This is the sixth of a series of posts expanding on my Pastoral Letter post based on my sermon from June 28th.
Following the US Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage this June, American Christians have been giving more attention to the idea of suffering as a consequence of being a Christian. This is certainly not a new subject in Christianity. Jesus himself assured us it would happen, it has been a consistent narrative in the life of the Church ever since, and our brothers and sisters outside of America today have been experiencing this suffering in a more blatant way than most Americans to date. For comments on how we need to attend to their voices on the subject, revisit my post from earlier in this series: Pastoral Letter Extended 2.
The purpose of this post is not to speculate about what sorts of changes American Christians ought to anticipate or what new pressure churches will experience. While I discuss some of that, the main attention here is instead on the more important question of how we will respond to whatever may come. If American Christians’ worst fears were to be realized, what then?Continue reading Pastoral Letter Extended 6: The sunset of our idols→
This is the fifth of a series of posts expanding on my Pastoral Letter post based on my sermon from June 28th.
5. We have lost our moral authority. How did we lose it, and how can we regain it?
We could talk cultural apologetics and offer up the most rhetorically excellent, logically flawless arguments imaginable in favor of the gospel message, but few would care to listen long enough to understand what we’re saying, let alone be persuaded by it. They don’t care because, in their minds, our understanding of the fundamental nature of human society is completely defunct in moral authority. They’re not listening. Continue reading Pastoral Letter Extended 5: Why no one’s listening→
The majority of the New Testament books are pastoral letters written from a pastoral leader to a particular local church or churches with the intent of guiding them in how to think, feel and behave in reference to particular events of their day. While we normally teach from those letters, there is within the Church an important tradition of pastors from every generation following in that model of pastoral letters and speaking directly to their congregations in significant moments relevant to modern Christian life. As a pastor, I consider it my duty to help us reflect Christianly on the moment in which we live.
My letter this week is mainly in reference to the US Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, though it is also relevant more generally to other recent events. This letter revisits much of my sermon from Sunday, June 28th. To hear that message, follow this link.
People often mistake humility of manner with humility of character. As a result, we often encourage people all the more to try to build a humble manner without dealing with the deeper issues of humble character. After years of observing a person though, it sometimes becomes clear that a humble external manner may, in reality, have nothing to do with the humility of his heart and character.
I read your post “What is Stopping You?” on Engage & Equip and I have some questions. I agree wholeheartedly with the post, as well as the other posts/sermons as of late about community and living sent, etc. However, I am unsure about how to get past what I feel is stopping me much of the time, which is that I am introverted. I know that God made me this way and so it isn’t a mistake. I know that introversion is certainly not an excuse to sit out of Jesus’ callings of community and reaching out to people with the gospel. The part I struggle with is how to do that as an introvert. How do I be myself, and not be fake, but still reach out to people?
One point of application I took away from Nic’s sermon yesterday came right off the bat- as he mentioned John G. Paton’s story and how reading about missionaries has encouraged and inspired him, I decided I wanted to do more of that myself. I suggested he put out a blog post with some recommendations…he responded by assigning me the work instead- well played. Here is the fruit of that discussion:
Why Read Biographies of Christians?
John Piper wrote a short chapter on why to read Christian biography in his book Brothers, We are Not Professionals. He points out that Hebrews 11, a summary of many of the greats of faith in the biblical story, is written to compel us to run the race of our faith well. If an author of Scripture sees value in sharing stories of faith lived out to spur his readers on, it makes sense for us to seek these too. Continue reading Learning the Stories of Christian Missionaries→