Blog

All Around the Web – November 16, 2019

AATWTrevin Wax – May the Words

John Stonestreet – The Gift of Children

Facts & Trends – 6 Marks of a Church Culture That Deeply Changes Lives

Facts & Trends – 4 People Influencing Your Kids You’ve Never Heard of

TGC – A Pastoral Case for the Filioque Clause

TGC – Dysfunctional Elders Make a Dysfunctional Church

Chuck Lawless – 6 Quotes that Challenge Me as Leader to Evangelize More

Thom Rainer – Why Church Replanting Is Becoming a Movement – Episode #119

The Atlantic – The Dishonesty of the Abortion Debate

Disrn – Coca-Cola runs commercial depicting mothers helping transgender kids bind breasts, dress in drag

Disrn – Trump considers tying foreign aid to religious freedom

Disrn – Twins born at 23 weeks weighing less than one pound each now thriving

Babylon Bee – Capitol Building To Be Decorated As Giant Circus Tent For Duration Of Impeachment Hearings

Babylon Bee – Bernie Sanders’s Acme Rocket Explodes In His Face In Yet Another Failed Attempt To Catch A Billionaire

Babylon Bee – Joel Osteen Leads Kanye West To Top Of Lakewood Church To Tempt Him With All The Kingdoms Of The Earth In Their Splendor

Babylon Bee – Impeachment Committee Calls First Star Witness Greta Thunberg

All Around the Web – November 15, 2019

AATWTGC – 9 Things You Should Know About Cohabitation in America

John Stonestreet – DACA and the Supreme Court

Thom Rainer – Seven Ways to Love Your Community

Chuck Lawless – 7 Signs of Unchecked Arrogance in Older Leaders

Facts & Trends – 5 Ways a Church Can Cultivate an Environment of Multiplication

For the Church – Christian Theology: A Working Definition

Facts & Trends – How to Find the Best Small Group Structures for Your Church

Facts & Trends – 3 Ministry Lies Church Leaders Must Silence

Failing Pastor – My 10 Steps to Pastoral Depression

Daily Signal – ‘My Life Was a Miracle’: The Journey of an Abortion Survivor

CNBC – The Race to Create Smart Glasses

Amusing Planet – The Last Victim of Smallpox

CNET – Facebook bug shows camera activated in background during app use

Babylon Bee – New Emmy Category Announced: Best Covering For A Pedophile

Babylon Bee – Hillary Clinton Says She Is Being Urged To Run By Many, Many, Many Voices In Her Head

Worldly vs. Godly Sorrow

I’m sitting in my office and working on a funeral among other things. At the time of this writing, there is a lot of sorrow around us. I made me revisit notes from an old sermon contrast Worldly Sorrow and Godly Sorrow. Here is what I had in my notes.

  1. Worldly sorrow produces regret. Godly sorrow produces repentance.
  2. Worldly sorrow, rooted in regret, produces “useless emotion.” Godly sorrow, rooted in repentance, leads to transformation.
  3. Worldly sorrow is driven by fear. Godly sorrow is driven by grace.
  4. Worldly sorrow regrets being caught. Godly sorrow repents of offending God.
  5. Worldly sorrow is about the self. Godly sorrow is about God.
  6. Worldly sorrow leads to death. Godly sorrow leads to life.
  7. Worldly sorrow is for a time. Godly sorrow is earnest and persistent.
  8. Worldly sorrow is cyclical. Godly sorrow is transformational.
  9. Worldly sorrow hates the consequences of sin. Godly sorrow hates sin.
  10. Worldly sorrow divides. Godly sorrow restores.
  11. Worldly sorrow leads to depression. Godly sorrow leads to joy.

I would also add that worldly sorrow produces grief which produces depression, anger, bitterness, and malice. Yet Godly Sorrow produces joy despite our circumstances. This is the case because godly sorrow points us to Jesus.

All Around the Web – November 14, 2019

AATWTrevin Wax – The Troubling Trajectory of the Sexual Schismatics

John Stonestreet – When There Are No More Volunteers

Thom Rainer – Five Major Reasons Your Church May Be Stuck

TGC – Where Does Evangelism Fit on Sunday Morning?

Facts & Trends – 3 Encouraging Truths About the Presence of God

Chuck Lawless – 7 Signs of Unchecked Arrogance in Young Leaders

Facts & Trends – 5 Reasons People Don’t Come Back to a Small Group

Facts & Trends – 4 Ways to Get Students Ready to Be Adults in Church

Russell Moore – The Lesser of Two Evils

Disrn – Kanye West to take stage at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church Sunday

Babylon Bee – Christian Filmmakers Unveil Epic Cinematic Universe

Babylon Bee – Stacey Abrams Still Living In VR Simulation Of Alternate Reality Where She Won Georgia Election

Babylon Bee – Star Wars Fans Begin Impeachment Proceedings Against JJ Abrams

Babylon Bee – Church That Believes Exactly What The World Believes Not Sure Why No One Bothers Coming To Church Anymore

All Around the Web – November 13, 2019

AATWRussell Moore – Parents, Don’t Fear the Teenage Years

Andrew Walker – Christian Sexual Ethic Is Going To Be the Dividing Line — and Not Just Because of Christians

John Stonestreet – Exposing China’s Cultural Genocide

Chuck Lawless – 9 Things that Happen When a Pastor’s Heart Beats for Missions

Thom Rainer – The Big Surprise of Simple Church

TGC – 3 Ways to Teach Scripture to Children

Facts & Trends – Americans Aren’t Sure They Can Trust Pastors

TGC – How to Share Christ in a Workplace Where You’re Not Supposed to Discuss Him

Facts & Trends – Is the Timing Right for Change in Your Ministry?

