Archives For Zach Eswine

It is not easy to suggest to people in our congregation that we learn how to practice God’s presence together. After all, for many, the idea of spending a moment-by-moment life with God doesn’t sound exciting.

It can help that different voices out there describe their experience with God’s presence as pleasurable. Slowly, we and those we serve can apprentice with these kinds of voices in order to take small steps of grace toward what they point us to.

One of these mentoring voices says of God: “In your presence there is fullness of joy; At your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). For this person, it was like God’s face peeked through into the dark world. The experience was like seeing one’s covenant love or dearest friend after a long absence. We run to meet them.

“Being with God feels good. He ravishes every bit of my soul. He satisfies me like nothing or nobody else can. When I’m with God I see the wholesome enjoyment I long for. With God I learn to believe again that original and delicious goods still exist and will not quit on me. His presence tantalizes and relaxes me all at the same time.”

I’m…

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As pastors we know that Jesus teaches us to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength (Matthew 22:37; Luke 10:27). But when we attempt to teach this love for God to others, we run into obstacles as ministry leaders. Why is this and what can we do?

Pay Attention to the Experiences (Providences) of Those We Serve

It can be hard to say, “I love you” to anyone.

For some of us it just isn’t “manly” or proper to do so. Love is weakness. Love makes a mockery of etiquette.

For others of us, we’ve said, “I love you” to so many people, only to learn later that we were holding on to something other than love. So, we don’t trust ourselves to say it wisely or truly anymore. We don’t trust others to mean it when they say it either. People can use love talk as well as any other thing in order to take selfies and get their own way. Maybe we’ve done this ourselves. Maybe God does the same. We are cynical about it all.

And let’s be honest – saying, “I love you” to someone we cannot see…

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bermuda triangleWhen I was a boy, the dangerous mystery surrounding the Bermuda Triangle captured my attention. Sometimes a plane or boat would enter the Triangle only to barely and frightfully get through or to disappear altogether. The riddle of the Triangle remains illusive.

As a Pastor, (and a parent) I’ve become painfully aware of what we might call “The Decision Making Triangle.”  Many of our decision-making journeys have ended with just as many riddles. Is there a map that can help us?

Yes!

First, lets remind ourselves that decisions have at least three basic coordinates. Decisions go awry if one or more of these components goes missing. We can identify the three edges of the Decision Making Triangle as:

  • The Right Thing
  • The Right Way
  • The Right Time

The Apostle Paul identifies these coordinates when he gives guidance to his apprentice named Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:23-26.

1. The Right Thing: Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. [i.e., Make sure that what you do is right and warranted–be able to teach, yes. Correct those who oppose you, yes. But some things that have the appearance of truth and whom…

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Crowd of Guys“With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel.” (2 Corinthians 8:18)

Most of us who serve all of our lives in ministry will not be asked to speak at a conference or write a book or give a radio interview. For the majority of us, our ministries are a long obscurity among the local and unheard of. In a celebrity and consumer oriented church culture this fact can take its toll on a pastor. We wear down as the autograph lines always form outside another’s door and never our own. It is no wonder that amid these cultural pressures even Jesus preachers can be tempted to use their ministries as a means to compete with and outshine others. (Phil. 1:17). The thought of an overlooked life knocks the wind out. Maybe this is why I come back to these sentences of Paul.

After all, when Apollos preached the place was packed. But when Paul came to preach some people slept in. Seats were left vacant. It was hard to find enough volunteers for the nursery on the mornings Paul…

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