Confessions of a Young Preacher


So, here’s a confession: I’m a young preacher who is learning on the job. My homiletical, communication, exegetical, and expositional skills are still raw and in need of much grooming. I learn far more than I teach every time I stand to proclaim the gospel on a Sunday morning. With each sermon I preach, I learn more about God, the gospel, preaching preparation and delivery, and just how much I need the grace of God and the patience of the people who sit under my preaching. God bless anyone who sit under the preaching of raw preachers like me! We are often passionate, eager, excited, naive, and inexperienced.

There are already things I’ve said in sermons I would never say again, and there are things I’ve said I would definitely say differently. I resonate with Tim Keller when he says the first 200 sermons a preacher preaches will be terrible. I find comfort in this no matter how much the people who sit under the 200 sermon threshold may cringe. The good news for every young preacher like me is that the edification and sanctification of those under our preaching is not ultimately dependent on our preaching abilities, but on the Word that we are preaching. I’m thankful God uses us not only despite our deficiencies, but also through them.

Any preacher, young or old, who faithfully preaches the Word as it was revealed is a competent preacher. Sermon preparation, writing, and delivery skills will develop over time (at least I hope!). But when a preacher preaches the Word, it is the Word that will not return void, not the sermon.

One of the things I am learning as I hone my preaching skills is that preaching can be simple without being childish. Preaching can be both deep and clear. Preaching should be both deep and clear. There is a tendency among preachers in my particular theological camp to give a running commentary on a passage to expose exegetical truths while offering solid theological points along the way. In the process, many of us fail miserably at application. And preaching that doesn’t include application is, well, not preaching.

I believe this is why so many young preachers like me are tempted to draw so heavily on the work of other preachers we follow. In fact, we want to interpret and teach a passage correctly so much that we are tempted to just borrow from the sermons of these preachers. How many of Tim Keller’s sermons have been preached outside of Redeemer Presbyterian? Good intentions that end in plagiarism are still sinful and lazy.

The church is best served by a pastor who labors over the text and seeks to faithfully expose its meaning. Even though the man who wrote the sermon may have wonderfully exposited the text, the man preaching the sermon did not and was not personally impacted by the text. Part of the impact of the sermon is the passion of the preacher who has been overwhelmed by the grandeur of the text he is preaching. This is lost when a preacher preaches someone else’s sermon. Remember, pastor, you are God’s man for the local church you are shepherding. As helpful as Piper and Keller are, they do not know your people. You do. God has called you and will use your unique abilities to preach the riches of God’s grace in Christ week in and week out.

With that said, it is vital for preachers to continue to grow. Growing as a preacher begins with humility. Be keenly aware of your weaknesses and be willing for a seasoned pastor you trust to speak into you. I’m grateful to God that he has called me to serve alongside a faithful and gifted expositor. Put down your guard and allow the arrows of healthy, loving, and biblical criticism to pierce your heart. It hurts to be told where you are weak, but nothing will benefit your preaching like listening to criticism with an open and humble heart.

Preaching is hard work. I’ve never been more spiritually and physically exhausted than after prepping for a sermon and then preaching it. My wife can attest to the turmoil that rages in my soul on a Monday morning after preaching on Sunday. However, the joy I feel in preaching is hard to describe and even harder to exaggerate. I count it a privilege and joy to proclaim the gospel and help people see and savor the greatness and grace of the God who is and speaks and saves. Every growth pain is worthwhile.


19149367_2014653971893374_3834793165439186257_nMathew Gilbert is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God. Mathew and his wife, Erica, live in Tupelo with their two boys, Jude and Jack.

Morning Mashup 08/19


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Our Theology is Meant to Flatten Us – A message we all need to hear from John Piper.

Walking Along the Beach with the Lord – This is hilariously awesome!

Divorce and Spousal Abuse – I usually roll my eyes at statistics mostly because they are often used to skew reality. And while I think the implied and explicit conclusions drawn here are for the most part weak sauce, it is helpful to see what pastors and churches across America are thinking when it comes to divorce.

Bedtime Stories for Young Brains – I read a section of John Frame’s The Doctrine of God aloud while holding our four month old, Jude, yesterday. Does that qualify as a bedtime story? Maybe not. Still, parents, get to reading!

