A Day In The Life Of A Pastor

At the end of his post Dr. Thom Rainer extends a challenge to pray for your pastor five minutes a day. If you will commit to this challenge or believe that it is a much-needed ministry, will you please share this on your Facebook page, email the link to all your friends, or have  your church send this to their members. Once you have done these things then pray! Pray for wisdom, discernment, holiness, purity, compassion, vision, and most of all for a Spirit-filled life. You will never know this side of heaven the difference you are making for the kingdom of God.

I hope “A Day In The Life Of A Pastor” by Thom Rainer encourages you to pray for your pastor.

Rainer writes:

It’s Thursday morning. Pastor Doug has a clear calendar, an aberration in his busy schedule. Actually, the calendar is not really clear; he has set aside time to finish his sermon for Sunday. His Bible is open; study aids are nearby. He begins to study.

Then the phone rings.

His assistant tells him about a car accident involving a family in the church. The ambulances are already on the way to the hospital. Doug leaves all of his study material on his desk and jumps into the car.

On the way to the hospital, his assistant calls him again. The entire Godsey family of five was in the car. None are seriously [hurt] except Gary, the father and husband of the family. His condition is grave.

Pastor Doug walks into the emergency waiting room. The family has just been told that their husband and father did not make it. They see their pastor and run to him sobbing, in total shock. Doug is there for them. He stays with the entire family for three hours until he is certain that enough people are around to care for them.

The Afternoon

He stops by his home to see his wife and grab a quick sandwich. It is now afternoon. He’s not sure if he can return to his sermon preparation, but he knows he must. He must fight the emotional exhaustion of the morning, and finish the message. But as he walks back to the church, his assistant apologetically tells him that two people need to speak with him. They consider it urgent.

Doug meets with the two men. One of them is the worship leader of the church. He is struggling with his ministry and is considering giving up. For two hours, Doug listens, consoles, and attempts to encourage the staff member.

The next visitor then catches Doug off guard. George is one of the key lay leaders in the church. Doug considers him a friend and an incredibly vital person in the overall leadership of the congregation. George struggles to speak: “My wife is having an affair . . . “  There are no more words for 15 minutes. Just tears and sobs.

Doug stays with George for over two hours. They pray together and talk about next steps.

It’s nearly five o’clock in the afternoon. Doug is too drained to attempt to get back to his sermon. Instead he begins to look at his crowded email inbox. He cringes when he sees one of the senders of an email. But he cannot stop himself from opening the message. It’s from one of Doug’s most frequent critics in the church. She has two complaints. The first irritation was something he said in last Sunday’s sermon. The second complaint addressed Doug’s failure to visit her sister-in-law who had minor outpatient surgery yesterday. The sister-in-law is not a member of the church. And Doug knew nothing about the surgery.

And Now Evening

Pastor Doug shuts the laptop cover and moves to his car slowly. He’ll stop by the house to grab a quick bite to eat. He needs to check on the Godsey family. He will stay with them for a while, but he must leave prior to 7:30, when he is to give the invocation for a local high school basketball game.

Several people get his attention at the game, so he doesn’t get home until after nine o’clock. He goes to his small study in his home, shuts the door, and begins to cry.

Gary Godsey, the father and husband who was killed in the car accident, was Doug’s best friend.

This was the first chance Doug had to grieve.

A Call to Pray for Pastors

The story is true. Only the names have been changed.

In a few weeks, I will be initiating a call for church members to pray five minutes a day for their pastors. Will you make a commitment today, even before the initiative? Will you commit just five minutes a day to pray for your pastor? Will you ask others in your church to do so? Will you pray for their strength, protection, wisdom, and families?

Will you pray for just five minutes?

A Father’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, can you forgive me for hurting my children?

I came from a poor background so I thought that a big house would make my children feel important. I didn’t realize that all it takes is my love.

I thought money would bring them happiness, but all it did was make them think that things were more important than people.

