A Simple Pattern For Discipleship

I have had the exact same conversation happen exactly the same way perhaps 30 or 40 times. It always starts the same way: ‘Jesus tells us every Christian to make disciples!’ Often the person out at breakfast with me heartily agrees, it is hard not to. But then all the…

Hitting Re-Pete When You Fail

‌I’ve learned a lot about failure through baseball, marriage, fatherhood, and ministry. In baseball, you can fail to get a hit 70% of the time and that’s considered success. But that constant failure can get inside your head and mess with you. It did for me my senior year of…

Is Humiliation A Prerequisite For Ministry?

A.W. Tozer once wrote, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.” It seems to me, and apparently to Tozer, that God has a habit of using people to do great things to advance His kingdom only after they have been humiliated…

Avoiding The Drift

“Therefore, let the one who thinks he stands watch out that he does not fall…” This is the warning the Apostle Paul gave the Church at Corinth, after he exhorted them not to follow the example of Israel’s behavior in the wilderness on their way to the promised land. He…

Getting Unstuck as a Teacher of God’s Word

I love to teach and preach. I am confident of my call to do it. I feel gifted to do it. I am certainly convinced of the importance of the work. But at different points, it feels like I have plateaued in effectiveness as a teacher of God’s Word. I…

Underappreciated Hope

The Underappreciated Effect of Hope Our family was recently spending time with some good friends at their farm. The farmer was almost done milking cows and needed help distracting his kids. He suggested I take all of the kids (7 boys including mine) and drive them out to the tree…

What Christmas Does To Us

Though most of the people we associate with know about the story of Christmas, many people have been seduced by an alternate Christmas. They have taken the liberty of reinventing Christmas so that it means whatever nice things they want it to mean. I suppose it is understandable that Christmas…

5 Ways To Build A Ministry Of Encouragement

Sometimes, the most important things are the most obvious things. I learned a lot in seminary – how to interpret the Bible, how to preach and teach, loads of theology. I even learned some counseling skills and paradigms for youth ministry that have served me well. But the past few…

4 Ways to Nourish a Flourishing Team

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of…

3 Causes of Depletion in Pastoral Ministry

I was in my stride, doing as much as I possibly could as efficiently as it could be done. There was nothing remaining on my to-do list and my inbox was empty. Sermons were prepped in advance and all was going smoothly. Then one night, when I was visiting a…

Giants In The Land

Last month I found myself sitting for coffee with a pastor of a nearby church that was actually ashen-faced as he described a challenge that we both held in common. He described a scene I knew all too well: a member of his congregation of over 25 years was leaving…

4 Lessons I Learned About Praying For My Church

This summer our church spent every Sunday reflecting on the prayers of Jesus and Paul for the Church. I thought the series would draw us together as we learned to pray for one another and be an easy series to follow for those who were in and out with summer…