What a true pastor learns over the years—

1. The kingdom of God does not, and will not, skip a beat when I am sidelined.

2. The church is more important than I thought when I started.

3. Some of my words and actions to which I am most oblivious can be hurtful to people.

4. Pastoral ministry is indeed, as John Newton said, “a bitter full of sweet” and “a sorrow full of joy.”

5. Christians are the greatest people in the world.

6. Christians are capable of the most wicked actions in the world.

7. My greatest challenge at the beginning of my ministry continues to be dealing with my own heart.

8. An excellent wife is the greatest earthly gift I have and she is more excellent than I ever could have imagined.

9. True friends are rare and invaluable.

10. Some of the most outwardly religious people can be the biggest hypocrites.

11. It is nearly impossible for a man who marries poorly to make it in the ministry.

12. Some of the most humble, unassuming saints provide the greatest encouragement to pastors.

13. Some of the most effective pastoral ministry I’ve ever had has come through my presence more than my words.

14. Some words I have spoken incidentally have ministered God’s grace more powerfully than others over which I labored and prepared for hours.

15. Preaching really is a divinely ordained, foolish activity.

16. Every conversion to Christ is a miracle of grace involving intricate acts and provisions that have been divinely orchestrated.

To be continued —

– Tom Ascol

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