Worthwhile December 13, 2019

It’s Friday the thirteenth. Don’t freak out. And if you are already freaking out, chill. Here we are, so close to Christmas. Eagerness is wearing our waiting muscles thin but just around the corner we shall celebrate. Eleven days. We can make it.

Worthwhile this week some good news for the anxious, a new approach to life for success, and singing loud at church. Get some.


Nick Davis has a vital piece on Advent and anxiety. The San Diego pastor is a friend and is acquainted with anxiety. I trust him and the help he provides here is key. He finishes with this prayer:

Father, give us lives that live and breath and move in constant conversation with you. Prayer is the antidote to anxiety. Prayer is Your prescription for a life that lacks trust. Prayer is medicine and balm for a worrisome life.

Help us to trust and rest confidently each day in you. Let us find peace and all security in you, and in you alone. And help us to see that your drawing near to us means all our fears and worries have an expiration date.

That because of Advent, one day soon you are going to do away with all fears and tears, and replace all that with peace, love, and the fullness of joy. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Read it for yourself.


Next up, find your purpose set aside your passion. Based on new Harvard research, Jessica Stillman takes to INC to call those looking toward success to focus their energy and attention on purpose.

Purpose beats passion.

Chasing passion, in other words, tends to make you less satisfied at work because — no huge shocker here — work is often difficult, draining, and even boring. So, are you doomed to simply take whatever job you can do that pays the bills? Nope, replies Jachimowicz. All you need to do is substitute “purpose” for “passion” when considering your path. 

Instead of asking what makes you happy and “following your passion,” instead ask yourself what you care deeply about, he instructs. By focusing on purpose, you align your work with your deepest values, and also relieve yourself of the expectation that the long slog of a career will be all (or even mostly) happiness and sunshine. 

So what’s your purpose? Read more on INC.


Last up this week, as we head into the sining time of year, Brett McCracken call you to sing your heart out. In a repost of a section of his book Uncomfortable, McCracken wants the church, and you, to benefit from worshiping through song together.

“The vitality of a church’s worship depends on members of the body submitting their autonomous freedom and opinionated preferences to the larger community, and ultimately to the Lord. This doesn’t mean there’s no room for discussion and disagreement and compromise when opinions on songs or liturgy clash. But it does mean that in these conflicts we abide by Paul’s Ephesians 5 call to a Christlike posture of service and humility (“submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ,” v. 21).”

I agree. So go ahead, sing your heart out with the church. Read it all here. And maybe even pick up his book, it’s great.


There you go. Enjoy the weekend. Rejoice in the Lord. Love people. Live for eternity. Onward.

Vitality found with brothers

Today I found myself again. I was given tremendous grace from Jesus as I met with a group of dear pastor brothers first at a coffee with two important friends and then the cohort at San Diego Church Planting. The cohort is a group of pastors and planters with a desire to do ministry in our city together for a long time. To support and care for one another.

The day began for me juggling the many needs of our small church and a lamenting session with elder Bill about how tired I was shouldering the responsibilities as a lone staff member. Added to that feeling a headache and pinched nerve in my back, I was a grumpy Gus.

But the Lord used these brothers to administer his grace and goodness to my weary soul. First over coffee I was reminded that my struggles are not unique to me and as we talked about the challenges and hopes of our churches I felt the keen reminder of God’s grace for our work and the need to rely on the Spirit for the power to do the work he has called us to.

Then over lunch connecting with other men doing ministry in our city I found myself thanking the Lord for the support this group has been for me. As we rose to sing together the presence of God was noticeable and the singing was such a rich reminder of the grace we all preach of each week and are in desperate need of ourselves.

From there we heard a gentle exhortation on gentleness in ministry and we studied Scripture together to affirm the call toward it for us as pastors. And we ended our time praying for one another.

I left refreshed. Where I had entered the day with bitterness, Jesus was gentle to me through the love of brothers and he gave me rest. It was like catching my breath and reclaiming the vision for ministry the Lord has given me.

This is the reason I am so passionate about encouraging pastors in our city and county to form groups to pray for one another. And it is why I think it is so vital for churches to partner with doctrinally aligned networks so pastors have this type of encouragement from those invested in their ministry and church.

Pastor, please find other pastors that can support you and pray with you. It is vital and a way to vitality.

Loving God for Himself Alone

This week I preached on the bigness of God from Isaiah 40:12-26. That because he is so big we can trust him with our lives. Now all of us that claim faith in Christ can on the surface agree to this and let it warm us on a Sunday morning, but how does it help us on a Monday afternoon?

Normal pressures of life punctuate the worship gathering and we swim back into the soup of the clamor of smaller things demanding to reign in our lives. We believe God is big enough to care for us, but how will the bills get paid? We believe God holds all of creation in his hand, but what if our adult children never speak to us again? We believe nations are emptiness before God, but what about the burden of our tax liability?

The list could go on, and sure it would be specific to you, external demands, responsibilities, emotions and the overall sense of exile without end weigh us down. Can we really turn to Jesus with all of this?

It is far too easy to turn faith into a transactional relationship. I believe in God so he gives me a job, or I pray hard and long enough and I will finally be delivered…etc. But is believing in and following Jesus worthwhile if none of the externals are dealt with? Do we love God for himself alone?

The thinking brings to mind one of the most popular of Bible stories. The fiery furnace. Disobedient to the cultural demands of worship at the golden image which would make their own faith in God private, the three Jewish young men are brought before the king.

“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Daniel 3:16–18 (ESV)

They profess how big God is – big enough to deliver them out of the fire – but what’s more, they profess that even if he doesn’t they won’t bow to the fake gods. Even in the breakthrough doesn’t come, even if I remain in the valley, if I live and die in exile, I will still only worship God.

It is bold faith.

Yes, God delivers them. They are freed from the furnace and in many of our own “furnaces” God works to free us. But friends he is worth worshiping because of who he is. We don’t need the addition of circumstance or the change thereof.

Come what may, we will worship. Let’s say that. Let’s live that. Let’s rejoice when we come out the other side. Let’s look up and behold our God and gain an eager vision for eternity with him – the promise he is big enough to deliver. Let’s love God for himself alone.