Category Archives: Questions

Doing what you trained for

The title may be grammatically incorrect, but I want to make a point with what I am writing.

I was thinking about something while I was walking home from the train station yesterday.  I was thinking about a friend who recently completed his first year of full-time teaching and recently signed a contract to teach next school year.  In reading his Twitter feed and Facebook posts, he really enjoys his job.  I went back and thought about what I knew about this individual and his path to his eventual teaching career.  He had a desire to teach (not sure how far back this goes) but he graduated high school and went off to college to train to be an elementary school teacher.  During his last year of school he had to put into practice what he learned in the classroom by student teaching.  This individual, as part of his student teaching taught my son in the 2nd grade.  My son enjoyed his lessons, especially the science ones.  We were just talking about some of them the other day and my son really enjoyed his lesson on the water cycle and that was well over a year ago, but he still remembers it very well.  What this showed was not only this individual was well-trained, he had a passion for what he was doing, but he also was doing what he believed God has called him to do and he was given an opportunity to do it!

Contrast this with those who train for pastoral ministry.  Same process.  There is the call of God on an individual’s life, they make that call public and then it is off to Bible college and then seminary.  Sometimes an individual will be required to complete an internship within the context of a local church which might be the equivalent of student teaching but not quite because most pastoral internships never really let the intern do everything, it is like the pastor is afraid that the intern will mess up and ruin his ministry.  Mark Dever once talked about letting the new pastor mess up and make mistakes, he related to his own experience at Capitol Hill Baptist Church when he first came that he indeed made a few mistakes and the people were patient with him.  Student teachers do not teach their first day or week, but they get one subject at a time, do a lot of observing and then towards the end of their time, they will teach for entire days with the supervising teacher observing and providing feedback along the way.

I was wondering how many people are out there that went to Bible college and seminary and invested large sums of money for their education some in excess of $50k and they are not in pastoral ministry?  There are some who have disqualified themselves due to moral issues, etc.  There are some who after completing their training may have decided that pastoral ministry is not for them.  What about those people who have a passion and a desire (1 Timothy 3:1) to serve the Lord only to find themselves working in a job or career that they had no intentions of working in except to pay the bills while they were training.  Their heart is not in it and their desires are elsewhere, but a cloak of silence has enveloped their life with regard to ministry.  No direction from a mentor or encouragement from a local church, just silence.  The secular job market really has no use for theological degrees.  Most jobs nowadays are requiring specialized training and specialized degrees. Experience alone will not get you a job now.  You wouldn’t want a airline pilot performing brain surgery on you?  Then why is it okay for pastors to work other areas that they are not necessarily trained for?

I remember reading several articles regarding people with Phd’s wanting to teach in their fields but there were not enough openings in the academic world so some of these PhD’s were janitors, waiters, etc.  and not able to ply their trades either.  That was a few years back and I trust that things have improved somewhat so those people could find work.

I would love to hear from you if you have a desire for pastoral ministry and have finished your college and seminary training but find yourself working in a field that you did not train for.  Please comment below and maybe this can be a catalyst to help and encourage others to be able to find a ministry opportunity since other venues have been notoriously silent.  Where are the people who will speak truth into the lives of others?

Is there anything wrong with doing what you trained for and invested your life in?

People familiar with the matter say…

I have an article here in front of me from the Wall Street Journal, dated March 24, 2014, regarding the potential deal between Apple and Comcast.  This article was of particular interest to me because I am an Apple stockholder and a user of all things Apple (iPhone 5, iPad mini and MacBookPro).  I also am a Comcast subscriber, not by choice but because there is no competition in our area for cable.

As I was reading this article with interest, I came across the following phrases at least eight different times in the article

people familiar with the matter say

the people familiar with the matter say

said one person familiar with the talks

this person said

one person familiar with the talks

I understand about freedom of the press and the right to protect one’s sources. What I am trying to understand is if this story made the front page of the Wall Street Journal, then why were people afraid of being quoted? It made me wonder if no one could be directly quoted, then would this fall under mere speculation or a rumor mill?  I know that news like this between two publicly traded companies can affect both companies’ stock prices.  I also wondered about fact checking.  How can facts be checked when there are no sources?

Hopefully a journalist or two or three will read this article and enlighten me!  Comments are always appreciated.

On a side note, I recently started subscribing to the Wall Street Journal and I enjoy reading it.  I do recognize some of the liberal slants/biases. I appreciate the broad spectrum of articles and that it is not just another boring financial paper.

Do we really need another McDonalds?

This is more of a local interest story for those living in the West Metro suburbs of Minneapolis, MN

Many of you may have noticed the construction that is taking place rather rapidly on Hwy 55 in Plymouth, MN near Medicine Lake Dr. where they are building a new McDonalds across from the The Waters and adjacent to Fourth Baptist Church.  Not that I or anyone else can do anything about it, but it does beg the question:  Do we really need another McDonalds?

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The reason why I ask the question is because if you were to travel two miles west on Hwy 55 near Northwest Blvd, there is a McDonalds near the WestHealth complex (still in Plymouth)and if you travel east two miles on Hwy 55 and then turn left on Winnetka there is another McDonalds (in Golden Valley).  So why are they building another one in between the two locations?  From a business perspective, I am not sure this makes sense putting another location this close to two other ones, unless they are intending on closing either of the locations that I mentioned.  That does not appear to be the case at this point.

