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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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The Measure Of Pastoral Success (via Zack Eswine)

After a day where I did not feel like a successful pastor these words from Zack Eswine have been both encouraging and reproving.

How to Achieve Pastoral Success
Pastoral success would be doing the work that a pastor is actually supposed to do: pray, open God’s Word, be present with people, show his love to them, walk with them through the ups and downs of their life, and equip them for works of service.
Do Pastor’s Work
Am I doing what a pastor is supposed to do? If a plumber also happens to be a good accountant and he helps his neighbors with accounting, the neighbors are very happy because their accounting was awesome—but at the end of the day the pipes are still unfixed. So the plumber still has to do the plumber’s work.
Trust God to Use You
Trust that God’s going to bring about the fruit that he intends. Don’t bury your talent in the sand—offer it. The Lord will bear the fruit with it.
So, am I doing the work I’m called to? And am I leaving the success up to him? I think that’s where pastoral success starts.


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The Life-Giving Freedom Of Admitting Your Limitations (via Zack Eswine)

Zack Eswine reminds us that we don’t have to feel sorry for John the baptist.
He was not eclipsed by Jesus. He was everything he was meant to be.
There’s liberty in that lesson for all of us.
The freedom in admitting our limitations is that we get to follow John the Baptist’s footsteps and say, “I am not the Christ.”

It means that I don’t have to know everything, I don’t have to fix everything, and I’m not expected to be everywhere at once. I’m one person that God created and dearly loves, and I get to just be that one person.
It’s like what Jesus said in response to Peter at the end of the Gospel of John. Peter said, “Hey, what about John? What’s going to happen with John?” And Jesus said, “Don’t worry about him, I’ll take care of him. You follow me.”
There’s a great freedom in that. I don’t have to carry what’s going to happen to “John” on my shoulders—Jesus is going to carry that. I need to look to him and trust what he’s saying to me. I don’t have to take all of that on. Instead, I can just be the one person that I am, in the one place that I am, at the one time that I am, day by day. There’s great freedom in that.


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A Fall Doesn’t Automatically Lead To Wisdom (via Zack Eswine)

Zack Eswine writes about the growth that can, but doesn’t always follow a burnout experience.
“Just because we fall, that doesn’t mean we are necessarily wise now. We have to be teachable to the thing that God’s doing.”
The lesson translates to other experiences.

Are You Teachable?
I don’t wish a breakdown or burnout on anybody. I’d rather none of us have to go through that. But it can be a turning point in our life. Sometimes we don’t see things we needed to, or there were warning signs, but we thought, “Well, that’s other people, not me.” If there’s a level of pride in our heart that won’t become teachable to the thing, then the Lord, because he loves and pursues us, will let us fall. And then he’ll pick us up again.
All isn’t lost. That’s not the last chapter or the last moment in our lives. But he’ll let us fall. Now, here’s the thing: Just because we fall, that doesn’t mean we are necessarily wise now. We have to be teachable to the thing that God’s doing. And that’s the issue all along, even before the burnout: we should be teachable to God.
After the burnout we should ask ourselves, Okay, am I going to be teachable now? The Lord loves humility, and he works it in us in this teachable posture of heart. When that reality starts to take hold of us, and he works it in us, even our darkest day, we can say with the psalmist, “is as light to him.”
Moral failure isn’t good. Burnout isn’t good. These things aren’t good. But God is good. He keeps his promise, he keeps his faithfulness, he keeps his word to us, even when we’ve let go of those things. Our great hope isn’t that we had a failure in our life. Our great hope is that God is with us no matter what.
So, by all means, avoid the failure. But if it finds you, let it teach you. Let the Lord show you himself in it, and he’ll see you through to the other side.


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Character Versus Personality

The local pastors were musing on the necessity of pastoral leadership to be qualified by character and not personality this morning.
The culture in which we live values celebrity, which stands in contrast to the incarnational values of the kingdom.
From Zack Eswine.

The Origin of Celebrity Culture
Celebrity culture comes from at least two places. First, it has simply been here since the garden. In the very beginning when the devil said, “You can be like God,” there was an invitation to take center stage. Now that desire to take center stage is in each of us as human beings.
Second, we live in a selfie culture. With all of its strengths, it is still a culture that says “Put yourself forward.” Those two things then converge: our inward desire to be somebody, and the external culture that says you can be.
The Struggle We Face
When we look at the Gospels we see that Jesus is very fame-shy. He is constantly moving in places that other people wouldn’t go. He is constantly moving to people that other people would overlook. And he calls us to that kind of life. So we wrestle with this invitation to do a truly great thing by serving the least, while inside of us and outside of us we’re pressured to make much of ourselves.

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Why Pastors Need The Gospel (via Zack Eswine)

Pastors need to know the Gospel, so in addition to proclaiming it, we live it wholeheartedly and consistently.

Zack Eswine:

Pastors need to know this, first, because our whole life is offering the message of God’s grace, and finding a way to articulate it; finding a way to offer it. And we not only offer it with our words, but also in the way we embody a day, from the neighbors we interact with to the way we give ourselves to people, even our enemies. So we need to know the message so we can live it and speak it and communicate it.

More here.

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Overcoming The Constant Reminders Of Our Worst Moments (via Zack Eswine)

Zack Eswine observes that Peter ministers the knowledge of the same grace that has healed his own life.

From the post:

After all, Peter would hear roosters crow the rest of his life. How does one overcome the constant reminder of his or her worst moments?
So, Peter commits to never stopping to bring to our remembrance the presence and provision of God. By reminding others he too takes hold of grace-memory. He reminds us that we are forgiven in Jesus; That we’ve been given his promises; That we have everything we need for life and godliness; That the ancient questions regarding where we came from, what our purpose is, why the world is troubled, what the remedy is, and what the future will look like, have been set before us in Jesus.

Read the whole article here.