Ministry

You can’t be “Pastoral” with Everyone

When you are a pastor, there are two primary elements of your ministry you and the people agree on. You study the Bible and you tell people about it. Whether you preach, teach, or write, most people understand these basic parts of what you do.

Another element of pastoral ministry is counseling. Real counseling isn’t just listening and being a friendly ear to hear about people’s problems, though some who go to a pastor’s office think of it like that. It also involves sharing biblical guidance for problems and situations.

As a result of all of this talking about the Bible, the impulse for a pastor or Bible teacher is to try and speak into everyone’s life as a pastoral influence. But we do not have permission to be such a voice into every life we are connected with or bump into.

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Christian Living

Don’t Fear Feelings of Loss (A lesson from Good Friday)

Holy week is the most important season for Christianity. So much is unpacked and delivered over these days in the lives of Jesus and the Disciples.

Celebration. Teaching. Looking to the future. Taking advantage of the present.

It can be hard to go through this week from a strictly “in the moment” perspective. We see it all in hindsight, with books and sermons and podcasts and musings of almost 2,000 years. Through all of the good and bad, we process these events through the lens of Easter Sunday.

This year, why not pause a little longer and try to feel Good Friday like the Disciples did? The emotions might seem scary to delve into, but aren’t the world around us and our own lives full of those already?

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Christian Living

The Fine Line

To be a Christian is not easy. There is a constant battle between who we could be and who we should be, what to desire and what to turn away from. No one of us is perfect and yet God calls us to strive for it.

At times we walk along a fine line and have to choose a side to fall on. Culture makes us choose. Work makes us choose. Maybe it is family or friends. In a world constantly flipping over or twisting around us, it could simply be the gnawing in our guts driving us to pick a side.

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Christian Living

The “Magic” of Christmas (4) ~ Possibilities

Surprise. Wonder. To see a great magic trick is an enjoyable experience. It sparks something inside of us. And we want to see more.

This is why a great magic act builds to a grand finale. Start with a few basic tricks, some of the familiar ones, and add a little personal flair or twist to them. Move on to the more complicated and test the boundaries of what people know and expect. But to finish off, give them something to blow their minds and leave them wondering and wanting more.

What about Christmas? The birth of Jesus was not the end of anything. It was not the limit of God’s power to send His Son to become one of us. This impossible move was the opening act, leaving open the door of possibilities.

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Christian Living

The “Magic” of Christmas (3) ~ Wonder

Every magic trick worth its time leaves us staring. “Wait. What? What just happened?”

Instant replays on television shows like America’s Got Talent help us look at it a second or third time, and sometimes from different angles. But we can’t figure it out. We are amazed and left wondering.

After hearing the shepherds in the streets or finding them at their front door, the residents of Bethlehem must have wondered afterwards, “What just happened? Those guys are all stirred up and it sounds crazy. What does all of this mean?”

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Christian Living

The “Magic” of Christmas (2) ~ Surprise

To help us understand the magic of Christmas we can take a look at what magic invokes in us. Even when we think we understand what is happening in front of us, there are specific emotions and feelings inside of us that help make the moment memorable.

A magic trick often begins with something simple and mundane. Take an ordinary object and do something with or to it. Hide it. Put it in a box. It may be out of sight but is isn’t out of mind. With every act a tension builds.

Just like a child who sees a wrapped Christmas gift under the tree with their name on it. It is hidden, but a similar tension builds as the child imagines what could be inside.

The greater the tension the greater the reaction when the trick turns or the gift opens. And then … Surprise!

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