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ON THE SHOULDERS OF A GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES

Some of us serve as lead pastors and/or pastoral staff members of predominantly African-American churches in both the urban and suburban settings. Some of us serve as lead pastors and/or pastoral staff members of multicultural churches in the urban and suburban settings. Some of us serve as lead pastors and/or pastoral staff members in predominantly Caucasian churches as the sole African American on staff. Yet all of us stand on the shoulders of those African-American official workers in the C&MA who paved the way, broke down barriers, and persevered through difficult seasons so we could be where we are today.

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WEAVING GOSPEL FLUENCY INTO EVERY SUNDAY MESSAGE

Those of us who preach have a very important role to play in developing gospel fluency in God’s people. We are called to model being gospel fluent in our everyday lives, but we are also called to equip the church in gospel fluency through our teaching and preaching ministry. So . . . how do we do that?

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QUIT LISTENING TO MISSIONAL EXPERTS

My favorite book on the church and God’s mission is Total Church. I admire Steve Timmis and Tim Chester tremendously and I have learned so much from them. I can say the same for Alan Hirsch, Jeff Vanderstelt and many others that I would consider missional experts.

But eventually I had to stop listening to them.

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4 LIES ABOUT INTROVERTS

I’m an introvert.

Accepting the realities of my God-given personality has been a process of sanctification. I’ve had to repent of people-pleasing and trying to be someone I’m not. I’ve had to humbly acknowledge my limits and weaknesses and to live in God’s strength rather than my own. Ultimately, this process has been about God and his kingdom, not me. The more I rest in his gracious acceptance of me in Jesus, the more free I become to be myself for his glory. And that’s a place where joy and contentment abound.

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INVENT A MINISTRY

The Smiths spend most of the rest of their time trying to catch up with “life maintenance”—housework, shopping, paying bills, yard work, running errands, and all the rest. They almost always feel behind or overwhelmed. They genuinely want to serve the Lord in and through His church. They have a good sense of the biblical priorities in life, but they struggle with what often seems too many priorities.

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HOW TO KNOW IF YOU ARE CALLED

It might surprise you, but in Scripture the idea of calling is not initially a career path we pick, a cause we choose, or a code we use for unlocking God’s will. Biblical calling is, first of all, something done for us. It is God’s summons to the Savior, and to his service.

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WHEN WE ARE WEAK, HE IS STRONG

In three minutes, Trip Lee explains how he’s seen God’s strength glorified in his weakness. He encourages believers to embrace their weakness and rest in God’s strength.

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WORK IS A GLORIOUS THING

Work is a glorious thing. And if you stop and think about it, the most enjoyable kinds of leisure are a kind of work. Both these facts are true because the essence of work, as God designed it before the Fall, was creativity — not aimless, random doing, but creative, productive doing.

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GO TO WORK ON PURPOSE

The average person will spend about 70,000 hours at work.

That’s a significant part of one’s life, and yet many find themselves lacking joy and purpose in it. We hear people boast about things like vacations and retirement or talk about the value and satisfaction of ministry and missions. All this can leave us sitting at our desk wondering if what we do there matters at all.

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