Charles Bota with Dennis Roberts:
There are about 13 million people in Zambia. Although most go to church, evangelicalism is at a low point in that most of those churchgoers are not born again. As in every other country, many people believe that because they are Catholic or Anglican or members of some church, they are going to Heaven.
But the hunger is growing for truth found only in God’s Word. As recently as 25 years ago, there was not a single reformed Baptist Church in Zambia. Now there are nearly 50, present in all 10 provinces of Zambia and counting. The Lord has been very gracious in yielding fruit to the hard labour of his saints.
Here’s the real issue. Our challenge in ministry isn’t to buy into a lifestyle that’s driven by busyness and the lack of healthy rhythms. For instance, if nobody in the church is taking a weekly Sabbath, the answer isn’t for the pastor to stop taking a Sabbath. Instead, the pastor should be model what it’s like to pause, rest, and find refreshment one day a week. If the fathers in a community never make it home for dinner with the family, the pastor should not necessarily follow that pattern and work through dinner. Instead, the pastor should wrestle with how often to be around for the family even when work is calling.
We know how this story from John chapter eleven ends. But in the horrible days of Lazarus’s agonizing illness and in the dark misery of the days following his death, Martha did not know what God was doing. He seemed silent and unresponsive. Jesus didn’t come. It’s likely that she knew word had reached him. She was confused, disappointed, and overwhelmed with grief.
And yet, Jesus delayed precisely because he loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus.
Hollywood is not known as a culture of grace. Dog eat dog is more like it. People love you one day and hate you the next. Personal value is very much attached to box office revenues and the unpredictable and often cruel winds of fashion. It was doubly shocking, therefore, when one way love—and its fruit—made such a powerful appearance on the big stage in 2011. The occasion for it was Robert Downey Jr receiving the American Cinematheque Award, a prize given to “an extraordinary artist in the entertainment industry who is fully engaged in his or her work and is committed to making a significant contribution to the art of the motion pictures.” A big deal, in other words. Downey Jr. was allowed to choose who would present him with the award, and he made a bold decision. He selected his one-time co-star Mel Gibson to do the honors.
While you might like getting your point of view off your chest, over the long term your rants may be making you less happy and more angry, suggest two new studies by a single research team.
The first study showed that while visitors to common “rant” websites reported feeling more relaxed immediately after posting a comment, overall they tend to experience more anger in general and can express their frustration in maladaptive ways.
The second study found that both reading other people’s rants and writing your own are associated with negative mood shifts. The research was published online in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.