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What makes a good resume?

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We've all heard of resume-padding, but this is a little ridiculous:
A pastor who regaled family and parishioners with tales from his time in the Navy SEALs is backtracking after his story turned out to be nothing more than a self-described "ego-booster," according to reports.

Without knowing the man, his ministry, or his preaching, it's impossible to say how this lie found its way into his sermons, his counseling, or his leadership. But it certainly had to have an impact. Contrast how this pastor wanted to be seen and known with how the apostle Paul describes his ministry in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5,
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.  For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Paul's perception of his own ministry and of his own place in that ministry went arm in arm with his message of Christ crucified, the power of God displayed in the hiddenness of the cross. Sadly, many modern pastors do not have the same confidence that Paul had in his message.  But when the message changes to something more than the scandal of Christ and Him crucified, there must be a corresponding change to the messenger. Messages that are focused on me and my abilities and my successes are far more convincing if they are delivered by a man who seems to have experienced the success he offers in his sermons.

The foolishness of the cross remains a scandal among those who profess to worship the risen Christ, even among those who are called to be his heralds. When faced with our own personal sins and idols, the temptation is strong to make ourselves more than we really are, to pretend to be more than we have ever been. But when we succumb to that temptation we also turn away from the only hope we can ever have to be loved according to our real circumstances rather than the fiction that we create, believe, and project to others.

I hope that for this particular pastor, someone in his church or some peer reminds him of Paul's message in 1 Corinthians 2 and I hope it changes the way he preaches to desperate sinners and counsels those who just can't seem to rise above their circumstances. Having had his glory pulled out from under him, he is in a perfect position to remember the glory of the One who was lifted up for him. May all our pastors take refuge in the foolishness and weakness and hiddenness of God.

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  • Guest - Harold

    This is an interesting example. Its very similar to the one of the former Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, Ergun Caner. He lied about his expertise in Islam by saying that he had debated Islam in Arabic, by faking an ability to speak Arabic, and by claiming to have been trained in madrassas in the middle east, for example. These things have been shown to be a lie by legal documents, audio/video recordings, etc. The only difference is that Ergun has gone about covering this up and neither admitting his mistakes or repenting. This sort of thing is truly sad and only serves to bring disrepute to the name of Christ. ( http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3781 )

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  • Guest - Bryan

    I don't disagree with your message, but Pastor Moats didn't appear to use fictitious service in his preaching or counseling. According to this article, http://stackblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/if-richard-dawkins-showed-up-in-sunday-school/ , it was a case of church members assuming he was a SEAL because of a plaque he had in his office. He never corrected their misconception and it built into something that he never expected. When confronted with the opportunity to set the record straight, he dug his hole deeper and it got filled in on top of him.

    I feel sorry for him and hope that he can use this experience in his walk with Christ.

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  • Guest - Jan Mathys

    Whatever happened to the second commandment amongst Reformed? Are they allowed to discard God's command to not make images?

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