post date: May 11, 2009

I'll be near the U.S. end of the canoe.
I’m writing this note–hurriedly–from the Cincinnati airport. So far I have completed two legs of a five-leg journey that started at 4 AM in Tupelo and will end in Danforth, Maine this evening. By then I’ll be at Living Waters Bible Conference, a lovely spot on the eastern edge of Maine, just across the lake from New Brunswick. I’m making this journey to speak at a pastors conference for about 100 pastors and wives from New England and Atlantic Canada.

Of all the things we do at Keep Believing, few seem as important to me as encouraging pastors. After 27 years in local church ministry, I know something about the joys and challenges of the pastorate. I’m thinking that tonight during my first message I may repeat something I heard on a podcast by William Willimon. Speaking at a similar event, he commented that it really doesn’t matter who does the preaching. The one question the pastors want to know is, Why should I keep on doing this? I know, I know, that sounds too dramatic, but it does have the ring of truth about it. I noted that all the pastors laughed knowingly when Willimon made that comment. I laughed too because I’ve been there.

Pastors need places where they can go for encouragement and recharging, where they can laugh together, relax a bit, and be reinvigorated.

Most pastors I know serve the Lord’s people because of a deep sense of divine calling. But as Howard Hendricks pointed out, if you’re going to serve the Lord’s sheep, you’re bound to get sheep dung on your boots sooner or later.

There’s much more to be said–including how God uses our challenges to build us spiritually and how to be strong over the long haul and still keep smiling while you scrape that stuff off your boots.

Time to board for Detroit. Then I fly to Bangor. Then a 2 1/2 drive through some of the most beautiful country in America. Then Living Waters and the conference opening tonight. 

Blessings anticipated. Prayers appreciated. 


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