Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Bible Miniseries begins this coming Sunday

I once again want to remind you of the upcoming miniseries to begin this coming Sunday on the History Channel.  It is a conviction that I carry that History is truly His Story and that God is at work throughout the period of mankind.  This is a unique opportunity to view the Biblical story with neighbors, family and friends on Sunday evenings in March leading up to Resurrection Sunday on March 31, 2013.

Executive Producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett
Premiers March 3, 2013, on the History Channel

The Bible is an epic five-week, 10 hour television miniseries premiering March 3, 2013 on the History Channel from Emmy Award winning husband and wife team, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. For two hours each Sunday night millions of viewers will see the Bible from Genesis to Revelation come to life in a way never before seen. The final episode of the series will air on Easter Sunday and will feature the death and resurrection of Jesus.

“Our job is to make you connect—either reconnect with the stories or connect for the first time with these stories,” says Mark Burnett, who with his wife, Roma Downey, produced the miniseries. Downey starred in the television series Touched by an Angel and plays Mary in the miniseries, and Burnett is the producer of multiple hit television shows such as Survivor and The Voice.
The Bible series includes compelling depictions of biblical stories including creation; Noah; Abraham; Moses; the parting of the Red Sea; David and Goliath; Azariah, Hananiah and Mishael in the fiery furnace; and the life of Jesus.

I posted about this in January asking that you mark your calendars for this event.  You can read more here...

Monday, February 25, 2013

A song of trust

As I reflect once again on the closing message in our recent teaching series - I could not help but share this great song that reminds me of the trust I can place in our great God!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A response to my message Feb 24 2013

Here is a response to my message this morning at NRN:

The story I shared - from the widow's perspective:

1 Kings 17 (New International Version)

Elijah Fed by Ravens

1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe [a] in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word."
2 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: 3 "Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there."

5 So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.

The Widow at Zarephath

7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the LORD came to him: 9 "Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food." 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, "Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?" 11 As she was going to get it, he called, "And bring me, please, a piece of bread."
12 "As surely as the LORD your God lives," she replied, "I don't have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die."

13 Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.' "

15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.

17 Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, "What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?"

19 "Give me your son," Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the LORD, "O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?" 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, let this boy's life return to him!"

22 The LORD heard Elijah's cry, and the boy's life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, "Look, your son is alive!"

24 Then the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth."
What were the lessons God spoke to you about today?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Preparing for Worship on Sunday February 24 at NRN

Tomorrow at NRN I will bring the current teaching series to a close with a message about Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath.  On Sunday morning I will post a response to my message.  Later in the week you can hear the message on the church website.

Here is the worship set we have prepared for Sunday February 24, 2013:

“Fear, Faith and Obedience”

1 Kings 17:7-24


Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” God expects us to take risks, but that doesn’t mean he wants us to take foolish risks. The risks we take in ministry must be ones that God leads us to take. You’ll find that by taking the first step, God will give you faith to take the second. My prayer is that your ministry will be full of faithful risks as you trust God to do great things through you. You only need to have faith to take one step at a time. God doesn’t ask us to take leaps of faith. He simply calls us to take the one step that he’s placed before us and, when we are obedient, he guides us to the next step.
Tomorrow I will speak about having a dangerous faith.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

10 Real Reasons Pastors Quit Too Soon

Over the past few days I have suffered with computer problems.  I have not had Internet for several days.  This morning my good friend, Phil came over and worked his "magic" to restore my Internet service.  I recently read an article that spoke to my heart and I felt I should pass it along.

More than 1,700 pastors leave the ministry every month.
To prevent the continued flight of our pastors,
 we need to understand the cause of the problem

More than 1,700 pastors leave the ministry every month. This staggering number includes some of the brightest, most inspiring pastors in the country. To prevent the continued flight of our pastors, we need to understand the cause of the problem. Though every situation is unique, the reasons pastors leave are often similar.

Here are 10 common reasons pastors quit too soon.

1. Discouragement.

Fifty percent of pastors report feeling so discouraged they would leave the ministry if they could.

Complaints speak louder than compliments. You can receive 15 compliments and one complaint, and the complaint will stick. When you hear criticism and look out to see empty pews, it can be difficult to recognize the positive impact you’re making. The key is to remember: No matter how much negative you hear, you’re always doing 10 times more good.

2. Failure.

Seventy percent of pastors say they have a lower self-image now than when they started.

