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Pray (even more) for your Pastors

We live in uncertain times. We need to pray for our Pastors.

Pastors can experience deep valleys of loneliness. Of pressures from those whom they counsel. Of thoughts, “Did I do enough?”

I have heard from many Pastors as of late. One theme? Pastors hear from people (even from within their own congregation) on opposite sides of all kinds of subjects; the subject which is having the greatest impact right now is Covid.

Let me get straight to the point: Whatever decision a Pastor makes, he is being confronted for his “wrong”, “poor,” or “bad” decision.

These decisions are not sin issues. These decisions are in the areas in which we hope and pray will make a bad situation (at least) somewhat better.

Yet Pastors are confronted as if these are sin issues.

My mind is brought to 1 Corinthians 8 where the Apostle Paul discusses food being offered to idols. Idols are nothing. So it doesn’t matter that food was offered to idols. We know the truth. “We know that an idol has no real existence, and that ‘there is no God but one.’ Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist.”

Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, no better if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. Please read this passage (1 Corinthians 8).

There is not a one-for-one parallel between “food offered to idols” and Covid.

What remains, though, is: Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

Are we building up in love? Are we sacrificing our energy in love? Are we acting in selfless love for others?

Your Pastor is striving to build up everyone for whom he will give an account to God.

Worship of God (corporately) is a preeminent privilege and responsibility of God’s people. The goal is to establish a situation in which the vast majority of members (if not every member) will feel confident in their conscience to physically join the corporate worship.

This is a weighty responsibility Pastors take seriously.

Your Pastor needs even more prayer. We need to pray for our Pastors.

If at the very least, pray for your Pastor and text him that you have just prayed for him. Let him know he is not alone. Let him know you will support him in his decisions because when it comes down to it, he is not making them to make everyone happy–Nor are his decisions a matter of sin. He’s making these decisions so that the people for whom he will give an account will be able to join in one accord as many of the others who desire to worship God in Spirit and Truth.

Pray even more for your Pastors.

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Uncategorized

Pray for your Pastors

Pray for your Pastors.

I grieve at the loss of Darrin Patrick. He was a man of God who God used greatly.

Pastors carry a weighty load. Not only do Pastors carry their own weighty loads, they carry the weighty loads of the people under whom God has placed in their care.

Sharing. Listening. Counseling. Laughing. Grieving. Preaching. Rebuking. Caring. Loving. Leading. Guiding. Sympathizing. Helping.

Much of the time, these things are not easy. Multiply your situation times the number of people in your church, plus others who randomly stop by for help, and you have a part of what a Pastor carries.

Pastors can be very lonely. They need others to help carry their loads.

When you disagree with your Pastor, please disagree in a spirit of humility and gentleness: Not because he can’t handle it, but he is already discouraged with a situation you know nothing about.

There is always something a Pastor is dealing with.

Listen to your Pastor. Take heed his counsel. He cares deeply for you.

Hebrews 13:17

[17] Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (ESV)

This is not an absolute, “obey your Pastor!” It is a joyful submission under their leadership. (If you cannot listen to your Pastor’s advice, why are you submitting yourself under their leadership? Is it because of your hardness of heart? Granted, it could be your Pastor is difficult. I believe that is the exception). My point is more, Pastors know they will have to give an account for how they shepherd God’s people.

Did you know that? Pastors will give an account for how they shepherd God’s people.

That’s weighty.

And sometimes Pastors struggle through the challenges set before them. Weighty challenges.

Pray for your Pastors.

Pray your Pastors will be fortified in the inner-man so they may be an example to the flock God has given them.

Pray your Pastors do not give up hope. Pray your Pastors will stand firm upon the Gospel for which they have been called to preach.

And right now, pray for Darrin Patrick’s family. They also carry a heavy weight of loss.

Above all, pray.

Categories
Apologetics Media

Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to get good content on subjects you care about. I am looking for more podcasts that become indispensable. Here are a few of my favorite podcasts:

Christian Podcasts

Grace Baptist Church is a family of Reformed Baptists who are dedicated to teaching, learning, and living biblical truth.

Subscribe here.    ~1 Hour

Doctrine and Devotion is a weekly podcast exploring Christian faith and practice from an experiential perspective marked by the fun and humor that characterize real friendship.

Subscribe here.     ~1 Hour

Pass The Mic is the premier podcast of the Reformed African American Network. Every month Jemar and Tyler sit down with voices from across the reformed movement with the mission of addressing the core concerns of African Americans biblically. Learn more about this show and the network at RAANetwork.org.

Subscribe here.     ~1 Hour

Christ Central Church seeks to be a racially diverse church community. We strive to be a church that is Biblically authentic and true in its worship of God. We desire to communicate and grow spiritually from the message of the gospel as it is read, preached, shared and taught faithfully, clearly and relevantly.

