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Archive – 2013


A Pastor’s Reflections: Three Important Responses

VFT
I served as an ordained minister for about five years before I was married. Among the different things I told my wife, I gave her three important responses that she should put in her church-conversation arsenal. It seems inevitable, that people talk, share problems, and sadly, even gossip. As the…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: First Lady?

VFT
One of the pressures that a new pastor quickly discovers is that there are a lot of unspoken expectations about how the pastor’s wife should conduct herself. In a word, many people think the pastor’s wife serves a role akin to the first lady, the president’s wife. The first lady…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Don’t be a bottom feeder

VFT
In seminary I discovered a life-long friend and enemy—the footnote. Sometimes when I read a book I find the footnotes to be more interesting than the main text. Authors bury fascinating comments and research in the footnotes. I love footnotes because I can follow the “bread-crumb trail” back to the…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Read and Re-read

VFT
In our present American culture we live in an unprecedented time where attention spans are likely the shortest they have ever been. In the digital age we are used to instantaneous results. If we want to know something we Google it and thousands of results immediately appear on our screens.…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Bounce Couples

VFT
One of the things a pastor and his family should regularly do is exercise hospitality. Each year my wife and I would go through our church’s directory and make a rough plan that outlined when we would invite various families over to the house. But the reality of church life…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Spiritual Bulimics and Anorexics

VFT
There are spiritual bulimics. Bulimia is an eating disorder where people will binge eat and then purge, to put it politely. I ran into a number of people like this who would regularly come to church, they would buy many theological books, and even profess to read and study the…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Degrees Don’t Mean Much

VFT
One of the more discouraging aspects of the pastorate is the lack of respect that people show for their pastor’s education. When it’s all said and done, a well-trained pastor will spend four years in his undergraduate studies, three to four years in his seminary training, and perhaps one year…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Sleeping in Church

VFT
In my time in the pastorate I only rebuked (gently, I believe) my congregation twice for sleeping. On two particular instances, one where we were administering the Lord’s Supper, there were an inordinate number of people dozing off. And especially in the case of the Lord’s Supper, I urged people…
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When not to take a call

VFT
Over the years I have watched numerous churches form search committees and seek to fill empty pulpits. The process can often be a long and drawn out one that can take up to two years or more. Hiring the church’s next pastor can be a crucial hurdle in the life…
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Preaching Christ with Application!

VFT
It seems that one of the perennial debates that swirls around Reformed circles is the question of how to preach the text of Scripture. Do you rely upon the "grammatical historical method" or the "redemptive historical method" (notice the scare quotes)? The way these two opinions are typically bandied about…
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8 / 21 / 2013