Advice I Needed To Hear As A Young Pastor

I have been in full-time vocational ministry for almost 10 years. Though I am still young (34) I don’t necessarily see myself as a young pastor anymore. I wish I had read Zach Eswine’s words when I started and I’m thankful to have read them today! If you are a young pastor just starting out in ministry, please take a few moments to read his advice and let it soak in:

“As you enter ministry, you will be tempted to orient your desires toward doing large things in famous ways as fast and as efficiently as you can. But take note. A crossroads waits for you. Jesus is that crossroads. Because almost anything in life that truly matters will require you to do small, mostly overlooked things, over a long period of time with him. The pastoral vocation, because it focuses on helping people cultivate what truly matters, is therefore no exception.” (Zach Eswine in The Imperfect Pastor)

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Monday Musings (8-21-17)

Coffee cup on Black

  • Yesterday’s message was a difficult one as we discussed the sin of partiality from James 2:1-13.
  • If you missed it you can listen to it here.
  • I was deeply convicted by the message in my study time.
  • Our world is built on the sin of partiality.
  • We oftentimes don’t even realize it is present but it is there.
  • It is sin.
  • We must confess it and we must kill it.
  • There is nothing more antithetical to the gospel than partiality.
  • The ground at the foot of the cross is level.
  • Paul is crystal clear in Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
  • Showing partiality or favoritism is an assault on the gospel.
  • Every single person is created in God’s image and in desperate need of a relationship with him made possible through Jesus.
  • I enjoyed all the eclipse festivities today.
  • Our family took time to look at the eclipse…through approved glasses of course!
  • We also ate moon pies and drank Sunkist in celebration.
  • Well it’s time to get back after it!

Monday Musings (8-14-17)

Coffee cup on Black

  • We had a great day yesterday as we continued working thorough the book of James.
  • The message was titled “Hearers & Doers” and covered James 1:19-27.
  • If you would like to listen to the message you can do so here.
  • I have loved the two weeks we have spent in James so far and I’m excited to keep working through this intensely practical book.
  • I spent some time addressing the issues that transpired in Charlottesville, VA over the weekend.
  • If you missed this news story you can catch up with this article in the New York Times.
  • Racism is not dead in America.
  • The fact that white supremacists and neo-Nazis still exist is a reminder of the fallen world that we live in.
  • This world needs Jesus and this weekend was a stark reminder.
  • Racism must be called out and condemned.
  • It is sin.
  • It is impossible for us to hear God’s Word and not call out what happened this weekend as sin.
  • I took off for an early morning run today.
  • I enjoyed sweating a bit and watching God’s creation wake up.
  • The sunrise was beautiful.
  • I’m so thankful that while I slept, God worked.
  • He held all of creation together and I thought nothing of it.
  • Rest is good.
  • It reminds us that we are not God.
  • It reminds us of our deep need for Him.
  • I have been reading a great book lately.
  • 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You by Tony Reinke
  • Here are a few quotes that stuck out to me.
  • “If we worship idols, we become like the idols. If we worship Christ, we become like Christ.”
  • “The object of our worship is the object of our imitation.”
  • I would encourage you to grab this book!

Monday Musings (7-3-17)

– Happy Monday friends!

– I pray you had a wonderful celebration of the resurrection of Jesus yesterday!

– We certainly did at North River Church.

– I began a new sermon series through the book of Jonah yesterday.

– If you are so inclined, you can listen to the message here.

– Even though it was a holiday weekend we still had a great time of worship and a great response.

– Oftentimes, pastors can get discouraged on holiday weekends because of low church attendance.

– However, vacations are important for both the pastor and his people.

– Everyone needs an opportunity to break away from normal life and rest for a bit.

– Rest is good and rest is godly.

– Ultimately, we find true rest in Jesus.

– Vacation is not a time to rest from Jesus but in Jesus.

– Last week I did a bit of redesign work on my website.

– I cleaned up the look a bit and changed the name of the site.

– I also began reading a new book over the weekend called 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You by Tony Reinke.

– Wow!

– It is rocking my world.

– Tony’s research and biblical insight is fantastic.

– You need to read this book!

– Tomorrow is July 4th – Happy Independence Day!

– I’m looking forward to a slower day with family and friends.

– We are blessed to live in the USA.

