I was a young, energetic high school freshman football player. All enthusiasm, no experience. We were punting and I was running downfield to cover the punt, foolishly looking up to see where the ball was. Wham! I was knocked flat by an opposing player rudely taking advantage of my vulnerable state.
Know what I did next? Well, first I rolled around on the ground trying to get my bearings and calling out for my mother. But, eventually, I did what every football player must do at times. I got back up.
Football players aren’t the only ones who get Continue reading
“Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5
So much of behavior begins with attitude. If you have a wrong attitude it will likely result in wrong behavior. And, conversely, if your attitude is right you are likely to get to the right actions.
I’ve tried to teach this lesson to my children and now to my grandchildren. I am working to help my church see this. And, I’m especially trying to get myself to see this truth. Attitude matters.
Here are two important lessons I want to teach myself and others about attitudes. Both come from this beautiful verse found in Philippians 2:5, “Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus.”
1.Your attitude is a decision. Attitudes, like actions, come out of your own choices. The bible tells us to “adopt” the attitude that Jesus has. I love the word “adoption”. Our family is in the process of adopting even now. Adopting a child means that a child who was once not part of your family now is part of your family. You choose to adopt a child and the status changes. Continue reading
Posted in attitude, Christianity, encouragement, faith, humility, Uncategorized
Tagged attitude, Christianity, faith, family, life, ministry
“Demas has deserted me.” 2 Timothy 4:10.
I am curious about this biblical character, Demas. His name is only mentioned three times in the New Testament. But there is intrigue and mystery and disappointment surrounding him. What happened? Where did it go wrong?
Demas is mentioned in Philemon 24. Paul mentions him along with other, more prominent names like Mark and Luke. He is one of those Paul calls a “coworker.” It suggests Demas traveled with Paul, shared the gospel with Paul and planted churches with Paul. It leads us to believe that he started well in ministry and made a valuable contribution to the kingdom of God.
Colossians 4:14 says, “Luke, the dearly loved physician, and Demas send you greetings.” It seems just a bit odd Continue reading
Posted in bible, Christianity, encouragement, faith, minister, minister burnout, Uncategorized
Tagged bible, Christianity, faith, ministry, service
I’m finishing preaching a series of messages through the book of Colossians. What a great book of the bible! The last chapter tells the names of many who are obscure to all but the most ardent of bible scholars. There are mentions of people like Tychicus and Aristarchus and even the only mention of a man named Jesus who is called Justus. (Talk about a tough name to live up to!)
These verses, and other places with similar lists, remind us that the bible is filled with the names of people who are not so well-known. You may know about Paul and David and Moses, but perhaps not about Benaiah or Epaphras or Ehud the left-handed Benjaminite. Those names Continue reading
Posted in bible, encouragement, preaching, servant leadership, Christian leadership, teaching, Uncategorized
Tagged Christianity, church, faith, God, ministry, service
“Now Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the Lord, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.” Ezra 7:10
This verse first jumped out at me while in college. I underlined it in my devotional reading (A habit I still employ) and used it to teach children’s church (I still apply my sermons to children- and to immature adults). It has been meaningful to me and perhaps you will find it to be that for you.
Note that Ezra “determined in his heart” to do three things. That is, these are the commitments that Ezra made and actions he vowed to take. Perhaps you might make the same determination in your heart.
First, Ezra determined Continue reading
Posted in bible, bible study, prayer, small groups, Sunday School, teaching, theology, Uncategorized
Tagged bible, bible study, Christian, Christianity, church, faith, ministry, obedience, teaching
I saw an old pastor friend recently. I don’t know exactly when you should start calling a pastor “old” but he was well past his 80th birthday, so I guess he qualifies. He retired from the full-time pastorate some years ago due to health but remains busy as an interim pastor and preaches frequently in those in between times. And he is doing great work for the kingdom.
I want to suggest that our old pastors have great value for our generation. And, I suggest that our younger pastors would do well to get to know, love and appreciate some older pastors–before they get there themselves!
Here are some reasons young ministers- and the church as a whole- should value our older ministers and Continue reading
I’ve noticed several cases of minister burnout recently. Maybe these cases are more common, or perhaps the nature of social media has caused me to see these cases more readily. But either way, it is cause for concern.
I’m concerned for a couple of reasons. One is because I am a pastor and I know something of that danger in my own life. I’d like to avoid this problem and be able to remain effective in God’s work. Another reason for concern is because I love the church and those who lead the church. They matter to God’s work in our world and they matter to God. I grieve to see my fellow ministry leaders sidelined no matter the reason.
Let me suggest some reasons for minister burnout and what can be done to help alleviate this problem.
1. Ministers are wearied by conflict and complaint. Ministers love people and want to help them. But their very love for people makes them vulnerable Continue reading