Scatter shooting, while wondering if it will ever rain in Texas.
I still need “hot” jokes. It is supposed to be 107 in Fort Worth today and over 100 for the next ten days.
Speaking of rain, I took my Texas grandchildren on vacation in northern Michigan. It rained one day, and I had to explain what that water was.
Pray for Jerry Rankin. The former president of the International Mission Board had a stroke recently. After several days in the hospital in Fort Worth, he has gone to stay with his son in Waco. Get well soon, Jerry.
Both the Barna Report and the Christian Post have published articles about the mental and emotional state of pastors in North America. They report that pastors are lonely and discouraged. Many are depressed. I hope we’ll all address this problem. What can we do? A simple thing is just to speak encouraging words to your pastor. Compliment his sermon, or you could express appreciation for a new program. Encourage your pastor to take a day off each week. We all need to learn to live according to the Sabbath Principle—work six days, rest one. I believe that is how God designed us to live. Pastors, we need to help each other. At church camp (long ago!) we had a buddy system at the swimming pool. Every swimmer had to have a buddy and keep track of that buddy. Pastors could do that. Pair up with another pastor and keep track of each other. Share with one another and pray for your buddy. Of course, you could form a support group that would function in the same way. If you feel the need for counseling, many state conventions will provide a counselor or funds to pay one. If you have a good relationship with your DOM or a veteran pastor in your association, they would be willing to help. I believe that many pastors came out of the COVID epidemic with a form of PTSD. That can have long-lasting effects or effects that emerge sometime later. Perhaps, that is what we’re witnessing now. Let’s look out for each other.
Here’s a prayer, written by John Calvin:
Our hope is in no other save in thee;
Our faith is built upon thy promise free;
O grant to us such stronger hope and sure
That we can boldly conquer and endure.
Did you hear about the church that called a new pastor? They had searched for a pastor for almost two years, and the congregation was thrilled to welcome the new pastor. On his first Sunday, he preached a fine message, and all the members congratulated the Search Committee on their good work. Then, the second Sunday the pastor preached the same sermon—same Bible text, same outline, same illustrations, same everything. Well, that troubled the members somewhat, but they thought, “He’s been busy settling in; maybe he just forgot what he preached last week.” Well, the third Sunday the pastor preached exactly the same sermon again. By this time, the members were getting restless, and they complained to the chairman of the deacons. The members groused, “We’ve heard the same sermon three times, and we’re tired of it.” The deacon chairman responded, “I understand your frustration, but we searched for this man for two years. Let’s give him another Sunday.” When the fourth Sunday came, the pastor preached the same sermon again. By this time, the members were in open revolt, and they insisted the deacon chairman speak to the pastor. He said, “Pastor, I couldn’t help noticing that you’ve preached the same sermon four straight Sundays. Frankly, the members are complaining, and they want to hear a different sermon.” The pastor replied, “Oh, so they want to hear a different sermon? Well, when they begin living out this first sermon, we’ll go to the next sermon.”
If every pastor operated that way, how many new sermons would you have to write each year?
Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York (Church of England), made headlines when he stated that we need to change the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer. According to him, it is “oppressively patriarchal” to begin the prayer by saying, “Our Father.” I guess he is entitled to his opinion, but I intend to repeat the prayer the way our Lord Jesus taught us. Bishop Cottrell may be politically correct, but he is not biblically correct.
Fifty years ago, I began my second year at Southwestern Baptist Seminary. I took second-year Greek and Hebrew both semesters. I’m glad that is behind me!