An Objection to the Worship Budget

At my church, a Brethren denomination that has German Baptist roots, we hold an annual council meeting every October. These are mostly business meetings for the election of committee chairs and such, as well as for the approval of the next year's budget. Each of us pastors is expected to give a brief summary of our particular ministry. I'll never forget the meeting in 2010.

Growing in Worship (from the one who brought you "The Heart of the Artist")

Every worship leader has stood before his or her congregation and wondered what it would be like if we all worshiped more throughout the week. What if our gathering on Sunday morning (or whatever day and time) comprised believers who loved and worshiped Jesus every day -- not just for an hour once a week?

A Hired Hand: The Mercenary Pastor

I'm not sure if this has ever happened to you, when it feels like something you read in Scripture punches you in the gut. In the quiet of the morning with but a single lamp on in the house, my freshly brewed coffee on a little tray I set next to me on the couch, and my Bible open to the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John, a little phrase -- two short words -- jump off the thin page and smack me a few times, knocking the wind out of me, nearly spilling my coffee.

Shepherding my family (while guarding them against Pelagianism)

I wrote last week about my renewed view of the role of a pastor and how I am prioritizing pastoring my own family. Pastors aren't the only ones who should pastor their families. All fathers are called to the role of shepherd, to the responsibility of shepherding our children, as well as our wives. A wonderful resource to help with this is Voddie Baucham Jr.'s "Family Shepherds."

Letting the Curtains Close in Silence

Anger is an intriguing emotion, involving a perceived need to defend someone or something. How I react to what is being attacked determines whether I sin in my anger or not. What it is I am defending will also aid in my evaluation of what is and isn't sin. Therefore, when I become angry, I need to determine what it is I'm trying to defend. Is it worthy of defense? If so, how can I defend it properly?

Dunking My Baby

Jacque had expressed a few weeks ago that she wanted to be baptized. Several years ago I baptized Lindsay in our pool, but Jacque didn’t quite understand back then what the point was. So we talked about it recently, and we agreed that I would baptize her at the picnic. At my church, they baptize differently than any church I’ve been a part of.

Fig Leaves … Again

Sometimes after bath time we allow Micah to go diaperless. He enjoys this freedom, the cool air caressing his baby booty and producing a fresh buoyancy. Without the constriction of a bulky diaper, he runs around aimlessly, not caring where he’s going as much as how long he can go for. At some point childlike innocence regresses into shame, like Adam and Eve when they discovered their nakedness. Consequently, many of us search our entire lives for the best fig leaves to cover ourselves, all the while growing in our self-consciousness. But worshiping Jesus consists of becoming less self-conscious and more aware of our Savior.

Working Myself Out of a Job

One of the first pastors I worked with, one who took more arrows for me than I knew at the time (not the fiery kind Satan uses but the ones church people are as skilled at aiming as Robin Hood), always used to say that we should be working ourselves out of our jobs. That ministry belongs not just to pastors but to everyone who follows Jesus. ... Well, I have another prospect, which could lead to working myself out of my current job.

Being careful not to lead worship like Enrique Iglesias

Awhile back—that’s blog speak for anytime in the last ten years—I received a phone call at my office from someone in our congregation. This particular lady always loves our times of worship, and she frequently requests the lyrics to our set of songs because she wants to sing them on her own. ... I assumed when I picked up the line that she was requesting more lyrics, but she said she already had them. She was curious about the melody of “From the Inside Out” and asked if I could give her a refresher.

Tuning to True A440

One of my favorite parts about going to the symphony takes place before the conductor even lifts his baton. It’s when the orchestra begins to tune, when a cacophony of sound transforms into one beautiful unison note. Audience members hurry from the lobby to their seats so they’re not stuck waiting for the opening number to finish.