“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.
I am finding that I need to speak more frequently about why a proper understanding of our church family history is paramount for growing spiritually. (click to see a larger version) I emphasize three critically important, major truths: 1. There was only one church for the first 1054 years. The first major split happened between the Eastern and Western church then. This was followed by the split of the Roman Catholic church in 1517 when Protestantism was born. Since then we have had over 200,000 other splits with countless Protestant and independent churches. So my particular tribe (evangelical) is finds itself far up into the upper right of the above chart. This is not a bad thing but I/we come from a family genogram. We are not the whole church by any means. And the church did not start with Luther, Calvin and the Reformers. 2. We need to learn from other traditions of. Read more.
Can you imagine with me what it might be like if every Christian in our churches understood their identity as the following: “I am in the full-time ministry and I am a first grade teacher.” “I am in the full-time ministry and I am a nurse.” “I am in the full-time ministry and I am a mom at home”? Last week I began a series on Your Life, Your Work and Your Calling. It is one of those truths I have believed my whole life, but recognize that I have not fully integrated into my own life or leadership. The main points of our calling, from Scripture, are simple. 1. Every Christian is fully called. 2. Your calling is your whole life. 3. All your work and life is holy/sacred/spiritual. Everyone, everywhere in everything, by God, to God and for God. The division of sacred and secular spheres has a long, long history (going. Read more.