Snippets from the interweb (26th May 2019)

How to prepare a sermon

This is a good one for those who preach occasionally. How do you put a sermon together? This isn’t a bad place to start.

Dear Izzy, if only you had behaved like an elite athlete

This is cheeky. But it makes an important point.

The free church and the poor

This is a sad one from David Robertson. What makes it worse, it is not confined to the Free Church of Scotland. Would that we cared for the souls of the poor as much as we cared for increasing our empires and expanding our buildings!

Ten common pastoral care challenges pastors face

‘I recently conducted a social media survey where I asked pastors to share their most common pastoral care challenges. The volume of responses was huge, a very impressive number. But even more impressive were the stories of love and concern these pastors have for their congregations. They want to care for them. They want the best for them. They want to help ease their pains. So, for the most part, the challenges are not the members themselves, but the capacity to meet all the pastoral needs members have. Here are how the pastors expressed ten of their greatest pastoral care challenges.’

What I pack in my spiritual first aid kit

‘Emergencies arise on a regular basis… those times when you’re burdened by sorrow or perhaps even overwhelmed by it. I know I’m going through one of these times when it seems borderline impossible to open the Bible in the morning according to my regular routine, to find a passage, to focus my eyes on the words, to hold my mind steady long enough to read them, and to engage my mind and heart to the degree I gain even the least comfort or benefit from them. At the same time I find it hard to pray. It’s like the words just aren’t there and won’t come. Yet I know that these are the things I need most—to continue to hear from God and speak to God even in my sorrow. This is where I’ve learned it’s important to have a spiritual first aid kid, of sorts. Let me tell how how I stock mine.’

7 tips for starting to learn biblical Greek

‘If you make it past the first paragraph of this article, the chances are that you are either in the process of learning Greek yourself or are helping others to do so by encouraging or even teaching them. Either way, I will give you my top tips for learning biblical Greek. I give this advice not in order to make things easier, but to make the process more realistic, and more pleasant.’

From the archive: What sustains you in ministry?

‘The truth is that we have not been called until someone calls us. When we are in ministry, yes there may be those who would like to withdraw that call, but we assess their reasoning by scripture, not some inner sense we have that we ought to be here. If we are simply relying upon a deep sense of inner calling, why should we be so arrogant to presume our sense of direction from the Lord is right whilst a church full of people seeking to fire us is wrong? The argument ‘but the church can withdraw its call’ is not a knock-down answer. Yes, it can. But, if we care to look at Saul, so can the Lord. A calling to pastoral ministry is not a guarantee of future ministry.’