Many pastors have difficulty recognizing success. They compare themselves to other pastors and other ministries. Comparisons produce only two outcomes: (1) You think you’re better, which results in excessive pride, or (2) you feel like you don’t measure up, which creates a sense of failure. The key is not to compare, but to celebrate your successes.

3. Loneliness.

Seventy percent of pastors do not have someone they consider a close friend.

With so many people looking to pastors for guidance, it can be difficult for pastors to let their guards down. They don’t want to come across as less than perfect. They feel they can’t be transparent and vulnerable. That creates a sense of isolation. It’s important for pastors to find people they can open up and share their struggles with, instead of absorbing and isolating.

4. Moral Failure.

Thirty-three percent of pastors confess having involved in inappropriate sexual behavior.

The moral failures of pastors are magnified more than the average person. The key to avoiding moral failures is creating a system of risk prevention. When you meet with someone of the opposite sex: let your spouse know, never meet behind closed doors and do not discuss relationship issues. For pornography, software is available to monitor or block Web activity.

5. Financial Pressure.

Seventy percent of pastors feel grossly underpaid.

Most ministries are nonprofits so pastors are not compensated well. When you can’t fully provide the life you want for your family, it makes it hard to continue. Then you look at friends not in the ministry with big houses and nice cars. Pastors can relieve the pressure with better financial planning. Try following the 80-10-10 rule—10 percent to church, 10 percent to savings and 80 percent to live off.

6. Anger.

Each year, 4,000 new churches begin and 7,000 churches close.

When things aren’t going well, pastors become angry—with others, themselves or God. Thoughts fall along these lines: “I did everything you told me. I went to seminary. I started a ministry. Why are you not doing what you said?” The worst thing about anger is it spreads like wild fire. The medicine for anger is forgiveness. We have to forgive so we can move forward.

7. Burnout.

Ninety percent of the pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week.

Pastors are put on a treadmill. They go from the ministry to a hospital visit to writing a sermon to meeting with congregation members. They just keep running until there’s no passion or energy left. They become exhausted and depleted. Vacations and sabbaticals can provide perspective. Another key is empowering other leaders so all the weight is not on the pastor’s shoulders.

8. Physical Health.

Seventy-five percent of pastors report significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry.

Many pastors overwork themselves and simply do not care for their bodies. When you’re busy, it’s easy to eat poorly. But eating the right foods is essential to physical health. It’s the difference between fueling the body and depleting the body. Pastors also don’t get enough rest or regular exercise. Exercise makes a huge difference in physical and mental health.

9. Marriage/Family Problems.

Eighty percent of pastors believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.

Too often, a pastor’s spouse and children end up taking a backseat to the ministry. The key is balance. Marriage has to be a top priority. Your relationship with your spouse is the most important relationship you have on this Earth. You have to nurture your family relationships—whether that means having family night or seeking counseling.

10. Too Busy/Driven.

Ninety percent of pastors feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands.

A lot of pastors simply are not working efficiently. They are not protecting their calendars or giving themselves the space they need. They haven’t learned how to say “no.” Being busy is not always being productive. Pastors need to find ways to maximize the use of their time. You have to learn how to say “no” at the right times.

Take a look at these 10 points, then pray and ask God: What area do I really need to address? Where am I struggling? Once you identify the areas where you need to improve, take these three steps:

Ask for help. If you’re struggling, there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking someone for help.

Institute accountability. Find a group or person to keep you accountable in the areas you think you are weak.

Take ownership of your choices. More than anyone else, you control the path you walk.

Take actions and precautions to make sure you don’t let any of these 10 reasons separate you from your passion for the ministry and your calling.

Statistics from Pastoral Care

The author of this article found on Church  is Tim Peters. 

Tim is creator of Sayge and a ten year church communications veteran. Sayge is an intentional, all-in-one, church marketing and communications monthly training resource that is designed to help Church Leaders master the basics of church marketing and communications.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Come thou fount of every blessing

I am still singing a song we sang during the worship yesterday at NRN.  It is one of my favorite hymns we use in worship often.  Hope you enjoy singing along and then read the story behind this great song:

The Story:  The person who penned the words to this great song was Robert Robinson.      In his youth, Robert Robinson was apprenticed to a barber in London and lived a wild and reckless life. But one day he heard a sermon by George Whitefield on the stern words of John the Baptist to the Jewish leaders of his day, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matt. 3:7). The Spirit of God convicted the wayward young man and he put his faith in Christ.

