Showing posts from January, 2015

The Weekly Fear of Failure

I haven't been a lead pastor long, a few months actually, so all of my experiences are new. I fondly remember thinking of my workload at our previous church and casually thinking (and saying on occasion) "how can being a lead pastor be harder than this?" Well it isn't "harder" per se, but it is different. Different in that there is a weightiness to leading a church and being responsible for the spiritual direction of a hundred people. As I lead I am reflecting on things that I didn't expect and I thought I could share them with you as they come up. Here is the first one, I didn't expect the weekly fear of failure . Now if you know me, I am a fairly confident guy, I don't think many people would describe me as fearful but something strange has happened in the week in and out preparation of sermons that I didn't expect: the fear that I would fail, that the sermon would fall flat. I have to tell you, I am sure it has already happened, and while

The Well Meaning Pastor is the Problem

Not long ago I had a conversation with some young men feeling called to vocational ministry and as we talked of what it means to be a faithful pastor, we mentioned a man we each had interacted with and I found myself saying, "he means well." But meaning well might be the problem. Jim Hamilton has a new post on 9Marks about those "well-meaning" men that are treating Christianity as nothing more than a new form of therapy. "The pastors who pose the greatest threat to the church today will confess belief in the right things. They will confess the authority and inerrancy of the Bible, that Jesus saves, and that he is the only way of salvation..." "They are a threat because, in spite of their confession, their words and actions treat Christianity as nothing more than the best form of therapy. They treat it as self-help. They treat it as the path to better marriages, better parent-child relationships, better attitudes and performance at work, and on and on

Does God Want Weak People?

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV) Jesus' power is made perfect in your weakness. You can admit you are weak. Let the power of Christ rest upon you. It is finished.

Often Surprised by Jesus

"Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” (Matthew 11:2-6 ESV) How many times have you heard this text preached and mulled over? For me, it has been quite a few times. And not all of the sermons or devotions have been the same, but many get to the idea that Jesus is not often who we thought, or perhaps hoped, he would be. He is in fact that much greater, we just don't always see it. It would be hard to see it from prison, which probably meant suffering and as we know of  John the Baptist, death. John hears of what Jesus is doing and he questions if he is the Messiah. Jesus&#

_________ Things in 2015!

I missed the rush of end of year posts closing out 2014. I thought about it. After all 2014 was a significant year for me and the family. We moved to California to be part of Grace Church North County. Ewen turned two. Iona turned five. Stacy and I... let's just say we got older. There were tearful goodbyes and warm hellos. There was really so much life in 2014 that it would have been exhausting just writing it, let alone reading it. Plus, Ecclesiastes was doing a number on my brain so I decided against a year-end post. Then came the barrage of new year posts and the excitement for all that 2015 would hold. Gone were the protests and violence of 2014 and in comes the peace and expectancy of the new year. This is the year that so many people are going to do huge things, run that marathon, write that book, finally get married, go back to grad school or start having children. As I thought about it though, as much as I enjoy the expectant posture of so many people (and I share a great