Promised Pastor Quotes

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I was told The average girl begins to plan her wedding at the age of 7 She picks the colors and the cake first By the age of 10 She knows time, And location By 17 She’s already chosen a gown 2 bridesmaids And a maid of honor By 23 She’s waiting for a man Who wont break out in hives when he hears the word “commitment” Someone who doesn’t smell like a Band-Aid drenched in lonely Someone who isn’t a temporary solution to the empty side of the bed Someone Who’ll hold her hand like it’s the only one they’ve ever seen To be honest I don’t know what kind of tux I’ll be wearing I have no clue what want my wedding will look like But I imagine The women who pins my last to hers Will butterfly down the aisle Like a 5 foot promise I imagine Her smile Will be so large that you’ll see it on google maps And know exactly where our wedding is being held The woman that I plan to marry Will have champagne in her walk And I will get drunk on her footsteps When the pastor asks If I take this woman to be my wife I will say yes before he finishes the sentence I’ll apologize later for being impolite But I will also explain him That our first kiss happened 6 years ago And I’ve been practicing my “Yes” For past 2, 165 days When people ask me about my wedding I never really know what to say But when they ask me about my future wife I always tell them Her eyes are the only Christmas lights that deserve to be seen all year long I say She thinks too much Misses her father Loves to laugh And she’s terrible at lying Because her face never figured out how to do it correctl I tell them If my alarm clock sounded like her voice My snooze button would collect dust I tell them If she came in a bottle I would drink her until my vision is blurry and my friends take away my keys If she was a book I would memorize her table of contents I would read her cover-to-cover Hoping to find typos Just so we can both have a few things to work on Because aren’t we all unfinished? Don’t we all need a little editing? Aren’t we all waiting to be proofread by someone? Aren’t we all praying they will tell us that we make sense She don’t always make sense But her imperfections are the things I love about her the most I don’t know when I will be married I don’t know where I will be married But I do know this Whenever I’m asked about my future wife I always say …She’s a lot like you
Rudy Francisco
As you gave the ring to one another and have now received it a 2nd time from the hand of the pastor, so love comes from you, but marriage from above, from God. As high as God is above man, so high are the sanctity, the rights, and the promise of love. It is not your love tht sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Letters and Papers from Prison)
To her own heart, which was shaped exactly like a valentine, there came a winglike palpitation, a delicate exigency, and all the fragrance of all the flowery springtime love affairs that ever were seemed waiting for them in the whisky bottle. To mingle their pain their handshake had promised them, was to produce a separate entity, like a child that could shift for itself, and they scrambled hastily toward this profound and pastoral experience.
Jean Stafford (The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford)
My primary pastoral work had to do with Scripture and prayer. I was neither capable nor competent to form Christ in another person, to shape a life of discipleship in man, woman or child. That is supernatural work, and I am not supernatural. Mine was the more modest work of Scripture and prayer- helping people listen to God speak to them from the Scriptures and then joining them in answering God as personally and honestly as we could in lives of prayer. This turned out to be slow work. From time to time, impatient with the slowness, I would try out ways of going about my work that promised quicker results. But after a while it always seemed to be more like meddling in these people's lives than helping them attend to God. More often than not I found myself getting in the way of what the Holy Spirit had been doing long before I arrived on the scene, so I would go back, feeling a bit chastised, to my proper work: Scripture and prayer; prayer and Scripture.
Eugene H. Peterson (A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society)
You are likely to see no general reformation till you procure family reformation. Some little obscure religion there may be in here and there one; but while it sticks in single persons, and is not promoted by these societies, it doth not prosper, nor promise much for future increase.
Richard Baxter (The Reformed Pastor)
Faith is lean and ready to starve unless it is fed with continual meditation on God’s promises.
Derek Cooper (Thomas Manton: A Guided Tour of the Life and Thought of a Puritan Pastor (Guided Tour of Church History Book 7))
So here is what I see when we reclaim the church ladies: a woman loved and free is beautiful. She is laughing with her sisters, and together they are telling their stories, revealing their scars and their wounds, the places where they don't have it figured out. They are nurturers, creating a haven where the young, the broken, the tenderhearted, and the at-risk can flourish. These women are dancing and worshiping, hands high, faces tipped toward heaven, tears streaming. They are celebrating all shapes and sizes, talking frankly and respectfully about sexuality and body image, promising to stop calling themselves fat. They are saving babies tossed in rubbish heaps, rescuing child soldiers, supporting mamas trying to make ends meet halfway around the world, thinking of justice when they buy their daily coffee. They are fighting sex trafficking. They are pastoring and counseling. They are choosing life consistently, building hope, doing the hard work of transformation in themselves. They are shaking off the silence of shame and throwing open the prison doors of physical and sexual abuse, addictions, eating disorders, and suicidal depression. Poverty and despair are being unlocked - these women know there are many hands helping turn that key. There isn't much complaining about husbands and chores, cattiness, or jealousy when a woman knows she is loved for her true self. She is lit up with something bigger than what the world offers, refusing to be intimidated into silence or despair.
Sarah Bessey (Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women)
If we console ourselves with the promise of heaven in the afterlife while creating hell in this present life, we have embraced the tawdry religion of the crusader and forsaken the true faith of our Savior.
Brian Zahnd (A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor's Journey Toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace)
God promises to strongly support us when we are weak, so there is no better place for us to be than right smack-dab in the middle of whatever weakness we are beset with, if we are in the middle of it in Christ.
Gloria Furman (The Pastor's Wife: Strengthened by Grace for a Life of Love)
You can’t control God with a time clock. God moves in His own time. He knows what’s best for us even when we don’t and He knows the right time to give it to us. Julia listened attentively to Pastor Leonard. “He knows that if He gives us things prematurely, we won’t appreciate them and we will abuse them. We have to learn how to patiently go through the process. It’s through the process that we learn who we really are and who God is. The process is where He removes the crutches and takes us out of our comfort zone. He does this so He can teach us to completely rely on Him, not on our ability. Trust God through the process. Trust that He knows what’s best for you. Hold on to every word God has given you. God is not a man and He doesn’t lie. God is God enough to make every promise good.
Wanda B. Campbell (First Sunday in October)
It was Jesus’s ideas about truth and freedom that made him dangerous to the principalities and powers. But today our gospel isn’t very dangerous. It’s been tamed and domesticated. If Jesus of Nazareth had preached the paper-thin version of what passes for the “gospel” today—a shrunken, postmortem promise of going to heaven when you die—Pilate would have shrugged his shoulders and released the Nazarene, warning him not to get mixed up in the affairs of the real world. But that’s not what happened. Why? Because Pilate was smart enough to understand that what Jesus was preaching was a challenge to the philosophy of empire (or as we prefer to call it today, superpower).
Brian Zahnd (A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor's Journey Toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace)
I am plum tuckered on Monday morning. I face ample temptation to wallow. But Jesus promises rest. I may be a shell of a pastor at this time each week, but God is no less God. His might is no less mighty. His gospel is no less power. His reach is no less infinite. His grace is no less everlasting. His lovingkindness is no less enduring.
Jared C. Wilson (The Pastor's Justification: Applying the Work of Christ in Your Life and Ministry)
The ceremony was elegant and yet surprisingly intimate. The pastor read from Second Corinthians, and then Megan and Daniel recited vows they'd written together. They promised patience when it was easy to be impatient, candor when it was easier to lie, and in their own ways, each recognized the fact that real commitment could be proven only through the passage of time.