Associated with John and Charles Wesley for a time, Robinson served as a pastor in several churches. He wrote a number of works on theology, and two hymns that we know of, Mighty God, While Angels Bless Thee, and Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing. The latter hymn begins:

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.

The song is autobiographical in its confession of a proneness to wander away from the Lord. Though a man of intellectual brilliance, Robert Robinson was, in the words of Scripture, “unstable as water” (Gen. 49:4). In his later years he drifted away from God. This weakness is reflected in a later stanza of the hymn above:

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

In a spiritually backslidden condition, the author was traveling in a stage coach one day. His only companion was a young woman unknown to him. In the providence of God, and not realizing who it was she spoke with, the woman quoted Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, saying what an encouragement it had been to her. And try as he might, Robinson could not get her to change the subject.

Finally, he said, with tears in his eyes, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who composed that hymn, many years ago. And I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I then had!” Gently, she replied, “Sir, the ‘streams of mercy’ are still flowing.” He was deeply touched by that. As a result of the encounter he repented. His fellowship with the Lord was restored through the ministry of his own hymn, and a Christian’s willing witness.
Here is a clip I have used in message at NRN  about this story:

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A reflection from my sermon today at NRN

A reflections from my sermon today at NRN:

Summary of Genesis Chapter 30:  A whole lot of babies...

Rachel gets jealous, because Leah is bearing children and she isn’t. She tells Jacob to give her children or she will die, and he responds, quite reasonably I think, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” So Rachel gives Jacob her maidservant, she he can bear children through her; children born through the maidservant would be counted as Rachel’s. A child is born, and Rachel feels vindicated, so she names the boy Dan, which means “he has vindicated”.

The servant bears another son, and Rachel feels she has won the struggle against her sister, so she names the boy Naphtali, which means “my struggle”.

Leah steps up the battle, and gives Jacob her maidservant. She bears him a son, and Leah thinks this is good fortune, so she names him Gad, which means “good fortune” (or “a troop”).

Then Leah’s maidservant bears another son; Leah is so happy that she names him Asher, which means “happy”.

Later on, Reuben goes out to pick some mandrakes, and Rachel wants some, but Leah won’t give her any. “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?” So Rachel sells Leah her night with Jacob, for some of the mandrakes. Leah became pregnant again, and had a son; she felt that God was rewarding her for giving Jacob her maidservant, so she named the boy Issachar, which sounds like the Hebrew for “reward”.

Leah became pregnant again, and bore a son. She felt that Jacob would treat her with honour, because she had bore him so many sons, so she named the boy Zebulun, which probably means “honour”.

She became pregnant yet again, and this time bore a daughter, whom she named Dinah. My Bible’s footnotes don’t tell me what “Dinah” means in Hebrew.

Finally, Rachel became pregnant, and bore a son. She named him Joseph, which means “may he add”, and said “May the LORD add to me another son.”

Phew. That’s a lot of babies!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Preparing for worship

As I prepare for Sunday at NRN I am so ready to preach. 

Here is the worship set for Sunday:

And for the offertory:

Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
I'll praise the mount I'm fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by Thy help I come
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wondering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart Lord, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

Then comes the message of the morning
The Story of Jacob

Genesis 25 - 49; Hebrews 11:21

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Another birthday and still smiling

Today is my birthday!  My wonderful wife Sharron allowed me to "sleep in" today. When I sat at my desk for my daily devotions there was an envelope placed in front of the monitor and as I read the card it brought tears to my eyes.  My phone already had several text to wish me a Happy Birthday. 

Sharron encouraged me to check my Facebook page where over 130 postings to say happy birthday were on my timeline.  I was especially blessed by two:

  To the sweetest man on earth HAPPY BIRTHDAY  Rick Hudgens. You have loved me for the past 35 years but pulled out all the stops this past year. Thank you for letting me be where I needed to be and especially being there for me, taking care of me and just loving me. I am a blessed woman. Love you Sharrie  * My wife Sharron

Janna wrote: "Happy birthday PR Rick Hudgens . Thank you for an amazing biblical foundation you taught me as a youth. So many times I remember and repeat your words of wisdom. Just this past Sunday at our church picnic I reminded someone to eat dessert first as you never know when Jesus might return to take us Home."

