Shepherding a College-Bound Member

Shepherding a College-Bound Member

Recently, parents of one of our church’s high-school graduates and college-bound students asked if I would contribute to a book of helpful advice from those who have had an impact on him through his life. I was humbled and honored, as his pastor and as a close friend of the family to contribute. While the name has been changed, and a few of the details, below is the contribution I made as a suggestion of what I would recommend not only to this student, but just about any student as they move away to begin their college career. Brad, While it is no doubt harder for your parents to believe, it really does make Kelly and me take a step back to realize that you have reached this very significant milestone in your life and are headed off to college. One of the greatest joys of our family’s life is to have the close friendship of your family. Recently, while taking my son to a friend’s house abut thirty minutes from us, he wanted to know how far away it was from you. When I asked him if he ever wanted to live far out in the country like his friend, he immediately said, “no way, it’s too far from your family.” Each one of you means much to each one of us. You are embarking on a most significant step. It is now, as you step away from the familiar and safe borders of family, church, and hometown, that you will begin to not only develop new relationships and chart a new course, you will will also begin to see...
Preparing for Sunday – Psalms, Part 2

Preparing for Sunday – Psalms, Part 2

Below is the weekly post our church produces to help prepare our congregation for the Sunday morning gathering. Each summer, I take time to preach overview sermons through the Old Testament. We began last week in Psalms. This week we’ll look at a few more significant take-aways from this beautiful book. For those who live in the Kansas City metro area, we invite you to come to Summit Woods Baptist Church at 10:30 am. Carefully Think Last week we considered the book of Psalms as a whole. This week we will focus on how the Psalms affects our faith in God. Look through several headings of several psalms in each of the five sections of the book. List some of the musical terms that you see referred to (i.e.., “to the choirmaster,” “maskil,” “mahalat,” etc.). While it is difficult (if not impossible) to know what these refer to specifically, what do they indicate about the importance of music and how these psalms were to be played? Read through the following psalms: 7, 35, 58, 69, 85, 109, 137. What does the psalmist say about his enemies? Why does this not contradict the gospel of Jesus in the New Testament? Or does it? If you think so, explain. Read through the following psalms: 2, 8, 22, 69, 110. These are often referred to as Messianic psalms; those that speak of the coming of the Messiah. What characteristics do you learn about the Messiah? What indicators are there in each passage that this refers to the future Messiah and not someone else? Prayerfully Meditate  If the book of Psalms is an ancient...
The Musings of An Ordinary Pastor

The Musings of An Ordinary Pastor

Another re-post from over 4 years ago. I post it again as THE CAPRANICA re-launches its regularity as a reminder of what this blog is about. I am an ordinary pastor. That is, I know myself well enough and I have been around enough extraordinary pastors to be well aware of how ordinary I am. The content, regularity, and writing style found here at THE CAPRANICA all document the degree of my ordinariness. Actually, I enjoy being ordinary. Obscurity is often bliss. Normality, more often than not, is a blessing. The front-lines of the ordinary contain enough excitement, challenge, heartache, and doldrum to keep me focused and engaged in the Lord’s work. I have been an ordinary pastor for over 20 years (I began ministry in 1988 in a rural Texas Panhandle church) and I have never been bored with ministry; I’ve always been busy, and I’m as excited today about serving the church as I was twenty years ago when I began. I really do enjoy being among the ordinary. Ordinary is not often publicly celebrated, but ordinary pastors dominate the landscape of church life across our country; we are, by far, the vast majority. In reality, only a small percentage of pastors in the world could really be called or evaluated as extraordinary. I thank God for many of them . The Savior has used (and still does) a few of them in many influential ways in my life and ministry. Yet, most of us who serve the Lord as local church shepherds will not host presidential forums; books will not host our names as authors; national...
A Re-Post for a Sort of Re-Launch