Nicholas Sparks (The Last Song)
Douglas Moo notes that therefore, while not denying that some in the church may have the gift of healing, James encourages all Christians, and especially those charged with pastoral oversight, to be active in prayer for healing. . . . Similarly, James’ promise that the Lord will raise up (egeiro) the sick person reflects the language of NT healing stories (Matt 9:6; Mark 1:31; Acts 3:7).
J.P. Moreland (In Search of a Confident Faith: Overcoming Barriers to Trusting in God)
A man, too, he exhorted, “doesn’t always know himself what he could do, but he feels by instinct, I’m good for something, even so! . . . I know that I could be a quite different man! . . . There’s something within me, so what is it!” He had been a student, an art dealer, a teacher, a bookseller, a prospective pastor, and an itinerant catechist. After promising starts, he had failed spectacularly in every path he tried.
David Epstein (Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World)
After his wife died, in great pain C. S. Lewis realized, “If I had really cared, as I thought I did, about the sorrows of the world, I should not have been so overwhelmed when my own sorrow came.”3 Our own suffering is often our wake-up call. But even if you aren’t now facing it, look around and you’ll see many who are. ... Suffering and evil exert a force that either pushes us away from God or pulls us toward him. ... Unfortunately, most evangelical churches—whether traditional, liturgical, or emergent—have failed to teach people to think biblically about the realities of evil and suffering. A pastor’s daughter told me, “I was never taught the Christian life was going to be difficult. I’ve discovered it is, and I wasn’t ready.” ... On the other side of death, the Bible promises that all who know him will fall into the open arms of a holy, loving, and gracious God—the greatest miracle, the answer to the problem of evil and suffering. He promises us an eternal kingdom on the New Earth, where he says of those who come to trust him in this present world of evil and suffering, “They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:3–4)
Randy Alcorn (If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil)
Think about it,” Pastor Pete said, deciding to give more concrete examples they could relate to before going into the theology of it. “They voted for people promising them ‘free’ medical care, ‘progressive’ tax rates where, pretty soon, they weren’t paying any taxes, but getting lots of free goods and services. They convinced themselves that the little bit they paid into Social Security entitled them to the much bigger amounts they took out of the system.
Glen Tate (299 Days: The War)
Religious citizens remembered him as the promising theologian who spoke and wrote endlessly about Christianity and yet who did not become a pastor and now never even went to church. Romantic citizens vaguely suspected this stillborn church career was somehow connected to the scandal of his broken engagement years before. “Such a sweet young girl,” they would whisper to each other, “and taken off by her new husband to the West Indies! It’s almost like they were escaping something, or someone.
Stephen Backhouse (Kierkegaard: A Single Life)
Oh, they didn’t make some big decision and say, ‘I hereby sell myself into slavery,’” Pastor Pete said. “Not in one big decision. It took many small ones over the past few years … decades, even. You know, they chose to accept the money that the politicians took from other people. They chose to believe that they could get something for nothing, and they helped the government go out and get it from other people. Maybe it was just voting for the people who promised to take more from others and give it to them.
Glen Tate (299 Days: The War)
A few days before the confirmation service, she told her father—the pastor of the church—that she wasn't sure she could go through with it. She didn't know that she really believed everything she was supposed to believe, and she didn't know that she should proclaim in front of the church that she was ready to believe it forever. "What you promise when you are confirmed," said Julian's father, "is not that you will believe this forever. What you promise when you are confirmed is that that is the story you will wrestle with forever.
Lauren F. Winner (Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis)
Eventually I reached a crisis point concerning what the gospel is and how it should be preached. To a large extent, this came about when I began to seriously read the apostolic sermons found in the book of Acts. I had to admit the apostles did not preach the gospel the way I was preaching it. (“Pray the sinner’s prayer so you can go to heaven when you die.”) In fact, in the eight gospel sermons found in the book of Acts, not one of them is based on afterlife issues! Instead they proclaimed that the world now had a new emperor and his name was Jesus! Their witness was this: the Galilean Jew, Jesus of Nazareth, had been executed by Roman crucifixion, but God had vindicated him by raising him from the dead. The world now had a new boss: Jesus the Christ. What the world’s new Lord (think emperor) is doing is saving the world. This includes the personal forgiveness of sins and the promise of being with the Lord in the interim between death and resurrection as well as after the resurrection, but the whole project is much, much bigger than that—the world is to be repaired! Now that is a gospel I can get excited about! A gospel that isn’t reserved for the sweet by-and-by, but a gospel that is for the here and now!
Brian Zahnd (A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor's Journey Toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace)
They learned about purity before they learned about sex, and they have a silver ring to prove it. They watched The Passion of the Christ, Soul Surfer, or the latest Kirk Cameron film with their youth group. They attended Promise Keepers with guys from church and read Wild at Heart in small groups. They’ve learned more from Pat Robertson, John Piper, Joyce Meyer, and The Gospel Coalition than they have from their pastor’s Sunday sermons. The diffusion of evangelical consumer culture extends far beyond the orbit of evangelical churches. Cultural evangelicalism has made deep inroads into mainline Christianity,
Kristin Kobes Du Mez (Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation)
I felt a numb shock as I drove home anxious to get my chocolate flowers and wondering how my mother arranged to get them delivered to me at the exact time of her passing as promised. I arrived home to a note on my door to go to the neighbor on the right. I knocked at the door and the grouchy older man answered. Without saying a word, he went to his refrigerator, opened it and said, "I think these are for you." He handed me the large bouquet of fruits all cut out like flowers and dipped in chocolate."It looks like chocolate flowers." he said with a grin, adding "I had a few, and they were great!" I held my delivery. I opened the small envelope and read the card: Dear Jori, We appreciate you showing us homes and although it has been months, we thought of you and wanted to do something nice for you today. I hope you remember us. The Johnsons This was a previous client who was a pastor. He never knew I had a mother who had cancer nor did I ever mention the conversation about the chocolate flowers. It had been several months since I had heard from this couple who were considering purchasing a home. I called the client, whom I haven't spoken to in such a long time. I was confused and wanted to know what made them decide to send me chocolate flowers, and why that day, of all days? He said it was his wife's idea to do something nice for someone and they agreed it on it being me. Mrs. Johnson thought of the chocolate flowers.
Jori Nunes (Chocolate Flowers)
Instead they proclaimed that the world now had a new emperor and his name was Jesus! Their witness was this: the Galilean Jew, Jesus of Nazareth, had been executed by Roman crucifixion, but God had vindicated him by raising him from the dead. The world now had a new boss: Jesus the Christ. What the world’s new Lord (think emperor) is doing is saving the world. This includes the personal forgiveness of sins and the promise of being with the Lord in the interim between death and resurrection as well as after the resurrection, but the whole project is much, much bigger than that—the world is to be repaired! Now that is a gospel I can get excited about! A gospel that isn’t reserved for the sweet by-and-by, but a gospel that is for the here and now!
Brian Zahnd (A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor's Journey Toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace)
These are the daily annoyances, the subtle messages of whiteness. But we bear other scars, too. Over and over I have seen white men and women get praise for their gifts and skills while women of color are told only about their potential for leadership. When white people end up being terrible at their jobs, I have seen supervisors move mountains to give them new positions more suited to their talents, while people of color are told to master their positions or be let go. I have been in the room when promises were made to diversify boardrooms, leadership teams, pastoral staff, faculty and staff positions, only to watch committees appoint a white man in the end. It's difficult to express how these incidents accumulate, making you feel undervalued, underappreciated, and ultimately expendable.
