Shepherding People, Not a Number

“. . . and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (Jn 10.3). “Shepherd the flock of God among you” (1 Pt 5.2). Our local paper recently reported on the uptick of home sales in our metropolitan area.  It is good to see real estate moving again.  Hopefully, there is a corresponding increase in employment and social stability.  Memphis needs it. The article charted one of […]

Pastor Zeus

“Here, then, is the sovereign power with which the pastors of the church, by whatever name they be called, ought to be endowed.  That is that they may dare boldly to do all things by God’s Word; may compel all worldly power, glory, wisdom, and exaltation to yield to and obey his majesty; supported by his power, may command all from the heights even to the last; may build up […]

Trinitarian Humility & the Pastor (Part 2)

In Part 1 I suggested an important of the glory of our Trinitarian God is the humility he displays withing the Godhead itself.  He puts that humility on display in the church, where members of the Trinitarian community interact with each other in joyful submission. I would like to press into this idea further by considering what this means specifically for pastors.  God’s Trinitarian imprint on the church means the pastor’s […]

The Gospel Assumes Local Church Membership

Church membership means different things to different people.  In the Bible Belt South, church membership is one’s civic duty.  The Constantinian mandate.  In North Africa, church membership might well be a death wish.  In America, church membership may cost you a little time or a little money.  In much of the rest of the world, it may cost you a wife, house or freedom. Whatever it means wherever it means […]

Is the Pastor Irrevocably Called?

I recently resigned from my vocational pastoral position.  It’s a wonder Jesus entrusts his most cherished possession to the care of foolish men like myself.  That the church will survive into eternity can only be explained by the power of God. Naturally, I am sorting through exactly who and what I am these days.  Is the pastoral office like being a doctor or lawyer?  A doctor is an M.D. whether […]

Our struggle is not against the…IRS.

Spearheaded by the Alliance Defense Fund, a grassroots coalition of 1,500 pastors recently declared October 7, 2012, “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.”  The effort asserted the church’s right to publicly address specific political (read: election year) issues without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status.   Pastors so inclined would preach sermons in the name of free speech to engage their congregations in particular and pertinent political discourse.   While no pastor would endorse who […]

Withering on the Vines

Jerry Vines, legendary Southern Baptist pastor (FBC, Jacksonville, FL) and signer of the recent “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation,” has written lately in response to the responses to “the Statement.”  What may be a series of ripples in Southern Baptist life may accumulate into a tidal wave of unrelenting controversy. Dr. Vines deserves the utmost respect and attention.  He should be listened […]

Preaching Dangerously

“And all [in the synagogue] were speaking well of [Jesus], and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from his lips” (Lk 4.22a-b). “And all in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him […]

Phriday is for Peterson

“In fifty years of being a pastor, my most difficult assignment continues to be the task of developing a sense among the people I serve of the soul-transforming implications of grace–a comprehensive, foundational reorientation from living anxiously by my wits and muscle to living effortlessly in the world of God’s active presence.  The prevailing North American culture (not much different from the Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Persian, Greek, and Roman cultures […]