In Case You Missed It

Yesterday, Jason Deusing shared this helpful post on his personal blog on how why and how he encourages his students to write and improve their writing. Dr. Deusing writes:

As I explain on the first day of class, one of the side effects of a journey with me as professor is that, whether one hopes for it or not, I use my courses to help improve writing skills. In the ministry assignments to which most of the students in my classes will go, the ability to communicate clearly their thoughts will prove crucial for their own efforts of building trust, strengthening relationships, resolving conflicts, organizing and casting visionary leadership, and, most importantly, communicating the gospel message well (Col 4:4). For those who find themselves set apart for the ministry of the Word in preaching, the ability to convey their message in written word only helps insure they will do even better verbally.

Spence Spencer recently published an article at the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics discussing C.S. Lewis and the surprising reason we desire fulfillment at work.

When Friday afternoon arrives, sometimes we feel the sense of elation that we will cast off the bonds of our vocational labors and embark on a journey of recreation and rest.

Too soon it seems that Monday morning is looming, and we are back in the harness again for another week of toil.

In the midst of this cycle, we feel a deep longing in our souls for meaning in our weekly work beyond our paycheck and the sometimes minor progress we see.

In The Weight of Glory, a sermon preached in the Oxford University Church of St. Mary the Virgin in 1941, C. S. Lewis describes some of that deep longing and offers hope for its fulfillment.

Gavin Ortlund posted at Desiring God discussing five ways to encourage your pastor (without exalting him).

Plenty have lamented the problem of “celebrity culture” in the church, and usually that phrase brings into our minds famous pastors and leaders in the church today. But “celebrity culture” can be an equal challenge for non-famous, local ministries — and some of its most insidious effects crop up there.

The dangers of “celebrity culture” lurk anytime pastors become isolated from the normal, mutual processes of accountability and encouragement in the body of Christ — anytime leadership is characterized by Hebrews 13:17 authority without Hebrews 3:13accountability:

  • Authority: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls.” (Hebrews 13:17)
  • Accountability: “Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13)

How do we encourage both Hebrews 3 and Hebrews 13 dynamics in our church cultures? In other words, how do we affirm our pastors in their leadership over us without exalting them into some separate category above the sheep?

Who are the Millennials? Waylon Bailey discussed this at his blog recently.

Who are the Millennials, and what do we know about them?

The youngest adult generation in America is popularly known as the Millennials (some people call them Generation Y because the previous generation is known as Gen X).

The Millennial’s were born between 1980 and 2000. They are generally 15 to 35 years old. Other demographers would make them between the ages of 18 and 35.

What do we know about the Millennial’s? There are four very important benchmarks you need to know about the Millennial generation.

Earlier this week, Sam Storms posted a helpful blog entry discussing how forgetfulness is the fuel for idolatry.

“Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the Lord your God has forbidden you” (Deut. 4:23).

Forgetfulness is the fuel for idolatry. Spiritual amnesia often leads to apostasy. This is the most important lesson for us in Deuteronomy 4:1-40. God’s concern is that his people might “forget the things” that they had seen and that the memory of their gracious deliverance might “depart” from their hearts. Thus we read here of the crucial importance of remembrance, of calling to mind again and again the history of God’s dealings with us and his faithfulness at every turn.

 

In Case You Missed It

Earlier this week, Dr. Stephen Wade published an article which offers a few foundational thoughts relative to understanding addictions biblically, and in it he also suggests some practical tips relative to ministering to addicts. In his article Dr. Wade writes:

Addictions are typically associated with alcohol and drug abuse, but when we dig deep into the human heart, we find that a clear understanding of what is going on is really a picture of the battle going on in the heart of every sinner. Pastors will find that both believers and non-believers struggle with addictive tendencies, to a greater or lesser extent, with many different things in their lives. Indeed, the grace and power of the gospel applied to the struggle of an addict is the same grace and power that every believer needs in the battle with sin.

Thom Rainer published an article describing five reasons pastors have guest blindness at the Lifeway blog earlier this week. Dr. Rainer writes:

In light of the woeful reports from mystery guests, I was very surprised at one facet of some research we conducted as we interviewed pastors across America.* One of our questions asked if the pastor’s church does a good job of meeting the needs of first time guests. Surprisingly, 90 percent of the pastors said “yes.” Did you get that? Less than 20 percent of the guests said their visit was good, but 90 percent of the pastors perceive the opposite, that most guests have a good visit.

At The Gospel Coalition, Camille Cates writes: “Why I Don’t Blame Planned Parenthood.

In Genesis 3, we see Adam shift blame to his wife, Eve, and even to God himself. Likewise, Eve shifts blame onto the serpent. Neither takes responsibility for his or her own actions; instead, they simply act as if their sin is someone else’s fault. In the years immediately following my abortion, I shifted the blame too. I blamed my baby’s father. I blamed my parents who took me to the clinic. I even blamed God.

In a recent post on his blog, Dr. Waylon Bailey gives five practical steps for wise speech.

How many times have you asked yourself: “Why did I say that?” Or, maybe you asked: “How could I say that?” Nothing seems to be as easy as saying something dumb. None of us wants to misspeak or say things we shouldn’t. What can we do to minimize our unwise words?

Reflecting on a question he was once asked about Christians eating black pudding in light of Old Testament regulations about eating blood (Lev. 17:10ff), Sinclair Ferguson writes on four principles for the exercise of Christian liberty over at Ligonier:

Although (as far as I am aware) no theological dictionary contains an entry under B for “The Black Pudding Controversy,” this unusual discussion raised some most basic hermeneutical and theological issues:

  • How is the Old Testament related to the New?
  • How is the Law of Moses related to the gospel of Jesus Christ?
  • How should a Christian exercise freedom in Christ?

Yesterday in Chapel at Southeastern, Dr. Chuck Lawless, Dean of Graduate Studies warns students not to become hard hearted to where they destroy their witness. Watch the entire message here: