Posts filed under: Church/Ministry

I will try not to spoil anything about Star Wars: The Last Jedi with this post.

Our family went on an impromptu adventure last Thursday as we went and seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi as it opened in a local theater… in 3D (oh yeah!). It was truly a great night as our family has been waiting for this movie to release along with many other people.

One thing that has surprised me is the static that has been filling the internet about this movie. There is no middle ground apparently with moviegoers. Either they loved it, or they hated it. I would have to say that my opinion would fall in line with the former. I thought it was pretty good myself.

What I see from most people that did not like this movie goes a little something like this…

It did not answer the things that I thought it should.

Maybe it was one of the plot lines that have been talked about since the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens… maybe it was something else. Whatever the case, there are a lot of people who are unhappy because this latest movie did not do what they wanted.

Maybe it’s just me, but do the writers/producers/directors have the freedom to make a movie of their choosing? When did “the customer is always right” take over as Emperor and make everyone bow down to its wishes?

It is this idea that “if the public is not happy with something or if something doesn’t go just the way that I think it should, then it’s wrong/bad/false/rubbish” that is getting me all worked up. Maybe that is because I see it popping up in Christian churches across our land.

Have you seen it, too? There are those who will throw everything the Bible has to say out the window because it doesn’t line up with “their view of truth”. They follow the example of Thomas Jefferson and began removing what they do not like, and making a new “religion” that could not be further from the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

When did we become the deciding element that dictates what is good/right/true? I know that in my flesh, there is nothing that could even begin to hold that position. I do not get to tell the writers/producers/directors what or what not to do with their movie… and I do not get to say what is Christianity. The latter is taken care of by God’s word (the Bible) which is inspired by the Holy Spirit Himself.

The Holy Spirit is trustworthy. You can build your life on what He says because it is truth. The whole of life belongs to God anyway (Colossians 1:16; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 8:6). What reason do we really and justly have to come before God and say, “You didn’t do what I wanted so I’m going my way… You were wrong!”

May we come back to reality and realize that just because something doesn’t go our way, it does not mean that it is wrong. Maybe what is wrong is what is found in our hearts and minds. May we run to the Father who will share truth with us abundantly.

I had been hearing about this Bible that was coming out in October 2017 called the Pastor’s Bible from Holman Publishers. This is a style of Bible that has been called “the Minister’s Bible” in the past with other translations. I finally got me a copy, and after a couple of months, I am ready to share my thoughts.

Translation

It is important that a person have a copy of God’s word in a translation that they can understand. This was one of the heartbeats of those involved in the Protestant Reformation. They wanted to get God’s word into the language and hands of the common people so that they could experience the life-changing power of the Bible.

While there are many good English translations on the market, I have come to really appreciate the Christian Standard translation (CSB). I believe that it was more than an update to the Holman Christian Standard (which was not the greatest). The CSB is a translation that tries to bring the original languages into today’s English. I really think that the CSB might be best English translation since the 1984 NIV in that it not only tries to be true to the original languages, but it brings the text in a way that is easy to read.

Check out more about the CSB at their website by clicking here.

Features

  • Single-column text. This was one of my favorite features of this Bible. Having the text in a single column makes it much easier to read and keep your place while preaching/teaching.
  • All black text. I know that some people like the words of Christ in red, but I think by keeping all the text the same it keeps the focus that all of the Bible is important and God’s word.
  • Very readable font. The font is a 10-point Serif that is very clear for reading.
  • Two formats. It comes in either genuine leather (brown) or deluxe leathertouch (black). I went with the deluxe leathertouch because of price (typically about $40 cheaper). The leathertouch feels nice and is holding up well so far.

   

Special Features

  • Tips and sample sermon outlines for weddings and funerals. These come in handy especially to a younger pastor who is looking for helps in these areas. The tips for what to do in these events have helped me out greatly in the past. There are samples of traditional and contemporary wedding services. There are also samples of funeral sermons for different situations.
  • Articles on various duties of the pastor’s life. These articles serve to help a minister in giving tips on preaching, leading, and other areas of the pastor’s life. Some of the contributors are Jim Henry, Matt Chandler, Eric Geiger, Jared Wilson, Tony Merida, Keith Getty, Robert Smith Jr, Daniel Im, and many more.
  • Pastoral Care references. There is a two-page reference of verses to turn to when dealing with different situations in ministry.

