In Case You Missed It

At the Southeastern Kingdom Diversity website, Amber Bowen posted an article titled “Gender and Gifting Reversed.” Amber writes:

I love to teach. I love to teach the Bible. When I teach the Bible, I love to drop anchors and dive down deep. I also love philosophy, theology, history, literature, and every book ever written about these topics no matter how thick or dry. I never feel more alive than I do when I walk out of teaching a 3 hour class on Dante’s Inferno or Nietzsche’s The Antichrist. My favorite thing in the world is seeing people engaged, intrigued, and inspired by the riches of the word and how it relates to all of life, even to the texts of pagan philosophers.

 

But I am a woman.

 

Trevin Wax posted at The Gospel Coalition on three ways cultural engagement intersects with the Great Commission.

In previous posts, I’ve dealt with a few objections to the idea of “engaging the culture.” I made the case that we should understand cultural engagement as an aspect of our fulfilling the Great Commission.

 

Today, I’d like to lean in a little more on that idea and offer three ways that cultural engagement should intersect with our task as God’s people.

 

At The People’s Next Door, Keelan Cook posted a reminder that it’s the Great Commission we are called to fulfill, not the “Great Obligation.” 

This may be hard to believe, but there was a time when most churches did not think the Great Commission applied to them. Two hundred years ago, it was common for people to read this command at the end of the gospels as one already fulfilled. In the minds of most, the command to go and make disciples of all nations was handed directly to the apostles. When Paul made it to Rome, this signaled the completion of that mandate. That may sound crazy to us today. After all, we talk about the Great Commission all the time and we certainly think it applies to us.

 

But in 1792, a man by the name of William Carey published a book. It was called, “An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens.” It had a terrible name, but it is one of the most important books you have never heard of. It started what we call the Modern Missions Movement, it it has been going on ever since.

 

Greg Mathias posted at the Center for Great Commission studies on three mirages that promise life on the mission field.

I truly believe that people give themselves to trust in whatever they believe will give them life. In a previous post, I discussed inordinate loves and the missionary. If our loves are misdirected then we misplace our hope. On the mission field, there are many mirages, or illusions that promise life but end up leaving us spiritually bankrupt.

 

On the Acts29 podcast, Tony Merida interviewed Thabiti Anyabwile.

On this episode of the Acts 29 podcast, Tony Merida talks with Thabiti, Pastor of Anacostia River Church in Washington DC in the United States. Anyabwile shares his testimony as a practicing Muslim to conversion by the Gospel to Christianity, church-planting endeavors, how to engage racial issues with the head, heart, and hands.

 

Earlier this week, The Baptist Press reported on the continued enrollment gains reported to SEBTS trustees.

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s trustees, along with individuals who support the seminary through the Southeastern Society, held their biannual meetings Oct. 9-11 at the Wake Forest, N.C., campus, receiving updates about the seminary, worshipping together in chapel and fellowshipping with faculty and students.

 

Danny Akin, in his presidential address to each group, reported that Southeastern Seminary is in its seventh year of record enrollment with 3,550 total students. The current fall semester is the second largest spring enrollment in SEBTS history.

 

SEBTS faculty also taught nearly 11,000 hours of distance learning courses, Akin reported, while diversity on campus rose from 8 percent in 2010 to 14.61 percent in 2016, with the seminary looking to increase that percentage every year.

 

Southeastern also saw a record year for the Southeastern Fund, raising $1.8 million during the past academic year. More than 650 new donors gave to the Southeastern Fund this year and, overall, more than 900 donors joined the SEBTS family.

In Case You Missed It

Earlier this week at The Center for Great Commission Studies website, Greg Mathias shares a reminder that missionaries need the Bible. Dr. Mathias writes:

At the risk of being labeled Captain Obvious, let me begin with a simplistic yet important statement: Missionaries need the Bible. Ministry is fulfilling, but it is also hazardous. Language, culture, and new experiences of spiritual warfare compound these hazards for the missionary. In the midst of long days and nights of ministry, missionaries often struggle with spiritual exhaustion and long seasons of spiritual dryness. One of the key ingredients behind this exhaustion and dryness is a lack of rich and nourishing time in the Word of God.

 

6 ways to hold onto the Word in seasons of fruitful ministry or in seasons of exhaustion and dryness.

