Greatheart's Table

Encouragement for Pastors and Those Who Care for Them

17. What Can the Righteous Do?

Here at Greatheart’s Table, we are especially grateful for those of you who are NOT pastors. I write for pastors and those who love them, as the tag line says. But many of you are not pastors. You are those who love Christ and his church and are enjoying finding kindred spirits with whom to live this Christian life together. Your presence here is an encouragement to me.

This post is the first installment of two in which we explore the unsettledness we feel in the face of a broken world. Our impulse is to do something, to take action, to respond.

The question that plagues us is, “What Can the Righteous Do?” Let’s think about that.

UPDATE: Due to an overeager ring finger on my left hand, Psalm 11:3 became Psalm 111:3 in the initial post. As far as I am able, I’ve repaired the damage. Thanks to those who pointed this out!


EPISODE NOTES

Notes and resources relevant to this episode:

The Psalm referenced is Psalm 11:3

James Davison Hunter, To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World (United States: Oxford University Press, USA, 2020), p. 234.


Podcast music provided by Over the Rhine, and used with permission.
Intro: “All My Favorite People” / Lyrics
Outro: “Called Home” / Lyrics


Thanks for joining us at The Table.

To find our more about Greatheart’s Table, visit us here.

You can email us at GreatheartsTable@gmail.com.

16. The Playful Pastor

Welcome to Greatheart’s Table, a place meant to encourage the ordinary pastor in the long grind of pastoral ministry.

And encouragement is what we often need.

Most of us here will never have a broad platform or a particularly large church. And most of us quite often question our calling and wonder about our relevance. And being serious sorts, we often let these things drag us down. With this unusually long episode (a couple minutes longer than normal), I’d like us to find a counter-weight to this heaviness with a spirit of playfulness. Let’s talk about something that sounds odd to say and which for some may sound even wrong.

I’d like to encourage you to be a “Playful Pastor.”


EPISODE NOTES

Notes and resources relevant to this episode:

Though it may sound like it, “Pastor Mike” is not a pseudonym. The Reverend Willard E. Michael was, while Barb and I were students at Michigan State University, the pastor of East Lansing Trinity Church in East Lansing, Michigan. He is one of the reasons I am today a pastor.

Calvin Seerveld, Rainbows for the Fallen World (Canada: Toronto Tuppence Press, 1980), pp. 52, 53.

Some daydreaming is good, as recently reported by the Washington Post journalist Jill Suttie.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2021/08/02/daydream-mind-wander-happiness/
Accessed 8/2/2021

The quote from the song “Born” is from the 2005 album Drunkard’s Prayer.
http://overtherhine.com/music/drunkards-prayer/

Marilyn McEntyre, Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies, Second Edition (United States: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2021), p.191.

Genesis 1:31


Podcast music provided by Over the Rhine, and used with permission.
Intro: “All My Favorite People” / Lyrics
Outro: “Called Home” / Lyrics


Thanks for joining us at The Table.

To find our more about Greatheart’s Table, visit us here.

You can email us at GreatheartsTable@gmail.com.

15. Smells Like Groupie Spirit

Thanks for joining us at Greatheart’s Table.

If you like what we are doing here, please tell others to join us. And if you are able to drop some coins in the tip jar to help offset my expenses, that would be kindly received, but it is not expected. We are just glad to have you around.

There have always been pastors with broad impact and what we might now call significant platforms. To learn from those gifted and in places of prominence is the way things are supposed to be. But to acquiesce automatically to what they say is more akin to what I call “Groupie Spirit,” and it kind of stinks.


EPISODE NOTES

Notes and resources relevant to this episode:

Behind the name Jesse is a real person and a real experience. However, for several reasons, I’ve chosen to use a pseudonym. The character represents a number of courageous people I have known, as well as an ideal to which I aspire.

Presbyterian churches are organized into regional bodies called “presbyteries” which meet periodically to set policy on matters affecting them all.

When my wife, my copy editor, read this she wrote in the margin, “I have no idea what you are saying here.” The idea of the enneagram had not yet cracked her world. If it has not cracked yours, that’s okay. You can just go on labeling people with their Myers-Briggs letters.

The scripture quoted is from 1 Corinthians 1:11, 12.


Podcast music provided by Over the Rhine, and used with permission.
Intro: “All My Favorite People” / Lyrics
Outro: “Called Home” / Lyrics


Thanks for joining us at The Table.

