Note to Pastors (pastoral advice)

Re: Sermon | Stop Tooting Your Own Horn

2017-03-28T05:51:06+00:00 By |Note to Pastors, Note to Self, Re:Sermon|

Taken from Jesus on Self-Promotion | Matthew 6.1-4 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward." "Being noticed is not evil; but trying, expecting, or wanting to be noticed may be.  And this is where all of us live.  Our culture is all about being noticed for the good, bad, or weird thing you do.  While its unlikely you’ll post a YouTube video that will go viral, you can still try and get noticed by others on Facebook, or FAKEBOOK.  If Jesus were on earth today, I think instead he may have said “what comes out on Facebook proceeds from the heart.”  Of course, you don’t believe you’re on there to get noticed…but you are.  I will contend [...]

Mega-Pastors and Professional Wrestlers

2017-03-28T05:52:13+00:00 By |Church Plant 101, Leadership 101, Note to Pastors|

In recent weeks, the evangelical cyber-world has been full of news about two pastors for all of the wrong reasons.   Like two passive-aggressive juveniles who can't seem to play nice on the playground, these men have managed to "fight" one another without ever meeting face to face.   Most of the interactions have been communicated indirectly through a blog, a sermon, or any number of twitter posts.   Both men are smart.  Both men are strong leaders.  Both men lead big churches.  Both men have influential ministries.  Both men have large groups of loyal followers.   Their statements are always influential and their decisions are never accidental.   Their most recent conflict began with a open-handed cyber-slap to the face and ended with what can only be described as an invitation to a theological thunder dome cage-match. As I have watched all of this unfold, I was reminded how [...]

Beautifully simple church

2017-03-28T05:52:59+00:00 By |Church Plant 101, Note to Pastors|

Last night marked the first official gathering of Damascus Road Church in our Snohomish space.  This original historical timber frame building was constructed in 1882.  In its 131 years of life, it has functioned as a general store, a livery, a Pontiac Car lot, an office space, and even a Billiards hall.  But last night, for the first time, it served as a dwelling place for God among His people.   We prayed thanksgiving to our Lord.  We worshiped Him in song.  We proclaimed His Word publicly.  We made much of Jesus in a place where, quite probably, not much of Him has ever been made before. After the gathering, several of us were struck by the beautiful simplicity of it all.  Wires are exposed.  Rooms are unfinished.  Plumbing is disconnected. We had no bulletins.  We had no hospitality team.  We had no welcome desk.  We had no kid's program.  We had [...]

Where is the Spirit leading you?

2017-03-28T05:58:13+00:00 By |Church Plant 101, Discipleship, Note to Pastors|

I was reading in Matthew 4 today and couldn't get passed the first verse:  "Then Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted (tested) by the devil"Jesus' 40 day journey into the wilderness is a replay of Israel's 40 year wandering in the wilderness.  Hungry, weak, and vulnerable, the devil himself comes and tempts Jesus to deny God the Father, to lose faith, to sin.  Using the Word of God, Jesus success where Adam, Israel, and every man who has ever lived fails.  That is why Jesus is our sinless Savior and perfect substitute in death and life.What I was struck with most, however, was the fact that the SPIRIT LED Him into the wilderness.  And as I recalled the the story of Israel's from Exodus through Joshua.  Specifically, I considered how the Spirt led them at different times.  A times, the Spirit led them into a time of [...]

Words of Men: Dangerous Calling

2017-03-28T05:59:17+00:00 By |Note to Pastors, Note to Self|

In my pursuit of more joy this year, I have begun reading Dangerous Calling, by Paul David Tripp. From its very first pages, the book cuts like a knife--in a good way.  By God's grace, as I read this I am reflecting on where I was, not where I am.  So while this a book every pastor should be required reading for every to read, I doubt a pastor can really appreciate what is written until they are about 5-6 years into full-time-ministry--just enough time to come face to face with the reality of their weakness.  Perhaps I am speaking only for myself, but I believe that it takes some time for the pride-filled idealism to wear off (at least a little).  In other words, it takes several years for the pastor to start listening to his own preaching and come face to face with his idolatry.  This is also just about [...]

