>Considering "Full Time" Ministry? Read this first…

>Are you on the precipice of going into “full-time” ministry?

No…you are not ready unless you understand the point of this penetrating sentence from Pastor James MacDonald:

“God isn’t calling you full-time until He needs full-time what you’re already doing part-time.”

>Am I Doing My Part?

>I detest the term “lay people” (even more than I hate the phrase “parachurch”)…and this is the reason:

“According to Christ’s law, every Christian is to be a minister in his own sphere; every member of the church is to be active in spreading the faith which was delivered not to the ministers, but delivered to the saints, to every one of them, that they might maintain it and spread it according to the gift which the Spirit has given them.” Charles Spurgeon

>TO God or FOR God?

>As usual, great thought-provoking, repentance-leading, prayer-fueling stuff from MARK BATTERSON

“I read a verse that stopped me in my tracks this morning. The Holy Spirit arrested me. If I were completely honest, I’d have to admit that most of “my ministry” has been for God not to God. I don’t think that is just semantics. It’s a whole different paradigm. So many of us are so busy ministering for God that we rarely minister to God.

Ezekiel 44:16 wrecked me today: “They shall enter my sanctuary, and they shall approach my table, to minister to me, and they shall keep my charge.” Makes me think of the original commission in Matthew 10. Before Jesus “sent them out” he called them “to him.” I think one of the greatest dangers leaders face is this: we get focused on what God wants to do THROUGH us instead of what God wants to do IN us.

Are you ministering for God or to God?

I think it’s both/and, but you better prioritize ministry to God.”


>God has called Jane and me to serve as home missionaries. This speaks of “unreached people groups”, and rightfully so..but there are all too many unreached people within the United States…alas, within many of its churches…When I get whiny about church politics, apathy, legalism, health/wealth, etc I sometimes honestly wish the Lord would release us to serve somewhere overseas; but that is not my call, it remains His.

Thanks to my friend Tom Varner for pointing me to this video…impetus to obey by praying or giving or going or some combination of all three:

>Farm Work = Ministry

>Eugene Peterson describes the nature of pastoral work:

“Pastoral work consists of modest, daily, assigned work. It is like farm work. Most pastoral work involves routines similar to cleaning out the barn, mucking out the stalls, spreading manure pulling weeds. This is not, any of it, bad work in itself, but if we expected to ride a glistening black stallion in daily parades and then return to the barn where a lackey grooms our steed for us, we will be severely disappointed and end up being horribly resentful” http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0802808484&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

>Most Important Thing I’ve Ever Posted?

>Many of you may be following the John Piper sabbatical story. If not, you probably should, since the stuff is hitting the fan in many ways (don’t freak, he hasn’t committed gross sin or been exposed). Perhaps some who read this will smile as he is being hammered for inviting Rick Warren to speak. (for more info, CLICK HERE)

 It may well be that some who drop by here also don’t care for Mark Driscoll. Oh well. I trust that if you hammer him (or anyone else) you’ve at least read or listened to him, and, of course, written him a letter to tell him why you think he is off base rather than spread stuff about him?

But he and his wife comment wisely on the entire issue. I don’t only want to be “in ministry,” I want to finish well, and that means, among other things, being a good husband and dad. I urge you to read this with an open heart and mind. The links are worth examining also, to ensure you are getting the facts.(the yellow highlight is what most whacked me in the side of the head)

8 Godly Precedents Set by John Piper Taking a Sabbatical

Mark and Grace Driscoll

Pastor Mark’s Introduction

Dr. John Piper recently announced that he will be taking an eight-month sabbatical from public ministry to invest his full energies in the private ministry of his family. My wife, Grace, and I have spent time reflecting on what we can learn from the Pipers’ example. In particular, we asked ourselves how we can better love and serve one another and our children. My prayer is that other ministry leaders would emulate the Pipers’ honesty by seeking out areas in their own lives and families where God would call them to focus energies and get their priorities in the right order. Many marriages and children will be affected, I believe very positively.

Indeed, this act could be the most important message Dr. Piper has ever proclaimed.

In praying for the Pipers, I felt the Holy Spirit burden me to give some public reflection—but not my own reflection.

Rather, I felt compelled to ask Grace to write a blog from her heart as to what Dr. Piper’s decision feels like from her perspective as both a pastor’s daughter and a pastor’s wife.

The question I asked Grace to answer was this:
“As the wife of a pastor and the daughter of a pastor, what are your thoughts and feelings about the precedent Dr. Piper’s announcement makes for his family and the families of other ministry leaders who look to him for leadership?”

