Tom Nelson: The Day I Confessed Pastoral Malpractice

"Years ago, I stood before my congregation to make a heartfelt confession. It was indeed difficult to do, yet it would prove transformative for our entire faith community.More than a decade has passed since that day, but I still remember it clearly. Against a backdrop of pindrop silence, I asked the congregation I served to forgive me. Not for sexual impropriety or financial misconduct, but for pastoral malpractice. I confessed I had spent the minority of my time equipping them for what they … [Read more...]

Discovering the Joy of Being Generative

It’s a game we often play. We jockey for position based on what we’ve accomplished – and not just for the social prestige, but also for our self-esteem.Some of us have come to believe what American society has told us – those who really matter have titles that impress, degrees from prestigious institutions, careers as high-level corporate leaders (or, in the current trend, as entrepreneurs), or thousands of followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.Christians are not immune. … [Read more...]

Jesus is More (But Not Less) than a Carpenter

“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him” (Mark 6:3).Tom Nelson writes, "As I slowly pondered these words, I began to reflect on the significance of Jesus spending so much of his time on earth working with his hands in a carpentry shop. Here was the Son of God sent to earth on a redemptive mission of seeking and saving the lost, of proclaiming the gospel, yet he spent th … [Read more...]

Are There Two Kinds of Grace?

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. As God created everything in the cosmos in an orderly way, we read in Genesis 1 that "God saw that it was good."  After God made it all, we read, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (Genesis 1:31) Think about it. It was very good! How dare we think that our sin can nullify that which God has made!But that is exactly the implication we get from many of our churches - that the creation is so evil that there is nothing … [Read more...]

Four Ideas for Handling a Bad Boss

Oh, Mondays! As you get ready for work, you realized, "Ugh! I have to work with that boss again today!"Perhaps your boss yells at you or your boss demeans you with passive-aggressive behavior.I've had both kinds of bosses. One guy acted like his team was in the military and he was a drill sergeant – he actually thought he could motivate us by yelling at us. It just made me shrink up into the fetal position in my emotions, no longer even capable of doing a good job, let alone a better one. … [Read more...]

Your Identity Doesn’t Come from Your Work

So, you’re at a gathering and you meet someone for the first time. He asks you a key question so that he knows who you are: “What do you do?”What we do is so inextricably linked to who we are. It just is. Why? Because, in the beginning, God made humans this way!In Genesis, God says,“Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule...” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blesse … [Read more...]

Shalom is Broken (The Fall)

The four-part story of the Gospel isCREATION FALL REDEMPTION RESTORATIONSadly, in this post, I am still covering the tragedy of the Fall.No longer does everyone work together for the attainment of shalom. Cornelius Plantinga Jr. defines shalom as “universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight.” According to Plantinga, shalom is the way things are supposed to be. This is the premise of his excellent book, Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin.Mike Wittmer, in hi … [Read more...]

The Consequences of the Fall

After the creative events recorded in Genesis 1 and 2, Genesis 3 records what theologians call “the Fall.” “The essence of man's first sin was his disobedience to the only divine command he had received: not to eat of the tree of knowledge. The consequences of his actions are both physical—toil, pain. and death—and spiritual—alienation from God.” (Gordon J. Wenham, Word Biblical Commentary Volume 1, Genesis 1-15) The consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin goes beyond them to all of humanity, we inh … [Read more...]

Work that is Unique to You (The Good Creation)

The first herders, musicians, and bronze workers are recorded in Genesis. “Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron.” (Genesis 4:20-22) According to Cornelius Plantinga Jr., "All of these unfold the built-in potential of God’s creation. All reflect the ingenuity of God’s human crea … [Read more...]

Work is a Part of the Good Creation

Genesis 1 does not explicitly use the term “work,” but in the creation account recorded in Genesis 2, the word becomes much more central.In verse 5, the text says that there were two reasons why shrubs and plants had not yet appeared: God had not yet sent rain, and more significantly to our study, “There was no one to work (ʿavad) the ground.” God’s creational intention for humanity was that we were to work. This, it should be noted, is before the events recorded in Genesis 3, so work is no … [Read more...]