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Acquiring The Pastoral Habitus (via Harold Senkbeil)

The Care Of Souls by Harold Senkbeil is a book about pastoral ministry that focuses on the pastoral role as ministering grace, rather than managerial or therapeutic.
In writing about being a pastor, Senkbeil describes how the acts of pastoral craft move from being habits to what he terms habitus, and how the pastor moves from being a workman to a craftsman.

We learn by doing. That’s how we develop our pastoral nose; that’s how you and I become habituated into the pastoral calling. And it’s a cyclical process. For while we faithfully practice our craft from one day to the next, we acquire a pastoral habitus for the long haul and our work comes more and more naturally to us.
When the habits of a habitus begin to inhabit a workman, he becomes a craftsman and his work a true craft.
Notice you don’t adopt a habitus; you acquire it. You might say you don’t find a habitus, rather the habitus finds you. When “occupation” becomes vocation, when calling and work merge as one, it’s a happy combination in any line of work.”

The Care Of Souls, Harold Senkbeil, Lexham Press, 2019, pg 22.


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Not Running Ahead Of Him (via Jared C Wilson)

A reminder that a thoughtful and intentional Gospel ministry relies on supernatural power, not pragmatism for its outcome.
From Gospel-Driven Church Jared C Wilson :

One of the most frequent temptations pastors and church leaders face today is to replace a steady commitment to gospel preaching and revival prayer with human ingenuity and industriousness. Can these coexist? Certainly. But we must also guard against allowing ourselves to replace the work that only the Holy Spirit can do. The Holy Spirit can do far more than we think or ask, and his timing may not always follow our goals or fit our plans. But let’s not run ahead of him.

Jared Wilson, Gospel-Driven Church, Zondervan, 2019, pg. 77.


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Attractional Is Not A Style. It’s A Paradigm. (via Jared Wilson)

In Gospel-Driven Church Jared Wilson offers a critique of church growth that is not confined to a style or a size of congregation:

I also want to be clear about what I don’t mean. When I use the word attractional, I am not referring to “contemporary” worship styles or megachurches. Some critics of the attractional church movement easily lapse into a megachurch critique, and while there may be valid criticisms of megachurches, that is not my concern in this book. The size of the church isn’t the point.
There are traditional and nontraditional, denominational and nondenominational, small, medium, and megasized attractional churches. Attractional is not a style. It’s a paradigm.
An attractional church conducts worship and ministry according to the desires and values of potential consumers. This typically leads to the dominant ethos of pragmatism throughout the church. If a church determines its target audience prefers old-fashioned music, then that’s what they feature in order to attract those people.

Jared Wilson, Gospel-Driven Church, Zondervan, 2019, pgs. 24-25.


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The Art Of Friendship (via Sammy Rhodes)

Friendship as a trusted and faithful custodian of someone’s story, of being a friend to them through the accumulation of knowledge that might otherwise isolate us.
An interesting observation from Sammy Rhodes.

The hard work of friendship is entrusting your heart to another and risking your story while at the same time holding your friend’s story carefully. Friends cannot hold the weight of your identity, but you should be able to trust them with the weight of your story — your dreams and fears, your desires and struggles, the things that make you your — self past and present. This is the hard work of friendship, the art of friendship.

Sammy Rhodes, This Is Awkward, Thomas Nelson, 2016, pg 116.


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Happiness Is Not A Goal In Itself, It Is The Product Of Seeking The Right Goals (via Sammy Rhodes)

The pursuit of happiness will be futile if it is happiness itself which is being sought. Happiness can only be experienced as a fruit of seeking after that which endures.
Sammy Rhodes writes about modern relationships and the reasons they founder:

Wanting happiness isn’t a bad thing. It’s a human thing. The problem is that happiness is less something we can directly seek than it is a by-product of seeking the right things in the right ways. Happiness is like the endorphins that flow after a good workout. They’re a result of hunting another goal, not something you can get your hands on directly. They only come by working out. Or so I hear. I’m less a work-out guy, more a work—in guy. And by that I mean most days I like to work on getting an entire bag of chips inside me.
Jesus told us to “seek first the kingdom of God and his’ righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). Blessings, like happiness, come as we focus our eyes on something other than those blessings. Jesus is teaching us here to think less like consumers and more like himself a covenant—making and covenant—keeping God. If Jesus had let happiness determine his choices, the cross would have never happened. Jesus’ choices were driven by his covenant promises, first to God, then to us.

Sammy Rhodes, This Is Awkward, Thomas Nelson, 2016, pgs 93-94.


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The Gifts Parents Give Their Children That Break Our Hearts (via Sammy Rhodes)

Sammy Rhodes’ book This Is Awkward evokes a lot of familiar emotions as he writes about his own experiences with his father, and the impact those experiences have on his life and relationships with his own children.
Our first gifts to our children are the characteristics they’ve either inherited or learned from us.
And sometimes when we see in them what has come from us it breaks our hearts.
The beginning of our consolation and hope for change is based in a better Father whose love never scars.

A few years ago we were at a wedding in Augusta, Georgia. My daughter was six at the time, old enough to figure out that she loved to dance. As we walked through the doors of the reception, she made a beeline to the dance floor and was by far the first one out there. It’s funny how different your children can be from you. My happy place at a wedding is in the corner with a plate full of food and a beverage in my hand. Hers is the dance floor.
As she was dancing, a few older girls showed up, and they really knew how to dance. And as they started breaking it down, I watched my daughter crumple on the dance floor, eyes burning like lasers through these girls. I could tell she was angry, jealous, and insecure. Later as we climbed into the minivan (I could write a whole other chapter on the shame of owning a minivan) to head home, she was still upset. I asked her what was wrong, doing that thing parents do when they try not to laugh and cry at the same time.
Through gritted teeth, she said, “Those girls. I hate those girls. They’re better dancers than me.” And my heart broke. Not because those girls could dance, but because I saw the same perfectionism I’ve lived with for almost thirty-five years worming its way into the heart of my six- year-old daughter. That perfectionism robs all joy because it fixates you so desperately on your own performance, with the promise that if you can just be perfect everything will be okay. What perfectionism doesn’t tell you is that nothing will ever be perfect, you most of all.
Anne Lamott wrote, “Perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”

Sammy Rhodes, This Is Awkward, Thomas Nelson, 2016, pgs 28-29.


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A Stunning And Reassuring Word To A Young Prophet (via Jack Lundbom on Jeremiah)

Jack Lundbom’s magisterial commentary on Jeremiah is living up to its promise.
On God’s call and Jeremiah’s response in Chapter 1:

Yahweh begins the present dialogue in grand hyperbole. He says he knew Jeremiah before he was formed in the belly of his mother; that a consecration took place before he was born; and at this very early time — known only to himself — Jeremiah was designated a prophet to the nations. A stunning word to a young boy, who, when he makes his response, declares that he may be as far behind in the march of divine events as Yahweh is ahead.
Jeremiah’s demur is brief. He says only that he does not know how to speak He is but a boy. Very well, but Jeremiah cannot refuse the call for this or any other reason. He is to be Yahweh’s messenger, going on whatever errands Yahweh sends him and speaking whatever Yahweh commands him to speak. That should make things a bit easier. But will it? Something remains unexpressed. Jeremiah is afraid. Yahweh perceives this and tells him not to be afraid, giving him what may be at the original oracle’s end reassurance and the promise of rescue.

Jack Lundbom, Jeremiah 1-20, Anchor Yale Bible / Yale University Press, 1999/2009, pg 236.