For nearly nine years I was on senior staff at one of the largest evangelical churches in the suburbs of Chicago. We were highly organized, and prided ourselves on excellence in all of our ministry outreaches. My drive to work every day was about 30 minutes, a commute that took me past many small churches,…

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“Son,” the pastor whispered to me as he put his hand on my shoulder, “You need to listen up to what I’m about to tell you, because it will be the key to your ministry success.” I leaned in, eager to hear this crucial insight. “Don’t become friends with anyone in your congregation.” This pastor…

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I’ll never forget where I was when I nearly quit the ministry: sitting in my office at church, weeping. My wife was out of town with our children, ministering to a friend whose husband had just died from cancer. It was very early in my first pastorate. Being a senior pastor was new, different, and…

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When pastors get angry, things can get complicated. On the one hand, we know that anger is not always an indication of sin. After all, we say to ourselves, Jesus got angry. Paul also counseled the Ephesians on anger, saying, “In your anger do not sin” (Eph. 4:26): implying that anger is inevitable in human…

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From my recent article at Lifeway Pastors:  A few years ago I began a preaching series through the book of James. To be honest, I decided to preach through James because I felt it addressed some issues I wanted to address, from Scripture in our congregation. James is a book that doesn’t mess around. It…

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Praising God when everything is going well–that’s one thing. But what about praising God, or even finding God, when life gets dark. Let’s face it, if you’ve lived long enough you’ll experience seasons of crushing, hopeless despair and wonder where God is in the midst of it. That’s why I’m glad to see AJ. Swoboda’s…

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How do pastors preach on contemporary cultural issues? Or should they? This is a question every pastor faces as he contemplates both the spiritual needs of his congregation, the questions swirling in society, and the weighty commission to preach the Word of God. When I pastored, I constantly wrestled with when to address certain topics, how…

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How should Christians prepare their hearts this Easter? I asked this of Andreas Kostenberger, research professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest and author of the new book, The Final Days of Jesus coauthored with Justin Taylor. It’s a terrific resource, harmonizing the gospel accounts of Jesus’ arrest, trial,…

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In an article for Leadership Journal, I compare ministry to baseball. Pastors have a tendency to “swing for the fences” with every sermon, but we’re better off working hard on the little things of preaching in order to give our people a lifetime of good spiritual food: Ministry is very much like baseball in this way.…

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If you are a pastor, you cannot escape the unmistakeable call of spiritual leaders, in the New Testament to “feed the flock of God”: Jesus commissioned Peter to do “feed my sheep”, no less than three times, in that famous scene on the shores of Galilee (John 21:15-19) Jesus commissioned the disciples, in the Great…

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