“It isn’t my fault!” we say. “I’m not to blame!” we insist. So, we find someone or something to blame. We blame our parents, family, friends or enemies. How can we be responsible when our families were so dysfunctional, or our friends so persuasive, or our enemies so capable? We blame our circumstances. The job was too hard, the hill too steep and the sun was in our eyes.
But God is consistently insistent that we take personal responsibility for our actions. He doesn’t play the blame game. He doesn’t allow us to shirk or deflect. Christians are well served, therefore, to be honest about our failures and clear in who is responsible for our decisions.
Exodus 32 unfolds the intriguing story of Continue reading →
Posted in Christianity, leadership, responsibility, servant leadership, Christian leadership, Uncategorized, words of wisdom
Tagged Christian, Christian leadership, Christianity, faith, leadership, personal responsibility, responsibility
Dictators make poor role models for Christian leadership. Oh, they get things done. Their orders get followed– or else. But they are not the example for what God wants for pastors, teachers, parents or any others who aspire to lead like Jesus.
The cautionary story of Rehoboam in I Kings 12 serves as a reminder that dictatorship is a poor replacement for true servant leadership. Remember the advice given him by his wisest, most experienced counselors? “If you will Continue reading →
Preaching is, for me, like swimming in the ocean. It is an awesome experience if you don’t die!
Nothing is more exciting and nothing is more intimidating. Preaching both charges me up and wears me down. It invigorates and it frustrates. It brings me the agony of labor and the joy of birth. It keeps me up at night and gets me up in the morning. Preaching is big and I know it.
If you are involved in preaching you know something of the dilemma we face. We are tasked with bringing God’s word to man. We are to speak sacred things to sinful listeners. This great responsibility can be a bit overwhelming. But here is what makes it even bigger. We need to preach for transformation.
Nothing is worse than boring people with the greatest news known to mankind. How terrible to think that I can make the gospel sound like average news rather than good news. How Continue reading →
Posted in preaching, Uncategorized
Tagged Baptist, Christian, Christianity, church, Evangelism, faith, God, Jesus, leadership, pastor, preaching, Religion and Spirituality
George McClellan is one of the most frustrating men I know. Well, I don’t really know him since he has been dead for more than 130 years. But I know about him.
I like reading history books because I always learn something that applies to life today. Here are some recently learned (or relearned) lessons from Civil War days and the disappointing life of General George McClellan.
-Early success isn’t always helpful. McClellan entered West Point at 15 and Continue reading →
Seminaries have tremendous influence in church life- for good or for bad. I prefer the good. (Does that make me a legalist?) So, with that in mind, here is my unsolicited advice (which is about the only advice I am usually allowed to give) for seminary leaders and professors.
1. Be practical. Seminary needs to be about more than imparting information. We can be educated, intelligent, knowledgeable and still be terribly ineffective in ministry. Don’t forget that that the goal of the M.Div. is more than just training students to get a Ph.D. Help us prepare to become pastors and staff members and missionaries. Make Hebrew practical. How does it help us preach to a diverse congregation? How can it help us translate the OT into the language of an unreached people group? Go beyond imparting information. Help us apply that information to hands-on ministry.
2. Teach leadership. (See point 1 for more information on why.) Pastors can leave seminary woefully unprepared (yes, woefully, I say!) to give the leadership that will be needed by them in the pastorate. They will be called to give leadership in congregations with great diversity of opinion. (I haven’t noticed any shortage of opinions on what a pastor should do.) Ineffective leadership can lead to dictatorial mandates or waffling indecision or unhappy power struggles. Ministers do have leadership responsibilities so teach us some basic principles that will help us to lead in an effective and Christ-like manner.
3. Recognize the twin dangers of Continue reading →
Posted in Church, education, seminary, Uncategorized
Tagged bible, Christian, Christianity, church, education, leadership, Religion and Spirituality, seminary
I humbly offer the following for your consideration-
“I’m a man on a mission. We recently packed the kids into the family van and headed off for vacation spots. No phones, no meetings, just relaxation. However, I forgot to tell that to my brain.
I get mission-oriented, even on vacation. We have to rush to get to the next place. ‘No dawdling allowed,’ I tell my family. ‘After all, we’re on vacation! We’ve got to hurry to get there. And Continue reading →
Having just finished Chernow’s 830 page book on George Washington, I have some thoughts on what he might have to say to us through his 18th century dentures. (Apparently, not made of wood, but teeth from other people or, at times, from ivory. Note to self. Thank the Lord tonight for modern dentistry!)
1. Your one life can make a difference. Washington was as indispensable a man as ever served his country. I have doubts that anyone else had the combination of ability and gravitas to lead this country through the revolution and founding of the government. Not Adams, Jefferson or any of the rest could have come close to matching George (we are on a first name basis) in coalescing a government and commanding the respect of the citizenry.
2. Your integrity brings opportunity. Continue reading →
Posted in George Washington, history, Uncategorized
Tagged America, George Washington, history, independence, leadership, president, president's day, revolutionary war, Valley Forge, Washington