Seasons Change

fall colors drive Autumn officially began Monday evening at 10:34 p.m. It has already gotten a little cooler in the deep South and falling leaves are just around the corner. Summer may be over but that’s the beauty of seasons – they change. That’s actually a promise made in scripture:

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” -Genesis 8:22 ESV

If you look forward to colorful leaves, pumpkins in the field and apple harvest then your season has arrived. If you want to curl up with a book and watch the snow pile up then it’s coming. But again, the beauty of seasons is that they change. Every single day the time of sunrise and sunset changes by a minute or two. We mark the beginning and end of each season on our calendar but the truth is the position of the earth, and by extension our weather patterns, and continuously in a state of slow change. It’s a pattern we’ve been learning our entire lives, so the pool toys and summer clothes get put away not thrown away.

So it is with the seasons of life. Our five-year-old daughter Johannah started kindergarten this year. I know very well how quickly time passes; I have a 20 year class reunion coming up. We left a ministry two years ago, not under the best of terms by the way, and spent several months unsure of what we would do next or where it would be. I am pleased to announce of this blog for the first time that I have been called to pastor a small SBC church and that season of my career will begin October 1st. Just a few years ago we went through a season of loss. My friend and mentor Michael Spencer fought a very short battle with cancer and my dad went through the same thing at about the same time. Within a 6 month period of time my mother lost her husband and a brother to cancer. During that time of intense grief and stress it felt like we were holding our breath waiting for that season to change. But as I have shared before, even while grieving such loss and tragedy we had to thank God for his blessings. Our daughter had been born only a few months earlier, after years of struggle, the loss of 2 unborn children, and the realization that we might never have children at all.

Seasons change. Whatever season of life, or career or family you are experiencing right now it is temporal. Enjoy it while you can or take heart if you are currently suffering. There is coming a Great Day that will never end, but that’s the subject of another post.

Thank You for Following

200 followsI’ve been blogging since 2008. Back then everything was about blog rolls. If other bloggers listed you that was a good sign. I worked to build a useful blogroll so that readers could interact with my blog friends and vice versa. Today blogs have integrated with social media. There are over 150 followers of the Master’s Table Facebook page and sharing any blog post with Facebook or Twitter is as easy as one click.

For those of you who follow – via email, RSS feed reader, social media or what-have-you – thank you. That’s all. From one Christ follower to another, peace and God bless.

Typewriter Art

typewriter Last Supper What’s the difference between this and every other image of the Last Supper I’ve ever posted? This one was made on a typewriter.

Paul Smith has a disability that makes using a brush or a pen impossible. But since a young age he has worked magic with just the 10 symbol keys at the top of the typewriter keyboard. He considers his talent to be nothing less than a gift from God. Grab a tissue and watch his story.

 

Small Churches, Bi-Vocational Pastors, and Their Role in the SBC

Screenshot 2014-09-18 at 9.55.55 AMLet me first mention the new look of the Baptist Press website. The new site design rolled out yesterday (Sept 17) and includes a few new features as well.

If you looking at the new BP site anyway, go ahead and read this article about the first meeting of the Bivocational and Small Church Advisory Council of the SBC. Continue reading

The Anger of Man

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak,slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. -James 1:19-20

There is such a thing as righteous indignation but that is reserved for, well, the righteous. Which is not us. I’m offering this as a timely reminder in an age when lots of people, Christians included, are carrying signs and share every waking thought on social media. We to need to be very vocal about the Gospel and keep everything else behind closed doors. Some conversations need to stay within the walls of a family’s living room or take place in the context of a Sunday School class. Some conversations need to not take place at all. What the world needs to see and hear is a group of people conforming to the image of Christ who are meek and humble in their behavior but bold with sharing the Gospel.

Jesus Practiced What He Preached

jesus_teachingJesus practiced what he preached, perhaps the greatest understatement ever made, and of course what he preached was the Gospel. “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” Mark 1:14-15 

Jesus preached the Gospel.

Let’s deconstruct that passage. Jesus said “the time is fulfilled.” His first century Jewish audience would have been familiar with the many messianic prophecies. Jesus didn’t spend a great deal of time trying to convince people he was the Messiah; by contrast he told his disciples to keep to themselves even as they began to figure it out. Without announcing that Messiah (or Christ in the Greek) was present he began his first sermon by declaring in effect “now is the appointed time, today is the day of salvation.” Continue reading

Read & Share File: When the Pastor is Terminated

Screenshot 2014-09-04 at 6.32.35 PMResearch indicates that as many as four in ten pastors will be forced to leave a ministry at least once during their career. Hershael York and Jeff Iorg outline how to prevent terminations that are often unnecessary and offer advice on how to deal with conflicts when they do arise in this article via Baptist Press.

On the list of top 15 reasons pastors are fired/ forced to resign, only two are related to sin on the part of the pastor. Ethical conduct comes in at #8 and sexual misconduct #10. Many times issues relate to personal communication skills or a few disgruntled members that spiral out of control. Sometimes it is simply time for one’s ministry to come to an end in one place and move on to something else. But the old saying is that figures don’t lie; nearly half of all church pastors will deal with these issues sooner or later. The advice in the BP article is sound and it wouldn’t be a bad idea for church members not in the pastorate to give it some consideration.


 

-Hershael York is a preaching professor at Southern Seminary as well as a currently active church pastor. Jeff Iorg is president of Golden Gate Theological Seminary. The image above and original text of the article are copyright 2014 Baptist Press.