Subscribe here.     ~1 Hour

[Our] mission is to display the greatness of Jesus through the everyday lives of His people. We believe that by the community of God consistently and comprehensively displaying the greatness and goodness of God, we will see overwhelming solutions to three of the most apparent areas of need in Southwest Atlanta.

Subscribe here.     ~1Hour

Since 1952, The Hour of Revival Association (now Speak Life) has been lifting high the name of Jesus in the UK and beyond. We exist to revive Christians, resource the church and reach the world with the good news of Jesus.

Subscribe here.     ~1 Hour

  • Ask Anything from RZIM with Vince and Jo Vitale; hosted by Michael Davis

Asking tough, thoughtful questions is how you get to know someone. So let’s ask our toughest questions of God and trust that He will provide answers that will allow us to know Him more intimately and share Him more effectively.

Subscribe here.     ~1 Hour

Lean Stuff

  • Stuff You Missed in History Class from How Stuff Works with Tracy Wilson and Holly Frey

Subscribe here.     ~1 Hour

The stuff we eat and drink is part daily necessity and part cultural identity. Every mouthful represents millennia of human collaboration and innovation. On FoodStuff, Anney and Lauren bite into the juicy stories – and science – behind everything that nourishes us.

Subscribe here.     ~1 Hour

Prepare for a trip down the rabbit hole as Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick lead you on a scientific journey to the very limits of human understanding. “Stuff to Blow Your Mind” examines neurological quandaries, cosmic mysteries, evolutionary marvels and the technological underpinnings of our transhuman future.

Subscribe here.     ~1 Hour

Subscribe here. ~1 Hour

Each week, the International Spy Museum will offer a new SpyCast featuring interviews and programs with ex-spies, intelligence experts, and espionage scholars. The SpyCast is hosted by Dr. Vince Houghton, historian and curator at the International Spy Museum. Dr. Houghton specializes in intelligence, diplomatic, and military history, with expertise in the late-WWII and early-Cold War eras.

Subscribe here.      ~1 Hour

Cultural commentary from a Biblical perspective

Subscribe here.      ~10 – 20 minutes

  • 5 Minutes in Church History

5 Minutes in Church History, hosted by Dr. Stephen Nichols, is a weekly podcast that provides an informal and informative look at church history.

Subscribe here.     ~5 minutes

 

What other podcasts do you recommend?

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Uncategorized

God Still Works

We read in Genesis 2:3, “So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”

Did God rest? Yes. Was his rest a complete rest? Well, his rest from creation, yes.

I suggest, God kept working just not on creation.

Jesus said in John 5:17, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

This work is God working to glorify himself in creation and covering the earth with his glory like the seas cover the earth by the saving of souls.


Categories
Gospel

In a Hole in the Ground There Lived a Hobbit

The BBC interviewed J.R.R. Tolkien on the show In Their Own Words British Authors in March of 1968.

If you fancy Hobbits and Middle Earth, take a sneak peek.

 

 

 

 
BBC Archival Footage-In Their Own Words British Authors: J.R.R. Tolkien (Part 1):

BBC Archival Footage-In Their Own Words British Authors: J.R.R. Tolkien (Part 2):

Categories
Gospel Incarnation

Jesus Our Sinless Sacrifice

Christian theology explains in succinct statements that it is Jesus that overcomes sin and death (Romans 6:8-10; 16:20; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57Hebrews 2:14). Since it was Jesus who was promised to die for sin, then it is true we cannot die for our own sin. Our sin produces death (James 1:15), yet we cannot live purely enough in life nor die enough in our death to pay for our sin (Romans 3:23; 6:23). This is humanity under the fall, our sinful flesh.

One theologian explains flesh in the Pauline sense of the word often refers to the actual form of our humanity under the fall, and Scripture asserts that Christ assumed human, fallen, and sinful flesh. “That must mean that the flesh he assumes is not to be thought of in some neutral sense, but as really our flesh. He has come to redeem us, to destroy our sin in human flesh; and therefore he becomes what we are that he might raise us up to where he is.” This is an appeal to the patristic notion of the “wonderful exchange,” whereby Christ becomes what we are so that we may become what he is. Such an understanding necessitates an understanding the Son’s assumption of a fallen human nature. This fallen, sinful flesh is referred to as the “House of Bondage” which Christ’s obedience turned into the “House of God,” the place where God dwells.
In order to make sense of this point we must, along with Herman Ridderbos, insist that ‘in approaching the Pauline doctrine of sin, we must not orient ourselves in the first place to the individual and personal, but to the redemptive-historical and collective points of view.’ In light of such Pauline texts as Romans 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 2 Corinthians 8:9, and Philippians 2:6, we must view sin as the supra-individual mode of existence in which one shares before we see it as an individual act. By viewing sin in this Pauline way, we can more fully see how it was that Christ could ‘be sin for us’ (2 Corinthians 5:21), that is, assume a sinful human nature, and yet remain perfectly sinless.

