• The Pastor and the Funeral Article by Harry Reeder

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2011

    The subject I have been asked to write about was one of my greatest fears upon entrance into pastoral ministry. But today I consider it one of my greatest privileges. Why? Because of the historicity and glorious message of the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ. Obviously, I do not delight in the fact of someone’s death. But I rejoice in the opportunity that the death of a believer opens for communicating the majesty of Christ and the glories of the gospel while comforting the family and friends and presenting salvation by grace to those who are lost … View Resource

  • Happy Pastors Article by C.J. Mahaney

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2011

    As the star of the television series Dirty Jobs, Mike Rowe suits up and labors in some of the most dirty and dangerous work environments possible. To date, he hasn’t tried pastoring. But pastoring qualifies as a dirty job, which is reflected in the most common biblical metaphor for the job: shepherd. Being a shepherd is difficult, demanding, and — if done well — exhausting. Pastors with any experience in the field will know exactly what I mean. Take sermon preparation. The work is hard, repetitive, and impossible to avoid, outgrow, or expedite. You spend hours of hard work … View Resource

  • Congregational Counseling Article by Eric Bancroft

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2010

    Premarital counseling can be an entertaining exercise for an older couple offering guidance to a younger couple. Across from them sit two individuals eager to wed. Apart from occasional disagreements about planning the ceremony, the soon-to-be-newlyweds are prone to think all is well, and their excitement is reflected on their faces. A church and its new pastor can be like that young couple — eager to get started in the ministry for which they have waited. The candidating process tempts them to believe all will be well. While their enthusiasm is encouraging, they also need some “premarital counseling.” View Resource

  • The Christian Club Article by W. Robert Godfrey

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2010

    Many American churches are in a mess. Theologically they are indifferent, confused, or dangerously wrong. Liturgically they are the captives of superficial fads. Morally they live lives indistinguishable from the world. They often have a lot of people, money, and activities. But are they really churches, or have they degenerated into peculiar clubs? View Resource

  • Preach the Word Article by Steven Lawson

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2010

    Every season of reformation and every hour of spiritual awakening has been ushered in by a recovery of biblical preaching. This cause and effect is timeless and inseparable. J.H. Merle D’Aubigné, noted Reformation historian, writes, “The only true reformation is that which emanates from the Word of God.” That is to say, as the pulpit goes, so goes the church. View Resource

  • A Solemn Discharge of Duty Article by Tom Ascol

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2009 | 1 Timothy 5

    One of the most popular sermons I have preached is entitled “How to Fire Your Pastor.” I should have been suspicious when so many people requested copies of it! My purpose wasn’t to advocate such action; rather, I wanted to help the church know what to do and how to do it if that unfortunate necessity ever arose.  The issue is certainly relevant. It is estimated that in the United States over fifteen hundred ministers are dismissed from their positions each month. In some denominations it is almost epidemic. The relationship between churches and pastors is vitally important because Christ has … View Resource

  • The Pastor-Scholar Article by Philip Ryken

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2009

    As far as John Calvin was concerned, almost nothing was more urgent for the church than the reformation of pastoral ministry. For centuries, most ministers had been shockingly ignorant of the Scriptures and thus ill-equipped to preach the gospel. As Calvin said in one debate with a Catholic cardinal (pretending to defend the Protestant cause before God): “Those who were regarded as the leaders of faith neither understood Thy Word, nor greatly cared for it. They drove unhappy people to and fro with strange doctrines, and deluded them with I know not what follies.” Calvin was determined to be different … View Resource

  • The School of Jesus Christ Article by David Powlison

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2009

    When I first received the intelligence of the death…of your son Louis, I was so utterly overpowered that for many days I was fit for nothing but to grieve; and albeit I was somehow upheld before the Lord by those aids wherewith he sustains our souls in affliction, among men, however, I was almost a nonentity. …It is difficult, notwithstanding, you will say, so to shake off or suppress the love of a father, as not to experience grief on occasion of the loss of a son. Neither do I insist upon your laying aside all grief. Nor, in the … View Resource

