In Case You Missed It

At his blog, Chuck Lawless shared why it is important for young pastors to talk with older pastors. Dr. Lawless writes:

If you read this blog regularly, you know I love to work with young pastors. I’ve spent the last 20+ years of my life equipping them. They have energy, passion, and faith that are remarkable. At the same time, many young pastors have written off older leaders because our churches haven’t been as healthy as they should be, or we don’t necessarily agree on every fine point of theology with them.

 

Young pastors, I challenge you to find an older pastor and have some conversations. I’m not even saying you need to find an older mentor (though I do think we all need older mentors); I’m simply saying, “Take an older pastor to lunch and talk.” Here are some reasons why.

 

Keelan Cook shared a post at The Peoples Next Door earlier this week explaining how immigration may soon beat a century-old record.

As of 2015, the United States had set one record in immigration, and it may be on pace to break another one.

 

According to the most recent data from Pew research, the United States is now home to over 43.2 million international immigrants. That is more than any other time in the country’s history. It also makes the United States the largest recipient of immigrants by a wide margin.

 

However, according to Pew, the US is tracking toward another milestone, one that has not been topped since 1890. This number is called “immigrant share,” and it is the percentage of the US population that is foreign-born. In other words, our total population is looking more and more diverse.

 

At the Intersect Project, Thomas West shared why we should listen to Lesslie Newbigin and rest by caring for our religious life, but also work by giving ourselves sound theological reflection.

We all know the feeling.

 

We approach the end of the summer and wish we’d spent it differently. Sure, we did some good things. But there were other tasks we never got to. Some of us wish we’d played more. Others of us wish we’d worked a little harder. Either way, we feel like we’ve wasted our summer.

 

How can you avoid that post-summer letdown? What tips will help you live a summer without regrets? In this article, let’s learn from the remarkable example of a remarkable man, Lesslie Newbigin.

 

At his personal blog, Dr. Danny Akin shared five things you should always do before you preach a sermon.

Sermon preparation is hard work, no matter how long you’ve been doing it, and no matter how good you are at it. It simply requires work. Many preachers have a hard time finding a rhythm for sermon prep. What works for some might not work for others, and I think this is generally okay. However, I do think there are certain practices that should be common to all who want to faithfully and powerfully preach God’s Word to God’s people. I can think of at least 5.

 

Krystal White posted at the Intersect Project website sharing the burdens and blessings of a working mom. Krystal writes:

To work outside the home or not to work? The world of motherhood is deeply divided on the answer to this question. Unfortunately this dividing knife often cuts both ways, leaving mothers second-guessing their choice to either stay home or stay in the workforce.

 

As a mother of two who works full time, I feel the tension, too. I often hear statements such as “my husband and I care enough about the spiritual health of my kids for me to stay home,” or “I had a great career once, but I chose the kids over my career.” Statements such as these can lead many working moms to become insecure and feel as if they were undedicated to their children and families.

 

This week at his personal website, Dr. Bruce Ashford shared an essay discussing how to create a learning environment shaped by the Great Commandment.

In this essay, I wish to reflect on the question, “What will it profit a seminary to gain thousands of students but lose its soul?” What will our seminary gain if we develop a world-class faculty, build an efficient administration, receive a clean bill of health from our accreditors, enroll thousands of students and fill their heads with knowledge, but do not instill in our students a love for God and neighbor? What will a faculty member gain if he builds a large student following, has an impressive list of publications, and demonstrates a mastery of his subject matter, if these things are not underlain by a genuine love for God and for his neighbor? In other words how do we ensure that we are “Great Commandment faculty members” who view every seminary relationship as a “Great Commandment relationship?”

God and Stories: The Lost Basketball Shoes

By: Dr. Adrianne Miles

Last week, I talked about the gift of stories. God has given us this gift to help us communicate with others. As a bonus, he created our brains to produce oxytocin, a chemical that makes us feel good, when we engage in good stories. Telling people good stories makes them feel good. When people feel good, rapport is built, and they want to hear more. This is exciting news for Christians! God has stacked the deck in our favor to help us share His story with a lost world.

One of the best ways to share the gospel is to share yourself—tell people the stories of your life and tell them what God did in those stories. In order to see God in the stories of our lives, we must know Him and know his Word. The more we are in God’s Word and the more time we spend with him, the more it will become second nature to make connections between God’s Word and the world around us.

The best way to do this is to recognize that God is always at work, see Him working, and talk about Him. Let me share an example from my life. My son lost his expensive basketball shoes. Saying it that way isn’t much of a story, but I turned the event into a story, a story in which I recognized God’s amazing work in ordinary lives.

Last Thursday before basketball practice Zac couldn’t find his basketball shoes. He and his dad looked all over the house. No basketball shoes. The last time he remembered having them was Tuesday at basketball practice. Tuesday after school at a large public high school. It was Thursday night. He had left them in the gym two days ago. The only thing we could do at 9:30 at night was pray. I went to bed praying and woke up throughout the night praying. The next morning, Zac went to school early to look. I prayed while he was gone, but no shoes, not in the gym, not in the lost-and-found, nowhere. I lost a lot of hope but prayed that the shoes would be found or that Zac would learn whatever lesson God was trying to teach him. Zac went back to school that night for a game. His shoes had been missing for three days. He texted minutes after arriving at school: “I found my shoes. They were in a locker in a locker room.” He had gone to his coach’s office but stopped off in a locker room, a locker room that he never uses, to visit the restroom. When he walked into the locker room leading to the restroom, he saw his gym bag (with the shoes inside!) just sitting there in an open locker. He didn’t just see his shoes; we all saw God’s amazing answer to our prayers!

It is not enough for me to recognize God at work in my everyday life. I must share Him. I leveraged that story for God’s glory by talking to my son about how God cares about the details of his life. I told my friends and co-workers about it. I posted it on Facebook, and now I am telling you. Why? So that you will know that God is ever-present, even in 2017, so that you will get a glimpse of God’s love for a teenage boy and think about how much God loves you, and so that you will tell stories of how what God is doing in your life.

Stories are a gift from God. He created us to love stories—to feel good when we engage in them. There are stories all around us—in literature, movies, songs, the news, and most importantly in our own lives. The more time we spend with God, the easier it will be to see His hand at work and to help others see Him in the stories all around us.

Dr. Adrianne Miles is Assistant Professor of English and Linguistics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern.