You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears
in your bottle. Are they not in your book? (Psalm 56:8)
Yesterday evening my heart was grieved to read the news of the death of Jarrid Wilson; a high profile, 30-year-old pastor from California, who took his own life Monday evening after a long battle with depression. News like this is as tragic as it comes. The darkness of depression is very real, and Christians are in no way immune from experiencing it. Neither are pastors, as Wilson’s death demonstrates.
I didn’t know Jarrid Wilson or
know much about his ministry, but I have experienced something of the darkness of depression
and deep discouragement in pastoral ministry, and I know that depressed and
discouraged pastors are far more common than many understand. One of main reasons that depression,
despondency, and discouragement become very real possibilities for those in
pastoral ministry is that ministry is filled (as all of life is) with innumerable
sorrows that no one in this life will ever see or acknowledge, but God.… Continue reading
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
Rest is a dirty word in our society
these days. Self-care? Sure. Hobbies? Of course. Retreats? Why not. But rest?
What are you, old or lazy? In the era of smart phones, instant messaging, and constant
access the email the idea of “doing nothing” seems if not wrong, at least foreign.
But the thing is when you are
resting, you are doing something. You are recovering and recharging and I think
most importantly you are breaking routine. And you are doing something very
biblical. Of course God rested on the 7th day (Gen 2:2), the Sabbath
was commanded for Israel (Ex 20:8-11) and Jesus said the sabbath was decreed
for the benefit of man (Mark 2:23-28).… Continue reading