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Preacher on the Run…

Faith, Family, Ministry, and Everything in between

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Feature Friday (10/05/18)

What a game? It was back and forth all night. The home team had a commanding lead heading into half time, but the visiting team came out in the 3rd quarter and took the lead just before the final quarter. The home team responded and went up by two scores and left the visitors less than 8 minutes of game time to work with. But the visitors responded and went up by one with two minutes to go in the game. The home team got the ball and had to drive 60 yards for a score. They had a crucial 4th and 5 around midfield that they had to convert if their hopes were to stay alive.

All night long the Lions quarterback had been tearing the defense apart both with his arm and by scrambling with his legs. It seemed obvious that he would be the one with the ball in his hands, with the game on the line. The ball had been snapped a handoff was made and after one yard of progress the defense smothered the ballcarrier for the loss. No first down. No continued drive. No hope of scoring. Nothing to do, but watch the time run off the clock.

What was the coach thinking? Why did they not run a different play? Why did they not put the ball into their best players hands? That’s what I would have done. But that’s why it’s easy being a Monday morning quarterback. It’s easy to criticize others when you are not in the game yourself. The same is true of discipleship and the local church. Which is just what Jim Putnam’s article “Don’t Miss This: You Need to Get in The Game” is all about.

“Whether you want to grow spiritually yourself, or disciple someone else to do so, getting involved and serving others is a great way to do it. But don’t just take my word for it – let’s take a look at how Jesus got his disciples in the game to teach and equip them.”

Check out Jim’s article and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash

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Feature Friday (08/10/18)

What do you do on your ride to and from work? More recently I have been discovering, listening, and enjoying podcasts. Up until recently I never had more than a few minutes in a car ride to and from most places. And the times I did have significant time in the car I almost always had someone else in the vehicle with me to converse with. That all change about 4 months ago.

When my family and I moved it meant I know had a 25-30 minute commute to and from work each way. That was a good chunk of time for me to not waste. So I entered the world of podcasts. And I have loved every minute of it. It engages my mind while I drive. It can challenge my thinking and encourage my heart. But the main way I have utilized podcasts is to keep learning how to improve personally, at home, and at work.

Being a pastor and the one primarily responsible for helping people connect and get involved in the church community, assimilation is something I am constantly trying to learn best practices about. Which is why I loved an episode of Rainer on Leadership podcast entitled “Eight Traits of an Assimilated Church“. It will encourage you, pastor or not, on how to best and most effectively help others follow Jesus.

Enjoy the podcast episode and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

Feature Friday (07/27/18)

Family! Anyone who knows me knows that family is high on my priority and value list. Family takes time. It takes energy. Family is not just some ideal that can be talked about and not affect our reality. Having and caring for a family in real life is anything but convenient.  And that is true even if it just you and a spouse. If you add children to the mix it gets even messier (and harder).

But the family is one of the analogies used throughout Scripture to describe the church. The best illustration is in Ephesians 5 when Paul compares the marriage relationship to Christ and the church. Throughout the epistles we see people refer to other followers of Jesus as “brothers” or “sisters”. But remember family is not easy or convenient. Yet so often we want convenience over community.

Convenience is easy. Community is hard. Convenience is about me. Community is about others. Convenience receives. Community requires giving. Convenience is what we want. Community is what we need!

Jesus understood this and evidenced it even in how He cared for His own mother at the end of His life. He knew that for Mary to be cared for like family she would need a community. The same is true for us. Yet living in community, like living in a family, requires time, energy and effort. That is exactly what Christ wants for His bride, the church. That is what Rachel Macdonald unpacks in her article “Behold, Your Mother!

So enjoy some family time this weekend. With your biological family, but also your spiritual family by being with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day! And enjoy the article!

Feature Friday (05/18/18)

This past weekend my senior pastor preached on one of our church’s core values. (You can check it out here). It is the sixth core value we have as a church. While it may not be in the top three, there is one thing that we all quickly realized about this value. One thing that stood out to almost all of us pastors on staff about this value. This core value really defines and describes what our jobs as pastors are all about. So what is the core value?

Paul puts it this way in Ephesians 4:11-13, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,”. We value equipping others to do the work of the ministry. Which brought on a good discussion at our weekly meeting? Who are we equipping? How are we equipping? And what are we equipping them for?

All of these questions really took us to one topic: leadership development. It is a hot topic these days and very much needed, but the truth is the church is the one organization that should be superb at developing leaders. We should eat, breathe, sleep leadership development. Isn’t that what Matthew 28:19-20 is all about? Isn’t making disciples really about making others more into the image of Jesus? And wasn’t Jesus the greatest leader ever to walk the face of the planet?

While we all granted that leadership development is important and we must be doing it. The tough part was how do we develop leaders. There are many systems, formats, and structures to help an organization do that, but I love what Kevin Fontenot and Scott Magdalein discuss in this Thriving Ministry Teams Podcast entitled “Leadership Development Principles for Your Church“.

Enjoy and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash!

Feature Friday (05/11/18)

I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just finished up my first year of college. Freshman year complete and in the books. Now it was time to head home. After one year of “living life on my own” I thought heading home would be nice and that I would enjoy my summer. Well, I did, but there was one thing I experienced that summer that I did not expect. What was it? I missed my church family.

This was a weird and unexpected reality for me, seeing that the church I was “coming home” to I had grown up in since birth. But the reality was for the first time in my life, while I was away at college, I built relationships with other adults who had never known me as a kid and treated me as a friend, adopted grandkid, and more. Thinking this was normal I asked a few of my buddies who had been away at college if they had the same experience. The results of those conversations revealed that I was the outlier. The abnormal one. The one who had a unique experience, but why.

As I dug into these conversations and interacted with my friends throughout the rest of the summer I realized one major theme. All of them believed one of the 4 Myths that Keep College Students from Joining a Church. Which is why I appreciate Jim Davis’ insight in his article.

If you are a college student and probably heading home right about this time of year I have two words of advice: 1) Enjoy your home church this summer (if you don’t have one get one), 2) Begin preparation for next semester – research a few churches close to campus, ask a few college friends where they go, and make a plan for which churches to visit upon your return including dates.

If you are a pastor of a church in a college town or area use this summer to think through and make a strategy on how to best welcome, include, disciple, and give opportunities for college students to serve in the church this next school year.

Enjoy the article and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Feature Friday (11/17/17)

“We have to move.” I remember telling my wife this right after getting off the phone with our landlord. We had been renting this townhouse for the past year and now it was forced upon us to move out. The city we lived in was engineering a new road that would cross right over our current home. They offered the landlord a nice buyout and we were the recipients of an early evacuation notice. But there was an upside to all of this.

We now had the joy and privilege of choosing what part of town we would love in next. And there were many factors to consider: distance to shopping and grocery stores, the safety of the neighborhood, crime rates, and the list went on and on. But there was one factor we did not give much thought to at first but I believe should be a high priority when choosing where to live. Which is where this weeks article comes in handy.

Bryan Ellis shares: The Church Commute: Why Where You Live Matters. I believe how close you live to your church is an important factor when deciding where to put down roots.

Enjoy Bryan’s article and as always be with Thebes Lord’s people on Thebes Lord’s day!

Photo by Brandon Jacoby on Unsplash

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