The Life Men Want

Man Alive by Patrick Morley

It’s the kind of question that men either ask themselves when they’re alone or refuse to confront altogether. “… would you be willing to go up while everyone else is going down?” The deeper question is whether a man will live a life of meaning, do something important, leave a mark on this world. For men who ache to have this life, Patrick Morley offers this encouraging guide, ‘Man Alive’.

Men will appreciate the short bursts of challenge on these pages that are followed by quiet moments that encourage reflection. The peaks and valleys of the text confront the groups of men who congregate at either end of that spectrum. Those who spend their entire lives nestled in the security of reflection without ever tasting the adventure that awaits them outside the door and those whose adrenaline needle is pegged all the time. These men avoid searching the depths of their character, fearful of what they might find there.

Men were created to know God, to fill the yearning for His presence by living a life of action and reflection in equal measures. Morley outlines the primal needs that lie at the soul-core of every man and inspires them to break out of their culturally bound shells to be what their Father intended for them to be. More than just a series of adventures, ‘Man Alive’ holds up a mirror that reflects the soul deficits of nearly every man and challenges him to look that image right in the eye and be more.

A Word for My Brother & Sister Pastors


Prophetical-Priestly Ministry by Darius Salter

It’s fascinating how things fall into your lap when you least expect them. Serendipity is the word often used to describe favorable circumstances like this when you discover something grand has come your way unexpectedly. Christian sagacity trends not towards luck though, but instead, toward an understanding of the work of the Father and Spirit in concert. Salter’s book landing in my hands was just such an event.

Prophetical-Priestly Ministry was published in 2002 to little fanfare. A quick search for reviews of the book comes up short; it is ignored on Amazon and the single entry at is a restatement of the title. The silence is understandable. The book is not about how to grow your church, new ways of reaching post-moderns, or new secrets of the life of Jesus. These books fly off the shelves into pastoral libraries. Books that serve as correctives such as this are often ignored. And I believe, ignored at the peril of the pastor and their church.

Salter’s message to pastors is simple: return to your core responsibilities. Speak the prophetic word of God into the lives of your congregation rather than feeding them messages about how to have their ‘best life now.’ Stand as the priest for God’s people rather than their cheerleader or worse, their manager. He says “Prophet-priests specialize in diseases of the soul; sin, despair, depression, loneliness, alienation, anger, hostility, pride, greed, avarice, addiction and fear. The list is almost endless. Of course, these sicknesses eventuate in the systemic evils of ethnocentricity, nationalism, exploitation, oppression, and racism.” The message in this thin volume calls us back to the service of the congregation and gets us away from parading around selling books or conducting seminars on how to fill more seats in the sanctuary.

The author critiques the current ‘worldly’ ministry that he sees all around the American landscape (in 2002 and worsening since). The Church has gotten entrapped in the self-fulfillment culture and, in some cases, has moved away her first love. God is a second thought in the worst of these environments. The ministry has become enablers. We promise spirituality while allowing our people to remain in their materialistic, pluralistic lifestyle. The gospel becomes a casualty of the latest charity initiative or small group study topic.

I didn’t go looking for this book. It appeared in a weekly-specials email and something moved me to purchase it. Initially, it arrived and made its way to the book shelves to be read later. I picked it up after a time and was immediately struck by the message that the Spirit brought to bear through Brother Salter’s words. I was stopped cold when the Spirit brought my feeble ministry efforts up against those of Francis Asbury,

For the elect’s sake, Asbury ceaselessly uttered the Word through Scripture reading, prayer, exhortation, teaching, and family worship. Every overnight stay would involve spiritual examination of the residents and subsequent catechism. There would be no idle words. “My mind was powerfully struck with a sense of the great duty of preaching in all companies, of always speaking boldly and freely for God as if in the pulpit.” This included calling “the family into the room and addressing this pointedly one by one concerning their souls.”

One by one; when was the last time you (or I) sat even our immediate families down and questioned them concerning their spiritual welfare? Have we gone home by home and addressed these concerns with our faith families? Why not? Because we have succumbed to the Western individuality of the culture and we respect the personal nature of a person’s faith more than we do the calling we have received to be a priest and prophet.

Brothers and sisters, now is the time for a new awakening within the Church. Not the watered down awakening of “spirituality” in its myriad forms but for us to stand upon the walls ahead of our flock, intervening for them with God and speaking His word into their lives not matter how difficult. Find this book, read it, absorb it, and let the Spirit work it all out in your ministry.

Lent 2009 – 36 Steps To The Cross

PeterStepsWhile Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher any more?” Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. (Mark 5:35-37)

As we saw yesterday, our calling and ministry are not self-selected. Instead, we are called into specific ministries at the behest of the Lord. In our competitive age it is easy to become envious of the call or ministry of another but the lesson in humility that we are to understand is that all ministry in the name of Jesus is important. In the instances such as the above, what would have been the effect of the other disciples complaining that they were not among the three allowed to accompany Jesus to Jairus’ home? Would the chaos have furthered the kingdom message or checked it?

