As a senior pastor, I read a lot, and have tons of books in my library. Books to a pastor are like hammers to a carpenter: valuable tools.
I appreciate most of what I read, and normally glean a tidbit or two from each.
Rarely, however, does a book capture my heart in such a way that it recalibrates how I do ministry.
Jesus Manifesto, by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola is such a book. It so it is no small thing when I say that it ranks among the five best books I've ever read, and I believe every pastor needs to hear this message.
Clearly, simply, yet profoundly, they capture the essence of what life and ministry should be about: Jesus alone.
How quickly we fall away and focus on lesser things, when only ONE thing is needful. This book brings us back to our first love.
I was so deeply moved by Jesus Manifesto,I purchased a copy for my entire pastoral staff, and was inspired to launch a year-long sermon focus in 2011 on Jesus.
Thank you, Leonard and Frank, for sounding this clarion call. We desperately need it.
I was ordained July 10, 1987, when General Superintendent, Dr. Earle Wilson, laid hands on me, shook my hand, and thundered, "Take thou authority to preach the Word!"
I was thinking about this a while back, and wondered how far back I could go with the succession of my ordination. So, I did a little research.
* I was ordained by Earle Wilson
* Earle Wilson was ordained by Pilgrim Holiness General Superintendent, William Neff.
* William Neff was ordained by the Pilgrim founder, Seth Rees * Seth Rees was ordained by Nazarene founder, Phineas Bresee (Note -- Rees was initally "recorded" as a Quaker, because they did not ordain their ministers. Later, he moved over to the newly formed Church of the Nazarene, and I am taking a leap by assuming that when he became a Nazarene, they ordained him. Rees was certainly worked beside Bresee as his contemporary.)
* Phineas Bresee was ordained by Methodist Bishop, Levi Scott
* Levi Scott was ordained by Elijah Hedding. …
Everyone deals with financial setbacks from time to time. Money doesn't buy happiness - -but the lack of it can sure bring a lot of stress. My father, talking about the lean years of the Great Depression, said they pinched pennies so tight, Abe Lincon hollered! George Washington has hollered in my hands a few times!
When facing hard times financially, it pays to remember these are the only times we have. We need to keep a proper perspective. Here are some important reminders as we face adversity:
1. God is far bigger than the problem. If a financial crisis looms like a mountain, remember -- God is the mountain mover! There's no challenge too great for the Almighty. There is not one situation beyond His ability. Instead of telling God how big your problem is, tell your problem how big God is!
2. Hard times teach us wisdom. Difficult days force us to stop and evaluate where we are, what we're doing, and why we're doing it. Nobody becomes wise with ease. It takes trouble t…
"When you're down and out, something always turns up," quipped Orson Wells, "and it is usually the noses of your friends."
Often, when people most need emotional support and encouragement, they are least likely to find it. As the old proverb says, "Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry, and you cry alone."
We all need encouragement, and, as Chuck Swindoll says, "we die without it. , . slowly, sadly, and angrily." Psychologist, William James adds this, "The deepest principle of human nature is to be appreciated."
So, with these things in mind, what is your E.Q: Your encouragment quotient? How often do you focus on building people up and expressing sincere appreciation?
There are plenty of "discouragers" in this world -- plenty of folks who are quick to criticize and find fault. It doesn't take much intelligence to be a fault finder. Encouragers, on the other hand, are a rare breed. Wherever they go, they ins…