Preaching & Writing

Quotes of Note: Pastoral Ministry

Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

Life is constantly moving despite being at a pandemic standstill.  I’ve provided an update on some of our journey here.  Recently, I’ve completed the coursework for the PhD program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; only a comprehensive exam, prospectus, and dissertation remain.  While I’m grateful to have taken my last class, there is a sobriety in knowing the most treacherous part of this academic journey lay ahead.

As I prepare to sit for my comprehensive examination later this summer, I thought I would take the opportunity to pass along some of the quotes which have ministered to me these past few years.  Having been permitted the opportunity to read and engage with some of the brightest minds and scholars in the fields of pastoral studies and preaching, I feel a debt of gratitude and an obligation to steward these pearls of wisdom.  With that, expect several of these posts in the future with quotations of note as I continue my preparation.

May the Lord bless you and keep you during this season of Pandemic.  May He make His face to shine upon you.  May these quotes from the saints of bygone eras provoke your thoughts and affection for a wonderful God.

“The test of Leadership is what happens when you leave.”  – John Bisagno in Pastor’s Handbook

“The Church is the mirror that reflects the whole effulgence of the divine character.” – Charles Bridges in The Christian Ministry

“He stands best but who kneels most. He stands strongest who kneels weakest. He stands longest who kneels longest.”  – W.A. Criswell’s Guidebook for Pastors

“When the chariot of humanity gets stuck…nothing will lift it out except great preaching that goes straight to the mind and heart.  There is nothing in this case that will save the world but what was once called, ‘the foolishness of preaching’.” – W.A. Criswell’s Guidebook for Pastors

“Pastor, preach for a verdict and expect it.” – W.A. Criswell’s Guidebook for Pastors 

“To love the Word is to love God.  To receive the Word is to receive God.  To believe the Word is to believe God.  Spiritually, to know the Word is to know God.” – W.A. Criswell’s Guidebook for Pastors 

On good preaching: “The difference between a bore and a good conversationalist is that the bore has not discovered the distinction between what interests him and what interests his hearers.” – W.A. Criswell’s Guidebook for Pastors

Take time for prayer and study and preparation.  If the message is of little cost to the preacher, it will be of little value to the congregation.” – W.A. Criswell’s Guidebook for Pastors 

“You cannot live on skim milk during the days of the week and preach cream on Sunday.” – R.G. Lee quoted by – W.A. Criswell’s Guidebook for Pastors

“A short pencil is better than a long memory.” – W.A. Criswell’s Guidebook for Pastors

“Christ did not come to develop programs to reach the masses, He came to develop men whom the masses would follow.” – W.A. Criswell’s Guidebook for Pastors

“The only investments I ever made which have paid constantly increasing dividends, is the money I have given to the Lord.” – W.A. Criswell’s Guidebook for Pastors 

“It does not take great men to do great things; it only takes consecrated men.” – W.A. Criswell’s Guidebook for Pastors

“The greatest, finest, noblest sermon any pastor ever delivers is that of his own example.” – W.A. Criswell’s Guidebook for Pastors

“Luther wrote in his commentary on Galatians, ‘Every minister of God’s Word should be sure of his calling, that before God and man, he may , with a bold conscience, glory therein, that he preach the Gospel as one that is sent, even as the ambassador of a king glorieth and vaunteth in this, that he cometh not as a private person, but as the king’s ambassador.’” – W.A. Criswell’s Guidebook for Pastors

“We go further on our knees than by any other way.” – W.A. Criswell’s Guidebook for Pastors

 “Indeed, he is a poor and unskilled physician, who aims at healing others but is ignorant of his own ailment.” – Gregory the Great in Regula Pastoralis

“Fear must moderate the desire of compassing authority, and when this is attained by one who did not seek it, let his way of life recommend it.” – Gregory the Great in Regula Pastoralis

“For no one does more harm in the Church than he, who having the title or rank of holiness, acts evilly.” – Gregory the Great in Regula Pastoralis

“Wherefore, the man gives testimony against himself that he is not desiring the office of a bishop, if he seeks the glory of that honour, but not the ministry of a good work.” – Gregory the Great in Regula Pastoralis

“The pastor is the more easily delivered from temptation, as he is the more compassionately afflicted by the temptations of others.” – – Gregory the Great in Regula Pastoralis

“The seed of the word does germinate promptly, when the kindness of a preacher waters it in the hearer’s heart.” – – Gregory the Great in Regula Pastoralis

“the mind of the elect must maintain patience, lest, being stirred by the wind of impatience, it lose in addition all the good they have performed.” – – Gregory the Great in Regula Pastoralis

