Guest Views

CP Blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).

Posted 10/30/14 at 3:43 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Divine Delay

Mary and Martha in Scripture have always intrigued me. I must confess that I have been like both women at times. One knew how to work, but she didn’t lift others up in love as much as she could’ve. One had the works but it came at expense of worship. One sister was so shackled serving her Savior that she didn't know the liberty or luxury of living for the Lord.

As my friend Ken Freeman said, "One sister was in Jesus' face but the other was at His feet." One had the audacity to give orders to Jesus, while the other obediently waited in silence to hear His words.

In ministry, sometimes we find ourselves so busy in the Lord's work that we accidentally leave out the Lord of the work. It is His work and it is better to be in love with the Messiah than ministry. The first is God and the other can become a god.

One of my very best friends died in 1995 and it rocked my world. Coming home for his funeral and taking a semester off from college enabled me to really evaluate life, ministry and how I approach things. Legalism is high on the law, but low on love. FULL POST

Posted 10/30/14 at 3:29 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Not I, But Christ

The late Dr. Jerry Falwell penned many famous quotes and borrowed one from the Apostle Paul saying, "Not I, but Christ."

For all of us in ministry, as the stage gets wider, the lights brighter and crowd larger, it is a constant fight to realize the success is in the Message not the messenger. Even though we preach faith, we are still stuck in the flesh and must "die daily," like Paul said.

The cause of some of the tension between clergy, church staff and itinerant speakers is because from the outside it looks glamorous for us whom travel the globe with the gospel. We are constantly on the move in front of different groups and get to meet some really neat people that most in ministry don't have access while serving at the local church. It is not because one calling is superior, but this is how the Lord designed our call. As evangelists, just between venues, we can meet almost anyone and everyone. Sometimes we have the opportunity to connect with more folks in a week than some would in a year. We are not in competition, but rather to compliment others in their calling. Despite all the travel and distractions, we need to make sure that we are placing time with Jesus over everything else. One can have access to the President monthly, but if we are not alone with the Prince of Peace daily, we are powerless. Plus, our preaching must center around Christ. The Bible says, "To whom much is given much is required." More than ever, God is working on me to lift His Name up in sermons and one on one conversations. People don't need a personality, program or product, but the Person of Jesus. None of us have a prayer without Him!The Gospel is glorious but ministry is not glamorous. FULL POST

Posted 10/30/14 at 2:07 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Three Simple Ways To Bless The Socks Off Your Pastor

Contrary to the popular conception of the pastor who only works one day a week (see Reverend Lovejoy from The Simpsons), real pastoral ministry is tough, draining, and emotionally taxing. It’s not for the faint of heart. It requires a unique combination of battle toughness and fatherly tenderness. A pastor is closely connected to the lives of the people he serves, and vicariously experiences both the joy and heartbreak that his people experience. When a young man gets married, the pastor rejoices. When the same young man gets cancer, the pastor is heartbroken. When a couple has a child, the pastor is elated. When the same couple gets divorced five years later, the pastor is heartbroken.

Given the unique challenges of pastoral ministry, pastors desperately need encouragement. Encouragement is what keeps the pastor going. Encouragement is fuel for the pastoral engine. It’s like a spiritual adrenaline shot.

Because I’m not currently a pastor, I can write this post, which, in the past, would have seemed self-serving. So how can you encourage your pastor? Here are some simple ways. FULL POST

Posted 10/30/14 at 1:41 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Seven Perspectives on Prayer

1. Prayer isn’t passive, it’s active. It’s really doing something. Prayer isn’t the least we can do, it’s the most.

2. Prayer is supernatural. It’s reaching out of the visible world into the unseen world, and tapping into powers beyond this dimension. (Prayer picks fights with demons—and empowers righteous angels to win those fights.)

“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12).

3. Prayer is never secondary, it’s always primary. It’s not the last recourse, when options run out; it’s the first and best recourse. Prayer is the central work which causes all other work to bear fruit. (No prayer, no power.)

“Therefore put on the whole armor of God...take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the gospel...Pray that I may declare it fearlessly” (Eph. 6:13, 17-20). FULL POST

Posted 10/30/14 at 1:08 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

God Still Does Miracles

Salvation itself is the most incredible miracle. But does God still do powerful miracles like He did in the first century church, such as healing the sick? I believe so! Miracles are a hotly debated topic in the church, so I wanted to take time to write about it. Heres my thoughts…

My belief is simple. My highest calling is to love Jesus and others. As a result of that I preach the gospel and when I preach the Gospel, Jesus is so powerful that He often reveals Himself in power and authority the same way He did in the New Testament through signs, wonders and miracles. I do not need miracles to believe, but they happen because I believe.

As believers, we are filled with the Holy Spirit and have His name, the natural response to this is a supernatural lifestyle. It should be common for you and I to pray for the sick and to do everything else Jesus has called us to do. I am not saying miracles should be the main focus or the most important thing. I do not believe miracles should be an idol. Jesus is and should be the most important and our sole focus in the church. Having said that, because Jesus is powerful and His name has such authority, as a result of Him being the center of it all, I believe we should see miracles happen. FULL POST

Posted 10/30/14 at 12:36 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Surviving a Miscarriage or Baby Loss: Dealing with the Grief

Her hair was bright red. Her dress was flamboyant. Her smile was infectious. After sizing her up for just a few short minutes at my book table where I had been speaking, I knew she was the life of the party. She was a lovely, extroverted woman.

