Today in Blogworld 05.28.15

Repentance As A Lifestyle

We are pretty adept at running from genuine repentance. Here are 5 ways we do it and 4 ways to form a pattern of genuine repentance.

Long Preaching Isn’t Always Good Preaching

I try to preach not one minute more than is needed. I usually fail miserably.

Preach Like a Church Planter

Sound advice.

The Pattern Among Fallen Pastors

There is a pattern. We’d do well to study it and not follow it.

We are excited about the days ahead, but it’s difficult to leave familiarity to venture into the unknown. This song has been a great help to me during this season:

15 Helps for Developing Trust in God

It really should be easier to trust God. But we are silly creatures and so trusting the Almighty is difficult. Of course if he only asked us to do tiny things then it wouldn’t be as tough. But God doesn’t make small promises—he makes big promises that blow our minds and require big trust.

Richard Baxter in his Christian Directory gives 15 directions for developing a “quieting and comforting trust in God”. I’ve modernized them a bit to make them more helpful to you:

  1. Meditate on the greatness of God, and remember that “all things that we can fear are nothing, and can do nothing, but by his command, and motion, or permission”.
  2. Labor to really know the promises of God. Confident in what He has actually promised and not setting anchor on the things He has not promised.
  3. Don’t give in to the lies of the tempter who will convince you to cast your eyes on your guilt instead of on the sufficiency of the Savior.
  4. Remember the grounds of confidence and quietness God has already given you.
  5. Consider the greatness of the sin of distrust.
  6. You will place your trust somewhere, if you place it in something/someone other than God beware, for he might say “Let them in whom you’ve trusted help you.”
  7. Creatures will fail you. God never will.
  8. Look to his care for something as insignificant as a sparrow. Do you really think you need to “fear his absence, disregard, forgetfulness, or insufficiency”?
  9. Compare God to your best friend. Now think about how much you trust him/her. How much more boldly should you trust the Almighty who is our best friend?
  10. It’s normal to be unsettled, to have fear, sorrow, etc. Use these as opportunities to cast all your cares upon the Lord.
  11. Remember that distrust is a pregnant, multiplying sin, and will carry you into all sorts of other sins.
  12. Don’t let distrusting thoughts gain a foothold in your mind, but cast them out immediately.
  13. When commands alone won’t prevail, then rebuke, chide, and preach to your unbelieving heart. Reason it out of such distrust.
  14. Don’t confuse the words of Satan or your own unbelieving heart with the sayings of God.
  15. Remember that there is nothing gained by struggling against the will of God, and nothing is lost by a quiet submission to it.

I love how even some 400 years ago, pastors were encouraging their people to preach the gospel to themselves. That is essentially what Baxter is saying here. Meditate on God. Think about yourself as you relate to Him. And then preach the gospel to yourself.

Photo source: here

Today in Blogworld 05.27.15

Young, Restless, Foolish

God-centered theology alone doesn’t keep one from being a jerk. Maturity is needed.

Are You a Spiritual Doomsday Prepper

A good word here on storing up God’s Word.

Running From a Bad Church Situation May Hinder Your Spiritual Growth

Yep.

What Should the Duggar Scandal Teach the Church?

I’ve never watched the Duggar’s. But I appreciate Dr. Moore’s words here on what happens when someone falls.

Mr. Forthright always tells it how it is:

As the Pendulum Swings: Family First

History tends to follow pendulum swings. The church is not immune. As finite and sinful human beings we have a tendency to bounce from one extreme to another—dancing around the truth along the way.

I’ve got a handful of pendulum swings that I’d like to address. Today I want to address one that I’ve termed Family First.

Why the Pendulum Swung

I remember in college, while training to become a youth pastor, hearing stories of men who neglected their families for the sake of ministry. The professor had no shortage of examples of men who had sacrificed their family for the sake of furthering their ministry.

One story in particular stuck with me. It is the sad story of the family of Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision. Pierce made a deal with God that if he took care of God’s children overseas that God would take care of his own children back home.

Pierce was so dedicated to his dream that when his severely depressed daughter called requesting that her daddy come home, he refused because he had speaking engagements in Vietnam. She attempted to take her own life—eventually accomplishing this aim in November of 1968. Bob Pierce remained estranged from his family until he died of leukemia.

The point my professor made hit my heart. Bob Pierce labored tirelessly to rescue children overseas while he let his own family die. Your ministry isn’t successful, no matter how many souls saved, if your own family is neglected.

The Overswing

A few decades ago the church realized that pastors and congregants alike needed to wise up and start to focus on the family. As our culture became increasingly godless many Christians turned inward in an attempt to redeem culture by first redeeming the family.

And this focus has now made one’s biological family of greater importance than one’s faith family. “I’m spending time with my family” has now become a free pass. When a man stays home with his family instead of dragging them to church he is now seen as a noble warrior.

Such a man very well might be a noble warrior. Certainly a man in Bob Pierce’s position should have cancelled those speaking engagements to be with his troubled daughter. If your family is falling apart you shouldn’t be off trying to save the world. But it’s also possible that he has putting a weight on his family that it cannot bear. 

But I think somewhere along the way we’ve bought into the lie that the way to rescue our families is to protect them from church. The family then become “a self-serving entity primarily concerned with its own well being”. What has happened is that church has become one parcel of a families pursuit of well-being.

When I read through the New Testament I find it difficult to put the family in a place of primacy over the local church. In fact, I don’t see the two really competing. The only time the two compete is when family is places itself as an idolatrous self-serving entity. And every time this happens family always loses to the kingdom. Because the kingdom isn’t mean to serve your family—your family is meant to serve the kingdom, and this is for your families joy and benefit.

Conclusion

Don’t make your family fight the kingdom. Likewise don’t put your family in an idolatrous position to be lovingly decimated by the King. Instead help your family live in the joy and wonder of life with Jesus.

Photo source: here