Category Archives: Take a Look

Take a Look – 6/22

I have the joy of visiting with pastors in many different churches. Sadly, not all of them are blessed to serve a church like Oak Ridge Baptist Church. I often save links to articles like the ones below to pass on for encouragment. Whether you are a pastor or a member of a congregation, my prayer is that these links will engage your mind and encourage your heart.

Why a Pastor’s Spiritual Life Matters

God’s sovereign purposes are not dependent on your maturity, of course, but the New Testament often speaks of the significance of a pastor’s spirituality to the health of his congregation. Consider the following seven reasons motivation for the pursuit of godliness and guides to praying for your own growth.

10 Heartaches of Being a Pastor

I make no claim that pastors are perfect people. We mess up. We can be arrogant and uncaring at times. At the same time, though, most pastors I know are genuine, faithful followers of God who love their congregations. They’ve learned, too, that the work of pastoral ministry often carries heartache with it.

5 Ways to Pray for Your Pastor’s Wellness

We’ve seen these lists of how to pray for your pastor before—for protection, humility, grace, etc. But I wonder, in light of the unique struggles pastors seem to endure and the consistent headlines of pastors leaving the ministry, if there are additional prayers we might add. These are the five prayers I will begin praying for my pastor and pastors everywhere:

Pastors, God did not call you to be Superman

Pastors, if you feel the incessant desire to overwork yourself, don’t be surprised if your congregation, your body, and especially your family suffers. You may find that your children leave the faith because they feel the church stole their father. In reality, God has not called pastors to be supermen. I repeat. Pastors, you cannot be Superman! Here are a few reasons why.

An Open Letter to the Pastor Doubting His Calling

I can assure you that you’re not the first pastor to wrestle with the question of whether you’re really called to pastoral ministry. It’s an issue that haunted me throughout virtually the entire span of my first full-time pastorate. I spent countless hours in prayer and conversation with fellow pastors over the matter. Let me tell you a bit about those circumstances so we can ground the issue in real-world ministry, then I’ll tell you what drove me to press on.

A Week in the Life of an Ordinary Pastor

Every pastor can relate—at least on some level—to such a week. Some weeks, being a pastor feels like riding an emotional roller coaster. Like the apostle Paul, we have days when our concern for the church is a daily pressure (2 Cor. 11:28). But also like Paul, we have moments when we’re on our knees praying with others, weeping together on account of the gospel’s blessings (Acts 20:36–37).

Dear Church Member, Your Shepherd is Also a Sheep

Your pastor is a shepherd, but he’s still a sheep. You can serve him by making sure he’s able to attend conferences, workshops, and pastoral groups that will build him up. Shepherd him even as he seeks to do the same for you. I have two brothers in my congregation who are not elders, but whom I nonetheless call or email when I’m struggling. I may not share much other than, “Hey brother, tough day today. Pray for me,”  but it’s comforting to know godly brothers are praying for my labors (James 5:16).

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Posted by on June 22, 2019 in Take a Look


Take a Look – 6/15

Here are some great links from around the web. I hope your mind is engaged and your heart is encouraged.

Three Ways to Pray for Adult Children

Prayers for strong marriages, safety on the job, or wisdom in college selection are all good requests from the heart of a Christian mum, but Paul’s three-verse, single-sentence outpouring to God challenges me to lift my sights to motivation and to pray about the drive behind my adult children’s following lives — and to take a careful look at my own.

Prayer Request: More Negative Prosperity-Gospel Stories

Meyer’s statement is a departure from one of the tenets of the prosperity gospel. The prosperity gospel emphasizes the avoidance of suffering or failure. These are not the marks of your best life now. If you suffer or fail in life, it’s because you haven’t exercised enough “faith”—a kind of spiritual energy or force that needs to be released.

Scientists Finally Read the Oldest Biblical Text Ever Found

The 2,000-year-old scroll has been in the hands of archaeologists for decades. But it hasn’t been possible to read it, since it was too dangerous to open the charred and brittle scroll.

Can a Believer be Blotted Out of the Book of Life

We’ve heard of the book of life, a book that includes the names of those who believe in Christ and will dwell with him forever. Can a believer’s name be blotted out? Some argue that Revelation 3:5 proves that a believer can have their name blotted out. But, is that a proper way to interpret Rev. 3:5? Here are a few reasons why this verse does NOT claim that a believer can have their name blotted out of the book of life:

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Posted by on June 15, 2019 in Take a Look


Take A Look – 5/24

Take a few minutes and look at these links from around the internet. Prayerfully, your mind will be engaged, and your heart will be encrouaged.

