I recently finished up the first part of a two part preface to a planned verse by verse exposition of the Gospel of John and this past Sunday, I started on part two. I don’t think that is so unusual, especially among churches where preaching and teaching is taken seriously. In churches devoted to expository preaching introductory messages are often preached before a new sermon series. What is unusual is that part one of this preface was a verse by verse exposition of all of the Servant songs of Isaiah and part two will be an exposition of all of the songs of ascent, Psalms 120-134. … Continue reading
“I’m not a singer”
“Nobody wants to hear my tone-deaf voice”
“I’ve heard cats fighting that sound better than me when I sing.”
In my years of music ministry I’ve heard every excuse in the book as to why someone should not sing. Frankly, it’s often the excuses made that make me cringe, not the voices. As George Sweeting once said, “Excuses only satisfy the one who gives it”.
I don’t believe it honors God to infer that the very thing He created you to do, He messed up. … Continue reading
Dealing with criticism is a common challenge facing all pastors and an especially difficult one for many of them. If you are a pastor, you know what it is to be criticized. If are not a pastor but have one (or more), I can assure you that you are being shepherded by a man (or men) who has dealt with the challenge of criticism.
Last week I gave a message at a small pastors’ conference for the network our church is a part of (check them out!) on this very issue; dealing with the challenge of criticism. It was a good subject for me to work through, since for me personally, the steady flow of criticism has been the challenge that has most frequently led me to question whether I can endure as a pastor for the long haul, and whether I even want to do so. … Continue reading
Disciple-making can be a tough, slow, and arduous process. God tells us, “He who began a good work in you, He will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6). Verses like this remind us people grow on God’s time table. Although our friend has faith in Christ, sometimes the unbelief, wrong thinking, or sinful actions take a while to change. The longer we walk with Christ, the more our responsibilities to be involved in disciple making. As we age in our walk, we recognize the call to be a Titus 2 disciple maker where older men train up younger men to walk sensibly and women share similar responsibilities towards younger women.… Continue reading
“How, then, is true brotherly service performed in the Christian community?” German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer asks this very practical question near the outset of the fourth chapter in his relevant and helpful book Life Together. In an attempt to flesh out the ways Christians are to serve one another in the church, Bonoeffer begins with a ministry that many of us are prone to overlook – the ministry of listening.
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“The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to his Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them.