Tag Archives: Pastoral Resources

Perfection Not Required

“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.”

“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” – Luke 18:11, 13

Looking for Perfection?

God doesn’t use perfect people; He uses REAL people. Yet sadly, within the church, there are many men and women who have felt inferior and useless because of sinful and broken pasts.

They are the people who sit on the pews, week after week, doing all they can to be faithful in life, but are forbidden to hold positions in the church.  

They are much like the Publican, men and women who know they have failed before, but want to be forgiven and start new.  They are not the ones that look down on others for mistakes they’ve made. 

Genesis of Dysfunction

A while back I read through the book of Genesis in a couple of sittings.  Reading a book of the Bible that way, especially in a different translation, can help you see the story from a new perspective.  This time I was just astounded at how messed up these people really were!  There was so much “stuff” going on that if it were today, it would make an episode of Jerry Springer look tame!

Consider, if nothing else, the sad story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel. This was a seriously messed up family with real marital problems.  At one point, Leah and Rachel get into a jealous argument over a son’s mandrakes.  Just imagine you were a marriage counselor and listened in to the following story…

Reuben went out during the wheat harvest and found some mandrakes in the field.  When he brought them to his mother, Leah, Rachel asked, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”  But Leah replied to her, Isn’t it enough that you have taken my husband?  Now you also want my son’s mandrakes?”

“Well,” Rachel said, “you can sleep with him tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.”  When Jacob came in from the field that evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come with me, for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.”  So Jacob slept with her that night. – Geneses 30:14:16 HCSB

Check this out…

  • Twice Abraham told other people that his wife, Sarah, was his sister so that he would not be harmed.
  • Joseph’s brothers hated him and sold him to traveling salesmen.
  • Jacob and Esau were seriously at odds.
  • Leah, poor thing, kept trying to have children so that her husband, Jacob would love her.

And there’s more!

  • Jacob’s father-in-law, Laban, got him drunk on his wedding night and gave him the wrong wife – on purpose.
  • The son’s of Jacob (founders of ten of the tribes of Israel) lied to a bunch of men about making a covenant, then proceeded to slaughter all of them after they had convinced them to be circumcised.

It just goes on and on.  Messed up, I am telling you! MESSED UP!

Nevertheless,

God told Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”  How is this even possible?  

If God can use Abraham and his family with all their problems to bless the nations, then He can use ANYBODY!

 

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Filed under Abortion, abuse, Christian Living, Do not judge, Faith, General Observations, legalism, Relationships and Family, Struggles and Trials, World View

Perfection Not Required

Jesus Said…

“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.”

“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” – Luke 18:11, 13

The Perfect Candidate

Imagine that instead of the temple, a Pharisee and a publican walked into a pastoral search committee meeting.  They walk in, introduce themselves, and compare resumes.

pharisee and publicanWhich one do you think would be offered the position? I believe it would be the one who meets the average preconception of what every Christian fit for service should be. I believe the Pharisee, the one with the perfect resume and appearance, would be the first considered.

But God doesn’t use perfect people; He uses REAL people. Unfortunately, there are many men and women in the church who feel inferior and useless because of their sinful and broken pasts. They are the people who sit on the pews, week after week, doing all they can to be faithful in life, but are forbidden to hold positions in the church.  They are much like the Publican, men and women who know they have failed in the past, but want to be forgiven and start new.  

Genesis of Dysfunction

A while back I read through the book of Genesis in a couple of sittings.  Reading a book of the Bible that way, especially in a different translation, can help you see the story from a new perspective.  This time I was just astounded at how messed up these people really were!  There was so much “stuff” going on that if it were today, it would make an episode of Jerry Springer look tame!

Consider, if nothing else, the sad story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel. This was a seriously messed up family with real marital problems.  At one point, Leah and Rachel get into a jealous argument over a son’s mandrakes.  Just imagine you were a marriage counselor and listened in to the following story…

Reuben went out during the wheat harvest and found some mandrakes in the field.  When he brought them to his mother, Leah, Rachel asked, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”  But Leah replied to her, “Isn’t it enough that you have taken my husband?  Now you also want my son’s mandrakes?

Well,” Rachel said, “you can sleep with him tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.”  When Jacob came in from the field that evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come with me, for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.”  So Jacob slept with her that night. – Geneses 30:14:16 HCSB

Check this out…

  • Twice Abraham told other people that his wife, Sarah, was his sister so that he would not be harmed.
  • Joseph’s brothers hated him and sold him to traveling salesmen.
  • Jacob and Esau were seriously at odds.
  • Leah, poor thing, kept trying to have children so that her husband, Jacob would love her.

And there’s more!

  • Jacob’s father-in-law, Laban, got him drunk on his wedding night and gave him the wrong wife – on purpose.
  • The son’s of Jacob (founders of ten of the tribes of Israel) lied to a bunch of men about making a covenant, then proceeded to slaughter all of them after they had convinced them to be circumcised.

