In Case You Missed It

Recently at The Gospel Coalition, Keith Getty posted an article titled: Facing the Music, Finding the Mission. Keith writes:

There was something unfinished causing a splinter in my mind.

 

I began sensing it last year after I finished rewriting the song “Facing a Task Unfinished,” but it came to a head in January. Over the last five years, we’ve started a new family and enjoyed incredible opportunities in music we never could’ve dreamed of—and, of course, don’t deserve. All of this came out of writing music for the church.

 

Even so, something was just not right.

 

Then it arrived: the torturous day when I finally admitted to myself that little by little, we’d been moving away from what I’d set out to do at my core—write hymns. Time and focus was needed to feed new thoughts, collaborations, and sounds. It was time to face the music. Little did I know, I was about to find so much more.

 

As the clouds broke, our focus shifted and sharpened, so we began putting pen and melody to a new project, Facing a Task Unfinished. (Download free sheet music for the songs “He Will Hold Me Fast,” “For the Cause,” and “Facing a Task Unfinished.”) In the previous five years we’d only managed to write a couple of songs each year we were really pleased with, in contrast to earlier years of writing. But in the first three months of this year, we’d written eight new songs—a testament to the new perspective.

 

In coming back to this calling, I began to freshly realize four things that reinvigorated our cause.

 

At the Lifeway WosrhipLife blog, Dr. Joshua Waggener recently discussed worship that follows the Great Commission.

When Christians think about the Great Commission, we consider where we should go. But when we think of worshiping, we don’t necessarily think about going anywhere. Instead, we often focus on “staying put” for times of prayer, singing, and preaching from the Bible.

 

But what would our worship services look like if they more intentionally reflected the Great Commission? How might we gather to worship in ways that encourage going?

 

In a post at his personal blog, Jason Engle recently reminded us that there is no such thing as a blank space Christian. Jason writes:

Recently, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary adopted a new official hymn.  They selected a beautiful new song written by Keith and Krysten Getty entitled, “For the Cause.”  I love being a student (yet again!) at this wonderful Seminary.  I appreciate their heart for the gospel, and especially their vision to see “every classroom a Great Commission classroom.”  From good experience, I can honestly say that vision provides the engine that drives each and every classroom on their campus.  This is why this hymn fits the Seminary so very well.  I have posted a video of this song that the Getty’s have created in cooperation with Southeastern.  If you haven’t had a chance to hear this song or see this video, please take a few minutes and do that.  Besides the blessing I know it will be for you, I would like to offer some thoughts as I have reflected on it, myself.

 

Meredith Cooper is a student at Southeastern, and this year she made her first trip to the SBC annual meeting as a messenger. In this post, she shares the reflections of an SBC rookie. Meredith writes:

Last week, I attended the Southern Baptist Convention for the first time. While I am not new to the SBC—I grew up in an SBC church and now attend an SBC seminary—I did not consider myself immersed in the denomination until last year when I became a full-time employee of the seminary. As I learned more about the inner workings and politics of our denomination, I have to admit that my perception was less than positive. There were various reasons, ranging from sheer lack of interest in anything political to focusing on the wrong things to simple misunderstanding. However, attending the annual meeting last week put things in perspective, and these are some things I learned.

 

At The Peoples Next Door blog, Keelan Cook writes an appeal to young Southern Baptists.

This week was the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. It was held in St. Louis this year and over 7,000 messengers attended. That is quite a bit larger than recent years, and I have to say, the event impacted me in a couple of significant ways. That is the reason for this appeal. I write to ask you, young Southern Baptist, to consider your involvement in our convention. Does your church send representatives to the convention? Have you ever been?

 

In my estimation, this year’s convention was deeply significant. Some pretty important issues were discussed on the floor of the convention, some sharp rebukes were delivered, and some magnificent displays of unity occurred. It was more than a convention. It was a defining moment in the direction of our giant cooperation of churches, and there is a chance history will remember it that way. What is more, I was there and I did not just watch it happen, I helped make it happen.

 

That is the beauty of the Southern Baptist Convention. We are America’s largest protestant denomination and we are not run by some elite board of decision makers. We are run by a room full of church members from across the United States and Canada. Our decisions are made by small church pastors, bi-vocational church planters, scholars, and automobile mechanics. Technically, our denomination only exists for two days a year, when all of our churches have the opportunity to send people to speak on matters concerning this cooperation we have created. It is powerful, and it is beautiful. Unfortunately, I am afraid our generation knows little of that.

In Case You Missed It

Dr. Russell Moore recently posted discussing the question: “Are Millennials Selfish and Entitled?” Dr. Moore writes:

The Internet lit up recently with outrage when a twenty-something woman complained about how hard it was to live in San Francisco, because her job didn’t pay her enough. The post, directed toward the woman’s employer, Yelp, caused many to point out that Millennials are, as a generation, lazy, self-obsessed, and entitled.

 

The controversy caught my attention because I tend to hear similar things within the church directed toward Millennial Christians. I don’t feel qualified to speak to the general group psychology of the entire generation of Millennials, but I have spent most of my time for the past decade or so around Millennial Christians, and I think the nasty caricatures of them are just not true.

In a recent post on his personal blog, Barnabas Piper discusses the most curious question: “Who are You?”

Who am I?

If you can’t answer this question it’s a good starting place for applying curiosity. Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? Do you know what you love and what you hate? Do you know where you draw energy and what enervates you? These are important questions for understanding how God designed you uniquely and what trajectory might be best for you.