“What unhappiness is that of people whose state deteriorates by the progress of their neighbor.”  – Gregory the Great in Regula Pastoralis

“Good should be loved for its own sake, not pursued under the compulsion of established penalties.” – Gregory the Great in Regula Pastoralis

 “If we lose the sense of wonder of our commission we shall be like common traders in a common market, babbling about common wares.” – J.H. Jowett in The Preacher: His Life and Work

“The absence of the sense of vocation will eviscerate a man’s responsibility, and will tend to secularize his ministry from end to end.” – J.H. Jowett in The Preacher: His Life and Work

“A man may be dealing with ‘gold thrice refined’ and yet he himself may be increasingly mingled with the dross of the world.” – J.H. Jowett in The Preacher: His Life and Work

“We may be professors but not pilgrims.  Our studies may be workshops instead of ‘upper rooms’.” – J.H. Jowett in The Preacher: His Life and Work

“The worldly spirit of compromise is just the sacrifice of the moral ideal to the popular standard, and the subjection of personal conviction to current opinion.” – J.H. Jowett in The Preacher: His Life and Work

“We may be more concerned to have a swelling membership-roll than to have the names of our people ‘written in Heaven’.” – J.H. Jowett in The Preacher: His Life and Work

“Yes, you will find that when your spirit is impaired, your Bible, and your lexicons, and your commentaries are only like so many spectacles behind which there are no eyes:  you have no sight!” – J.H. Jowett in The Preacher: His Life and Work 

“We are not going to enrich our action by the impoverishment of our thought.  A skimmed theology will not produce a more intimate philanthropy.” – J.H. Jowett in The Preacher: His Life and Work

“Cases are not won by jaunty ‘sorties’ of flashing appeal, but by well-marshalled facts and disciplined arguments marching solidly together in invincible strength.” – J.H. Jowett in The Preacher: His Life and Work

“Preaching that costs nothing accomplishes nothing.  If the study is a lounge the pulpit will be impertinence.” – J.H. Jowett in The Preacher: His Life and Work

“There is nothing mightier than the utterance of spontaneous prayer when it is born in the depths of the soul.” – J.H. Jowett in The Preacher: His Life and Work 

“Let the music be redeemed from being a human entertainment, and let it become a divine revelation.  Let it never be an end in itself but a means of grace, something to be forgotten in the dawning of something grander.” – J.H. Jowett in The Preacher: His Life and Work

“Multitudes of ministers can fish with a net who are very reluctant to fish with a line.” – J.H. Jowett in The Preacher: His Life and Work

“I believe that what the old world needs just now is not so much the multiplication of organization as the baptism of the Holy Ghost.” – J.H. Jowett in The Preacher: His Life and Work

“Brethren, your calling is very holy.  Your work is very difficult.  Your Savior is very mighty.  And the joy of the Lord will be your strength.” – J.H. Jowett in The Preacher: His Life and Work 

“If we have not the Spirit which Jesus promised, we cannot perform the commission which Jesus gave” – Charles Spurgeon in Lectures to My Students




Mallette Family Update

Dear friends, thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and generosity.  The text messages, notes, cards, and occasional monetary gifts have blessed our souls.  You have sustained us and reminded us of God’s presence during this time.  For that, we are especially grateful.  Some have asked what resources I might point them to during this time of pandemic.  Two of my favorite preachers are Steven Smith from Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock and H.B. Charles of Shiloh Church in Jacksonville, FL.  Mac Brunson of Valleydale Church in Birmingham features a great morning devotional, and there are many others to check out during this time of sheltering in place.  Of course, you’re welcome to peruse this website to listen to my sermons as well.  Simply search for a text or keyword under the Preaching and Writing tab.

Just a word of update on our family: The kids are growing!  We can’t keep them in shoes. We can’t keep them in clothes.  Milk and Cereal don’t stand a chance!  Augustus has recently begun helping me mow the yard and is a great helper.  Lucius has been really good at bible verse memorization.  Maximus has excelled in his math, and Alessia is a constant reader.  They’ve been exceptional at handling this season of transition.

As always, Heather is doing a wonderful job turning our house into a home.  We’ve recently rearranged the living room and tinkered with our setup to keep things new and fresh. I’m very blessed to have her as a helpmate and consummate supporter. Life, in some respects, remains unchanged.  Heather and the kids continue in their homeschooling.  I continue to work on my PhD studies.  In fact, I’ve just completed the research paper and reading required for my final semester of seminars.  The only hurdles remaining are my Oral Comprehensive Examination this summer and a completed dissertation.

Allow me to offer a word of devotional for you during this time of pandemic.  Consider the book of Ecclesiastes chapter one.  It says:

The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem.

