As I do realize this is Tuesday, my typical “Miscellaneous Monday” post has been delayed until this morning. Truly, yesterday I was exhausted from beginning what will be a daily morning workout. Not only was it difficult for me to wake up at 6:00 A.M., but it was also surprisingly difficult for me to workout. I lifted weights with my dad for about thirty minutes and then we walked for about twenty minutes. This was hardly a difficult workout, yet I nearly passed out. For a guy who was highly active in high school as I played two sports very competitively, this was a true shock. I realized just how out-of-shape I really am. However, with discipline and dedication, I will lose weight and begin a healthier lifestyle. It may come as a shock, but gorging yourself at every meal is not good for your body/health. I feel much better today and I pray that I do in fact glorify God through my commitment to take better care of myself by eating healthier and becoming more active. With all of that said, it is time to unveil the topics and articles I have read recently that I feel would interest you and be a blessing for your life today.
That Awkward Moment When We Speak the Gospel – This is a very intriguing article written by Ken Currie with Desiring God. He discusses how most people feel awkwardness when sharing the gospel or when they even think about sharing the gospel. While we have been commissioned by our Lord Jesus Christ to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20), some (Ok, a lot) of us are hindered by what we call an “awkward situation.” He gives great insight into this problem and why this shouldn’t stop us and how a little bit of awkwardness is not bad after all.
Handling Criticism – If you struggle with dealing with criticism, then this article written by Tim Keller is definitely for you. It was a true eye-opener for me as I was directed to this article by David Platt. While we are quick to jump to the defense when we are criticized for something we belief or something we have said, Keller urges us to have a humble attitude when handling criticism. This excerpt has particularly challenged me: “First, you should look to see if there is a kernel of truth in even the most exaggerated and unfair broadsides. There is usually such a kernel when the criticism comes from friends, and there is often such truth when the disapproval comes from people who actually know you.”
Spiritual Deception, Biblical Conversion, And Global Mission – At this year’s SBC Pastor’s Conference, David Platt (Senior Pastor at The Church at Brook Hills) delivered a sermon yesterday that penetrated every heart and stimulated every mind who listened to him. His exhortations from John 2:23-3:16 were sobering and striking. His words were humble and piercing. And his timing was impeccable. His three points/exhortations included spiritual deception, biblical conversion, and global mission. May all pastors, Christians, and non-Christians alike heed these words saturated with truth from the Word that Platt loves and I love. Multiple quotations from his sermon are included in this article and I urge each of you to watch his sermon once it is released from the SBC pastor’s conference.
Why Racial Justice is a Gospel Issue – The theme of racial justice, unity, and diversity in our churches is hard on my mind and heart lately. In part, it is due to the fact that I am currently reading John Piper’s Bloodlines. This book has challenged me to evaluate my own feelings and attitudes toward peoples of different ethnicities and colors. I have been convicted and saddened to realize my own subtle, yet ugly racism. However, the issue of racial justice is also on my mind due to the opening of my eyes to the grave problem of racism in my own community, church, and family. Of course, none of these people would claim to be racist, particularly some in my family and in my church. Nevertheless, the subtle and daily feelings and attitudes they express toward people of different ethnicities and color are numbing their minds and hearts to the evil of racial injustice. Racism is real and rampant in our culture in more ways than you would think. This issue goes straight to the heart of the gospel and Russell Moore from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary gives proper attention to this issue in his article in the latest issue of Southern Seminary. Along with Moore, I am encouraged and excited to see Fred Luter be the first African-American nominated to the presidency of the SBC. His election would be a positive change for the SBC and honestly, the gospel and the glory of God would be greatly reflected as Jesus has died to ransom a people for himself from every people, tribe, and language, and nation. Color doesn’t matter with God and because of His grace in the gospel of Christ, it shouldn’t matter to us. This article hits this issue smack in the face and I love Moore’s closing remarks:
“I’m thrilled about where God might be taking the SBC. A denomination formed to protect slavery led by a descendant of slaves, that’s just the kind of providential irony our God loves. Maybe it will prompt our denomination to stop seeing non-white people as opportunities for “ethnic ministry,” and prompt us to see there opportunities to find our leaders. Maybe seeing a non-white face with the gavel of the SBC might remind us that the Man we’ll see on the Judgment Seat, well, he isn’t a white guy either.”
By His Grace — For His Glory — For our Joy