As for my heart, when I go to pray, I find it so loath to go to God, and when it is with Him, so loath to stay with Him, that many times I am forced in my prayers, first to beg of God that He would take mine heart, and set it on Himself in Christ, and when it is there, that He would keep it there. Nay, many times I know not what to pray for, I am so blind, nor how to pray, I am so ignorant; only, pleased be grace, the Spirit helps our infirmities.
Hidden Life of Prayer, David MacIntyre
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:22-25 ESV
Spiritual formation is the process of maturing spiritually and personally. Pastors have so many things to do, they can neglect their own spiritual health.
Self-care involves a pastor taking time to tend to his spiritual, physical, social, and mental needs. Pastors have felt as if their role as a pastor was the only part of their lives that mattered. This is a lop-sided view that can leave a pastor feeling one-dimensional. Pastors need to create healthy boundaries to pursue interests and take care of their responsibilities outside the church.
Emotional and cultural intelligence deals with how one engages with feelings and ideas outside one’s own experience. Emotional intelligence is “the ability to manage one’s own emotions proactively and to respond appropriately to the emotions of others. Cultural intelligence is an awareness of regional, ethnic, and generational differences and the implications of these differences personally and interpersonally. Pastors need to be able to learn from, and not be threatened by, perspectives and experiences of others.
Marriage and family needs to be addressed. It is critical for a pastor to carve out time to tend to his family’s spiritual and emotional health. A pastor cannot sustain pastoral excellence if he does not care for his wife and family.
Leadership and management address ministry aspects that most pastors do not instinctively embrace. These two elements of ministry cannot be ignored.
Each element is considered a strand of a tapestry. One cannot look at self-care, for example, without also addressing spiritual formation or marriage and family.
– Article here.
– More information at this link.
Excellent piece today from Jared Moore. Take some time to read it.
The SBC is Hemorrhaging.
We, being those of the SBC, are doing nothing about it. Replacing the proclamation of the word of God with dramatic thematic shows. But those who hold a dear view of expository preaching, and yes, I do mean preaching Christ crucified, and making the point the main point (thank you John Piper), would rather not ruffle the feathers of the those who clamor for more entertainment. Sunday morning worship begins and ends with our musical (um, choir) presentations.
I’m not at all advocating Sunday morning worship without music, or singing lustily (thank you Charles Wesley) unto the Lord. But I would much rather sing to the Lord than to be sung to.
We have determined that we can’t worship God when our children are beside us in the pew. Maybe they are a distraction. Maybe their behavior makes us as adults look bad. Whatever the case it is time to ask why? I read this interesting article by Scott Brown. In it Scott points out that many churches see a problem with children in the worship service. They are a distraction. I can’t worship God with a distraction.
It was several Sundays ago when I told my five year old to stay in her seat when the announcement would eventually come, “Children are dismissed for children’s worship.” By also playing the role as a usher, I had to leave my seat and I trusted both my nine year old and five year old to be obedient. My five year old was talked into leaving by her friends, so after the offering was collected, I had to run to the back to fetch my daughter so she could worship with me. Returning to my seat I was met with disdain by a scoffer sitting immediately to my rear. Now it was difficult to worship with that thought as the sermon was being preached.
Two things I took away from this article and I quote Mr. Brown below:
We care more about our concentration, than we care about passing the precious promises of God to the next generation. We narcissistically care more for our comforts than we do about the difficult task of training a mighty army of saints who would be willing to go to their death for their Savior.
Tragically, America is suffocating from the effects of day care raised children, latchkey children and fathers leaving their families in greater numbers than any time in history. We are experiencing the death of fatherhood as 40% of the children in America will go to sleep tonight without a father in the home. Parents will admit unashamedly that they would not have any more children because of the time required. Teenage pregnancy, divorce and abortion are some of the results of this “social experiment” with the family.
We, church, need to be at polar opposites of the world. We do not dilute ourselves by trying to entertain as the world does, nor do we treat our children as an afterthought.
“For every southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it’s still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it’s all in the balance, it hasn’t happened yet, it hasn’t even begun yet, it not only hasn’t begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances . . . that moment doesn’t need even a fourteen year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose and all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the gold dome of Washington itself . . .”
William Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust