Happy long weekend, Canadian and American readers! The Armstrong army is using the time to enjoy a little getaway in a land not our own, hang out with some friends and waiting expectantly for people to start wearing flag pants. Now, on to some reading:
Matt Svoboda shares a few lessons he’s learned since entering vocational ministry.
I learned something new in this article from Thomas Kidd:
The phrase “ask Jesus into your heart” is not in the Bible, although there are similar phrases there (“ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord,” Col. 2.6 KJV). So where did this prayer come from?
It turns out that Anglo-American Puritans and evangelicals in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries used the phrase “receive Christ into your heart,” or something like it, with some regularity.
One of the most pressing issues in Spurgeon’s mind was the reality that many men who were pastors actually weren’t called to ministry. As Spurgeon surveyed the religious landscape of his day, he came to the conclusion that many churches were failing primarily because the men leading them weren’t called by God to be pastors.
In many ways, pastors and other church leaders act as gatekeepers. Church members assume their leaders are filtering out the very best kind of Christian resources and regularly making those things available. Of course, Christian content can be found in a variety of sources outside the church walls: Christian radio, the Internet, bookstores. But for the most part, church members are busy living their lives—busy with kids, careers, and finances. They depend on pastors, elders, deacons, and other mentors to be curators, to sort through the stacks of Christian content, choosing good resources and discouraging resources that confuse or distort the truth.
Good stuff from Barnabas Piper.
Unfortunately, I have sometimes heard leadership answer that question in terms of “Put up and shut up.” Perhaps not that bold but certainly in that spirit. Now, I agree with Martyn Lloyd-Jones who wrote: “I would lay it down as being axiomatic that the pew is never to dictate to, or control, the pulpit.” But the pulpit needs to reach the pew. A preacher needs to effectively communicate so far as he can with those who are directly in front of him. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if he was able to communicate with his seminary professors, a Presbytery, a former church, his fellow peers and friends, or even his mother for that matter. He needs to communicate with the pew. If that isn’t happening a gag order isn’t the answer, but the careful work of shepherding is. So how might I begin to answer that question. Here’s a few suggestions.
…orphanages are a reminder to me that there is deep-rooted corruption in our world. They remind me of the cold disregard that people have for the things which God loves and cares about most. Plain and simple, an orphanage means there are orphans inside; young boys and girls who probably have never known the love of a parent or seen much of the light of the sun. Some arrive by way of abandonment; simply unwanted by the very person who should want them most in this world. Others get there because disease plagues their homeland and before they grow up their parents were dead.