What is Churchmanship?

A while back I mentioned the word "Churchmanship" and had several people ask what I meant by that word; so, here's my attempt to explain.

Churchmanship is the craft of skill of being a churchman.

What then is a churchman?

A churchman is one who thinks about the good of the Church.A churchman is a pastor who, when a member of a sister congregation comes to see him, directs that member back to his or her home church and to a conversation with the pastor of that church. A churchman is a pastor who encourages members of a sister congregation to be faithful in serving that congregation.A churchman is a layperson who loves sister congregations in addition to his or her own congregation and encourages them to be faithful to the Word of God. A churchman is a pastor who, when he notices that a member of a sister congregation has attended his congregation for two weeks straight, calls the pastor of that sister congregation to let him know what is happening. He also will follow up,…

40 for 40

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the day that marks the beginning of Lent.  Lent is a season of the church year during which we are reminded to give extra focus to repentance and faith.  Lent gives us the opportunity to clear out things that are hindering our life of faith and to add things that would be helpful.

Since the season of Lent is 40 days (Sundays don't count as part of the 40 days, FYI) I wanted to give you 40 different ideas that you could use during this season.  The idea isn't for you to do all 40, but to pick one (or a few).  Of course you don't have to do any of these and you are free to do something else if you would like.  My purpose is to spur on your thinking about such things so that all of us can benefit from the season of lent.

Many of the things listed are not unique to Lent and several should be things we do on a regular basis anyway!

Read Exodus.  It's 40 chapters long, so if you read one chapter per day you'll have read the entire book.  Exodus i…

A what if story: Jonah and the Captain

I’ve always wondered if Jonah ever again saw the sailors and captain from the boat he had boarded when trying to flee from God.  He'd told them that they had to throw him overboard in order for the storm to stop, so I imagine they figured he was dead. 
I’ve also wondered if God’s lesson really stuck for Jonah.  
So, below is what I imagine could have happened in Jonah ever did again meet up with the captain of that ship.
It must be a ghost!
The old sea captain blinked and shook his head.This couldn’t be, could it?
Standing before him was a man he had watched be thrown to his death.More than that, the old captain had been the one who had commanded his sailors to throw the man into the sea.He’d never forgotten the man’s name either. How can you forget the name of a person for whose death you are responsible?
His name was Jonah.
Over and over again the captain had played things out in his mind.He hadn’t wanted to throw Jonah into the sea.They had jettisoned all of their precious carg…

Jesus is whipped

The wicked sound of the whip flaying flesh resounded once again.

It was a sickening sound.  Some of the whips had bits of glass, metal, and stone embedded at their tips, so that when they hit flesh they would simply shred it.

The one on the receiving end was the same one who not too long ago had constructed a whip and used it to chase moneychangers out of the temple.  He had done this for the purpose of purifying the temple.

Now He was being whipped unmercifully.  The reason though, was the same.  He was receiving justice.

This was the just punishment for wickedness; not for His own wickedness, but for ours.

The sound of the sizzle of the whip flying through the air sounded once again, followed by a sickening thunk, as the whips had now ripped through His flesh in some areas and were now drubbing his bones.

Years before, the prophet Isaiah had prophesied concerning the Messiah, In faithfulness He will bring forth justice. 

In order to bring forth justice, should't the Messiah be t…

Jesus's Whip

After reading about Jesus making a whip and then driving out the moneychangers, I wondered what ever happened to the whip. So I wrote a story of what could have happened to that whip.
The Jewish Passover was near, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. He found those who were selling cattle, sheep, and pigeons in the temple courtyard. He also found moneychangers sitting there. He made a whip from small ropes and threw everyone with their sheep and cattle out of the temple courtyard. He dumped the moneychangers' coins and knocked over their tables. He told those who sold pigeons, "Pick up this stuff, and get it out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!" His disciples remembered that Scripture said, "Devotion for your house will consume me."  (John 2:13-17)
What do I do with this this?
The man looked at the whip and wondered what to do with it.  He had just witnessed Jesus use the whip, which Jesus had fashioned with His own hands by taking some small rope…

Are you like the Sea of Galilee or are you like the Dead Sea?

It is more blessed to receive freely and give generously than to receive freely and hoard.
-Adolph L. Harstad

The Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea both receive their waters from the Jordan River.  The upper Jordan flows into the Sea of Galilee and the lower Jordan flows into the Dead Sea.

However, they are very different bodies of water.


In his wonderful commentary on the book of
Joshua, Adolph L. Harstad writes this:

The Sea of Galilee receives freely from the Upper Jordan and in turn gives freely as it releases water to form the Lower Jordan. The result is that the Sea of Galilee is a living sea that teams with life in its waters and has productive land on its coasts. In contrast, the Dead Sea receives freely from the Jordan River but gives nothing in response. The result is that it lives up to its name. Nothing lives in its waters. Lifeless rock and sand make up its shoreline. 

These two seas of the promised land speak to Christians about their stewardship of God's gifts. It is…

I'm a sheepdog of the Good Shepherd

What is the role of the pastor?  
What is he given to do?

Perhaps the best explanation that I've come across was shared with me at Doxology by Rev. Harold Senkbeil.  He shared the following quote.
"Now those sheep-dogs that afternoon gave me a much better address on the way in which pastoral work among souls should be done that I shall be able to give you. They were helping the shepherd to deal with a lot of very active sheep and lambs, to persuade them into the right pastures, to keep them from rushing down the wrong paths. And how did the successful dog do it? Not by barking, fuss, ostentatious authority, any kind of busy behaviour. The best dog that I saw never barked once; and he spent an astonishing amount of his time sitting perfectly still, looking at the shepherd. The communion of spirit between them was perfect. They worked as a unit. Neither of them seemed anxious or in a hurry. Neither was committed to a rigid plan; they were always content to wait. That dog was the d…