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Where To Go On Mondays (via Jared Wilson)

There’s only one destination for a pastor on Mondays.
From Jared Wilson:

So there is water for you today, whether you push through on these difficult Mondays in the quiet of your study or the busyness of the visitation route or whether you take these Mondays off to recuperate at home. There is water for you at every moment, living water flowing freely from the pierced bosom of Christ. It is water to satisfy your thirsty soul, water to heal your ministry wounds, water to cool your heels, water to cheer your “Monday face.” Don’t look for it anywhere but in Jesus.

More here.

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The Pastor’s Ultimate Need

From a post by Geoffrey Kirkland about pastoral burnout, its causes and cure.

Since the pastor’s task is utterly impossible in the strength of the flesh, how does a saved sinner, a weak man at best, take up this task and perform it well for the glory of the Savior? Experts and statisticians provide a host of data about what “successful” pastors do and what needs in the lives of such pastors have been met. But I propose that a pastor has one singular, ultimate need: The pastor must guard his own heart.
God’s Word stresses the importance of the heart over and over again. God implores us — and this is particularly important for ministers — to watch our hearts carefully. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Jesus said that “from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.” He continued, “All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man” (Mark 7:21-23). Jesus also proclaimed that every man’s “mouth speaks from that which fills his heart” (Luke 6:45). Paul tells Timothy, his young protégé in the faith, not to neglect the spiritual gift within him; to that end, Paul exhorts him, “Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you” (1 Tim. 4:15-16).
A pastor’s own ministry will be no better than his heart; indeed, a healthy ministry flows from his heart and will reflect the state of his heart. So the implication is clear — a pastor must guard his heart.
It is possible for a pastor to become so concerned with the hearts of those in his flock that he neglects his own heart. This is tragic.

Read the rest of the post here.

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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.)