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
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
“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
“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
Every church has its flaws. Significant ones, in fact, since even the best of churches are made up of and led by exclusively by sinners. As a result, if you are a member of a local church, you are bound to be regularly disappointed by something going on within it.
In the local church it doesn’t take long before you encounter people who don’t share your excitement for the particulars of your theology, or who don’t seem to be very zealous in evangelism or very excited about living in “community,” or who are just remarkably ordinary (unlike you, of course). Every Christian comes into the church with expectations regarding what church life should be like, and every Christian who has spent any period of time in the church has experienced some level of disappointment with his/her church from those expectations going unmet.… Continue reading