Read This! 10.19.17

Nine Common Types of Church Cowards

“Many pastors and church leaders are miserable because of fewer than five percent of the church members.” I’d say that is true.

Like When Dylan Went Electric

I’m looking forward to this forth-coming book by Jared Wilson.

On Altar Calls and Invitations

I tend to agree with Nathan here.

Do Christians Have to Care About Everything?

I’m trying to learn more and more about limits. This was helpful.

Seeing Beyond the Rubble of Ministry

I needed to read this.

How I Became a Sunday Drug Abuser

What a painful and yet helpful story.

7 Ways to Correct a Team Member in a Healthy Way

I think that fear of conflict is what keeps us from doing things when they ought to be done and in a healthy way.

3 Reasons to Regularly Get Others to Preach

This would be good for me.

I can’t get enough of this song:

The Other Side of the Promises of God

Thorns by Geoff Box on 500px.com

“But dad, you promised!”

I hate breaking a promise to my kids. I do everything in my power not to promise them something that I cannot deliver. But on occasion something unforeseen will happen and I’ll have to eat crow and tell my kids that I cannot do what I said I was going to do. I hate those moments, and so do my kids.

However, my kids aren’t always disappointed when I break a promise. In fact, they are ecstatic when I don’t come through on my promise of discipline. (As a side note, I try to make these times just as rare as breaking other promises).

Saying, “Kids, we are going to the zoo on Saturday”, is a promise. But so is, “Kids, if you do not clean your room then you will not have internet privileges”. Likewise, the promises of God are not just promises to visit us with favor and blessings. There is another side to the promises of God.

I attempted to make this point the other day as I preached through Exodus. We see God’s faithfulness on full display in the story of the Exodus. We see that God is faithful to His promise to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. They would have been content, it seems, with half redemption. But God had promised full and complete redemption and he would stop at nothing until it was achieved.

But there is another side to the promises of God that is also clearly evident in the Exodus. God had promised that He was going to display His power in the life of Pharaoh. God promised that if the king of Egypt did not let His firstborn go, that God was going to bring justice upon the firstborn of every family in Egypt. The faithfulness of God means that He keeps both promises.

What all of this means is that God is faithful to His promise that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. But he’s also faithful to His promise that “there is only one name under heaven by which men will be saved” and that “unless you too repent, you will likewise perish”.

Believing the promises of God propels us to worship and thankfulness for His faithfulness to restore, redeem, and rescue us from bondage. But it also propels us to mission because we know the faithfulness of God means that if sinners do not hear the gospel and repent they will perish. And that’s a promise.

Photo source: Geoff Box

Read This! 10.17.17

The Cheap Way to Bless Your Pastor

Yeah, that would do it.

Pastor, Keep a Close Watch On Your Life and Illustrations

Helpful tips on using illustrations in sermons.

6 Reasons Pastors and Church Leaders Must be More Courageous Today

I agree on the need for courage.

6 Ways to Steward Your Weekly Screen Time

These are worth looking into.

116 Been Real

I appreciate Piper’s response to Lecrae leaving “white evangelicalism”.

Thomas Becon

I hope this series continues. I love hearing about obscure people in history.

Don’t Freak Out If You’re Not Feeling God’s Presence

I appreciate this.

Why the End of Marriage in Eternity is a Good Thing

I’ve honestly always struggled with this.

Does the Bible have errors or contradictions?

Is It Really God Speaking to You?

“I’ve prayed about this and I really feel like God told me that it would be okay.”

Those were the words that I heard when a young lady informed me that she was leaving her husband in order to live with another dude. She was happier with the other guy. She knew that God didn’t want her to be unhappy and so as she prayed that voice in her head confirmed that she had permission from the Almighty.

Don’t write me off as crazy, but I think she probably did hear a sort of “voice” in her mind that she attributed to God. And I don’t believe it was necessarily demonic. In fact I believe it is a voice that many of us hear on a daily basis. I believe many well-meaning believers attribute this voice to God.

That voice is your conscience.

I was with a guy who told me that as he was praying “God told him” that he was being inconsistent in a particular behavior. As he played out the conversation with “God” it was interesting how much the Lord sounded like the man who was telling me the story. Your conscience is “your consciousness of what you believe is right and wrong.” (Naselli, 41) It is that internal voice that you hear that tells you whether things are right or wrong.

But here is the problem with equating the voice of your conscience to the voice of God. Your conscience can be wrong. In fact it can be seared (1 Timothy 4:2) and guilty (Hebrews 10:22). Your conscience can make you think that right is wrong and that wrong is right.

This is why that voice in your head needs to be submitted to God’s Word and not just assumed it is God. God could very well be using your conscience. It is not wise to go against your conscience. But our conscience must be recalibrated to the word of God. It is also possible that your conscience could be way off and causing you to submit to laws which are opposed to the gospel or giving you permission to do things that God never said is appropriate.

This is why I’m really shy to say “God told me” unless it’s something that I can clearly back up with Scripture. That’s not saying that God only speaks to us by His Word. But it is saying that the only certain guide that we have is God’s Word. That voice in my head must submit to the ancient words and ultimately to the Lord Himself.

Jiminy Cricket isn’t infallible. He isn’t the voice of God. He’s a helper. But we should speak a little less authoritatively. Instead of saying “God said to me…” Perhaps say, “My Jiminiy Cricket is saying to me…” 

It’s fine to let your conscience be your guide so long as your conscience is held captive to the word of God.

Andy Naselli and J.D. Crowley have written a tremendously helpful book on the conscience. Conscience: What It Is, How to Train It, and Loving Those Who Differ

Photo source: here