Welcome to October! It’s officially fall here in Tennessee, which means it’s around 70 instead of 102 (that’s 20s to 40s for all of us who don’t really understand Fahrenheit). With a new month comes a new free audiobook at Christian Audio: The Poverty of Nations by Wayne Grudem and Barry Asmus. Logos users may enjoy What is a Healthy Church Member by Thabiti Anyabwile as their free title of the month. Now, enjoy!
Before you can preach the gospel to others, you’ve got to be able to preach it to yourself first. You can’t lead others to drink from a stream you haven’t yet discovered yourself. How do you know if you’re preaching the gospel to yourself? One sign is that you’re less impressed with yourself than you used to be.
David Murray shares valuable advice.
We often assume that there isn’t necessarily a correlation between nutritious eating, exercise, and spiritual discipline. But what if there is? If I had been working out and eating well, I would have slept better, which would have allowed me to wake up early in the mornings, which I enjoy. If I would have been in the Word and prayer in the mornings, I would have been more effective, humanly speaking, at killing sin. If I were killing sin, my communion with Christ would have intensified. If I were sleeping well and eating better, I would have had more energy throughout my days. On and on the cycle goes.
Christian mission has always thrived by surging in the margins and under the radar. When we somehow get into positions of power, the wheels always come off. This is pretty much the way it’s always been. I once heard Steve Brown relate this story on the radio: “A Muslim scholar once said to a Christian, ‘I cannot find anywhere in the Qur’an that it teaches Muslims how to be a minority presence in the world. And I cannot find anywhere in the New Testament where it teaches Christians how to be a majority presence in the world.’”
For every ministry wife with an M.Div. and a personal, passionate discipleship strategy, there’s another one who’s just trying to love her husband and survive ministry life without picking up a smoking habit. I’m not a Marlboro girl, but I did spend many years struggling to find my place as the wife of someone called to ministry.
Jesus, the great knower of hearts, launches into a story with the most unexpected of heroes. A half-breed. A throw away kind of person. An unclean untouchable. The kind of people you would specifically go out of the way just so you didn’t have to even pass through the country they occupied. He was the one, according to the story, that the followers of Jesus should emulate.
Effective organizations build their own leaders instead of only buying them. Effective organizations develop people to deploy against their mission, that is to say, they take the people they have, develop their capacity, and hand increasing amounts of responsibility to them. Much more than any organization, a local church should excel at developing and deploying people. And they must be developed and deployed for the mission of God. Embedded in the Christian faith is a history of multiplying, a command to make disciples, and a promise that our mission will not be thwarted. Sadly, many churches struggle to develop leaders.
A favorite from the archives:
With the exception of a few “badge of honor” types, no one really likes to be called a fundamentalist these days. But that’s really just because we use it as the dirtiest Christian cuss-word we can think of—as a pejorative or conversation killer. There’s an image of the fundamentalist as a joyless, angry, fire-and-brimstone preaching, King James reading, hymns-only singing cranky pants who has his tie just a bit too tight on Sunday mornings.