Austin Channing Brown (I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness)
Everything we do and say will either underline or undermine our discipleship process. As long as there is one unsaved person on my campus or in my city, then my church is not big enough. One of the underlying principles of our discipleship strategy is that every believer can and should make disciples. When a discipleship process fails, many times the fatal flaw is that the definition of discipleship is either unclear, unbiblical, or not commonly shared by the leadership team. Write down what you love to do most, and then go do it with unbelievers. Whatever you love to do, turn it into an outreach. You have to formulate a system that is appropriate for your cultural setting. Writing your own program for making disciples takes time, prayer, and some trial and error—just as it did with us. Learn and incorporate ideas from other churches around the world, but only after modification to make sure the strategies make sense in our culture and community. Culture is changing so quickly that staying relevant requires our constant attention. If we allow ourselves to be distracted by focusing on the mechanics of our own efforts rather than our culture, we will become irrelevant almost overnight. The easiest and most common way to fail at discipleship is to import a model or copy a method that worked somewhere else without first understanding the values that create a healthy discipleship culture. Principles and process are much more important than material, models, and methods. The church is an organization that exists for its nonmembers. Christianity does not promise a storm-free life. However, if we build our lives on biblical foundations, the storms of life will not destroy us. We cannot have lives that are storm-free, but we can become storm-proof. Just as we have to figure out the most effective way to engage our community for Christ, we also have to figure out the most effective way to establish spiritual foundations in each unique context. There is really only one biblical foundation we can build our lives on, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Pastors, teachers, and church staff believe their primary role is to serve as mentors. Their task is to equip every believer for the work of the ministry. It is not to do all the ministry, but to equip all the people to do it. Their top priority is to equip disciples to do ministry and to make disciples. Do you spend more time ministering to people or preparing people to minister? No matter what your church responsibilities are, you can prepare others for the same ministry. Insecurity in leadership is a deadly thing that will destroy any organization. It drives pastors and presidents to defensive positions, protecting their authority or exercising it simply to show who is the boss. Disciple-making is a process that systematically moves people toward Christ and spiritual maturity; it is not a bunch of randomly disconnected church activities. In the context of church leadership, one of the greatest and most important applications of faith is to trust the Holy Spirit to work in and through those you are leading. Without confidence that the Holy Spirit is in control, there is no empowering, no shared leadership, and, as a consequence, no multiplication.
Steve Murrell (WikiChurch: Making Discipleship Engaging, Empowering, and Viral)
In these moments, I acted not, as I most often did, as death’s enemy, but as its ambassador. I had to help those families understand that the person they knew—the full, vital independent human—now lived only in the past and that I needed their input to understand what sort of future he or she would want: an easy death or to be strung between bags of fluids going in, others coming out, to persist despite being unable to struggle. Had I been more religious in my youth, I might have become a pastor, for it was the pastoral role I’d sought. — With my renewed focus, informed consent—the ritual by which a patient signs a piece of paper, authorizing surgery—became not a juridical exercise in naming all the risks as quickly as possible, like the voiceover in an ad for a new pharmaceutical, but an opportunity to forge a covenant with a suffering compatriot: Here we are together, and here are the ways through—I promise to guide you, as best as I can, to the other side.
Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air)
Bonhoeffer talked about how the German penchant for self-sacrifice and submission to authority had been used for evil ends by the Nazis; only a deep understanding of and commitment to the God of the Bible could stand up to such wickedness. “It depends on a God who demands responsible action in a bold venture of faith,” he wrote, “and who promises forgiveness and consolation to the man who becomes a sinner in that venture.” Here was the rub: one must be more zealous to please God than to avoid sin. One must sacrifice oneself utterly to God’s purposes, even to the point of possibly making moral mistakes. One’s obedience to God must be forward-oriented and zealous and free, and to be a mere moralist or pietist would make such a life impossible: 447 If we want to be Christians, we must have some share in Christ’s large-heartedness by acting with responsibility and in freedom when the hour of danger comes, and by showing a real sympathy that springs, not from fear, but from the liberating and redeeming love of Christ for all who suffer. Mere waiting and looking on is not Christian behaviour. The Christian is called to sympathy and action, not in the first place by his own sufferings, but by the sufferings of his brethren, for whose sake Christ suffered.
Eric Metaxas (Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy)
In ways that he was unaware of, his private conversation had become progressively theological. More and more, he thought about God, and because of that, the meaning and purpose of his life. But rather than letting what the Bible says about God help him interpret the overwhelming circumstances he was facing, he let his circumstances redefine his view of God. How could a loving God let this happen to anyone? Where were all God’s promises? Why didn’t God answer his prayers? Why were other people being blessed while he got cursed? Why didn’t God use his power to help him? Why was God punishing him? Why had God turned his back on him? Why didn’t God do something to help him? Why? The Bible didn’t answer his questions because he no longer had faith in what it said, and he knew that his pastor and Christian friends would offer him the same tired platitudes that he had once repeated to others in need. His love for God began to morph into anger at God. Worship devolved into an angry demand for change. The faith that had shaped his life now seemed to be a grand trick played on weak people. In his endless and dark conversation with himself, he finally concluded that if there was a God, he was not good or worthy of his trust. And in that moment he was all alone in his overwhelming and increasingly debilitating circumstances.
Paul David Tripp (Suffering: Gospel Hope When Life Doesn't Make Sense)
My first real encounter with conservative evangelicals did not go well for them or for me. Serving as my seminary's faculty adviser to the InterSeminary Movement (ISM), I led a small delegation to a large regional meeting of the ISM students at the Southewestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in Ft. Worth. SWBTS was and is the largest seminary in the nation. They were Baptist conservatives, and our delegates were ecumenical liberals. Asked to deliver a plenary address during their chapel hour before a vast audience of about a thousand students, I prepared an avant garde speech more suited for a rally than a worship service. When I entered that huge space, I faced the largest crowd I have ever addressed and felt like a goldfish in a swarm of piranhas. The president, Dr. Robert Naylor, who was a man with a gently spirit and fixed convictions, introduced me. My prepared remarks were focused on the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose prison letters were being widely read by theological student at the time. I explained and defended Bonhoeffer's concept of "religionless Christianity." Deep into a romanticized view of secularization under the tutelage of the Dutch theologian Gerardus van der Leeuw, the prevailing slogan was "Let the world set the agenda." In the austere atmosphere of that most conservative Baptist seminary, I proceeded to set forth an appeal to "worldly theology" as a new or promising basis for seminarians of different viewpoints to come together. My stated purpose was to advance Christian unity, but that's not what happened. As I finished my presentation, President Naylor rose, quieted the restless audience and expressed polite appreciation of the intent of my address. He then began extemporaneously and with genuine rhetorical elegance to take on point by point the substance of my speech. In his warm, congenial and pastoral away, he deftly refuted practically every argument I had made. After the service, with great charm President Naylor again grasped my hand warmly and expressed his gratitude for my presence on Seminary Hill. I went away feeling trounced by an aging wise man of gracious and articulate Southern culture. That encounter helped me realize that conservative evangelical thinking was capable of real intellectual force, contrary to all of my previously fixed stereotypes of it.