A Re-Post for a Sort of Re-Launch

For many months now I’ve been wanting to take up contributing to my neglected blog presence. As the mayhem begins again, I start with a re-post (from over 4 years ago) of an article on why an ordinary pastor, like me, should regularly blog. Wouldn’t blogging be persona non grata in the life of the truly ordinary pastor? Maybe a few years ago, but no longer. I would suspect that the majority of pastors blogging today are among the ordinary variety. It helps that more than 99% of the pastors in our country are ordinarily flavored, so you would expect that the same percentage of pastors blogging will be ordinary pastors. With that in mind, why should a pastor blog? I wish more extraordinary pastors blogged – I mean really blogged. Not like those guys who have their staff post excerpts from their books. I wish they would actually take a half-hour each day and write something about their life, ministry, personal discipline, reading habits, family life, and the very unique experiences they have in ministry. It’s good to hear from some of the extraordinary guys who share from the overflow of their vast amount of time in the Scriptures and years of experience. But I also like hearing from the average Joe. In fact, I think there are a host of reasons why an ordinary pastor should blog. Here’s my list: It humanizes the ministry, allowing people to see the past the ivory tower facade. It allows you to speak to issues you could not cover in your sermon (even though your sermon was too long already). It gives another...
An Ordinary Pastor’s Quarterly Planning

An Ordinary Pastor’s Quarterly Planning

This week I will spend the better part of a morning reviewing major personal and ministry goals from the past three months and evaluating what I should focus on over the upcoming three months. I make these plans in theological pencil, recognizing that God riules over every detail in both the short and long term ““ I am desperate to avoid presumption (James 13-17). At the same time, I want to be wise and intentional about the life and ministry God has entrusted to me as a stewardship. So what will I do this Thursday morning in evaluation and planning. Pray. This is more than an obligatory beginning step; it is a cry to an almighty God from a desperate heart that is deeply affected by His merciful grace, seeking wisdom and leadership from the one who is all-knowing. I dare not plan without a spirit of dependency, and dependency is deepened when I humble my heart in prayer. Review my long-range goals. I base these on the providential roles I have (husband, father, pastor, etc), as well as key verses that describe God’s desires for me inch of these roles. Some of my roles have been broken down into additional categories (i.e., pastor: teacher, shepherd, staff supervisor, etc.). I often find myself revising these long-term goals, seeking greater clarity insight of providential circumstances, better understanding gained through the study of Scripture, the passing of time and gaining specific experience. My aim is to to be practical in how I apply God’s word in each of the roles God has blessed me. Review my annual goals.  Each year I...
Cap-Review: The Glory of God

Cap-Review: The Glory of God

Cap-Review: The Glory of God from Bret Capranica on Vimeo. An Ordinary Pastor’s Brief Review of The Glory of God: Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson have blessed the church with a helpful volume in Crossway”™s “Theology in Community” series, entitled, The Glory of God.  The aim of the book is to ask and answer the question, “what does the Bible teach” about God”™s glory (20).  The editors seek a two pronged attack in achieving their aim.  Chapters 1-6 seek to “help us glorify God in our minds by focusing on biblical and theological truths related to his glory.  Chapters 7 and 8 help us rejoice in our hearts as they illuminate how these truths about God”™s glory shape our view and approach to the church, pastoral ministry, and missions” (21).  Nine different authors, all instructors at theological institutions, contribute to the volume.  The audience is intended to be college and seminary students and those pastors with such training (14). The book is arranged by addressing the subject of God”™s glory historically, then from the perspective of the Old Testament, New Testament, the Synoptic Gospels/Acts/General Epistles, John”™s Gospel/Revelation, and Paul”™s Epistles.  The book then contains a chapter on the overall theology of God”™s glory, and concludes with chapters on pastoral and missional implications of God”™s glory. I found the structure and arrangement of the book helpful.  Moving from an historical sweep to looking at how God”™s glory is described in detail from the Old Testament through the emphases in various New Testament genre, then to a more global evaluation of the biblical material, ending with more practical implications was...
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