Twelve Sentences for Twelve Years

I’m soon finishing up twelve years of pastoral ministry (I started right at the end of July 2009 in Baton Rouge). Minus a two-month transition period (which was full of fun trips) in June and July of 2018, I’ve only known full-time ministry.

I’m going to limit myself to twelve sentence that summarize some of the most important aspects/lessons of those twelve years of ministry—good and bad and in no order. No sentence plus explanation (that’d be cheating). Just sentences. Here goes . . .

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Should I Keep the Blog Up?

Next month I get my every-other-year, “Dont forget you are paying for two more years of hosting” email. It covers this site and the basically never used

I’ve had the site for quite a while but, as you can see, don’t put much here. It is a combination of (1) not knowing what to say and (2) not wanting to really build some type of following because of what I write. I like writing, but I have other places I can do that, too.

The question for readers: should I keep the blog or just put it in a digital dungeon and be done with it?

Comments appreciated.

I’m Glad That We Aren’t Missionaries

Courtney and I are blessed to have people in our lives who are serving Jesus around the country and around the world. To those who have gone across the world to learn languages, learn cultures, translate the Scriptures, and give their lives for the cause of Jesus—the world is not worthy of them.

As I’ve interacted with a few regarding life in the United States and life where they serve over the past few months, I’ve had a thought: I’m glad that we aren’t missionaries.

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Ways to Pray in a New Year

2020 is over and I’m late to the game. By now, all the other bloggers (I don’t really consider myself a blogger—just a pastor who has a blog) have already told you their favorite books, favorite recipes, favorite memories, and their new resolutions.

One evergreen resolution for a disciple involves prayer. Is there a time where we pray “enough”?

After getting through last year and consider a year that is to come, we could all learn to be slower to speak (Jas 1:19) and quicker to pray (1 Thess 5:17). But what do we pray for? How do we focus? Is prayer just throwing ideas up against the wall and hoping some sticks? And how do we pray in such a way that we are not solely focused on ourselves and our needs. Consider these ways to pray in a new year:

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Consider Your Savior

Today is day 334 of the year. We’ve spent roughly 250 of those days with some type of noticeable restriction. In one way, that’s a lot. Unless you’re Kim Kardashian that one time (source), your day is a steady stream of adjusting. In another way, 250 days of having to be restricted, aware of others, and faced with mortality is not a lot. Both perspectives can be true.

One thing remains in either perspective, though: exhaustion. I’ve cycled through more times of sustained irritability than I’m used to—at least three times since March that have resulted in necessary adjustments to my routine(s). I’ve asked forgiveness more than usual and still not as many as I should. These moments aren’t fleeting—at times, they feel like they’ve taken up residence.

You might agree.

Slowing down and thinking about Jesus and what he teaches can go a long way to calm my heart. Consider one of his more famous teachings from The Gospel of Matthew:

11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)

We won’t feel rested without going to the right source—without going to Jesus. Even those who abide the most intimately with Jesus must remember this truth. He’s the one who gives rest for our souls. He’s where our exhaustion can be overcome—because he has overcome.

2020 might not change—it might even get worse in some ways. But, when you consider your savior, you can hear the constant call to come to him and rest.

Will you?

Five Things Pastors Are Thinking During the Pandemic

COVID-19 has changed the landscape of almost everything humans do. I mean—think about it—has any day cone by in the past four months where you have not somehow been disrupted or interrupted by this virus? So many routines have changed.

Pastoring is no different. In a few short weeks many of us had to become tech support, live stream aficionados, Zoom meeting schedulers, and home school teachers. We are like many others who have to do the same thing—those kind and loving members of our congregations who had to change their approach to everything. Different, though, is that our “job” includes those people.

I’ve spent time—lots of time—interacting with my pastor friends during the past weeks and months. I don’t speak for all of them, but I definitely speak for some of them. Take a walk through our minds as I share these five things pastors are thinking during the pandemic (especially if your church isn’t “meeting” yet).

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