I thought spanking them would make them tough so that they could defend themselves. All it did was stop me from seeking wisdom so that I could discipline and teach them.

I thought that leaving them alone would make them independent. All it did was force my one son to be the father to my second son.

I thought that by smoothing over all of the family problems I was keeping peace. All I was teaching them was to run rather than lead.

I thought that by pretending to be the perfect family in public that I was bringing them respectability. All I was teaching them was to live a lie and keep the secret.

I thought that all I had to do to be a father was make money, stay at home and supply all their material needs. All I taught them was that there is more to being a dad. The problem is they will have to guess what being a dad really is.

And Dear God,

I hope you can read this prayer. My tears have smudged a lot of words.

From “Stories for the Heart” by Alice Gray (Multnomah, 169).

The Red Umbrella

As the drought continued for what seemed an eternity, a small community of midwest farmers were in a quandary as to what to do. The rain was important not only in order to keep the crops healthy, but to sustain the townspeople’s very way of living. As the problem became more urgent, the local church felt it was time to get involved and planned a prayer meeting in order to ask for rain.

In what seemed a vague remembrance of an old Native American ritual, the people began to show. The pastor soon arrived and watched as his congregation continued to file in. He slowly circulated from group to group as he made his way to the front in order to officially begin the meeting. Everyone he encountered was visiting across the aisles, enjoying the chance to socialize with their close friends. As the pastor finally secured his place in front of his flock, his thoughts were on the importance of quieting the crowd and starting the meeting.

Just as he began asking for quiet, he noticed an eleven-year-old girl sitting in the front row. She was angelically beaming with excitement and laying next to her was her bright red umbrella, poised for use. The beauty and innocence of this sight made the pastor smile to himself as he realized the faith this young girl possessed that the rest of the people in the room seemed to have forgotten. For the rest had come just to pray for rain…she had come to see God’s answer.

“Tim Tebow on Tebowing” By Anugrah Kumar

It’s the football off-season and Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow made appearances in Las Vegas, Nevada, over the weekend and spoke to thousands of his Christian fans about “Tebowing,” printing Bibles verses on his eye black and what Jesus means to him.

The 3,000-seat Canyon Ridge Christian Church at Lone Mountain Road and Jones Boulevard could not hold the crowd Sunday and about 1,800 people had to sit under a tent outside to watch the service via video feed, according to Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The Christian football star, who had brought the Bible he has used since his high school days, showed Senior Pastor Kevin Odor how to “Tebow” and prayed for those hoping to welcome Christ into their hearts, the Journal reported.

On Saturday night, Tebow spent about 45 minutes talking with Pastor Odor at Canyon Ridge’s auditorium. “I’m pretty sure I’m not the first athlete to get on a knee and pray,” Las Vegas Sun quoted the casually dressed Tebow as saying. “It’s funny, I’ve been doing this same exact routine for the last seven years and for some reason this was the first year that people started talking about it.”

Why does he do it? “There’s all this excitement in a game, whether it’s playing the NFL or college, with all the hype,” he said. “You’re going to do good, you’re going to do bad and all the eyes are watching you and for me, it’s to be able to take a moment to block out everything else and just get on a knee and thank the Lord.”

One of the reasons he gets on a knee, he added, “is because that’s a form of humbling yourself. I want to humble myself before the Lord and say thank you for this opportunity. Thank you for letting me play the game I love. Whether I’m good or bad, whether I’m the hero or the goat, whether I score four touchdowns or throw four interceptions, that will still be the same person, honoring the Lord.”

Tebow also shared about the Bible verses he frequently wore on his eye black until it was banned in 2010. He said he chose Philippians 4:13 because “there’s not a better verse for an athlete.” It reads, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

He contemplated changing passages – to John 3:16. “I told Coach (Urban) Meyer, and he said, ‘What?! That’s a good point, Tim, but Philippians 4:13 is what got us here.'” Tebow agreed not to change. But when he finally did during a national championship game against Ohio State, 94 million people did a Google search for John 3:16. “My first thought was how do 94 million people not know what John 3:16 is?” he said.