Thomas C. Oden (A Change of Heart)
He was sitting at his desk. He had to get some relief from seeing what he did not want to see. The factory was empty. There was only the night watchman who’d come on duty with his dogs. He was down in the parking lot, patrolling the perimeter of the double-thick chain-link fence, a fence topped off, after the riots, with supplemental scrolls of razor ribbon that were to admonish the boss each and every morning he pulled in and parked his car, “Leave! Leave! Leave!” He was sitting alone in the last factory left in the worst city in the world. And it was worse even than sitting there during the riots, Springfield Avenue in flames, South Orange Avenue in flames, Bergen Street under attack, sirens going off, weapons firing, snipers from rooftops blasting the street lights, looting crowds crazed in the street, kids carrying off radios and lamps and television sets, men toting armfuls of clothing, women pushing baby carriages heavily loaded with cartons of liquor and cases of beer, people pushing pieces of new furniture right down the center of the street, stealing sofas, cribs, kitchen tables, stealing washers and dryers and ovens—stealing not in the shadows but out in the open. Their strength is tremendous, their teamwork is flawless. The shattering of glass windows is thrilling. The not paying for things is intoxicating. The American appetite for ownership is dazzling to behold. This is shoplifting. Everything free that everyone craves, a wonton free-for-all free of charge, everyone uncontrollable with thinking, Here it is! Let it come! In Newark’s burning Mardi Gras streets, a force is released that feels redemptive, something purifying is happening, something spiritual and revolutionary perceptible to all. The surreal vision of household appliances out under the stars and agleam in the glow of the flames incinerating the Central Ward promises the liberation of all mankind. Yes, here it is, let it come, yes, the magnificent opportunity, one of human history’s rare transmogrifying moments: the old ways of suffering are burning blessedly away in the flames, never again to be resurrected, instead to be superseded, within only hours, by suffering that will be so gruesome, so monstrous, so unrelenting and abundant, that its abatement will take the next five hundred years. The fire this time—and next? After the fire? Nothing. Nothing in Newark ever again.
Philip Roth (American Pastoral)
A similar theological—and particularly ecclesiological—logic shapes the Durham Declaration, a manifesto against abortion addressed specifically to the United Methodist Church by a group of United Methodist pastors and theologians. The declaration is addressed not to legislators or the public media but to the community of the faithful. It concludes with a series of pledges, including the following: We pledge, with Cod’s help, to become a church that hospitably provides safe refuge for the so-called “unwanted child” and mother. We will joyfully welcome and generously support—with prayer, friendship, and material resources—both child and mother. This support includes strong encouragement for the biological father to be a father, in deed, to his child.27 No one can make such a pledge lightly. A church that seriously attempted to live out such a commitment would quickly find itself extended to the limits of its resources, and its members would be called upon to make serious personal sacrifices. In other words, it would find itself living as the church envisioned by the New Testament. William H. Willimon tells the story of a group of ministers debating the morality of abortion. One of the ministers argues that abortion is justified in some cases because young teenage girls cannot possibly be expected to raise children by themselves. But a black minister, the pastor of a large African American congregation, takes the other side of the question. “We have young girls who have this happen to them. I have a fourteen year old in my congregation who had a baby last month. We’re going to baptize the child next Sunday,” he added. “Do you really think that she is capable of raising a little baby?” another minister asked. “Of course not,” he replied. No fourteen year old is capable of raising a baby. For that matter, not many thirty year olds are qualified. A baby’s too difficult for any one person to raise by herself.” “So what do you do with babies?” they asked. “Well, we baptize them so that we all raise them together. In the case of that fourteen year old, we have given her baby to a retired couple who have enough time and enough wisdom to raise children. They can then raise the mama along with her baby. That’s the way we do it.”28 Only a church living such a life of disciplined service has the possibility of witnessing credibly to the state against abortion. Here we see the gospel fully embodied in a community that has been so formed by Scripture that the three focal images employed throughout this study can be brought to bear also on our “reading” of the church’s action. Community: the congregation’s assumption of responsibility for a pregnant teenager. Cross: the young girl’s endurance of shame and the physical difficulty of pregnancy, along with the retired couple’s sacrifice of their peace and freedom for the sake of a helpless child. New creation: the promise of baptism, a sign that the destructive power of the world is broken and that this child receives the grace of God and hope for the future.29 There, in microcosm, is the ethic of the New Testament. When the community of God’s people is living in responsive obedience to God’s Word, we will find, again and again, such grace-filled homologies between the story of Scripture and its performance in our midst.
Richard B. Hays (The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New CreationA Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethic)
Peter’s main goal is pastoral, to prepare the flock for the difficulties ahead and to assure them that God, the Judge of all the earth, will do right and will not let the righteous perish with the wicked when He comes to destroy a new Sodom.
Peter J. Leithart (The Promise Of His Appearing: An Exposition Of Second Peter)
What I failed to realize as I take up this wonderful promise is that almost everyone who originally heard it knew that they would never experience its fulfillment in Jerusalem, where they wanted to be. They had to grapple instead with the truth that the future and the hope for them with God would take place right where they were in exile—where they would live and die. Their great-grandchildren would experience the fullness of the future and the hope back in Jerusalem. The next generation would get to move, but not them. What does it mean for us if the future and the hope that God has for our welfare means that we will have to trust him right where we are?
Zack Eswine (The Imperfect Pastor: Discovering Joy in Our Limitations through a Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus)
But in "Christendom" we play at believing, play at being Christians; as far as possible from any breach with what we love, we remain at home, in the parlor, in the old grooves of finiteness – and then we go and twaddle with one another, or let the pastor twaddle to us, about all the promises which are found in the New Testament, that no one shall harm us, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against us, against the Church, etc.
Søren Kierkegaard (Attack Upon Christendom)
The classroom was too tidy. I missed the texture of the weather, the smell of cooking, the jostle of shoulders and elbows on a crowded sidewalk. In the congregation, by contrast, everything was going on at once, random, unscheduled, accompanied too much of the time by undisciplined and trivializing small talk. Babies born squalling, people dying neglected, and in between the parenthesis of birth and death, lifetimes of ambiguity: adolescents making an unholy mess of growing up and their parents muddling through as guilty bystanders. Also, of course, heroic holiness, stunningly beautiful prayers, sacrificial love surfacing from the tangled emotions in a difficult family, a song in the night, glimpses of glory, the sullen betrayal of a bored spouse quietly redeemed from years of self-imprisoned self-worship by forgiveness and grace: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And all of this mixed together. In this world, sin was not a word defined in a lexicon. Salvation was not a reference traced down in a concordance. Every act of sin and every event of salvation involved a personal name in a grammar of imperatives and promises in a messy community of friends and neighbors, parents and grandparents, none of whom fit a stereotype.
Eugene H. Peterson (The Pastor: A Memoir)
We have nothing to do with God’s gift of salvation and everything to do with the acceptance of it and the ongoing process of growing our faith. And yet in that there is choice and free will. The promise of eternity does not waver based on our poor decisions after salvation, but the keeping of our minds, bodies, and souls is a choice-by-choice partnership with Christ. My pastor, Jay Stewart, recently spoke something powerful and profound over us one Sunday that crystallizes this point: “What’s better—to be able to say, ‘I am forgiven and saved’ or ‘I have become like Christ?’” We can get technical about this and argue about how salvation is the most important thing, and on the core premise, I will agree. Nothing matters if we don’t first choose to follow Christ. But to rest on our status of heaven-bound rather than pursue holiness and sanctification (the process of becoming like Christ) exposes our desire for a lazy faith. God’s plan is not for us to accept salvation and sit with it. It is for us to share its miracle with the world.