 

Alan Cross posted at SBC Voices with eight ways to appreciate your pastor for pastor appreciation month.

October is pastor appreciation month. Let me tell you how to let your pastor know you appreciate him. Gifts are fine and a vacation or money is always helpful, especially if the pastor has a family he is trying to provide for. But, he didn’t become a pastor for the money. He wanted to impact lives for God’s Kingdom. That is what he gave his life to years ago. Every pastor is different, I know, but many pastors that I’ve talked to feel most appreciated when the following happens. I thank God for every instance of this that I experienced.

 

At The Blazing Center, Matt Rogers shares why peace is a terrible basis for decision making.

It’s become a go-to answer to justify our actions.

Sarah is a high-school senior who is trying to determine where she will go to college. After four college tours, she tells her parents that she “just feels a peace” about going to a certain school. Or a businessman considering a new career venture might quip, “I know it is risky but I just feel a peace that this is what I should do.”

 

Our internal sense of peace serves as the ultimate rationale for decision-making and, the great thing is, no one can question us. It’s the ultimate mic-drop—akin to saying that God told you to do something.

 

Who’s gonna say that God didn’t tell you this or that your sense of peace is wrong?

 

This might not be such a big deal in morally neutral decisions like where we go to college or what entrepreneurial venture we are going to undertake next. But it’s a massive issue when it bleeds over to our choices in other areas of life—which it almost always does.

 

Dr. Brent Aucoin published a two-part article at Canon and Culture arguing that the Founding Fathers would not have barred pastors from holding public office. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Dr. Aucoin writes:

Did the Founding Fathers of America want to prohibit ministers from holding public office? One of the most prolific and respected Christian historians in America thinks so and wants you to do the same. John Fea, who is chair of the History Department at Messiah College, the author of four renowned books, and a popular blogger, made this argument in an essay entitled “Why the Founding Fathers wanted to keep ministers from public office” that appeared on the Religious News Service (RNS) website on August 15, 2016.

 

The question of whether pastors should be able to hold elective office does not seem to be a pressing issue, as relatively few ministers ever throw their hat into the political ring. But in a society where the growing hostility of the cultural and political elites towards Christianity is matched by their questioning of the guarantees of freedom of religion, this matter suddenly takes on greater significance. One can’t help but wonder if the attempt to prohibit pastors from running for political office may follow the previously unimaginable attempts by governments in America to collect and analyze sermons, or to effectively prevent professors in Christian colleges from teaching from a Christian perspective. If one could demonstrate that the Founders wished to bar ministers from public office, it would certainly help facilitate the ongoing quest to further secularize the public square and marginalize Christians.

 

At the Intersect Project, Laura Thigpen shares three ways Christians can be engaged about the environment.

In a recent article, my friend Carly Abney explained why Christians should care about the environment. Now that we’ve established that Christians should care about the environment, the next question is how. Often times people choose not to enter conversations on topics like science or the environment for two reasons:

  • Genuine Intellectual Insecurity: They feel inadequate, lacking enough knowledge to speak on the issues.
  • Superficial Intellectual Security: They believe they have the right answers and are unwilling to enter conversations where disagreement is almost certain.

Carly gave us several reasons why these avoidances actually hinder sharing gospel truths in the environmental movement. Now, Carly gives three practical ways we can work to overcome our perceived barriers and be engaged, ordered in increasing difficulty

 

Dr. Bruce Ashford published an article at Fox News sharing the one thing that could tip the balance in the next presidential debate.

There is one thing that could tip the balance in an increasingly tight race for the presidency, and it is the one thing that probably will not be mentioned—much less emphasized—during Monday night’s presidential debate. Here’s to hope.

 

There are a number of things I’d like to see happen during the second presidential debate and then there’s one thing I’d like to see happen more than anything else. Let’s start with a brief enumeration of the “number of things” before we conclude with the “one thing.”

In Case You Missed It

Recently at his personal blog, Dr. Jamie Dew shared 10 reasons why a family mealtime is vital. Dr. Dew writes:

I grew up in a home that was broken. My parents split up when I was 7 and it had a devastating blow on me as a young boy. In particular, one result was that it significantly decreased the amount of time that I had together with my family. We had our moments when we would all be together, but I remember far more occasions when we were off in our own directions. Looking back, I realize that it could have been far worse than it was. But still, it wasn’t ideal. There simply wasn’t enough time that we sat together as a family to enjoy and benefit from the offerings of a healthy family.

