It is because preaching is not exposition only but communication, not just the exegesis of a text but the conveying of a God-given message to living people who need to hear it.John Stott
This past year has been quite an adjustment in many ways. I’ve been adjusting to the demands of being back in school. This is the first time I’ve gone to school while working “full-time.” I always thought I worked a lot in college and seminary but the increased level of responsibilities at the church in combination with the higher academic expectations of PhD courses has been daunting at times.
I’ve enjoyed teaching more regularly at Nansemond River Baptist Church. In fact, I just uploaded a recent series on “Discipleship” under the resources tab. I’ve been very happy to watch our church embrace a vision of shared leadership. I must say that I pastor alongside some of the most talented and godly men on the planet. In addition, the church has been very receptive to the Scriptures. I believe NRBC has a bright future as a church that embraces the Great Commission in every area of life.
This summer has been busy as we took the teenagers at NRBC to camp. Also, we’ve been using Dare2Share’s “Gospel Journey Maui” curriculum on Wednesdays. The thoughtfulness and openness of the discussion among our students has been an encouragement. I sense a desire among them to embrace a radical vision of obedience to the call of Christ.
On a personal note, Whitney and I have also been adjusting to a lot of things. Whitney will be starting classes at William and Mary this fall to pursue a Master’s of Higher Education. In addition, she starts a new job at W&M on August 18. She is very excited about all of these changes but they are changes nonetheless. In addition, God has been teaching Whitney and I a lot about risk, obedience, faith, and contentment. We are wrestling with what it means to leverage our marriage for the cause of Christ. It is scary to ask such questions but we are convinced that whatever we must sacrifice is well worth the reward.
I hope this fall will allow me time to post my musings on life, culture, mission, and miscellany. I know I have some music and book recommendations and I am rarely want for an over-the-top rant.
Thanks for reading.
I recently read the allegations regarding Eddie Long, Atlanta-area mega pastor. These allegations regarding sexual immorality are saddening though not much surprises me anymore. Long has been under investigation in the past for financial impropriety.
I am not interested in humiliating or insulting Long nor am I making a judgment regarding his innocence or guilt. However, I recently came across a thread on Facebook regarding this topic and wanted to provide a little bit of Biblical guidance. Read for yourself what some were saying:
I agree that we should examine ourselves and be slow to judge. God is the ultimate judge. However, this idea that we are NEVER to judge or never to make moral statements regarding the sin of other Christians is ridiculous (and unbiblical). Judgment is an integral part of being a Christian and being part of a faith community. Think about Paul, he spoke very clearly about how to deal with immorality within a church (see 1 Corinthians 5)! We are called to judge the Christian within the church! Furthermore, we must banish any nonsense that the “pastor” is God’s anointed and is beyond judgment. As a pastor, I pray that my brothers and sisters (my coworkers in the gospel) will be firm in holding me accountable.
I recently read this article about various pastors and worship leaders at Christian churches who have embraced atheism. It is amazing that someone can get to such a position of leadership in a church without evidence of genuine salvation. In addition, these pastors/worship leaders have kept their atheism a secret to maintain the income that comes with their church position. The “atheist pastors” continually are affirming that they had to be “honest” with themselves about what they believe. Apparently, that “honesty” does not include full disclosure to their congregation.
This is particularly depressing news, the kind that makes me think the situation with the “American” church is grim.
Thankfully, my hope is in Jesus and not dishonest “pastors.”
Their customer service structure is so segmented and dysfunctional that I’m surprised anyone can get home phone or high speed internet service from them.
I am convinced that Verizon’s customer service setup is intentionally designed to make their agents and customer helpless. Follow me on a verbal reenacment:
First, the customer calls the Verizon customer service hotline and is greeted by an automated voice. Automated machines are not bad IF THEY WORK! After ten or so minutes of going through every possible automated menu the customer is reduced to screaming at a non-sentient machine asking to speak to a human being!
Finally, a customer service agent answers (after another five minutes of ’90s elevator music). The customer service representative is inevitably sweet, sensible, and harmless. However, they have no actual power to do anything. Customer service can merely transfer you to the appropriate department. There is no one stop problem solver. After talking to repair, billing, dispatch, dsl, phone… there is no end in sight. A mile wide and an inch deep.
Are you feeling the beginnings of my frustration?
After experiencing this situation I couldn’t help but compare it to my role as a pastor/elder in the church. I think there are a lot of lessons about communication and problem solving to be learned. The most significant lesson I learned was about empowering people to fulfill their duties. You have to trust the people in your company to use their wisdom, creativity, and skills to solve-problems and do their job. You cannot always limit them to pre-programmed responses.
In the same way, as a pastor, my job is to “prepare God’s people for works of service” (Eph. 4:12). I think that churches often try to function like businesses and corporations with a top-down hierarchy when the Bible speaks of unity and equality. To be sure, there are leaders in the church, but they lead with a humble example and the result is that other Christians are equipped to do ministry. Each Christian is a fully-called, fully-capable, fully-commissioned minister of the gospel