To find our more about Greatheart’s Table, visit us here.

You can email us at GreatheartsTable@gmail.com.

14. The Unbusy Pastor

Welcome to the fourteenth post in Greatheart’s Table. I’m glad you’re along for the ride. Feel free to forward these posts to others if you find them helpful.

In this post I continue our conversation about busy-ness suggesting some pathways to lessen the stress. Where we end is always where we need to end: putting aside our desire for acclaim and being content with Jesus.

So in this episode we consider what it means to be an “Unbusy Pastor.”

If you would like to help with the costs of producing these episodes, I’d appreciate it. Click on the “tip jar.” There’s no pressure!


EPISODE NOTES

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Eugene Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor (United States: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989), pp. 19-22

Peterson, pp. 21, 22.

David Allen, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, Revised Edition (United States: Piatkus Books, 2015)

James Fallows, “Organize Your Life”, accessed 8/2/21

Gordon MacDonald, Ordering Your Private World (United States: Thomas Nelson Publishers,1984), pp.81ff.
The other three “laws” are:
* Unseized time flows toward my weaknesses.
* Unseized time comes under the influence of dominant people in my world.
* Unseized time surrenders to the demands of all emergencies.

Forty years later, I could easily add a fifth.
* Unseized time defaults to our electronic devices and streaming services.


Podcast music provided by Over the Rhine, and used with permission.
Intro: “All My Favorite People” / Lyrics
Outro: “Called Home” / Lyrics


Thanks for joining us at The Table.

To find our more about Greatheart’s Table, visit us here.

You can email us at GreatheartsTable@gmail.com.

13. The Busy Pastor

If there is anything that pastors can agree on, it’s that we are busy. We complain about it like we complain about the weather. Being busy is a badge many wear with honor. Busy-ness, we may think, is somewhere next to godliness.

That’s an assumption that in this episode of Greatheart’s Table I’d like to challenge as we think about what it means to be a busy pastor.

If anyone would like to help with the costs of producing these episodes, I’d appreciate it. Click on the “tip jar.” There’s no pressure!

If you find value in what we are doing here, it would be great if you could review us, but more than that, stop right now and tell some friends about us. I’d appreciate it!

EPISODE NOTES

Quotes in this episode are from these sources:

John Calvin, Commentaries on the Last Four Books of Moses, Volume 1 (United States: Baker Book House, 1989), pp. 303-304. This is Calvin’s commentary on Exodus 18:13ff.

Eugene Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor (United States: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989), p. 17.

Dan Allender, Leading with a Limp (United States: Waterbrook Press, 2008), p. 128.


Podcast music provided by Over the Rhine, and used with permission.
Intro: “All My Favorite People” / Lyrics
Outro: “Called Home” / Lyrics


Thanks for joining us at The Table.

To find our more about Greatheart’s Table, visit us here.

You can email us at GreatheartsTable@gmail.com.

12. Lighten Up and Fly Bright

Recently I sat around a table with other pastors sharing stories about funerals and weddings that did not quite go as planned. It was wonderfully therapeutic. These other pastors are gifted people with vibrant ministries whose labors sometimes went awry. We laughed, as we pastors must do, and it was good.

So, with a nod to Nat King Cole, I’d like to encourage us all to find ways we can “lighten up and fly bright.”

If anyone would like to help with the costs of producing these episodes, I’d appreciate it. Click on the “tip jar.” There’s no pressure!

EPISODE NOTES

Having trouble laughing at yourself? Perhaps you can begin by laughing with others. Try this.


Podcast music provided by Over the Rhine, and used with permission.
Intro: “All My Favorite People” / Lyrics
Outro: “Called Home” / Lyrics


Thanks for joining us at The Table.

To find our more about Greatheart’s Table, visit us here.

You can email us at GreatheartsTable@gmail.com.

11. On Being Predictable and Consistent

Hi. Welcome to mid-July at Greatheart’s Table. As you know I’ve promised to keep our time together short each week. Each newsletter post of 800 words translates into about 6-8 minutes on audio. I don’t want to consume too much of your time. Nevertheless, should you like to carry on the conversation, do so by emailing me, or posting comments on the newsletter. I’m encouraged by the interchange.

Also, remember, there will be no post on July 19. The next one will be released on July 26.

This week I want to consider a temptation we all face, which is in some ways good and in other ways deadly. So pull up a chair and let’s talk about “Being Predictable and Consistent.”


