What kept Abraham from being crippled by regret over Ishmael, whose progeny would plunge two lineages into millenia of violent conflict? What kept Joseph from the bitter regret of losing the prime of his life to wasted jail time, betrayal, and abandonment? What kept David from despairing in regret over Bathsheba – not only losing their child, but the perpetual consequence of the sword in his own household? What kept Peter from the regretful shame of denying his Lord and Master three times? And what steadied Paul when he could have easily plunged into guilt and regret over his former life as persecuting Saul?
What will keep you from a life crippled by regret? What will bring you hope?
There’s only one medicine that can cure the cancer of regret.”Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). Continue reading
When it says further down “Most Millenials Want Both,” caveat lector: I assumed it meant most millenials want a good marriage and good parenting. That’s not what it says. While they want both marriage and parenting, the overall premise that parenting is more important than marriage is emphasized throughout the research.
Dr. Scott Manetsch lectures on Calvin’s Pastoral Theology. This video was taken from the RCA Integrity conference, which we’ve linked to in the past.
There are a wealth of resources there for Midwest ministry, so look for more information from that in the future.
In the meantime, ponder what Calvin’s theology and praxis means for ministry today.
Celebrated in the earliest days of the Church as Αγίων Πάντων (All Saints), this is a fantastic rendering of the eighteenth century hymn by Indelible Grace. As you ponder the church militant (Christians laboring for Christ on yet on earth) and the church triumphant (those saints who have entered into their rest), may this song encourage you to labor on til that yet more glorious Day.
Mark Dever interviews Andy Davis for 9Marks on Davis’ remarkable experience witnessing God’s favorable blessing on his church. This is “must listen” material for all Christians who long to see their congregations reformed and always reforming.
Read more and download the interview at the 9Marks website.
Reforming the Local Church
Reforming your local church is no easy task. Let me begin by stating that the substance of what follows is advice based on personal experience in three pastorates, as well as my interaction with pastors from across the country who have come to embrace Reformation theology and attempted to incorporate that theology into the life of their respective churches.
First Things First
Two preliminary observations are in order. First, it must be understood that there is no guarantee that what has worked in one place will achieve the same results elsewhere. What follows is an overview of what I and others have done and should not be viewed as a sure-fire formula. If anything, I pray that this summary will be used as a guideline for pastors as they think through the comprehensive challenges of reforming a local church.
Second, reforming a church ordinarily begins with the pastor. This is only right because it is through the preaching and teaching of this biblically ordained office that the doctrinal direction is established. If the pastor and elders are not convinced that Reformational theology is the proper theological framework, not much progress will be made. Any effort on the part of the laity (no matter how noble the intention) to teach contrary to the doctrine of the pastor and elders is disruptive to church order. Once laypeople have become convinced of Reformational theology, however, they can be instrumental in bringing these truths to bear in the life of their local church if: (1) they have access to the pastor and elders; (2) they have the confidence and support of the pastor and elders; and (3) they proceed with permission and caution. I will begin with advice for pastors and conclude with a reflection for lay reformers.
The Ground on Which You Stand
Pastors, know your context. There is a huge difference between reforming an existing church that stands within the Reformed tradition but has drifted from its standards, and bringing Reformational theology into a new context where it has never been intentionally or formally held. Continue reading this article by Ken Jones at ModernReformation…→
There's interesting piece to be done about plagiarism at diff. career stages: young and on-the-make v. established and assistant-dependent.—
Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) August 10, 2012
e.g., Lehrer/Stephen Glass/Ruth Shalit v. Zakaria/Doris Kearns Goodwin—
Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) August 10, 2012
Plagiarism is an important issue for pastors to think over as well, it might be worthwhile for ministers to consider this issue. Especially since I would expect the temptation for a young pastor – struggling to get his sermon done and in awe of “celebrity pastors” – might look very different for an established veteran preacher – wanting to cull the best of borrowed sayings and sources over a long career.
From his forthcoming Center Church:
Tom Oden – Methodist minister and promoter of paleo-orthodoxy – outlines what drove him to publish Care of Souls in the Classic Tradition. He began by noting how often 19th century handbooks on pastoral care/theology referenced the ancients on this issue. He collected the most prominent volumes on pastoral theology from various denominational backgrounds, and then counted the number of times they referenced “the MVPs” of Christian care – stalwarts such as Augustine, Baxter, Luther, and Calvin. Here were his results:Oden comments, “This clearly establishes the point that at the turn of the century [ed - 20th] the classical tradition was alive and well, recalled, and considered important to the practice of pastoral care.”
But Oden then went on, and collected what he and others considered the most popular monographs on pastoral theology, that had the broadest consensus for use and excellence. When he searched those modern volumes for the classical tradition of shepherding, he was disappointed: Continue reading