Grace’s Answer

I was brought to tears and was extremely humbled by the courageous letter that Dr. John Piper wrote to explain that he is taking a sabbatical “because of a growing sense that [his] soul, [his] marriage, [his] family, and [his] ministry-pattern need a reality check from the Holy Spirit.”

This is a hard thing for any of us to do, let alone someone whom God has raised up with a public ministry, allowing his life to be exposed before the world. I am so grateful for the example he has set by this action.

Growing up as a pastor’s daughter and now as a pastor’s wife, I can honestly say that pastors rarely do this. The pressure to be all things to all people, and the lies by which the Enemy tries to persuade leaders can cause them to believe that church ministry IS their life. The Bible is clear about what God’s priorities are, but sadly, I have seen so many examples of pastors’ wives who are no longer the first love (after Christ) of their husbands.

I am thankful for the precedent and example that Dr. Piper and Noël are setting because:

  1. It frees up wives and children to be priorities (1 Tim. 3:4; Eph. 5:28).
  2. It allows the church and ministry to not be idols (1 Tim. 3:5).
  3. It can give wives a new freedom to have this honest discussion with their husbands (I have seen many wives silenced or unsure of how to have this conversation when they have genuine concern) (Prov. 19:14).
  4. It can give children a new freedom to have this honest discussion with their dads (I have seen so many kids of pastors feeling last on the list with the church at the top) (Prov. 17:6).
  5. It urges us all to examine our priorities and make sure our Jesus, our marriage, and our children are the top three, in that order (1 Tim. 3:1–5).
  6. It challenges the church to give their pastor the freedom to examine his own life and take a break if needed (Mark 2:27–28).
  7. It challenges us to not idolize pastors or think of them as sinless, but rather see them as gifted, called men (under immense pressure) who need to be free to repent and be redeemed like the rest of the church members (Heb. 13:18).
  8. It challenges wives to examine if they have enabled their pastors-husbands to become islands unto themselves (Gen. 2:18; Prov. 31:12).

Thank you, John and Noël Piper, for the courageous and humble example of what it means to BOTH preach the gospel and live it out in your life!

Pastor Mark:

And thank you, sweetheart, for sharing your perspective with others and your life with me.


>Outcomes His, Not Ours

>I hate to keep these gems from MARK BATTERSON to myself; this is from today’s blog:

“One of the lessons I’ve learned in ministry is that you cannot control outcomes. We plant and water, but God gives the increase! That drives us crazy as control freaks, but it also takes all of the pressure off of us. We can’t do it. Only He can!

The most gratifying thing is ministry is when God does something you cannot take credit for. That’s what I live for! And the truth of the matter is this: most of the good things that happen don’t happen because of us. They happen inspite of us. We just need to stay out of the way!”http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1590527151&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

>Atten – tion!


“The true Christian is called to be a soldier, and must behave as such from the day of his conversion to the day of his death. He is not meant to live a life of religious ease, indolence and security. He must never imagine for a moment that he can sleep and doze along the way to heaven, like one traveling in an easy carriage. If he takes his standard of Christianity from the children of the world, he may be content with such notions; but he will find no countenance from them in the Word of God. If the Bible is the rule of his faith and practice, he will find his course laid down very plainly in this matter. He must fight.”

~ J.C. Ryle

>If I Were King

>If I was the king of the world (hmmm, I hear Coldplay)…anyway, if I could I would mandate that every Christ-folower, especially those in vocational service, would read On Being A Servant of God by Warren Wiersbe. It is one of a handful of books that I read, reread, and get encouraged, clobbered, and exhorted with each reading.

His definition of ministry is worth several times the price of the book:  “Ministry takes place when divine resources meet human needs through loving channels to the glory of God.”

As I restarted the book this morning here at Crescent Lake Bible Camp in Rhinelander, Wi I reflected that I first spoke at this camp for a winter retreat probably in 1979. Yikes! And I again reflect on what a slow learner I am…and a book like this challenges, comforts, and kicks-in-the-butt in just the right way to bring about not simply conviction, but change.

If you are satisfied with your life and ministry, ignore the book. If you are open to a sanctified mixture of challenge, conviction, and confirmation, get the book!

And, yeah, you can provide me a few cents for my deputation account if you order off the link below:

>The (U.S.) Mission Field

>Though I remain convinced that the Spirit-powered Word of God is bigger than statistics and surveys, the following video (thanks to my friend John Gilberts for pointing me to it) is stunningly convincing that, first, our nation is a HUGE mission field (as opposed to those who declare it “gospel-saturated”) and that we need to seize the technology available to supplement the “foolishness of preaching”

Our Mission Field from City on a Hill Productions on Vimeo.