EPISODE NOTES

The sermon referenced is from John Webster, Christ Our Salvation, (United States: Lexham Press, 2020), p. 94, 95 and p. 91.

John 3:8 suggests that the Holy Spirit is sometimes unconcerned about the predictable and consistent. There, Jesus says, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Sage counsel.

Podcast music provided by Over the Rhine, and used with permission.
Intro: “All My Favorite People” / Lyrics
Outro: “Called Home” / Lyrics


Thanks for joining us at The Table.

To find our more about Greatheart’s Table, visit us here.

You can email us at GreatheartsTable@gmail.com.

10. Pastor Puddleglum

Thanks for the encouraging words many of you have sent my way.

I write with pastors in view – so if you know any who might benefit from joining us here, do let them know. But I am discovering that many of you who have found the content thus far helpful are not pastors. I say, the more the merrier. I’m glad to have you as well. Pass an invite on to others you know.
Either way, if you have a few moments and could post a review on your podcast source, I’d appreciate that.

In this post I’d like to think about the diverse square pegs God calls to fit into the curiously round hole called ministry.

I’d like you to meet “Pastor Puddleglum.”


EPISODE NOTES

These words of Puddleglum come from C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, (United States: HarperCollins Publishers, 1981), p. 69.

I have an ambivalent relationship with Whitefield in particular and the Great Awakening in general which may explain my rather Puddleglummish approach here. Nevertheless, Thomas Kidd’s bio of Whitefield is wonderful.

The B. Franklin quote comes from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin accessed via Project Gutenberg.

Tennant’s sermon is summarized here. Full text here.

And here are Tigger and Eeyore

Podcast music provided by Over the Rhine, and used with permission.
Intro: “All My Favorite People” / Lyrics
Outro: “Called Home” / Lyrics


Thanks for joining us at The Table.

To find our more about Greatheart’s Table, visit us here.

You can email us at GreatheartsTable@gmail.com.

9. The Eyes of the Chooser

Thanks for listening to Greatheart’s Table. For reasons this post will explain I don’t know how many of you there are out there, but I’m grateful for all of you, or perhaps both of you, as the case may be.

In this post, I’m thinking about our motivation for ministry. It’s possible we pay more attention to the acclaim of the chosen than we do to the call of the Chooser, and that can be wearisome. What might it be like to be conscious only of “The Eyes of the Chooser?” Pull up a chair and let’s talk about it.


EPISODE NOTES

Gordon MacDonald, Ordering Your Private World (United States: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984). Soon after I read the book, MacDonald’s own private world was revealed to be a mess. Nevertheless, the book has value.

John 3:30

This comes from Anna L. Waring’s 1850 hymn “Father, I know that all my life.” Full lyrics can be found here.


Podcast music provided by Over the Rhine, and used with permission.
Intro: “All My Favorite People” / Lyrics
Outro: “Called Home” / Lyrics


Thanks for joining us at The Table.

To find our more about Greatheart’s Table, visit us here.

You can email us at GreatheartsTable@gmail.com.

8. A Quiet Place, Part II

Hi! Welcome to Greatheart’s Table.

A friend recently stopped by a donut shop in Michigan whose slogan is “Donuts: We made them taste good; you made them famous.

I want to adopt that idea. I do what I can to make these posts taste good. If you agree, then I need you to make them “famous.”

Fame is not my goal, but being a service to as many as I can is. If you find these posts tasty, please let others know.

I hope you have others to tell, not just for my sake, but in a real sense for yours as well. I touched upon the need for friendship in our last conversation. Pull up a chair as we continue that them in this post called “A Quiet Place, Part II.”


EPISODE NOTES

I’ve titled the previous post and this one after the movie and its recently released sequel for reasons which I hope become clear.

If the notion of sailors performing an on-board rendition of The Messiah seems a stretch, it is because our view of the shipboard culture of that time is shaped by legend and not reality. O’Brian has done his research deep in the archives of the British navy.

Patrick O’Brian, The Ionian Mission (United States: W. W. Norton & Company, 1992), p. 166.
If I make frequent references to these books it is because O’Brian’s insight into humanity is so rich. It’s also because I’m a fan.


Podcast music provided by Over the Rhine, and used with permission.
Intro: “All My Favorite People” / Lyrics
Outro: “Called Home” / Lyrics


Thanks for joining us at The Table.

To find our more about Greatheart’s Table, visit us here.

You can email us at GreatheartsTable@gmail.com.

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