‘It’s a Thing of the Soul’

“I must personally supervise the care of the sheep or I shouldn’t be a shepherd,” the Bedouin shepherd said. “It’s a thing of the soul; it’s not a business.” So oversee your own soul. Be confident in your cape, the mantle which the Spirit has draped over your shoulders. And do not forget that those ordinary people you shepherd, including yourself, were redeemed by the blood of Jesus our Lord.

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‘Testifying to the Good News of God’s Grace’

Pastoral work is hard and draining. The blessed counterbalance to the wearisome weight of ministry is “the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” That’s what can keep us putting one foot in front of the other. Dispensing and embodying God’s grace in Christ is like spiritual adrenaline energizing a weary runner.

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To Finish

I don’t think pastors fail because the burdens are too heavy or the enemies too fierce. I wonder if the difference between finishing and failing—the one test that is up to us—is simply being true.

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What matters most in our ministries is delivering God’s Word to both believers and unbelievers. All good shepherds, if indeed God has called them, have a Spirit-given instinct, affinity, and capacity for Scripture. After all, a shepherd who cannot handle the Bible is like a shepherd without rod and staff, helpless to feed, lead, or guard the flock.

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“You Know How I Lived”

Serving the Lord will take the stuffing out of any shepherd. Humility, heartbreak, and the inward toll of devilish trials are not only hard, but they need to be experienced in full view of your people. Pastors must keep plenty of secrets but our weaknesses aren’t among them.

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Crouching Sin, Gathered Grace

A young fellow came to our door the other day selling security systems, including a little camera allowing us to see who is at the door. No matter how good it is, there’s a threat that camera would miss. “Sin is crouching at your door,” God told Cain, with a warning that echoes down to us.

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