Many times I get this question, “Pastor, please pray for me.” Not only do I do my best to pray for them right then and there but I try to remember to pray for them throughout my week. I am often wondering how do I pray for others. I know it is lifting up their request but more so, how should my heart and mind be when I pray for them. I am so thankful for Scripture as we can see a model of what this looks like. Paul, the Apostle, would often pray for the different churches and mention that in his letters to them.
One of those particular prayers is found in the book of Philippians. In his pastoral prayer, we have a model of the heart behind praying for others.
1) Our prayers need to be thankful for others
Paul was thankful for the church in Philippi, he was thankful for them. He writes to them, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you (Philippians 1:3).” As a pastor I am reminded how I am thankful for the believers at my church. I am thankful for the unity that comes in Christ. Though there may be different in our interests, we have different backgrounds and upbringings, we have different likes and dislikes, different hobbies, different professions, different yet we have Christ who unites us. We go from unrelated to family. We go from strangers to a community. Christ who unites us is far greater than where we are diverse. Continue reading “How to Pray for Others”
Less than a week ago I woke up to the news of the violent school shooting that took place in Santa Fe, Texas. Ten people were killed and another thirteen wounded by a high school gunman. I am still praying for the families as the attention from the media has moved on to other things, knowing the hurt and pain is still very, very fresh for them. Though this happened in Texas and not in my home state, the whole United States was affected by this egregious act.
I knew I would start seeing the posts that say, “Pray for Santa Fe” on the day of, which is well meaning and I hope is not just a knee-jerk response just to post something but hopefully they are genuinely praying. For me, I had to evaluate my response. I think sometimes when I hear about evil acts I sometimes don’t always respond well because first, you hear it and you need to bear the news that you hear. It should trouble us when we hear about tragedy. It should trouble us that this even happens and how often it happens. It is a hard thing to hear and to bear and you can play naïve by overlooking information. Second, I think others pass over this news quickly because there is a sense of responsibility in how one should respond. If you do not take time to listen, you can not have responsibility. As a Christian, there is a biblical mandate to stand up against evil. The Bible says, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them (Ephesians 5:11 ESV).” I believe there should be a responsibility for Christians, especially in America with our constitution and rights to be able to expose injustice and evil. Continue reading “Responding to Evil”
It’s that time, summer! The kids are winding down their school years and I am sure that most everyone is thinking, what can I read this summer? Let me encourage you as your vacations are planned to make sure and pack a book. There are many great books out there and there are many not so great books out there. Last year I wrote a blog post “What Not to Read” during your summer time reading. Let me give you ten books that I recommend this summer.
This list is in no special order but are based on books that I feel were worth the time to read. Whether you read diligently or are challenging yourself with just trying to read more than you already do, I encourage you to grab a book, spend some time reading it, and digest what you read. Let it be something the encourages you in your Christian walk and share it with someone else. Summer Reading List:*Continue reading “Summer Reading List-2018”
I have a friend who is always willing to help, be there when there is a need, even when it is not the most convenient. I am beyond thankful for this friend. If you have someone like that, you know what a treasure that is to have. There is a man mentioned in the Bible named Tychicus who my friend reminds me of, and we can be encouraged to be more like him.
Be like who? Tychicus! Just say his name 3 times fast! He is mentioned by the Apostle Paul at the end of Ephesians as “the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord whom Paul was sending to them as an encourager (Ephesians 6:21-22).” At the end of Colossians, Paul again mentions this loved brother by adding that he is a faithful servant (Colossians 4:7). Continue reading “Be Like…Tychicus”
When one thinks of an institution they may think of education, government, the church, marriage, family, and even state correctional facilities. What is considered an institution? Which institution holds the most influence? Which one should hold the most influence? Each holds its importance. Marriage and family are rooted at society and carry a lot of influence but not most important. Education, good and does it molding of children and influences (negative and positive) should not be the most influential in our society. The government which has its own institutions within it, and holds power, is not the most influential.
Pastor and teacher Ray Ortland defines an institution this way, “An institution is a social mechanism for making a desirable experience easily repeatable. An institution is where life-giving human activities can be nurtured and protected and sustained.” Here there can be many institutions that fit this definition like sporting events but where more than ever can human activities be nurtured, protected, and sustained the strongest? It is the church. (The church in this meaning is the Biblical church made up of Bible believing Christians. Pastor Mark Dever defines the church as “The church is that collection of people who are hearing the Word of God, responding to it with their lives, and who have obeyed Jesus’ specific commands to be baptized and proclaim his death in the Lord’s Supper.”) Continue reading “What Should Be the Most Influential Institution?”
The other day I had a check up with my doctor. The doctor did the routine of checking on the health and asking for certain types of tests to be done to be able to assess how I am doing physically. You can check your weight, blood pressure, blood tests and other body factors to see where you are on the health meter. Continue reading “Are You a Healthy Pastor? How to check? Part 2”
Do you read for the fun? Is that even a statement that you hear very often?
Some are seasoned readers who would say, “Reading is always fun!” I am not there. Reading is enjoyable (most of the time) but my problem is not enjoying reading, it is finding the time to read.
As a pastor, reading should be high on the list of things to do. I should always be challenging myself to learn more in theology, studying for messages, church life, christian living, etc. There are books I have to read, books I should read, and books that I want to read, but I don’t have the time at this moment to get to. I love receiving recommended books to read but those go to a long list of books that I may get to, one day.
To be honest, not everything I read is fun. The process of learning and being challenged is good but I don’t know if I would categorize it as always fun. There are times that I am really challenged with a book, and that’s not fun at times. Reading books that may convict me of sin and pointing me to the grace of God would not be considered always fun but needed. Continue reading “Reading for the Fun of It?”
What are you pursuing? Today, it seems easier more than ever for ordinary people to become famous because of technology. The ability to communicate with the masses is right at our fingertips. Even as I write this blog, it is public for the world to see (not that they will). Just like anything we do, more than ever, we must ask ourselves what is the motive behind what we do. There are tips and tricks on how to grow a following. There are the do’s and don’ts on how to gain momentum. Personally, I struggle with this. I stagger back and forth to pursue being known and reminding myself what Scripture says.
There is an issue that seems to rear its ugly head in the American Evangelical world, and that is the rise of the celebrity pastor. This post is not to point out those who may fit that definition, but I pose a question. What does the Bible say about this? We are at a crossroads with technology by being able to use it in a positive way or dangerously with the promotion of self. This is nothing new to life, it is just clothed differently in a different decade with a different tool. Continue reading “Pursuing Ordinary? Three lessons the Lord is Teaching Me.”
We see in the Bible that we are are called to confess our sin. For example, John tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous (just) to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).” We are called to confess and repent form sin and it is crucial that we do it (Mark 1:15).
Who are we confessing our sin to? In this passage, John is directing the reader to confess their sin to God as he is the one who forgives. God is the only one who forgives and He freely forgives because of Jesus did for us through his death and resurrection (1 Timothy 1:15). Continue reading “Unconfessed Sin?”
I just hit my mid thirties this year! Though I am not a Senior Pastor at the church I serve at, I realized that being in a sedentary job was catching up to me. As a kid I was always skinny or fit. I played sports. I could eat whatever I wanted and it didn’t matter. Things changed in my twenties when I wasn’t as active but still ate whatever I wanted. After having some different health challenges that took place in my early thirties I know I needed to change but why? It goes beyond what the mirror revealed when I looked at it. Continue reading “Are You a Healthy Pastor?”