Posts Tagged ‘pastor’


“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22

Life can be hard to navigate and it seems to always be changing. What felt right yesterday is now disjointed. The plans we have been holding onto for years shift to new possibilities. Part of living this life is making decisions and trying to navigate some kind of unseen path in front of us.

The Bible tells us a simple but profound truth that is key to moving forward in success. Wise counsel can make all the difference a tomorrow that is full of freedom instead of pain.

At the same time, I see many people skipping this step and just trying to figure things out for themselves. We are raised to be mature adults and take care of ourselves but this often leads to us making life-changing moves with no more insight than our own.

Keep in mind, I’m talking wise counsel not people trying to control you or make your decisions for you. However, we all make better decisions in life with additional insight and knowledge.

With this established, I want to share a handful of people that may be in your life that you can go to for wise counsel. It can make all the difference.

Your parents – I realize that not all of us have caring and mature parents but many of us do. If you are blessed in this area, lean into the benefit of that gift.

Good parents have decades of life experience you do not have yet (especially if you are in your teens through your thirties). Good parents would happily die in the place of their children and want nothing but the best for them. Good parents would love to give you wise counsel for your next steps.

Licensed Counselors – While I do admit that finding a good counselor takes a little effort, I don’t understand why others fight this one so much (usually it’s a pride issue). We all go through times in our lives, marriages, families and the like where we just don’t know how to move forward. A trained counselor can help give new tools to add to your options.

When we have a physical need, we don’t hesitate calling in the doctor (if you want to be healthy). We shouldn’t be so resistant to getting professional help.

Your pastor – Speaking of professional help, I am amazed how many people come to me to share they have made a huge decision in their life (especially spiritually) but did not come at any point to discuss it during the process of coming to that point.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an ego filled, control freak but there have been many times someone is laying out a decision they have made and there are warning signs left and right in it. Then they add in the words “God has laid it on my heart to do this.”

The challenge is it is a tougher conversation at that point than if they said “Here’s where things seem to be pointing, what do you think?”. Sometimes the door is not open for any conversation at all. Often times the plans stumble and fall and I see good people get hurt.

Many pastors want God’s best for you. Many pastors have a couple decades of experiences not just from their life but the lives they work with. Many pastors know more than you do about some of the issues you are working with the impressions of. Many pastors know the Bible well and can advise as such. Pastors also don’t have the emotion in the situation that you do that sometimes clouds our judgment in life.

People you want to be like – If you are making a decision in a particular area of your life, find someone who you respect that are doing well in that area. If it’s financial, talk to someone who is doing well in their stewardship. If it’s physical, find someone who moved into a healthier lifestyle be making new decisions. If it’s spiritual, go to someone who is spiritually mature and following God.

The truth is that we (like teenagers) often go to peers who are at the same place in life as we are. Humans tend to have views on everything and happy to share them. However, that is not the same as wise counsel.

People who are in the same place of life that you are tend to make lousy leaders for you. Take the time to find someone a little further up the path.

The Bible – Wait! What? Why is this last on the list?

It’s not. It is the list.

You should start, stay in, and come back to the Bible for counsel. “Wise” counsel matches up with the Bible each and every time. You can get advice from Christians (and yes, non-Christians) but it all needs to be held up to the light of the Bible to see if it matches up.

There are those who will get ahead in this life with worldly wisdom for a season but a long-term blessed life comes from wisdom that matches the Word of God.

Emotions and shortcuts lead us to muck and mire. Wise counsel helps us to succeed. If I can help you in any way, let me know. It’s the least I can do with all the wise counsel others have given to me who are further down the road than I am.


Pastor Tom Hypes




Read Full Post »

So, I enjoy many of George Takei’s posts on his Facebook page like many people do. Sure, he and I have different views on some things but that doesn’t mean he’s not funny, thought provoking, and interesting. However, there is a new one he put out that many people are sharing around that made me take notice. While it makes his point, I also see some concerns as it is laid out to appear to be an excerpt from a sermon given by a pastor. It seems many are drawn to it because (at face value) it ties into a heart many Christians have that the “church” in the past has overly beaten up on people in the GLBT community and have stayed blind to other sins we have grown comfortable with. This is a real concern but that doesn’t mean this post is without problems. First, let me say that I do believe the church in many areas have treated people in the GLBT community very poorly in the past and in the present. I have a huge heart for those who have been hurt before and the continuing conversation around this emotional and personal topic. This post is not to trash on people in the GLBT community, it is to explore concerns I have in how this one piece chooses to categorize a certain view and a misrepresentation of Scripture to paint a picture more than be a healthy two way dialogue that we need more of. Also, this post is more for those within the church than it is those outside the church. Second, let me share with you what he put out…. 1939444_922950577734396_3202163858725274414_n Third, let me share random thoughts as you consider the post…. (more…)

