When a Christian falls into gross immorality, the question arises: What came first: the desire to sin or the opportunity?
From what I’ve seen and heard of fallen pastors it’s almost always the desire to sin that comes first. It’s not that they were walking closely with the Lord, keeping their hearts and minds holy, mortifying their lusts, etc., and suddenly an opportunity for sex just came out of nowhere and they fell into it almost “accidentally.” In fact, I’ve never heard of such a scenario.
No, instead the man has allowed his imagination to stray, he’s begun to entertain fantasies about certain women, he’s comparing his wife unfavorably with then, and he’s maybe even started saying and doing certain things to attract them.
When that desire to sin is allowed to fester, it’s almost guaranteed that the devil will arrange for some opportunity to arise that the man is already primed for. The desire he has entertained has made him highly flammable and it only takes a small spark of opportunity for his whole life to go up in flames (and many others in his and her family with him).
The critical lesson is that if we crucify the desire, God will almost always shield us from the opportunity. And even if God may permit the devil to throw a spark of opportunity our way, there’s nothing in the heart that will easily catch fire.
However, if we entertain and enjoy the desire to sin, God may permit the opportunity to sin to coincide. Look around you, the church is full of the charred remains of such catastrophic infernos.
When the Pastor Has an Affair | ThomRainer.com
Thom Rainer shares some lessons from churches that have gone through this tragic time. Sadly this article is frequently needed these days. The areas I see churches failing in most are #3 & 5.
A whopping 70 percent of U.S. pastors said their marriage relationship was ‘excellent,’ while 26 percent described it as ‘good.’ In the overall population, less than half of U.S. adults (46 percent) ranked their marriage relationship as ‘excellent,’ while 35 percent described it as ‘good.’
The Five Tests of False Doctrine | Tim Challies
“In summary, true doctrine (content) originates with God (origin), is grounded in the Bible (authority), and agrees with the whole of Scripture (consistency). Because such doctrine is sound (quality), it is healthy (benefit), and profitable (value) for us, and we are responsible for holding it (responsibility). False doctrine (content) originates with man (origin), is not grounded in the Bible (authority), and contradicts portions of Scripture (consistency). Because such doctrine is unsound (quality), it is unhealthy (benefit) and unprofitable (value) for us, and we are responsible for rejecting it (responsibility).”
As prominent pastors continue to fall left, right, and center, I’ve been thinking a lot about the verse: “He who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13). “To the end” are the words that haunt and challenge me. “To the end” is all that matters. If I don’t make it “to the end,” better never to have begun.
I don’t believe this is an unhealthy focus or fear. Even the Apostle Paul said: “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27).
I think of the millions of unknown Christians who live unheralded lives of unimpeachable integrity and die beautifully in faith. Then I think of well-known pastors who fall into gross sin and bring dishonor upon the cause of Christ.
Better live unknown and die in faith, than live well-known and die in disgrace.
My new motto for the rest of my days: “To the end. To the end. To the end.”
How I Gleaned Hope from the Darkest Psalm “I’m so grateful Psalm 88 is included in Scripture. It reminds me that I can cry out to God with a broken heart and that he hears me—no matter how weak my prayers. It directs me to focus on the truth of who God is, for even in the darkest night, his grace still shines. And when it seems as though darkness is my only friend, I can remember Jesus Christ, who faced the darkness of the grave so that I could be called a friend of God. ”
Helping those who struggle with anxiety “When people struggle with anxiety, they need to address their physical needs as well. Sometimes this will mean talking to a doctor or other medical professional about their anxiety and receiving medical treatment. There’s no shame in needing help. If anxiety keeps them from fulfilling normal daily tasks, they need to get that help.”
Establish an understanding of what mental illness and mood disorders really are. Consider establishing resources right there in your church, including in-house training for staff, informational videos and pamphlets for parishioners. Invite speakers who have survived mental illness to come in and speak to members of the congregation. Consider preaching sermons on mental illness and mood disorders. Organize events centered around mental health Provide resources that will connect those in need with the right programs and medical professionals.
Pastors and Retirement Stewardship | Chris Cagle, Retirement Stewardship
“The same powerful forces that are at work and that make planning and preparing for retirement necessary for you and me are just as important to pastors. Things such as increased longevity, the need for income for life, taxes, inflation, the uncertainty of investments, and escalating healthcare costs, are all in play.”