Pastor's Forum

Recognizing the Call

Two questions about ministry and the calling: (1) How did you as a pastor realize that you were called to ministry and to the pastoral office in particular? (2) Knowing that many are called to serve who are not called to preach, per se, how do you help other people recognize and discern their calling? Read the responses

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November Video Greeting and Update

October was an outstanding month for us. Lisa and I greatly enjoyed ministry in Russia and in Malta, and we also led a group of 34 on a tour of outstanding biblical sites in Greece and Turkey. We had absolutely beautiful weather and relatively calm seas as we toured sites such as Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Patmos, Thessalonica, and Berea. While in Greece, we toured the new facility for Rhema Greece and were blessed by their vibrancy and heart to reach the Greek-speaking people. They had just completed the translation and printing of Grace: the DNA of God in Greek, and I was so pleased to receive a copy. I also enjoyed ministry in Missouri and South Dakota this month as well. Watch the video


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Home Group Sessions with Rick and Denise Renner

Home Group Sessions with Rick and Denise Renner

During our recent visit to Moscow, Lisa and I did two home group webcasts with Rick and Denise Renner. During these, we discussed the topic of “Teamwork in the Church.”

Watch Teamwork in the Church, Part 1

Watch Teamwork in the Church, Part 2

You can get more information Renner Ministries’ Home Group webcast here.

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No One Can Do It Alone!
Tony Cooke

No One Can Do It Alone!In the lobby of Good News Church in Moscow, there is a large plaque expressing gratitude to the partners who helped make that wonderful facility a reality. Each time we entered and exited the building on my recent visit, Rick Renner stopped and placed his hands on that plaque. He prayed a brief prayer thanking God for their partners, asking him to bless them. I was impressed with and moved by his action; it reminded me never to take the kindness of others for granted. The reality is that all of us, whether we are pastors or not, have been profoundly impacted by the efforts of others. We are beneficiaries of the farmers who have grown the food that we eat, the construction workers who built our homes and the roads on which we drive, and the teachers who have shared knowledge with us. Albert Einstein said, “Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.” Read this article by Tony Cooke

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The Good Seeing
Lisa Cooke

The Good SeeingTony had taken an astronomy class in college, and he explained to me one night while we were dating that the ability to view the stars and planets well required “good seeing.” This means conditions atmospherically are conducive to a clear view of what you are looking at in the night sky. “The seeing is the term used in astronomy to quantify the steadiness or the turbulence of the atmosphere.” Even though we were looking at the stars and planets through our eyes alone and not with a telescope, we soon developed a judgment whether or not the night was a good seeing night or a bad seeing night. Spiritually we can have good seeing or bad seeing as well. According to 2 Corinthians 4:18 we are given a choice to live by what we can see in the natural or by what we see in the spiritual. The things of the Spirit realm are more real and eternal than the things of the natural realm, but we have to make a choice about what we are going to focus on. Good seeing for a Christian means being able to behold eternal realities in the face of natural happenings. Read this article by Lisa Cooke

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Is It Courageous to Address Sexual Sin?
Virgil Stokes

Is It Courageous to Address Sexual Sin?“Thank you for being courageous, Pastor.” I was taken a bit off guard when one of my parishioners, a long-time Christian and a very bright man, made this comment after my sermon. The topic of the day was the power, the purpose, and the pitfalls of sex. I knew that some of the material might be challenging to a few members of our congregation, but it never occurred to me that it was “courageous” to broach the subject of sexual sin. I plead guilty to being naïve, maybe even foolhardy, but courageous? The fact that it would be thought so seemed more depressing than the subject itself. That decrying sin and encouraging holiness would be considered somehow outside the pastoral norm is, to me, a chilling indictment of the condition of our culture and the Church. The culture is awash in problems that have sexual sin at their root. Just for your information, here are the main points that were considered “courageous” for a Christian minister to talk about… Read this article by Virgil Stokes

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November Quotes

Read all of our quotes by visiting our Quotes Page.

GOD
“The God of the Bible is a strange God: not the kind of God we can manage, manipulate, accommodate, or domesticate to our familiar experience.”
– Michael Horton

GOSPEL/GRACE
“Sadly, thinking that I deserve heaven is a sure sign I have no understanding of the Gospel.”
– Sinclair Ferguson

PERSUASION
“If you feel the need to augment your message with shouting, perhaps your words are not powerful enough on their own.”
– Richard Blackaby

REPENTANCE
“Man’s thoughts are to be brought into conformity with God’s thoughts not by abandoning logic but by repentance.”
– D. A. Carson

SOULWINNING
“Pray and so preach that if there are no conversions you will be astonished, amazed, and brokenhearted.”
– Spurgeon

Pastor John and Michelle Nuzzo