Allan Bevere

Author's details

Name: Allan Bevere
Date registered: March 3, 2012

Latest posts

  1. Allan R. Bevere: Pastors Go Through Slumps too — October 23, 2014
  2. Allan R. Bevere: What’s the Best Diet Out There?… — October 21, 2014
  3. Allan R. Bevere: Preaching in the Retirement Home — October 21, 2014
  4. Allan R. Bevere: You Forgot to Add One More Thing to the American Gloom March — October 21, 2014
  5. Allan R. Bevere: Caption Contest… And the Winner Is… — October 20, 2014

Most commented posts

  1. Allan R. Bevere: Online Communion and Disembodied Gnosticism — 3 comments
  2. Allan R. Bevere: Yes, It Is Unavoidable… in the Head and in the Cafe — 2 comments
  3. Allan R. Bevere: A Last Supper with Helpings of Betrayal and Denial — 1 comment
  4. Allan R. Bevere: You Don’t Get Strung Up on a Cross for Running Around Telling Everyone to Love One Other — 1 comment
  5. Allan R. Bevere: It’s Four Years Later– Will It Be the Same Old Thing? — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Oct 23 2014

Allan R. Bevere: Pastors Go Through Slumps too

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from Thom Rainer:
The "slump" metaphor is used often in sports. The baseball hitter is in a slump because he has not gotten a hit in 15 at bats. The football quarterback is in a slump because he has only completed eight passes in the past two games.

But pastors can get in slumps as well. Admittedly they are not as easily recognizable as sports slumps. There aren't really any metrics to tell us that a slump is in progress.

Sure, the pastoral ministry slump is subjective if not vague. But it's real. And every pastor experiences it. So I asked several pastors what they viewed to be the causes of slumps they experienced. Here are their top responses in the form of direct quotes.

1. Failure to spend time in the Word and the Bible. 

2. The cumulative effect of criticisms.

3. Unfulfilled expectations.

4. Family problems.

5. Financial problems.

6. Physical burnout.

7. Counseling.

8. Comparisons.
The details of each can be found here.

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Oct 21 2014

Allan R. Bevere: What’s the Best Diet Out There?…

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...Well, it turns out "none of the above."
Author Matt Fitzgerald summarized the finding, or rather, the lack thereof, in his new book Diet Cults:
"Science has not identified the healthiest way to eat. In fact, it has come as close as possible (because you can't prove a negative) to confirming that there is no such thing as the healthiest diet. To the contrary, science has established quite definitively that humans are able to thrive equally well on a variety of diets. Adaptability is the hallmark of man as eater. For us, many diets are good while none is perfect."

Further support for this notion comes from a simple glance back at the history of our species. Mankind has populated almost every corner of the earth, and in every diverse situation, humans were able to survive, even thrive, on whatever food their homes had to offer.

Even more convincing evidence has been found by observing those who have lived the longest. The University of California-Irvine's 90+ Study has tracked thousands of Americans who've made it to age 90 and beyond, yielding an unprecedented wealth of information about their lifestyle habits. For lead investigators Claudia Kawas and Maria Corrada, the most surprising finding they made is that most participants didn't seem to be too concerned with their health. Generally, the 90-year-olds said they didn't really keep to a restrictive diet. Nor did they abstain from alcohol, quite the opposite actually! The researchers found that up two drinks a day -- no matter the type -- was associated with a 10-15% reduced risk of death. They also discovered other things that might disturb ardent dieters. Vitamin supplements did not affect lifespan in any way, and being a little overweight starting in middle age positively affected longevity.
The entire article can be read here.

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Oct 21 2014

Allan R. Bevere: Preaching in the Retirement Home

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Thoughtful words from Richard Mouw:
When, back in the mid-1980s, I told a retired Calvin College colleague that I was moving to Fuller Seminary, he responded: "I hope you will make a case there for more appropriate sermons preached at retirement communities!" He went on to explain: "Last week at the weekly worship service sponsored by our community, a visiting preacher warned us against a modalist conception of the Trinity, while also urging us to avoid tri-theism. But that was not as bad as the week before, when a seminarian-- addressing a congregation where at least a dozen of us were sitting in wheelchairs-- exhorted us to stand up for Christ in an increasingly secular society!

