Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Am I a Good Christ?

Tom headshot 6-2012Twice within a week’s time I was admonished to consider, “to what extent others might experience walking with Christ as they spend time with me?”  The first occasion was in reading Joni Eareckson Tada’s latest book, Joni & Ken, An Untold Love Story.  In it, she relates one of she and her husband’s lowest points in their journey with cancer 2-3 years ago.  In chapter nine, which is entitled UNFATHOMABLE DEPTHS, Joni is on the brink of succumbing to pneumonia, and she becomes impressed by a thought that Ken has actually incarnated Christ to her, as he intervenes over and over for her, to physically ward off the life-threatening effects of that infirmity, as an answer to her unspoken, desperate prayers for the Lord’s intervention.

The second occasion was when a friend and mentor sent me the following article.


Wednesday, July 17th, 2013 | No Comments »

Counting that Helps

Dan cropped 4.13Everyone has things they count and keep track of.  Why?  We usually count so we can know how we are progressing in our plans and what we need to adjust to meet our goals.  In the church, is what we are counting truly helping the church reach her ministry goals? Or is it hindering the church?

The purpose of most evangelical churches is to glorify God through a growing body of Christ-followers who are reaching their world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  As part of its purpose statement, a church often describes how they plan to make disciples, do mission, multiply, and advance the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.  Does what we count help us meet these goals?


Friday, June 7th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

The Role the Body Plays in Our Personal Growth

I have been challenged this past year or so to re-think some of my previous patterns of personal growth and my walk with God.  Very simply, I am a bit of a “morning person” and I enjoy reading Scripture, along with a broad spectrum of theology, leadership, the church, etc.  So, my pursuit of intimacy with God and my slow, steady progress toward greater spiritual maturity has included rather little involvement by others.  This has been more out of practice than out of conviction.

Sure, I have several great groups and teams of ministry leaders around me on a regular basis, and I love to “mix it up” with various gatherings of ministry leaders and pastors.  However, I haven’t really “leaned on” fellow members of the Body in ways that might otherwise have been quite profitable.  Candidly, it was only as I began to struggle with some cynicism that I reached out to a handful of men who, to my great benefit, consistently over time, have come alongside of me with their wisdom, insights, and most importantly, their genuine care.


Wednesday, May 8th, 2013 | 2 Comments »

A Timely Word on Legalism

I once read a wise word about the human heart from a wise pastor (I think it was the old Anglican preacher, Charles Simeon).  He said that the human heart is incurably legal.  That is, we all have an insistent bent toward relating to God in a legal arrangement:

     If I do this, God will do that.  
     I must do this if God is to do that. 
     If God is doing that, then I must have done this.

From this outlook it’s a short and inevitable step to including others:

     They must do this (just like me) if God is to do that.

This way of relating to God—legalism—has been around from the start and has taken many forms through the centuries.  The Pharisees who opposed Jesus were some of the most notable legalists.  One of the reasons the gospel writers wrote so vividly about the Pharisees was to prompt their readers to examine their own lives to see where Pharisaism was lurking.


Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 | No Comments »

A Timely Book for a Timely Topic

An important book has appeared in the midst of the cultural and theological discussions about homosexuality and the gay movement.  Although published in 2010, Washed and Waiting  did not come to my attention until recently.  In this vivid and poignant account, Wesley Hill takes his readers on a personal journey in response to the question:  What do you do when…

  • from your earliest recollections as a boy you have had same-sex attraction;
  • you grew up in a secure Christian home, trusting in Christ and following him from childhood, and there is no environmental cause—such as a troubled relationship with your father or sexual assault by an adult—for your homosexual orientation;
  • you find interpretations of the Bible that justify homosexuality unsound; rather, you believe the Bible teaches that homosexual practice is contrary to God’s design and will;
  • you rejoice at how reparative therapy has helped many homosexuals become heterosexual, but in your own experience therapy has never produced that change?


Tuesday, January 8th, 2013 | No Comments »

Two Resources that Reach Deep

I want to encourage you to avail yourself of two resources.  I hope to do that by assembling several quotations for you to read.  They come from Paul Tripp, a minister who reaches deep and hits bedrock issues in our lives.  In his life, ministry, and teaching he moves in the deep realities of sin, Christ, God’s word, and the recesses of the human heart.  Listen to some examples.  Then see the end of this article for my bottom line.

In light of the fact (Genesis 1-2) that we were created to be revelation receivers and life interpreters:

If it is true that all human beings are constantly trying to make sense out of life, then all of life is counseling or personal ministry.  Counseling is the stuff of human life!  We are always interpreting and always sharing our interpretations with one another.  This “sharing” ultimately amounts to advice or counsel about how to respond to life (45-46).


Monday, April 2nd, 2012 | No Comments »


Have You Taken a Sabbatical Leave Recently?

What is one thing you would do the same?  One thing you would do differently?  One piece of counsel you would give to a fellow-pastor who is planning a sabbatical?  Take a moment and respond to our blog and help other pastors shape their sabbaticals effectively.

Thursday, June 9th, 2011 | 2 Comments »

Responding to District Conference

If you attended district conference this year, your responses to how to do a dissertation the two questions below may be helpful to other pastors in the district as we continue to process and apply Larry Osborne’s teaching on Team Oriented Ministry.

1.  What was your number-one “take-away” from the event–the most influential lesson you learned?

2.  What is the most pressing question or concern that remains with you?

We invite your response to either or both of these questions, and your comments to any of the responses that are posted.

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 | No Comments »

Our Article 8 Emphasis


Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 | 1 Comment »

Blog Welcome

Welcome to the NCD blog, a venue for interaction and dialogue about issues important and helpful to life and ministry. We plan to post things, on an occasional basis, with a view to hearing from you—especially (but not exclusively) pastors and church leaders in the North Central District.  We are aiming at the collective benefit of NCD churches through the collective wisdom shared on the blog.

Here, then, we may ask for your response to the current month’s On Our Hearts article.  Or we may pose a philosophy- or practice-of-ministry question to solicit your insights.  At times we may describe (anonymously) a real-life scenario in ministry to seek your advice.  On another occasion we may probe a Biblical-theological issue and ask how you connect this issue to ministry.  Sometimes we may simply put out a call for suggested resources on a given situation or topic.

Our hope is that the posts will be timely and relevant, and that the responses of pastors and church leaders will furnish further insights that will be widely enriching.

Bear with us in this venture, as we will undoubtedly need to work out some bugs as we go.  Here is how we are setting things up:

  • NCD staff members will put up most of the posts.  Occasionally there may be a guest writer.
  • You can sign up to be notified when a new posting appears.
  • The posts will be tagged to make them searchable.
  • We invite comments on the posts.  Comments will be approved before they are published.  Whether brief or extensive, make your comments substantive and appropriate.  And make it clear if you are responding to an earlier comment posted by someone else.
  • NCD staff will not have the capacity to respond to all comments, nor is that our intent.  Our aim is to initiate district-wide discussion on important matters related to life and ministry.  We anticipate that much of the benefit of the blog will come from what you write.

–NCD Staff

Monday, December 20th, 2010 | No Comments »

©2010 EFCA NCD | Site map