to other things.” Like I said, this is my usual reaction ….. until a few weeks ago when my pastor preached a sermon on “What Every Dad Must Do” from Psalm 145.… Continue reading

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Fight for Love

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Humans are weird. And most of us realize the added mix of total depravity explains some of our weirdness. Sin even affects believers and causes us to partake in irrational behaviors. One peculiar action we do is our inaction because someone else does it wrong. I’ve engaged many people who balk at the encouragement to love others because worldly people, some associated with that other political party, encourage the world to love others. The world has its own definition of love including characteristics like: lust, self-love, condone everyone else’s desires, don’t tell someone she is wrong, and of course tolerance (which ironically went away after the last presidential election).… Continue reading

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