Monthly Archives: October 2010

Care

imageIn the midst of completing church search team questionnaires and participating in a few interviews for pastor jobs I’ve had the opportunity to ponder the question of pastoral care. More specifically, what is the mark of effective care in a congregation? I’ve tried all kinds of definitions and word-smithing, but find that the following two components seem to still be true. It isn’t about how I define it, but rather what a person experiences in the church or group that I shepherd. I’m not saying I do this all that well, but it certainly provides a nice target.

A person is adequately cared for when he or she perceives that:

  • “someone in the church loves me” and
  • “if I need attention, I can get it without feeling guilty.”

Quotes for Church Leaders 2

Another addition to my collection of quotes for leader types. 

Committees produce complexity instead of leadership. Committees don’t lead; groups don’t lead; only people lead. Search the parks in any city; you will see dozens of statues of leaders – and not one of a committee.

McIntosh and Martin

It is naïve and foolish to be surprised or immobilized by sick behavior in the church.”

John Cionca

A vision that costs nothing changes nothing and is worth nothing.

James Means

You cannot have impact without community. You cannot have community without unity. You cannot have unity without humility. You cannot have humility without experiencing the holiness of God

Joe Aldrich

We have too many people who have plenty of medals and no scars.

Warren Wiersbe

Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led. But it does mean loving and knowing the one who is leading. It is literally a life of faith, not of understanding and reason – a life of knowing Him who calls us to go.

Oswald Chambers

Being a pastor that satisfies a congregation is one of the easiest jobs on the face of the earth, if we are satisfied with satisfying congregations.

Eugene Peterson

There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God.

Jonathon Edwards

No one can have a Biblically authentic ministry without hard work.

Kent Hughes


Quotes for Church Leaders 1

[This was originally a separate page on the blog, but I decided to move it to the main section and update with periodic posts]

While serving as Executive Pastor at Crossroads Bible Church I would include a quote from my then current reading on each week’s staff agenda. I’m adding them to my blog, a few at a time, because it seems a shame to keep them to myself. (Thanks to Amy Thompson, my former administrative assistant, for retyping them for me). Check back now and then for more…

“The worship of success is generally the form of idol worship which the devil cultivates most assiduously”

Helmut Theilicke

“A vision with no underlying sense of purpose, no calling, is just a good idea.”

Only mediocre people are always at their best.”

Somerset Maugham

“I used to believe that if everything’s going well, leave it alone, or as the old adage says, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Now I know that’s wrong. The best time to try something new, to take risks, to move off in a different direction is in good times, not bad. Isn’t that what leadership is all about fixing things that aren’t broken?”

Visionary Leadership, Burt Nanus

“Worship does not satisfy our hunger for God; it whets our appetite. “

Eugene Peterson

“We have become too enemy-conscious, and can over-do the spiritual warfare aspect of intercession. We need to be more God-conscious; so that we can laugh the laugh of faith knowing that we have power over all the power of the enemy.”

John Piper, The Pleasures of God


“It is impossible for that man to despair who remembers that his Helper is omnipotent.”

Jeremy Taylor

“Rather than saying to culture, “This is what religion is,” [the churches] have been much more inclined to say to culture, “What do you want religion to be?” Rather than presenting religion as a system of meaning that insists on informing all of one’s life, [the churches] have broken it down and offered it as a wide variety of belief practice, program and service items.”

Reginald Bibby, Fragmented Gods: “The Poverty and Potential of Religion in Canada”

“Churches are therefore filled with baby Christians – people who are spiritual infants. That is a fitting description, because the characteristic that is most descriptive of an infant is selfishness. Babies are completely self-centered. They scream if they don’t get what they want when they want it. They are aware of only their own needs and desires. They never say thanks for anything. They can’t help others; they can’t give anything. They can only receive. And certainly there is nothing wrong with that when it occurs in the natural stage of infancy. But to see a child whose development is arrested so he never gets beyond the stage of helpless selfishness – that is a tragedy. And that is exactly the spiritual state of multitudes in the church today. They are utterly preoccupied with self. They want their own problems solved and their own comfort elevated. Their spiritual development is arrested, and they remain in a perpetual state of selfish helplessness. It is evidence of a tragic abnormality.”

John MacArthur, Reckless Faith

“Sin is often defined by how it affects man, not how it dishonors God. Salvation is often presented as a means of receiving what Christ offers, not as a mandate to obey what he commands. Many modern-day evangelists have reduced the gospel to little more than a formula by which people can live a happy and more fulfilling life. The focus has shifted from god’s glory to man’s benefit.”

John MacArthur, Drawing Near

“We are not sent to preach sociology, but salvation; not economics, but evangelism; not reform, but redemption; not culture, but conversion; not progress, but pardon; not a new social order, but a new birth; not revolution, but regeneration; not renovation, but revival; not resuscitation, but resurrection; not a new organization, but a new creation; not democracy, but the gospel; not civilization, but Christ; We are ambassadors, not diplomats.”

Hugh Thomson Kerr


A great leader never sets himself above his followers except in carrying responsibilities.”

Anonymous

When the not-so-still small voice of the self becomes the highest authority, religious belief requires commitment to no authority beyond oneself. Then religious groups become merely communities of autonomous beings yoked together solely by self-interest or emotion.”

Charles Colson, Against the Night

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

Alexander Graham Bell

“Jesus didn’t give us an impossible task; just one that requires us to move forward on our knees, depending upon his Spirit….”

Dick McClain

“Christian Community is simply impossible apart from Christian truth!”

Marshall Shelley, The Consumer Church

“In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centering on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome where it became an institution. Next it moved to Europe where it became a culture. And finally, it moved to America where it became an enterprise.”

Richard Halverson, US Senate Chaplain.


“There are only three kinds of people in the world; those that are movable, those that are immovable, and those that move them.”

Li Hung Chang

“Never take down a fence until you know why it was put up. If you get too far ahead of the army, your soldiers may mistake you for the enemy. Don’t complain about the bottom rungs of the ladder; they helped you get higher. If you want to enjoy the rainbow, be prepared to endure the storm.”

Warren Wiersbe, On Being a Servant of God

“You can be young only once, but immature for a lifetime.”

Mark Wheeler

“There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God”

Jonathon Edwards

“Christian leaders are godly people (character) who know where they are going (vision) and have followers (influence). Leaders, who constantly walk with God and have a clear, significant vision, attract followers.”

Aubrey Malphurs, Planting Growing Churches for the 21st Century

“Not even evangelicals can straitjacket the Holy Spirit.”

Carl Henry


“Excellence is never cheap. It is costly. Constant care, serious preparation, and continual application are required. Excellence involves desire plus discipline plus determination.”

George Sweeting

“Between the great thing we cannot do and the small things we will not do, the danger is that we shall do nothing”

Adolph Monod

“Some minds are like concrete – thoroughly mixed and permanently set.”

Unknown

“Is our actual concern to see a vital Christianity flourish, or is it to secure a more orderly and less violent society to live our comfortable and self-satisfied lives?”

John D. Woodbridge



Leaders

Myron Rush in the now out-of-print The New Leader provides some challenging standards for would-be leaders:

  • You must be willing to stand alone.
  • You must be willing  to go against public opinion for what you believe.
  • you must be willing to risk failure.
  • you must become master of your emotions.
  • you must strive to remain above reproach.
  • You must be willing to make decisions others do not want to make.
  • You must be willing to say “no” at times, even when you’d like to say “yes”.
  • You must be willing to sacrifice personal interests for the good of the group.
  • You must never be content with the average, you must always strive for the best.
  • People must be more important to you than possessions.
  • You will have to work harder to keep your life in balance than people do who are not leaders.

Random Quotes

While at a men’s retreat in October ‘89 I jotted down these disparate thoughts:

Never think of the church of God as if she were in danger.… If it were in danger, you could not deliver it. If Christ cannot take care of his Church without you, you cannot do it. Be still and know that he is God. – Charles Spurgeon

Faith requires us to relinquish control. That’s why so many of us find it hard to exercise faith – Paul Borthwick.

If you forget all else, three attributes of God make Him trustworthy when life gets tough: sovereignty, love, and wisdom. Jerry Bridges

Twenty-one years later they still make sense.


Preparation

Charles Spurgeon once said something to the effect that the affliction of today may have no reference to the circumstances of today, but to the circumstances of the future. I’ve been considering this as I wait for God’s clear direction and wondering how God might use this somewhat disconcerting time of waiting in my future ministry. I hope that I will be a more compassionate pastor because of it.

I know I will have a greater empathy for those who are between jobs. I’ll understand better the internal struggles they face. I also know that I will continually do all I can to point to a faithful God, a trustworthy God, a caring God, even if the circumstances of the day seem hopeless. And I’ll remind them that God may be preparing them from a day that they do not yet see.

“If we cannot believe God when circumstances seem to be against us, we do not believe Him at all.” – Charles Spurgeon


Children’s Bible with Good Words, Odd Art

altBook Review: "Big Red" Holy Bible – Contemporary 3-D Art.
 
The International Children’s Bible has been available since 1986, and the previous editions of the “Big Red” Children’s Bible seem to be well-loved. This 2010 paperback update changes little except for the cover art and the pictures. The Bible portion itself is a translation from the original Greek and Hebrew into third-grade level English so as to be more understandable to children. The publishers website says that “The International Children’s Bible (ICB) gives the meaning of the text in plain modern speech. It smoothes out rough places and eliminates repetition, making it a good choice for casual reading and devotional use.” The preface states that there were two premises guiding the translation process. First was the “concern that the translation be faithful to the manuscripts in the original languages”. Second was “to make the language simple enough for children to read and understand it for themselves”. The preface also indicates the major types of issues that the translators addressed – it is worth reading. It is not just the vocabulary that has been simplified, but grammatical and literary elements that could be confusing to Children have been addressed as well.
 
The translation itself is well done and I have no doubt that it is easier for children to understand. The goal of giving a child true Bible in words they can understand, rather than merely a story book collection, is commendable. I certainly would have no concerns in giving this translation to my own grandchildren. But I would probably give them an older edition – one without the “contemporary 3-D art” which, to this grandpa, seems really odd … almost strange. I can’t really explain it, but it was off-putting to me (and Mrs. Random as well). I understand that good art is in the eye of the beholder, but I would be slow to purchase this book on that basis alone. (note that this copy was provided to me for review purposes by the publisher).
 
I also think that the type face and line spacing of the Bible text is not particularly user (i.e., child) friendly. The choice used in the dictionary portion is much better. I’m sure that the desire to keep the book more compact is behind that choice and can’t be helped. The paperback cover will not last long with most children (that’s opinion based on years as a pastor, dad, and now a grandfather). I’d encourage the publisher to consider using some older pictures and using the dollars saved to add a more durable cover.
All considered I still recommend this translation, and encourage parents to discuss it with their children, as they fulfill their God-given responsibility in training.
 
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise [Deuteronomy 6:6-7, ESV]

  "Big Red" Holy Bible – Contemporary 3-D Art

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.