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...
Weekly Planning: When and How

Weekly Planning: When and How

The previous post looked at the background, reasons, and benefits of having a weekly planning or review in order to focus on priorities in life. In this final post, I want to look at when you should do the review, what I do, and some things to watch out for. When Some of the principles that should govern when you do your weekly review are: “¢ Toward the end of your work week so you can look back on what was effective, how the next week will be affected by the previous week, what needs to be adjusted, and what needs to be followed up. “¢ Close to the beginning of your new work week. More than likely, your brain needs a break from the activity of the week. But before you begin a new one, your mind needs to gain an overall perspective of what”™s ahead. Pick an in-between time ““ where you”™ve had the opportunity to get away from the previous week and when you can mentally set the agenda for the next. For me this is Saturday morning. Friday is my day off and I typically block the day for family activities and rest. I don”™t want to think and plan on that day ““ I want to decompress and enjoy my family. So planning on Friday would simply be exhausting and frustrating. Sunday is filled with ministry opportunities. The morning is focused on preparing to preach and teach, the afternoon generally consists of lunch with church members and preparation for our evening gathering. I also often meet with a group of men to discuss Sunday”™s...
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