How do we Preach about Loving God?

Love with all heart picAs Pastors we know that Jesus teaches us to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength (Matthew 22:37; Luke 10:27). But when we attempt to teach this love for God to others, we run into obstacles as ministry leaders. Why is this and what can we do? Continue reading “How do we Preach about Loving God?”

You are My Memory Keeper: A Prayer

memorial-candleO Lord, you say that you keep memory of all my tossing and wanderings; that you collect my tears as if in a bottle so that none are lost to your remembrance. (Ps. 56:8)

I feel sometimes like I have that bottle in my nervous anxious hands and drop the bottle shattering my tears and the memories of me into the floor, dripping into wood crevices and lost forever. And yet that isn’t true is it? I don’t hold the memory of me in my hands do I? You are the one who holds the bottle. You keep the memory of me in your hands. I forget that a lot. It seems like I’m always trying to maintain the memory of me in this world. I’m sorry. I guess, I doubt that you’d really want to hold on to my life like that. I keep expecting you to get fed up and throw the bottle into the wall or something. But you aren’t like that.

I think I’m also prone to remember my worst moments but forget that you did not abandon me but stood strong and advocated for me. Or sometimes, I actually do recall my best moments but then I act like they came about because of me, myself and I, as if I don’t need you or anybody. I’m all over the map Lord! I can’t seem to walk a straight line! Continue reading “You are My Memory Keeper: A Prayer”

Spiritual Remembering, Part 1

Remembering Post it NotesWe need reminders. Our to-do-lists and calendars give us proof enough. We search for car keys. We use someone else’s phone to call ours. Then we listen through the house hoping it will reveal its location. I guess, too, that we’ve learned our forgetfulness the hard way. Lovers too easily forget why they fell in love, successful adults forget where they came from and entire generations can grow up with no memory of the wisdom an older one painfully fought to hold on to.

No wonder we can draw a blank when it comes to God.

“Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” the Psalmist said.
“How do we get started?” we ask.
“Remember,” he answers. “Remember the wondrous works God has done,” (Ps. 105:4-5)

Jesus taught Peter about remembering. We too can learn. We can help others too. Let’s take a look.  Continue reading “Spiritual Remembering, Part 1”

Pastoring Ministry Volunteers, Part 3

selfie

 

A selfie culture can radically mis-shape the way American Christians think about using their gifts and volunteering in local churches.

Let’s look at three selfie influences that damage volunteer teams and ministries.  Continue reading “Pastoring Ministry Volunteers, Part 3”

Tasting the Pleasures of God’s Presence

Screenshot 2016-05-24 09.40.53It is not easy to suggest to someone in our congregation that we learn how to practice God’s presence together. After all, for many, the idea of spending a moment-by-moment life with God doesn’t sound exciting. What if God is annoying or socially awkward; boring, or out of touch? Worse, what if God is like an Uncle who gets scary mean when he’s drunk?  Why would I consider spending every waking moment with him?  Continue reading “Tasting the Pleasures of God’s Presence”

Tending to God’s Nearness

Screenshot 2016-05-16 09.21.45

The largest human questions are sometimes asked in the most ordinary and smallest of places.

“Where is God?” As a little boy, my youngest son Caleb asked this sacred question before bed.
“He is everywhere” I say.
“Is he in my room?”
“Yes, I say, He is here.”
“Is he on my pillow?”
“No” I say, fumbling for words. “Your pillow is like a small flower in his large hands. But he delights in your pillow.
“Is he on my head?” he says giggling.
“No, I say and laugh. I touch his head and rearrange his hair for no reason but love and trying to find words.”He is way too strong to sit on your head without hurting you. But, he created your head with love and care.”

As I turn out the lights and walk across the hall to my room, I’m aware that I’m sharing with my son, a belief that many of his friends and neighbors will not. Like the headline above, some will rightly respond to the arrogance of God talkers by urging greater humility. Yet, what if one can remain opposed to arrogance and still believe that God can be known; Not exhaustively of course but truly? Continue reading “Tending to God’s Nearness”

The Decision-Making Triangle

bermuda triangleWhen I was a boy, the dangerous mystery surrounding the Bermuda Triangle captured my attention. Sometimes a plane or boat would enter the Triangle only to barely and frightfully get through or to disappear altogether. The riddle of the Triangle remains illusive.

As a Pastor, (and a parent) I’ve become painfully aware of what we might call “The Decision Making Triangle.”  Many of our decision-making journeys have ended with just as many riddles. Is there a map that can help us?  Continue reading “The Decision-Making Triangle”

A Forgotten Remedy for the Stress and Fatigue of Ministry

pilgrims-progress-giant-despair The Apostle Paul was physically and emotionally wore out. Fear thunderstormed his soul. Conflict awaited him. He had no rest. Rather than hide this fact, the Apostle gave voice to it.  As pastors, the idea of giving voice to the hurricane that batters against the boarded up windows of our souls feels dangerous. But God has a help in mind.

Continue reading “A Forgotten Remedy for the Stress and Fatigue of Ministry”