On Rabbis, Monsignors & Pastors

Often people address me as Pastor Bob ... it kind of creeps me out ... maybe it is just my refusal to identify with the clerical union. So what’s with calling people by their gift or occupation ... kind of comes across as somewhat Pharisaic to me. Looking at the scriptures (Matt 23:5-12), didn’t Jesus say of the Pharisees:
"Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them 'Rabbi.'"
And didn’t he instruct us in that same passage to
"not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ.”
”The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
We evangelical flavored Christians seem to not understand why the more liturgical traditions address their ministers as “Father” and yet are very comfortable addressing our ministers as Pastor (with a capital ‘P’).

For me the heart of ministry and in particular pastoring is what Jesus says, speaking of Himself, in John 10:
”The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
In an evangelical church world where many are asked to lay down their lives for the dreams and aspirations of the senior pastor ... Jesus’ message challenges me every day to lay my life down for the flock.

As for me ... just call me Bob ... or Kansas Bob :)


I had a conversation with a man this week in my water aerobics class. He complained to me about hypocrites in the church. Inspired a bit, I shared that the idea that you cannot counterfeit a 3 dollar bill because a real 3 dollar bill doesn’t exist. In the same way, counterfeit believers (i.e. hypocrites) can only exist because of the existence of the real thing. In Matthew 13 we read:
Jesus told them another parable: "The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man sowed good seed in his field. One night, when everyone was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. When the plants grew and the heads of grain began to form, then the weeds showed up. The man's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, it was good seed you sowed in your field; where did the weeds come from?' 'It was some enemy who did this,' he answered. 'Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?' they asked him. 'No,' he answered, 'because as you gather the weeds you might pull up some of the wheat along with them. Let the wheat and the weeds both grow together until harvest. Then I will tell the harvest workers to pull up the weeds first, tie them in bundles and burn them, and then to gather in the wheat and put it in my barn.' "
Counterfeits (weeds) are often obvious but sometimes not. It is interesting that Jesus says here that it is for the sake of the real thing (the wheat) that counterfeits are not dealt with during the growing season ... but dealt with they are at The Harvest.

Feminine Anointing

Our church supports and encourages women in ministry ... I work beside several gifted and anointed sisters in Christ. That said I want to say how I love their femininity ... they have each learned to bring a very feminine aspect to ministry. In the past few years I have enjoyed it when these gals teach from the pulpit because they bring a message with a distinctly feminine perspective.

I think that many women in ministry are in contrast to these sisters ... their messages are manly and devoid of the qualities that make women in ministry precious and special.

So, on this Valentines Day, my hat goes off to all the many women in ministry and commerce that, having kept their femininity in tact, minister in glorious ways to children, other women and men.

Forget the Past

Shrode at The Thinklings asks the question ”Whatever Happened To The Good Ole Days?”. He quotes Solomon:
“Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions” (Ecclesiastes 7:10).
He also says this about the Hebrews’ post-Egypt conduct:
“They had somehow forgotten that they had been slaves in Egypt, forced to make their own bricks to build with. They had forgotten that while being whipped by Egyptian taskmasters, their infant sons were being thrown into the river. The worst part of their longing for the past is that it showed a lack of trust in God to take care of them in the present. God wants us to be content with our present.”
Shrode’s words cut me and cause me to think about how much of the last several years I have wasted looking at my past with rose colored glasses. It causes me to think about Paul’s passion for today when he said:
”But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:13-14)
However great, or not-so-great, our past was it needs to be forgotten as we press on to Christ's goal for us.

I am Fozzie Bear

I took The Muppet Personality Test and I'm not too sure that I like the outcome ...

"Wocka! Wocka!" You're the life of the party, and you love making people crack up. If only your routine didn't always bomb! You may find more groans than laughs, but always keep the jokes coming.

... my wife thinks this is pretty accurate but I don't know about my jokes always bombing ... they always make me laugh.

Eye Covenant

"I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl." (Job 31:1 NIV)

Job lived a life that reflected the identity of a Godly man ... this covenant with his eyes is a reflection that identity. Here is the way God described Job:
"There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." (Job 1:8)
Barnes’ commentary interprets the passage like this:
”The phrase here, “I made a covenant with mine eyes,” is poetical, meaning that he solemnly resolved. A covenant is of a sacred and binding nature; and the strength of his resolution was as great as if he had made a solemn compact. A covenant or compact was usually made by slaying an animal in sacrifice, and the compact was ratified over the animal that was slain, by a kind of imprecation that if the compact was violated the same destruction might fall on the violators which fell on the head of the victim.” “By the language here, Job means that he had resolved, in the most solemn manner, that he would not allow his eyes or thoughts to endanger him by improperly contemplating a woman.”
When I was younger I made a covenant similar to Job. I found that, over the years, this covenant has been tested over and over again. On occasion I would slip and watch something on TV that I knew I shouldn’t. I would then repent … often not right away … and reaffirm the covenant with my eyes. Over time, I have seen God do an amazing work in my heart where, like Job, my identity has become a source of strength rather than one of weakness.

During the years that I visited a minimum security prison I was often confronted with the fact that Christian men were there for sex related crimes … often crimes that began with pornographic voyeurism. Many times I saw the shame in their faces and the regret for destroying their lives and their families. Christian men hear me … take this issue seriously … make a covenant with your eyes … get rid of your porn and stay away from porn sites. If you need help get it but live no longer rationalizing and justifying your behavior. Here is a prayer that you can pray:
Father I have sinned. I have … (insert your specific sins here) … and I am truly sorry. Please forgive me. I renounce my lustful behavior, I renounce involvement with pornography, I renounce objectifying women … (renounce other things here). Father I ask you to replace these things with a pure love for women … I ask you to help me to look on them as sisters. I pray that you will put me in a place of accountability and humility.
By your grace and in your name I make a covenant with my eyes to no longer look with lust on a girl or woman.”


It was the summer of 1988. Things were normal. Life seemed to be "a piece of cake". I was being considered for a new position within my company and I was sure that I would get it. Things looked good and suddenly the bottom dropped out - someone else got the position. In hindsight it seems very trivial … after all I still had a job. Sure my ego was bruised - so what. Well the “what” is prayer. Great man of faith that I am … after a period of comlaining, I began to pray about my situation - and God began to talk. He told me that my problem involved contentment. Sure I wasn't content with my job but it was only because I knew that my future lied with that "other" job ... the future is always someplace else when we are not content. I continued to pray and God continued to talk to me about being content. I worked on being content with my job. Then God said something to me that created a change in my life. He told me that though I was not content with what I did, I was very content with who I was ... and I no longer pursued Him in prayer. You see, if you are content with yourself, you don't have to change ... you don't have to be a seeker. I realized that I had the whole thing reversed - God wanted to bring about change in my life as I sought him in prayer. He wanted to bring contentment with things through a discontentment with my spiritual life. Here is what the apostle Paul wrote while imprisoned in Rome:
”Actually, I don't have a sense of needing anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” (Philippians 4:11-13 Msg)
Interesting that Paul connected contentment with "the One who makes me who I am". Seems that contentment may be another aspect of identity. Who we are often has a major impact on contentment. Paul understood that his relationship with Jesus superseded his circumstances. He knew that contentment is found in being and not doing. Often we relegate “seeking the Lord” as an activity that we pursue daily instead of a relationship we live out minute by minute. I have become very frustrated when I make seeking the Lord a project. When it is an extension of my relationship with Him I really enjoy seeking and pursuing after His purposes. I guess true contentment is only found in our relationship to Jesus ... any other contentment is temporary.