Read Full Post »

A common question that many people have is simply “How do I study the Bible?” If we are honest, this can be a real struggle for many people. Some people find sections to be hard to understand. Some people find they can read an entire chapter and not remember hardly of it by the time they close the book. Some people see reading the Bible as a chore and often lose the passion to dig in.

At The Shepherd’s Fellowship, we are entering into a study season with the Bible that will follow a mindset that may easily help you if you struggle in this area. While there are different study methods, there is one that has really opened up the Word for many and we hope it will for you as well!

Read Full Post »


I’ve had a couple conversations with pastor buddies of mine lately about sermon writing and sharing. I thought I would babble about it here a little in case it would benefit other church leaders and to solicit your ideas if you have thoughts as well.

There are many books and blogs about sermon structures and many have helped me at different times but the following are some of the key components to most of the sermons I share.

The Gospel – Every time I share, the gospel is there. It might go in depth or it might be simple but it’s always there. Any one who acknowledges Jesus is the Son of God with their mouth, believes in their heart that He died and rose for them, and follow Him are saved (Romans 10). If that is not a constant in our teachings, we are missing the foundational point. May no one ever hear me speak and not walk out knowing that.

Biblical Context – It amazes me how many visitors at our church say “I really like how you preached out of the Bible”. Often times this is followed up by talking about how they had not experienced that in this church or that. If we are not preaching from the Bible, what are we doing? Being motivational speakers? Hearing ourselves talk? (Sorry, mini rant…)

Personally, I love expository preaching (preaching verse by verse through a book of the Bible). However, I don’t think that’s the only way to go. I don’t mind topical at all but like to come out of a section of Scripture if I can. I have done some sermons where I am teaching on a topic with bullet points that are tied to this verse or that but it’s not my passion. Again, not against it. Jesus taught like that sometimes. Paul taught like that sometimes.

The main thing is this; bring the Word and bring it in context. Let your bullet points come from the Word… not looking for Scripture to back up your bullet points.

Bring a challenge – There’s enough fluff preaching out so don’t be afraid to bring a challenge. Honestly, if you are preaching the Word, you won’t have to create a challenge, it’s there. We come together to address the things we need to grow in, submit in, or kill in us. Conviction is not a bad thing. Don’t forget to bring 100% truth.

Bring mercy – That said about truth, also bring 100% love. Again, if you are preaching the fullness of the Word and you truly love the people God has entrusted you with, this will not be hard either. In your examples and illustrations, throw some of your past mistakes in there and how God grew you. Let them know you are human.

After the challenge, think about what those sitting in the crowd who are feeling convicted need to hear in their brokenness. Do they need some grace? Do they need some encouragement? Do they need to know they are not alone? What needs said or done to minister there?

Response time – Now, how do you get out of the way and let them respond to God? This may look different each time so it takes prayer and reflection.

We have wasted a bunch of time if we just teach and don’t let people meet with God on His message. The Spirit has used the Word to toil the soil, expose some things, tend to some things, and now He desires to meet with them face to face. Let them.

Maybe this is through music. Maybe this is through prayer. Maybe this praying over them. Maybe it’s inviting them to the front of the room. Maybe it’s letting them know it’s OK to leave now before the end of service to go ask forgiveness from another. Maybe it’s allowing people to move around and love on one another during a song because you just taught on church unity. (Be mindful on the introverts on this one). Maybe it’s communion. Let the Spirit lead you on this but never forget a response time.

Those are the ones to come to mind right now on my end…. What’s your thoughts?

Read Full Post »


Well, it is pastor’s appreciation month again when all pastor’s secretly hope their congregation will remember them in some way to encourage them. My church has always done a pretty good job at remembering this month and it’s always appreciated. Last year, some gift cards and a surprise moment of honor was heart felt and went a long way. If you do not do a little something for you pastor at your church, I recommend you change that. It goes a long way.

At the same time, I felt led to post some things beyond gift cards that would help your pastor all year long. On top of that, they are Biblical and honor God too! This will make a HUGE difference if you really want to be an encourager and faithful.

