Please keep praying.
But sometimes, either for someone else or for ourselves, we must provide an answer to the “why?” question. When we see deep suffering, does it mean God doesn’t care, or can’t help it, or isn’t there at all? One of the best strategies for responding to this question, rather than meeting it head on, is to come alongside it and draw attention to a clue in the question itself.
To really live Sola Scriptura is to believe and grasp the sufficiency of Scripture. The Bible is sufficient, powerful, for all of your life in Christ. You don’t need John Piper’s podcast. You don’t lack anything if you can’t buy the Christian “Book of the Year.” These are all helpful and wonderful things, but if you have God’s word, you have the food you need. And this word leads us toward living with God, how to live for God, how to walk in the power of Christ.
In a way, Scripture Alone sets us free.
This was pretty funny.
Moving an unengaged audience to full engagement is not an easy task. It may take some time, patience, and intentional training. There’s no magic formula or even one style of worship that will convince people to sing.
Fortunately, say Harland and other worship pastors, there are some steps church leaders can take to help congregations enjoy singing and participate.
We do well to remember that the church is a movement of God’s Spirit. The pastor isn’t a professional. The pastor is a holy mystic, a spiritual shepherd. He’s closer to the wild-bearded wilderness prophet than the Fortune-100 CEO. In a materialist world that trains us to distrust our thirst for transcendence, the pastor lifts people’s eyes to the heavens. We should support theological training—through seminaries and church internships and more—that encourage the future pastors of God’s church to embrace ministry as a holy calling, one staked upon the truth of God (John 17:17).
A favorite from the archives:
I’ve gotten a lot of advice over the years about how to deal with anxiety and worry. On the advice of an older Christian (one who probably had a bit too much prosperity in his gospel) Emily and I once had a “worry box.” What we were encouraged to do with it was write down whatever it was that we were worried about and put it in the box to symbolically represent “giving it God.” Any time we were tempted to worry about such-and-such a thing, we were to point to the box, and thus we were not allowed to worry about it.
Now, maybe some people find things like that helpful, but… Yeah, that didn’t go so well for us.