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A Lifetime View Of Ministry (via Tom Ascol)

In the midst of a reflection about pastoral commitment (and not making decisions on Mondays), Tom Ascol makes a point about pastoral calling that is helpful; one that makes more and more sense as the years go by.
When considering a call to ministry, along with consideration about whether to go, the thought needs to be entertained “Could I spend the rest of my life here?”
IF ministry is thought of as a career, a call may be looked at as a stepping stone.
If ministry is thought of as a calling, then God may have us serve a company of people for the remainder of our working life.
As Ascol stresses, this does not mean that God will move a pastor, but it does mean that we wait on God for the impetus to relocate our field of ministry.
From Ascol:

I believe that it is extremely valuable, if not essential, for a pastor to accept a call to serve a church with a willingness and desire to spend his life in that place. This is not to say that the Lord will never move him to another place, but such an attitude will always put the burden of proof on the move.

Read the whole post here.


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Tell-Tale Sign Of A Graceless Heart (via Jared Longshore)

A graceless heart can be at the centre of what appears to be a commendable life.
Not demonstrably bad, even hardworking and knowledgeable.
But graceless hearts grumble.
From Jared Longshore at Founders Ministries:

Jesus found grumbling so off putting that he lined up three parables to fix it. We are commanded in the Bible to “Do all things without grumbling.” Paul tells us that when the Israelites grumbled in the wilderness they were destroyed. Jude puts grumblers alongside the malcontents and loud-mouth boasters who are designated for condemnation.
Why is it that grumbling is so reprehensible? It is because grumbling reveals a graceless heart. That is the key quality that the Pharisees, the scribes, and the older brother lacked: Grace. Grace gives people more then they deserve. This is a kind of giving that these men did not know. The Pharisees said, “These sinners don’t deserve to eat with Jesus.” The older brother complained, “My younger brother does not deserve this celebration.” But justice, though important, is not ultimate in a grace filled heart. Justice is not the end of the story or the totality of the story. It was for the Pharisees, scribes, and the older brother. But not for Jesus.
We must ask ourselves, “Am I a graceless person?” I may be zealous for truth, obedience, and service, but am I zealous to treat people better then they deserve? May God help us to examine ourselves according to the graceless man revealed in Luke 15. And where we find ourselves lacking in this godly quality, may God strengthen us to do good to the undeserving by the very grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Read the whole post here.