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

Friday Feature 4.29.16 – Listen to Small Church Pastors

Saint_Thomas_Evangelical_Lutheran_Church_Freedom_Township_Michigan

So Friday Feature finally returns. I’m hoping to blog a little more consistently now that some major calendar mile markers are in rear view.

The most clicked article from Monday’s post?

Listen to the Little Guy Too.

Please read the article. Then check out a few of my own thoughts:

1. Disclaimers help.

To see Wilson’s disclaimer prevents the reader from making unfair assumptions.

2. I disagree with some of the points.

I know he warns of using generalizations. But from my view the generalizations defeat the purpose of the disclaimers. Hard for me to get past. Shepherding, contentment, and what really matters can be found in all sizes of churches. Wilson seems to say they are more likely to be found in smaller churches. The best case is he really means they can be found where people don’t think they exist. It just doesn’t come across that way.

3. I agree…

differences exist. Different sizes of churches can meet different needs. I think small church pastors should be encouraged. The average evangelical should know more about the culture of the average small church they don’t attend. Leaders of smaller churches can definitely give a different perspective, often helpful.

Think. If you attend a larger church, can you say good things about people and leaders at small churches? Or, if you attend a smaller church, can you speak with graciousness about larger churches?

Act. If the answers to the above questions

Think and Act 4.27.16 – Think With Me About Grief

grief-927099_960_720

Right. Grief. Everyone’s favorite topic.

I don’t want to waste any space, so I’ll just jump right in with some quick reflections from a grief night we had at our church Sunday called “When the Lord Takes Away”.

1. We ultimately grieve as a result of sin.

Sometimes we grieve a loss due to someone else’s direct sin and responsibility. Sometimes we grieve due to Adam and Eve’s sin, which IS (and NO I DON’T mean this as a cliche) the reason messed up things happen.

Some of the worst situations come about when someone has sinned but justice escapes those victimized by the sin.

2. Calling grief an “inward limp” makes a lot of sense.

One of our participants likened her grief to an “inward limp”. What a great analogy. When you limp outwardly, you will do things to compensate. You may lean on a crutch or cane. You may strengthen or weaken other muscles due to the limp. Translate that to the inward affects of grief and you’ll make some great connections.

3. Believers in Jesus Christ grieve with hope.

Overwhelming stories of loss can stun us. But, what happens when hope overwhelms the overwhelming? That’s the truth of Jesus Christ. The hope of eternal life CAN apply to every day and long term struggles. Trusting in God’s sovereignty gives people shelter from doubt, fear, and worry.

I Thessalonians 4:13: “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.”

Think. Why does grief happen? Do you have a framework for processing your grief?

Act. If you’re struggling through grief, keep processing and finding ways to let God lead you and guide you. If you know someone struggling, do your best to help without saying too much.

Tuesday Rambling 4.26.16 – Reflections at 40

birthday-1008396_960_720

Today I turn the big 4-0. Time to ramble:

  • No question I’m a different person than when I turned 30.
  • We added David to our family within weeks of my 30th birthday.
  • We added Jocelyn over four years later and adopted her over six years later.
  • No doubt I have a deeper relationship with God.
  • I have greater freedom from sin than I did ten years ago. I praise God for His work in drawing my heart more toward Him.
  • I have learned to relate to God through better understanding of His Word and trusting His plans.
  • I left the country five times in my 30’s, four for missions trips (once with Julie) and one for a never-forget-it family trip to visit my brother’s family  in Australia. These experiences shaped me in powerful ways.
  • Social media really changed the world during my 30’s. I’ll always remember that.
  • My 30’s brought a lot of pain. I lost my dad less than eight months after hitting 30. Countless tragedies and deaths have marred this decade and jolted my faith at times. Many deaths outside the normal life cycle have deepened my view of and my faith in Christ.
  • It has been a decade of personal growth, as I’ve been fortunate to complete work for a Bible Certificate program and a Master of Divinity degree.
  • God called and has led me through a transition from ten years of youth ministry to now almost six full years as senior pastor. I’d like to think the six years in the senior pastor role have brought additional wisdom.
  • I praise God the decade brought no serious personal health issues.
  • Statistically, I am about half way through my life. I’m anxious to see how God will use me in the coming years. I can only hope for greater

Monday Challenge 4.25.16 – Dementia, Bare Worship, Small Church Pastors

piano

Another Monday! Maybe you think I should lose the exclamation point. I understand if you feel that way. It is, after all, Monday.

I have felt like my blog has been a bit disjointed over the past couple of months. I’ve invested a lot of time outside normal pastor responsibilities to pursuits involving other organizations, school work, blah blah blah…I know you don’t care. My hope is this week will resemble a regular week.

I hope you find these articles challenging. And yes, the highest clicked link WILL be featured on Friday. I promise!

Dementia

This article will help you learn about dementia. The article has a very personal slant to it.

Question: What did you learn from reading this?

Bare Worship

A large conference of pastors with only a piano and 8000+ voices? Sounds like a bare stage to me.  I found These comments from the worship leader helpful. And challenging.

Question: How did this article challenge your views of congregational singing?

Small Church Pastors

I guess I qualify as a small church pastor. So, this challenged the way I think. Maybe it will help you think  about the uniqueness of small churches. And no, I don’t agree with everything in here. Read it!

Question: What do you agree or disagree with in this article?

Eyes for the Lonely

Great piece here challenging our view of people we come across.

Question: Are God’s eyes your eyes?

 

Tuesday Rambling 4.19.16 – The Overwhelming Internet

monitor

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information the internet makes available? Time to ramble:

  • Just in the past week three tragic events: earthquake in Japan, earthquake in Ecuador, massive flooding in Houston.
  • I feel at times like I don’t have the emotional energy to keep up with my own family.
  • How, then, am I to respond to all the news I see on my newsfeeds?
  • Well, honestly, I can’t. You can’t. Does it feel better to say this?
  • Again: it is humanly impossible for us to keep up with everything going on in the world.
  • Add to the tragedy all the notable deaths, crimes, and atmosphere of fear and unknown created by all this reporting, it feels like we don’t stand a chance!
  • If anything, our access to information should increase our prayer life.
  • A great asset of the internet is the increased ability to send financial support quickly.
  • A time might come when God calls us to go. We should never stop seeking His leading.
  • We can send money. We can pray.
  • We should empathize. I have no intention to say we shouldn’t care.
  • But at some point, we need to release the difficulty into God’s hands and influence what we can.