Connecting “this comes from the Lord” with “having this ministry” forces a disturbing question. How many of our churches today can say, “Our ministry comes from the Lord. Our life-giving impact is of him. What we are experiencing is coming down from above”? How many of our churches have a clear awareness that what’s happening in their midst is not due to their cleverness or relevance or traditions or anything of Self? How many of us can honestly say, “What’s happening among us here is from the Lord. There is no other way to account for it. We’re not that smart, not that attractive, not even that virtuous. We want to do our best for him, of course. But our church is under the touch of God. Our ministry is by his mercy”?
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, commonly referred to as the “Doctor,” was the prince of preachers of the twentieth century—perhaps the greatest since Spurgeon in the 19th century and Whitefield and Edwards in the 18th.
He was also the world’s best grandfather!
He died on my 26th birthday, March 1st, 1981, and he and I had a close grandfather/grandson relationship. I took very much after his side of the family, with a personality and intellectual interests very similar to his father, my great-grandfather, Henry Lloyd-Jones.
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Finally, while it may not seem like a deal, you should really pick up omnibus edition of C.S. Lewis’ The Space Trilogy for $19.99.
“Port William repaid watching. I was always on the lookout for what would be revealed. Sometimes nothing would be, but sometimes I beheld astonishing sights.”
The lesson from that quote (from Wendell Berry) is that fidelity to a place, a people, or a tradition is often its own reward. This is because learning to actually see something takes a great deal of time. It is only through the virtues of patience and affection that we can come to truly know a place and find our home in it. Seeing these things properly is something that takes a great deal of time to do, and the longer you take at it the more apt you are to realize how much more there is to see. This was the thought I continued to have as I watched the Future of Protestantism event earlier this week.
If we’re honest, there are times where we meet a brother or sister in Christ and don’t feel like being a brother or sister in Christ to them. Sometimes the feeling is subtle and subversive–so subtle that we almost deny the feeling; yet we’ve allowed ourselves to be rubbed the wrong way by that person. It might be that they are more successful, attractive, intelligent, or just flat out better than you at everything they do. It could be that they accomplished all of this while displaying sinful characteristics in the process. We see sin in them more than we see the same in our self (Matthew 7:3) . Maybe they took something that we believed should’ve been ours. Perhaps it was a promotion or award at work. You know that they follow Christ, but boy, you wish they didn’t so that you wouldn’t feel so bad about giving them an earful.