Pastor, What Do You Agonize Over?

Last week I attended Together For The Gospel a conference for Pastors. So man incredible sessions one that stood out to me was a message by John MacArthur on Sanctification and the Pastor’s Passion. Such a powerful reminder to us all of what matters most. In life and ministry, we can become sidetracked by good things but still distracted by what we are called to do. We can so easily get caught up in things that we think will make a difference. Dr. MacArthur offers a clear call back to what matters what pastors as shepherds are called to do.

Here is what John MacArthur says.

Ask yourself be real honest, “What pains you in the ministry, what disappoints you, what depresses you? Is it the carnality, the lack of devotion to Christ, sin weakness in your people. If it is then you are a true shepherd. But if it’s about you somehow you have managed to get seriously off track. Someone came to Moody onetime and said my congregation is too small. To which Moody replied “Maybe they are as large as you would like to give account for in the day of judgment. You will not be judged on the size of your membership or the size of your auditorium, you will be judged you will give an account Hebrews tells us, on the Christlikeness of your people. Agonize over that.

So powerful. What do you agonize over? Your influence or lake thereof or your people’s Christlikeness. Pastor lets by God’s grace agonize over that.

Youth Pastor: Pick Reverence Over Cool

“Cool is not your compass.”

“What do we do when trendy conflicts with the truth?”

Such important truth by Trip Lee. In the United States, we are famously anti-monarchy yet we substitute celebrity for royalty. With the advent of social media, we are no longer six degrees from Kevin Bacon we can now watch Kevin buy bacon at his local grocery store on Facebook Live. We know more than we used to know we know what our celebrities are watching, wearing and, shopping. We can even become famous so much easier than ever before. This leads us to know more about celebrity culture and creates an appetite for things that are not good and can even be sinful. Is wanting a nice pair of shoes wrong? No, but paying 1,200.00 for them is sinful. God gives us good gifts to enjoy but the inordinate desire for things other than Christ is what the Old Testament address over and over. We see it in the NT as well. Tim Keller defines idolatry as when we make good things ultimate things. The temptation in leading teenagers is to cash in on their passion for celebrity at the expense of truth and call it relevance. What we don’t see in our pursuit of relevance is cool always has a price. This short video from Trip Lee who is hands down more cool than any of us ever will be he is pushing us to pick reverence over cool.

“I like cool but I would rather build my life on conviction.”

Youth pastor don’t feed the culture of cool in your youth ministry teach your kids the scriptures. Teach your kids to build their lives on conviction not cool.

 

Explaining the Trinity to Kids

Why it matters more than you think.

The biggest problem with explaining the Trinity to kids is the fact that it is a mystery. We can never fully understand it but we can and should grow in our understanding of it. It’s something that is core to our faith and therefore should not be brushed aside.

The problem with explaining something so complex to kids is we look for a solid object to explain such abstract truths. The go-to objects for explaining the Trinity to kids are water, apples, and eggs. How do I know this? Because I have been guilty of using them. When I address these misconceptions, it’s from a place of mutual understanding because I have used each of these in explaining this central doctrine to the Christian faith. I’ll try a blog post to be helpful to parents and kids workers alike. This post will by no means be comprehensive, but I hope that it is useful and accurate.

Should I listen to Jordan Peterson?

I’m at the tail end of Peterson’s newest book 12 Rules for life. He is all the rage on the internet, on TV, and in every bookstore. It is unbelievable how quickly someone in our world today can go from obscurity to household name. Dr. Peterson is a professor who gained fame by his refusal to refer to a person’s professed gender and instead said that he would refer to them by their biological gender. His brand of logic and no-nonsense is rare in today’s world and surprising because he is Canadian. (Just saying Canadians are really nice how do I know? I’m Canadian and so is my wife. :)) Here is a now-famous lively exchange he had with a Canadian New Anchor. I found it refreshing.

Here is how Jordan Peterson can help you:

  1. He is logical and because he is so ruthlessly logical he exposes the illogical ideologies on both the left and the right. We live in a world that forces you to pick a side. Logic doesn’t pick sides but relentlessly seeks what is right what is true and what makes sense.
  2. He pushes people to stand up and be virtuous. He talks about the value of effort and truth-telling. Things that are sadly missing in so many of our institutions in our country.
  3. He understands the power and importance of suffering. That suffering is not to be sought but also not to be ignored. We live in a world that medicates their pain like no other generation before us. His message that pain is telling us something that pain can teach us something is powerful.

Here is where Jordan Peterson is off:

How Do I Send My Kids to School on Monday?

I’ll be honest I was difficult sending my kids to school today. The events in South Florida are heartbreaking. There are no words to convey the pain so many parents feel today losing what is most precious in such horrific fashion. There are not words that make sense of what took place. There are no words that can be said that would help bring comfort. Our nation is overcome with a collective sense of grief. Any time a child dies it is hard to understand, digest or explain. When multiple children die it’s horrific.

The question I hear most parents saying and I find myself thinking. “How do I send my kids to school tomorrow?” My wife asked me this very question here is how I responded perhaps it will help another parent out there.

Here is why I am sent my kids to school today.

1. We as parents must create an environment where our kids can thrive and can become all that God has designed them to be. We can not, however, protect and shield our kids from everything. We have to demonstrate to our kids in any way that we can that ultimately we trust God more than anything. Christ is our cornerstone he is the reference point of our life. When life is good He is that reference point when life is painful He is our source He is our life. Our hope as a parent can never lie wholly in our ability to keep our kids from harm, our hope has to be ultimately in Jesus alone.

2. See Christ as more valuable than anything else. – Paul says in Philippians “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” He understood something we so often forget. If Jesus is truly most valuable to us if we lose everything in life we are ok because we have Jesus. If we die we win in death because we get Jesus.