The verse, he added, presents the essence of what Christianity is. “It’s a verse that changed my life when I was a little boy,” he said. “It’s the essence of what I believe and that’s why I wanted to wear it, because it’s an amazing verse that has the power to change people’s lives.”

Tebow stressed the primacy of faith in his life. “You get bashed against the rocks sometimes,” he was quoted as saying. “But when you have a relationship with Christ … One of my favorite quotes is, ‘I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who holds it.’ I know what my rock is. I know who’s holding my future. It’s easy to get hurried and too busy and distracted from your priorities. Mine are faith, family and football, in that order. When those get jumbled up, you’re putting the wrong things first in life.”

He also mentioned during his appearance at the Las Vegas megachurch that his teammates would occasionally joke about him not cursing on the field. “Some of my linemen would come up to me and say, ‘What is that thing that stops the water in the middle of the river?’ and I said, ‘Dam?’ and they would laugh and say, ‘We got Tim to curse.'”

A Prayer for Smug Grace Legalists, Like Me

Talk about a great title for an article, “A Prayer for Smug Grace Legalists, Like Me.” As soon as I saw the title I had to read this post by Scotty Smith. This is a prayer most of us don’t pray very often; however, we should be praying like this every day. When we  exam our lives and then confess any forms of hypocrisy we are immediately drawn into a deeper relationship with God our Father through the Lord Jesus Christ.

I pray that Scotty Smith’s post for The Gospel Coalition will touch you in a special way, and thus change the way you look at yourself, others, and the God you serve.

Smith writes:

And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” Mark 7:5-8

Lord Jesus, these are strong words. What could be more painful and humbling than to hear you say, “You talk about me a whole lot, using plenty of spiritual language and Bible quotes. You’re very quick to recognize and correct false teaching. You’re even zealous to apply what you know to others, but your heart is far from me. There’s an unacceptable disconnect between what you say and who you are.”

It would be one thing if such a rebuke came to us because we were acting like the Pharisees and scribes you publically confronted—spiritual leaders who distorted and misapplied Old Testament law; religious teachers who put your people under the yoke of performance-based spirituality; Israel’s elders who replaced your commandments with their traditions; authorities who were more scrupulous about tithing mint, dill and cumin than “the weightier matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness” (Matt. 23:23).

But, Lord, help us to see and grieve, that we who love the gospel and a theology of grace, can be just as disconnected, hypocritical and rebuke-worthy as any legalist we will ever encounter.

Forgive us for being just as smug with our grace theology as we were obnoxious with our legalistic theology.

Forgive us when we call ourselves “recovering Pharisees” or “recovering legalists” when in actuality, we’re not really recovering from much of anything.

Forgive us, Jesus, when we enjoy exposing bad teachers and false gospels more than we love spending time with you in prayer and fellowship.

Forgive us for having a PhD in the indicatives of the gospel yet failing so miserably when it comes to the imperatives of the gospel.

Forgive us when we are quick to tell people what obedience is not, but fail to demonstrate what the obedience of faith and love actually is.

Forgive us when talk more about “getting the gospel” than demonstrating we’ve been “gotten” by the gospel.

Forgive us when we don’t use our freedom to serve one another in love, but rather use it to put our consciences to sleep.

Forgive us when our love for the gospel does not translate into a love for holiness, world evangelism, and caring for widows and orphans.

Forgive us when we love “the gospel” more than we actually love you, Jesus, as impossible or implausible as that may seem.

Forgive us when the word “gospel” is more of a hyphenated word in our vocabulary than a life-transforming power in our lives. Forgive us; forgive me.

Lord Jesus, change us by your grace and for your glory. So very Amen we pray, with convicted and humbled hearts.