Since I began my blog I often post on my birthday with the title - still smiling.  Here's why:


Another anniversary of birth.  I am a bles

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Abraham Lincoln's Birthday - a picture of freedom

I recently read a story in my devotional that painted a fascinating picture of freedom. The story was about Abraham Lincoln visiting a slave auction.
Upon arriving, Lincoln saw a young black girl up on the block. Moved with compassion, he placed a bid and won her. After purchasing her, Lincoln told the young disbelieving girl that she was free.

In her surprise she said, “What does that mean?”
“It means you are free,” he replied.
“Does that mean,” she said, “I can say whatever I want to say?”
“Yes, my dear, you can say whatever you want to say.”
“Does that mean I can be whatever I want to be?”
“Yes, you can be whatever you want to be.”
“Does that mean I can go wherever I want to go?”
“Yes, you can go wherever you want to go.”

And the girl, with tears streaming down her face, said, “Then I will go with you.” Although this account is probably more fiction than fact, it reminds us that, just like this young girl, we too have been set free.

Paul, in his letter to the church in Ephesus, paints this very picture:
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God                                                   Ephesians 2:11-22

Paul writes that when God reconciles us to Himself, He calls us out of death and darkness into life and light. He makes those who were once strangers and aliens sons and daughters.
He did not just enter our story, but He also grafted us into the grand story of redemption. This story is one of a loving God setting the captives free.

You and I were once far from God, dead in our sins and trespasses and without hope. But God, being rich in His mercy and love, reconciled us to Himself through Christ. We have been set free by the blood of the cross.
This means that you and I have been set free, and like this young slave girl, our response is to cling to the One who set us free – our response is to use our stories to paint a picture of freedom to those around us


Sunday, February 10, 2013

A reflection from worship today at NRN

Each week the worship team, usher team, sound and media teams have a printed order of worship.
There is one thing that never changes on that order.  Here is a sample of the order from today at NRN:

North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene

Order of Worship

Sunday February 10, 2013

We make our plans, but God has the last word

The order was complete - the sermon and video clips were prepared ~  then God spoke to my heart about the ministry of Les and Linda Green.   The sermon will burn in my heart until next Sunday. The clips will be on hold.  We made our plans, but God has the last word.  

I hope you were blessed by the ministry of Les and Linda Green today!


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Preparing for Worship at NRN

Our Special Guest tomorrow at NRN:

We welcome our special musical guests, Les and Linda Green,
of Green Ministries out of Fulton, NY. The vocal duo is
composed of Les Green, who sang for many years with the
award winning quartet “The Envoys,” and his wife Linda, who
added her true Alto voice in 1986.
Each year, The Greens perform in over 200 churches, Gaither
TV programs, and other special meetings, preaching and singing The Great News of
Jesus Christ in a variety of musical styles ranging from Bill Gaither to lively
Southern Gospel.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Number One Failure of 90% of Pastors

Below is an article I found very interesting by Joe McKeever

Sometimes it helps to have someone nearby, praying, loving, caring, even hurting with you.

The four-year-old who says, “I can do it by myself” has a lot in common with the typical pastor.
Pastors are notorious for their lone ranger approach to ministry. It’s what I call the number-one failure of 90 percent of pastors. They prefer to go it alone.

Even Jesus needed a buddy. “He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘So, you men could not keep watch with me for one hour?’ ” (Matt. 26:40)
Sometimes it helps to have someone nearby, praying, loving, caring, even hurting with you.

The word paracletos from John 16:7 is translated “comforter” and “helper” in most Bible versions. The literal meaning is “one called alongside,” the usual idea being that the Holy Spirit is our Comforting Companion, a true Friend in need. And each time that word is found in the New Testament—John 14:16,20; 15:26; 16:7; and I John 2:1—it always refers to the Lord.

However, here’s something important.
While paracletos does always refer to the Lord in those Scriptures, the word parakleesis (also a noun), for comfort or consolation, may refer both to the work of the Lord in our lives as well as the effect we have upon each other.

Don’t miss that.
Here’s the Apostle Paul …

We were afflicted on every side, conflicts without, fears within. But God, who comforts the humble, comforted us by the coming of Titus. And, not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more (2 Cor. 7:5-7).
The great apostle was hurting. He needed something God provided by a friend, Titus. When this messenger reported to Paul how faithfully the Corinthians were serving God, when he told how they cared for Paul and grieved over him that pumped him up.

Titus himself was elated by the work of the Corinthians, Paul says.
God made us to need the companionship of fellow disciples.