Guardian – My Face Became a Meme

Disrn – GLAAD calls for 20% of primetime TV series characters to be LGBT by 2025

Disrn – 40% of Americans have misdiagnosed themselves after looking up symptoms online

Babylon Bee – Man Wears Sweatshirt Just In Case Wife Gets Cold

Babylon Bee – NFL Players Push To Expose Whistleblower Who Made Public Allegations Of Offsides

Babylon Bee – ‘It Looks Like You’re Trying To Raise Taxes On The Wealthy. Are You Sure You Want To Do That?’ Asks Menacing, Dagger-Wielding Clippy After Cornering Elizabeth Warren In Dark Alley

Babylon Bee – Cop On Laptop Protecting Community From Drivers On Cell Phones

From Lewis’s Pen: God Will Invade

From Mere Christianity:

God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realise what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else – something it never entered your head to conceive – comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realised it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last for ever. We must take it or leave it.

2 Ways to Lead

I will admit my surprise to the importance of leadership when I became a vocational minister. No one took the time to share with me what leadership is and how to lead others. To say its been a learning curve would be an understatement. Nevertheless, through counsel and a lot of trial and error, I’ve discovered a key approach to leadership that serves me well.

 

Lead From the Front

There are times when the pastor must lead from the front. By this I mean publicly and directly. Leadership demands this. When we began our ministry in Frankfort, it was clear to me that this was the immediate need. Things like casting a vision, working with staff, changing a culture, etc. require full attention and direct leadership. Unless one is willing to say, “we are going to go in this direction” and also “we will not be going that direction” then you will struggle mightily as a leader.

There are times when issues fall on  your desk that require a decision. Some of these can be trivial (what date should we do x, y, or z?). Others require courage. Managing staff, confronting sin and abuse, etc. There can be no doubt that leading from the front is necessary.

When doing so, I have found it best to consider a number of things. First, should we move slower? There have been times when I wanted to see us move in one direction that the church was not ready for. Thus I found it best to take a slower approach. Secondly, is this a biblical issue? When the truth of Scripture and the veracity of the gospel is at stake, we must always be willing to lead from the front. Thirdly, is it worth your chips? In leadership you are always depositing and withdrawing. Major decisions and change require a large withdraw. It is worth considering if such a withdraw is worth it.

 

Lead From Behind

Sometimes we can be bullheaded and insistent. Doing so will eventually alienate others and divide our congregation. Being bullheaded doesn’t make us courageous, it can prove us to be fools.

I have found it helpful to at times lead the church from behind. By this I mean that it is helpful to show the church and its leaders the direction it needs to go and trust their structure and members to go in that direction. Maybe its a new building project. You could hire a contractor and sign the papers, or you could take the time to lead the church to see their need.

The reason why so many pastors are unwilling to lead from behind is because it is a slower process. Often painstakingly slow. People despise change and if not forced will avoid it. Leading from behind is not passivity, it is purposeful, though patient.

When I lead from behind, I take advantage of every sign I can. At meetings, in personal visits, in sermons, etc. It is when the collective see it that they are more ready to follow you as you now lead from the front.

 

All Around the Web – November 12, 2019

AATWJoe Carter – 9 Things You Should Know About the Armenian Genocide

Crossway – How to Pray for Your Pastor

Nik Ripken – Pastor, You Have Permission to Sleep

Thom Rainer – Five Problems with Too Many “Main Things” in a Church

Crossway – 10 Things You Should Know about Angels

GetReligion – Democrats’ 2020 surprise: Should churches that oppose same-sex marriage lose tax exemptions?

Tim Challies – A Husband’s Perspective on a Postpartum Body

Facts & Trends – 3 Reasons Church Leaders Should Be Leery of Social Media Fame

Stream – Religious Freedom is Still at a Crossroads: A New Same-Sex Wedding Case May Change That

Babylon Bee – Nation’s Christians Excitedly Anticipate New Believer’s First Doctrinal Error

Babylon Bee – Michael Bloomberg Enters Race Saving Nation From Severe Shortage Of Democratic Candidates

Babylon Bee – Whistleblower Revealed To Be Recently Hired White House Janitor Hillarita Clintonez

Babylon Bee – Facebook Will Now Tell You How To React To News Stories

 

“The Case for the Resurrection” by Gary Habermas

Image result for The Case for the ResurrectionThere is no more fundamental doctrine of Christianity than the resurrection of Jesus. We believe that Jesus of Nazareth was raised bodily from the dead. That key truth is the foundation for salvation. Without it, Christianity falls.

Thus defending the resurrection is vital to the church. In their book “The Case for the Resurrection,” Gary Habermas and Michael Licona defend the historicity of the empty tomb and promote vibrant evangelism.

Both purposes are important. The author’s primary goal is to show how the resurrection of Christ is not only true, but should be used in evangelism. At its core, this is a work about spreading the gospel. Yet to get there, the authors must first defend the thesis that Christ was raised bodily from the dead.

For the most part, their arguments are commonly used, effective arguments. There premise is to use historical standards in judging the validity of the resurrection. Their main point here is to say that if historians are willing to say “x” is true based off of these standards, then they must simultaneously affirm the resurrection. I find this to be an effective approach.

Having established the likelihood of the historic resurrection, the writers encourage the reader to tell others about Jesus. The guide they provide is helpful and was a surprising addition I did not expect. I anticipated a purely apologetic work which focuses on evidence, history, logic, and records. Yet the book proved to be more than that. The authors are Christians, saved by the resurrected Jesus, who want the reader to join them in telling others about this amazing truth.

The authors are well known scholars in this field. Both are studied extensively on apologetics, logic, and the historicity of the resurrection. Of all the books I’ve read on the subject, this ranks near the top. If you question the resurrection of Jesus, please consider the argument made here.

 

This book was provided to him by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

 

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