In the quiet of the night, I received a phone call that added to the heartache and made this one of the bleakest Christmases of my life. Another family member, caught in the on-and-off-again throes of addiction, was taken to rehab for the upteenth time. She was alone, and that broke my heart. So, I put a smile on my face on Christmas morning, asked the Lord for strength, opened presents and drove four hours to a rehab center. Presents in hand, I tried to bring a little bit of Christmas into that small room for visitors. I spent the remainder of Christmas Day, by myself, cleaning up a house marked by the mess of addiction.
It was lonely. It seemed hopeless and “unfair.” And I didn’t understand how the Lord was using this for my good and his glory. It was the bitterest of Decembers, and I hope to never re-live it.
I appreciate Dave’s willingness to share what he’s learned through a failed adoption.
David Roach reports on an open letter from Micah Fries, Jonathan Akin, and Nathan Finn. An excerpt from the letter follows:
At present, Southern Baptists are experiencing tensions over theological differences, especially when it comes to doctrines such as predestination and the atonement. We’re experiencing tensions over polity, especially questions of elders, pastoral authority, and the nature of congregationalism. We’re experiencing tensions over methodology, especially when it comes to music style, dress for pastors, programming, and public invitations. We’re experiencing tensions over strategy, including church planting and missionary funding. We’re experiencing tension over cultural engagement, especially the relationship between faith and elective politics. Some of these tensions tend to be generational. Others are more regional. All reflect honest differences among sincere Christians whom we trust want to honor the Lord Jesus Christ, see our churches become healthier, reach the lost, and be salt and light in our culture.
Over the years of hearing from readers, I’ve learned that not everyone who reads me shares my evangelical Christian convictions. Many of you don’t. Many of you are of other faiths, and some of no faith at all. Some of you are spiritually searching, and some of you see yourselves as committed skeptics. Some of you have no idea what the Christian religion is about, and some of you left a church behind a long time ago, due to some bad situation. Whatever your situation, I have to imagine that at least one of you will be expected to go with your parents or your Aunt Gladys or your son-in-law to a church service on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. Here are some thoughts about how to make the most of the experience.
I’ve taken a long time to get to this point in my series The Commandment We Forgot, and this has been deliberate. Our tendency is to skip over foundational matters to get straight to the practical stuff. Just give me the list of things to do and I’ll do them! But the deepest change to ourselves as well as the most appropriate honor to our parents will come when we first ensure we understand God’s commandment—what it means, why he gives it, why it matters so much. I trust you’ve tracked with me through the previous articles and if you’ve done that, you’re now ready to consider practical ways in which you can honor your parents.
This is a great piece by Rod Dreher.
A favorite from the archives:
Clearly, we have some issues here. Given this information, it’s only logical to assume (though cautiously) that there are many men and women within our churches—and even some in our small groups—who believe they are Christians, but aren’t.
I realize this is highly contentious—perhaps bordering on arrogant—statement to make, so it’s important to clarify: In saying this, and in citing statistics like these, I’m not suggesting we have license to self-righteously determine who is and is not a Christian. Only the Lord ultimately knows if someone’s profession of faith is genuine. Similarly, we must also be careful not to confuse someone who is immature in his or her faith with someone who is actually unregenerate.
So how do you know the difference? Here are a few indicators.