If you read the Scriptures and miss that, you have missed a great element in the Word.
“It is not good that man should be alone” was spoken of more than marriage. That is a fact of human existence.
God made us gregarious. We are social creatures. We do not do well in isolation. We are all about social networking, to use a term on everyone’s tongues today.

When we humble ourselves before God, repent of our sin and receive Jesus Christ—that is, when we are born again—we begin the process of moving back to God’s original plan for us: to rejoin the family of man, so to speak.

The night God saved me as an 11-year-old, I found myself loving the brothers and sisters of all ages in our country church. That was a new experience for me, one that no one had mentioned to me and for which I was totally unprepared.
It was a wonderful surprise.

New believers need the fellowship of other believers. There is not a preacher in the world who doubts that or preaches otherwise.
We teach that, we expect new disciples to join themselves with other believers for worship and growth, and we warn them that to fail to do so endangers their growth and effectiveness in the Kingdom.

This is true on another level for God’s servants called preachers. God has made us so that we who are called to proclaim His word need the fellowship, comfort and encouragement of others similarly called. We need the accountability, the exhortation and occasionally the rebuke of our peers.
We need friends in the ministry.

One of the first effects of sin is to isolate us.
The roaring lion in search of supper does not take on the entire herd, but looks for stragglers—an isolated member that is sickly or elderly, too young to keep up or too headstrong to stay up. Bingo, he’s got his next meal.

Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
He’s looking for the loner.

If I was to discover as an 11-year-old that a new relationship with Christ filled me with love for His people, in time I found the other side of the coin: When I drifted away from Him, my need for and appreciation for the Lord’s people waned also.
As the saying goes, I did not come down in the last rain. I’ve been in the ministry for a full half-century. I don’t know a lot of things, but I know some things very well, and this is one of them: The sinful heart resists fellowship.

Over these years, pastoring six churches and serving on staff of one and a half (that’s a long story), in each city I joined the fellowship of ministers. In Greenville, MS, Columbus, MS, Charlotte, NC, and New Orleans, LA, there were interdenominational fellowships as well as conferences of Baptist ministers meeting regularly.
What I found never ceased to surprise me.

The ministers who needed the fellowship most never came.
Usually, these ministers fell into two groups: pastors of the largest churches (who gave the impression they did not require fellowship with the hoi polloi) and pastors of the smallest churches (who appeared to look with suspicion on the other ministers with their seminary degrees and larger congregations).

When I pastored the small churches, you could find me in these meetings. I thrived on the fellowship. And later, when my church was either the largest in town or one of the largest, I was there. At no time did I feel I was “beyond needing” this hanging-out time with these ministers.
Unless my heart was cold toward the Lord. At those times—and yes, there were one or two such sad times—I resisted companionship with other ministers.

Sin isolates. Just as it keeps backsliding Christians home on Sundays, it locks pastors inside their homes or studies lest they should get with a brother in Christ and be healed.

Preachers need to hang out with one another.
The best thing groups of pastors do with each other is not to sit in rows and listen to someone preach. That’s the last thing they need as a rule.

What they need is to fill their coffee cups, pull their chairs into a circle and have someone say, “OK, what shall we talk about today?” and then wait.
Just wait.

In a minute, after an aborted attempt or two to get something going, someone will open his heart and take out a burden he’s been carrying and trying to handle by himself.
OK, pastors. This is a holy moment now. He’s trusting you guys. Pay attention. Don’t fumble this.

His deacons have asked for his resignation. His wife has served him with divorce papers. His doctor has said it looks like cancer. His teenage son has been arrested.
Or maybe it’s one stage lighter than that.

His church has cut his salary, and he’s going bi-vocational and wondering how he can find a job and what he can do, and whether this means he has failed.
He looks at you pastors and envies you your success and grieves that his churches have never prospered the way yours have. He has no idea you look at other pastors and their larger churches in the same way he looks at you.

You need him and he needs you.
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (Prov. 27:17).

Pastor, do not wait for some denominational leader to organize a retreat or a regular meeting of pastors. You have a telephone? Call two or three preachers and ask them to meet you for coffee. Go outside your denomination and you will meet some of God’s choice servants.
After a couple of meetings, invite them to your church where you can meet quietly and pray privately. Put on the coffee pot.