Only Pain will Tell

2017-03-28T06:02:00+00:00 By |Note to Pastors, Note to Self|

In my pursuit of joy during 2013, I have been spending the better part of January in the book of Philippians.  Ironically, though Paul is writing from within Roman imprisonment, this letter is full of expressions of joy.  It is a convicting read.This morning I am reading Philippians 1.12-18.  Throughout these verses, Paul expresses his joy over the fact that Christ is proclaimed.  This is his greatest motivation for his own life and greatest hope for the lives of others. As I sit here, I am forced to consider whether this is truly my greatest motivation. If Paul is any example, it seems as if PAIN, not time, will tell.Paul is imprisoned, Paul is suffering, and even it is not “hard”, it is probably not what anyone would envision as the path to gospel advancement.  But, surprisingly, Paul tells his recipients that his imprisonment has resulted in just that--it has [...]

The Uncomfortable Call

2017-03-28T06:10:32+00:00 By |Church Plant 101, Note to Pastors, Note to Self|

This past week at the men's retreat, we learned a lot about call and being "on mission."   We learned that every Christian has a calling, a gift, and a place to begin "going", whether that be in our home, our church, or our "work" (everything else).  I was reminded yesterday, listening to an excellent sermon by Tim Keller, that going on a "radical"  mission with God is safer than being comfortable without him.  But a call to be "RADICAL" will look different for all of us.  The one consistent theme amongst all of our missions, however, is that they will always include a call to LEAVE whatever makes us SECURE and to GO without understanding how everything will work out.  It is a call to walk a path where our only confidence is that Jesus has said, "follow me.".  I would encourage everyone to listen to Keller's sermon.  It is [...]

On Keeping and Saving….

2017-03-28T06:09:29+00:00 By |Discipleship, Note to Pastors|

Wednesdays are when I spend most of my day on sermon prep.  I usually go to my nearest second office (read Starbucks) and spend several hours reading and studying.  I can say with confidence that I am one of "those guys" who probably irritate the baristas because I spend a $1.65 to rent a table for a couple hours.  Today was no different other than the fact that my wife and I are now running with one car.  We sold my dream truck--a T100--because it was beginning to fall apart.  I wept. Since that time, we have managed to use one car.  It has worked for the most part, resulting in a few days where I bike to work or Caylin is left stranded at home.  She hasn't complained once. I have.But today, like every Wednesday for the past two months, I WALKED up to the nearest Starbucks a mile [...]

A Hackneyed Gospel-Everything

2017-03-28T06:12:35+00:00 By |Discipleship, Note to Pastors|

If you are anything like me, I have grown weary of seeing the word "gospel" attached to everything. We have gospel-centered, gospel-driven, gospel-community, gospel-doctrine, gospel-communication, gospel-marriages, gospel-everything.  There is nothing wrong with the word, but I fear its overuse will eventually make it meaningless...or worse.  I agree with what I believe is the intent behind the use of these compound words. Authors, bloggers, pastors, and teachers are all addressing heart motivation.  The last thing they want is someone to approach discipleship, marriage, doctrine, or any aspect of life, in a self-centered or self-reliant way--the very antithesis of the gospel. I don't argue we should stop using the word, rather, we should regularly remind ourselves not only of the facts of the gospel, but its implications. In other words, we need to stop assuming people understand the truth of what we are talking about just because we attach the word Gospel to [...]

Nine BOLD things I learned from the Acts 29 Retreat 2012

2017-03-28T06:13:46+00:00 By |Church Plant 101, Leadership 101, Note to Pastors|

Each year, the lead pastors, of the Acts 29 Network, gather together for a time of rest and reflection.  This year, we gathered in Newport, CA.  With all the new leadership changes in Acts 29, this year's retreat served as an important time of realignment.  My hope is that that, over the next year, Acts 29 will become more faithful and more certain of what it is, and what it is not.  I don't say that like a high school kid who complains their school "spirit" sucks as they fail to recognize, they are the school. I say that knowing that I am Acts 29. So hope for more, without my own commitment to participate (or get out of the way), is both foolish and dishonest. So, below is a list of several different things that moved me over this past week.  They are personal very personal to me, though they [...]