When 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”
This two-part audio series “Searching for Greatness in Ministry,” is taken from Zack’s recent visit with pastors and ministry leaders who participate in the Spurgeon Fellowship in Portland, Oregon. Out of his daily life in local pastoral ministry, Zack seeks to encourage us in our common vocation in Jesus.
“Ah, look at all the lonely people,” the band sang in the old song.“Where do they all come from?” This question hums with haunted melody, as the song searches out the lonely lives of a priest, his congregant and the church they both serve. Why is it that those who give their days to a vocation charged with the enjoyment, love and glory of God remain so vulnerable to the loneliness and isolation that any human being can feel? Anton Chekhov’s short story, The Bishop, helps us. Without spoiling the story, I’d like to tell you why. Continue reading “Why are we Lonely in Ministry?”
In part one, we talked about how volunteers come with a story. This story shapes their expectations more than they realize. To pastor volunteers begins with managing expectations and helping future volunteers see the beauty as well as the difficulties they may unwittingly bring to a team.
Unwisely, Santa offered a teddy bear to James, unaware that he had been mauled by a grizzly earlier that year.
Receive an email titled, “concerned” or an invitation for dinner in order “to talk,” and a seasoned pastor can suddenly resemble little James in the cartoon above. So it is when someone risks making an appointment with the pastor, risks joining a small group, risks seeking a role to play as a volunteer.
Lingering among silences makes us feel like toddlers entering the nursery on Sunday mornings. When our parent drops us off, we feel abandoned. We either tantrum about, or we cling to anything or anyone that promises to hold us.
Sometimes when I feel that I’m trying to be something I’m not, or pretending that I’m not something that I am, or when I’m losing a sense of clarity regarding what my identity and calling in Christ actually is, I will revisit questions like these. Not all of them will resonate with me at one time or another. But the ones that do provide a strong clue regarding what to pray about.
The man declares, I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and worn out. (Prov. 30:1)
When you hear someone say that they are tired, or when someone says to you, “wow, you look exhausted,” it is time to ask God, “What kind of fatigue am I experiencing Lord?” Rightly diagnosing our particular brand of exhaustion graciously get us more truly and quickly onto recovery’s road. Continue reading “When We Are Worn Out”