See if your wife wants to cook breakfast for the group sometime, or—if you have skills in that direction (I emphatically do not)—cook it yourself.
Once you settle down into these informal gatherings, here are a few questions, any one of which can fill up an hour …

“What did you preach last Sunday?”
“What are you preaching next Sunday?”
“What good book have you read lately?”
“Do you use electronic books? Tell the rest of us how it works.”
“Do you take an off day?”
“What’s the best thing you’ve discovered in your ministry?”
“What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in a funeral?”

I sure wish I could be there and join in.
                                    More from Joe Keever: 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Servilization - A reflection of last Sundays message

A mentor for many years has been my friend John Maxwell.  As I listened to "A Minute with Maxwell" I could not help but reflect upon the message I heard from Pastor Jordan last Sunday at NRN

Here is the clip and a comment:


 SERVANT LEADERSHIP is exactly what Pastor John Hauser of Fargo, North Dakota, means by coining the term SERVILIZATION. By saying “GO FIRST“, he is not suggesting being selfish.

 Quite the opposite. It is having others GO ahead of you. It is placing the needs of others FIRST.

 Hats off to you Pastor John. I very much ENJOY the word SERVILIZATION. I especially LOVE what it stands for… SELFLESS SERVICE. No doubt, SERVANT LEADERSHIP is IMPORTANT to you. Placing others needs before your own is at the HEART of SERVANT LEADERSHIP.

 Here are 11 TRAITS of a SERVANT LEADER:


 2. BENEVOLENT… DESIRE the GOOD of everyone, regardless of their station in LIFE.


 4. DEVOTED… Goes the EXTRA MILE and BEYOND in terms of DEDICATION.


 6. FAIR… Uses SOUND JUDGMENT in DEALING with others.





 11. KNOWLEDGEABLE… shares their WISDOM to BENEFIT others.

It’s all of these things, and more. If there is an ACE up their sleeve, it is AWARENESS, COMPASSION and EMPATHY. SERVANT LEADERS employ SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE. They know how to BE LOVE TO OTHERS

 For the acronym buffs… SERVILIZATION is….

 Sincere Empathy Really Values Individuals Lives In Zealously Affording Things Intent On Nurturing.

and SERVANT LEADERSHIP is…Selfless Efforts Realize Value And Nurturing Talents.

 LOVE Expressed As Desiring Everyone’s Real Success Heartily Inspires People.

 Here are a few book recommendations on SERVANT LEADERSHIP:

 ~ Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power & Greatness; Robert K. Greenleaf
 ~ The Power of Servant Leadership; Robert K. Greenleaf
 ~ The Servant Leader: Transforming Your Heart, Head, Hands & Habits; Ken Blanchard & Phil Hodges.


A Super Bowl reflection

I read today that Barna Research just announced that two-thirds of Americans think pro athletes have more influence on society than pastors.

The NFL bans Bible verses on players' eyeblack or uniforms, but San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick wears his favorite verses on his arms—permanently.

Kaepernick, whose successful season has launched him into the national spotlight, made headlines last November when one Sporting News columnist criticized the quarterback's arm tattoos, likening the player to "inmates at California’s state prison."

The commentary sparked response from other bloggers who came to Kaepernick's defense. But Kaepernick's adoptive parents also went straight to the media in support of their son's tattoos, pointing out that he "chose Bible verses and had them inscribed on his biceps."

"'Colin's a fairly religious kid, but he's not in your face about it,'" his father told USA Today.” ‘It’s more about him and what he believes.'"

In 2001, the Nevada Sagebrush reported that "Kaepernick’s parents raised him in a Christian household, even taking time away from youth football practices to attend Confirmation classes." Kaepernick told the University of Nevada student newspaper that religion is "'a foundation to build your life off of.'"

So, when he chose to tattoo his upper body, he chose Bible verses. According to Sports Illustrated, the psalms tattooed on Kaepernick's arms are all about his competitive instinct. The verses include Psalm 27:3, which says, "Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident." On the other arm is Psalm 18:39, which reads, "You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me."

Kaepernick also explained his tattoos to sports reporter and former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner: “My first tattoo was a scroll on my right arm, Psalm 18:39...It’s just my way of showing everybody that this is what I believe in.”

But Kaepernick obviously is not the only religious NFL player likely hoping God gives him the win in Sunday's game. Baltimore Ravens' veteran linebacker Ray Lewis has been vocal about his Christian faith, even making the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2006 for an article entitled "The Gospel According to Ray Lewis: God's Linebacker." More recently, Lewis was caught dropping to his knees in prayer on the sidelines following the Ravens' double overtime victory over the Denver Broncos earlier this month.

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