It just goes on and on.  Messed up, I am telling you! MESSED UP!

Nevertheless,

God told Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”  How is this even possible?  

If God can use Abraham and his family – with all their problems – to bless the nations, then He can use ANYBODY!


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Filed under Abortion, abuse, Christian Living, Do not judge, Faith, General Observations, legalism, Relationships and Family, Struggles and Trials, World View

A Sight Worth Visiting: Fallen Pastors

Hey everybody!

Listen, I was doing some reading and came across a blog I think more people should read. It’s called Fallen Pastor (Finding Restoration In a Broken World).

Maybe you’ve known a pastor or minister who has fallen, who has walked away from ministry, because of some moral failure. Sadly, there are more than people think. Maybe it happened to you. Fallen Pastor has something for everyone in any ministerial position.

For that matter, Fallen Pastor has some strong advice for everyone.

Seriously, I was scrolling through the list of posts on Fallen Pastor and was shocked that there were not more “likes.” As a matter of fact, Fallen Pastor has been around for several years, and yet there are barely 100 subscribers! That is sad!

Ray Carroll, the blog’s author, was a pastor who “fell from grace” because of an affair. But instead of walking away from God, as many do in these situations, Mr. Carroll has taken the opportunity to help and challenge others.

Consider this sampling of posts from Fallen Pastor:

So, my friends, go check out Fallen Pastor; there’s a lot of good stuff posted there.

Consider subscribing, too. We need to encourage our pastors, even those who have made mistakes.

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Filed under blogging, Marriage, ministry

Exchanging Time for Power

Continuing in the theme of the last couple of days, I read something last night that hit me like a brick regarding preaching. You see, I have been reading a little book by Andrew Murray (1828-1917), Living a Prayerful Life. I should have read it years ago.

In one paragraph Murray sums up what is probably the single-most devastating reason why our/my preaching is not more powerful and effective than it is.

I pray that each minister of the gospel might understand that he has received this precious space of time from God in order to wait on Him! God must have for fellowship with himself the first and the best of our time. Without this, our preaching and our service will have little power. Here on earth I may expend my time in exchange for money or learning. The minister exchanges his time for divine power and the spiritual blessing to be obtained from heaven. That, and nothing else, makes him a man of God and ensures that his preaching will be in the demonstration of the Spirit and power.*

We are only given so much time. Like currency, we can use it to purchase for ourselves many things, like pleasure, satisfaction, wealth, knowledge, etc. But how much of it do we use to purchase power from the Holy Spirit? How much time to we spend in prayer?

Oh, this is so convicting, is it not? Why is there not more power from the pulpit? Because we are wasting time, flittering it away, spending too much of it on things which we, as ministers, need not. What we need MOST is a “demonstration of the Spirit and power!”

It’s past time we exchange our time in prayer. Pastors, the Church (in America, at least) is weak, and it’s our fault!

 

* Murray, Andrew. Living a Prayerful Life. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2002, p. 96.

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Filed under America, ministry, Preaching

Sunday Morning Dread

It is Sunday morning…early Sunday morning. It’s after 1 am in the morning and I am sitting here at my computer not wanting to go to sleep…not wanting to face tomorrow…the sooner I go to sleep, the sooner I must wake up.

Oh, you’ve got to be asking, “Anthony, I thought you were a pastor! Why don’t you want to face Sunday morning?”

Some of you…you know who you are…are reading this and thinking, “I can’t wait to tell somebody so they can tell somebody so they can tell his deacons, he-he-he.” I hope the Lord gives you an incurable case of the fleas.

Others know the struggles, the weariness, and the feelings of inadequacy a pastor endures. A few of you know what we’ve been going through, lately. A few of you understand it’s not about what we can do, but what God can do through us; therefore, encourage one another as you see the day approaching (Heb. 10:25).

But if I know that God will work through me, despite my weakness and frailty, why dread the morning? Why not look forward to the Lord’s day?

It’s because I’m human; I don’t want to fail. Many times the Spirit moves in ways we never see, but men want to see results, numbers, baptisms, etc.

Murmuring wearies me, too. Remember when Moses struck the rock?

But it’s not about me, is it? No, it is about the One who died for me, forgave me, called me, filled me, and wants to use this cracked, tarnished, chipped, and leaky vessel of clay to pour out a blessing unto His flock.

If the Christian did not sometime suffer heaviness he would begin to grow too proud, and think too much of himself, and become too great in his own esteem.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV

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Filed under Do not judge, Faith, ministry, Preaching, self-worth

Perfection Not Required

“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.”

“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” – Luke 18:11, 13

Looking for a Pastor

Imagine that instead of the temple, a Pharisee and a publican walked into a pastoral search committee meeting (like we have in the Baptist denomination).  They walk in, introduce themselves, compare resumes, and one gets the job.

pharisee and publicanWhich one do you think would be hired? Answer (typically): The one that fits the picture of what every Christian fit for service should be – perfect.