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

Being a church leader is not always easy or fun. There are seasons you go through where people who are focused on themselves and their motives shake things up and you get caught in the middle of the muck and mire slinging. It’s not a comfortable place to be in. This all came back to me this morning when I was reading Mark 15.

Up to this point, the religious leaders were getting more and more upset with Jesus. He had been teaching truth and challenging their comfort zones in many of their ways and traditions. They noticed that people had been starting to take heed to his way of teaching which threatened their places of power and desires.

They designed a plan to undercut Jesus, arrest Him, accuse Him falsely, and send Him to Pilate to be investigated. Ths is where we pick up the story….

 “Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.

“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.

The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”

But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.” Mark 15 2-5

While they made accusations against Jesus (which were false as we see in the preceding chapter), Jesus remained quiet. Pilate took note and was amazed.

Now Pilate had a choice. He could gather himself together and address the problem with the people who were causing the problem or look for an easy way out. He looked for an easy way out.

“Now it was the custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.

“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him.” Mark 15: 6-10

Note, he knew it was out of ENVY that the religious leaders were doing this to Jesus. He should have addressed it but wimped out. He hoped the crowd would take the pressure off his shoulders by making the decision that he was in place to make. I have seen this often growing up in democracy based churches. There is a challenge, the pastor refers to the church for a vote, and hopes they make the right decision so he can place it on them. “What can I say? The majority wants it.”

Well, here’s the problem with this mentality (besides the fact the leader is ignoring their responsibility). Antagonists work hard to get people on their side and through pity, confusion, and pretend empathy… they are very effective.

“But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.” Mark 15: 11

I have been in this position before. People I considered my best friends…. Christ followers….. people who tell you what a difference you have made in their lives and their families…… now trashing you, yelling at you, and gossiping about you around town. It’s confusing, hurtful and you just want to ask, “what in the world is going on here?” It makes no sense!

Pilate faces this in the next section….

““What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.

 “Crucify him!” they shouted.

 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” Mark 15: 12-14

Notice how the crowd never answers the “Why?” question…. Chances are they really don’t know why. They have been worked up with half truths and victim mentality so instead of seeing the whole picture and walking in faithfulness, they charge ahead full of emotion.

Now, Pilate has had several chances to expose the truth, challenge the wrong, and shut down the false motives. Surely, he will stand up now as he knows the accusations are false, they are acting in envy, and there is no justification for the act they call for. Right?

Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.” Mark 15: 15

Church leaders, stand up and be ready to move for what is right and what is true. You may become unpopular, you may lose friends, and you may lose your job but never be the one who crucifies truth to avoid making others unhappy.

Random thoughts….


As follow up….here are some thoughts from Gene Edwards in the book “Preventing a Church Split”

Over the years I have gleaned a few points that seem to be common to church splits and raids. A raid is when a person comes into a church and leads a handful of people away to his cause. His style is very important. He is not rude, pushy or insistent. Polls show, that all who listen agree that this brother who raised these issues was doing it out of a pure heart. But the division still took place.


The one who is leading the raid or split if stopped at any point before he leaves with his stolen sheep will declare that he is innocent and is falsely accused.


Just about everyone will believe him; even those who do not follow. He is seen as innocent and mistreated by the church’s leadership and they look like the villain.


The one leading the raid or split plays himself as simply too spiritual to criticize his persecutors, even while criticizing them. Either way, the church’s leaders, if they dare try to stop him, get hung out to dry.
4. His followers vow that they are in no way being influenced by him. I have never met a Christian who would admit that he was following a person in a raid or split. This statement help lead the people out: “We Christians should not have leaders. Only the Lord should lead us.”
5. After the split the ones departing will continue their friendships with Christians in the church which they split! This creates a great problem of leaders in the church that has been raided or split. The exception is when the membership is committed to leadership. Then they can have fellowship with Christians of other churches.
6. The leader of the split declares that God told him that, we are right and they are wrong, that the church he is splitting was a cult (or wrong doctrine) and not worthy to exist. (With God on your side, anything is ethical, is it not?)
7. The Church responds like they did in Church history. They will brand them as “heretics.” Both sides have no idea how deeply this division is going to hurt, discourage and destroy people. Nothing is going to stop some people from causing splits and raids. And never will they admit they are causing that split.

Whole article here…..

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »