Entirely foreign to every sentence of the Bible is the concept that spiritual leadership is a place of power. Though this concept is widely embraced, it is entirely contrary to Scripture. Sadly, it seems to me that a great many Christians and even a great many Christian spiritual leaders have in one way or another failed to understand this. In a typical Bible-preaching evangelical church in the United States, the pastor of the church is not uncommonly regarded by a healthy percentage of its members as the president and/or CEO of the church. Sadder still, this is often how pastors in local churches have come to view themselves.… Continue reading
The relationship between faith and works as it’s described in the Bible is not a very complicated one. “If you love me you will keep my commandments,” says Jesus. “If you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live,” says Paul. “Faith without works is dead,” says James. Or as John says plainly, “Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” At least one major takeaway from all of this is that genuine faith in Jesus Christ – the kind that is required for a person to be brought into right standing with God – is a fruit-bearing faith. True faith in Jesus bears the fruit of obedience to Jesus. And so, a kind of faith that does not bear such fruit, is, in the words of James, “dead.” It is a useless, counterfeit sort of faith that does not save.… Continue reading
You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? (Psalm 56:8)
Yesterday evening my heart was grieved to read the news of the death of Jarrid Wilson; a high profile, 30-year-old pastor from California, who took his own life Monday evening after a long battle with depression. News like this is as tragic as it comes. The darkness of depression is very real, and Christians are in no way immune from experiencing it. Neither are pastors, as Wilson’s death demonstrates.
I didn’t know Jarrid Wilson or know much about his ministry, but I have experienced something of the darkness of depression and deep discouragement in pastoral ministry, and I know that depressed and discouraged pastors are far more common than many understand. One of main reasons that depression, despondency, and discouragement become very real possibilities for those in pastoral ministry is that ministry is filled (as all of life is) with innumerable sorrows that no one in this life will ever see or acknowledge, but God.… Continue reading
One of the oddest questions I get asked is how I knew I was called to ministry. I say it is odd because it assumes some kind of mystical experience by which I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was set apart by God to minister, in a vocational sense, to His people. Simply put, there is nothing in Scripture that indicates that is the way God tells people to pursue vocational ministry.
Now some do have some kind of experience where they suddenly have an overwhelming feeling that they should pursue vocational ministry. But, as in all things, feelings are never to be regarded as authoritative or even necessarily true.… Continue reading
It is true, my wife doesn’t like bacon (I know it is pretty shocking). She doesn’t like green (lime?) dots either. Or Jazz. Or Mel Brooks movies. Or wool socks. All things I love. But that in no way make her less than me, just different than me.
Usually I do the cooking at home. And the shopping. She picks out the furniture and the décor. That doesn’t make me less than my wife, I just do different things in the home.
On Sunday at church, I preach and she prays for me while I preach and sometimes mans the soundboard. That in no way makes me better than her, it just means that we have different roles in the church.… Continue reading