– Enjoy your Monday!

Discovering The Joys Of Audiobooks

I love to read and try to set myself up to read a couple of books each week (as measured by a year-long approach). I typically have 6 or so books going at the same time and read about 10 pages per day in each book. I organize my reading in 6 categories: Personal Growth/Soul, Pastoral Ministry, Theology, Counseling, Fiction/Pleasure, and Christian Biography. Currently my reading list looks like this:

Personal Growth/Soul: The Rare Jewell of Christian Contentment (Jeremiah Burroughs)

Pastoral Ministry: Preaching (Tim Keller)

Theology: The Meaning of Marriage (Tim Keller)

Counseling: The Trellis & The Vine (Colin Marshall & Tony Payne)

Fiction/Pleasure: The Twelfth Imam (Joel Rosenberg)

Christian Biography: D.L. Moody: A Life (Kevin Belmonte)

I have known that audiobooks were available through a variety of sources but had never thought I would enjoy listening to a book. Boy was I wrong!! I decided to try the 30 day free trial at Audible a couple of weeks ago. They offer one free credit that allows you to download one book. You can continue the monthly subscription after the free trial for $14.95/month for 1 credit (1 book) or $22.95/month for 2 credits (2 books).

audibleBeing a bit skeptical, I decided to pick a book that I knew would keep my interest and one that I would probably not buy in hard copy. My choice: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (the founder of Nike). Let me just say I was hooked from the first paragraph. I listened to Shoe Dog while working out and while driving to and from the church office (It is amazing how much of a book I can consume in a 5 minute ride). Our family also took a vacation soon after I downloaded the book and I listened to a good bit of it while we traveled to Virginia. The book was absolutely fascinating and I was blown away by the immense struggles experience in the early years of Nike (originally named Blue Ribbon Shoes). If you are looking for a great read about entrepreneurship and tenacity then read Shoe Dog. Audible’s iPhone app is incredibly user friendly and I have already picked out quite a few books that I want to listen to soon.
librivoxblogfeatureThe only issue I see with the Audible program is that regular priced books are expensive, even with the 30% discount for members. If you are planning to listen to more than 1 book each month it pays to get the $22.95/month plan that gives you 2 credits (2 books). Since I did not want to pay for an additional book I figured I would wait until my next credit drops and then pick one out. But in the meantime I discovered Librivox. This is a website and app that offers free ebooks and audiobooks. Yes you read that right…FREE! There is one major difference between Librivox and Audible though. Librivox only has books that are available in the public domain (not copyright protected). You will not find the latest bestseller on Librivox but you will find many of the classics (you should have read those by now) and other neat works that are worth reading. Currently, I am listening to Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton.

At the moment, I am hoping that I will be able to use both Audible and Librivox to download a couple of books each month. I think 2 books/month will be plenty and the selection both services offer should give a great variety. Truthfully, there are some classics that I need to read and Librivox will push me to read them.

Sorry for the nerdy post about books but they are a huge part of my life and ministry. After all…leaders are readers. If you have never listened to a book take advantage of your free Audible trial or the free books available at Librivox. As always, I would love to hear what you think of audiobooks and which books you are currently reading/listening to!

Cookie Cutter Prayers Miss The Mark (Reading Notes)

“The life that God calls into being in us is enormously various and infinitely complex. Rote responses are not adequate to the dazzling creativity of address that is put to us by God’s word. What is required in us is not that we learn a specific answer to a specific address, but that we acquire facility in a personal language that is accurately responsive to what we hear God say to us out of his word in Scripture and in Christ in our changing situations and various levels of faith. We need a vocabulary and syntax that is sufficiently personal and adequately wide-ranging to answer everything that God says from wherever we happen to hear it within every developing stage of our pilgrimage across the entire spectrum of our lives.” (Eugene Peterson in Working the Angles)

Pastors & Prayer (Reading Notes)

“The inner action of prayer takes precedence over the outer action of proclamation. The implication of this for pastoral work is plain: it begins in prayer. Anything creative, anything powerful, anything biblical, insofar as we are participants in it, originates in prayer. Pastors who imitate the preaching and moral action of the prophets without also imitating the prophets’ deep praying and worship so evident in the Psalms are an embarrassment to the faith and an encumbrance to the church.” (Eugene Peterson in Working the Angles)