  • Measuring Success Article by Larry Mininger

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2009

    About forty people scattered on metal chairs greeted me on my first Sunday in my first (and only) pastorate in a quaint little sanctuary nestled in the woods between massive orange groves just west of Orlando, Florida. There were no pews, organ, carpeting or paved roads leading to this place. Snakes in the breezeway and gators in the nearby lake — I thought I was in the jungle! About one year into the ministry, a visitor complimenting my sermon whispered to me: “You won’t be here long.” Puzzled at first, I realized she meant that I wouldn’t have to labor very … View Resource

  • The Prevailing Church (pt. 2) Article by Simon Kistemaker

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2009

    As we saw in last month’s installment of “Pro Ecclesia,” privileges and duties go together. In making disciples, Jesus commanded they be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and to teach them to observe all that He commanded. The second aspect of this commission (we dealt with the first last month), teaching disciples to obey Jesus, is first and foremost the duty of pastors and teachers — to teach the people the Scriptures and secondly to exhort them to faithfully commit the Word to heart. To put … View Resource

  • The Wisdom of Listening Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2008

    Wise men are difficult to find. We must go to great lengths - we must search high and low in order to find a man who is truly wise. I grieve for my children and my children’s children as I consider the future reality of a world in which wise men cannot be found. Most of my life I have earnestly sought the wisdom of older men. In seeking such wisdom, I have often had to endure admonishment, rebuke, or chastisement. And although receiving such tough wisdom was never enjoyable at the time, over the years, by God’s grace, I … View Resource

  • The Holiness of Pastors and Patriarchs Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2007

    As I write this article I am sitting comfortably in a hotel lobby in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This morning, as I walked to the hotel in sub-zero temperatures, while massive, mid-western snowflakes kept falling on my head, during the coldest spell in Minneapolis in the past several years, I kept reminding myself that I am a Floridian. Although I came from Florida to Minneapolis during this severely harsh time of year for several reasons, it seems the Lord, in His wisdom, had another reason altogether. I came in order to attend John Piper’s conference for pastors at which Dr. Sproul is one … View Resource

  • Many Gifts, One Body Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2005

    A few years ago I was given a month-long sabbatical to study in Wittenberg, Germany, the birthplace of the Protestant Reformation. While in Wittenberg, I stayed at the Evangelical Preacher’s Seminary, which shared the same courtyard as Martin Luther’s home. From my room on the third floor, I overlooked the dining room and kitchen of Luther’s sixteenth-century house. I recall that on many occasions in the late evening after a traditional German meal, I would open my window to the courtyard and look at the walkway below that led to Luther’s house. I considered the floral surroundings that adorned the … View Resource

  • Equipping the Saints Article by Gary L. W. Johnson

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2005

    Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Updike has captured the common perception of B.B. Warfield in his novel In The Beauty of the Lilies. One of his central characters is a Presbyterian minister Clarence Wilmot who finds his faith badly shaken by the famous agnostic Robert Ingersoll. Wilmot is portrayed as having studied under the legendary Princeton professor who is described as an imposing figure “erect as a Prussian general, with snowy burnsides.” A similar impression was actually made concerning J. Gresham Machen as recorded in Paul Woolley’s The Significance of J. Gresham Machen Today: “Even to an ignoramus, Warfield … View Resource

  • In Season and Out of Season Article by Douglas Wilson

    FROM TABLETALK | April 1999

    Y2K has not always been on everyone’s lips, but it will be. For years, those who had taken the responsibility of warning others were pretty lonely. Now that we have little time left, we have mounting awareness—and mounting consternation. In the midst of this, many pastors are wondering about their duty to their people. A few pastors have attempted an extreme solution, trying (sometimes successfully) to get their people to run for the tall grass. Sadly, many others have remained relatively complacent, and probably will remain so until the secular media give them reason to be respectably concerned, followed soon … View Resource