Lisa Whittle (Jesus Over Everything: Uncomplicating the Daily Struggle to Put Jesus First)
squandering his entire life in utterly selfish pursuits. He trembled, knowing he would soon face God’s judgment. But the pastor explained how Christ had paid the penalty for Joe’s sin, and on that basis, He offered forgiveness and eternal life if Joe would only receive it. Joe gladly accepted the gift and died in peace shortly afterward.8 Joe’s case is what we commonly call “deathbed repentance.” It is neither the most noble nor the safest way to come to Christ. But God, in His infinite love and desire to have us with Him throughout eternity, accepts even those who come in at the last minute. Jesus promised salvation
David Jeremiah (The Book of Signs: 31 Undeniable Prophecies of the Apocalypse)
I have been in the room when promises were made to diversify boardrooms, leadership teams, pastoral staff, faculty and staff positions, only to watch committees appoint a white man in the end. It's difficult to express how these incidences accumulate, making you feel undervalued, unappreciated, and ultimately...expendable.
Austin Channing Brown (I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness)
See how blessed we really are? We’re comforted knowing there is nothing entered anywhere in the records of eternity that stands against any soul that truly believes in the Lord Jesus Christ! This includes us!” Pastor Lau grimaced and shook his head. “The same is true that every promise God made in the Bible to those who reject Him regarding their demise, will come to pass exactly as it was written… “For proof of this, all we have to do is continue on in the passage. Our Lord went on to say in verse forty-one: ‘Then He will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’ “In verse forty-six, Christ went on to say, ‘Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.
Patrick Higgins (I Never Knew You)
We wonder where the power of God has gone. Are we still serving the same God who created Heaven and Earth? Who conquered the promised land for Israel Where is this great God who we read about in the Bible? Where is this great God who we have heard those great revivals of many years back? In my generation, we have not seen or heard of anything like that. I believe it is a direct result of putting a denomination and or a pastor before the Word of God.
John J. Wipf (Blight of Denominationalism)
By contrast, Joseph weeps (50:17). He cannot help but see that these groveling lies betray how little he is loved or trusted, even after seventeen years (47:28) of nominal reconciliation. His verbal response displays not only pastoral gentle- ness-"he reassured them and spoke kindly to them," promising to provide for them and their families (50:21)-it also reflects a man who has thought deeply about the mysteries of providence, about God's sovereignty and human responsibility
D.A. Carson (For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God's Word, Volume 1)
Leadership literature promotes envy with false promises. Casinos and lotteries encourage gambling with two messages: first, you, too, can win buckets of money, and, second, this is only possible if you gamble. Most gamblers and lottery ticket consumers do not win but lose. The truth is: “You can be a loser too.”12 When leadership books dwell on five-star generals, corporation executives, metropolis mayors, and megachurch CEOs, the implicit promise is like gambling: you can only win if you enter the game, and you, too, might hit the big time. But the majority of people, no matter how talented, motivated, and connected, will never be generals, executives, mayors, or megachurch pastors.
Arthur Boers (Servants and Fools: A Biblical Theology of Leadership)
In both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, narrative and other more-or-less literary forms are dominant, which seems to call for a strategy of reading for understanding similar to what one might use in an encounter with, say, Homer; but these books’ status as sacred text suggests, to many modern readers anyway, that their purpose is to provide information about God and God’s relation to human beings. “Strip-mining” the Psalms, or the Song of Solomon, or even the more elevated discourses of the Gospel of John, “for relevant content” might not seem like a promising strategy, but many generations of pastors have pushed it pretty hard, as though the Bible were no more than an awkwardly coded advice manual.)
Alan Jacobs (The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction)
We baptized you when you were little, too. We promised to raise you to trust Jesus. The pastor put water on your head. We use water for washing, and when we baptized you, we asked God to wash away your sins. The pastor said "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" for you, too. That means that he asked God to be your God. Now you belong to him. We all want you to believe in God for yourself, but baptism means that you are never all by yourself. See how the family always comes to baptisms and how the whole church is there? Our family came, too, and we pray for you. The people of the church care for you, too. We teach you and pray for you, so you will belong to God all of your life.
Gregg Strawbridge (Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism, The)
My pastor said in a sermon once that changing things on the outside can’t fix problems in our hearts. That’s like a dog running down the hall trying to get away from its fleas. He doesn’t realize the fleas go wherever he goes.
Dan Walsh (The Promise (The Restoration Series #2))
had asked something hard of the American people—to place their faith in a young and untested newcomer; not just a Black man, but someone whose very name evoked a life story that seemed unfamiliar. Repeatedly I’d given them cause not to support me. There’d been uneven debate performances, unconventional positions, clumsy gaffes, and a pastor who’d cursed the United States of America. And I’d faced an opponent who’d proven both her readiness and her mettle.
Barack Obama (A Promised Land)
Christian psychologist is called in; if it’s a spiritual problem, the pastor gets the call. We assume that our depression, panic, guilt, or addictions have little or nothing to do with our spirituality; they are two separate issues. But separating our problems into “emotional” problems and “spiritual” problems is part of the problem. All of our problems stem from our failure to reflect the image of God. Because of Adam and Eve’s fall into sin in the Garden of Eden, we have not developed the “likeness” of God in the vital areas of our person, and we are not functioning as we were created to function. Thus, we are in pain. In the course of my own spiritual and professional journey, I have identified four aspects of the personality of God that, if we would cultivate them, would greatly improve our day-to-day functioning. God is able to do four things that we, his children, have difficulty doing: 1. Bond with others. 2. Separate from others. 3. Sort out issues of good and bad 4. Take charge as an adult Without the ability to perform these basic God-like functions, we can literally remain stuck for years, and growth and change can elude our grasp. In this book I will explain these four developmental tasks, the barriers that get in the way of our achieving them, and the skills we need for completing them. Because we live in a fallen world, we all have deficits in all four areas. Transforming the effects of the fall and growing in the image of God is not an easy task. But God has promised that the “good work”he began in us, he will carry “on to completion until the day of
Henry Cloud (Changes That Heal: Four Practical Steps to a Happier, Healthier You)
When the wedding march began again and he came back a third time, it was with Holly. Her hair was down and loose over her shoulders, while the sleeveless ice-white gown she was wearing hugged every curve of her body to perfection. They walked down the aisle toward the altar arm in arm, and when they reached the pastor, again he asked, “Who gives this woman to this man?” “I’m keeping this one for myself,” Bud said. The congregation roared. And so it began, the ritual that would bind these women to their men. It had begun with laughter. It ended in vows and promises. For Andrew Slade’s daughters, the end of their wedding was just the beginning of the rest of their lives.
