More Kicks Than Kisses

dragonfly-rain-storm_45835_600x450Last week began with a serious spiritual kicking for reasons I am not entirely clear about, though I can hazard a couple of half decent guesses.  But by Friday, an unknown person put up two sheets on two different notice boards at church called ’20 things you should know about your pastor,’ and after Googling the title, I found it here.  That was a great encouragement to me.

On Sunday, after the church service, someone else (the same mystery pastor-loving stalker?) left this note on my desk which I have copied out below.  I don’t know the author or the article from whence it came, but it is here for your encouragement and I hope it serves to show that there are people who get the ministerial role, odd job that it is, but they do get it and they do understand, even if our role as pastors takes us to places in peoples lives where we and they wonder why on earth we even exist!

“He…gave some to be…pastors…” Ephesians 4:11

“Pastors have a tough job.  They get more kicks than kisses.

If a pastor is young he lacks experience; if he is grey haired he is too old.

If he has five kids he has too many; if he has none he’s setting a bad example.

If his wife sings in the choir she’s being forward; if not, she’s not dedicated enough.

If he preaches from notes he’s dry; if he’s extemporaneous he’s too shallow.

If he spends too much time in his study he’s neglecting his people; if he makes home visits he’s not a good time manager.

If he’s attentive to the poor he’s after public approval; if he attends to the wealthy he’s ingratiating.

If he suggests improvements he’s a dictator; if he doesn’t he has no vision.

If he uses too many illustrations he neglects the Bible; if he doesn’t use enough stories he’s unclear.

If he speaks against wrong he’s legalistic; if he doesn’t he’s a compromiser.

If he preaches for an hour he’s windy; less than that he has nothing to say.

If he preaches the truth he’s offensive; if he doesn’t he’s wishy-washy.

If he fails to please everybody he’s hurting the church; if he tries to please everybody he has no convictions.

If he preaches tithing he’s a money-grabber; if not, he’s failing to develop his people.

If he receives a large salary he’s mercenary; if he doesn’t it proves he’s not worth much.

If he preaches on a regular basis, people get tired of hearing the same person; if he invites guest preachers he’s shirking his responsibility.

How’d you like to change places?

Bottom line:  Love your Pastor.

encouragePicture Source

To my encouragers, this meant more to me than you will ever know…….

Ditch the cliche

forsyth on wallP. T. Forsyth on Facebook here.

As someone said to me recently, “Reading just one Forsyth quote is more than six months in ‘Every Day With Jesus.’”

Disclaimer:  If you were offended by the above, you seriously need to ditch EDWJ and get some more PTF.  My personal view is that one PTF quote is worth at least, I said, at least, six years.

Here’s a taster:

“Prayerlessness is an injustice and a damage to our own soul, and therefore to its history, both in what we do and what we think. The root of all deadly heresy is prayerlessness.”

“What is the value of praying for the poor if all the rest of our time and interest is given only to becoming rich?”

“What really searches us is neither our own introspection, nor God’s law, but it is God’s Gospel, as it pierces us from the merciless mercy of the Cross and the Son unspared for us.”

“The winning of souls, or the leading of souls, often costs the soul.”

And one more……….

forsyth-preaching-redeemed

 

Israel-Palestine in Perspective

Three really excellent sermons by Rev. Dr. Alasdair Black of Stirling Baptist Church, relating to the Israel-Palestine problem, given during the recent bombing campaign of Israel on Gaza.  They are entitled, ‘Putting the Israeli-Palestine Conflict in Perspective.’

Click here to go to the church web site or go straight to the sermon below

 27 July What kind of nation? Rev Dr. Alasdair Black  https://sites.google.com/site/sbc100428/ser/other-sermons-2014/download-now1jpeg.jpg
  3 August A Christian response to the Palestinian conflict  Rev Dr. Alasdair Black
https://sites.google.com/site/sbc100428/ser/other-sermons-2014/download-now1jpeg.jpg
 10 August The holocaust narrative in the Old Testament Rev Dr. Alasdair Black
https://sites.google.com/site/sbc100428/ser/putting-the-israeli-palestine-conflict-in-perspective/download-now1jpeg.jpg

Without the Gospel

I came across this brilliant piece in Michael Bird’s Evangelical Theology, an excellent tome in its own right, and one I have mentioned before on this blog, here, here and here.  Without the Gospel was penned by John Calvin as a preface to Pierre Robert Olivétan’s 1534 translation of the New Testament.  I’ve used it in communion services a couple of times, and I hope you can find a way to use it too, it is simply, simply brilliant.

 

Without the gospel
everything is useless and vain;
without the gospel
we are not Christians;
without the gospel
all riches is poverty,
all wisdom folly before God;
strength is weakness,
and all the justice of man is under the condemnation of God.

But by the knowledge of the gospel we are made
children of God,
brothers of Jesus Christ,
fellow townsmen with the saints,
citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven,
heirs of God with Jesus Christ, by whom
the poor are made rich,
the weak strong,
the fools wise,
the sinner justified,
the desolate comforted,
the doubting sure,
and slaves free.

It is the power of God for the salvation of all those who believe.
It follows that every good thing we could think or desire is to be found in this same Jesus Christ alone.

For, he was
sold, to buy us back;
captive, to deliver us;
condemned, to absolve us;
he was
made a curse for our blessing,
[a] sin offering for our righteousness;
marred that we may be made fair;
he died for our life; so that by him
fury is made gentle,
wrath appeased,
darkness turned into light,
fear reassured,
despisal despised,
debt canceled,
labor lightened,
sadness made merry,
misfortune made fortunate,
difficulty easy,
disorder ordered,
division united,
ignominy ennobled,
rebellion subjected,
intimidation intimidated,
ambush uncovered,
assaults assailed,
force forced back,
combat combated,
war warred against,
vengeance avenged,
torment tormented,
damnation damned,
the abyss sunk into the abyss,
hell transfixed,
death dead,
mortality made immortal.

In short,
mercy has swallowed up all misery,
and goodness all misfortune.

For all these things which were to be the weapons of the devil in his battle against us, and the sting of death to pierce us, are turned for us into exercises which we can turn to our profit.
If we are able to boast with the apostle, saying, O hell, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? it is because by the Spirit of Christ promised to the elect, we live no longer, but Christ lives in us; and we are by the same Spirit seated among those who are in heaven, so that for us the world is no more, even while our conversation is in it; but we are content in all things, whether country, place, condition, clothing, meat, and all such things.

 

And we are
comforted in tribulation,
joyful in sorrow,
glorying under vituperation,
abounding in poverty,
warmed in our nakedness,
patient amongst evils,
living in death.

This is what we should in short seek in the whole of Scripture: truly to know Jesus Christ, and the infinite riches that are comprised in him and are offered to us by him from God the Father.

jean-calvin-028With thanks for this great painting capturing Calvin the Pastor to Kelly Rider over at Poesies & Rye

Send Your Word, O Lord

Send your Word, O Lord, like the rain, falling down upon the earth.
We seek your endless grace, with souls that hunger and thirst, sorrow and agonise.
We would all be lost in dark without your guiding light.

Send your Word, O Lord, like the wind, blowing down upon the earth.
We seek your wondrous power, pureness that rejects all sins,  though they persist and cling.
Bring us to complete victory; set us all free indeed.

Send your Word, O Lord, like the dew, coming gently upon the hills.
We seek your endless love.
For life that suffers in strife with adversities and hurts, oh send your healing power of love;
We long for your new world.”

By Yasushige Imakoma, The United Methodist Publishing House
(based on the text of a Japanese hymn)

dew