45 Ways to Avoid Using the Word “Very” – Gah! I needed to read this article very, very, very badly!

Planned Parenthood and the Eugenics Movement – Lengthy, but excellent article if you have the time. “There is a haunting familiarity to the arguments defending Planned Parenthood’s sale of body parts from aborted babies for medical research: an echo of another era of medical innovation amid moral ambiguity. Then, as now, the response of cultural leaders — especially religious leaders — is a story about the corruption, and potential renewal, of Western civilization.”

Teens Think Calling People on the Phone is Awkward – What do teens know anyway though, right? Or, do they have a point? “Researchers found that kids these days primarily think of their phone numbers as being for texting. When it comes to actually vocalizing sentences, however, teens may as well be saying, ‘LOL, bye.'”

No “Deflate Gate” Settlement – Despite a judge’s attempt to get both parties to settle, Tom Brady will go to battle with the NFL in court. I’m curious to see how this turns out.

25 Weird Things Said to Pastors – Yeah, weird doesn’t quite capture the nature of these statements.

For thou hast never said, “Seek ye me in vain.” –Valley of Vision

Morning Mashup 08/12


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How to Survive a Cultural Crisis – Mark Dever offers seven biblical principles for how Christians should respond when the culture shifts.

Reflections on Pastoral Leadership – I try to read everything D.A. Carson writes. Here he writes of the importance of pastoral leadership.

How Abortion Kills the Future – Joe Carter: “‘For the last 30 years, I’ve supported abortion rights,’ says Ruben Navarrette Jr., a columnist for The Daily Beast. ‘This year may be different.'”

Review of Keller’s “Preaching” – Dane Ortlund’s review of Keller’s masterful book on preaching begins with this sentence, “Tim Keller got a C in preaching at Westminster Seminary in the early 1970s.” That’s all you need to know. Click away.

Sex is More and Less Important than What You Think – Trevin Wax with excellent balance on one of the most misrepresented and misunderstood aspects of humanity–human sexuality.

“Shut Up, Bigot!” – “Postmodern liberals cannot comprehend the idea that one could simultaneously reject a belief and accept the person who holds it.”

No Girls Allowed – Barnabas Piper calls male sports fans like myself to leave the “no girls allowed” sign in the treehouse as he asks, “Why does the idea of a woman coaching your favorite team bother you?”

Tim Keller Sermons – You can find around 90% of Keller’s sermons here. Wow.

Unfinished Story by JRR Tolkien to be Published – I’m in book nerd heaven now. I can’t wait to get my hands on this.

We need to forgive our brother seventy times seven not only for 490 offences but for one offence. –C.S. Lewis

Review: Next


Next Book CoverWilliam Vanderbloemen and Warren Bird. Next: Pastoral Succession that Works. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2014). 224 pp. $15.68 on Amazon

When approaching delicate and important topics, Christian authors must be careful to present a healthy balance between accurate observation of a problem while providing a robust and clear biblical answer. By no means are Christian authors expected to come up with every answer to every problem related to the problem, nor are any other authors. But I always look for two things when reading the work of a pastor or Christian leader. (1) Does this person understand the reality of the situation and has he engaged it with adequate research and understanding? (2) Does this person approach this situation from a Christian worldview carried along by biblical truth?

In the case of Next: Pastoral Succession that Works, it seems that the authors understand the problem, but the basis for their solution does not in fact work with the biblical witness.

Helpful Principles, Healthy Practices

Vanderbloemen and Bird have undertaken a topic that most if not all pastors and churches either are or should be concerned about. How do we healthily, helpfully, and successfully transition from one pastor to the next? Many churches are blind to the hardships and difficulties that come with pastoral succession because they are content with the comfort of their current pastor. Many of us are drifting away in Margaritaville while just around the bend a hurricane is brewing. Most of us are not ready for pastoral succession, and the authors do a great job of awakening readers to this reality. They seem to understand the seriousness of the problem and what an unhealthy pastoral change can do to a church.

This is made evident in the extensiveness of their research (12). Their intentions are good and their clear and vast understanding and experiences with the problem lead to careful calling for succession plans in all churches. Their primary example at the close of the Preface proved prophetic as they explained Mark Driscoll’s desire to pastor Mars Hill Church until he is 75, yet his initiative to put in an “emergency succession” plan “should an unforeseen situation arise” (15). While what happened with Driscoll and Mars Hill was more tragic than typical pastoral successions, the point is well made: be ready for change, it could happen at any moment.

