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Ensuring Christmas remains the most wonderful time of the year

Christmas used to be my favourite time of year. As a child and even into my young adult years, Christmas meant family time. It meant vacation. Christmas was about the never-ending stream of amazing meals, baked goods and festivities. There was list of movies to watch and there was the music, of course, which played on a continual loop in the background. It was – at one point – quite literally the most wonderful time of year.

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How to love yourself as you love others

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Pastors are people, too”? For the parishioner, this refrain invites them to remember the humanity of those who shepherd them in their churches. It suggests that their pastors are liable to struggle with the same issues that your average person does – a helpful reminder for them to consider easing off on their demands as they consider that their pastor has other things going on.

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When forced, unexpected termination comes knocking

I sat quietly and listened as the pastor shook his head in both grief and bewilderment. He was desperately trying to make sense of his unexpected, forced termination from the church he had pastored and loved. To add insult to injury, he grieved that there was no effort for a biblical resolution, which, in his opinion, would have addressed some of the issues that the board threw on the table for his dismissal. It was painful to watch as the reality of what he was facing washed over him.

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Replacing the lies of imposter syndrome with God’s truth

One of the things that makes us uniquely human is the ability to think and reason in our mind. We can process things that are going on with imaginative pictures and possibilities. How many times have you caught yourself staring off into space as you soak in the wonderful indulgence of daydreaming? We longingly think about something that we are looking forward to or we replay a delightful conversation. There is hope-filled anticipation of what is to come and there is joy in remembering what once was.

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Turning “ticked off“ into “curiosity”

Do you ever have one of those days that moves along really well? You’ve had a great night’s sleep. Things are going according to how you expected. The kids got up and ready for school without a fuss. Everyone made it out the door with a smile on their face. You get to work and open your email to find a note of encouragement: “Hey Pastor, just want you to know that I’m thankful for you and praying for you today.”

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The tip of the iceberg: Being mindful of what’s below the surface

Have you ever heard anyone use the saying “that’s just the tip of the iceberg”? I’m sure we all have and maybe we have said it ourselves. Whenever I hear someone refer to the tip of the iceberg my mind goes to the historical story of the Titanic. The iceberg that was seen was literally only the “tip of the iceberg.” It was the part of the iceberg that was unseen that sunk the supersized ship that was said to be unsinkable.

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Reflections on transition in ministry

When you spend four and a half years in one church and then 28 years in the next church, it is easy to think one hasn’t faced much transition. As I look back, I have to say, this isn’t the case.

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How to endure in ministry without facing exhaustion

As I write this, a snowstorm is swirling outside, but in this time, it is not only the weather that keeps us isolated and, in many ways, disconnected. We know that many in society are suffering increased challenges to their mental health due to the restrictions related to COVID-19 – and clergy and ministry leaders are not immune to trials of the mind and spirit.

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Don’t give up

Dear Fellow Servants of the Lord Jesus:

A couple of days ago, on two different occasions, trusted ministry partners shared with me that a significant portion of pastors in North America are discouraged, and even considering leaving pastoral ministry. I woke up this morning with this fact, or observation, on my mind and heart, and during morning devotions wondered if I could speak a word to any of you wrestling along such lines.

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Book review: When to Walk Away: Finding Freedom from Toxic People by Gary Thomas

“If someone is getting in the way of you becoming the person God created you to be or is frustrating the work God has called you to do, for you that person is toxic.”

This quote is taken from Gary Thomas’ book When to Walk Away: Finding Freedom from Toxic People. He wrote this book to help the reader understand the impact of toxic people in their lives. He underscores this by adding, “This book is about protecting our mission from toxic attacks even more than it’s about protecting ourselves from toxic people.”

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