‘Because while seminary is not explicitly in the Bible, pastoral and theological training is (cf. 2 Tim. 2:2).”
Do I Need to Go to Seminary to be a Pastor?
Jerod Gilcher | August 18, 2020
Every seminary-trained pastor who emphasizes the helpfulness of seminary for those aspiring to ministry, at some point, will receive questions like these: “Do I really have to go to seminary to be a faithful pastor? Can’t I just stay home and read books? After all, isn’t that what Spurgeon did?”
These are not bad questions. I even get the skepticism toward an expensive, often residential degree. Put simply, one does not have to go to seminary to be a faithful pastor. After all, seminary training—as we know it today—is not explicitly in the Bible.
There have been faithful pastors for centuries who had no formal training. For many throughout church history, such training was simply not an option. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, pastors who have letters behind their names will receive a crown no more glorious than those who do not (cf. 1 Peter 5:4). At the end of time, what is required of stewards—seminary trained or otherwise—is that they be found trustworthy (cf. 1 Cor. 4:2)…
Do You Love Those Who Are Different Than You?
by Matt Ng | Jul 31, 2020
Every year in Osaka, Japan, the Number Nine Chorus performs Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Ode to Joy. The Number Nine Chorus is 10,000 people strong. To deem it impressive would be an understatement. I am no expert on choral music, but great choirs (and perhaps even smaller ones) demonstrate a beauty and timelessness that is rare today in music—the melodies and countermelodies, the intricately woven harmonies, the beautiful textures of voices. The best of choirs contains a multitude of voices, but they sing as one. Their voices meld into a sweetness that is pleasing to the listener.
And yet when we turn to the church, it so often lacks a beautifully unified voice singing praise to the glory of God the Father. But this has always been the intention for the church. Paul writes, “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Jesus Christ, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 15:5–6)…
I remember studying in Bible college and when I first started preaching that “everyone” told me two things
- you need to keep your sermons to no more than 30 minutes or you will lose folks attention
- you need to preach on relatable things to keep folks coming back
I being the rebellious type that I am basically ignored (although I did and do attempt to set a point of application to each sermon) their advice. I believe God alone sets the sermon, it comes from His word, it should be logical and expository. That is verse by verse, book by book (with few exceptions Weddings, Funerals, Special Events) and expounding or as one of my friends and favorite Pastor Don says “unpacking” God’s word.
As for 30 minutes go luck I have never been under 45 and average nearer and hour. Most puritans preached nearer to 2 hours some 3. REMEMBER it is not you, it is GOD and His Word so do not be afraid to Preach it.
For those who have long winded preachers her is my advice:
- Pray God will keep you focused on Him and not the world
- Use helps and methods like those suggested in the article below
- Remember God’s Word should be a JOY and Help daily
The last couple of decades have seen a resurgence in expository preaching in churches—sermons which truly explain and apply the biblical text. But an expository sermon is hard work to prepare. That’s why Paul writes that faithful elders, and especially those who labor hard at preaching and teaching, are worthy of double honor (1 Tim. 5:17). With all that effort from faithful preachers, is there more that those of us in the pew can be doing to ensure we are being faithful listeners?
Some pastors spend upwards of 20–30 hours per week preparing the Sunday message. How sad it is, therefore, that so much of his preparation—effort intended to feed our souls—is often lost on inattentive listeners. What’s worse, the Lord has designed the ministry of the preached Word to be a special means of sanctification to His people (Isa. 55:10–11)…
by Reagan Rose | Jun 26, 2020
Turbulent times call for bold Christians. In days like these the church of God needs people who, like the men of Issachar, understand the times and are willing to confidently speak the truth (1 Chron. 12:32). Unfortunately, it’s easy to go wrong with the call to discernment.
The Christian corners of the internet are filled with discernment warriors, searching (often with detectible traces of giddiness) for the next false teacher or “Big Eva” sell-out. In the name of routing out falsehood, these self-appointed lions of truth turn their fangs on struggling and confused brothers and sisters in the faith, dragging them before the social media pack as outsiders to be devoured. Somewhere in this fight, the healthy practice of discernment has morphed into something more like malevolence.
But there is a ditch on the other side of the road as well. Many in the modern church disregard discernment altogether. For them, Jude’s appeal to “earnestly contend for the faith” falls on deaf ears (Jude 1:3). Worse even than ignoring this command, some professing Christians write off the practice of discernment as inherently uncharitable and judgmental.
