Lent: An Uncluttered Time

The church season of Lent is an invitation to that uncluttered time. It is a chance act deliberately, and to put some space between ourselves and the frenzy of our busyness. It is a call to be quiet and to see what our busyness so often keeps us from recognizing. Namely, that we are dust, that we are creatures and not the Creator, and that we are as finite and fragile as the grass and flowers in the fields. At Lent, we remember that all flesh withers, falls, and fades. 

And yet, not everything is passing.

Pastor, You Are Loved to the End

David’s words are mine some days. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins (Psalm 25:16-18). I know some of you would slowly nod your head to this too, as your eyes are cast downward, the contemplations of your heart reeling in a grey, slow-motion fog. “Have I been made for this work?”, you ask? “Of course”, you answer. But probably too quickly, and maybe for the first time you are not so sure. 

Preaching Puts You In Your Place

I’ve not met too many pastors who come skipping into the pulpit on Sunday convinced they have the next “Don’t Waste Your Life” or “Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God” in their hot little hands. At least any who’ve been out of seminary for like a week. The reason why is that preaching is supposed to put a pastor in his place, and remind him every Sunday morning that he has one job to do that he didn’t get to write the job description for. Here’s three ways preaching puts us in our place, and why it should.

Praying Like Breathing

Don’t worry, this is not another article on the nature and effect of prayer as a spiritual discipline in the life of believers. For that, read “Prayer” by Tim Keller, “Recapturing the Wonder” by Mike Cosper, “Habits of Grace” by David Mathis or “A Praying Life” by Paul Miller. What I want to briefly discuss is two practical aspects of praying and why “prayer without ceasing” should become as natural as the daily conversations you have with friends and loved ones.

Singing the Psalms

From Moses (Psalm 90) all the way through the 18th Century, the Psalms were the primary prayer book and the hymnal of the people of God. If you wanted to know how to grow in your intimacy with God, if you wanted a glimpse into God’s heart, if you wanted to learn how to pray, throughout the ages, most pastors would have had the same answer: “Work your way through the Psalms, and let the Psalms do their work upon you.”

Back from Sabbatical: 10 Reflections Upon Reentry

I realize that not all of us have the luxury of taking a sabbatical 5-7 years into our church plants, but I would encourage all pastors reading this to begin to have serious conversations with your elders or leadership teams about the necessity of sabbaticals for your spiritual, emotional and physical health.With that said, Melissa and I decided to jot down a few reflections (in no particular order) which we hope might be helpful to you whether a sabbatical is coming soon or later.