Daily Riches: Your Priesthood in Christ’s Church (Barbara Brown Taylor)

“After a very long engagement, it had finally happened. I was a priest in Christ’s Church. Even now, I would prefer a more user friendly word like pastor, but the truth is that an ancient word like priest captures the risk of this vocation as well as any word I know. In my lexicon, at least, a priest is someone willing to stand between a God and a people who are longing for one another’s love, turning back and forth between them with no hope of tending either as well as each deserves. To be a priest is to serve a God who never stops calling people to do more justice and love more mercy and simultaneously to serve people who nine times out of ten are just looking for a safe place to rest. To be a priest is to know that things are not as they should be and yet to care for them the way they are. To be a priest is to suspect that there is always something more urgent that you should be doing, no matter what you are doing, and to make peace with the fact that the work will never get done. To be a priest is to wonder sometimes if you are missing the boat altogether, by deferring pleasure in what God has made until you have fixed it up so that it will please God more. …being ordained is not about serving God perfectly but about serving God visibly, allowing other people to learn whatever they can from watching you rise and fall.” Barbara Brown Taylor


“You are royal priests,
a holy nation….”
1 Peter 2:9

Moving From the Head to the Heart

Every member of Christ’s church is a priest. Whether you are a professional or amateur, God’s expectations are daunting.

  • Can you stand between God and people and help connect them love?
  • Can you call people to a higher place who often don’t want to go there?
  • Can you love things as they are, not as they’re supposed to be?
  • Can you accept that no matter what you do, the work will never be done?
  • Can you be open enough to let others learn from “watching you rise and fall?”

Abba, strengthen me and every one of us who labor in your holy, royal service.

For More: Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others! My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: The Unfriendliness That’s Killing Your Church (James Emery White)

“The Technical Assistance Research Program study for the White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that 96 percent of unhappy customers never complain about rude or unfriendly treatment, but 90 percent of those unhappy customers will not return to the place where that unfriendliness was manifest. Further, each one of those unhappy customers will tell nine other people about the lack of friendliness and courteousness, and 13 percent will tell more than twenty other people.  …Now, we all know that every church thinks it’s friendly. I’ve never met a church yet where the people said, “Yeah, we’re mean and proud of it!” No! Every church thinks it’s friendly. But what that means is …they are friendly to each other …to people they know …to people they like …to people who are like them. That’s not friendliness; that’s a clique or, at best, a club. To prove the point, another recent LifeWay Research survey found that while three out of every four churchgoers say they have significant relationships with people at their church, they admit they don’t make an effort with new people. In fact, only one in every six even try. That’s not very friendly. …If you are going to reach the nones [the religiously unaffiliated], they are going to come to you as a none. That means they will come as couples living together, as gay couples, pregnant outside of marriage, addicted, skeptical. Is that going to raise an eyebrow? Or is it taken in stride in a way that makes the person feel instantly at ease? At Meck [the author’s church], it’s just another day of normal.”

“I was a stranger,
and you invited Me in.”
Jesus in Matthew 25:35

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Stand back and watch people interacting before and after the worship service. Are people being ignored by others? …gathering in familiar cliques? …”stranded” – standing alone in silence, during the time of greeting?
  • Do you make a point of regularly speaking to people you haven’t met?
  • When you attend church are you looking for opportunities to show the love of Jesus to others – or just for your friends?
  • Have you been included – or even worse, in the “inner circle” – too long to remember what it’s like to “break into” a new church?

Abba, use me, and all your people, to embrace others with your love.

For More: The Rise of the Nones by James Emery White

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Ministry and Contentment (Pete Scazzero, John Calvin)

“Looking over our shoulder to more ‘successful’ ministries is one of the most frequent sources of pain for leaders.  …We can learn a lot from the pattern of John the Baptist’s leadership as he responded to the news that he was losing people to the ‘new, big thing’ happening around him (John 3:26-30): (1) I am content. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. “A person can receive only what is given him from heaven.” Yes, God gives gifts and abilities that we want to steward well. But each place of service, employment, success, or failure (a lot of God’s closest servants seem to suffer martyrdom) is under God’s sovereignty. It is tempting to strive, manipulate, and anxiously toil to push doors open that God does not have for us. But we want to receive as a gift each task given to us by God regardless of the where it leads. … (2) I am second. “I am not the Messiah…I am a friend of the Bridegroom, who stands and hears him.” John’s self-knowledge enabled him to escape the deadly trap of envy. …May we never lose sight of the pure happiness found in listening to the lovely voice of Jesus in Scripture, as well as the privilege given to us to speak His words to the world. (3) I am disappearing. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John is happy to decrease, even to disappear. Are we? Calvin said it well: ‘Those who win the church over to themselves rather than to Christ faithlessly violate the marriage they ought to honor.’ You and I will disappear some day and God will continue to build his kingdom. May we too rejoice in that process whenever God opens doors for us to disappear.” Pete Scazzero

“A person can receive only what is given him from heaven.” John 3:27

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • If you live by the numbers, you’ll die by the numbers. Do you measure ministry success by numbers? Is your identity based on competition and out-doing others?
  • Many leaders are tempted “to strive, manipulate, and anxiously toil to push doors open” that God has closed. When doors close, what’s your response?
  • Your ego has a plan for you as a pastor – and it’s not “disappearing.” Are you aware of it? prepared to handle it?

Abba, give our leaders great contentment serving you.

For More: Open Secrets by Richard Lischer

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”