In Case You Missed It

In a guest post at Art Rainer’s blog, Robby Scholes shared three important questions to consider before taking a job in a new city.

A career opportunity arises in a new city.

Met with a mix of excitement and anxiety, the first natural reaction is to imagine living in this new place. The new compensation package is larger than your current role, immediately driving assumptions about the lifestyle possibilities, opportunities for increased generosity, and new savings goals you will finally be able to meet by taking this new role.

 

You begin to think that taking the job is a no-brainer. Is it?

 

A new city means a new cost of living. Sometimes this works to your benefit and other times to your detriment. An increased cost of living could swallow the higher salary.

 

So before accepting the role, consider these 3 questions.

 

Sam Rainer shared a helpful post earlier this week discussing why every young pastor needs an old mentor.

“Sometimes the being is more important than the doing.” My mentor shared this wisdom at our last meeting. He’s in his mid-80s, about 50 years ahead of me. He retired from a church in Indiana and moved to Bradenton several years ago. I inherited him with my church when I was called as pastor two years ago. God gave me a spiritual heavyweight of encouragement with him. He sits a few rows from the back—prayerfully listening every week. Most in our church do not realize the wealth of maturity he brings to our congregation. He holds no formal leadership position in our church. He doesn’t need it because his prayers move mountains.

 

Every young pastor needs an old mentor. I know that’s not a new thought. I press the point because it’s hard to overstate the value of wisdom from someone 50 years older than you. Unfortunately, young pastors tend to dismiss the oldest generation of leaders. Not overtly, of course. Few would explicitly state they don’t want to hear from someone older. The dismissal comes more in the form of time. Our ears can only listen to so much before words start melting together. Podcasts, meetings, texts, phone calls, blogs, sermons—how many of them come from the oldest generation? If you’re like me, you tend to listen to people your age, maybe 10 years older. Listening to the oldest generation takes effort. It’s not efficient. My mentor talks slowly, with careful nostalgia. If I pay attention, what I hear is the greatest hits album of his ministry. It should be played over and over again.

 

At his blog Millennial Evangelical, Chris Martin shared about the strange burden of participating in social media.

Over the last year or so, I have become more discouraged about social media and what it is doing to us than I have ever been.

 

Often I think to myself, “The only reason I use social media any more is because it’s such an important part of my job.” Really, it’s central to my job.

 

Then, some weeks, what I see on social media encourages me and gives me hope for the medium as a useful tool for the Church.

 

One of my friends recently left social media entirely. He deleted all of his accounts and isn’t going to engage on Twitter, Facebook, etc. any more. I kinda wish I could bring myself to do that, but every time I consider it, I can’t.

 

It’s not that I can’t bring myself to leave social media because I have some sort of unhealthy addiction to it or because I need to be informed about what all of my friends are doing with their lives. (At least I don’t think that’s why.)

 

I think I can’t bring myself to leave social media because I have a sort of strange burden for it as a medium.

 

Earlier this week, Russell Moore shared about his writing process.

Because you are probably going to be called upon to write something at some point in your life. It may not be that you’re a writer, but you may have to write a loved one’s obituary. Or you may have to write a letter to a child or a family member. All of us are going to have to put down on paper or on the screen our thoughts at some point. Some people just do it much more extensively than other people do it.

 

So here’s kind of the process I go through. And again, I don’t commend it to anybody at all. This is just the way that I work. What I wish I could say to you is that I sit down and make out an elaborate outline, and then have note cards in front of me, and I go through each of note cards. That’s not how I work. What I have to do is spend a lot of time, first of all, reading in whatever area I’m going to be writing in, and then a lot of time just processing that. So just thinking. A lot of the most important writing time for me actually is not in front of the screen, it’s walking in the woods. Because that’s when I’m thinking through “Okay but what about this, and what about that, what about this idea, and what about that idea,” and sort of churning as I’m thinking through this. And for me, exercising – especially sort of meandering free exercising – is what helps to put all of that together for me.

 

At his personal blog, Chuck Lawless recently shared ten reasons (beyond fear) that believers don’t evangelize.

If you look at many studies about evangelism, you’ll discover that fear is a primary factor that keeps Christians from telling the Good News. Those fears might involve a fear of rejection, a fear of not knowing answers, a fear of others watching our lives more closely if we speak of Christ, or other possibilities. In addition to fear, here are some other reasons – perhaps surprising ones – that believers don’t evangelize.

