The Week Ahead:
Commemoration of John Chrysostom, Pastor
Given the added name of Chrysostom, which means “golden-mouthed” in Greek, Saint John was a dominant force in the fourth-century Christian church. Born in Antioch around the year 347, John was instructed in the Christian faith by his pious mother, Anthusa. After serving in a number of Christian offices, including acolyte and lector, John was ordained a presbyter and given preaching responsibilities. His simple but direct messages found an audience well beyond his hometown. In 398, John Chrysostom was made Patriarch of Constantinople. His determination to reform the church, court and city there brought him into conflict with established authorities. Eventually, he was exiled from his adopted city. Although removed from his parishes and people, he continued writing and preaching until the time of his death in 407. It is reported that his final words were: “Glory be to God for all things. Amen.” (From Lutheran lectionary)
Reflect on that notice this week. Looking ahead.
Monday: Inspiring Video: A Young Muslim Woman Challenges Jesus to Prove Himself
It was in this hostile environment that Padina, a young Iranian woman, grew up. From an early age, Padina recited prayers, memorized the Quran before school, and learned to hate Christians. See how Jesus changed her life.
Tuesday: How to Avoid Clergy Burnout
There are times pastors’ see God act in amazing and powerful ways in the life of the Church and his members. That is the real and rewarding part of the ministry. But as with so many professions, there is another side. A lonely side. Here is a balanced look at ministry.
Wednesday: How to Connect with the Vulnerable Among Us
How do we make use of the opportunity God has placed at the front doors of our churches engaged in Christian day school ministry?
Thursday: The Danger of Centralized Authority
The second wall that Luther attacks in his 1520 Letter to the Christian Nobility deal with the issue of authority. In Luther’s words, “The second wall is still more flimsy and worthless. They wish to be the only Masters of The Holy Scriptures, even though in all their lives they learn nothing from them. They assume for themselves sole authority, and with the insolent juggling of words they would persuade us that the pope, whether he is a bad man or a good man, cannot err in matters of faith, and yet they cannot prove a single letter of it.”
Looking back on the week that was on: The Light Breaks Through.
Monday: Millennials Are More Than a Strategy for the Church Survival
Here is some breaking news for all those congregations trying to market their ministry to reach Millennials.
Millennials are people. They are more than a group to target market. They are not just a set of numbers that add to the gross national product. Millennials are the not the salvation of the local church. They are not a bunch of group marketing test subjects. They do not all think alike anymore that Generation X’s are all the same.
Tuesday:How to Care for the Shepherd who Shepherds you
Consider the following sobering survey results of the personal and professional lives of the clergy:
– 90% of pastors work more than 46 hours a week
– 80% believed that pastoral ministry affected their families negatively
– 33% said that being in ministry was an outright hazard to their family
– 75% reported a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry
– 50% felt unable to meet the needs of the job
– 90% felt they were inadequately trained to cope with ministry demands
Wednesday: Are You Ready to Go Fishing?
My first fishing trip taught me valuable lessons, that I will share with you in this post. In Mark 1, we find Jesus calling the first disciples. And He makes them an unusual offer, “17 “Come, follow me,” he said, “and I’ll show you how to fish for people.”
Thursday: Is the Church’s Authority over the State?
This series is based on the work of Dr. Martin Luther in a 1520 Letter to the Christian nobility. In that pamphlet, Luther warns of dangers of church leadership that has so much power and influence it is above reproach and reform. You may have seen this in your church or your church body. A charismatic leader rises to power, or a small group of leaders reaches a point where they have gained influence of the masses and then claim supreme authority.
A bonus Read: Warning If You Track Church Attendance: The Numbers Are Lying to You
This post was the most read of the week. With over 1,000 reads and dozens of people sharing it with their congregational leaders. I pray it will serve as a source of encouragement for you. You are also welcome to share any of my posts. It is my prayer they are a blessing to many.
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Valuing quiet and solitude in academe.
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Book reviews and lessons
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!" -John. 14:12-14
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Ideas of Light that Penetrate the Ideas of Darkness (To read this blog in context, readers should start at the earliest date of a series)