When God Takes a Faithful Servant Suddenly and Unexpectedly

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Pastor Jim Barrick (Feb. 9, 1948 – Aug. 11, 2017)

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

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How much seminary training does a missionary need?

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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:

  1. Every man going to the mission field must be able to preach the Word.
  2. No one should go to the mission field as their second or third option for ministry.
  3. Every man who / must be able to preach the Word.
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Bearing Grief through Truth and Worship

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.

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Reprise: Why I Study

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One of the burning questions that many people long to ask about pastoral ministry is what desk_studydoes a pastor do all week. In the broader culture, there seems to be a belief that pastors have it easy because they only work a few hours on Sunday mornings. While I suppose for some that may be true (which would explain this, if you see it on a pastor’s shelf run!), but for faithful pastors, who truly love Christ and the people He has entrusted to them, nothing could be further than the truth. Although I rolled my eyes when I was repeatedly told in seminary that I would be busier in ministry than I ever was training for the ministry, I am, and truth be told I don’t know a single pastor that puts in less than 55 hours a week and most put in far more.… Continue reading

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Is Preaching the “Heart” of Worship?

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Last week the esteemed Al Mohler reprised an excellent article he originally posted several years ago, “Expository Preaching—the Antidote to Anemic Worship.” I recommend it highly. As the title suggests, he argues that much of the corporate worship in today’s evangelical churches is weak because the preaching is weak. Whether the style is choir-and-orchestra traditional or guitar-and-drums contemporary, it is often the case that “music fills the space and drives the energy of the worship service.” Music, that is, instead of the Word of God accurately preached.

It’s not my purpose here to disagree with this well-made point but rather to build on it.… Continue reading

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