Worthwhile September 20, 2019

Is Fall actually upon us? In SoCal that means overnight temps in the 50’s and 60’s with daytime temps between 75 and, well 100. Ha. I occasionally miss a Midwest autumn with the smell of falling leaves and chill in the air. It smells like football season and Thanksgiving. Ah, nostalgia.

This week I have a trio of phenomenal articles and a video, all worthwhile. Take up and read, and watch.


First out of the gate was a stirring piece by Jared C. Wilson on the recent suicide of Jarrid Wilson. No relation just the same name. “There Should Be Two of Us” is honest and a reminder to all of us that our friends, the people we associate with and those around us can all suffer from depression. Maybe we become more equipped to love, stick with, and care for those in pain.

I am doing well now, and have been for a long time, but I know the feeling of everything being too much, the weight of the fear of never getting better, the emotional drowning of all those breakers and waves. I have heard the lies that nothing will change, that nobody really understands, that people would be better off without the burden of me, and all the rest. And in brief doubtful moments I believed them.


That is the enemy speaking. I don’t know what brought me back from the brink, really. A different kind of fear, I suspect. The fear of missing out on what might happen tomorrow. More than likely, tomorrow would be just the same as today. Every day seems to bring the same pain, the same worry, the same hopelessness. But what if tomorrow’s different? Do I want to rob myself of finding out? And do I want to hurt those I love? A residual curiosity about what might happen if I don’t give up thankfully proved slightly stronger than the despair.


For seriously depressed persons, I know these thoughts don’t come easily, if they come at all. For those seriously struggling with suicidal thoughts, the illness crowds out rationality and logic, as well as sentimentality and hope.


But it is in these moments, perhaps, that faith is most faith. If you cannot see the light, as the saying goes, cast an anchor in the dark. Doubt your doubts. Believe what you can’t. 

Read the essay on For The Church.


Next a call to weak leadership by Darryl Dash. It’s not what you think but a call to biblical leadership fully aquainted with weakness and the need for the Spirit’s power to lead.

“I’m convinced our most common leadership model within the North American church resembles that of the Corinthians. We long for the so-called super-apostles. We want the gifted, the successful, the articulate, the men and women who get things done. Our leaders are allowed to suffer, but only in the past tense. We want winners, people who’ve beat the odds…It’s time to rewrite our leadership playbook. It’s time for leaders who’ve learned the power of weakness.”

Dash looks at Paul in 2 Corinthians for guidance and I think he is on to something. This last week I have been meeting with groups in our church to discuss a new network partnership for us. These talks have also brought on questions of the church’s future and I was quick to share that like Paul I am often “burdened beyond my strength.” And that is exactly where I want to be so I keep trusting Jesus.

Think of how you lead, and give it a read here.


Thirdly, this bit from the last book written by David Powlison shared by Justin Taylor. In it Powlison gives a front row view of a heart given to Christ. What it means to suffer and have hope. Ultimately hope in our Savior.

In the midst of my confusion, unbelief, and fear of death, God used Ezekiel 36:25–27 to bring me to faith. It was my first encounter with the belt of truth that Jesus gives his people. It was my first encounter with the sword of the Spirit that exposes and heals. At that moment, I knew the truth of what Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). It was God who shone his light into my heart and awakened me from the slumber of sin and death.


Now more than four decades later, I am staring death in the face. Instead of my faith failing, the promise of a new heart holds true. God is still shining into the darkness of my heart to give me the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. The reality of death has made the truth of God’s Word come alive to me. 

Read the rest here.


Lastly, here is a short video description of discipleship that is spot on and might spur something in us.


Have a wonderful weekend. Stick close to your people, breathe deep, go for a walk, and go to church. You are loved. You are worth it.

The Way from Above and the Church

I am encouraged as I am reading The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb: Searching for Jesus’ Path of Power in a Church that Has Abandoned It by Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel.

