I took a listening test this week. No, it wasn’t a hearing test. My ears are fine. But I wanted to test my listening. The test was developed by Doug Pollock, author of the book, “God Space.” Pollock serves as an evangelist and chaplain but has equipped thousands of Christians to share their faith more effectively. He questions whether non-Christians in our society today have stopped listening to Christians because Christians have been such poor listeners. Ouch! Let me share what I learned.
The church wasn’t born until the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. And as it was being established, it was clear that the Holy Spirit was the One building and expanding it. His presence is obvious and prominent in the biblical record. Is His presence obvious in your church? Is His presence obvious in your life? Here are four signs that you don’t think you need the Holy Spirit.
People often comment on whether they enjoyed the worship on a Sunday morning. But have you ever stopped to consider whether God enjoyed it? How would you even know whether God enjoyed it? Here are three questions to ask of your worship this Sunday.
Our society idolizes youth. Young people know what to say, what to wear, and where to go. Young people move quickly and adapt easily. Young people embrace hope and technology and causes. Young people are cool. But as one of our seniors turned 90 this weekend, I was reminded of the many lessons that can only be learned from godly elderly people.
When it comes to helping a grieving friend, nobody wants to say the wrong thing. Nobody wants to make it worse. And the fact is that almost nobody feels confident in navigating such delicate issues. I want to share some of the things I learned from Roslyn Crichton’s booklet, “How to Help Grieving People.”
Over the past month, we’ve been considering the Bible’s use of shepherd language in making a unique contribution to understanding the role of a leader. The final category that the Bible emphasizes is the seeking heart of a caring shepherd. While negligent shepherds will scatter the flock or be content to make a living from the gathered flock, a good shepherd will risk comfort and safety to seek lost sheep. While the primary applications may be related to church ministry, the implications for relating to disgruntled customers, disillusioned constituents, and prodigal children may be just as relevant.
Authority can be used selfishly, arbitrarily, or cruelly. It can also be used for good. The Bible makes a unique contribution to understanding how a leader’s authority should be used. It shows how to use authority by pointing to a shepherd’s two main tools, the rod and the staff.
If you describe someone as being “very pastoral,” it implies a warm tenderness towards people. And these are qualities that are certainly a part of the shepherd image, but they’re not at the forefront. In fact, if a shepherd spends all his time nuzzling with the cute, little lambs, or binding up the sick ones, the flock will scatter, starve and die. A shepherd is pre-eminently called to lead.
Over a number of weeks, we’re considering the metaphor of the shepherd for understanding how God views leadership. We’ve seen how the idea of a shepherd points to the need for accountability but also compassion. Today, we look at productivity and provision: how a shepherd feeds the sheep.
A key part of a shepherd’s role involves providing water for the flock. This points to a sometimes neglected aspect of leadership today.