And yet she pulled me aside to talk to me. She had a problem, she said.

“Everyone thinks I have a great sex life because I look like such a passionate person. But it’s never felt that good for me. It’s just something I endure. I don’t want it to be like this, but I just can’t get excited about sex.”

We talked for a while, and it eventually came out that while she has three lovely children with her now, she has two others waiting in heaven. In just a short period of weeks she lost a toddler to cancer right when she delivered a stillborn baby. They were her first two babies and they were gone.

And I just knew. As we both started getting teary, I said to her, “I don’t think you can touch that deep place inside of you where your sexuality lies until you can also touch that deep place where grief lies. I think you’re afraid to open up to your husband, because if you fully open up, there’s grief there. And that’s scary, because what if you open the door and you can’t shut it again?” FULL POST

Posted 10/30/14 at 11:58 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

What Audience Feedback Means—Especially to Preachers

Photo: Pixabay - Creative Commons

By Joe McKeever

Billy Joel gets it.

This veteran entertainer does something I find fascinating.

According to The New Yorker (October 27, 2014), Joel “grew tired of having to look out at the fat cats in the two front rows, the guys who’d bought the best seats, and then sat there projecting a look of boredom that (says)…’Entertain me, Piano Man.'”

It was dampening his own enthusiasm, and that of his band, to have the non-responsive on the front rows. He wanted the fans nearest him to be enthusiastic participants in the evening’s activities.

That’s why “Joel’s people stopped selling the two front rows and instead send the crew into the cheap seats before the show to hand out tickets to people of their choosing.”

“Joel believes it helps buck up the band.” FULL POST

Posted 10/30/14 at 11:37 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Staggering Stats On Burnout

This morning I addressed 250 ministry leaders, including pastors, youth ministers and volunteers. I shared some very unsettling news with them about their calling and vocation. As I've researched what causes pastoral burnout, my findings have caused me to re-consider many aspects of what I do and how I do it. Here's a short list of some of the most frightening things I've found.

13% of active pastors are divorced.
23% have been fired or pressured to resign at least once in their careers.
25% don't know where to turn when they have a family or personal conflict or issue.
25% of pastors' wives see their husband's work schedule as a source of conflict.
33% felt burned out within their first five years of ministry.
33% say that being in ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
40% of pastors and 47% of spouses are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules, and/or unrealistic expectations.
45% of pastors' wives say the greatest danger to them and their family is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual burnout.
45% of pastors say that they've experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry.
50% feel unable to meet the needs of the job.
52% of pastors say they and their spouses believe that being in pastoral ministry is hazardous to their family's well-being and health.
56% of pastors' wives say that they have no close friends.
57% would leave the pastorate if they had somewhere else to go or some other vocation they could do.
70% don't have any close friends.
75% report severe stress causing anguish, worry, bewilderment, anger, depression, fear, and alienation.
80% of pastors say they have insufficient time with their spouse.
80% believe that pastoral ministry affects their families negatively.
90% feel unqualified or poorly prepared for ministry.
90% work more than 50 hours a week.
94% feel under pressure to have a perfect family.
1,500 pastors leave their ministries each month due to burnout, conflict, or moral failure.
Doctors, lawyers and clergy have the most problems with drug abuse, alcoholism and suicide. FULL POST

Posted 10/30/14 at 11:29 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

The Hazardous Art of Predicting the Future

“And it happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a certain slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortunetelling….” (Acts 16:16)

Some culture writers and half-serious columnists do it for fun, giving forecasts on life in the future. Some, like meteorologists, work at it seriously to protect human lives. It helps to know the hurricane in the Caribbean may be headed our way or that the tornado season is upon us.

But then, there are those strange individuals who believe they are endowed with supernatural gifts of prophecy and fortune-telling.

If you have such a talent, I have a word for you.

 Give it back.

Recently, I came across an article from Newsweek of January 1, 2000, reporting on a prediction from 98 years earlier. In the 1902 Atlantic Monthly, economist John Bates Clark had written a piece called “Looking Back on the 20th Century.” Mr. Clark looked at the year 2000 and concluded we would be seeing….

–strawberries the size of apples and oranges growing in Philadelphia.

–Moving sidewalks through pneumatic tubes in order to transport people FULL POST

Posted 10/29/14 at 11:51 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

What’s the State of Theology in America?

Mosaic that honors theology
Photo: Flickr/Michael Kooiman - Creative Commons

By David Murray

Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research have just published the results of a survey that measured Americans’ theological knowledge. The aim was to “help to point out common gaps in theological knowledge and awareness so that Christians might be more effective in the proclamation, teaching, and defense of the essential truths of the Christian faith.”

I’m deeply grateful to these Christian organizations for funding and carrying out this research. It’s true, there are some discouraging findings; but I was surprisingly encouraged by some of the results. First, though, the bad news, in three particular areas: FULL POST

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