I’ve noticed that we Americans tend to turn quickly to humor as a means of coping with difficulties. That has been the case with the recent coronavirus. It’s not that we downplay the seriousness of the pandemic. We just have a tendency to find instances in which people’s thinking or responses can be funny. While some kinds of humor is completely inappropriate, there are ways in which we can step back and laugh at ourselves. As Christians, maybe that is a way of reminding ourselves that God is in control.
For example, several weeks ago when everyone who had a sign was putting out some word of thanks to frontline responders, health workers, and people who were coming in direct contact with the public, a church near where I work put this out on their sidewalk. On a busy street. I thought it was a riot and would drive past wanting to see if someone had finally changed it. But it stayed this way for weeks.
Maybe your’re tired of masks, hand sanitizer, or being asked if you’ve visited Wuhan. Maybe you’re weary of shortages in the grocery store, of being confined to your home, or of some other way the coronavirus has affected you. Maybe you need to smile. So without further delay, here are some things I’ve collected through the past several weeks. They came to me by text or email, or were on various websites that I visit. Enjoy:
You have to admire a guy like Tim Challies. By the end of this week he will have posted original content for 6000 consecutive days. No breaks. No stoppages. Just churning out something every day. And on top of that his stuff is all worthwhile.
I started this blog near the end of June. This is my 118th post. Hardly Challies-esque. But I’ve enjoyed what I do – posting a list of helpful links on Monday and then putting up original content on Wednesday and Friday. However, I’m going to press that little yellow button in the picture above. I began to write on two different topics today and in both cases I though, “I want to spend more time on this.”
So I will tip my hat to the Cal Ripken, Jr.* of Christian blogs, thank you for reading my stuff, and tell you that I’ll be back on Monday with another set of links and then hopefully have some new posts beginning Wednesday.
In the meantime, be safe. We’re all preparing for hard times over these next weeks. Keep in touch with your people – especially those who are living alone or can’t get out. When this is over, we will no doubt find ways in which God has used this to bring people to Christ. He always does that and this will be no different than any other time of crisis. Pray for that.
Oh, and wash your hands and practice social distancing. See you Monday!
*For you non-baseball fans, Cal Ripken, Jr. holds the record for the most consecutive games played in Major League Baseball. His record of 2,632 games doesn’t hold a candle to Challies’ mark. 🙂
It’s hard to believe that it’s March already! Here are some links for reading, filing, and sharing with your people. Some of the articles I link to make great resources for counseling.
For a pastor, making the decision to leave your church is one of the most difficult decisions to make. Jeff Robinson writes about how pastors should think through this issue.
This article relates the experience of a church planter, but anyone who has been deeply hurt while in ministry can benefit from this article on healing by Tyler St. Clair.
Here’s an article about taking notes. The article comes from a secular source, but the title, “Take Notes That Can Be Understood Two Weeks from Now” talks about a practice that most of us can use in our ministries. And if you’re still in school . . .
Those of you in church plants or re-plants will appreciate this article on celebrating milestones. It’s available as a podcast or as text.
This is one that you can sneak on the literature table. It’s about responding to change.
I did not have the opportunity to attend seminary to the point of getting a Master’s Degree. I wish I had, though. This article by Tim Gough encourages youth pastors to attend seminary.
I just returned from my monthly lunch with two pastor friends. Ironically, two of us are no longer in ministry, but that’s what we end up talking about. We’ve been meeting for over a decade, and have stood with each other through some hard stuff. I’ve written about this, and Daryl Dash reinforces the importance of pastoral friends.
Here’s one for the literature table by Kristie Anyabwile. She writes “An Open Letter to the Older Women in the Church.”
Do you get discouraged when there are a lot of empty spaces in the congregation? Here’s some encouragement on how to respond as preachers.
That’s all for this week. Thanks for dropping by. I hope something above is helpful. See you on Wednesday!
John Bloom encourages people going through trouble in his article “Waiting for God Alone: How Desperation Teaches Us to Trust.”
John Lee with 9Marks shares a really helpful piece called “Defining the Stuff We Do On Sunday Mornings: A Congregational Worship Glossary.”
The folks at Crossway share links and information about the key creeds and confessions of the Christian Church. It would be worth sharing and is must reading for you as a pastor.
I have a few others that I had saved for this week, but this should keep you reading. I find reading these kinds of articles to be both helpful and educational. I hope you find something like that here.
A Weekly List of Links and Resources Especially for Pastors
Chris Scotti is the VP and Publisher of 316 Publishing, which features a number of New American Standard Bible Resources. One of their resources is a great NASB app with Greek and Hebrew lexicon. I’d been using it on occasion before getting an email from Chris and recommend it for its ease of use. You can see the various resources available at 316publishing.com.
Here’s a short piece by Peter Mead on approaching the text we preach with the right goal in mind.
Tim Challies, who contributes so much to the Christian community, writes about how to frame our preaching for maximum benefit to our audience.
The folks at 9Marks.org always produce good stuff for us. Here’s an article by Jeff Mooney on dealing with those times when we feel spiritually dry.
Nothing controversial here. 🙂 “I’d Probably Still Cancel Your Short-Term Missions Trip.” You may not agree, but Carlson raises some issues worth considering.
Here’s encouragement to prepare our people to suffer.
John Piper talks about God’s sovereignty and our unproductive days.
Here’s a good article to share with parents and those who work with kids.
If you’re reading this blog and find it helpful, or if you have an idea for something you’d like to read about, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are today’s links:
If you’re a younger pastor, well, it’s good to be prepared. Mid-life issues affect pastors too. If you’re approaching or already in mid-life, this article from May by John Piper may be worth reading and saving.
Here’s another article by John Piper in which he reflects on a statement once made by James Denny, a Scottish preacher from over a century ago. Denny said, “No man can give the impression that he himself is clever and that Christ is mighty to save.”
Every aspect of pastoral ministry involves leadership. We always want to lead well, but as Clint Eastwood once said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” We can’t – and won’t – do everything well.
A few weeks back I wrote about time management and recommended the Bullet Journal system as a simple but helpful way of keeping track of what you have to do. If you prefer computer apps over pen and paper, this article may be of help.
Our churches are busy places. Stephen McAlpine has an idea for slowing down, at least for a season.
“Why Pastors Burn Out (And How to Avoid It).” Enough said. Read it.
What’s the difference between a lecture and preaching? Here’s an opportunity for self-check.
Back in June, Dr. Brian Chapell asked and answered a question about avoiding a preaching rut. I’ve had them, and you probably have too. Or will. Here’s good counsel.
I’m copying these right from the newsletter of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Both of these books should be of interest to pastors of all ages:
The Care of Souls: Cultivating a Pastor’s Heart (Lexham) by Harold L. Senkbeil. Harold Senkbeil helps remind pastors of the essential calling of the ministry: preaching and living out the Word of God while orienting others in the same direction. And he offers practical and fruitful advice born out of his five decades as a pastor” that will benefit both new pastors and those with years in the pulpit. In a time when many churches have lost sight of the real purpose of the church, The Care of Souls invites a new generation of pastors to form the godly habits and practical wisdom needed to minister to the hearts and souls of those committed to their care. (Note from me: The Kindle price is half of the paper price)
My intent is to post on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. However, I am a software junkie of sorts and have been experimenting with a some different blogging tools. I’ve settled on one called Ulysses. You can pick up the basics pretty quickly, but from what I’ve read the program has a great deal under the hood.
One thing I’ve learned about Ulysses is that if you press the “publish” button, your writing gets published. This is great if you’re ready for prime time, but not so good if the post is still in process or you want it to be posted at another time.
On Tuesday (yesterday), I had written a post for today and ended up not being attentive enough. So it published a day early. Which is hardly a major issue, but it’s not a good idea to leave too much time between posts. With that in mind I will post this brief quote that I hope will be an encouragement, whether or not you are in vocational ministry.
There’s a devotional book based on the writings of Martin Luther that you can get at Amazon. On the January 7 reading, reflecting on 2 Corinthians 5:21, we read these words:
”You must rely on these and similar verses with your whole heart. The more your conscience torments you, the more you must rely on them. For if you don’t and try to quiet your conscience through your own sorrow and penance, you will never find peace of mind and will finally despair in the end. If you try to deal with sin in your conscience, let it remain there, and continue to look at it in your heart, your sins will become too strong for you. They will seem to live forever. But when you think of your sins as being on Christ and boldly believe that he conquered them through his resurrection, then they are dead and gone. Sin can’t remain on Christ. His resurrection swallowed them up.” (Emphasis mine)
Whoever we are, whatever vocation we find ourselves in, the simple fact (as you well know) is that we are sinners.
May God encourage you with Luther’s thoughts on God’s word as you wrestle toward holiness!
Maybe you’re in seminary, contemplating ministry. Or you’re new to the role of pastor. Have you been a pastor for a while? Then this site has been designed with you in mind. Welcome! Thanks for stopping by!
Let’s face it – there’s a lot that they don’t teach you in seminary. I spent over forty years in ministry and without question the entire time was a learning experience.
I want to say up front that I am not a ministry expert. I haven’t pastored a mega church. I haven’t written any books (but man, could I!). I was an ordinary pastor in an ordinary church.
There were good times and hard times. But in both good times and bad times ministry is a challenge. I hope to share some of what I learned over my years.
I have a concern for young guys just starting out and those who have been pastors for a few years. Some of you have no one to talk to. Some of you are facing challenges and you don’t know how to handle them. Some of you face opposition. How do you keep from getting crushed? Ministry isn’t easy.
Before I start posting, let me introduce myself. My name is Peter Bogert. I graduated from Northeastern Bible College in 1976. My wife and I served for about three years in a Baptist church in northern New Jersey. In 1980 we moved to suburban Philadelphia. Initially I worked as the Education Pastor. In 1987 I added oversight of our elementary school to my list of responsibilities. In 1996 our school closed, and I resumed my role as Education Pastor, focusing on adult education. In 2003 the church called me to be the Senior Pastor. I held that position until I retired in June of 2017.
Again, I am not an expert. But I am a listening ear and have a bunch of things I want to share in this blog. My goal is to post about 3 times a week. Some posts will be on dealing with “stuff.” Other posts will focus on being challenging and encouraging. If I don’t answer a question that you have, use the contact button and let me know how I can help. I’ll do the best I can.
Thanks again for stopping by! May God bless you as you serve him.