6 Questions to Help Pastors Assess Their Spiritual Health

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Later this month by God’s grace, I will reach my six-year anniversary as the preaching pastor of my local church.  I realize that this is not an incredibly long time and that compared to many faithful pastors, I’m still a snot-nosed kid with all kinds of things yet to learn.  Yet, I actually find it astonishing that I’ve made it this far.  Truly, this is all of grace.  I say that because I’ve come to realize that being in ministry poses a myriad of threats to a man’s spiritual health.

I remember hearing it said somewhere that ministry will either make you a better man, or a far worse one.  Like Paul discusses in 2 Corinthians 12, the privilege of knowing the Lord and the riches of his revelation, can easily become a source of pride and puff a man up with great conceit.  There is no guarantee that your soul will thrive in ministry; despite the hours you may spend in the serious study and proclamation of Scripture, and the number of people you counsel with the Word, and even the effectiveness of your ministry.  You can actually be a very effective pastor while your spiritual health is failing miserably.  That’s just the way the cookie of God’s mysterious Providence sometimes crumbles.  It is very easy for pastors to do ministry in a way that does not cultivate their spiritual health, and in fact hinders it.  Mining Scripture exclusively for teaching material, giving counsel to others that you do not personally live by, putting in extra hours at the office to escape from other responsibilities, ministering to the church to the neglect of your family; these are just some of the ways you can be very busy as pastor and very unhealthy as a Christian.… Continue reading

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In Praise of Rest

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Rest is a dirty word in our society these days. Self-care? Sure. Hobbies? Of course. Retreats? Why not. But rest? What are you, old or lazy? In the era of smart phones, instant messaging, and constant access the email the idea of “doing nothing” seems if not wrong, at least foreign.

But the thing is when you are resting, you are doing something. You are recovering and recharging and I think most importantly you are breaking routine. And you are doing something very biblical. Of course God rested on the 7th day (Gen 2:2), the Sabbath was commanded for Israel (Ex 20:8-11) and Jesus said the sabbath was decreed for the benefit of man (Mark 2:23-28).… Continue reading

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My Great Ministry Dream

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“We speak often of the wonder of being married till one of us dies.  It has not been trouble-free.  So we imagine ourselves in our seventies or eighties – when divorce is not only sin, but socially silly – sitting across from each other, perhaps at Old Country Buffet, and smiling at each other’s wrinkled faces, and saying with the deepest gratitude for God’s grace: ‘We made it.’” (John Piper, This Momentary Marriage)

“We made it.”  Three simple words that summarize the dream that one brother in Christ has for his marriage.  I confess that I have a similar dream for my ministry as a pastor.… Continue reading

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Reprise: Politics In The Pulpit?

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repubdemI minister in the metropolitan area of Washington D.C. many, even most, of the people in the church have their livelihoods directly tied to the government, and truth be told I used to be a full-fledged political junky. Add to that that I am very conservative in my theology and that when it comes to “social issues” I heartily affirm that the only correct (non-sinful) positions are the biblical positions, and by biblical positions I mean as understood for the first 1800 years of church history. I wholeheartedly affirm that abortion is murder, that all sexual activity outside of the bonds of marriage is sin, that marriage is exclusively between one man and one woman, and that marriage is to be permanent (it is a covenant before God and excepting adultery, Matt 19:9 and abandonment by an unbelieving spouse, 1 Cor 7:15, there are no permissible grounds for divorce).… Continue reading

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Reprise: Sunday Through A Pastor’s Eyes

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SundayFor believers the Lord’s Day worship service is the centerpiece of the week. It is the time when they gather with their church family to praise and worship their King. It is a time of sweet fellowship and of edification. The cares of the world are left behind, songs of praise are sung, prayer requests and praise reports are shared, and spiritual batteries are recharged. But there is one believer in the church who experiences Sundays much different from all of the rest, the preaching pastor. For a pastor it is equally a sweet time of worship and fellowship, but it feels much different.… Continue reading

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