Jaquelle Crowe offers a helpful review of Faith Formation in a Secular Age: Responding to the Church’s Obsession with Youthfulness by Andrew Root.
The preacher and the people are both responsible for protecting the pulpit in the church. When the pulpit isn’t held in high regard, sheep become malnourished by fast-food style preaching that contains little nutritional value. When pastoral ministry becomes just another career requiring a beefy resume and social media platform, pulpits fill with hireling preachers who take a paycheck, wear a title, but run at the first sign of hard work. The church needs fearless heralds who will put on their work-boots, roll up their sleeves, and boldly feed Christ’s precious flock no matter what the cost. Like waterless clouds that produce no rain, so is the preacher who makes a proclamation to people but fails to preach God’s Word. When there is no divine food for the soul, there will be spiritual famine in the land.
On December 25, kids and teenagers across the nation woke up to find they’d received their first iPhone, Kindle, tablet, or personal computer. Maybe you were one of the brave parents who decided to give a device to your child for Christmas. I hold no judgement for you, as I did the exact same thing last year for our then nine-year-old. My husband and I gave her a Nook because she’s an avid reader and takes after me in regards to an interest in “techy things.”
However, I do hope you were wise when you gave your child a device this Christmas. 2018 is here, and it’s likely this new year will bring even more technological change. Here are some basic steps you can take to make sure you are protecting your children during their time on a device.
I thought of all this as I put down my Bible after my morning devotional time. For what seemed like the 100th millionth time, what I was scheduled to read that day was just what I needed to hear. I follow a reading plan that has the whole year mapped out, so I’m not randomly thumbing through my Bible. But with surprising regularity, I find that the passage I am scheduled to read contains just the verses I need to hear that day. If I pick up Morning and Evening by Spurgeon, it does the same thing. How does a 150 year old book know just what I need to read that day? It’s not because some big giant corporation has stored up all my data over the years. It’s because I have a God who cares about me, and who loves me enough to orchestrate everything so that my soul is fed the right thing for the day I need it. I can’t even begin to think how God brings together a 150-year-old book and a Bible reading plan from 200 years ago to bring to me what I need to hear. Or how I need to be challenged, or comforted, or reminded.
I love preaching to students, and I get dozens of opportunities each year on university campuses across the UK. Usually I’m invited as a guest of the university’s Christian Union, their strategy to reach fellow students based on four cornerstones: deep friendships, personal invitations, free lunches, and, when it comes to talk titles, unashamed “trolling.” I absolutely love Christian Unions, and I heartily endorse three of these four foundations.
The trolling part involves talk titles that, in the interests of “engaging the difficult questions” end up delivering the hapless speaker—occasionally me—before an audience of undergraduates to address the issue of why God is such a genocidal maniac/homophobic bigot/hell-loving kill-joy, and so on. As I’m about to address the assembled students, it always occurs to me that 90 percent of the audience would have shown up just for the sandwich. Nonetheless, I step up to the plate and speak to the topic because I’m polite enough to do what the Christian Union tells me and contrarian enough to enjoy the argument.
What do people want from life?
So many ways to answer that question. A family. A sense of safety and stability. A general sense of happiness and well-being. Financial prosperity. But surely a Christian would answer that question differently than a non-Christian.
A favorite from the archives:
Something all Christians should make their aim is memorizing Scripture. Whether it’s important verses, extended passages, or even entire books, there is something powerful about being able to recall glorious truths from God’s Word and preach them to yourself, and share them with others.
So… how do you get started? Here are a few tools I’d recommend.