Good Reads 11.09.16 (on: burnout, parenting, joy, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On parenting: Mom as Unsung Disciple-Maker by Sam Bierig

Ultimately, you are one of the many building blocks that God is using to teach your children their dependence upon him for everything.  You may even be the most important building block in that particular foundation.  They are helpless outside the help of the Lord.  And you are the hinge point, daily, that stands between that knowledge of God and your child.  You’re a living parable of the care and sustenance we have in the Father as well as a parable of our utter reliance upon him.  So, when you repeat to your baby one hundred times over, “Here comes the airplane!” you are evangelizing and discipling.  You are teaching them the fear of the Lord.  Just like Israel, it’s not really about the bread; it’s about God. (click here to read more)

On spiritual mentoring: Mentoring Others by Jerry O’Neill

In Titus 2, Paul instructs his pastor friend to teach what accords with sound doctrine. Titus was to teach sound doctrine (chap. 1), but he was also to teach what accords with sound doctrine, or what is fitting for sound doctrine. The context makes clear that what accords with sound doctrine is sanctified, reverent, godly love and wisdom. Even the best of classrooms can’t teach these things. In 2 Timothy 3, Paul says that Timothy had followed his teaching, his conduct, his aim in life, his faith, his patience, his love, his steadfastness, his persecutions, and the sufferings that happened to him. Timothy was well mentored. Paul’s discipling of Timothy certainly involved doctrine (listed first), but it included things that can best be fostered outside the pulpit (click here to read more)

On love, the Bible, and SSA: Love Your Neighbor Enough to Speak the Truth: A Response to Jen Hatmaker by Rosaria Butterfield

To be clear, I was not converted out of homosexuality. I was converted out of unbelief. I didn’t swap out a lifestyle. I died to a life I loved. Conversion to Christ made me face the question squarely: did my lesbianism reflect who I am (which is what I believed in 1999), or did my lesbianism distort who I am through the fall of Adam? I learned through conversion that when something feels right and good and real and necessary—but stands against God’s Word—this reveals the particular way Adam’s sin marks my life. Our sin natures deceive us. Sin’s deception isn’t just “out there”; it’s also deep in the caverns of our hearts.  (click here to read more)

On battling burnout: Grace-Paced Living in a Burnout Culture by David Murray

The motivating power of grace is missing. Take a look at five people printing Bibles on the same assembly line. Mr. Dollar is asking, “How can I make more money?” Mrs. Ambitious is asking, “How can I get that promotion?” Mr. Pleaser is asking, “How can I make my boss happy?” Mr. Selfish is asking, “How can I get personal satisfaction in my job?” They all look and feel miserable. Then we bump into Mrs. Grace, who’s asking, “In view of God’s amazing grace to me in Christ, how can I serve God and others here?”

From the outside, it looks like all five are doing the same work; but their internal motivations all differ. The first four are striving, stressed, anxious, fearful, and exhausted. But Mrs. Grace is so energized by her gratitude for grace that her job satisfies and stimulates her rather than draining and dredging her (1 Corinthians 15:10; 2 Timothy 2:1). Where grace is not fueling from the inside out, a person will be burning from the inside out. (click here to read more)

And finally, some wisdom about church and joy (image from themajestysmen.com Instagram feed)

joy

 

Good Reads 05.25.16 (on: grief, parenting, ssa, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On parenting: 3 Priorities for Christian Parents by Tim Challies

I was recently reading through 1 Thessalonians and once again came to one of my favorite passages. In this letter Paul is addressing specific concerns raised by the congregation in Thessalonica. It seems that one of the matters they wanted him to address involved the simple question of Christian living: How do we live lives that are pleasing to God? How can we know that God is pleased with us? The most significant part of Paul’s response to the question comes in chapter 4.

It struck me as I read it: Isn’t this the question we ask for our children? How can they live lives that are pleasing to God? Isn’t that the dream and desire of every Christian parent, that their children will live lives that thrill God? In this section of his letter Paul provides three priorities. The priorities Paul offers to this first-century Christian church can be helpful to twenty-first century Christian parents. (click here to read more)

On seeking God in the face of grief: The Day I Dug My Daughter’s Grave by Tabor Laughlin

With the grave dug, and struggling through tears, I said some words about our small daughter, giving thanks to God for her life. Then we had some prayer time together. We lowered her casket into the grave. I filled her grave with dirt. We put a flower and rock on top of the gravesite. It’s a gravesite we could never find again, even if we wanted to. My repeated thought was, “Is this really happening to us?” (click here to read more)

On same-sex attraction and faithfulness to Christ: Born Again This Way by Anonymous

