Round Up

John Piper Infographic – Here is another infographic from Tim Challies on John Piper.

Bible Translations and Bible Reading – Many translations are extremely helpful, but none of them capture exactly what the original language depicts in the text. That is why it is so important for Christians and especially pastors to learn the original languages of Scripture (Greek and Hebrew).

Preach the Word – You wouldn’t expect to hear a pastor tell his church, “I know better than God.” And yet that’s what many preachers and leaders today communicate when they focus their ministry strategies on market research and consumer response.

Forged In Forgiveness – Erik Fitzgerald was a youth pastor in Georgia when he awoke one day to the terrible news that his wife and son had been killed in a car accident.  See the healing power of forgiveness in action.

Quote:

“We may ask, no doubt, why God does not extend his saving grace to all; and why, if he sends it to some only, he sends it to just those some to whom he sends it rather than to others. These are not wise questions to ask. We might ask why Christ raised Lazarus only of all that lay dead that day in Palestine, or in the world. No doubt reasons may suggest themselves why he raised Lazarus. But why Lazarus only? If we threw the reins on the neck of imagination, we might possibly discover reasons enough why he might well have raised others, too, with Lazarus, perhaps many others, perhaps all the dead throughout the whole world. Doubtless he had his reasons for doing on that great day precisely what he did. No doubt God has his reasons, too, for doing just what he does with his electing grace. Perhaps we may divine some of them. No doubt there are others which we do not divine. Better leave it to him, and content ourselves. facing, in the depths of our ignorance and our sin-bred lack of comprehension, these tremendous realities, with the O altitudo of Paul: ‘O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out!’ Or may we not even rise to the great consenting ‘Yea!’ which Christ has taught us: ‘Yea, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in thy sight!’ After all, men are sinners and grace is wonderful. The marvel of marvels is not that God, in his infinite love, has not elected all of this guilty race to be saved, but that he has elected any. What really needs accounting for — though to account for it passes the powers of our extremest flights of imagination — is how the holy God could get the consent of his nature to save a single sinner.” – B. B. Warfield

Pastors & The Church

I ran across the attached infographic today and decided to share it with a couple of my own thoughts.  The one thing that really stands out to me is the statistic that 72% of Pastors admit that they only study the Bible when preparing their sermons.  Seriously?  Well, that is a serious charge to make, but one I think bears up in the rest of the statistics on the chart.  Matter of fact, I had a Pastor at a church I used to attend admit to me that for quite some time in his pastorate, the only time he opened the Bible was when he was preparing a sermon.  He also did his Sunday evening sermon prep on Sunday afternoon.  I would imagine that he is not alone in this, as the infographic states.

Most mornings at 3:30 AM I get out of bed so that I can spend time reading the Bible and studying God’s Word for myself before I head off to work.  Since I have an hour commute to work and a hour return trip, I typically spend that time listening to a sermon (This morning it was Brian Borgman teaching out of Hebrews on Jesus, The Firstborn) or some other teaching podcast like The Reformed Forum Podcast.  Then, in the evenings, after my children go bed I typically read or study something from one of the many theological books that I have purchased.  I am not a pastor and ministry is not currently my calling, but I typically spend 18 – 20 hours a week in personal study of the Word, plus prayer time. 

So, I guess what I’m saying is that it is very frustrating to me to see an infographic like the one I’ve shared.  But then again, when you look at the state of the current evangelical church, is it any wonder that the average church attendance is roughly 18%?  Over the years I’ve found that if a leader is weak, those he leads will be weak.  If a leader is strong, he will inspire strength in those he leads.  This was extremely evident to me when I served as a Religious Program Specialist with several Marine Battalions.  Officers and Enlisted NCO’s in the Marine Corp were typically weeded out if they didn’t cut the mustard and show strong leadership.  And while the Church cannot be run like a military organization, shared leadership between the Pastor and Elders must exist and it must be strong and focused in a church setting and context.  I would submit from what I am sharing today that this not the case in most church’s.  Just sayin’.

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Daily Roundup

10 Things About Church You Should Know – Kevin DeYoung’s tongue in cheek look 10 things you should know.

Christ at the Center – 5 messages from Westminster Theological Seminary, California about Christ and the importance of Him being all that we center our lives on.

Acts of the Holy Spirit Infographic – Here is a poster from The Good Book Company that outlines the book of Acts.

Do Same-Sex Partners Have Parental Rights? – And so it begins.  We have started down a slippery slope as a country and this is some of the fruit we will have to eat.

When a Sermon Becomes a Poem – A poem from John Piper based on a sermon he recently preached.

Quote:

The worst possible news that we can hear about God is that He is good!  If God is good, and just, He cannot forgive us unless first justice is satisfied.  The only way His justice can be satisfied is by His own right hand in the death of Christ on the cross.  God has saved me from God. God has saved me from Himself, for Himself, and by Himself.  So, the worst possible news that we can hear is also the best possible news. – Paraphrase from Paul Washer