November 2007


For those of you who are “ministry” oriented, I thought I’d share a couple of links that might be of interest.

 First, I’ve been talking about our new foray into local mission work by teaming up with Angel Food Ministries. For more information you can visit their website at http://www.angelfoodministries.org

Also, ministers and their families often face stress. Wouldn’t it be great if you could find a retreat program that would allow you to relax, maybe reconnect with your spouse and even unload some of the baggage that keeps you from being the most effective minister possible? Well Shepherds’ Haven of Rest Ministries (SHOR) provides just that. To find out more visit http://www.shorministries.org. The good folks at SHOR are especially good for helping hurting pastors heal.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

It’s always heartwarming to a preacher when he sees the church actually being the church. One way that I’ve discovered that helps church members learn to be and do the Christian life the way Christ intended is to plug into a ministry called “Angel Food”. Our church became a host site in November. We held our first distribution on November 17. It was fun and we were able to minister to about 35 families with affordable groceries to supplement their rising grocery bill. Check out the video of the day:

This week (on Thursday) Americans will be gathering with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. It is often disheartening for people when retailers slide right by this less commercial holiday to take advantage of the more mercenary parts of Christmas. As one who really loves Christmas (I could enjoy Christmas trappings all year long) it does sometimes disturb me that we neglect taking time to give thanks even when the nation has set aside a day for that express purpose.

 

I could almost ignore the fact that major retailers began setting up Christmas displays in August, inundating October with aisles containing Halloween costumes on one side and wreaths and Christmas tree lights. Others have complained that these same retailers are trying to remove Christ from the holiday (note Lowe’s renaming of their Christmas tree section to “Family Trees”). But last week (the second week of November) at one major retailer a bellringer was already busy. This is disturbing. The ringing of bells by charity organizations to solicit donations during Yuletide has become a festive part of the atmosphere for me, but starting early because the retailers do makes the charities seem to be “in it for the money” in much the same way as the retailers themselves. (As an aside gripe, I’m also kind of ticked that my church has been “assigned” a slot for the local bell ringing in another town because we are part of a countywide ministerial organization—we were asked to sign up, and when we had no one step up to this particular endeavor, we were just assigned a time. So much for volunteering.)

 

And so now to the point: Thanksgiving is a task that we should not overlook. Since this week giving thanks is to be emphasized I did a search on a “Christian Music” site for the words “thank you”. Here’s the result:

 Search results for: thank you The word “you” is in the skip word list, and has been omitted from your search.163 results found containing all search terms.
17 pages of results.
 

It seems that there is plenty to sing about at thanksgiving time. So give thanks.

 

16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (from I Thessalonians 5 – NIV)

My buddy, Kevin Bussey, asked recently if you would ever preach someone else’s sermons. I strive weekly to avoid this lapse in ethical judgment. I listen almost daily to several radio preachers, catch a few minutes from time to time of televised sermons, and also try to read the messages of excellent preachers on occasion. Can I gather any help from these preachers? Sure. Do I preach their sermons? Certainly not.

 

One of the recent trends among preachers is to surf the Internet and find sermons to preach. When we were in high school, college, and seminary for training and wrote papers for grades, to have reproduced a paper found on the ‘Net or in some obscure library somewhere and apply our name, claiming the work as our own would have been seen as lazy as well as illegal. There’s a big word for this practice—plagiarism. It means to present as your own the work of someone else.

 

Some of the better-known, more eloquent preachers today are even selling their sermons and outlines on the Internet for anyone who wants to buy them. I enjoy reading and studying the Word with these sermons, but haven’t come to the place that I am comfortable trying to present them from the pulpit. I might quote from them, I might repeat a timely illustration from them, but I just can’t bring myself to preach the sermons in their entirety. Here are the reasons that hold me back from this practice:

 

  1. It is the habit of a lazy person to let someone else do the study work and present it as their own.
  2. I owe the congregation that I serve more than that—they’ve called me to open the Word for them.
  3. I owe the God who called me to preach the Word diligence if I am to be a leader by example.