Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture

There’s no doubt that life is difficult. We are finite creatures who encounter an infinite number of opportunities. This forces us to make constant decisions between better and best, between the millions of things we could do and the few we actually should do. We are also weak creatures who have limited strength, foolish creatures who have limited wisdom, and idolatrous creatures who cannot even trust our own hearts and minds. It’s no wonder, then, that we often find ourselves …

6 Marks of a Faithful Ministry

God is good to give us pastors. The very fact that God calls certain men to “care for the church of God” (Acts 20:28) proves that the church is in need of care. God gives us pastors because we need pastoring. But what is this ministry? How does a pastor minister to his people in a way that expresses due care and concern for them? Last week I spent some time studying Paul’s charge to the elders/pastors in Ephesus (see …

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The Cracks Begin at the Bottom

San Francisco’s Millennium Tower is in trouble. The 58-story tower is home to some of the city’s wealthiest people, its apartments among the most expensive and desirable in the city. But recently its residents have begun to notice some troubling issues. Engineers who studied the building have been alarmed to find it has sunk 16 inches in the 7 years since it was built. Not only that, but it has developed a 2-inch lean at the bottom which translates to …

No One Else Is Coming

Sometimes it’s the little lines that get you, the parentheticals, the throw-aways. I heard one a few days ago: “No one else is coming.” It’s what you say when you realize that a responsibility has now fallen to you. You were hoping and waiting for backup, for reinforcements, for someone—anyone—else. But then you realize: No one else is coming. So you roll up your sleeves and get to work. Earlier this week I was in Barlanark, a grey and gritty …

Maybe You Need To Declare a Name Amnesty Sunday

It’s probably a silly idea. It’s probably the kind of thing we came up with late on a Friday afternoon and laughed about before realizing, “Actually, maybe there’s something to this.” Somehow it became a bit of a tradition for Grace Fellowship Church and, even better, one we rather enjoy. We call it “Name Amnesty Sunday” and we hold one every few months. Let me tell you how it works and how it might benefit your church. You’ve had the …

Is Seminary Really Necessary?

The church has been well-served by pastors who ministered without formal seminary training. John Bunyan, Charles Spurgeon, and Martyn Lloyd-Jones are standout examples of men who had impactful and long-lasting ministries even though they never attended seminary. No wonder, then, that the question often arises: Is seminary really necessary? Might it be better to get straight into ministry instead of expending so much time and effort in preparing for ministry? Jason Allen provides an answer in his book Discerning Your …

Discerning Your Call to Ministry

We know the concept and are well-familiar with the phrase: “called to ministry.” We know that some men are called in a special way to a special task—the task of gospel ministry. But exactly what constitutes the call, exactly how to understand it, exactly how to know we’ve experienced it—these are matters of more than a little confusion. Thankfully we have been well-served in recent years with books attempting to bring clarity. New to the field is Jason Allen’s Discerning …

12 Marks of Excellent Pastoral Ministry

John MacArthur has had a long, faithful, fruitful ministry unblemished by great scandal. For decades he has maintained a tight focus on teaching the Bible verse by verse and book by book. In 2006 he taught through 1 Timothy 4 and there he saw Paul providing his young protégé with “a rich summary of all of the apostle’s inspired instruction for those who serve the church as ministers, as pastors. And it all begins with the statement, a noble minister, …

Jerry Bridge’s Seven Standout Spiritual Lessons

Shortly after I heard that Jerry Bridges had died, I sat down to write about the ways he had impacted me through his life and ministry. In a too-weak tribute, I outlined five big lessons I had learned from him. Recently I read his memoir God Took Me by the Hand: A Story of God’s Unusual Providence and came to a section where he outlines seven big lessons he learned over the course of his sixty-plus years of being a …

Prepared To Stand Alone

I trust you know the rule when it comes to books by Iain Murray: If he writes it, you ought to read it. Murray has a long legacy of authoring books that look to the past to help us better understand the present. Through this work he has had an unexpected and far-reaching impact, and any serious account of today’s New Calvinism needs to tell of his influence. When Mark Dever wrote a series titled “Where’d All These Calvinists Come …