Sharon Sala (Blood Trails (The Searchers, #3))
WE CAN’T SAVE OURSELVES We need God. We all need to repent of trying to extend his kingdom in our own strength. We need him to change things. The great news is that he delights in helping us when we listen, trust, and obey him. Don’t we want to make a difference and see God turn around the decline in Christianity? Don’t we want to see our family members and friends find Jesus as Savior? Then let’s draw closer to God and talk with him. This is what sincere believers in Christ have done for hundreds of years. And when they have, miracles happened. Nowhere in the Bible did God ever promise that anything would “work,” except him. If you’re a Christian who is bewildered and disheartened by the things you see going on, or if you’re a pastor or church leader who is discouraged by a lukewarm church and lack of fruit, be sure of this promise: “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8).
Jim Cymbala (Storm: Hearing Jesus for the Times We Live In)
Paul suffered and struggled mightily in the service of his faith. Perhaps you could argue that he simply wasn’t the best example after which to model our own behavior. What if we look at the ultimate example of a Christian teacher and expositor, Christ Himself? Surely then we’ll see how to handle this unappealing message of a crucified Savior whom only the dregs of society preached. Surely at last we’ll see a glimmer of success. But by worldly standards, when Jesus began preaching His own gospel in His own hometown, He was an even more spectacular failure than Paul! This episode in Jesus’ life is one of the most gripping and powerful portions of the Bible. His words in Scripture capture the shock and emotion of the moment, and they still stun us with their power and their force. The riveting drama begins in Luke 4, verses 16 through 21: So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Imagine going to church next Sunday, expecting to hear your pastor preaching, and having the Lord Jesus Christ appear in person to tell you that He had come to fulfill all the prophecies of His second coming—all the prophecies of the glory of His kingdom of salvation on earth! Imagine that you had gone that morning, and Jesus was standing in the pulpit to tell you that the time was now for the fulfillment of all divine promises connected to His return. Well, that’s something like what the Jews in the Nazareth synagogue experienced that day. They had attended that synagogue all their lives, and they had heard reading after reading of the Torah, the Law, and the Haftarah, the prophets, and sermon after sermon on Sabbath after Sabbath throughout their lifetimes. They had heard much teaching about the Messiah, and they had been reading many Scriptures about His coming and kingdom. But all of a sudden, on this Sabbath in the year A.D. 28, in an obscure synagogue in a nothing blue-collar town called Nazareth, He was there!
John F. MacArthur Jr. (Hard to Believe: The High Cost and Infinite Value of Following Jesus)
Pastor, your eternal future carries with it the sure promise that you will have all the grace you need to do what you’ve been called to do between the time you came to Christ and the time you will go home to be with him forever.
Paul David Tripp (Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry)
The basic gist: theology has been more or less banished from Jerusalem. Theology is in exile and, as a result, the knowledge of God is in ecclesial eclipse. The promised land, the gathered people of God, has consequently come to resemble a parched land: a land of wasted opportunities that no longer cultivates disciples as it did in the past.
Kevin J. Vanhoozer (The Pastor as Public Theologian: Reclaiming a Lost Vision)
There is a rock in a high place that is a safe refuge for God’s people. God has promised to put our feet on that rock—the rock of security, assurance, and safety.
T.T. Crabtree (The Zondervan 2018 Pastor's Annual: An Idea and Resource Book (Zondervan Pastor's Annual))
You know there’s a lot of risk with pregnancies at this age. I’m just wondering how you and the pastor are handling that.
Kim Cash Tate (If I Believe (Promises of God #2))
(from chapter 29, "Write in a Book What You See') "The phrase that gave us focus was 'a long obedience in the same direction.' (Nietzsche) ...Early on in my reading I came upon this sentence: 'The essential thing in heaven and earth is...that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run something that has made life worth living.' That struck me as a text I could live with. I saw myself assigned to give witness to the sheer liveability of the Christian life that everything in scripture and Jesus was here to be lived. In the mess of work and sin, of families and neighborhoods, my task was to pray and give direction and encourage that lived quality of the gospel - patiently, locally, and personally. Patiently: I would stay with those people; there are no quick or easy ways to do this. Locally: I would embrace the conditions of this place - economics, weather, culture, schools, whatever - so that there would be nothing abstract or piously idealized about what I was doing. Personally: I would know them, know their names, know their homes, know their families, know their work - but I would not pry. I would not treat them as a cause or a project. I would treat them with dignity. Preaching, of course, is part of it, teaching is part of it, administering a congregation as a community of faith is part of it. But the overall context of my particular assignment in the pastoral vocation, as much as I am able to do it, is to see to it that these men and women in my congregation become aware of the possibilities and the promise of living out in personal and local detail what is involved in following Jesus, and be companion to them as we do it together.
Eugene H. Peterson (The Pastor: A Memoir)
This is God's promise to us that the forces of our evil adversary will be scattered before us.
Pastor Rod W. Larkins
Only the gospel frees us from concealing our sin and our weaknesses and allows us by faith to stand on Christ’s promises and obey his commands to make peace. Only
Alfred J. Poirier (The Peacemaking Pastor: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Church Conflict)
People who have lost their sentness expect their church to deliver on its promises to meet their needs, to care for them, to make them feel good. Pastors who have lost their sentness see their primary responsibilities as organizing services and meeting the needs of the people who are paying the bills. People who have lost their sentness gauge the success of their pastors according to metrics related to sales: more customers, more money and, ideally, a more fancy showroom. In other words, we measure church success by buildings, butts on seats and bucks in the offering.
Kim Hammond (Sentness: Six Postures of Missional Christians)
clergy, and church leaders, teaching and travel in Korea, and study of Korean religion and culture. HeeSun Kim is a Korean who has done academic work and ministry in Korea and the United States. From our experiences we believe there are life-giving perspectives in Korea that need to be shared with United States and Korean religious leaders who are searching for God’s spirit at work for healing, liberation, and reconciliation. What Is Pastoral Theology? Christian pastoral theologians and counselors in the United States have produced some of the most creative ideas about the nature of human suffering and hope in the contemporary world. Experiments in new forms of Christian pastoral counseling started in the 1920s with Anton Boisen and Russell Dicks, who understood the promise of the new psychologies in dialogue with Christian theology and practices. In almost one hundred years these theologies and practices of care have spread over the world. Students from Asia, South America, Africa, Europe, and Australia have studied in the United
James Newton Poling (Korean Resources for Pastoral Theology: Dance of Han, Jeong, and Salim)
We didn’t believe when we first heard because you know how church folk can gossip. Like the time we all thought First John, our head usher, was messing around on his wife because Betty, the pastor’s secretary, caught him cozying up at brunch with another woman. A young, fashionable woman at that, one who switched her hips when she walked even though she had no business switching anything in front of a man married forty years. You could forgive a man for stepping out on his wife once, but to romance that young woman over buttered croissants at a sidewalk café? Now, that was a whole other thing. But before we could correct First John, he showed up at Upper Room Chapel that Sunday with his wife and the young, hip-switching woman—a great-niece visiting from Fort Worth—and that was that. When we first heard, we thought it might be that type of secret, although, we have to admit, it had felt different. Tasted different too. All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we’d taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season. But we didn’t. We shared this sour secret, a secret that began the spring Nadia Turner got knocked up by the pastor’s son and went to the abortion clinic downtown to take care of it. She was seventeen then. She lived with her father, a Marine, and without her mother, who had killed herself six months earlier. Since then, the girl had earned a wild reputation—she was young and scared and trying to hide her scared in her prettiness. And she was pretty, beautiful even, with amber skin, silky long hair, and eyes swirled brown and gray and gold. Like most girls, she’d already learned that pretty exposes you and pretty hides you and like most girls, she hadn’t yet learned how to navigate the difference. So we heard all about her sojourns across the border to dance clubs in Tijuana, the water bottle she carried around Oceanside High filled with vodka, the Saturdays she spent on base playing pool with Marines, nights that ended with her heels pressed against some man’s foggy window. Just tales, maybe, except for one we now know is true: she spent her senior year of high school rolling around in bed with Luke Sheppard and come springtime, his baby was growing inside her. — LUKE SHEPPARD WAITED TABLES at Fat Charlie’s Seafood Shack, a restaurant off the pier known for its fresh food, live music, and family-friendly atmosphere. At least that’s what the ad in the San Diego Union-Tribune said, if you were fool enough to believe it. If you’d been around Oceanside long enough, you’d know that the promised fresh food was day-old fish and chips stewing under heat lamps, and the live music, when delivered, usually consisted of ragtag teenagers in ripped jeans with safety pins poking through their lips.
