Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Friday Feature – A Great, Challenging Story

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This week’s featured article will allow you to experience a great story. The article itself challenges on an always relevant topic. But it contains a story that moved me as well as the author of the article. As I heard the story told, I wondered if I was the only one moved. I’m glad I wasn’t.

Read the article and be challenged.

Then, see a few of my own comments:

1. It’s okay to be encouraged.

I think a lot of what drives traffic on the internet boils down to controversy and who said what about whom. Scripture tells us that encouragement has everything to do with preventing hardness in our souls and our view of God.

2. The challenge: would you . . . 

If you’re like me, you thought: would I have done that? Great question. Would you? You can answer in your own heart, but many many times I perceive myself to have some justification to NOT stop rather than landing on a reason to stop.

3. Progress.

The author of the article indicates he believes evidence of progress exists. I agree. I remain unconvinced that progress will come on the national or structural level more than it will emerge from selfless acts like the one described here.

Think. I hope you don’t need encouragement to think from this one!

Act. Find a meaningful way to contribute to progress. Maybe, if you’re like me, that involves taking a risk!

Think and Act 1.28.15 – Why I Love My Job

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Ok, it’s not really a “job”. In the sense that I get paid for a certain set of responsibilities, yes it’s a job. But it’s far from a traditional understanding of the word “job”.

Jokes abound describing pastors’ lack of work or work ethic. I’m not here to defend that. Nor will you find here juicy information about specific people.

Instead, what I intend with these brief words lies in the fact that I truly love what I do. I’d say these few things about why:

1. I really do love Jesus.

I’m not afraid to say that. And I hope you don’t take it as “I love Jesus more than you because I’m a pastor.”

I love God and it’s why I love my job. I get to help other people apply the same things Jesus has helped me learn. And, it means I get to learn from others whose lives Jesus is shaping in different ways than mine.

I love to study God’s Word. I’m glad for the Bible. I’m glad for promises I can share with people that don’t rely on the word of a human.

I’m glad for forgiveness. I’m glad Jesus forgives, and I’m glad to be able to be in a role to help others understand and practice that.

2. People = awesome.

Yes, I think people are awesome. People? Yes, people.

Some say ministry would be great if it wasn’t for the people. That’s not a joke I laugh at too much.

Do people make ministry challenging? Do I get frustrated with people? Sure. How many people remain unchallenged by those around them?

But I’m not defending a minimal position, as if the goal of people work is survival. I’m saying much the opposite: people are awesome!

Seeing them succeed. Seeing them come to faith, grow in faith, die in faith. Seeing them choose to overcome challenges and sin. Seeing relationships repaired. None of this comes without challenge, unknown, doubt, and frustration. But it’s worth it.

People are awesome!

3. I love the local church.

I truly feel pain for pastors whose churches have burned or hurt them (not literally burned, I think we’re past that point in history).

I really do love the local church – it has so many benefits! And so to respond to a calling to lead a local church provides a natural fit, foot in sock.

The church encourages me as a parent and church leadership holds me accountable for my actions. The church helps me think, gives me generational perspective, and makes me more effective in my distinct calling.

I love my calling (job) because I love Jesus, I love people, and I love the local church. After all, the church is made up of people, and Jesus is the head of the church!

Think. What should make pastors tick? What distracts pastors from full engagement in what they do?

Act. Any job can give opportunity to share eternal values – look for those opportunities and trust God to help you see how your work is His calling!

Tuesday Rambling 1.27.15 – TOTAL rambling

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No structure, no order, just a bunch of “I think’s”…

  • I think potential leaders should have proven track records – as servants.
  • I think the Cavs made the right moves to adjust the roster mid-season.
  • I think people should be given reasonable time to grow into roles they’re hired to do.
  • I think the calling of a pastor is a total blast. Sure the hours are irregular but the sense of adventure really fits me well.
  • I think people should evaluate more often whether they’re passionate about something or just going through the motions.
  • I think everyone should have senior citizens in their list of regular contacts.
  • After putting faith in Jesus Christ, I think committing to functioning as a member of a local church is one of the greatest things anyone can do.
  • I think petty family disagreements keep people from enjoying the relationships God has for us.
  • I think it is really hard for Christians without a poverty background to understand those who live in it.

Monday Challenge 1.26.15 – Rest, Treating People Well, Abortion Rate, A Great Story

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Be challenged today. Have a look at some great thoughts to make you think!

Link of the Week – A Great Story

This article includes some challenging thoughts and a great story. Let the story challenge your heart as it challenged mine. Thank you Mark Ford for sharing!

Question: How would you have responded in the story told in this article?

The Measure You Use

We all perceive and evaluate each other differently. Kevin DeYoung challenges us using a timeless Biblical principle.

Question: What measure do you use?

The Falling Abortion Rate

The abortion rate is falling. This article takes a look at a few reasons why.

Question: What about this article do you find most compelling?

Porn and Sex Trafficking

Not a great heading, I know. But in many ways porn and sex trafficking exist as one and the same. Walt Mueller encourages us to challenge our hearts and minds to think about why.

Question: Will you speak out against porn as much as you will against trafficking?

Sabbath Rest

Get some rest. Here are seven reasons to help you think about the why and the how. Reason #7 help a lot!

Question: How much do you rest? Does this article help you think about changes you could make?

 

Friday Feature 1.23.15 – One Secret to Squashing Anxiety This Year

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I admit, I was attracted to the title of this article. I tend to get anxious from time to time, so I wondered what advice the author would give. So did other Monday readers, making it the most clicked article from Monday’s post, and making it this week’s Friday Feature:

The 1 Secret to Squashing Anxiety this Year

Please read the article first. Then, see a few of my own comments below.

1. Calvin is not detached by experience.

He may dwell in history many years back, but reading his experiences should give weight to his words. This theologian meant what he said. He endured much and had a real weight to his words.

2. Anger wears anxiety’s mask.

I can relate to this. I remain convinced of the power of anxiety and anger to most challenge my sanctification. When events have us uptight and unsure, anger can fill the hole and make a false, shifting foundation.

3. Worship always remedies in temporary ways.

Calvin, Ann Voskamp, nor I would ever intend to write a one-time prescription for anxiety. “Just focus on the glory of Christ one time and all is forever cured” would prove shallow.

If the events which bring anxiety only came once, this prescription might work. But at times they feel like waves, so we must learn a patterned response of allowing Christ’s glory to speak louder than the anxious chorus of voices demanding our attention and stressful response.

Christ endured and suffered perfectly. All anxiety He could have experienced He laid at the feet of the Father. That is how he stands perfectly ready to accept all our anxiety. We must repent of our sin and trust that Jesus has more capability to control than we do.

So, as often as the anxiety comes, we must worship just as much. Would you agree this is precisely why God commands His people to stay together and to worship regularly. In regularly remembering the mighty acts of God, we learn to trust those more than our own perceived might.

Think. Describe the roots of your anxiety.

Act. How can dwelling on the glory of Christ speak specifically to your anxiety? If you’re unsure, ask a trusted friend to help you see.