TWIN TYRANTS

A gracEmail reader who works hard to do good and to help others feels sad and frustrated because his work often goes unnoticed, while others who seemingly do less work and do it less well receive public attention and praise. He asks how to find freedom from his disappointment and dismay. * * * Your experience and struggle are common for God's people. Perhaps the key (which I do not always … [Read more...]

RENOVATE OR INNOVATE?

A gracEmail subscriber writes: "I am a pastor attending seminary, currently serving in a United Methodist Church that desperately wants me to stay with them to help revitalize the system. I am honestly worried whether denominations have run their course. I see wonderful nuggets of greatness in most of them. But I've been wondering if it would be better to extract the best parts from the various … [Read more...]

REDUCING A PASTOR’S STRESS

A Methodist pastor writes that he was just diagnosed with ulcers due to stresses created by misguided Christians. He asks if I believe it possible to engage in ministry and remain physically and spiritually whole. He has two dozen clergy friends who died from heart failure or had bypass surgery before age 50, and a dozen more who left the ministry due to vicious attacks from other Christians. He … [Read more...]

LONG RANGE PLANNING

An acquaintance was recently asked to lead a committee charged with producing a five-year plan for his Lutheran church. He searched the New Testament but found nothing about long-range planning. My own investigation yielded the same results. Throughout the Gospels, for example, Jesus simply goes about doing the Father's will. Jesus' miracles and parables, his encounters and teachings, occur almost … [Read more...]

WHEN WE SUFFER UNJUSTLY

A couple long involved in Christian ministry have been mistreated by other believers who misconstrue their motives and question their laudable service to Christ. As a result, they feel abused, abandoned.and betrayed. Does Scripture offer any encouragement, or light to put this in perspective? * * * At some time, we nearly all will find ourselves in a similar situation. Now is a good time, while … [Read more...]

WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE

A preacher writes that his ministry is under attack, his church is in turmoil and his church leaders are torn between Christ and legalistic religion. He feels deserted, exhausted and as if he is in a wilderness. Can I offer any encouragement? * * * Wilderness time can provide meaningful spiritual preparation and training. God readied Moses to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage during 40 years … [Read more...]

ATTENTION & APPROVAL

A Methodist couple involved in sacrificial ministry write that they sometimes feel "on the shelf," and that their efforts frequently go unappreciated. Perhaps these words of encouragement to them will connect with some other hearts which share this couple's godly desires and human frustrations. * * * Never forget that God is using and will use you both, according to his sovereign will. Part of … [Read more...]