shepherding the shepherd

from PreachingToday.com

Touchstones

In the Holy Land it seems like stones do most of the talking. Everywhere we visited recently, from Caesarea Philippi in the far north to Masada towering over the Dead Sea, the stones had the best stories to tell. There were three that I touched that were like Braille with stories to tell by touch rather than sight.

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Mt. Precipice

While in Israel recently I led devotions for our group on Mount Precipice in Nazareth. A tradition says this is where the infuriated folks of Nazareth threatened to throw Jesus to his death. Today there’s a nice plaza with tiered seats where tour groups can listen to their teacher who stands on the uneven rocks a few feet from the cliff. A precarious place for a preacher!

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Small Work

When I was in my twenties I was unemployed for a few months. I felt the responsible thing to do was to take the first job I was offered but I often prayed, “Lord, please give me work that will matter in a hundred years.” Let’s file that under “answered prayer.”

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Job Description

I was never much for a job description. The typical listing of pastoral duties didn’t mesh very well with the intangibles, with the inward work, the subtleties and unpredictability of soul care. Then I took up Psalm 23, the very definition of pastoral care.

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Passing the Peace

We are not merely befuddled by scheduling, recruiting, or budgets. Those are the easy parts. No, we bear the troubling weight of someone drifting from the faith, of professing believers who have no stomach for the meat of righteousness, of suffering saints struggling to trust the Father.

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‘Strengthened by Grace’

Pastors are sent forth with the God-given mandate to dole out the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the way Jesus’ disciples distributed the loaves and fish. Since it is indeed “good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace,” who in all the world are so ideally positioned to do good as pastors?

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