The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Shepherds in Crisis

Why God Performs Miracles Through Spiritual Rebels (Help for Disillusioned Christians)

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Father Marcus is a seriously devoted priest who cares deeply about the Lord and about the souls in his flock. One of his parishioners, Maria, is newly diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. She’s suffering terribly, treatments aren’t working, and after she spends an hour weeping in Marcus’ office, he is very grieved for her and feels strongly led to give her hope that God will heal her. So he does. He tells her not to give up on the idea of receiving a miracle. Then he prays for her right then and there, lays his hands on her, and really believes that God is going to grant the healing right then. Why else would He be impressing on Marcus so strongly that Maria is going to be healed?

But when Marcus prays, nothing happens. Maria goes home. A week passes. She’s much worse and Marcus is feeling bad that perhaps he led her astray by urging her to hope for a miracle. While he’s wrestling with doubt, a well-known healer named Hank comes to town. Marcus knows that Hank is a pompous glory hog who doesn’t care in the least about honoring God. He’s even heard Hank laughing about how easy people are to dupe. Hank has gotten rich after years of conning people into giving him large sums of money in exchange for Divine healing. While Hank is in town, a desperate Maria goes over to him for healing. She drops hundreds of dollars into the offering plate, Hank picks her out of the crowd, lays his hands on her, says his usual dramatic prayer, and Maria is instantly healed. She’s ecstatic and she tells everyone how the great healer did what Father Marcus couldn’t. When Marcus finds out, he feels confused and hurt. Why would God choose to exalt a jerk like Hank and leave Marcus looking passed over? Read more of this post

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t: Finding Peace in the Midst of Moral Dilemmas

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Life isn’t as simple as we want it to be. Sometimes we find ourselves being forced to choose between two options which each feel very wrong for different reasons. When there are moral issues on both sides, and when we’ve got our flesh screaming at us and our loved ones pressuring us in different directions, what do we do? How do we find peace with God when we’re feeling forced to choose between two evils? What happens when there is no third option that will magically resolve our crisis for us? This is real life: sometimes there is no option available to you that won’t fill your gut with nervous knots and make you feel like you’re being either a major creep or a total fool. But the good news is that even in these moments, there is a way to move forward, and that is what we’ll discuss in this post. Read more of this post

Shepherding the Flock When Your Own Faith is in Crisis (Guidance for Pastors & Priests)

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

In this post, we are speaking to souls who have been called by God to preach, but are now wrestling with some serious doubts about what they believe.

Who wrote the book of Hebrews? Should we serve wafers or bread for Communion? How can God really be everywhere at once? There are many questions you can debate and ponder without feeling unsettled in your personal walk with God. But there are other questions that shake the very foundation of your faith.

Is God really good? What’s to stop Him from throwing us all into Hell? What if Jesus isn’t even real? Am I really saved?

Many Christians think a shepherd of God’s people should never ask such questions. Well, many Christians are wrong. You don’t get the privilege of deciding when a storm will hit the country where you live, nor do you get to decide when a hurricane of doubt is going to start pounding your own theological structure. God is the One who creates and directs all storm systems, and if you currently find yourself wrestling with some very unsettling questions, the first thing you need to realize is that you aren’t here by accident. Read more of this post

Unintentionally Leading God’s Flock Astray (Help for Pastors & Priests)

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

No human has anywhere close to a perfect understanding about God. If you’re growing and not stagnating, then your theology is in a constant state of flux. When our beliefs are changing in small, positive ways—a thrilling insight here and there—then we find the growth process exciting. But when God suddenly slams us with some life-altering revelation and we suddenly realize that we have been clinging to some major theological errors and peddling some absolute lies from the pulpit, well now we’re really in trouble. What do you do when you wake up to discover you’ve been leading God’s sheep over the cliff of delusions? What do you do when you find out you’ve been encouraging them to think and act in ways that royally offend your Savior? If you sincerely care about God, then the realization that you’ve been way off base is going to make you sick with distress and panic. This is when Satan shows up with a bunch of unhelpful suggestions and truckloads of condemnation. But before you end up in a black hole of despair and self-loathing, there are some things you need to understand. Read more of this post

Shepherd Burnout: Help for Pastors

Shepherd Burnout: Help for Pastors

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This post is speaking to souls who know they have been called to shepherd God’s flock, but they are struggling with symptoms of burnout: depression, bitterness, exhaustion, and guilt.

God has a list of what He expects from the shepherds of His flock. Your sheep have a list as well, and theirs is a lot longer. Your sheep expect you to have all of the answers, to always be available, to rush to their side in every crisis, and to give them infallible advice.

Nice of them to be so reasonable, isn’t it? Read more of this post

When Good Shepherds Make Mistakes: Encouragement for Pastors

When Good Shepherds Make Mistakes: Encouragement for Pastors

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

A woman who was dying of cancer desperately wanted God’s healing. She went to her pastor for advice and he prayed with her, asking God to heal her body if it was His will to do so. With the woman’s permission, the pastor let the whole congregation know of her condition and encouraged them all to pray on her behalf that God might heal her. The prayers continued for months and no healing came. The elders laid hands on the woman and the pastor anointed her with oil. Everything that could be done was done, yet the woman continued to grow worse. One day she heard that a famous healer was going to be holding a convention a few cities away. She asked her pastor for advice. “Do you think I should go and ask her to lay hands on me?” The pastor advised her against it. “There’s nothing magical about healers,” he said. “We have prayed sincerely for God’s will in this matter and He has refused to grant healing. We need to accept that.” But the woman didn’t listen to his advice and went off to the convention anyway. While she was there, she went up to the healer, was prayed over, and was instantly cured. When the pastor found out, he was devastated. “How could I have misinterpreted God’s will so badly?” he wondered. “If this is how poor my discernment is after all this time, I should obviously step down.”

Can you identify with the pastor in this story? Have you done your best to try and give someone godly advice only to later feel like you led them in the wrong direction? If so, then this post is for you. Read more of this post