But God doesn’t use perfect people; He uses REAL people. Yet sadly, within the church, there are many men and women who have felt inferior and useless because of sinful and broken pasts.  They are the people who sit on the pews, week after week, doing all they can to be faithful in life, but are forbidden to hold positions in the church.  They are much like the Publican, men and women who know they have failed before, but want to be forgiven and start new.  They are not the ones that look down on others for mistakes they’ve made. 

Genesis of Dysfunction

A while back I read through the book of Genesis in a couple of sittings.  Reading a book of the Bible that way, especially in a different translation, can help you see the story from a new perspective.  This time I was just astounded at how messed up these people really were!  There was so much “stuff” going on that if it were today, it would make an episode of Jerry Springer look tame!

Consider, if nothing else, the sad story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel. This was a seriously messed up family with real marital problems.  At one point, Leah and Rachel get into a jealous argument over a son’s mandrakes.  Just imagine you were a marriage counselor and listened in to the following story…

Reuben went out during the wheat harvest and found some mandrakes in the field.  When he brought them to his mother, Leah, Rachel asked, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”  But Leah replied to her, Isn’t it enough that you have taken my husband?  Now you also want my son’s mandrakes?”

“Well,” Rachel said, “you can sleep with him tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.”  When Jacob came in from the field that evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come with me, for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.”  So Jacob slept with her that night. – Geneses 30:14:16 HCSB

Check this out…

  • Twice Abraham told other people that his wife, Sarah, was his sister so that he would not be harmed.
  • Joseph’s brothers hated him and sold him to traveling salesmen.
  • Jacob and Esau were seriously at odds.
  • Leah, poor thing, kept trying to have children so that her husband, Jacob would love her.

And there’s more!

  • Jacob’s father-in-law, Laban, got him drunk on his wedding night and gave him the wrong wife – on purpose.
  • The son’s of Jacob (founders of ten of the tribes of Israel) lied to a bunch of men about making a covenant, then proceeded to slaughter all of them after they had convinced them to be circumcised.

It just goes on and on.  Messed up, I am telling you! MESSED UP!

Nevertheless,

God told Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”  How is this even possible?  

If God can use Abraham and his family with all their problems to bless the nations, then He can use ANYBODY!


4 Comments

Filed under Abortion, abuse, Christian Living, Do not judge, Faith, General Observations, legalism, Relationships and Family, Struggles and Trials, World View

Pooped Pastors

At first you may think it strange to combine the words “pooped” and “pastor,” but for many it is an every day reality. The fact is that there are more pooped pastors, ministers, elders, etc., than you can imagine. That is why I would like to introduce you to…PoopedPastors.com.

Loneliness Kills

Let me be as serious as I can be – being a loner is deadly. That is why it is so important for those in church leadership to have friends they can trust. However, what most people fail to understand is that pastors have a very hard time making close friends.

There are limits to what we can share, and with whom we can share it. The burdens we carry, many times, have to be held in the strictest confidence. Besides our Savior, there are some times we literally have no one else to talk to. This can lead to feeling isolated, alone, and depressed. Some have even committed suicide.

You may think, “Well, why don’t pastors just get some help?” It’s not as easy as you think, believe me. For instance, when a person needs encouragement, the pastor is there to offer Scripture, prayer, and hope. Who does the pastor go to when he is discouraged? The parishioner? Does the pastor want to discourage the very people for which he is burdened?

When the shepherd is lost, does he ask the sheep for guidance? Not usually. The sheep would run away! A pastor with a heart for souls will even find it hard to talk with a professional counselor for fear of turning that one person away from Christ. So, he stays silent. But there is hope…

PoopedPastors.com

Dr. Steve Brown and I at a fundraiser for Harvest USA

If you are a bona fide pastor or minister, there is a place for you to go and be yourself. You don’t have to worry about what others think when you express your frustrations, your worries, your fears, or your doubts. Pooped Pastors is a place where you can communicate with others who are walking down the same road. It is not meant to replace flesh-and-bone friends, but it can help. I have been a forum member for about 3 years, and I am eternally grateful for what it has meant to me.

Anonymous

What is so unique about Pooped Pastors? Well, Dr. Steve Brown (Key Life Ministries) started this site in order to encourage those who minister. There are many helps and links that are useful, but the hallmark of the site is the pastor’s forums. There, once you are confirmed to be who you say you are (they check), you are assigned a personal number (yes, you become just a number). Once you have your number, you can log into the forums and feel the refreshing breeze of freedom. You don’t have to worry about sharing what’s on your heart. You can be 100% honest, and no one will come asking for your resignation (but don’t go too crazy).

Pass the Word

If you are a minister, please go visit Pooped Pastors. If you are not a minister or pastor, tell your pastor about it. Let him know you are praying for him and that you want him to be encouraged. Write the web address down and give it to him, or, as you know, he’s likely to forget (I’m just say’n).

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Christian Unity, Do not judge, God, ministry, Preaching, Relationships and Family, Uncategorized