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

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

Is Preaching the “Heart” of Worship?

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

Hi-def Leadership in a Hi-def World: Attributes of Godly Leaders

IMG_0003High-definition (or, Hi-def, or HD) refers to increased visual resolution as compared to the commonly used standard of resolution. This involves twice as many scan lines per frame, a proportionally sharper image, and a wide-screen format. In other words, this technology produces a sharper, clearer image. Therefore, a Hi-def view of Christian leadership should present a clearer understanding of what leadership involves. As an aid to examining the characteristics of Christian leadership, I have outlined my thoughts by means of “HI-DEF” as an acronym:

  • Humility
  • Integrity
  • Discipline
  • Excellence
  • Faith

Humility

As Andrew Murray pointed out in Humility and Absolute Surrender,[1] neither failures nor sin can produce humility.… Continue reading

Ministry in a Nutshell

PlantingPlanting and waiting.  That, I am learning, is the essence of biblical ministry.  It is perhaps the most important lesson I have been learning over the last few years, at least as it concerns my life as a pastor.

Of all the things that I long to see happen in, around, and as a result of my ministry, I have no power whatsoever to make happen.  I cannot save a single soul.  I cannot make a single Christian more like Christ.  I cannot cause a single saint to endure to the end of his life in faithfulness to Christ.

Beyond these things, I cannot heal a single marriage. … Continue reading