Death to the One-Year Rule!

There is no sin that cannot be overcome, no transgression that cannot be put to death, no consequence so grave it cannot be undone in 365 days. At least, that’s what you might think as you read about pastors and other Christian leaders who rise, fall, and rise again. It’s the unwritten but often-followed “one-year rule.” Every month, or every few months, at least, we hear of another pastor or ministry leader who has been exposed as a fraud, an …

Are You in the Dangerous Time In Between?

It is a thought that troubles me. It leads me to observe again the seduction of sin, to grapple once more with the weakness of the human heart, to consider anew the sheer darkness of depravity. It makes me wonder, could we, could I, be in the time in-between? Could I be oblivious to the reality that I am living in the time between the first blush of God’s gracious blessing and the crushing blow of his just discipline? I …

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You, Yes You, Are a Minister!

Sometimes God’s truth goes into your life like a quiet whisper. Sometimes it goes in like a hand grenade. Have you had one of those times? One day you hear a sermon, or you have a conversation with a fellow church member, or maybe a friend confronts you with a sin they’ve seen in your life, and in a moment it’s like something inside has exploded. You suddenly see a sin you’ve never identified before, or you see an area …

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 …

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 …