 

Now that I’m married with four kids of our own, we strive to make the time where we as a family can sit and just be together. The place this happens most is around our kitchen table. Like most families, we have our evenings along the way where we must eat out or apart from each other. But we do try to avoid that as much as possible.

 

Statistically, it is easy to find support for a family mealtime. But those of us who grew up without it honestly don’t need statistics. In my opinion, there are several obvious reasons why a family mealtime should be a high priority for our families.

 

Aaron Earls recently posted an article at his blog, The Wardrobe Door, discussing the value of potential lives.

Potential is notoriously difficult to quantify. By it’s very definition it is not yet realized. Despite it not being readily availably, it has value and factors in to decisions like the player a sports team drafts or the neighborhood in which you live.

 

Investments are built on potential. We ask, “Can this become something much more than it is right now?”

 

Recently, two examples of potential dominated the news cycle, but many handled them in diametrically opposite manners.

 

Earlier this week, Barnabas Piper wrote this post discussing 7 lies parents often tell their children. Barnabas writes:

We all lie to our kids. Sometimes it’s on purpose and for what we deem a good purpose. Sometimes it’s because we so want them to believe something, to feel better, to overcome a challenge, or to work through pain that we will say anything to try to help. Sometimes it’s because we’re idiots and just don’t realize what we’re doing. Here are seven of the most common lies parents tell kids.

 

Greg Mathias posted an article for the Center for Great Commission Studies discussing feeble prayers in our chaotic world.

Living in a new normal doesn’t feel so normal. The word tragedy is too much a part of my vocabulary these days. I have searched for other words, but tragedy describes best the world events constantly swirling around us. Istanbul, Brussels, Paris, Boston…the list could go on. We live in a chaotic and fallen world. In a world where the new normal is one tragedy followed by another tragedy followed by yet another. It can be overwhelming. Strike that, it IS overwhelming.

 

For Christians, this normal is not surprising, but that does not minimize the fact that we are constantly faced with new tragedies. Each and every tragedy evokes a response. No matter the tragedy, the most immediate response ought to be prayer. Often, though, prayer feels small compared to the massive tragedy in front of us. Even so, we should pray. We need to pray.

 

The question is, how are we supposed to pray in the midst of chaos when our prayers seem so feeble? Here are my thoughts on how to pray in the midst of our new and tragic normal.

 

J.D. Greear posted recently about 3 truths Christians must fight to remember. J.D. writes:

Throughout Scripture, God’s people are told to remember. This may seem odd if you look closely at when God says it. For instance, all throughout the book of Deuteronomy—Moses’ farewell sermon to Israel—God tells his people to remember what just happened. If you had been in slavery for 400 years, were miraculously rescued by walking through the dry floor of an ocean, and had seen bread fall out of heaven and water flowing out of rocks, do you think you’d forget it?

 

Apparently, yes. Israel’s times of spiritual wandering were always marked byspiritual amnesia. Not that they literally couldn’t recall what God had done, but that his mighty works weren’t prominent in their minds. The same is true of us.

 

Dr. Bruce Ashford posted an article at this blog titled: “Make America Happy Again (Or, How the Beatitudes Slay the 7 Deadly Sins)“.

Recent surveys have confirmed what we already know: Americans are not happy. Anger, anxiety, and depression are on the rise in our country. An NBC News survey revealed that half of Americans are more angry than they were last year, and a significant percentage of Americans become angry at least once a day because of something they saw on the news. And the anger is bipartisan: both Republicans and Democrats both feel this way.

 

Other surveys reveal that Americans are also depressed, as indicated by a rise in suicides and in prescriptions for depression medications, and anxious because of stagnant wages, deteriorating 401(k) retirement plans, lost wars, racial unrest, terror acts, an increasingly polarized society, and the toxic nature of our public discourse.

 

In the midst of our anger, depression, and anxiety, Jesus offers the Beatitudes. “Beatitude” is the blessedness, the deep happiness, of being in right relationship with him and allowing him to work in and through us, even in the midst of the worst of circumstances.