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Faithful Friendship And A Life Marked By Jesus And Redemption – A Songwriter’s Spirit, A Pastor’s Heart

This is from a review of Everything As It Should Be, a new album by singer/songwriter Andy Gullahorn.
Fellow song-writer Andrew Osenga muses about Gullahorn’s capacity to keep producing album after album of personal and poignant vignettes that resonate with real life.
To keep doing so requires life lived well with others.
It resonates closely with what a pastor does.
From Osenga about Gullahorn’s songs:

Well, you have to live them. That’s how. You have to actually love people. And be the kind of person they turn to when life falls apart. You have to know how to listen more than you speak, and then not try to fix them when you do.
You have to know people for years. You have to forgive them when they let you down. You have to let them forgive you, too (which is, of course, the hardest thing. Until you’ve done it).
You have to walk closely for a long, long time with your spouse, your kids, your friends. With people in your congregation and your neighborhood and your bowling alley and some other church’s basement with old carpet and hard plastic chairs.
You have to ask hard questions without judgment. And ask them again when you’ve been shut down the first dozen times. You have to hold your friends when they’re crying and not look away when it’s uncomfortable.
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But beneath all of that wonderfulness there is faithful friendship and a life marked by Jesus and redemption.

Read the review of Everything As It Should Be at the Rabbit Room, where you’ll find more information about the album.


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Zack Eswine on The Busy Pastor (via Jared C. Wilson)

If you can find time, this podcast featuring Zack Eswine on The Busy Pastor would be worth listening to.
It can be found at For The Church.


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Fighting Pastoral Covetousness (via Darryl Dash)

Darryl Dash offers some counsel by which pastors can not only avoid covetousness, but nurture satisfaction and joy.

We can fight pastoral covetousness in two ways.
Positively: cultivate contentment. Find satisfaction in your work and your place. Pray for joy. Base your identity not on how well your ministry is going, but who you are in Jesus.
After all, one day you’ll long for what you have now. Besides, I hear those who have larger ministries who long for a church like yours. Don’t miss the blessings that are yours that would be absent if your ministry was larger.
Second: love fellow pastors and churches. Pick one you’re tempted to envy, and pray for them. Ask God to give you joy when other ministries succeed. Ask God to free you from coveting their success. See their success as kingdom success, and remind yourself that we all work for the same master.
“Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot” (Ecclesiastes 5:18). What God has given is enough. We can enjoy it and praise God for what he’s given others.

Read the whole post here.


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Loving The Subject Of Preaching More Than Loving The Action Of Preaching (via Lewis Allen)

Lewis Allen’s The Preacher’s Catechism is comprised of forty-three reflections based on catechism-style questions and answers aimed at preachers.
The chapters provide some doctrinal reflection and some personal reflection applications.
The first question: ‘What is God’s chief end in preaching?’
The answer to that question: ‘God’s chief end in preaching is to glorify his name.’
From Allen’s application of the theme.

What is your heartbeat? Do you love to preach, or do you love the One you preach? Do you love to prep your sermons, enjoying the hard mental and spiritual work, or do you love the One you are discovering more about? As Sunday comes, do you long to lift up the name of the triune God in your preaching, declaring the wonder of the three persons, or is your heart set on getting a bit more congregational love in your direction?
Our challenge as preachers is to remain lovers, to refuse to let our calling, however important and exciting, obscure our primary calling to be captivated ourselves by God’s love in Jesus Christ. We must teach others that God is love, and that life on earth is an invitation from heaven to know that love and to live in the light of it. Sermons that are mere information downloads are dry discourses and make for dry Christians, if Christians at all. Rather, we preach so that our hearers discover that the God of love has come to meet them in his Son.

The Preacher’s Catechism, Lewis Allen, Crossway, 2018, pg 30.


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Pastor By Seeing Through God’s Eyes (via Gavin Ortlund)

Gavin Ortlund offers seven areas in which pastors manifest affection (in contrast to love) for those the congregations they serve.

He finishes by writing:

See them through God’s eyes
These people are the sheep of the shepherd. God loves them with a jealous, yearning, husband-like love:
“Love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the Lord” (Songs of Songs 8:6).
If all else fails, remember how much the Lord loves your people. Jesus, the One before whom you stand, is affectionate for your people. He was thinking of them, also, as he slowly died on the cross. He now intercedes for them as His precious, blood bought people. That is the measure of their worth in His eyes.
If Jesus gave us blood for them, we can give our hearts to them.

Read the whole post here.


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Thick-Skinned And Tender-Hearted Pastors (via Aaron Menikoff)

At the 9Marks blog, Aaron Menikoff commends a model of pastoral presence which he calls thick-skinned and tender-hearted.
It speaks of resiliently and patiently bearing with people with loving character.
This guards against the burnout that can come from impatient over-sensitivity.
His conclusion:

Let’s work hard to avoid such pitfalls. The members of our church are precious in God’s sight, even when they bite. If we’re too thin-skinned, we’ll cave under the weight of their disappointment in us. If we’re too thick-skinned, we’ll push away the brothers and sisters God has called us to serve and lead. Therefore, be sure to be tender-hearted. The thick-skinned and tender-hearted pastor is best positioned to minister for the long haul.

Read the whole post here.


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Like Nothing Else (via Jeff Robinson)

Ministry is not the hardest thing anyone can do.
But it has a unique character; and a particular aspect of that character needs a particular awareness in order to go the long-term.
From Jeff Robinson at Crossway blog.

Jesus said it best in John 15:5: Apart from me you can do nothing. As a pastor, you either learn early to write that over the door of your heart or you don’t last long in ministry. It’s really just that simple. One of my favorite passages in my first few years of ministry was Mark 4:26-28 where Jesus tells the parable of the seed. It’s very pithy, there are just a couple of verses. The farmer plants the seed and then he goes to bed. When he gets up, lo and behold, the seed has germinated, grown, and he knows not how. Of course, we know how. We know it’s the grace of God.
God has invested this gospel truth in you, but it’s not about you because you can’t do anything to save people or sanctify people.
You realize pretty early that the call to pastoral ministry is not like anything else you’re going to do in life. You’re likely not going to have product at the end of the day. You’re not going to have widgets that you’ve made. You’re not going to have a byline at the top of the page or anything like that.

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