10 Books on Being a Pastor in the Real World

Pastors have a monumental calling.

Acts 20:28 instructs, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” [Read more…]

The Pastor, a Gift from Christ to His Church

Samuel Pearce was a Baptist pastor known in eighteenth-century England for his moving preaching and strong, pious character. In his short life, he supported believers in his own parish as well as in the many cities where he preached and helped send missionaries. Yet his personal faith, founded on the “holy love” of God, formed his most compelling witness to the world.  [Read more…]

Grant Osborne on the Sermon Series Churches Need Most

This excerpt is adapted from James: Verse by Verse by Grant R. Osborne.

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James [1:19–26] begins with three characteristics of what we may call “people of the word,” those who truly center their lives on God’s principles for a proper walk with Christ. This provides not just the thesis of this section but another major emphasis of the book as a whole. It introduces everything that follows. . . . [Read more…]

How Church History Guards against Being a Theological Bully

This post is adapted from Church History for Modern Ministry: Why Our Past Matters for Everything We Do by Dayton Hartman.

I used to suffer from chronological snobbery, but that wasn’t my only problem. I was also arrogant, rude, and condescending to those who were not enlightened enough to hold to my particular theology. I went so far as to change my “religious views” on my Facebook page to “correct.” Moreover, I saw myself as a great gift to the Church. This hubris came through in the tone of my sermons. I didn’t love the Bride of Christ well. I was a ministry train wreck waiting to happen.

While I assumed that I was a gift to the Church, those who impacted the Church for all ages were content with loving the Bride of Christ

[Read more…]

Why We Can’t Care for ‘the Least of These’ without Prison Ministry

prison ministry

By David Instone-Brewer, adapted from Moral Questions of the Bible: Timeless Truth in a Changing World.

Prison is a great place to find Jesus. 

A friend of mine in Cambridge offered to work in a prison as a chaplain and found that prisoners were very receptive to the gospel. Of course, many were just as resistant as they were outside, but others were much more open. They didn’t need convincing that something was wrong with their lives, and they had plenty of time to think about the good news he shared with them. After some time, a significant number of people had become Christians, and the prison governor offered him a full-time paid post because he needed fewer guards in the wing he’d been working in.

Christians don’t only help those who are Christians or who might convert. The criterion isn’t whether they are interested in Jesus, but whether Jesus is interested in them.

[Read more…]

The One Thing You Can’t Get More of—and Why It Matters for Knowing Christ

This post is adapted from In Season and Out: Sermons for the Christian Year by David A. deSilva.

Paul, of course, was not just a seeker of Christ on Sundays. His passion for knowing Christ Jesus spilled all over his calendar. Granted, Paul was a bit of a fanatic when it came to knowing Jesus and making Jesus known, but nevertheless, let’s allow his example to challenge us.  [Read more…]

Why the Mystery of Our Faith Demands Understanding

By K. Scott Oliphint, adapted from The Majesty of Mystery: Celebrating the Glory of an Incomprehensible God

When it comes to biblical mysteries, the temptation that most Christians face is . . . to favor our own thinking, to trust our own minds. If we do this, however, we exclude the rich mysteries of the Christian faith. [Read more…]

Does Jesus Contradict the Old Testament on Polygamy?

By David Instone-Brewer, adapted from the forthcoming Moral Questions of the Bible: Timeless Truth in a Changing World (Lexham Press, 2019).

Jesus used the same Old Testament text to teach monogamy as used by the Jews of the diaspora and at Qumran. Polygamy had been useful in times of war for childless widows, but now it was causing hardship. [Read more…]

5 Things We Wish We’d Done in Seminary

seminary

A couple years ago, we asked some of our team members who attended seminary to share some of their experiences—what is the one piece of advice each one would want to leave for current seminarians. I hope the reflections are helpful to you. Many of them mention our book on this topic, Surviving and Thriving in Seminary.  [Read more…]

The Formula for Success All Great Leaders Follow

We begin as servants and, if we are faithful, we become leaders. You find this pattern illustrated throughout Scripture. [Read more…]