Posts Tagged ‘pastoring’

Letters To My Sheep: I Need Sunday

~Maybe you’re not like me and don’t have weeks you would rather forget.  Like last week for me. It’s not that anything was awful, but maybe the accumulation of struggles, disappointments, frustrations, etc…
~Maybe you’re not like me and don’t deal with illness or illness your family.  Last week, Ethan & Kara both stayed home from school during because they had some type of  stomach bug.  Though I never came down with it, I suspect I was dealing with something as I felt bad most of the week from Wednesday – Sunday.
~Maybe you’re not like me and don’t wrestle with the sometime difficult dynamics of personal relationships.
~Maybe you’re not like me and don’t have professional disappointments.
~Maybe you’re not like me and don’t find yourself getting cranky, or irritated, or mildly depressed, as I realized I was becoming as the week wore on, even though there isn’t any particular big reason for it.  I really started to feel it when my installation of some quarter-round in Ethan’s room took a frustrating turn on Saturday afternoon.  It wasn’t that big a deal and I was trying to do something productive – even though I didn’t feel great – but I realized I just needed to stop.
~Maybe you’re not like me and don’t lose perspective by letting small things become big things.

~And maybe you’re not like me and don’t need Sunday Worship as much as I do.  Sunday’s are obviously a big part of my job – while much happens behind the scenes, Sunday is when most of you see me being a pastor.  And so Sundays, in some ways, are just something I do.  That is one of the hazards of ministry – letting what we do become who we are (that’s true for anyone really).  I didn’t realize how much I needed to worship until after I got home from church on Sunday afternoon.  Usually, I am emotionally, physcially, and spiritually drained after teaching, preaching, and pastoring on Sunday afternoon.  That’s another thing that comes with the territory.   But Sunday was different.  I felt energized and felt that my countenance had been lifted – I felt different than I had all week.  But more than mere feelings, as important as those may be, something else was going on.   Here are five things I think about why I needed last Sunday’s Worship and every Sunday (whether I realize it or not).

  • I was doing what I was made to do.  I don’t mean my job/vocation.  I mean giving glory & praise to our Lord (makes me think of this – Q. Why did God make you and all things?  For His own glory).
  • Worship gives and restores perspective – through our songs, our prayers, the Preached Word (even and especially if it’s coming from my mouth!), the Sacrament of Communion, our fellowship, etc…
  • Worship isn’t about forgetting our troubles, but about our being transformed from the inside by our Sovereign Lord.
  • Worship, when we recognize that it is corporate, also helps to see that we are not alone in our challenges & struggles.
  • Worship places our focus squarely where it belongs.

~Maybe you’re not like me and don’t need Sunday Worship as much as I do, but I think you probably are.  Even if you don’t want to admit it.

Sunday Sermon: The Sovereignty of God in Election

You can download an mp3 of this Sunday’s sermon from Romans 9:19-29 here.  (available for the next seven days).  One note about the recording:  the Scripture Introduction and Reading are on a separate track and so not on this sermon.  I dislike this because it should all be one track since it is all a part of the sermon.

Theme: God is not God if he is not Sovereign.

You know you are a mega-church pastor if…

you use a helicopter to get between the various sites where you preach.  Unfortunately, the neighbors don’t like it and the city council said to stop.  This happened in Virginia Beach: read about it here.

July Books

Goal <to read 52 completed books in 2008> Update:  27 – That puts me off pace a little bit, but it’s just a goal.

  • Thunderstruck by Eric Larson:  This might be considered literary non-fiction.  Larson tells two stories that become interwoven at the end of the book.  One story is about Marconi and the development of the radiotelegraph.  The other story is about Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen and his famous crime at the turn of the century. Larson is a good story-teller, but some of the more technical portions (especially regarding Marconi) are not as smooth and thus detract from the overall enjoyment of reading – at least for me.  It was interesting Overall, it was an enjoyable read.
  • The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly:  I have been reading Connelly’s Detective Bosch series for awhile and have always enjoyed his writing and storylines.  This book has a very different character as the protagonist: a criminal defense lawyer.  This was a reasonably quick read for me and I have one complaint:  I wish Connelly had kept one of the main characters shrouded in a little more mystery (particularly regarding their guilt or innoncence).
  • The Art of Pastoring:  Ministry Without All the Answers by David Hansen:  This, by far, is one of my favorites reads this year.  Hansen writes about pastoral ministry in a way that is often lacking:  his focus is on the “being” of ministry, much more than the “doing.”  In this way, Hansen reminds me of another favorite author: Eugene Peterson.  This is a must read for pastors and would also help lay-people understand more the life of a pastor.  I also recommend Hansen’s Loving the Church You Lead.

I am still reading William Still’s The Work of a Pastor and am interested to compare these two books on pastoring.  So far, the content is similar, but the delivery of that content is very different (Hansen is a story-teller for one).

Also reading:  Manalive by G.K Chesterton  (the Vanity Fair picture below hangs on our living room wall)