“Absolute futility,” says the Teacher.
“Absolute futility. Everything is futile.”

What does a person gain for all his efforts
that he labors at under the sun?
A generation goes and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.

The sun rises and the sun sets;
panting, it returns to the place
where it rises.

Gusting to the south,
turning to the north,
turning, turning, goes the wind,
and the wind returns in its cycles.

All the streams flow to the sea,
yet the sea is never full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.

All things are wearisome,
more than anyone can say.
The eye is not satisfied by seeing
or the ear filled with hearing.

What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done;
there is nothing new under the sun.

As you reflect on this time in the world, it’s very tempting to think we are navigating uncharted waters; as if the Coronavirus is the first pandemic to ever distress humanity.  But we are reminded by the author of Ecclesiastes there is truly nothing new under the sun. In fact, if you were to look a hundred years ago at this time, you would find pastors, teachers, and governing officials attempting to navigate the Spanish flu pandemic coming out of World War I.  If you were to make your way to the United Kingdom in the mid-1850’s you would find the formidable Charles Spurgeon pastoring his congregation through the cholera outbreak.

There is truly nothing new under the sun.

The world has seen these times before. And so, the question is “How is the Christian to react during such a season?”  Firstly, we are to reflect the hope of Jesus Christ.  We reflect a reality that we are not long for this world, but that Jesus Christ is going to make all things new again.  In fact, creation groans for him to do just that.  Secondly, this pandemic reminds us of our own mortality.  It is good and right for us to urge people to Christ as they consider their finite earthly existence. They will truly know us by our hopeful love during this season.  We have a hope in Jesus, so live as people with hope!

Practically, there are some things that we should probably refrain from, and also, some things we should probably do.  In that spirit, let me suggest a few to consider:

  • Turn off the TV. It’s good to watch the news and to be informed.  However, there is quite a difference between being informed and being stirred up.  Get your thirty minutes of news a day.  Understand what’s going on in the world. But don’t be afraid to turn that TV off. Sometimes watching the news on a 24-hour loop can lead us to a place of worry and anxiety.
  • Treat this time as a Sabbatical. I would encourage you to do those things during this season you have been putting off.  Do those projects around the house or take care of the yard work requiring your attention.  Get out and take a walk in the refreshment of Spring or grab a book you’ve been meaning to read.  Perhaps there is something that God is calling you to do now that your schedule has been cleared.  Embrace this as God’s provision in your life.  As Mark 2:27 reminds us, “the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.”

Let me also give you some specific prayer requests for us.

  • Pray for our health. It was just two years ago that Heather was coming through a season of difficult health challenges.  God has demonstrated his kindness in restoring her health in many ways, and she is miraculously in a much better place.  But we continue to pray that the gains that have been made will continue to be maintained for the sake of the calling in her life.  Continue to pray for her health specifically, but also for the health and wellness of our family. We know that God is providing for us supernaturally, but every time someone gets a boo-boo on the trampoline you hold your breath.  Pray that God would continue to give us health even during this season transition and pandemic.
  • Pray for my studies. Pray that God would help me during my preparation for my upcoming comprehensive exam.  It is a two-hour oral examination that tests me on everything I’ve learned in the PhD program.  I’ve recently put together a study guide which is over 700 pages.  The exam is a daunting task that you are permitted only two attempts to pass.  In these days as we await our next ministry calling, I’m committed to sinking my teeth into my studies, knowing that life will get busy when a church does call.  Please pray that the Lord would grant retention and recollection in a supernatural way.
  • Pray for our next ministry. Pray for us as we wait for the Lord to open that next door.  We’ve had the privilege of being considered by a number of great churches.  In fact, we’ve continued in faith by closing the door on opportunities which we didn’t believe the Lord was in.  Our commitment is to go where the Lord directs our path.  Many have our resume and some made preliminary inquiries.  We have great confidence that our resume is in the hands of those God will direct in our journey.  We will accept nothing less than His perfect call and will for our life.
  • Pray for our finances. Reading the story of the feeding of the five-thousand reminds us that the Lord can multiply the provision of our fishes and loves.  Let me assure you that He has done that over and again during this season of transition.  His provision has included the prayers and gifts of His people, and has exceeded anything we could have imagined. We have not lacked for anything which is a testimony to God’s goodness. Continue to pray for our daily bread.

Let me conclude with this thought from the end of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, “When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is this:  fear God and keep his commands.”  When all has been said and done with a Coronavirus, our responsibility in the matter is to fear God and keep his commands.  Do the next right thing. Pray more and worry less.  Be a better version of yourself today than you were yesterday.  Enjoy the nearness of His presence in this season of uncertainty.  Embrace the sabbath that God has given you!