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Three Steps Out Of Worry (via Jean Williams)

Jean Williams’ description of worry resonated with me, a committed worrier from way back.
Her personal story of three steps she undertook in walking away from being consumed by worry resonated as well.

From her post:

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)
I’ve spent a lot of my life worrying. Here’s how it works. My mind, unbidden, invents a number of possible futures. I figure out how to respond to each one: “If this happens, then ….” At some hidden level I’m convinced that if I imagine and prepare for enough scenarios, I won’t be surprised by whatever comes. I’ll be ready. Better than that, I’ll hold hardship at bay. Because how can the worst happen if you anticipate it? How can it happen if you prepare for it?
It sounds ridiculous when you put it into words. The future comes whether you anticipate it or not. If I imagine a hundred possible futures, at least 99 of them won’t come to pass. More likely, none of them will come to pass. Something else will happen, something quite unexpected. In the meantime, I will have wasted hours of mental energy (do you measure mental energy in hours?) trying to prepare for all kinds of events that never happen. Even prayer becomes a cover for playing over them in my mind, and working up enough strength to face them.

Read the whole post here.

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I May Or May Not Be Feeling Like This

Siberian Husky would rather take bath than go for walk.
Substitute ‘run away’ for ‘bath’ and ‘face life’ for ‘go for walk’ and this is pretty close to home at various times.
Except for watching this.
It made me laugh.

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All The Lonely Pastors. Where Do They All Come From? (via Zack Eswine)

Deeply penetrating analysis of pastoral life by Zack Eswine.
“Why is it that those who give their days to a vocation charged with the enjoyment, love and glory of God remain so vulnerable to the loneliness and isolation that any human being can feel?”
“Loneliness flourishes as restful human companionship fades. Pastors need people; not simply so they can lead a congregation or secure a salary or to garner enough members in order to mobilize for mission. Pastors need people because pastors are human beings and by God’s design, human beings need one another.”

Read the whole post here.

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Vincent Van Gogh – A Life “In Sorrow, Yet Ever Joyful” (via Mockingbird)

Mockingbird have republished an essay about the life of Vincent van Gogh entitled ‘A Life Of Aching Beauty: Vincent van Gogh as Preacher, Failure, and Painter’.
The essay explores Van Gogh’s art and life, contrasting the bleakness of his experience with the vibrancy of his works, and drawing some thoughts about seeking transcendence amidst the brokenness of life.

A couple of quotes:

Always devoted to the Church, the Bible, and the example of Jesus Christ, Vincent next turned to the ministry. He began theological training, but found it both difficult and irrelevant, so he quit after a few months. He attended a three-month course for lay preachers, but after his final examination the examiners found him unsuitable for the ministry. On his own, he moved to a poor coal-mining region of Belgium to serve the miners and their families. He eventually obtained an official commission from his mission school, but lost this after three months due to his supposedly poor preaching skills, despite his undeniable and even extreme devotion and service to the coal-miners.
Given his sensibilities and his circumstances, we would expect Van Gogh’s art to reflect more and more his ongoing depression and troubled emotions. Yet somewhat the opposite is true. Vincent’s earlier paintings, such as The Potato Eaters (1885), have a limited color range of dark earth tones. The scene itself is somber, reflecting the hard life of Dutch peasants that he wanted to faithfully represent. From 1886 Vincent’s palette became lighter and more vibrant. Many paintings still clearly reflect the agitation of his soul, but we also see the longing to know and express joy. In sorrow, but ever joyful.

Read the whole essay at Mockingbird.

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Oscar The Grouch Versus Grumpy Cat

Clash of a titan and the pretender to the throne.
(For some reason I identify with this on a Monday.)

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A Sign Your Pastor Could Be In Trouble…

… is when he reads articles like 11 Messy Jobs For The Bravest Among Us and finds himself thinking ‘That looks okay.’
Jobs like: Armpit Sniffer, Pet Food Taster, Roadkill Collector, Deer Urine Farmer and more.
Presently these all rate ‘Ewww’ for me.
Although maybe the Fake Astronaut…

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Monday Preacher’s Blues: You’re Not The Messiah, You Just Tell Others About Him

Monday is a good day for a pastor to remember they’re not the Messiah.
Our privileged task is to tell others about Jesus who is the Messiah, and any time we start thinking it all depends on us it’ll end badly.
Monday is a good day to remember that otherwise you’d feel bad about yourself for feeling so wiped out.
From Valiant For Truth:

the pastor can deceive himself into thinking that he can solve any problem that comes his way and that if people only listen to him, things will run smoothly in the church. Confidence in God’s word and the power of the Spirit to transform lives can easily shift to arrogance and pride in one’s own abilities to fix things.