Prayer Note #48 — A Preachers Prayer to Be Used Rightly by the Word of God

[Yes, that’s what I meant to say: “to be used rightly by the word of God.”] Your word, Lord, is alive and powerful in the ears of faith. Grant me believing ears, so that I will hear your word clearly and welcome your word warmly into my mind, my heart, and my life. My calling … Continue reading

Pastor Note #55 — The Joy and Humility of Pastoral Ministry

  Last Fall, I passed my thirtieth anniversary in pastoral ministry.  At one of its meetings around that time, our presbytery recognized those of us who were marking anniversaries in multiples of five –tenth, fifteenth, twentieth, etc.  They started with the smaller anniversaries and worked up.  It took them a little while to get to … Continue reading

Pastor Note #52 — Ministry Q. & A. — 3/18/2013

As with most organizations, the church tends to follow the 80/20 rule.  How should a pastor encourage others to get involved in church activities?  Accept leadership positions?  Participate in Sunday Worship?  Is this even a pastor’s responsibility? Bluntly put, there is nothing that a pastor, as a human being, can do to accomplish what is … Continue reading

Pastor Note #42–A Boy on the Streets, Part 2

When he realized that I was having trouble making out what he had written, he began to  be distressed.  I tried to give the impression that I understood everything he had written on the sheet in my hands, but it must have been obvious that I didn’t. Jordan had appeared at the church door again, … Continue reading

Pastor Note #28 — The Marks of Everyday Life

Bringing the Marks of Everyday Life into the Presence of the Lord Finally, I had a decent black suit.  I was very pleased with that fact on this particular morning as I drove to conduct a funeral. Until a recent, successful trip to the Bargain Hut, I had been without a good black suit.  I … Continue reading

Prayer Note #26 — A Pastor’s Sunday Morning Prayer

Lord, my emotions are squirming around in me in a very uncomfortable way.  I know that that is caused by a wide range of pressures, stressors, foolish thoughts, genuine problems, and a real sense of overload, of having more things in my mind than I can keep track of.  Important matters are slipping through my … Continue reading

Prayer Note #25 — A Pastor’s Prayer for Sunday Morning Worship

Father, we gather today to worship you.  That is our identity not merely an action that we take.  We are the people who worship you, O blessed and singular Trinity.  Nurture that identity in us.  Enter our being as a people and as persons and by your Holy Spirit infuse that true identity deep within … Continue reading

Pastor Note #26 — After His Dad Died

{The following post is the text of a letter I wrote to a man in his early fifties shortly after his father died.} Dear F., There is an ache and strangeness that comes when our parents die.   I don’t think it really matters a lot how old we or they are when that happens. I … Continue reading

Pastor Note #25 — Words of “Wisdom” from One of the Old Guys

Today, I received an e-mail from my seminary alma mater, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  It was sent out to all of their alumni, inviting them to share some “words of wisdom” for those who will be graduating in about a month.  Since that sounded like a lot more fun than what I was supposed to be … Continue reading

Prayer Note #16 — A Pastor’s Sunday Morning Prayer

    Lord, I know less than usual what to expect during worship today.  Help me to trust you more than usual.  Pour your Spirit out in fullness on our worship.  Quiet the fears the people may have at your Spirit’s coming upon us, and instead open us to receive him in all power, grace, … Continue reading