In Case You Missed It

At The Peoples Next Door, Meredith Cook shared an article discussing how we should serve our churches. Meredith writes:

Have you ever taken a spiritual gift inventory? I have, and I assume many who are reading this blog have as well. Spiritual gift inventories, while a bit simplistic and overgeneralizing, can be helpful if you don’t know how you are gifted. However, they do not address the underlying purpose of spiritual gifts, nor do they accurately tell us what to do with the gifts once we know what they are. We need to understand what the Bible says about them, and let it tell us how to use them.

 

There are several passages that discuss giftings, but I will mainly focus on 1 Corinthians 12.

 

Art Rainer posted at his personal blog discussing why we should stop multitasking.

How often to you attempt to multitask to become more productive?

I often find myself doing this. Even as I write this, my phone sits next to me. I’m tempted to stop writing and check a few emails.

 

But I shouldn’t.

 

I don’t multitask well. And neither do you. This is what research about our brains and our attempts to juggle several tasks at once tells us. Studies consistently show us that God did not create most of our brains to do multiple tasks at the same time. We are at our best when we focus on a single task. So what does happen when you multitask? It’s probably not increasing productivity. Let’s look at what you are really doing when you “multitask.”

 

At his personal blog, Matt Emerson posted a touching tribute to Dr. John Sailhamer who passed away earlier this week.

I learned on Twitter earlier that John Sailhamer has passed away.  Due to his failing health over the last decade, his last major project – The Meaning of the Pentateuchwas published way back in 2009. In our consumer-driven, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately American culture, that may as well have been a century ago. But Sailhamer’s influence has always been more about his positive impact on students than his publishing per se. If you read his books – The Pentateuch as Narrative, Introduction to Old Testament Theology,The Meaning of the Pentateuch, even Genesis Unbound, as well as his commentaries – it seems obvious that these arise directly out of his teaching. And if you talk to his students, they’ll confirm that this is in fact the case.

 

Bruce Ashford posted an article at the Intersect Project  website discussing three authors who changed his life. Dr. Ashford writes:

In the space of two years in Russia, I began to realize even more fully the deep and resonant effects of religion upon culture, and vice versa. I was living in a social and cultural context that had been almost entirely devoid of evangelical gospel influence for generations. Conversations with many of my students revealed a deep skepticism about whether God existed, whether life had any meaning, and whether there are any moral absolutes. The institutions of this country — including its government, businesses, marriages and schools — reflected this deep sense of loss, this sense that its people could no longer believe in a God who endowed their lives with meaning and purpose or who gave moral law by which all people and institutions should abide.

 

During this time, I began to read books by Christian thinkers such as Abraham Kuyper, Francis Schaeffer and C. S. Lewis. (On my journey to Russia, I carried one suitcase of clothes and four suitcases of books.) What I read changed my life.

 

At The Gospel Coalition, Tony Merida shared six ways to stir your affections for weekly preaching.

Foundational instruction in expository preaching tends to focus on theology and methodology. This makes sense. Expository preaching is a theologically driven approach to preaching. We don’t commend this approach because we think it’s a great church growth idea, but primarily because of our theological convictions. Our convictions about God, humanity, the gospel, the nature of the Bible, the work of the Spirit, the centrality of Christ, the church, the role of pastors, the coming judgment, and more should lead us to embrace a high view of biblical preaching.

 

After theology, we then talk methodology. How do you prepare Bible-saturated sermons? How do you preach systematically through books of the Bible? Here we often discuss matters like studying the text in detail, considering the redemptive-historical context (how the text points to Jesus), identifying a dominant theme, constructing an outline, explaining and applying the text, and adding an introduction and conclusion.

 

But theology and methodology shouldn’t be all we emphasize. We can become skilled at crafting sermons, but not be affected by the Savior. If we don’t guard our hearts, sermon preparation can become mechanical. We must avoid becoming what I call “the Sermonator”—the pastor who mechanically cranks out sermons devoid of heartfelt passion.

 

Good exposition isn’t merely theological and methodological; it’s also affectional. It includes both light and heat, intellect and affections, seeing and savoring. It involves preaching the text from your own heart to your people’s hearts.

 

For those committed to exposition who have a sermon preparation routine, a vital question is this: How can we stir our affections for Sunday? Here are six ways.

 

Dr. Alvin Reid posted an article at The Center for Great Commission Studies discussing the tension of Evangelism.

Tension.

 

What does this word conjure up in your mind?

 

I asked a class this week whether their immediate response to the word “tension” was positive or negative. Almost all said negative. We see tension as something bad, something that’s a nuisance at best or a hindrance at worst.  I would beg to differ. Our world would not function without tension. Try building a bridge without it. Try walking upright without it. I know; for a while I could not walk upright because of lumbar spine issues. My body simply could not maintain the appropriate tension to stand up straight without pain.

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.