I have often wished since then that I had asked him about what he would consider to be a good sermon for that kind of community. But as I get closer to his age I think I could come up with some helpful answers of my own. Many of us have been giving considerable attention in recent decades to the importance of cultural context: you can’t preach exactly the same sermon in a suburban Omaha church as you would to a congregation in rural Thailand. But that kind of emphasis has to do with "macro-" cultural factors. There is also the "context" of different stages of an individual life. What I found exciting and helpful about Christianity in my twenties differs significantly from my present life as a septuagenarian.

Peter Berger understood that point better than many theologians and pastors-- certainly better than the preachers whom my colleague heard in his retirement community. In his The Noise of Solemn Assemblies (1961), Berger observed that the calls to reform the structures of societal life have little relevance to "many of the aged and the sick and the emotionally crippled in our congregations." Indeed, they can constitute "nothing but a threat to whatever spiritual solace the congregation has been able to give them." To be sure, he argued, it is certainly appropriate to show concern for "the vocation of Christians in industrial society," as long as we are aware of the fact that "there are some Christians whose one vocation remains to suffer and to face death in faith. It is certainly no minor accomplishment if a local congregation provides the communal support for such a vocation."
The entire post can be read here.

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Oct 21 2014

Allan R. Bevere: You Forgot to Add One More Thing to the American Gloom March

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According to the Wall Street Journal, Americans are now entering into their second decade of a gloom march in which, except for a couple of times, Americans believe the country is on the wrong track. Elizabeth Williamson writes,

"Why are people so gloomy? Well, it might just be everything," says pollster Micah Roberts, sounding a bit like Eeyore himself. Mr. Roberts is vice president of Public Opinion Strategies, which along with Hart Research Associates conducted the poll. "We haven't had a plurality saying ‘right track’ in over ten years so that's pretty amazing. After 10 years it's just part of the collective consciousness of Americans," to think the nation’s gone off the rails, he added.
Even those who said they thought the nation was on the right track seemed to doom the future with faint praise.
While I don't want to discount the work of the pollsters, I can't fail to mention that there is another reason... and I think it is a big reason... for the making of doom and gloom in society-- the 24/7 cable news cycle in which in order to capture ratings, news stations are constantly and incessantly reporting and focusing on every major news story making it more newsworthy than it actually is. (Neighbor, can you say "Ebola"?).

I used to be a news hawk spending way too much time reading it on the Internet and watching it on television. Several years ago, I quit... and my mood immediately changed. The only news I catch is in the morning, at some point. I get online and read the latest headlines and delve into only those reports I am truly interested in. So I stay informed, but I do not allow the talking heads and political pundits to drive my day and my mood. It's been liberating.

I have a suggestion for my fellow Christians. Instead of getting up in the morning and catching the morning news, or even reading the blogs (including yours truly), begin your day with morning prayers. Christians have been doing it for centuries and it can center your entire day in a positive way.

After all, we have to start the day somehow.

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Oct 20 2014

Allan R. Bevere: Caption Contest… And the Winner Is…

Original post at

Craig: "Holy smoke, a parallel universe!"

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Oct 20 2014

Allan R. Bevere: God, my Old Friend: A Lectionary Reflection on Deuteronomy 34:1-12

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Deuteronomy 34:1-12

It was G.K. Chesterton who said, "The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."

A humorous and certainly exaggerated line to be sure, yet is it not true that even the best of friendships can have their ups and downs? Perhaps the best friendships by necessity will have their difficulties at times.

This is certainly the case with Moses and his relationship with God. From the moment Moses received his calling in front of the burning bush on the mountain, Moses and God would journey together through victories and defeats, in the midst of good times and difficult ones. They would work together in concert as Moses faithfully led God's people in obeying God’s will, and at other times Moses would try God’s patience while God, on more than a few occasions, would have Moses baffled and confused.