But when it comes to discernment, we must take care not to fall into either of these errors. True discernment from the church, now more than ever, is sorely needed—the kind of truth-speaking that is done with boldness and with tears and pleading…
CONTINUED AT: SOURCE
Hope As We Leave Quarantine
After months of quarantine, the world finally seems to be getting back to normal. Masks are no longer required in certain places, non-essential business are opening their doors, and churches are starting to meet again. But the Coronavirus isn’t gone; it’s still here. Just because we hid ourselves from the virus doesn’t mean the virus will now start hiding itself from us. Now that people are beginning to gather in public places again, some may get sick with COVID-19—some may even die. That’s a scary thought. Many are uneasy about returning to normal life, and that includes Christians. Church leaders must now make difficult decisions about how to hold their services. Congregants must now decide whether they should even go to church right now or not. There is a healthy fear in all of us and it drives us to look to the Bible for answers. What hope does God give us at such a delicate time like this? For many evangelicals, Psalm 91 has been the answer. Its message is attractive, because it sounds like the pandemic we’re facing today:
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper and from the deadly pestilence. (Ps. 91:3)
You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not approach you. (Ps. 91:5–7)
For you have made the LORD, my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place. No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent. (Ps. 91:9–10)
CONTINUED AT: SOURCE
Loss and the Christian Life
by John Dube | Jun 09, 2020
In the business world, it goes without saying, profits are important. Leadership guru, Max De Pree said, “Profit, like breathing, is indispensable.” To speak of profit is to speak of gain. It’s to speak about the benefits that a person or company receives for work. The nature of business makes profit essential. With profit as a goal, businessmen seek to use profit to expand their businesses, which leads to more profit. Profit begets growth, and growth begets profit, and profit begets . . . well, you get the idea.
If the nature of business makes profit indispensable, what about our faith? If gain is vital to organizations built by men and women, then what about an organization built by God? Jesus gives us a clue in Matthew 16:26–27:
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done…
CONTINUED AT: SOURCE
There are many “Reasons to Pray” I have published a few articles on the subject here on this web site over the years. I found this one intriguing because the author uses not his own opinion, but historical quotes to make his points. With all the current turmoil going on worldwide and especially the (un)civil unrest in America I think it a timely article.
10 Reasons to Pray
Here are ten reminders for Christians about the vital need to cultivate a personal prayer life, as articulated by notable ministers from church history.
1. True effectiveness comes not through methods, but through prayer.
A. C. Dixon: When we rely upon organization, we get what organization can do; when we rely upon education, we get what education can do; when we rely upon eloquence, we get what eloquence can do, and so on. Nor am I disposed to undervalue any of these things in their proper place, but when we rely upon prayer, we get what God can do.1
D. L. Moody: Those who have left the deepest impression on this sin-cursed earth have been men and women of prayer.2
E. M. Bounds: What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men and women whom the Holy Ghost can use — people of prayer, people mighty in prayer.3
CONTINUED AT: SOURCE
Is Christ in Every Verse?
But then we get to a passage like this in our Scripture-reading plans:
Now when you bring an offering of a grain offering baked in an oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, or unleavened wafers spread with oil. (Lev. 2:4)
How are we supposed to nourish our souls with this law about baking?
People have come up with a variety of answers to this question. One method is to seek to find Christ in every verse. Perhaps Christ is the unleavened cakes, or the wafers. Or maybe this is a symbol of Christ’s future offering on Calvary.
Is Christ mentioned—or embedded somewhere—in every verse? Should we find creative ways to read Him into every portion of Scripture? How should preachers declare Him from all of Scripture? These questions matter, because how we handle the word of God matters…
CONTINUED AT: SOURCE
Another perspective on an age old question.
How Could a Sovereign, Good God Allow Suffering?
by Jerod Gilcher | May 19, 2020
The sovereignty of God is a challenging truth to grasp. It is difficult to accept the reality that God has ordained and arranged every moment of our lives, including those filled with pain and suffering. When we think of the sovereignty of God, our tendency is to remove all responsibility and obligation from man, but the Bible doesn’t allow for such thinking (Rom. 9:19–20). How does this work? The Bible is clear: God does not passively allow things to happen, but instead actively ordains them for His own sovereign purposes.
This is a conversation that has often brought into question the goodness of God. It raises uncomfortable questions. Yet it is helpful to ask these questions not just of each other, but of our faithful brothers and sisters throughout church history. One Puritan, in particular, can help us here. Puritan Thomas Watson looks to Romans 8:28 to help. He sees this verse as a window into the workings of God—that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28)…
CONTINUED AT: SOURCE