You’re Insignificant for God’s Glory

The power of the glorious gospel has nothing to do with us, except that we are the clay pots in which this precious treasure is hid.

Six Reasons Prayer is Moving Hundreds of Churches to Revitalization

I have heard from countless numbers of leaders how specific prayer efforts have led to revitalization in hundreds of churches. Let me share with you the six most common reasons they articulated why prayer is vital to turnaround.

9 Things You Should Know About Global Persecution of Christians (2019 Edition)

Here are nine things you should know about the persecution being faced by our brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe. (Note: The title of this article includes 2019 to mark the year of the report, though the details are about events that occurred in 2018. Also, while we should be concerned about the persecution of other faiths documented in this 238-page report, for the sake of brevity this article will only include actions against Christians.)

Did God Create Evil?

This short video, featuring Ted Cabal answers a question many ask.

The Gift of Tongues in Corinth – and Today

The issue of tongues is sometimes a matter of controversy and heat. As a result, let me state my intent at the beginning. I want to put forward an argument for the scope of speaking in tongues in the first-century church. But I do so in a tentative way. I hope not to stir up heat.

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Posted by on May 25, 2019 in Take a Look


Take a Look – 4/19

If you have a minute or two, check out these posts. My prayer is that your mind will be engaged and your heart encouraged.

Mothers, Embrace the Mess

When the house is clean, I hear a hallelujah chorus in the background. It’s amazing. The sky is bluer, my head is clearer, and I feel like I have the mind space to dream and plan and focus on what I actually care most about in life.
But having kids and keeping the house continually clean is like oil and water.

Proudly Humble

Sometimes pride looks an awful lot like humility. There are times that our pride convinces us to put on a great show of what looks to all the world like humility so that we will be seen and acknowledged by others. We swell with pride when we hear, “He is humble.” It is a tricky thing, the human heart—prone to deceive both ourselves and others.

Has He Forsaken You?

No other place displays the griefs of Christ like this, and no other moment at Calvary is so full of agony as when His cry rends the air—”My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” At this moment physical weakness was united with acute mental torture from the shame and ignominy through which He had to pass; His grief culminated in suffering the spiritual agony beyond all telling that resulted from the departure of His Father’s presence. This was the black midnight of His horror—when He descended the abyss of suffering.

9 Things You Should Know About Notre Dame Cathedral

On Monday more than 400 French firefighters attempted to save Notre-Dame Cathedral from a devastating fire. Here are nine things you should know about one of Europe’s more historic and iconic religious landmarks:

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Posted by on April 19, 2019 in Take a Look


Take a Look – 4/12

God Watches the Way You Work

One common motivation is simply to work in order to get money to live. On the other hand, Jesus says that the believer should “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” in the process of gaining the wherewithal to live. The things necessary for living will be added as well, and here is the point—they are no longer the main motive for doing the work. For the believer, the main motive is to experience God’s kingdom, that is, his rule in our everyday lives. In practical terms that will mean seeking his righteousness. Every job, every kind of work, whether paid or not, whether in a hospital, a factory, or a church, gives rise to moral problems, issues of personal and corporate probity.

Strong Churches Speak the Language of Lament

It became clear that most people didn’t know how to walk with us in our grief. I know every person had good intentions. I don’t blame them or hold resentment. But it was as if they didn’t speak our language. Looking back, I can now see that the missing element in our grief was a familiarity with lament—heartfelt and honest talking to God through the struggles of life.

How Universalism, ‘the Opiate of the Theologians,’ Went Mainstream

Universalism isn’t just a theological mistake. It’s also a symptom of deeper problems. In a culture characterized by moralistic therapeutic deism, universalism fits the age we inhabit. As I argue in the book, universalism is the opiate of the theologians. It’s the way we would want the world to be. Some imagine that a more loving and less judgmental church would be better positioned to win new adherents. Yet perfect love appeared in history—and he was crucified.

Does God Hate Sin but Love the Sinner?

The beauty of the cross is that when Jesus went to Calvary, He did not just pay the price for our lusting, our lying, our cheating, or whatever sin that we do—He stood in our place. He took the holy hatred, holy judgment, and holy wrath of God that was not just due our sin but due us. Jesus stood in our place and He took it upon Himself. So let us be very careful not to lean on comfortable clichés that sound good to us and rob the cross of its power.

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Posted by on April 12, 2019 in Take a Look