Trump, Small Groups, & Isolation (Jan. 20, 2017)

3 Ways to Deepen Small Group Prayer

A great thought on how to avoid superficial prayers that hide our real issues.

How to Live Under an Unqualified President

Regardless of anyone’s feelings on Mr. Trump, today he becomes Mr. President. John Piper provides a thoughtful and biblical look at what Trump’s inauguration means for Christians.

Do Something Awesome and Build a Family

This one’s a little older, but it’s still good.

Isolation – Mind Field (Ep. 1)

I’ve always enjoyed Vsauce’s YouTube channel, but apparently he now has a show on YouTube Red called Mind Field. I don’t have the service, but this first episode is free to watch. After locking himself in an isolation room for three days, we are given a great reminder of just how much we need social interaction.


Here’s an unlikely Bible verse to be turned into an inspirational photo… maybe it’ll give you chuckle as you finish off your week.

You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk. 

Deuteronomy 14_21.png

 

Exhaustion, Sermon Prep, & Leviticus (Jan. 13, 2017)

I’m Exhausted- How Do I Recharge My Body Without Neglecting My Soul

This episode of Ask Pastor John deals with how we spend our leisure time to the glory of God.

The Necessity of Prayer in Sermon Prep

Do we give our study proportional prayer? I often hear ministers ask for prayer for their preaching, but rarely do I hear requests for their study. I am guilty of doing this very thing. Furthermore, we tend to weight our own prayer for the sermon towards the delivery of it.

No More Channel-Flipping Sermons

So pick a section of scripture, and stick to it. Put down the clicker. Maybe change the channel once, from Old Testament to New, or vice versa. But hunker down. Tell the story, make the argument, sing the song. If I had to make a rule of thumb, I’d say three different texts is plenty, but two is ideal.

Read Scripture: Leviticus

This video is certainly not new, but as I recently began reading Leviticus in my personal time in the Scriptures, I found it very helpful and worth sharing.

Prayer, Decisions, & Warnings (Dec 30, 2016

Don’t Trade Away God’s Help Today

Prayer is the most basic expression of faith. Faith in future grace purchased by Jesus says, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things” we need (Romans 8:32).

3 Warnings from a Pastor Leaving the Ministry

So the question for pastors: What will you do when ministry doesn’t turn out like you expected? If the church disbands, or the elders fire you, then what? I hope you don’t walk away from the church, the truth, or the faith.

Bible Reading Plans for 2017

A nice resource page for various Bible reading plans. See also: the Worship & Wisdom Reading Plan and Why Bible Reading Plans Are Important

Do You Make Life Decisions with Your Church in Mind?

In Paul’s reasoning, it’s personally beneficial if he dies because then he gets the ultimate treasure, Jesus! However, if he lives, he can keep encouraging, strengthening, and equipping the church, which is better for them. So Paul’s question moves from “What is the best decision for me?” to “Do I choose what is best for me or what is best for the church?”

 

Incarnation, Devotions, & Reading (Dec 23, 2016)

The Fullness of God Dwelled in a Womb

An excellent devotional from Jared Wilson.

10 Ideas and 10 Tips for Family Devotions in 2017

Great thoughts!

Less important than how you do family devotions is that you do family devotions.


Dad, take responsibility for family devotions. Lead your family by leading them to the Word and leading them in prayer.

Drop Everything and Read

Reading is not an activity for when everything else is done. It’s an activity to put in our schedules first. We must guard and protect this time to nourish our minds and our souls.

Birth of Jesus – Gospel of Luke Ch 1-2

A fantastic start to their new series covering the Luke’s Gospel… and just in time for Christmas!

Light for Those Who Sit in Darkness

This Christmas may God cause our hearts to explode with real joy over the salvation that comes through Jesus. If that is going to happen, we first need the courage to reckon seriously with the darkness within us. And if we do this, then we’ll truly appreciate that “a light has dawned” among us (Matthew 4:16).

Reading, Indecision, & Ancient Pastors (Dec 9, 2016)

Here are a few articles from around the Internet worth reading this week.

2017 Christian Reading Challenge

I’m excited for this. I began following Tim Challies midway through 2016, so I missed his 2016 reading challenge. But my wife and I are jumping on board this year!

Those Books Won’t Read Themselves

So how about this for an early New Year resolution: In 2017 read some books, because books are good, and teach us many things. (And they are far better when physical objects than Kindlefied files – though if you’re going on a beach holiday you may take your Kindle.) Read broadly, but wisely – you don’t have to read stuff that does your soul no good. Read for information, and for pleasure, but not competitively. And don’t feel guilty about all the books you haven’t read, or those you only skim through, because of the making of many books there is no end. And read your Bible!

You Could Be Doing So Much

This is my last one on reading for the week. I promise.

I’m Paralyzed by Indecision – What Should I Do?

A great episode of John Piper’s podcast, Ask Pastor John.

1500-Year-Old Pastoral Wisdom from John Chrysostom

Chrysostom argued that if a preacher “is overcome by the thought of applause, harm is equally done in turn, both to himself and the multitude, because in his desire for praise he is careful to speak rather with a view to please than to profit” (5.2). Similarly, Chrysostom used the analogy of a skilled painter who “ought not to be dejected, and to consider the picture poor, because of the judgment of the ignorant” (5.6) to make the point that pastors shouldn’t be undone by the criticisms of some. Even outside of the context of preaching, a pastor should be indifferent to “slander and envy” (5.4).

Christmas, Sin, & Small Towns (Dec 2, 2016)

Here are a few articles from around the Internet that are worth reading.

A Plea to Pastors: Don’t Cancel Church on Christmas

Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, so why should we attend church on Christmas?

It’s the day we celebrate the incarnation, the birth of the Messiah, the entrance into our world of the second Person of Trinity. Don’t we want to sing? Don’t we want to celebrate? Don’t we want to preach and praise and pray?

Sin Will Never Make You Happy

With all eternity hanging in the balance, we fight the fight of faith. Our chief enemy is the lie that says sin will make our future happier. Our chief weapon is the truth that says God will make our future happier. And faith is the victory that overcomes the lie, because faith is satisfied with God.

Big Dreams and Blue Jeans

Since I pastor a church within a small town, it’s encouraging to remember that small towns matter in the kingdom of God.

How to Stop Despairing Over World Suffering and Start Addressing It

I believe we should act locally, specifically, and personally. We should start with the spheres closest to home, and then continue to reach out from there, as God gives time, money, and opportunity. Such giving combats some of the feelings of fatigue and guilt that come with knowledge of worldwide suffering. To stay stuck in that place of guilt is to remain in a selfish spot. But if we assume ourselves responsible for all the problems of the world, that also is a selfish response.

5 Christian Clichés That Need to Die

But one-liners aren’t always helpful. Sometimes, in our desire to simplify truth, we can trivialize and even obscure it. And to obscure the truth is to tell a lie.

Brain Death, Encouragement, & Prayer (Nov. 25, 2016)

Here are a few articles that are worth reading from this week.

Words We Dread to Hear

After spending several weeks with my father in the Trauma ICU (and sitting in the Neuro ICU as I write this), I’ve unfortunately witnessed families receive this heart-breaking news.

Encouraging One Another

In your short life, you have a million tiny opportunities, including a hundred today, to inject a small but potent dose of life and light into another. As you consider doing this, you will immediately find a good reason presenting itself that seems to clearly mitigate your impulse to build another up. Some weakness, some corresponding fault, will arise in your mind, cancelling out your reason to encourage that person. Indeed, with some people in our lives, we honestly have difficulty finding anything encouraging to say.

Praying for Your Children

A really great guide for how to pray for your children.