Mondays with My Old Pastor

Mondays with My Old Pastor by Jose Luis Navajo is the story of a discouraged young pastor and his regular Monday "wisdom sessions" with his eighty-three-year-old former pastor. Through the course of fifteen weeks, the old pastor encourages the younger man with numerous stories, reminders, comforts, and insights, imparting along the way fifteen principles that ought to form the foundation of any pastor's--or any Christ-follower's--spiritual life.

It is a nicely crafted book, and while the old pastor's insights are not particularly earth-shaking, they are effectively and memorably imparted. Some of the portions I underlined include:

For fifty-five years we have spoken to people about God. Now we long to speak to God about people. (p. xxiii)

It is an abomination to turn the altar into a stage. (22)

You have two options: serve the Lord or work in the church. They are not the same. (44)

One of the things that can kill a congregation is to be led by people who have miles of influence but only inches of depth. Trials and adversities make us mature. (81)

Marriage is the ministry. (92)

Don't be a gourmet chef at the altar of the church. Be decisive in the kitchen, and to do that the fundamental ingredients must be the Bible, study, and prayer. (106)

[In preaching,] Don't focus on what astonishes, but rather what transforms. (116)

Dream using God's heart as a pillow. (137)

Knowledge is just an idling motor. What makes it move is attitude. (137)

It is a book well worth reading, and one that can re-orient--even rescue--a pastor's life and ministry. While at times the narrative got a bit too melodramatic or hyperbolic for my taste (which may possibly be attributed to cultural differences), it was an unfailingly interesting and helpful read.

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