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Category – The Christian life


A Pastor’s Reflections: Be Somebody or Do Something?

VFT
Over the years I have had many students come into my office and ask me about pursuing doctoral studies. One of the first questions I ask them is, “Why?” I ask this question because many students don’t know that pursuing doctoral studies is a long, difficult, and burdensome path. Once…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Flaws

VFT
There are preachers and theologians to whom we listen and read. They fill our hearts with joy because they excel at pointing us to Christ. They move us to tears when we hear them preach, or they instill zeal in our hearts when we read their thunderous prose. We elevate…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: The Inner Ring

VFT
One of the terms that has become popular in the last year is the deep state. In other words, people recognize that there is the recognized government, the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, but that at a deeper level there is a group of people and institutions that truly make…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Understanding Doctrine

VFT
As a professor and minister I regularly evaluate students to determine whether they possess the requisite theological knowledge to pass their exams. After a thirteen week semester students must take their final exam to demonstrate they have mastered the knowledge they have learned. It’s not enough to sit and listen—students…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Study Breaks

VFT
Over the years I have read and watched presbyteries review pastoral calls, and one of the regular benefits I’ve seen is a one or two-week study break. It’s fairly common, but what is the study break and what’s the best way to use one? The basic idea is that the…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Sanity in the Swarm of Gnats

VFT
In my college days, I used to play in my church’s softball league. I had a lot of fun playing softball with my fellow teammates. In fact, I played in the fall, spring, and summer leagues—almost year-round. But my least favorite season to play was summer. It wasn’t the hot,…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Now Thank We All Our God

VFT
One of the things my family does each Thanksgiving is, before we partake of our meal, we sing the first verse of the hymn, “Now Thank We All Our God,” which states: Now Thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices, who wondrous things has done, in…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: The Dangers of Bitterness

VFT
One of the biggest dangers in the pastorate is growing bitter towards your church. Ministry can wear on you very quickly. Whenever I’ve heard a pastor tell me that they’ve served for twenty or thirty years, I always comment that I’m impressed. Why? Because years in the pastorate are dog…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

VFT
The famous nineteenth-century novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde tells the story of Dr. Jekyll who would transform into the evil Mr. Hyde. Even though the novel was an early foray into science fiction, the book captures an aspect of sin-fallen condition. People carry sinful tendencies…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: License to Sin?

VFT
One of the more common patterns that appears in the church is when people find themselves in the midst of suffering, they believe they have a license to sin. Sometimes they do this consciously, although at times it might be an involuntary reaction. For example, a person might be deprived…
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