Like many other families, we are trudging back into school this week after a great summer. For our part, our kids seem neither despondent nor over the moon, but somewhere in the middle. They’ve had a great summer, but they’re also ready for a change, and ready to get onto the new possibilities this year in school will bring. So here they come – a rising 7th grader, 5th grader, and 2nd grader.
Here are some of the prayers we are praying for them as they begin this year.
Even though saying “Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship” isn’t totally true, there is some truth in it. Many hate the rote ritualism and empty ceremonies a lot of churches and faiths offer—and that’s good. Jesus hated it too!
There’s a tendency, even among faithful teachers, to lapse into what we might call “Nike Christianity.” Despairing over laxity, antinomianism, and a resistance to Scripture’s ethical teachings, we want to shout simple commands divorced from any motivations, “Obey! Pray, worship, witness, be holy because God says so, and I say so. Just do it.”
My wife and I married before our senior year in college. To survive that year, and the next four years while we both attended seminary, we had to figure out how much money needed to be earned to cover the essentials of rent, utilities, groceries, books, and tuition. The phrase “pay the rent” has since become synonymous with those essential priorities that, no matter what else is happening, cannot be neglected. There are three critical areas that pay the rent in a pastor’s life.
That is not a word we use casually. Heresy leads to a denial of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the eclipse of the living God as revealed in the Bible. A claim of white superiority is not merely wrong, and not merely deadly. It is a denial of the glory of God in creating humanity—every single human being–in his own image. It is a rejection of God’s glory in creating a humanity of different skin pigmentation. It is a misconstrual of God’s judgment and glory in creating different ethnicities.
With so many books being published today, if you’re like me, it’s hard to keep up with all the ones you’d like to read.
In order to keep up with modern culture and know about the important conversations happening around us, we can be tempted to strictly focus on new books and ignore those from previous eras.
A favorite from the archives:
Over the last several years I’ve read a number of books that have, in various ways, touched on the issue of being salt and light in our communities and the world, whether it’s overseas missions, supporting NGOs that are assisting the poor, or serving your community in practical ways. This is important stuff to be thinking about. (Heck, I even wrote a book on it!)
We, in all honesty, need to be thinking about how we can be a faithful witness for Christ every day—and then finding ways to do it.