Modern ministry is often caught up in worldly comparisons among churches and pastorates and the backlash gives those outside of the church the negative impression that many have. Where is our humility? Why can we not be rested in our specific calling while allowing the ‘three’ to go on to their ministry? Perhaps this Lenten season is our opportunity to determine how much of our ego is wrapped up in the ministry decisions we make. 

Digg This

Women in Ministry: Necessary Preparations

studygirl Coming to a settled position on gender roles and more specifically, women in ministry, is not the simple task that some make it out to be. Whether one falls to either the Complementarian or Egalitarian sides of the issue, there are profound implications for life within the Church and serious effects to be considered in relationships within the Body. Your decision on this issue does not have the same impact theologically as one on an essential doctrine does but it can have far reaching consequences for the life of a church, community, and household.

Deciding this issue responsibly requires that you explore, consider, and understand a vast array of knowledge. Your decision requires more than simple assent to a verse or group of verses within the Bible accepting a singular source as the final word on the subject. “You shall not murder.” is abundantly clear taken alone and there are few, if any, people within the Body of Christ who will argue against the clear meaning and application of this verse. The verses on which many have come to their conclusions regarding gender roles within the church (and sometimes life in whole) in Paul’s letters to the churches at Corinth and Ephesus are not as clear and require much more information be collected before one can arrive at a mature decision.

Properly deciphering the meaning of the key passages on this issue requires that you expend a good deal of energy in study of the Bible as a whole. The first thing that a person must do is place any verse or passage within the larger corpus of the entire Bible, Old Testament and New as well as the history of Christendom. You must devote yourself to developing sound interpretive principles that do not rely on someone else doing all of the work for you. Understanding these contested passages and doctrines requires, for example, that you develop a base of knowledge of the cultures that surround Israel and the early Church and the effect that each had on development of the writing produced there.

Many of the questions that arise during this study come from the grammar and meaning of words in the original language. To decide this issue on the basis of a single English language translation will not suffice. While it is not necessary that you become a linguistics expert, you should avail yourself of resources that can explain the word meanings and connotations that one finds in the Greek (and Hebrew depending on how deeply you want to invest in the topic) text. An interlinear text that matches your English translation is a good place to start.

There are many study skills that are not listed here that can help you come to a mature decision on the issue of gender roles beyond what I’ve mentioned here. The one attitude that can help the most in understanding your position is to recognize that this is not a simple topic with clear cut guidelines (despite what some will tell you.) It is complex and even those within the two camps can find disagreement on the details. As one of my seminary professors said, the more you learn the more complex the subject becomes.


The list that follows is not comprehensive by any stretch of the definition but it provides some helpful resources that you may want to add to your library as you become more interested in studying this issue. These are among my tools; if you know of a better alternative I would be interested in knowing about it.

Language Studies


The Greek New Testament is the starting point for language studies. The The Greek New Testament With Greek-english Dictionary is the standard.





An interlinear places multiple versions of the Bible side by side. I like the Zondervan Greek and English Interlinear New Testament (NASB/NIV) as it puts the Greek alongside my preferred NIV translation as well as the more literal NASB text.





image A dictionary is an absolute necessity when studying languages. As we are aware, each dictionary can provide different insights into a word or word group and the Greek dictionaries are no exception. These tools are very expensive and you may hesitate to invest in more than one for your library. Between the three that are in view on my shelves right now, I recommend the “little” Kittel, the single volume edition of The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. A sound alternative is the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Another helpful tool is the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, otherwise known as the Louw and Nida set.



Introduction and Background

image There are countless volumes that provide cultural information about Israel and the later cultures that the Church would grow within but to be of help, I would suggest starting with Craig Keener’s volumes on the background to particular verses within the Bible. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament is a good first step that can lead your thinking to ask new questions about the cultural effects that are found in the words we read in the Bible.





Introductions to the Old and New testament provide valuable information about each book in the Bible, its context and knowledge about the author that is valuable in understanding the text within. Carson and Moo’s Introduction to the New Testament is a standard.






A valuable historical guide to the New Testament is Witherington’s New Testament History. You may not always agree with his conclusions but you cannot argue his scholarship.








Since Paul is often pointed to as the source or instigator of this issue, the Dictionary of Paul and His Letters is an important tool to have on hand when working through his corpus. Equally important in this series is the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels so that the Pauline context does not become the only reference on issues.





An essential book for any kind of Bible study is a dictionary and my standard go-to is the New Bible Dictionary. I also use the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Do not settle for the dictionaries that purport to be for lay people and that are marketed inexpensively. They will often leave you looking for more and wishing you had invested in a more thorough tool in the first place.





It will also be helpful for you to be able to consult a variety of commentaries as you look at various books of the Bible. There are too many in my library to suggest them individually. What I would suggest you do if you must limit the number of resources is to identify one popular evangelical tool ( The NIV Application Commentary series comes immediately to mind), one more technical tool at a level you can utilize (the Interpretation or New International Greek Testament Commentary) and one less technical such as the Holman or  Life Application series. I have concentrated on New Testament resources in this guide but there are equally important and useful Old Testament resources that are needed to understand the entire scope of the gender role issue; it did not start or end with Paul.

Did you notice that none of these resources was specific to the issue at hand? Read and study broadly!

Digg This