 

Such questions can’t be answered in isolation very easily. We judge ourselves both too harshly and too graciously. We have more blind spots about our own lives than anything else, so we need help. We need help from peers and mentors, so ask them what they see in you. What stands out? What is strong? What is weak? We need help from experts, so take two or three evaluations like Strengths Finder and Myers-Briggs. Take a spiritual gifts test such as the one in Discover Your Spiritual Gifts by C. Peter Wagner. None of these will define you, but they will help you understand you. Each provides a piece of the puzzle as to why you are the way you, where you will thrive, and what you should do next.

At the People’s Next Door, Meredith Cooper discusses three rules for receiving hospitality as Gospel ministry. Meredith writes:

Last week I wrote on the importance of showing hospitality to those around us. Hospitality is an important part of displaying Christ’s love, but there is another side to it that gets overlooked. We emphasize showing hospitality, but I think that learning how to receive hospitality is equally important. This is especially true in cross-cultural ministry.

 

As I mentioned briefly in the last post, the highest expression of honor you can show someone of a different culture is to enter their home. It is difficult as Westerners to wrap our minds around this, though. Here are a few things to keep in mind, remembering that these things generally apply to cross-cultural ministry (although if you try these on Americans I would love to hear how it goes!). In addition, always remember that gospel proclamation is the primary goal of both showing and receiving hospitality.

Does Scripture demand unleavened bread in the Lord’s Supper? Dr. John Hammett answers in this post at The Gospel Coalition.

It is commonly agreed that the bread Jesus broke and gave his disciples on the night he was betrayed was unleavened. He was instituting what we practice as the Lord’s Supper during a celebration of the Jewish Passover, which required unleavened bread.

 

At times the question has been raised, then, whether or not Christians should use unleavened bread in the Lord’s Supper in order to follow Christ’s example and to be fully biblical.

Dr. Jamie Dew recently posted about why we all doubt from time to time. Dr. Dew writes:

I’ll admit it. I have had my moments when I wondered if it’s actually true. In fact, I’ve had more than just moments. Those who know me best know that it’s been the seasons of wondering and questioning that ultimately led me to studying apologetics and eventually philosophy. Before I knew it, I had become an academic.

 

Here’s one thing I’ve found. Believers tend to think something is terribly wrong if they have doubts about their faith…

In Case You Missed It

In a recent blog post, Jamie Dew discusses how to turn your child’s mistakes into teachable moments by asking “What did you Learn?” Dr. Dew writes:

What is your first reaction when your children make a “childish” mistake? By “childish”, I mean something like spilling milk, dropping your phone in the toilet, throwing a golf ball through a window, or ripping the wallpaper off the wall. I’m not referring to malicious acts of the will like hitting a brother, lying to a parent, or refusing to obey. Let’s consider those kinds of things later. For now, let’s think about our response to childish mistakes that kids make. The kind of mistakes that kids make because they are kids.

 

I’ll admit it, if I’m not careful, my first reaction to these kinds of mistakes is anger. With four kids, there have been plenty of moments when something went wrong and I responded in a way was is understandable, but not helpful. So, how do you respond?

At the Intersect Project’s website, Bruce Ashford discusses seven guiding principles for Christians in the public square.

A core biblical teaching is that all humans are worshipers, either of God or of idols. Our worship is located in the heart, and it radiates outward into all that we do. People who are not Christians are still worshipers, and whatever or whoever they worship radiates outward into all tat they do, including their public-square interactions.

 

As Christian believers, we worship the God of Jesus Christ. Because he is the creator and Lord of all that exists, we seek to bring all of our lives, including our public-square interactions, into submission to his lordship.

 

Yet the question remains: “How exactly do we bring our public-square interactions in line with Christ’s lordship?” Here are seven points that offer a way forward.

Aaron Earls recently published an article explaining how courage is the way forward for Christians in a complicated culture. Aaron writes:

Let’s cut to the chase and acknowledge what we all already know. As Christians, we face difficult circumstances and troubling trends that undermine the image of God in every man, woman and child. But these are not new problems for the Church.

 

The bride of Christ has confronted and thrived in the midst of cultural embrace of triumphalist leaders parading as political messiahs, sub-biblical sexuality offering empty promises, the devaluing of human life from the unborn to the elderly, and rejection of our shared humanity over issues of race and class.

 

That the Church will come through victoriously on the other side yet again is not in doubt—not because our strength or accomplishments, but because of Christ’s strength in our weakness and His finished work on our behalf.

 

The only real question is about you and I. Will we make it through unscathed? Will individual Christians maintain their faithful witness in the midst of trying times? That all depends on how we choose to respond.

 

We will be told that there are only three options—capitulation, cowardice or cynicism. Each have their own temptations and allures, but each is faulty and unbiblical.

At The People’s Next Door blog, Meredith Cooper explains that hospitality is hard, but we should do it anyway.

Hospitality is a word I hear a lot in conjunction with ministry training. It is now a common subject in my seminary classes, church sermons, conferences or books I read, and with good reason. Hospitality is an important part of both obeying the “one another” commands we see in Scripture regarding fellow believers and doing gospel ministry with those outside the church. Take Rosaria Butterfield for example, who became a believer largely due to a pastor and his wife hosting her in their home regularly and sharing the gospel with her.

 

In order to understand what hospitality is, we need to see what hospitality is not. People commonly associate hospitality with inviting people into our homes, but there are some pre-conceived notions that must be dismissed.

At The Gospel Coalition, Donald Whitney gives five reasons we should prioritize family worship.

Just about everyone I know feels overwhelmed. Most are busier than they’ve ever been before, especially if they have children at home.

 

Pair that with my observation that most Christians I know would affirm that family worship—if they’re familiar with it—would probably be a worthwhile practice if they were to make time for it.

 

If these things are true for you, then my prayer is to persuade you, despite the many demands on your schedule, to make a priority of family worship. And I hope to persuade you regardless of your family’s size—even if you’ve never had kids or no longer have them in your home—by means of the following five reasons.