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I guess this is one of those things that makes you go hmmmm…

I am not a big fan of McDonalds except for their Egg McMuffins at breakfast and they have really good french fries.  Not my first choice for dining options.  I wondered why they didn’t put in a Panera Bread here instead of McDonalds.  The only thing that will happen in this area is that traffic will increase exponentially during breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I can imagine that it will be convenient for people living at The Waters and for those attending worship services at Fourth Baptist Church on Sundays and Wednesdays… With Fourth Baptist Christian School nearby, wonder if that will drive some traffic to the new McDonalds? I am not quite sure when they are scheduled to open, but I can see that they are working six days a week to get everything ready for opening.

Any ideas?

 

Photos courtesy of Terry Lange – taken November 23, 2013.

Matthew 1:21 – A Familiar Text with Great Truths

I have been a Christian for over 25 years and have read through the Bible multiple times.  I was reading different Christmas texts before the holiday just meditating on them when I came to Matthew 1:21.  I have read this verse multiple times and even memorized it in school and college.  As I was reading these various texts I was thinking about them pastorally (even though I am not currently serving as a pastor) and wondering what I would do if I was tasked with preaching during the Christmas season.

As I came to Matthew 1:21, this text really grabbed me and I have been thinking about it for several days and the profound truths that are contained in this short verse that might be very familiar to many people.  Forgive me in advance if this is not homiletically correct or logical, sometimes it helps me to write/type things out to get them from my brain into written form to be read and meditated upon for future study.  I may not have covered every facet of the text, but rather I am expressing what I have been meditating upon these last several days.

Matthew 1:21 (NKJV)

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.

And she will bring forth a Son” – this refers to the fundamental truth of the virgin birth.  A truth that some have a lot of trouble accepting and believing, while others believing this truth by faith.  This is a foundational truth to the Christian faith.

and you shall call His name Jesus” – Jesus,  the name that was appointed by God.  Joseph and Mary did not have a choice in this matter.  This is a divine name and a name of power (See Acts 4:12; Acts 5:31; Luke 2:21; Philippians 2:9-11).

for He will save His people from their sins” –  For indicates the beginning of the purpose clause.  The divine purpose for which God the Son came to the earth in the form of human flesh. Jesus Christ did not come to bring political reform to the Roman Empire, although some wished that He had.  He came to bring life, abundant life  See John 1 and John 10.   “He will save” – the life-giving act of the sacrifice of the Son of God for the sins of the world (See John 3:16; 1 Cor 15:2; Acts 4:12).  “From their sins” – it is a universal fact that man is a sinner and this stems from the fact that Adam sinned and that sin has passed down to all generations (See Romans 3:10, 23; 5:8; 6:23) with only one exception – Jesus Christ who was born of a virgin, was born with no sin.  Mankind is hopelessly depraved and lost in sin without Christ.  If you have children, you will definitely see and experience the doctrine of total depravity !  The Gospel is the solution to the problem and ever-present fact of sin.  No one else or nothing else can save me from my sins except the substitutionary atoning death of Christ and His bodily resurrection!

Christ came for a single purpose that was expressed in many different ways.  He came to save His people from their sins.

Have you ever put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ?  Jesus said in Mark 1:15 “Repent and believe the Gospel”  Has there ever been a time where you have done that?  For me, I was converted in 1987 at the age of 17. Share your testimony of salvation in the comments.

 

From My Wife -Part 2

I thought that our earlier question would illicit some discussion.  Even though it did not, I will answer the question from our perspective.

1.  We understand that this represents change from our own tradition of what we are used to.

2.  What we found in our experience was that it created several things

  • A competition-type mentality -where the best singers are in front of the congregation.
  • A distraction at best because the volume is turned up to the level of a rock concert where one hears and feels the bass and cannot hear the words.
  • A plethora of “7-11 songs” – modern songs where we would sing the same 7 verses 11 times.  Not sure of why this was done, but it is the practice of many churches.

3.  We do not attend church for the “worship experience” but rather for the preaching and teaching of the Word of God.  It seems like churches that employ worship teams do so to create some sort of “worship experience”

I understand that some churches have worship teams because they may not have a music director to coordinate the musical aspect of their worship services.

Personally, with what I have seen that I do not prefer a worship team because it blurs the lines of distinction between a church service and a rock concert.

A Good Question – From My Wife

A couple of weeks ago we were visiting a church in the DFW area.  As we were leaving the church, my wife asked me a question that I had never been asked before, but it was one that got me to think and we had a good discussion about it for a while.

The question is/was:

Why do some churches feel it necessary to have a “worship team”?

I would be interested to hear your answers and opinions on this subject before I disclose the answers that we come up with in the course of our conversation that started that day and continued for a while.

Start the conversation here by leaving a comment…

The question is:

Why do some churches feel it necessary to have a “worship team”?

I am interested to hear your answers before I give the answers that we came up with in our conversation.  Let’s

Does it pay to work hard anymore?

Today, I received my pay stub for Friday which is our payday.  Our quarterly incentive bonus was paid on this check.  Let me start out by saying that I am thankful to my employer for paying out this bonus every quarter if we meet certain expectations.

What upsets me is that I paid an unbelievable amount in taxes because of the Federal Government feels that they are entitled to take an additional portion of my money because I did well (could we call it a tax on prosperity?) They withhold at 28% on any residual income (bonuses, etc).  Then withholding is taken for Medicare and Social Security.  Last but not least in my case, the State of Minnesota took $115.00.

Please understand that I am not against paying taxes. I believe that every citizen should pay taxes and the Bible reinforces this in several places as well.

What bothers me is that I worked hard for the bonus that I received only to watch the various Government entities take more taxes than usual and leave me with less money.

The Fair Tax is looking much more attractive right now…

Do you think the Government penalizes people for working hard (earning bonuses, etc.)?