Ann & I were gone last week and it was a much needed break. Now begins the attempt to return to ‘life as we know it.’ Here are just a couple of quick observations on events and experiences while gone:
Apparently, the ‘huge’ hubbub of late is of certain risqué photos being leaked/stolen from female celebrities phones which had been stored in ‘the cloud.’ Some are outraged and pursuing legal action (yeah, good luck with that). Some are embarrassed and ashamed (they should be, and don’t go all ‘But they’re the victims here!’ on me). For a few, it will continue to feed the ‘I’m a celebrity and I can’t stand to be ignored’ mentality they have developed during their moments of ‘fame.’ For none will it end their career; that just doesn’t happen anymore. For every single one of them, no matter what their previous public persona may have been, it reveals an inner heart issue: a over-developed love of self and a tremendous lack of modesty. Nude selfies do not simply show a lack of modesty. Even being ‘merely’ scantily clad fails to show the lack of modesty. The lack is shown is their personal display, no matter the outfit or amount of fabric.
Another pastor has fallen; this one within the last three weeks or so. Names will not be mentioned by me, nor will the sordid details (of which I’ve been made privy to a few). What is sad is the harm to self, spouse, family and congregation. What is more egregious is the shame thrown at the gospel and the centerpiece of that gospel: Jesus Christ. Having visited that church during the Sunday of our vacation, being good friends with one of the staff there, and having heard John Piper open the Word on that Sunday gives me exceptional hope in this same gospel to redeem, reconcile, heal and strengthen this now broken body of Christ. I commend this message to you, especially if a church you’ve attended has ever had this happen, whether among staff of laypeople.
Here’s the link: A Bitter Providence and Barley Harvest
Finally, pastors…stay home!
What do I mean by this? I mean, too many pastors are getting caught up in the ‘I can do so many things: missions trips, teaching overseas, conference speaking and more’ syndrome that they fail to realize the detriment to their own flocks. The pastoral care that gets neglected, the sermon preparation that is ignored and the preaching that is lackluster and without focus are just a few of the drawbacks to our continuing celebrity pastor worldview which is such a part of the air we American evangelicals breathe today. I’m tired of hearing of hungry parishioners, longing for the preached Word of God, and failing to receive it. Senior pastor, if you want to go overseas three or four or five times a year to instruct international pastors who lack access to training, fine. Drop the ‘senior’ in your title and let someone else be the ongoing pastor/preacher. Let someone else feed the sheep at home while you travel and help others learn how to feed their sheep. But stop trying to do both.
I know, I’m in a small circle here…probably a circle of one, but as I hear sheep bleating to be feed the rich. life-giving, life-sustaining Word of God and not getting it, this becomes a bigger concern for me.
Well, there were other things I saw, heard, learned and experienced while gone, but I’ll save those for another day.