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

If you follow Dr. Russell Moore on social media, you may have heard that his Grandmother recently went home to be with the Lord. Earlier this week, Dr. Moore shared this post on what his Grandmother taught him about the church. Dr. Moore writes:

On the way to my grandmother’s funeral, I found myself noticing, in a gas station checkout line, a pack of Dentyne gum. I don’t think I had thought about the little red bits of cinnamon in years, but the package stood out to me. My grandmother, Agnes Moore, would give me half a piece of that gum every time we would sit down in church. It was always a half piece, because she couldn’t stand the sight of someone visibly smacking gum. All sorts of memories filed forward. I suppose that’s because I can only think of that gum in the context of church, and, in a very real sense, I can only think of the church in the context of her.

My family was always at Sunday school and Sunday morning worship, but my grandmother, who lived next door to us, expected more from me. She was widowed early in my life, losing my grandfather who had been pastor of my home church, Woolmarket Baptist in Biloxi, Mississippi. She was lonely, and I knew it, so I would spend many evenings in her house, snapping beans or shelling peas in front of the fire. And on Sunday evenings I would go with her to Training Union (kind of a Baptist Sunday school at night) followed by Sunday evening services. On Wednesday night, she would take me to Royal Ambassadors (kind of a Southern Baptist Boy Scouts, where we would learn about international missions) and Wednesday night prayer meeting. She would take me to all the fifth Sunday dinners on the grounds and every revival meeting.

There was only one event in the church calendar we would always miss: business meeting.

Jason Duesing recently shared this post on making the history of the future.

In a recent foreword to a book on Baptist church doctrine, James Leo Garrett Jr. offers a somber word. He says, “The twentieth century was not the finest epoch in Southern Baptist history with respect to ecclesiological practice.” Referencing decades of emphasis on efficiency and unchecked church growth, Garrett laments a century that largely “found that ecclesiology was a weakness.”

While I do not agree fully with Garrett’s bleak assessment, I do think that Baptists in the twenty-first century have an opportunity to recover how believers should understand what the Bible says about churches—and that is a hopeful task. In short, regardless of the past, what matters most for the future is what we do with the time that is given to us.

Bruce Ashford recently posted an article at the Intersect Project website on what we should do when scientists and theologians disagree. Dr. Ashford writes:

In a recent post, we discussed that science and theology should be partners, not enemies. Nevertheless, some scientists and theologians disagree on key issues. How, then, do we find a resolution when certain scientists present evidence that appears to conflict with Christian teaching?

As Christians we believe that there cannot be any real or final conflict between theology and science, because God is the author of both the “book of Scripture” and the “book of nature.” If there is a conflict between certain theologians and certain scientists, it exists because of human error in interpreting Scripture or interpreting nature.

In other words, there will sometimes be disagreement between theologians and scientists, but there will never be disagreement between God’s two books (Scripture and nature).

In light of these convictions, I offer three principles to resolve the disagreements that sometimes exist between theologians and scientists. These three principles are modified from an article written by the Christian philosopher Norman Geisler.

In a recent blog post at the Peoples Next Door, Keelan Cook reminds us that it is both easier and harder than ever to be a missionary.

Today is an interesting time for global missions.

In many ways, it is easier than ever for us to get to the nations. Consider that early missionaries would travel on a dirty ship for two months through storms to get to their field, and then complain to me about the 2 hour delay on your layover. Travel is a lot easier and cheaper than it was.

And we cannot forget about the ease of communication. Today, with the internet, we can reach most anywhere in the world, at any time, instantaneously, and usually for free. Of course, that is not true everywhere. I served in one of those few places where the internet barely reaches, but those locations are shrinking by the day. So, in some ways, it is easier to be a missionary than ever.

But at the same time, it is getting harder to be a missionary in many places… a lot harder.

Dan Darling recently shared this helpful post on how to be a prolific writer. Dan writes:

One of the questions I often get from emerging writers is this one: How do you create a lot of good content at a regular pace. Over the years, I’ve been blessed with opportunities to write for a variety of outlets on topics I enjoy. I write regularly for ERLC and am a regular contributor to several other publications.

Every writer has their own rhythms, but perhaps there are some things you can learn from what has helped me. Here are six things I do in my life to be a productive and consistent writer.