  

Conclusion

The CSB Pastors Bible is one of my favorite bibles that I own. It has just about everything you would want in a bible as a pastor. It is not bulky, but it comes packed with many resources for today’s pastor.

With Christmas just around the corner, I would recommend that you pick up one of these as a great gift for you pastor this season. He will no doubt get much use out of this Bible.

You can find this Bible in a number of places like LifeWay, Amazon, Christianbooks.

October has been recognized as “Pastor Appreciation Month,” and so I am taking a little time to recognize and honor some of the people that God has used as “pastors” in my life.  Those special people that God uses to spur you on to grow in your faith and be busy about the Great Commission deserve to be honored (1 Timothy 5:17).

In this post, I would like to take a little time to appreciate Dr. Curtis Ferrell.  Dr. Ferrell has recently retired from the Associational Missions Director position at the Calhoun Baptist Association in Calhoun County, Mississippi.  Curtis and his sweet wife are some precious folk.  They truly have a love for our Lord and passion to serve Him well.

When I came to Calhoun County some 4+ years ago, Dr. Ferrell was one of the first to come alongside of me.  He had the responsibility for looking out for some 46 churches in the county at that time.  I know that he poured countless hours into local ministers and churches.  He had a passion to see a Hispanic ministry take off in our county.  That might have been tied to the fact that he was the son of a missionary family in South America and also that his family served in South America as well.  Whatever the case, it was so refreshing to see someone with a passion for people that needed to experience the wonder of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I appreciated the ways in which this seasoned minister took time to listen to what was going on in my life and give some wise advice.  He would constantly ask me about how things were going both at church and at the house.  He truly had a heart for the county here during the time the Lord allowed him to serve here.

I will forever be grateful for the friendship that God gave me in this dear man (and his wife).  I know that God has big  plans for them as they will continue to serve Him in our state and around the globe.

I am using this month like many others to recognize and show my appreciation for the “pastors” that God has brought into our lives. These are the specialized ones that comes into our lives and shepherd us towards what God is wanting to do in us.

In this post, I want to take time to appreciate a man named Dan Perez. Many know him as “Dan the Man” because that is what he is.

Dan Perez was one of my first Sunday School teachers as a teenager. I really think that Dan lost some bet in a youth workers’ meeting when you look at the teens that he was tasked with keeping an eye on in the youth group. Actually, when you spend any amount of time with Dan, you will quickly see that he has a heart for people to know Christ.

Dan Perez has been one that God has used to guide me in great ways. He was so much more than just someone to lead a lesson on Sunday mornings. He took time with his class. He had us in his house. He would get to know us personally and use that knowledge to point us in a good direction.

I am will forever be grateful to Dan (and his sweet wife, Nina) for the ways that they have and are pouring into my life and the life of my family.

October has been set aside as “Pastor Appreciation Month.” I have always thought that this was a little silly. It is like the joke that goes around the church where I serve as pastor: “we got to appreciate you a little.”

When it comes to showing appreciation to your pastor, I think that it would be good to understand who those “pastors” are. Just because a person holds a position in a church, it does not mean that they have been a pastor. Just because a person does not hold the title of “Pastor” (of any kind) that does not mean that he or she is not serving in that role.

During this month, I want to take some time to recognize some of the people who have been “Pastor” to me. These are people that the Lord has placed in my life over the years to help me become what God desires.

In this post, I want to talk about my appreciation for the man I consider my first pastor: Joey Savell.

Joey was the youth pastor that God used in great ways to disciple me as a teenager. When I had been burnt by “church as usual”, this guy was leading a ministry that was reaching out to students both close to God and very far from Him. I am so grateful that he was obedient to the Lord (even when it cost him MANY of confrontations in deacons’ meetings).

Joey has been there for me ever since God called me into the ministry in the summer of 1996. He took me under his wing and gave me opportunities to learn and grow in my faith and calling. He has always been one that I could call up and share my heart with. He has definitely been given the gift of “telling it like it is.” It has been good when I have needed a voice that was going to shoot me straight that I could call on this man.

The apostle Paul never was married, he did play a parent role (spiritually speaking) in a few people’s lives. Just as Timothy and Titus are referred to as Paul’s sons in the ministry, Joey has served as a father in the ministry to me and other people throughout the years.  Thank you for all that you do, Joey!