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
Yesterday was yet another election day in the United States; a day when a healthy percentage of the American population visited their designated polling places to lend their voice to decide who will lead and represent our states, for the next couple of years at least. (Or, they mailed in their ballots weeks ago, which I wish I would have done, but didn’t.)
I wrote this post a couple of years ago on the day of our most recent Presidential election. I stand by it today, and offer it to you once again, in hope that it will help Christians in some small way to stay focused on things that are most important concerning this life, namely, things that concern eternity and the life to come.… 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
“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.
“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.
… Continue reading
I am not a father. I do not have children. My wife and I would love to have children, but God has not permitted that for us in our first 9 years of marriage. Now because I am not a dad, my usual reaction to all books and sermons and being a dad or raising kids is one of checking out. “I am not in that stage of life,” I tell myself. “Therefore, I will move on to other things.” Like I said, this is my usual reaction ….. until a few weeks ago when my pastor preached a sermon on “What Every Dad Must Do” from Psalm 145.… Continue reading