Brit Bennett (The Mothers)
The great pastor and hymn-writer John Newton once wrote about this struggle: If I may speak my own experience, I find that to keep my eye simply on Christ, as my peace and my life, is by far the hardest part of my calling. . . . It seems easier to deny self in a thousand instances of outward conduct, than in its ceaseless endeavors to act as a principle of righteousness and power.124
Timothy J. Keller (Counterfeit Gods: When the Empty Promises of Love, Money and Power Let You Down)
No, the shepherd’s life in poetry has always been an ideal in which the negative features, the tearing of oneself away from the great world and the disregarding of its customs, have been the decisive elements. It was a kind of sport to imagine oneself in a situation which held the promise of liberation from the fetters of civilization whilst retaining its advantages.
Arnold Hauser (The Social History of Art Volume 3: Rococo, Classicism and Romanticism)
One of the prime motivators behind the lock step political organization of evangelical Christians is an idea of a "war on Christianity." It's a testament to the efficacy of that false victim mentality that a country built on the separation of church and state has been co-opted by supposed followers of Christ who peddle the same sort of venal, profane, blasphemous, manipulative, soul-selling, fear-mongering, false idol worshipping bull shit. There's nothing wrong with turning the other cheek and humbling yourself before the idea of a higher power and treating one another as you would be treated--with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, that's not the substance of mega-church, imperial, for-profit Christianity. Instead we've got pestilent little golems sucking the life blood out of Americans with promises of divine grace and eternal salvation that amount to abstract snake oil used to lubricate their own materialism. That's the Christianity that people willfully antagonize. That's the Christianity that alienates anyone whose aversion to false morality is greater than their fear of life without a con man's blessing. That's the sort of vulgar perversion of spirituality that cheapens the symbolic cross and leads a nation away from the yoke of power hungry pastors who preach whatever gospel keeps them in control of the coffers. You want a ministry? Live it. Take off your fancy suit. Give up your mansion. Wash those feet. Crucify your ego. Bless the whores. Forgive the sinners. Live it. Otherwise you're nothing but another leach preying on weakness to aggrandize your own mortal ambitions.
Dan Johnson (Catawampusland)
Do you sense a depression in the body of Christ in America, as if something is badly wrong? We’re losing influence within our culture as the anti-Christian sentiment grows, yet you’d never know it in most churches—the smoke, lights, loud music and preaching rolls on as if all is well…Too often people come to the church, are deeply disappointed and as a result are turned off from the gospel. The church promises solutions but only offers lip service. We’ve become excellent at giving people a show on Sunday but lousy at showing them how to actually live…I recently spoke with two businessmen friends about why it’s hard to find a good church. Both are successful financially and are passionate believers. On the surface, they’re what every pastor needs. Yet after being active in a local church, they both became disillusioned with what they saw and how they were treated. As they recounted stories of how pastors felt threatened by their powerful personalities and positions, I felt sorry for my friends (for never experiencing the community they sought) and for the insecure leaders they served. Countless other mature Christians have been so wounded by leadership that they stay home on Sunday and “go to church” by watching Charles Stanley or Jack Hayford. They get a good message, some good music and an opportunity to “tithe” to that ministry. Sometimes this is a transitional period. Too often it’s not. But this isn’t Christian community. Aren’t we supposed to assemble with other believers? Aren’t we supposed to bring a hymn or a Scripture or a prophetic word when we meet? In larger churches this need is met in small groups or in various ministries of the church. There are many examples of healthy churches where this happens. But too often it isn’t…Until this happens, people—like my businessmen friends—will feel as if they’re drifting. They’ll never really find their place in the body of Christ. And sooner or later, they will ‘vote with their feet’ by going somewhere else—or worse still, nowhere.
Mark Perry (Kingdom Churches: New Strategies For A Revival Generation)
How inexpressibly thankful do I feel now for the sustaining grace which upheld me, and enabled me to testify to them [pastors who received books from her] from my own experience, that every promise of God holds true, and that even in the depths of sorrow and darkness, His light shines round about those who put their trust in Him!12
Ray Rhodes Jr. (Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles H. Spurgeon)
I am very concerned about the acceptance of Sunday morning mediocrity, and I am persuaded that it is not primarily a schedule or laziness problem. I am convinced it is a theological problem. You see, the standards you set for yourself and your ministry are directly related to your view of God. If you are feeding your soul every day on the grace and glory of God, if you are in worshipful awe of his wisdom and power, if you are spiritually stunned by his faithfulness and love, and if you are daily motivated by his presence and promises, then you want to do everything you can to capture and display that glory to the people God has placed in your care.
Paul David Tripp (Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry)
We quizzed everyone we met, from pastors to professors to the manager of the neighborhood McDonald’s, asking them to identify the most interesting young people they knew. Who were the leaders? Who was ready for something bigger than what he or she had? These were the people we wanted to encourage to apply, urging them to forget for a minute whatever obstacles normally made such things impossible, promising that as an organization we’d do what we could—whether it was supplying a bus pass or a stipend for child care—to help cover their needs.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
Several years ago I visited a church in a nearby city. The pastor was known as a godly man and a prayer warrior. As we spoke about life in general, he said, “We’re not supposed to enjoy life, are we?” To him it was a rhetorical question; unfortunately most Christians hold this same view. They believe in Christ; He is their savior. They love Him with all their heart. Their future home is in heaven, they attend church each Sunday and most mid- week services. They endeavor to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. They witness to friends and family, yet to them, life is something to endure. They are like the small orphan boy adopted by a well-to-do family from a poor orphanage. The child reveled in the luxury of his own room. Sleeping in such a wonderful bed was a dream come true. He awoke the next morning to the sun streaming in his open window. The songs of birds welcomed him to a beautiful summer day. As he came down to breakfast, he saw a place was set for him at the large table in the dining room. Fine china and silverware gleamed in the light of the expensive chandelier. At his plate set a large glass of milk filled to the brim. At the orphanage each child would drink from the glass only so far, then pass it on. This continued until the glass was empty. The glass was then refilled and passed to the next child. With big eyes the little child looked at his new mother. “Please, ma’am, how deeply may I drink?” With tears in her eyes, his mother said “Drink it all son, it’s all for you.” I believe God has given us the cup of life filled to the brim and overflowing. God says, “Drink it all, my child, it’s all for you.” Many Christians believe life is drudgery. Therefore they miss the real pleasures God has intended for His children. His word promises us abundant life. Albert Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” We can choose to view everything as a miracle from God. Will there be sorrows? Of course. Will we suffer difficult setbacks? Undoubtedly. Are there enemies of Christians and the Lord? Surely. Does this mean God has changed His mind or abandoned us? No. In this book we will discuss ways of enjoying living on God’s blessings. You can indeed “live life to the fullest.
