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Glad Tidings and Cups of Bitterness

Serving Christ means experiencing sorrow—even at Christmas.

I was recently in Colorado Springs, speaking to some ministry leaders. As a friend and I drove past the complex of Ted Haggard's former megachurch, New Life, our conversation turned to various failings we've each witnessed in recent months at other large ministries.

As I young pastor, I believe it's healthy to reflect on such failures. I'd rather be a janitor in God's kingdom than rise to influence and disgrace his name.

The next day, when I returned home, I found myself deeply discouraged. Actually, depressed might be the better word. I was supposed to be preparing Christmas sermons about joy, peace, and glad tidings, but all I felt was grief, agony, despair—not only at those specific failures, but also at the gleaming Colorado Springs buildings I visited, the seeming gap between the wealthiest Church in world history (ours) and the New Testament church. Adding to my melancholy was my own seeming inability to lead myself or the ministries I serve as close ...

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