Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16).
Repentance brings healing. You can’t heal if what’s causing the wounds is still active. You can’t heal a situation if the same behavior continues. The person or persons who have inflicted the wound must turn away from their behavior. Any attempt at healing without repentance only draws attention to the unresolved, unrepentant behavior. In a relationship, whether the wounding party is a significant other, family member, friend, co-worker, church member, or pastor, he or she must admit that they have erred and seek to turn away from their error. If possible, they should make amends in order to show that they are serious about repenting. If such sin has become a pattern of behavior over a long period of time, he needs to go above and beyond to make amends in order to heal the relationship.
Friday, June 09, 2017
Thursday, June 08, 2017
Monday, May 29, 2017
Friday, May 05, 2017
Because humans are created in the image of God, we’ve also been given the
ability to create. The book of Genesis consists of God creating structures on
the earth and then filling them. Humans are then created and given the task of
filling the earth and subduing it (1:28), of cultivating the earth (2:15).
Humans were created to work, accomplish tasks, and pursue artistic means. In
this sense, humans are very much homo
faber, “working man”. As Umberto Eco argues in “Open Work”, homo faber
is a manifestation of man's innate being in nature. The rejection of this
innate being represents the alienation from and objectification of nature.
However, our ability to work and create is frustrated from a cursed earth
producing (in terms of the metaphor) thorns, thistles, and agony (3:17-19; also
3:16). Evil, sin, selfishness – these bring
disruption to our working lives, causing frustration.
Part of the work of Jesus is a reversal of this curse on the land and the alleviation of the frustrations, disappointments, and general dissatisfactions. As the body of Christ, the Church and all those believers who follow Jesus are called to be a part of that same work. We are to help people with their frustrations, doing what we can to remove such impediments in order to further the Kingdom of God.
I was reminded a couple of weeks ago that one of the jobs of a minister is to equip volunteers to do the work of the Church by alleviating as much of the frustrations of that work as possible. Much of this can be done through organization, communication, preparatory work, establishing clearly defined goals and expectations, proper training, on-going support, and appreciation. This is all bread and butter in ministry. Unfortunately though, far from alleviating the aggravations that go on in the work of the church, ministry leaders can be the cause of such frustrations.
Does not allow for pushback or disagreements
Uses of Guilt for Obedience
Family members seem to fill key openings
Monday, May 01, 2017
One of the truths of life is that any organization generally reflects the character, mentality, and motivations of its leadership. This is true in governments, businesses, and churches. Why this is the case is uncertain and the subject of debate amongst psychologists, theologians, and those who study organizational leadership, but practical experience nevertheless bears this truth out.
Obviously, there are both positives and negatives in this. If you have a dynamically creative and humble leader with good character, a great mind, and interests in evangelism and studying the Scriptures, then there will be a trickle-down effect and a permeation of this throughout the organization. Obviously, this is a boon. However, if you have a leader with poor character and temperament, a disorganized mind, and who is selfishly motivated, then you can expect a disorganized organization exhibiting poor character, poor choices detrimental to all those who come into its purview. This can create a toxic culture and work environment. And even with the best leaders, the character foibles and practical idiosyncrasies and deficiencies which exist in each of us can manifest themselves in an organization. This is particularly true of churches. And this situation is ultimately unavoidable. There must always be leadership in a church. However, there are ways in which problems can be lessened to the benefit of the church’s mission. Here are a few recommendations:
1) Make Christ the leader of the church. This is about making a conscious effort to establish Christ as the leader of the church in a very real and practical way. Part of this is about modeling the church’s organization on Christ’s character and practice (Philippians 2:5-11). Most of this is about seeking God’s direction through prayer and pursuing what God wants us to do, not what we want or what someone else is doing. This is vision by mission. This is ministry by need. You pursue ministry by the needs of your community. You create ministries because there is a need; you don’t create a ministry and hope there is a need.
2) Practice Servant Leadership (Luke 22:25-26; Ephesians 4:11-12; Matthew 20:16; Philippians 2:5-11).
3) Checks and Balances. Power and authority should be spread amongst a large number of people and not centralized and consolidated with one person or one family. There should be a plurality of Elders or Pastors who all have equal authority to make decisions. Church ministries need to be team-based. Most importantly, senior pastors should not pick those who theoretically oversee them and who supposedly insure accountability.
4) Allow for Disagreements. Create a ministry culture where people are free to discuss ideas openly and offer concerns and disagreements without fear of retribution. We should not cluster ourselves in self-affirming groups or create echo chambers for our own desires.
5) Pastoral character. As started above, human leadership is unavoidable, but the inherent problems can be lessened by sound practices. A church needs to insure its pastor has good character, a decent temperament, and integrity. The Pastoral Letters are a good place to start. A church needs to make sure its pastor is above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6-7), temperate and prudent (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 2:2), gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money (1 Timothy 3:3; 6:10), keeping his children under control (1 Timothy 3:4, 12), not showing partiality (1 Timothy 5:21), has a good reputation outside of the church (1 Timothy 3:7), not double-tongued (1 Timothy 3:8), not self-willed or quick-tempered or pugnacious (Titus 1:6), and sensible and self-controlled (Titus 1:8; 2:5).
Sunday, April 30, 2017
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Saturday, April 15, 2017
Friday, April 14, 2017