The first 40 seconds of this video is EASILY the best example of what Sunday morning is like as a preacher. It's from The Gathering Storm, and this is Winston Churchill. Warning: He's in a bathroom after waking up, so...you know.
I loved the book by Paul David Tripp, Dangerous Calling (Kindle | WTS). I listened to his TGC talk via the TGC podcast yesterday, "Dangerous Calling," and it was wonderfully convicting. It's still pursuing me. I don't quite like how he handles the issue of sermon prep, though I agree with him in theory.
Check it out if you are a pastor, a pastor's wife, or if you need to know what your pastor may be going through. And if you are a pastor, don't just listen for you. Listen for the sake of your wife. It's in your face, but it's good.
My friend, Darryl Dash, attends a study group for pastors that I've known about for a while and is a great idea. Here's a blurb...
Every May I gather with a group of pastors from Monday to Friday. The agenda is simple: to work through a book of the Bible together as we think about preaching it. Every year we bring in a different scholar who has written a commentary on that book. We also have our former preaching professor (Haddon Robinson) help us think through how to preach that book.
We've had Bruce Waltke, George Guthrie, Douglas Moo, Daniel Block, and more. This week we've had D.A. Carson. It's hard to beat. I've been to a lot of conferences, but this by far is my favorite learning event of the year.
You should start one too.
Darryl goes on to explain how a study group can be started and run. You should check it out.
There has been no other book that I've been this thankful for, concerning my wife. She has been deeply affected by reading and meditating on The Church Planting Wife by Christine Hoover. I'm writing with her permission
Our marriage hasn't been the same since she started reading it. That's no overstatement. She's understood her role better, my role better, God's perspective and love and grace better, etc. I can't even describe the full impact this book has already had on her, and me. What I can describe is that I (as the husband) feel more encouraged by her, understood, helped, cared for, and loved. Sorry to be so vague as there are specific things I can point to, but I want to allow her to continue to process this book.
I asked Molly to provide me with a quote in the book or something to post, and she left me somewhere around 20 quotes...as the ones she would single out for a post. I'll give you one. :) Here's a blurb from the book website about the book and a quote that has been meaningful for Molly. First, about the book...
Behind every church planter is a church planting wife, who plays an integral role in the formation of the church, who is often the sole encourager for her husband, and who juggles such an intense ministry while nurturing a family.
Because she is so crucial to the church planter and the church, church planting wives need support, encouragement, and help in their roles. They need an apt word from someone who has been there and applicable biblical wisdom that will sustain them.
Here's one of Molly's favorite quotes that has helped her refresh her calling as a church planting (or in our case, replanting) wife...
My husband has many people who care about him, respect him, and help him lead the church. But he only has one helpmate. I am the only one who listens to his deep discouragement, who satisfies his physical needs, who mothers his children, who is a constant and true companion, who protects his periods of rest, and who values his fruitfulness as much as he does.
Church planting is a "together" calling.
Molly's response to the dozens and dozens of "aha" moments in this book has been that she wishes she had this book 10 years ago before I entered a full-time pastoral work. There are not only great chapters by Hoover, but helpful interviews with church planting wives like Lauren Chandler (Matt), Ginger Vassar (JR), and Jennifer Carter (Matt).
I've already ordered a copy for a church planter friend's wife and one to have ready to give out when the opportunity presents itself. I want you to pick up a copy for your wife, your pastor's wife (even if not a planter, trust me!), or whoever could benefit from this book. I had no idea when I got this book how much it would impact my marriage in such a short period of time. I'm praying it will have a lasting impact on hundreds of other church planting wives. Molly says to read it slowly and don't rush through it. Take it in, deal with your heart.
Paul David Tripp in Dangerous Calling (Kindle version), which may be the best book of 2012 (certainly the most important book of 2012 for me and my wife), writes in chapter 9, "There are times when fear causes all of us to do things we should not do or keeps us from doing what we have been called to do. So it is vital to ask, What in the world should we do about fear? Let me suggest four things." I'll give you the list, but go read the book for Tripp's explanation of each...
- Humbly own your fears
- Confess those places where fear has produced bad decisions and wrong responses
- Pay attention to your meditation
- Preach the Gospel to yourself
Mark Driscoll interviews John Piper on stereotypes, risks, & Jesus. This is the first question and the first part of Piper's response. Love this...
MARK DRISCOLL: WHAT WOULD JOHN PIPER TODAY TELL A YOUNG JOHN PIPER WHO IS GETTING READY TO ENTER INTO MINISTRY?
John Piper: I would quote to him V. Raymond Edman: “Don’t question in the dark what God showed you in the light.” Darkness comes. In the middle of it, the future looks blank. The temptation to quit is huge. Don’t. You are in good company. You are in the pit with King David. He waited. “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction” (Ps. 40:1–2). God will do that for you. You will argue with yourself that there is no way forward. But with God, nothing is impossible. He has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you can conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing. Hope.
For many people in ministry, waiting becomes a chronicle of ever-weakening faith because meditating on the circumstances will leave you in awe of the circumstances. They will appear to grow larger, you will feel smaller, and your vision of God will be clouded. But if you meditate on the Lord, you will be in greater awe of his presence, power, faithfulness, and grace. The situation will seem smaller, and you will live with greater confidence even though nothing has changed.
Pick up a copy of Dangerous Calling for 48% off at WTS.
Another helpful list from Paul David Tripp's tremendous book, Dangerous Calling. We haven't had a day pass without at least one significant conversation between me and my wife, Molly, since we started reading this book. We talked about a few things from this list today (from pages 79-82 in the printed edition). This is for pastors and those who care for them, and it's about a better, more healthy way to keep Pastors from isolation.
- Require your Pastor to attend a small group he doesn't lead
- Pastor, seek out a spiritually mature person to mentor you at all times
- Establish a Pastor's wives' small group
- Pastor, be committed to appropriate self-disclosure in your preaching
- Be sure that your Pastor and his family are regularly invited into the homes of families in your church
- Make sure there is someone who is regularly mentoring your Pastor's wife
- Make sure your Pastor and his wife have the means to be regularly out of the house and away for weekends with one another
- Make sure counseling help is always available to the Pastor, his wife, and their family
A lot of helpful explanation of these points are in the book, so you should get it and read it. My wife read it in 1 1/2 days (she has her own copy) and God is using it mightily in our marriage. I can't recommend Dangerous Calling (Kindle) enough.
In Paul David Tripp's new, and excellent, and devastating, and grace-giving book, Dangerous Calling, the author lists 9 signs of a pastor losing his way. They are based on one particular pastor he talked to (which is why they are listed as referring to one person), but they are listed in order to help all pastors. Tripp goes into great detail to explain each in chapter 2, and I urge you to not only get this book, but read it carefully and prayerfully as a pastor (or maybe to better understand your pastor). These were hard to read for me personally, and will make for painful yet fruitful conversation with my wife later today. I'll list the 9 signs concerning Tripp's assessment of one pastor, but please go read more about them in Dangerous Calling with the authors application to us all. Also check out the DVD's.
- He ignored the clear evidence of problems
- He was blind to the issue of his own heart
- His ministry lacked devotion
- He wasn't preaching the gospel to himself
- He wasn't listening to the people closest to him
- His ministry became burdensome
- He began to live in silence
- He began to question his calling
- He gave way to fantasies of another life
Another quote from Dangerous Calling by Paul David Tripp. This one on pastors and our identity, where it might be and should be...
Blind to what was going on in my heart, I was proud, unapproachable, defensive, and all too comfortable. I was a pastor; I didn’t need what other people need. Now, I want to say again that at the conceptual, theological level, I would have argued that all of this was bunk. Being a pastor was my calling, not my identity. Child of the Most High God was my cross-purchased identity. Member of the body of Christ was my identity. Man in the middle of his own sanctification was my identity. Sinner and still in need of rescuing, transforming, empowering, and delivering grace was my identity. I didn’t realize that I looked horizontally for what I had already been given in Christ and that it was producing a harvest of bad fruit in my heart, in my ministry, and in my relationships. I had let my ministry become something that it should never be (my identity); I looked to it to give me what it never could (my inner sense of well-being).
Paul David Tripp in Dangerous Calling (p. 25)
Here's a good reason for pastors to buy and read Dangerous Calling by Paul David Tripp. I'd also recommend church members read this. It will open your eyes to what your pastor is going through, much of it you don't know.
This is a diagnostic book. It is written to help you take an honest look at yourself in the heart- and life-exposing mirror of the Word of God—to see things that are wrong and need correcting and to help you place yourself once again under the healing and transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Of the books that I have written, I found this one the hardest to write, not because of the writing process itself but because its pages expose the ugliness of my own heart and display how desperate my need for grace continues to be. It is not an exaggeration to say that I wept my way through writing some of the chapters. There were moments when I would go upstairs to share what I had written with Luella, the tears of conviction would come, and I would be unable to continue. But as I did my writing, it did not leave me feeling discouraged or hopeless but, rather, with a deeper hope in the gospel and a greater joy in ministry than I think I have ever known.
Paul David Tripp in Dangerous Calling (p. 11) - still 80% with coupon code: PASTORS
UPDATE 10.30.12: Use coupon code PASTORS and get the hardback book for $4.60 (80% off!).