It is essentially a call to weakness that lives in the power of Christ. Recognizing that so much of life is lived under power schemes that are actually unhealthy or evil.

Living the way of Jesus though is not a solitary endeavor. Here is what they say of the church, take it to heart.

Because we are prone to waywardness, prone to walk the path of pride, self-sufficiency, and power, we need the church to ground us in Christ and his way. We cannot live in Christ’s way on our own. This likely sounds right, but many of us functionally doubt our need for the church. Pursuing the way of Christ seems like a “me and Jesus” kind of endeavor. But our focus on ourselves unearths a deep foolishness that owes more to our culture and worldliness than it does to Scripture. We have no hope of pursuing the way from above apart from the church.

Pastoral Weakness Saved My Life

It has been a fairly typical morning. I woke early to get prepared for the day and head off to a Bible study with a few men in the church. But as I stood looking in the mirror, ready to shave off the stubble of another long day before, I heard the faint but penetrating accusation. “You don’t have what it takes. The church hasn’t grown at all. None of your ‘disciples’ are making progress. You are too weak to be in ministry, you should just give up…”

I have heard it before. The dull hum of inadequacy as I watch other churches flourish and I present a meager budget to our little replant of a church wondering if the vision will hold out until we reach that elusive and hoped for five-year mark. Where my personality wants to cite my resume and latches on to the positive comments I receive for my preaching or likability. When the numbers just don’t match the church growth models. Do I have what it takes to pastor?

The answer friends is no.

So I stare back into the mirror and embrace the accusation. I don’t have what it takes. I am weak and inexperienced. My preaching is subpar. I am not nearly patient enough. I am too sinful. All of it is true. And it turns out that is the point. The enemy fools himself when he attempts to fool us. My call to ministry is not based on or even measured in my abilities or inabilities as it may be. My personal aptitude is not the point of Christianity or the pastoral role. It is Christ that works, it is his gifts and grace that carry us through, and it is him that I proclaim not myself.

Scripture declares this over and over again and it is to be our relief and confidence in life. That Jesus is working and has all the strength.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV)

Pastoral weakness saves my life in moments like these. I am weak. That is exactly what Jesus had in mind when he called me to be a pastor. Reliance on him. Neediness before him. Helpless apart from him. Where the enemy of our souls desires to lead us to despair, Christ lends his sufficiency and makes his power to rest upon us.

This is not only for pastors though. This is for you. The voice that tells you how you don’t measure up. How dirty you are. How boring you tend to be. Embrace it and run to Jesus. The One who is not ashamed to call you brother or sister. The One who gives you his righteousness, his strength, his inheritance forever. The One who gives you rest.

I am a weak pastor. I am thinking of putting it on my business card. There is nothing in me that can save you. But the One I proclaim, the One I live to see in all of Scripture, the One that knows me by name; he will save you. Run to him. Let’s run together.

In my weakness I am greatly encouraged by this prayer from the Valley of Vision on “Humility in Service.” May it encourage you as well.

“O thou God of all grace, make me more thankful, more humble; Inspire me with a deep sense of unworthiness arising from the depravity of my nature, my omitted duties, my unimproved advantages, thy commands violate by me. With all my calls to gratitude and joy may I remember that I have reason for sorrow and humiliation; O give me repentance unto life; Cement my oneness with my blessed Lord, that faith may adhere to him more immovably, that love may entwine itself round him more tightly, that his Spirit may pervade every fibre of my being. Then send me out to make him known to my fellow-men.”

True Strength

“True strength comes from Jesus living in us and that is most magnified when we are weak and needy for Him. Christ’s presence is most cultivated in us when we embrace the reality of our weakness, sinfulness, brokenness, and humanity. In Christ, we find true strength, not despite our weakness, but in our weakness. A courageous pastor embraces his weakness and finds divine strength.” – Brian Croft, Biblical Church Revitalization.

Croft here is encouraging the pastor to live in this way but I think it goes for all of us, pastor or not. May we find this true strength.