Gospel-Driven Humility

“If the Lord were to honor me any more, he would make me the janitor.” With those words, spoken by a friend and mentor, I was simultaneously shocked, rebuked, and encouraged. My friend had served his church in various roles for many years. He is respected, he has initiated many successful ministry endeavors, he is sought after for his wisdom, he is an example of evangelistic fervor, and he is a passionate communicator of God’s Word. During one particular tumultuous season of ministry in his megachurch, he served as the church’s interim pastor, providing stability and vision for thousands of saints. When a new senior pastor was found, he humbly stepped out of the pulpit and continued to se

Discerning Good Teaching From The Bad

One of the many things I am grateful for in our church right now is how many of our women are hungering for more of God and more of His Word. Every week I am so encouraged and inspired by women in our church who are desiring more of the Lord, wanting to live for His fame and His glory alone. It is so awesome to hear of women young and old in our church who are not satisfied with lukewarm, “fluff” teaching, but truly want the meat of the Word. They want sound doctrine, not simply for the sake of head knowledge, but to light fire and passion for God in their hearts. I praise Him for this! In light of this, one of the challenges for so many women wanting to grow in these ways is finding women a

Six Ways to Help Your Church Read More and Read Better

Pastors love books. I have pastor friends with all kinds of personalities. Some are introverted while others are extroverted. Pastors can be loud or quiet, serious or goofy, quick or contemplative, but all of us love books. And for good reason. Books are great! They allow us to benefit from the wisdom of men and women who have been dead for thousands of years and those who are still alive, but don’t have room in their calendars for coffee with us. As pastors we often want to pass on our love of reading to people in our churches. Books help us grow. The right book at the right time can minister to a grieving saint or aid in correcting a confused one. Most pastors keep a selection of “go-to” b

How Joyful Leaders Lead Best

A couple months ago, I gave the devotional at our Colorado Baptists’ State Executive Board meeting. I’m not sure how other Baptist state conventions work, but sitting in a room surrounded by godly men and women who love Jesus, love His Word, love Colorado, and love the mission that God has placed on us to saturate the Centennial state with the gospel of Jesus. I was the least of the least sitting around the table. What had churned in my heart was how God often calls us to lead through weakness so we will see that Jesus is enough! Second Corinthians 11:28-12:10 has become a close friend to me in moving through the various chapters of life: death (today was my father-in-law’s birthday, who pa

How Pastoring Changes Preaching

I once heard my friend, Pastor Doug Logan, challenge a group of pastors to preach for the people, not for the podcast. It is a powerful statement; one that rubs against the ambitions, idolatries, insecurities, and secret desires of pastors. It got me thinking about how pastoring actual churches, made up of real people who we love and care for, affects our preaching. Below are five simple ways pastoring helps and changes my preaching: #1: Our heroes of the faith change. When I was still young in ministry most of my Christian heroes where authors, other pastors, and dead saints. But the longer I pastor, the more my heroes tend to be the very people in the congregation with me: the evangelis

The Pastor and Persistent Prayer: Part 5

This is the final post in a series focusing on the importance of persistent prayer in the life and ministry of a pastor. We are looking at twelve key areas in which not only we as individuals need to be praying, but also our church members. Let's consider the final three today... 10. Pray for a renewed sacrificial love for others that leads to God-honoring unity. In ministry, it is critical to do whatever it takes to pursue biblical unity. We love our people and we pray for unity. We must strive to do the best we can to wave the banner of true, loving unity in our churches. We do this because there’s nothing more powerful and God-glorifying than a church that is unified in love, being led by

The Pastor and Persistent Prayer: Part 4

In this blog series, I am sharing twelve specific ways we as pastors must persistently pray for our lives and ministries. These are twelve key areas in which not only we as individuals need to be praying, but also our church members. Let's consider #7 - #9 today... 7. Pray we will walk worthy of the calling God has placed on our lives. Each of us must be regularly reminded of Paul’s words in Colossians 1: “We haven’t stopped praying for you . . . so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.” (Col. 1:9-10) The Lord has called us to this work. The Lord has chosen us for this work. And so humbly we ask, “Oh

The Pastor and Persistent Prayer: Part 3

Persistent prayer has been and always will be the most important discipline and practice for the biblical pastor. In this blog series, I want to share twelve specific ways we as pastors must pray for our lives and ministries. These are twelve key areas in which not only we as individuals need to be praying, but also our church members. Let's consider #4 - #6 today... 4. Pray we will not rely on our own strength, but trust in the Lord’s strength. One of my favorite hymns is “I Need Thee Every Hour.” The chorus of this great hymn should be one that we sing every day to the Lord: “Lord I need Thee, oh I need Thee. Every hour I need Thee. O bless me now my Savior, I come to Thee.” If we ever mov

The Pastor and Persistent Prayer: Part 2

When we go to the Scriptures, one example of a pastor who believed in the power of prayer was the Apostle Paul. He was a man passionate about prayer and we see this throughout his letters. Here are just a few examples: In Romans 15:30, he writes: “I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf…” This “striving” is almost a sense of fighting together in prayer! Paul understood the battle he was in. “Oh, I need your prayers! Strive together with me, fight together with me in prayer! For this ministry, for these people!” In Ephesians 6:18 – 20, Paul here is unapologetically asking the Christians i

The Pastor and Persistent Prayer: Part 1

Before coming to Calvary seven years ago, I served as a youth pastor for many years. I believed in the power of prayer, no question. I believed that in ministry we need the power of God to move in the hearts of people in order to see lives truly transformed for His glory. But I can tell you, it wasn’t until God called me to Calvary to be part of seeing new churches planted and dying churches replanted that I became desperate for God in prayer. For a while in ministry, you might be able to lean on your own gifting and passion and zeal. But when you’re looking at a situation where God has to show up in power or “this isn’t going to go,” you don’t understand how deep your need for prayer really

Don’t Forget! A Preaching Refresher

If you are looking for something new, then you can skip this post. But that leads me into my first point. One thing that was very freeing for me as a preacher was when I realized that I didn’t have to say something new each week. My goal isn’t to tell people something they don’t already know, but to remind them of what most of them know already. In the same spirit, this post offers nothing you don’t already know. But my suspicion is that you probably need to hear it more than anything new anyway. Over the last seven years of ministry a lot of things have changed at my church. New people, new leadership, new ministries and strategies. We’ve even changed our vision statement and are worki

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