I watched this video today (below) for Paul David Tripp's new book, Dangerous Calling. I immediately went searching for my wife so she could watch it with me. By the end she was tearing up a bit and then we had a 30 minute conversation about the last 8 1/2 years of pastoral ministry and the struggles and pain we've experienced in our family & relationships. It was very difficult to be this honest, but it was very fruitful.
I'm buying Dangerous Calling right now, as well as the conference DVD's (10 - 25 minutes sessions | grab the free leader's guide and discussion guide). WTS bookstore has great deals for the next 6 days: hardcover $12 (48% off, or 5 for $10 a piece) and conference DVD's $15 (62% off). Kindle is out on October 31st.
Paul Tripp writes on the 29 things that shape a pastor's ministry. Here are a few that hit me, in the form of questions...
1. What does he really love?
2. What does he despise?
3. What are his hopes, dreams, and fears?
4. Is he committed to his own sanctification?
5. What are the anxieties that have the potential to derail or paralyze him?
11. Does he see pastoral ministry as a community project?
14. What character qualities would his wife and children use to describe him?
17. How robust, consistent, joyful, and vibrant is his devotional life?
19. Does he hold himself to high standards, or is he willing to give way to mediocrity?
25. Is the public pastor a different person from the private husband and dad?
29. How successful has he been in pastoring the congregation that is his family?
You see, it is absolutely vital to remember this: A pastor’s ministry is never just shaped by his knowledge, experience, and skill. It is always also shaped by the true condition of his heart. In fact, if his heart is not in the right place, all of the knowledge and skill can actually function to make him dangerous.
Go read all of Paul Tripp's 29 excellent questions. Be challenged by them, and changed by them.
We make a mistake when we allow discouragement to replace dreaming.
It is noteworthy that in the middle of a chapter on shepherding and leadership in 1 Peter 5, we find this: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (v. 8).
Satan is after leaders first and foremost. Leaders are his prime targets.
The devil has many tools in his bag of tricks: sexual temptation, financial greed, pride, for starters. When he can’t trip us up with obvious and blatant temptations, he will throw something more subtle our way, like discouragement.
Here are some of the things that can still open the door for discouragement in my life:
- When I am criticized
- When I am tired and on the edge of exhaustion
- When I am misunderstood
- When my expectations are dashed and not realized...according to my time-table
As a leader who often struggles with discouragement and is regularly reminded by the Holy Spirit of the importance of dreaming in ministry, Kraft is helpful for me. Read the whole piece, including some remedies: "When We Allow Discouragement to Replace Dreaming." Also check out his new book, Mistakes Leaders Make. I'm grabbing a copy.
Dear white, Puritan-loving Southern Baptist leaders,
Important voices are chiming in on Propaganda's "Precious Puritans" -- from Thabiti Anyabwile's post on The Gospel Coalition to David Murray's comment (prof at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary!) to Anthony Bradley's post as well as several comments and tweets, and more. They realize this is a big issue. Where are the voices of our white, Puritan-loving Southern Baptist leaders, and seminary presidents, and deans, and entity leaders, and prominent pastors?
We need your voices on this.
Bob Logan with another helpful post on coaching the people who 'get it.'
Among people who indicate receptivity to missional living, some will be willing to go the extra mile in living it out. Look for those who “get” missional living and are willing to take risks, even if they’re not great at it.
These are the people you need to be investing in...
He then offers some simple questions to use in coaching them...
- Where are you now?
- Where do you sense God tugging on your heart lately?
- Where does God want you to go?
- What actions might God be leading you toward?
- What are the next steps you can take?
Bob Logan lists what he calls, The Barnabas Questions, originally given by Carl George. These questions help create a coaching culture. And they are very simple.
- How are you?
- What are you celebrating?
- What challenges are you experiencing?
- What do you plan to do about these challenges?
- How can I help you?
- How can I pray for you?
Over 17 years ago I started listening to The White Horse Inn radio program. In fact, while in college a group of students would cram into a dorm room and listen to Mike Horton, Rod Rosenbladt, Ken Jones, and Kim Riddlebarger talk through theology, Scripture, evangelical culture, and church life. We felt like theoloigcal insurgents at our Bible College, but we were really just theology nerds. The WHI is still one of the most valuable things I listen to, now as a podcast, so I was humbled and excited to get an invitation to talk to Mike Horton about my book, Note to Self. You can check out our conversation at the WHI website...
If you aren’t listening to the show, you need to make it a regular part of your diet. You have enough sermons, and broadly cultural podcasts streaming into your ipod, but there isn’t much else out there like this. And, while you’re adjusting your theoloigcal intake you should also subscribe to Modern Reformation magazine. Seriously, get on that. As a subscriber you have online access to all the back issues.
It's a great interview. Great job, Joe! And you should get the podcast. I never miss an episode.