There are two kinds of pastors in the world: those who are good at following up, and those who aren’t. Which one are you?
Before you claim to be at the “good” level, let me set the standard.
Tolstoy pursued perfection in his own strength and energy apart from the grace of God. He constantly lived under guilt and shame, and he died a miserable vagrant. He never enjoyed the Christian life because he missed the essence of Christianity. The essence of sin is our attempt to take the place of God. The essence of the Christian faith is God taking our place, not only on the cross but also as the One who daily sustains and satisfies us. Tolstoy, because he missed grace, lived the antithesis of the Christian faith. Sadly, many churches teach as if they desire to produce children and students like Leo Tolstoy.
My method of studying in college was what you might call “brute force learning”. When I didn’t understand a subject I would beat it into my brain. I would study my notes and the text book until my brain finally tapped out and grasped the subject. I would force my brain to get it. I would put my brain into a submission hold. And that method worked pretty well for me. I made it through college with good grades, without embarrassing my mom, and without having a nervous breakdown.
Unfortunately, the brute force learning method does not work when it comes to Christ.
Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself by Joe Thorn—$2.99 (US)/$3.99 (Canada)
Christians Get Depressed Too by David Murray—$2.99
Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life by Douglas Wilson—$3.99
The Gospel and the Mind by Bradley G. Green—$2.99
Education or Imitation? Bible Interpretation for Dummies Like You and Me by Curt Allen—99¢
Our enemy says, “Youth for pleasure, middle age for business, old age for religion.” The Bible says, “Youth, middle age, and old age for your Creator.”
But as it’s especially in our youth that we are most inclined (determined?) to forget our Creator, it’s especially in these years that we must work to remember our Creator (Ecc.12:1). Remember that He made you, that He provides for you, that He cares for you, that He watches you, that He controls you; and remember that He can save you too. That’s a lot to remember, but it’s much easier to start memorizing when we are young!