John Owen explains it this way:

The body is not only doomed to death by reason of original sin, as death entered upon all on that account; but the body must be brought to death, that sin may be rooted out of it. Sin has taken such a close, inseparable habitation in the body, that nothing but the death of the body can make a separation. The body must be dead because of sin. … Here lies the great mystery of the grave under the covenant of grace, and by virtue of the death of Christ. … A secret virtue shall issue out from the death of Christ unto the body of a believer laid in the grave, that shall eternally purify it, at its resurrection, from every thing of sin.

Be not afraid to enter into darkness: as there is no sting in death, so there is no darkness in the grave. It is but lying so long in the hands of the great Refiner [Jesus}, who will purge, purify, and restore you. Therefore, lie down in the dust in peace.

Owen explains elsewhere:

We cannot die for sin. Our hope and faith is, in and through him, that we shall never die for sin. No mortal man (unbelieving person) can be made like unto Christ in suffering for sin. Those that undergo what he underwent, because they were unlike him, must go to hell and be made more unlike him to eternity.

And this:

 

Even death itself brings a terror with it, that nothing can conquer but faith; I mean, conquer duly. He is not crowned, that does not overcome by faith. It is only to be done through the death of Christ, he “freed those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:15). There is no deliverance that is true and real, from a bondage-frame of spirit [with reference] to death, but by faith in Christ.

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Quotations

The Purpose of Suffering

The great Puritan writer, John Owen, explains the very reason for suffering:

The procuring cause of the death of Christ was sin. He died for sin; he died for our sin; our iniquities were upon him, and were the cause of all the punishment that befell him.

Wherein can we be conformable unto the death of Christ with respect unto sin? We cannot die for sin. Our hope and faith is, in and through him, that we shall never die for sin. No mortal man can be made like unto Christ in suffering for sin. Those that undergo what he underwent, because they were unlike him, must go to hell and be made more unlike him to eternity. Therefore, the apostle tells us that our conformity unto the death of Christ with respect unto sin lies in this—that as he died for sin, so we should die unto sin—that that sin which he died for should die in us. He tells us so, “We are planted together in the likeness of his death” (Rom. 6:5)—“We are made conformable unto the death of Christ, planted into him, so as to have a likeness to him in his death.” Wherein? “Knowing that our old man is crucified with him,” says he (Rom. 6:6). It is the crucifixion of the old man, the crucifying of the body of sin, the mortifying of sin, that makes us conformable unto the death of Christ; as to the internal moral cause of it, that procures it. See another apostle tells us, “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God” (1 Pet. 4:1–2). Here is our conformity to Christ, as he suffered in the flesh—that we should no longer live to our lusts, nor unto the will of man, but unto the will of God.

 

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Videos

Know Your Why

Michael Jr. – Knowing Your Why?

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Story Videos

Heroes and Villains: Is Hip-Hop a Cancer or a Cure?

Heroes and Villains: Is hip-hop a cancer or a cure? | Lecrae | TEDxNashville

 

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James 1 Quotations Romans

What Sin Requires

Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.

Death is the end of sin (Rom. 6:23; James 1:15). Sin has entangled into humanity to such an extent that death is required to rip it out. Sin is a part of humanity’s DNA. You cannot be human and not not sin. In other words, if you are human (and if you are reading this, I assume you are human!), you sin because you are a sinner. You cannot never sin. This is why we must all die; because we are sinners by nature, by our corrupted humanity, by our DNA.

The great Puritan thinker, John Owen, says it this way:

“The body is not only doomed to death by reason of original sin, as death entered upon all on that account; but the body must be brought to death, that sin may be rooted out of it. Sin has taken such a close, inseparable habitation in the body, that nothing but the death of the body can make a separation. The body must be dead because of sin. … Here lies the great mystery of the grave under the covenant of grace, and by virtue of the death of Christ. … A secret virtue shall issue out from the death of Christ unto the body of a believer laid in the grave, that shall eternally purify it, at its resurrection, from every thing of sin.

Be not afraid to enter into darkness: as there is no sting in death, so there is no darkness in the grave. It is but lying so long in the hands of the great Refiner [Jesus}, who will purge, purify, and restore you. Therefore, lie down in the dust in peace.”

And this is why Jesus came, was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, fulfilled the whole law God required of humanity, paid the penalty of sin by dying on the cross, was raised from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures, and ascended to the right hand of the Father, and is seated now representing us in Heaven with glorified body.