The following post is a raw and passionate reminder to myself of the nature of my calling as a pastor. I wrote these thoughts down some time ago, but return to them on occasion to help me remain focused on most critical aspects of pastoral ministry. In particular, I wrote them down in response to the endless flow of competing voices trying to direct pastors to take up cause after cause. Perhaps what I ended up writing to myself will help you or a pastor you know as well.
You are a pastor and you have a job; a job that you must not neglect; a job that you are called to give yourself to with utmost seriousness and urgency.… Continue reading
Yesterday, my wife Noelle and I celebrated our seventeenth wedding anniversary. It’s an utterly remarkable thing to us, especially considering the fact that just eight years ago we were estranged from one another and headed for a divorce.
We had been married for nine years at that point. By the summer of 2009, I found myself regularly pleading with the Lord to save our marriage, as we were in really bad shape. We didn’t trust one another. We weren’t listening to one another. We weren’t handling the pressure of life and ministry well. And we were desperately trying to maintain the appearance of having it all together. … Continue reading
As my wife and I were boarding our flight from Gatwick Airport in London my cell phone buzzed. It was not a good time to answer it and I knew if it were important, the call would be repeated when we landed in California. Sure enough, as soon as our plane touched down in Los Angeles I turned on my phone and the call came immediately. The news rocked me—my brother Jim had died at home in his sleep—suddenly and unexpectedly. Memories flooded my mind as I expressed to his wife my sorrow for his family.… Continue reading
An old pastors’ adage says, “Those who can’t, go; those who can’t go, teach”—the shortened aphorism for “Those who can’t preach, go to the mission field; those who can’t go to the mission field, teach.” Whoever created this useless and unbiblical proverb deserves appointment as minister of sanitation over church restrooms. This adage contradicts the following truths:
Every man going to the mission field must be able to preach the Word.
No one should go to the mission field as their second or third option for ministry.
We all—hundreds of us—asked God for something good: a baby’s life. Something that would give us an opportunity to magnify his mercy and exalt Jesus together as a church family. Instead, he let baby Tahlia die just a few hours after she was born. Instead of a telling miracle story, we are grieving with our friends who have been left with empty arms.
Every grief is different, and it’s usually unfair to compare one loss with another. But most people seem to acknowledge that grief over a lost baby is in a special category.