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Resources Every Rural Pastor Needs

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I had a conversation with a pastor from out of state at a conference. He told me he was from a small town in the Southwest. “How small?” I asked, as I am always curious about small towns.“Oh very small” he assured me.“Only 15 thousand people or so.”
Depending on your background, you might think that is a small town too.Or maybe you know some places to take that brother to show him what a small town really is.That’s more people than live in the whole county where I pastor.And my town of 3500 is the big city compared the towns of 1,000, 600, or 300 around us.Pastoring in rural communities has it own set of challenges and difficulties as well as it’s set of pleasures and privileges.Pastoring is a challenge no matter the size of the community, but having the right set of tools can make the job a little easier.
It’s possible to drive a nail with a rock, but it sure is easier with a hammer.It’s possible to pastor a rural church without these tools, but your life will be much easier if you kee…

The Pastor's Crown

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In 1402 the daughter of King Henry the IV of England, Princess Blanche, was set to marry Louis III of Germany.Every Princess needs a crown, of course, and Blanche brought with her a crown known as the crown of Princess Blanche.It is thought to be the oldest surviving crown of England and is a highpoint of Gothic metalwork and jewelry.
Most of us today don’t have any experience with crowns.Whatever our occupation is, we don’t have any need of crown jewels.A crown is for someone important, someone royal or regal.And the placing of a crown on someone’s head signifies that they are the highest authority in the land.
Today if you travel to Munich you can see the Crown of Princess Blanche. She and others who wore the crown have long since died, but the crown remains.People go to look at the crown and are amazed by its beauty. In a coronation the crown is the not the object of attention, the person who receives it is. The crown was a symbol of authority or achievement.
Crowns are reserved for …

Why Everyone Needs Three Quarts of Manna

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In the 1960’s a 3M engineer was trying to create a super strong adhesive.  Instead, he created the opposite, a lightweight tacky adhesive that left no residue.  No one knew what to do with the glue like it was, so nothing happened with it.  It took more than a decade for another engineer to use the glue to hold down his bookmark in his hymnal.  He thought it might be good to use on paper and for bookmarks, and then the Post-It note was born. 

This all happened before I was born, but it had a monumental impact on my life.  My desk is covered with sticky notes.  Things that occur to me while I’m doing something else, phone numbers of people, things I need to remember to do.  I’m what I like to call “absent minded” though my wife just calls me forgetful. Regardless, we all need ways of remembering thing sometime. I probably am more forgetful than others, but we all forget.  We all have a way of only thinking about what is in front of us, giving in to what someone called the “tyranny of th…

Is there a bomb buried in your church?

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This summer construction workers at an airport in Brussels found a something they weren’t bargaining for. During excavation they uncovered an unexploded ordnance from World War 2. They quickly left the scene and called in the bomb disposal experts, who were able to disable the bomb without any problems.


I was intrigued to learn that Brussels is like many European countries in that that they have units dedicated to the disposal of World War 2 bombs and munitions. This seems crazy to most who will read this, but the discovery of the bomb was a fairly common occurrence. During World War 2,US and British Air Forces dropped about 2.7 millions pounds of bombs on Europe, over half of that in Germany. In Germany alone, there are thousands of pounds still of unexploded bombs. Some didn’t detonate on impact, or failed for other reasons. They all pose a serious danger to those who don’t know they are there right beneath their feet.


If you have never lived through such a thing, it seems …

A review of Disruptive Witness by Alan Noble

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Every month the men of our church gather for a men's breakfast. It's the typical thing that you would expect, lots of gravy, bacon, biscuits, another conversation thrown in. The conversation revolves around the things that you might expect to happen at a men's breakfast in a rural community.  There's always talk of hunting, or fishing, or maybe working on cars or other manly type activities. Occasionally and gets in the politics, although we try to limit that. And the conversation is always followed up by a devotion, a reflection on scripture from one of the men and usually a time of prayer. It's something that I have come to look forward to as a pastor, both for the fellowship, the conversation, and the devotions. Last month the conversation turned to a new topic, the impact of technology and social media in society and how we as a church can help speak to some of those things. They were all types of opinions represented, some by people who don't have social …

As Sanctified as I want to be

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In a recent conversation with my wife about something at church, I expressed my disagreement with the way something was being done. It's just not the way I would do it. I found myself blurting out to my wife, "I don't care if they do it as long as they do it my way."
Pastors and anyone who is a leader can be guilty of this thought. But we all are guilty of thinking this way when it comes to our sanctification in Christ.  
The Bible is clear that justification, the event by which we are made to be in right standing before God, is a one time event. Jesus accomplished this on the cross, once for all becoming our stand in.  We can only be justified once, and that comes when we accept our need for Christ and admit our belief in the life, death, and resurrection as Christ.
While justification is instantaneous, sanctification takes a lifetime to complete. Sanctification is the process by which we are made more holy, bringing out character and habits in line with Christ.…

The Southern Baptist Convention is a symphony not a melting pot.

In 1915 America was in crisis.  The large wave of immigrants had threatened what people deemed the “American way of life.” In other words, people didn't like that others were different from them. It was in this culture that Jewish scholar and writer Horace Kallen wrote his 1915 essay “Democracy versus the Melting Pot.”  Kallen challenged the popular notion of America as a melting pot.  To Kallen the very idea of a melting pot contradicts part of what it means to be American, of a country of people founded on freedom and equality.  He challenged that America was not a melting pot, but a symphony.  In a symphony, the different instruments work together, creating a distinct sound that cannot be made of a group of instruments that are all the same.  

Kallen believed that America should not seek to be homogenous, singing in unison.  Instead they should be “a multiplicity in a unity, an orchestration of mankind.” The beauty of a symphony is not that all the instruments are the same, but…