Saturday, March 8, 2014

All Around the Web - March 8, 2014

Thom Rainer - Eight of the Most Significant Struggles Pastors Face
  1. Criticism and conflict. I do have a few observations about this number one issue. First, it seems to be growing, and pastors seem to be experiencing greater challenges. Second, most of the issues of conflict are not doctrinal issues. Indeed, most are trivial issues. Finally, very few pastors are equipped and trained to deal with the steady stream of critics and crises.
  2. Family problems. Many pastors struggle with expectations by church members of their spouses or children. Others struggle with finding time for their families. Many pastors’ families struggle with the “glass house” syndrome.
  3. Stress. The pastor’s life is one of emotional highs and lows. It includes critics and adoring fans. Expectations from church members can be unreasonable. The very nature of a pastor’s call into ministry can lend itself to seemingly unending stress.
  4. Depression. Every time I write about this topic, I hear from countless pastors and staff. Depression is pervasive in pastoral ministry. And it is often the “secret” problem.
  5. Burnout. Local church ministry can attract two broad types of persons: the lazy and the workaholic. Accountability is often low, and it can be easy to get away with little work, or to work 70 plus hours a week. I see more of the latter than the former.
  6. Sexual problems. These problems are most often in one of two categories: pornography or marital unfaithfulness.
  7. Financial problems. Most of the world hears about the few pastors who make huge salaries. The reality is that the majority of pastors struggle financially.
  8. Time management. Expectations of pastors can be unrealistic. Pastors are often expected to attend multiple meetings, to visit countless congregants, to prepare sermons with excellence, to provide ongoing strategic leadership, to conduct weddings and funerals, and to be involved in the community. Many pastors don’t know how or when to say “no.” And many are not good at delegating, or they really don’t have anyone who can handle some of their responsibilities.

Real Clear Politics - Planned Parenthood President: When Life Begins Not "Relevant" to Conversation

Tim ChalliesThe False Teachers: Muhammed
Muhammad was born around 570 in Mecca in what is now the nation of Saudi Arabia. This was an area where there were significant populations of both Christians and Jews, so there was access to the Scriptures and the teachings of both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Muslims claim that Muhammad was a direct descendent of Ishmael, and thus of Abraham, though the only evidence to support this comes through oral tradition. Muhammad’s father died before he was born and his mother sent him as an infant to live in the desert with Bedouins in order to become acquainted with Arab traditions. While in the desert he is said to have encountered two angels who opened his chest and cleansed his heart with snow, symbolic of Islam’s teaching that he was purified and protected from all sin.

Muhammad returned to Mecca sometime soon after. His mother passed away when he was 6 and he came under the immediate care of his grandfather and then his uncle. At 25 he married a wealthy Meccan woman who was 15 years his senior.

By the age of 35, Muhammed had become highly respected in Mecca, largely for his piety. He would often go into the desert to meditate and pray, and on one of these retreats, at the age of 40, he is said to have been visited by the angel Gabriel. It was here that he received the beginnings of revelation that would become the Qur’an. This process of revelation, which was sometimes mediated through Gabriel and other times came directly to his heart, lasted approximately 23 years, and ended shortly before his death.

Pastor's Today - Comforting a Grieving Family

B - Be physically present.
L - Listen to them.
E - Empathize with their pain.
S Share a passage of Scripture.
S -  Say a prayer for them.

Ben Witherington - I’d really Dig a Camel about Now!
There is a recent archaeological report about camels, or the lack thereof in the Holy Land. John Noble Wilford of the NY Times has a recent article about the findings which can be found here—-″ title=”Camels”. The findings include the deduction that because evidence has not yet been found for camels in the Holy Land prior to 1,000 B.C. therefore they likely were not part of the economy in that Land before then, and also therefore, the reports in Genesis of Abraham and others having camels ‘must be anachronistic’ reflecting the fact that those accounts must have been written at a much later period of time, not in the 2nd millennium B.C. There are so many problems with this sort of thinking that I find it staggering that good archaeologists from Tel Aviv University and elsewhere could say such things.

It never ceases to amaze me how some scholars think that ‘absence of evidence=evidence of absence’. The fact that we at present can find no remains of camels in the Holy Land going back further than the time of King David proves nothing about the preceding eras. Nothing! Hardly 1 percent of the Holy Land has been archaeologically excavated. One cannot argue that nothing could have existed before 1000 B.C. so far as camels are concerned without having a reasonably comprehensive knowledge of all relevant sites from before that period. In fact not even famous sites like Bethel or Schechem have been fully excavated. All we can say is we now have evidence camels were used as far back as King David, which is useful to know.

And to then conclude further that Genesis must reflect considerable anachronisms based on this limited archaeological work is simply bad scholarship. We do not know this. We simply do not, nor is there any clear evidence to justify such a confident conclusion.

Add this to the list of Obama-isms.

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