Today's Word for Pastors...
Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.
Today's Preaching Insight...
From Tired to Inspired
We all get tired. Somebody once told me the crucial question for ministers was not, "Am I tired in the work?" but, "Am I tired of the work?" I have to admit there've been times when I could answer either query in the weary affirmative.
Even preaching, my first love in the ministry, the thing I truly feel called to do, I've gotten tired in and of. There have been days when I felt I could make more impact throwing beans against the wall (or at the folks in the pews!) than by preaching. There have been days when study time insidiously morphed into e-mail time and sermon preparation sailed dangerously close to sermon rehashing. Even though I try to remain fresh and engaging, the very words I'm required to use Sunday after Sunday — believe, repent, confess, even Jesus — can sometimes lose their flavor. Depending on what's going on in the church — infighting, a scandal, simple doldrums — an imp seems to hover near my eye with brush and jaundice- palette. I'm tempted to cynicism.
Been there? Because we preach as sinners to fellow sinners, we all have. Thankfully, for most of us, such times don't last. Thankfully, God's grace and power somehow waft back to our lives, lifting the sagging sails, refilling our preaching with purpose, clarity, and emotion.
It might be a vacation that does the trick or maybe a conference. The rekindling of power might come with sunshine after weeks of slate-gray skies. Or maybe it comes wrapped in some member's thoughtful, encouraging note.
(To read the entire article "From Tired to Inspired" by Gary D. Robinson at Preaching.com, click here)
Courage, Prayer, Worship
In his book Surviving Hell: A P.O.W.'s Journey, Leo Thorsness tells of the courage it took to worship in the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison in Vietnam. Thorsness tells of a memorable service after the prisoners were rounded up in response to a failed rescue attempt.
The senior ranking officer in one cell stood up one Sunday and said, "Let's have church service." The men agreed. The guard came in and forbade them from having a service. The men discussed the problem and said they were all committed to having a service the following Sunday no matter what. That Sunday, Ned Schuman stood to open the service, and the guards came in and took him off to be tortured. After that, the second-highest ranking officer said, "Gentlemen, the Lord's Prayer." While praying, about halfway through, he was sent to be tortured. At that, the third in command stood and said, "Gentlemen, the Lord's Prayer." The guards took him out for torture. Number four stood up and said, "Gentlemen, the Lord's Prayer." At this the guards not only carried away the officer but began hitting the soldiers with the butts of their guns, shouting for them to stop. Number five took his time getting to the center of the room; and before he could speak, the soldiers took him out. The guards locked the door behind them, and number six got up. "Gentlemen, the Lord's Prayer," he said.
Thorsness says that this time they finished it. He went on to say that even though five men were tortured, they all thought it worth it.
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