As one who the world could call bi-sexual but the word calls born-again, I offer this final plea: Never forget both the beauty and the power of the gospel. What is impossible with man is possible with God. Your temptations and sins might be different than those in the LGBTQ community, but without the grace of God your condition is the same. Jesus offers all of us a new life, new identity, new community, and new heart. He offers each of us that opportunity to be “born again this way,” if we will receive him. Don’t look upon a crowd marching with rainbow flags as your enemies. Don’t look in disgust as a man dressed as a woman walks past you and your family. They are people who need Jesus just like you, and you have the very Savior and Gospel who can give them life forever as your brother or your sister. (click here to read more)

On church: 3 Reasons to Stay in a Church that’s Not Cool Enough by Michael Kelley

It gets really disturbing, though, when that consumerism infiltrates our attitude toward our local churches. And it surely does. At some point, most any of us who grew up in a Christianized culture are going to look around at our church, the one we have supposedly given our lives to through membership, and see that some other church in town has better music. Or a trendier vibe. Or better coffee. Or a more polished preacher. Or whatever. Our church has suddenly become not cool enough, and that same righteous indignation boils up inside of us because we believe we deserve something more… we deserve the best!

So we leave…

I’d like to argue for three reasons to do the very counter-cultural thing of actually staying in the church that’s simply not cool enough: (click here to read more)

Also on church: 10 Reasons Why the Church Gathers by Casey Lewis

Each week on the Lord’s Day, we gather as a church in worship. As a pastor, I always look forward to Sundays. Not only do I get to preach, but I also have the opportunity to praise God alongside others, and to watch how the Lord is using our fellowship for His glory. As Christians, we should all desire to gather together with one another as often as possible. As motivation, here are ten reasons why gathering regularly with the church is important: (click here to read more)

Good Reads 10.28.15 (on: controlling the tongue, a Christian’s identity, SSA, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On keeping control over what we say: Taming the Tongue by Jeremy Wilson

Words are powerful. Remember, the pen is mightier than the sword. And if you got to the bottom of every sword fight, you’d find most were fueled by words, too. Words remain. You can probably quote your favorite book, Bible verse, movie, and song. You can also probably quote the meanest and nicest things ever said to you… and maybe the meanest that you’ve ever said. Words can haunt. So, what is the Christian to do about the tongue? This tiny member of the body, packed with the power to lift up and lay low? Here are three keys from James 3 about taming the tongue. (click here to read more)

On the Christian’s identity in Jesus: You’re Not the Old You Anymore by Mark Altrogge

Many Christians, describe themselves this way: “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.” This is true, and good to remember. Some, genuinely seeking to be humble say, “I’m the worst of sinners,” referring to Paul’s statement in 1 TI 1:15 about being the foremost of sinners. When Paul said that he was referring to Christ’s mission to come into this world to save sinners, even someone like him who persecuted the church. But Paul didn’t mean that he continued to be the worst of sinners. That was in the past. It was good to remember in order to be grateful, but he didn’t continue to be the worst of sinners. After Christ saves us, though we still sin and must fight daily to put it to death, our PRIMARY IDENTITY is NOT sinners. (click here to read more)

On waiting for God to move in a situation: Five Things To Do When You’re Waiting on God by David Qaoud

Are you waiting? Not only are you not alone, but you’re also in good company. Maybe you’re married and waiting to have kids. Maybe you’re single and you desire a spouse. Or maybe you hate your job and you’re waiting to really start the career of your dreams. Whatever it is, you’re waiting. And you want to know what to do. Here’s at least 5 things. (click here to read more)

On hope for Christians struggling with same-sex attraction: Ten Empowering Truths for the Same-Sex Attracted Christian by Matt Moore

My drawings toward the same gender lingered after my conversion. However, the Holy Spirit has so softened my heart and enlightened my mind that I now believe what the Bible says – not what I say or a therapist says or what Oprah says – about my feelings. Homosexual desires . . . my homosexual desires . . . are not something God encourages me to embrace in the context of a monogamous relationship, but something he commands me to flee from no matter the context. Whether in drunken promiscuity or committed monogamy, homosexual behavior is a detestable evil – along with fornication, adultery, and every other form of sexual sin. (click here to read more)

On one lady’s journey to faith in Jesus: From the Baha’i Faith to Porn to Alpha to Jesus by Emily Armstrong

Even so, there’s so much in the Christian life that gives me joy. When our 5-year-old sees a piece of garbage in the street and declares, “I bet that person isn’t going to heaven” (true story), I remind her that access to heaven has nothing to do with being good and everything to do with God’s goodness. I know that when I pray, God hears me, because he responded to my prayer the night he saved me and has continued to provide for us through the years. I can see how much he loves me when I reflect on the experiences he has led me through, slowly, sometimes painfully shaping me into his image. And I no longer have to strive for perfection, because Christ is my perfection. Even though I don’t always like it, his grace is sufficient, and I would be foolish to disagree. (click here to read more)