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Tag Archives: pastors

5 Common Mistakes Pastors Make at Christmas

It is hard to be a Christian at Christmas – especially for pastors and leaders. Why? We can blame the culture, the powers and principalities that want to cut us off from Jesus, or the unrealistic expectations people place on us. While these are indeed factors, the primary responsibility rests with how we understand our role as leaders. These are 5 common mistakes we make: 1. We skimp on our time with Jesus in our work for Jesus.  As a result, we preach revelations about the eternal Word of God assuming human flesh without the time to swim and worship in the wonder of it all. The pressure of too much to do, in too little time, causes us to push a button into an “autopilot” spirituality. We speak of profound spiritual realities, but our hearts slowly shrink. What can we do? Follow Jesus by going off “to a solitary place and pray” (Mark 1:35).. Read more.

Sifting, Suicides, and Pastors

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32 (NASB)   The steady stream of pastors and leaders leaving the ministry due to sexual or financial scandal has not changed in decades. What is most alarming, in recent days, however, is the rash of lead pastors committing suicide. Judas committed suicide. Jesus Himself knew that temptation as well: “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death,” he said (Matt. 26:38). I believe most Christian point leaders who carry the weight of a ministry or church know the struggle of wanting to die. I sure do and remember times, in my 26 years as Senior Pastor of New Life, that I was not sure I wanted to (or could) drink the “cup” that was before me.   Jesus’. Read more.

Sabbath: Resisting Powers and Principalities

Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy…Remember you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a outstretched hand. Deut. 5 This issue of Sabbath is a global problem – from Africa to North America to Asia to Europe to Latin America to Australia/New Zealand. We as pastors and leaders must come out from the slave driver, the Pharaoh, that lives inside of us and dominates our culture. Imagine the violent anxiety the Israelites must have felt for 430 years in Pharaoh’s workaholic system. They were always busy and frenetic. They constantly had to prove they were worthy of being alive based on producing more bricks. We may be free physically from Pharaoh, but he continues to live inside of most of us. Our families of origin, along with Western culture with its emphasis on “bigger and better,” keep us working faster and faster. We. Read more.

Sabbath: Resisting Powers and Principalities

Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy…Remember you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a outstretched hand. Deut. 5 This issue of Sabbath is a global problem – from Africa to North America to Asia to Europe to Latin America to Australia/New Zealand. We as pastors and leaders must come out from the slave driver, the Pharaoh, that lives inside of us and dominates our culture. Imagine the violent anxiety the Israelites must have felt for 430 years in Pharaoh’s workaholic system. They were always busy and frenetic. They constantly had to prove they were worthy of being alive based on producing more bricks. We may be free physically from Pharaoh, but he continues to live inside of most of us. Our families of origin, along with Western culture with its emphasis on “bigger and better,” keep us working faster and faster. We simply. Read more.

New Zealand (Pilgrimage Reflection #4)

How is our trip going? It is a bit complex to give an easy answer, but the following are a few ponderings. 1.     We have deep rhythms of silence and solitude that we need to acknowledge. See my previous blog for more on this.  What does an “emotionally healthy, global partnership tour” look like? What are the unique factors that have to be built in – at least for us?  How does the gift of limits apply to Geri and I as we step into this new arena? 2.     We cannot develop and release a movement of EHS abroad  – it must be God’s doing, not ours. There is great expectation for the movement of EHS as it continues to spread. We will continue to offer our few loaves and fishes, (Ps. 127) as a mustard seed and let Him take care of the rest.  It is a wonder that a number of churches and denominations were. Read more.

Sabbath and the False Self

Henri Nouwen writes in The Way of the Heart that “solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self.” He explores how we can fashion our own desert where we can withdraw (since we are not in a monastery), shake off our compulsions, and cultivate a life in the presence of the Jesus. “Solitude,” he writes, “is not simply a means to an end. Solitude is its own end. It is the place where Christ remodels us in his own image and frees us.” Nouwen notes that since our secular culture does not offer us spiritual disciplines, we have to cultivate our own. “We are responsible for our own solitude,” he argues. I believe the baby step to begin the pathway to this kind of transforming solitude is Sabbath-keeping. I have yet to find a detour around this. Read more.