FOR PASTORS, ON MONDAY

from PreachingToday.com

Thank You, Pastors

I’m thankful for pastors. I’m honored to be counted among you and love your company. I’m thankful for our unique bond; brothers and sisters in Christ, yes, but also as a band of God’s own shepherds keeping watch over our flocks.

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Sculpted

A young colleague of mine told me back in April, as the pandemic settled heavily upon us, “I will not be the same pastor when this is over.” An understatement, as it turns out. I know you shepherds have tried again and again to orient your hearts to God’s sovereignty and perhaps you have done so without that quiet inward reassurance that the Spirit sometimes adds to bolster our faith. Such silence is the sculpting of God.

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Seeing the Face of God

“So Jacob called the place Peniel [Face of God],… The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel….” Ever since Aaron, our God-given birthright has been spoken over us, including the words, “The Lord make his face shine upon you.” It is a beaming image, like a mother seeing her infant walk or a father seeing his prodigal while he is still a long way off. So is our Father’s beaming face when he looks upon us; when he sees you.

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Your Name Will Be God-Wrestler

The turning point of his life started like this: “So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.” In the end, Jacob, Heel-grabber, brought low and crippled, hung on for dear life to the heel of God himself. “I will not let you go unless you bless me,” he sobbed. The mysterious Man’s reply added insult to injury. “What is your name?” he asked. And therein lies the tale.

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The Blessed Limp

Jacob’s mysterious struggle with God (or the angel or the Man) is not a one-off story. It is archetypal, repeated in the lives of all those blessed by God. In the upside-down world of his grace, God surrenders his blessing only to those whom he defeats.

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“The Magnificent Defeat”

“So Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him.” Oh, make no mistake, he was no mere man. Buechner called that struggle Jacob’s “magnificent defeat” – or was it the Wrestler who was defeated? Here’s this week’s column from PreachingToday.com.

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