“Mr. Jon,” my young son asked, “what is the purpose of Skyler’s life?” I gasped with embarrassment that he would ask such a question, and then thanked God for our friend’s response. “Skyler’s purpose is to bring glory to the Lord.” Jon’s daughter Skyler is confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak, yet, her dear father sees a deep purpose in her life - to glorify God. No matter our life’s situation, no matter how much or little we think we can accomplish, God has big plans for us.
Our approachability is vital. Our integrity is at stake.
“Did you read my email?” A ministry friend asked me this question – he was following up on an earlier promotion that had sent me. At times like this you have several choices: lie, act dumb, or admit the truth. By the time the question was posed (truthfully) I could not remember the email correspondence. My answer was, “I cannot remember getting the promotion.”
Are you ever guilty of worshipping yourself? What a disturbing possibility! In his book, Dangerous Calling, Paul David Tripp says, “Perhaps in ministry there is no more potent intoxicant than the praise of men, and there is no more dangerous form of drunkenness than to be drunk with your own glory.” (p. 167)
MEN WANTED FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS, CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOUR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS. Little did those accepted for this job out of the thousands who applied realize how true those words would eventually become.
Years ago I cut an article from a magazine entitled, “In Spite Of.” The writer, J.B. Fowler, was editor of a Christian newspaper. Fowler referenced people who had significant life accomplishments “in spite of” challenging circumstances. Some of the examples he used included:
Have you ever been envious of another church or another minister? Come on, all of us have been affected by such emotions!
As a young preacher I sometimes dreamed of walking in Billy Graham’s shoes. As a pastor I sometimes dreamed of leading the next Saddleback. Our desire to reach such heights varies in intensity and scope, but it is there.
Woundedness: a condition this side of heaven we will all face from time-to-time. Pastors are not immune. I’ve been hurt and you probably have been as well. If you’re a wounded pastor right now because of what someone in your church or family said or did, what should you do? Consider these five critical choices that can help you deal with your hurt.
“But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to become first among you shall be slave of all.” (Mark 10:43-44)
People do not want to follow.
Sorry about that.
Ask anyone clamoring for high political office. They do not want to acknowledge you as their leader and themselves as your followers. So, if you have a yearning to be a leader of people, you automatically have chosen an uphill task.
Several days ago I found myself riding a wave. A wave is one of those times when you feel high, emotionally, spiritually and physically. During this phase I relish ministry and enjoyed little things, such as listening to a favorite preacher.
Email has become endemic to our culture. Without it, it would be difficult to communicate as much as it seems that ministry and the marketplace require. I receive scores of emails every day and I know some pastors and leaders who more than 100 a day. YIKES! It can be a useful tool if used correctly. But it can also be a deadly tool if used poorly. If you want to make matters worse with people you know or within your organization or church, these 12 practices will definitely get the results you want.
Last Friday I came home from work and was struck with a strange emotion, panic. That was unusual. I had not felt such emotion in some time. We Christians are, in theory, supposed to have it all together. And we pastors are to be an example to everyone else. Right!
“I feel like I’m being eaten alive by a school of minnows.”
“I felt like I was being stoned to death by popcorn.”
Peter Drucker, one of the world’s greatest leadership experts, once listed what he considered the four hardest jobs in the world. Here are those four: President of the United States, a university president, a CEO of a hospital, and a pastor. Wow, strong words from a wise man. Although I’ve not held the first three jobs, I have served as a pastor for over 35 years. It can be tough and pastors must care for their souls. Consider these 8 ways to refresh your tired soul.
Today while reading J.D. Greear’s book, Jesus Continued, I was struck with a disturbing challenge. The challenge to Do Nothing! This thought was expressed within the context of a chapter on the Holy Spirit.
Greear develops his thoughts from Jesus words to the disciples in Luke 24:29. “I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
Jesus instructed the disciples to Do Nothing but to wait. Doing nothing is not in the DNA of most pastors.
Unity is a powerful force in God’s Kingdom, in our lives, in our families, in a business, and in the local church when it includes five essentials, seen in the great leader Nehemiah.
Every leader wants his or her organization, team, or church to be unified. Without it teams lose, churches flounder, and businesses drift. However, when your group is unified it’s fun, refreshing, invigorating, motivating, and productive.
The great leader Nehemiah could not have completed his massive building project of rebuilding Jerusalem’s wall without unity. Nehemiah 3 lists scores of projects and people involved in the project and gives insight into these five essentials necessary to build unity. I use the acronym
UNITY to make it easy to remember them.
Are you as busy as you think? In looking back at my years of ministry I often struggled with a question: “How busy am I?” All of us know that pastors are extremely busy. That is a fact! However, there have been times when I was my own worst enemy. I perceived myself to be too busy.