Moses begins his journey with God as a reluctant follower. He answers God's call to lead the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, out from under the oppressive hand of Pharaoh, the most powerful ruler in the world. There must have been much fear and trepidation in Moses, but he is faithful. Utilizing Moses' faithfulness, God leads the people out of Egypt, which leads to great victory in the crossing the Red Sea. Here Moses displays great courage and moral fortitude. It is perhaps one of his best moments in life.

And as Israel begins its wandering journey through the wilderness, making its way over many years to the Promised Land of Canaan, Moses also journeys with God. And has time goes by, Moses and God develop a relationship that certainly remains as master and servant, but something more begins to develop. Could that something be called friendship?

As Moses nears the end of his life, he and the people of Israel finally reach the destination they have dreamed about during the hot wilderness days and the cold desolate nights. Canaan, the Promised Land, sits right over the Jordan River; and now Moses is told that he may see the land, but he may not enter. Is it possible to imagine the crushing feeling Moses must have had to have come all this way in distance and in time to be able to see the prize before him, only to have it snatched away at the last moment?

Can we imagine for a moment how Moses must have felt? Here he was on the threshold, ready to reach the goal that had become the purpose of his life because God had made it so, only to be told at the last minute that what he had longed for was not to be? The reasons for Moses exclusion from the Promised Land are not entirely clear, but there are a couple of hints given in previous chapters of Exodus. Perhaps Moses was being held responsible for the consistent disobedience of the people of Israel that he had led, somewhat like the ship’s captain being held responsible for the behavior of the crew. Moreover, there were certain incidents throughout the wilderness years where Moses had undermined God’s authority in his speech and behavior. Those who lead are always held more accountable, not because they have a different moral standard from everyone else, but because they are to model the standard for everyone else.

Whatever the reason, Moses is to die with the Promised Land in his sight, but not in his grasp. "Then the Lord said to him, 'This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, 'I will give it to your descendants.' I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.'"

It is quite a sobering thing to look back on one’s life and wonder what could have been and what should have been done differently. Everyone’s life ends with unfinished business. If Moses only knew what he knows now at the end of his days, what would he have done differently? Surely Moses sits upon Mount Nebo pondering and wondering how things might have transpired if hindsight had been foresight.

But perhaps to dwell on what Moses did not receive, is to miss the point, not only of this closing chapter of Deuteronomy, but of the purpose of life itself. We must not diminish the great disappointment found in this story, but we must also not lose sight of the larger point that comes to us as well: "Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt-- to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel."

The true goal of Moses' life was not to step foot into the Promised Land; if that were the case, the only truly significant aspect of his life would have come at the end. Moses' true purpose was being fulfilled all along the journey of his life-- in coming to know God more and more each day, Moses lived his life in such a way that the writer of Deuteronomy 34 could state that he knew God face to face.

At the end of his life Moses sits upon Mount Nebo and converses with God, not simply as a servant would in a humbling way in response only to his master’s wishes, but as two old friends who have been through thick and thin together. Perhaps they speak of where they have been, perhaps they remind themselves of how it all began while Moses was searching for lost sheep on the mountain, or when they were in Egypt staring down Pharaoh, and then reminiscing about the many days along the journey, even the days when their relationship was strained.

And as they look back, perhaps Moses comes to understand that his inability to enter Canaan is not a failure of his life's purpose, but just one last frustration in the midst of a life filled with disappointments.  It is a life also lived in great joy because it was faithfully lived in service and in obedience to his God, who Moses now knows is also an old friend. And what a fitting tribute to a life well lived that God, Moses’ old friend, buries him and delivers his eulogy!

The fifth century bishop St. Augustine wrote quite extensively on friendship. It is Augustine who defined salvation itself as friendship with God. And such friendship cannot be had overnight, it cannot be achieved instantaneously. Like all friendship, it takes a lifetime to build to nurture and experience.

And the destination of our journey of discipleship, of following Jesus, cannot be reached without the journey. May our journey of faith take us to the end of our days, so that it will be said of each and every one of us that, like Moses, we knew the Lord face to face.
from Allan R. Bevere, The Character of Our Discontent: Old Testament Portraits for Contemporary Times.

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