Darrell Case (Live Life to the Fullest)
There is no creative ministry that can compare to the Spirit’s ministry of creating a people for God by his Word. Our truthful words are arrayed in corresponding and beautiful adorning acts of love and compassion as we suffer in various ways to advance the gospel (Matt. 5:16; Gal. 6:10). These light and momentary sufferings range from giving our time when it is inconvenient to giving our lives when the world deems they are not yet spent. So in view of God’s mercy, we present our body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship (Rom. 12:1). This is no haphazard, reckless thing to do, because of the bulwark of certainty we are promised in that God has claimed for himself people from every tribe and nation, and these sheep will hear his voice (John 10:16; Acts 18:10; Rev. 5:9).
Gloria Furman (The Pastor's Wife: Strengthened by Grace for a Life of Love)
Before you were born, you were already known and seen and set apart for specific, profound purposes. So there is no way that your girlfriend or favorite pastor’s wife or neighbor or office mate could possibly steal that thing you were built to do. You don’t need to panic or hoard or hide. You only need to answer. Just say, yes. Say with preteen Samuel the simple, obvious words, “Speak, for Your servant is listening” (1 Sam. 3:10). Let’s listen to Jesus’ promises over us and stop tuning into the lie that there won’t be anything left over for us once everyone else has had their slice of the pie.
Lisa-Jo Baker (Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding & Keeping Lasting Friendships)
Avery began his vows, making sure his voice was loud and clear as he gazed into Kane's eyes with each word spoken. After the last repeated line of their pre-written vows, he continued talking. "The first moment I saw you, I knew we would be standing here today. There has always been certainty between us. That day, in La Bella Luna, you stole my heart. Today, I give you my soul. And from this day forward, I vow to never be without you again. Kane, I choose you to be my partner in life, to be the person I share all life's ups and downs with. You are the one I want to laugh with, cry with, and grow old with. I promise to love you, honor you, and cherish you, not only on this precious day but, always." Avery stepped closer to Kane and lightly brushed his lips across Kane's before stepping away and turning back to the pastor. "I've said everything I wanted to say. You may finish.
Kindle Alexander (Always (Always & Forever #1))
Christ, as the Great Priest, acts as Representative, Substitute, Instructor, Guardian, and Intercessor of his people, not only paying for their sins but securing everything necessary, including the work of the Spirit, to apply his work to them and to bring them to their eternal rest. Ultimately what is at stake in the debate over the extent of the atonement is a Savior who saves, a cross that effectively accomplishes and secures all the gracious promises of the new covenant, and a redemption that does not fail.
David Gibson (From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective)
Paul tells us: “because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:4 – 5). The gospel they believed and received wasn’t just a theological construct or a churchy platitude. Sure, it came through spoken and written words, and it was preached, taught, and shared. But it also came in power. Often Christians are either “word” people or “power” people. On the one hand, we may lean toward a rationalized Christianity. This type of Christianity holds to the gospel Word without gospel power. It preaches, teaches, catechizes, studies, memorizes, and shares the word but with little effect. It possesses “wise and persuasive words” but not “demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthians 2:4). This kind of Christianity can master systematic, biblical, and historical theology without being mastered by Christ. It can identify idols but remains powerless to address their power. Why? Because it replaces the power of the Spirit with the power of knowledge. On the other hand, there is an equal danger in spiritualized Christianity. Such Christianity prays, sings, shouts, and claims victory over a lost world without lifting a finger to share God’s gospel. It is not enough to pray for power; we must proclaim God’s Word. The power of the Spirit works through the proclaimed Word. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. My pastor during college, Tom Nelson, always said: “Don’t just stand on a shovel and pray for a hole.” Spiritualized Christianity tends to stand and pray, emphasizing private or emotional experiences with God. What we need is prayer and proclamation, power and Word. The Thessalonians had word and power, they grew in understanding and experience, but they also had full conviction. It is not enough to have spiritual power and good theology. These must also be coupled with faith, an active embrace of God’s promises in Christ, which brings about conviction. Full conviction comes when we are set free from false forms of security and experience Spirit-empowered faith in the word of Christ. It springs from genuine encounter with Christ. Full conviction transcends intellectual doubt and emotional experiences, and in the silence of persecution it says: “Christ is enough.” True security, deep security, comes through the reasonable, powerful, Christ-centered conviction that Jesus is enough, not only for us but for the world. When we falter, the church is present to exhort, encourage, and pray for one another to set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts. May we toss out the penny stocks of the fear of man to invest deeply in the limitless riches of Christ.
Jonathan K. Dodson (The Unbelievable Gospel: Say Something Worth Believing)
chapter 3 I turn toward the task of congregational exegesis, outlining a very practical method for interpreting congregational subcultures that can be engaged by busy pastors while carrying on the ordinary tasks of ministry. Drawing on the expertise of authors in the fields of congregational studies and cultural anthropology, this chapter identifies seven symbols of congregational life that hold particular promise for revealing cultural and theological identity, and provides interpretive frameworks through which the local pastor can deepen his or her understanding of the congregation's own worldview, values, and ethos. At stake is not only enhanced cultural understanding, but also a deepening awareness of the local theologies that already exist within the life of a congregation (beliefs regarding God, humanity, nature, time, the church, and their interrelationships). Chapter 4 then turns to the question: "So, what difference does all this make for the theology of preaching?" Here we revisit the "text-to-sermon" process (revisioned as a "con/text-to-sermon" process), observing how greater attention to congregational context at each juncture-from the selection of biblical texts for proclamation, to the pastor's initial reading of them, to the methods used for biblical interpretation, to the discernment of fitting themes and strategies for proclamation-can positively contribute toward preaching as local theology. Sermons of local pastors, preached in their own unique congregational contexts, provide real-life examples of contextual theologizing in
Leonora Tubbs Tisdale (Preaching as Local Theology and Folk Art (Fortress Resources for Preaching))
If there is one fact, one doctrine, or promise in the Bible, which has produced no practical effect upon your temper or conduct, be assured that you do not truly believe it.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (The Greatest Fight: Spurgeon's Urgent Message for Pastors, Teachers, and Evangelists)
But there’s a bigger issue when it comes to accountability: most elder boards or leadership boards are not composed of the type of leaders who will stand up to narcissistic bully pastors. Narcissists are remarkably good at forming alliances, building a network of supporters, and laying the groundwork for a future alienation of perceived enemies. They often groom their supporters through flattery, promises, and other forms of ingratiation.35 Most elder boards aren’t prepared for this level of coordinated manipulation.
Michael J. Kruger (Bully Pulpit: Confronting the Problem of Spiritual Abuse in the Church)
There are people who want things to stay the way they are, or be “conserved,” and then there are people who understand that “the way things are” is actually quite shitty for a lot of our fellow Americans, so they are interested in our social construct’s “progressing” to the long-dreamed-of point where the promises of the Constitution can be kept for all Americans.
Nick Offerman (Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside)