Monthly Archives: July 2007

You will like these … or you won’t

With all the emerging talk, buzz words, and new church strategies out there, I am uncertainly certain that you will like Pyromaniacs emerging line of motivational posters. Or maybe you won’t. I bet we see some fundamental posters from Emergent sometime soon.



Musings on Pastor or Preacher or …

I recently heard one leader in our church indicate that we had too much preaching and teaching – that what is needed is more emphasis on connecting with people in their real lives. I’m certain that we won’t be tossing expository preaching at Crossroads Bible Church anytime soon – Pastor Jerry Mitchell is vitally committed to the that task. Such statements may expose a short-sightedness in what ministry is all about and the call of the pastor. Yet having been in ministry for 36 years I have been able to see several swings of the philosopy of ministry pendulum. One of those swings has had to do with this issue of preaching versus pastoring (pastoral care). The church tends to be on one side of the pendulum swing or another … in balance for a few minutes as it moves from one extreme to the other. Maybe the issue is that some divorce preaching from pastoral care; or maybe that we reduce shepherding to preaching alone. John MacArthur said sometime early in my ministry that,

“The pastor who is not a preacher grows petty. The preacher who is not a pastor grows remote”

As in so many situations it is not “either/or”, but rather “both/and.” In this vein I appreciated Paul Lamey’s Observations on Pastoral Preaching over at Expository Thoughts. I especially liked #6, learn to preach in weakness, fear and in much trembling….the opposite is a kamikaze pride, and #1, preaching great sermons should not be a cover for poor shepherding.

I may not preach very often but I can pray for those on our pastoral team who do stand in the pulpit that they will be good shepherds and, that, as a team of shepherds, our church staff will appropriately care for the church of Jesus Christ.

You Too Can Blog

The hardest things about blogging are actually finding topics, followed by finding time to write (harder for some of us than others). Actually blogging is not all that hard thanks to WordPress and Blogger. You can begin to blog too – check out these free how to start blogging videos. Start a blog. Let me know. I’ll link to you!

Simply the Church

Thabiti had an insightful post on the “mere-ness” of the church a while back. I took note of it for a future blog because I liked the theme. We seem to have made “church” into something complicated, programmatic, consumer based in approach. In the process we may have lost the simple truth of the church being the people of God living out their redeemed lives as he directs, leads, and calls. I have often wondered what might happen if we were to cancel all meetings other than worship services for a couple of weeks – no youth groups, children’s ministries, adult classes, small groups, or committees. Maybe opportunities for personal discipleship and prayer could stay. Would we still have church?  

In this intitial post Thabiti focuses on preaching which often becomes embellished in the hopes of making church interesting. He writes:

It seems that the more adorned the church is in its corporate life the less nimble, attractive, permeable, and useful. The more we add to what might be termed the simplicity of the church, the more foreign and inhospitable we make it to the wide range of men and women who need to be in her. The more we dress her in worldly pearls and gaudy jewelry, which comes in many forms, the weaker she is under the heaviness of a wardrobe not meant for militant, war-time life.

He builds this theme out over a few more posts in June. Click here and scroll to review the mereness of the church’s mission, singing, and it’s life together. Here’s to being merely the church!

Finding Rot

I spent much of my July 4 holiday prepping decks for a new coat of stain. I thought I was ready to go – every thing pressure-washed, scraped, and dry. The paint was in the garage, along with brushes bristling to go. One more attack with the broom to get the pine needles off and I would be on the way. Aaaghh! Walking along the edge one of the floor boards cracked. Close inspection showed dry rot (which is actually more about being wet than being dry). And on closer inspection I found more than one board rotting … another 8-10 boards have to be replaced now. Another dozen have maybe another year and they’ll need to be replaced too. I guess it isn’t too bad when considering the decks are 20 years old. And as a percent of the 5 decks we have, it really isn’t all that much. But I’m guessing there is maybe more rot creeping in just under my ability to discern it.

What a great metaphor (or maybe not so great) for what every so often goes on in lives and organizations. Yes, even the church sometimes is affected. You know what I’m talking about. Things look really good on the surface. Just like paint can cover up the insidious rot on my decks, we can have all sorts of nice things on the outside of our lives. We can glibly talk our way through just about everything. The Bible verses are on the tip of our tongue. We’re busy with “God-stuff” and it is all veeery important stuff. People look up to us. And then …. something happens to expose weakness. Personal or institutional dry rot may have crept in. Hopefully we take note, take time to deal with it through repentance and taking steps to bring renewal. Unfortunately, all we sometimes do is paint over the rottenness so that it looks OK and maybe we can even forget it. However, dry rot just doesn’t go away. Without taking drastic action – probably time consuming action when we would rather be doing something else – rot will continue to spread and will eventually require drastic action when things begin to dramatically fall apart. I even found one church that had to tear down their building over dry rot.

Maybe this is why Paul calls on the community of Christians at Corinth to “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV).

OK, my frustration with hours wasted on dry rot is appeased with this post. How about some of my readers adding their insights to “spiritual dry rot”?