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
This month marks the 500th anniversary of the birth of the Protestant Reformation; 500 years since a Roman Catholic priest and professor of theology published and presented ninety five propositions (“95 Theses”), expressing his points of contention regarding the sale of indulgences. Martin Luther’s straightforward invitation to debate the practice of selling indulgences set in motion a dramatic recovery of the biblical Gospel, which had long been obscured amid centuries of innovative traditions in the Roman Catholic Church.
Since the days of the Reformation, efforts to summarize the key doctrines that under-girded and supported it have often led theologians to the themes of what eventually came to be known as the “Five Solas.” The Five Solas are five biblical doctrines that the Protestant reformers were committed (despite their many differences) to recovering through their teaching and to applying in the establishment of new churches following their divisions with the Roman Church.… Continue reading
In his excellent book, Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts, Jerry Bridges wrestles with the doctrine of God’s Providence as it relates to the difficult circumstances of life. Bridges summarizes the doctrine of God’s Providence this way: God’s “constant care for and His absolute rule over all His creation for His own glory and the good of His people.”
For the sake of understanding, he goes on, “…note the absolute terms: constant care, absolute rule, all creation. Nothing, not even the smallest virus, escapes his care and control.”
To the ears of some, the idea that not even the smallest virus escapes God’s care and control may sound like a fairly radical (and perhaps ridiculous) idea. … 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
In just a couple of days at our Good Friday service, our church will be remembering the death of Christ once again by eating and drinking together in the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is a time for Christians to remember the death of our Lord in a unique way as one family purchased by his blood. It’s a time for local Christian churches to re-calibrate themselves around the reality that through Jesus’ substitutionary death, he secured the forgiveness of sins and right standing with God for us.
In preparing to observe this ordinance, I often reflect upon the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11, where he warns a young, sin-tolerant, and immature church against eating and drinking the Lord’s Supper in an “unworthy manner.” There he writes:
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you.
… Continue reading