Next provides helpful and practical ways to implement a succession plan. At the close of each chapter, the authors even offer specific steps to take for pastors and church boards. They also offer helpful principles for succession, especially in chapter two with the exposition of the “ten commandments of succession planning” (32-35). The authors all but exhaust the many ways succession can happen and explain what others are doing and have done in each of these scenarios while offering excellent leadership principles to prepare for and weather the storms of change.

For example, they discuss some of the most complex issues in succession like “founder’s syndrome,” which is the problem with the passing of the baton from not just the pastor of the church, but also the founding pastor. He also approaches touchy topics like “unintentional interims” (130-138) and “forced farewells” (139-144).

After chapters of explanation of the deep problems involved with pastoral succession, the authors move to pointed and clear guidance in how to create successful succession. They provide a helpful discussion of where to find a successor where they promote “internal candidates” as the best candidates for healthy and smooth transition (149). The authors also discuss the financial side of succession giving helpful insight into the cost of pastoral transition.

Swing and a Miss

Despite all of these strengths, there is a weakness that stands out like the proverbial elephant in the room. It was honestly upsetting and caused this reader to all but discount all the authors had previously written. At minimum, the author’s principles must be seen in light of a great erroneous and unbiblical idea of pastoral success. This weakness goes to the heart of the book. Next is all about successful pastoral succession. And while they thread many helpful principles throughout the book, their idea of success is trepid and shallow.

Success to these authors is viewed in terms of attendance and giving. More people, more money, more success. This has been my longstanding criticism of leadership pastoral models promoted by guys like Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, and Bill Hybels. What is success to these guys? And while the authors are not necessarily identified with Stanley and company, their idea of success is almost exclusively measured by the number of people in the seats and the amount of money in the plate.

One example of a successful pastoral succession given in the book was that of Lakewood Church. The authors give the details of younger Osteen (Joel) succeeding older Osteen (John). Then, they conclude,

The rarity of the success is only further compounded by John’s death in office, a circumstance where most successions fail. Yet Joel Osteen made headlines and history books. He demonstrates powerfully that sometimes even the unlikeliest candidates can become pastoral successors with amazing results. His favor in the city of Houston and the church at large is unprecedented. Despite Joel drawing critics from many corners, nearly everyone would agree that the transition from John Osteen to Joel Osteen as pastor of Lakewood has been nothing short of remarkable (91).

Lakewood’s transition is a model for successful transition in the minds of these authors. The reason? Lakewood boasts their numbers in the tens of thousands. It is astonishing how the authors define success solely in terms of attendance and “favor” among members. Based on any biblical scale whatsoever, Osteen and Lakewood are not success stories; they are disastrous bastions of a false gospel. Thousands of people gather in the name of Christ at Lakewood and under Osteen to hear false teaching. Does that sound like a success story? Osteen may have “found a heart in his home” for preaching (90), but somewhere along the way he lost the gospel.

One thing we can learn from this unfortunate and upsetting conclusion by the authors is that churches can grow and appear successful while totally missing the gospel. I feared this was where the authors were heading as I was reading, but hoped they would remain faithful to biblical definitions for pastoral and ministry success. They claim pastoral succession must be Spirit-led and believe God uses “people and systems in conjunction with the Holy Spirit to help build leadership teams in the church” (26).

Great intentions are meaningless when they lack substance. What is truly remarkable is the authors’ ability to see “Spirit-led” succession in places that reject the sword of the Spirit. This was a tragic and deep error in an otherwise helpful book.

Readers should approach Next with trepidation. I would recommend the authors’ description and discussion of the various situations involved in pastoral succession along with their premise that churches need to prepare for succession even when it is not in sight. I agree, “Every pastor is an interim pastor” (9). But readers must look elsewhere for the definition of success in ministry. Pastoral and ministry success aren’t defined by numbers, either in the pew or the plate. Pastoral and ministry success are defined by Christ, the Chief Shepherd all pastors will ultimately answer to (1 Peter 5:4).


Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggershttp://www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church in East Bernstadt, KY. He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their son, Jude Adoniram.

Morning Mashup 08/07


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Lots and lots and lots of articles. Including two videos. An extended mashup of articles and videos for your information, edification, entertainment, and enjoyment.


 

What’s It Like to Abort Your Own Child? – I almost teared up just reading the title. The story will beckon your tears fall. I’m thankful for Bethany Jenkins for telling it.

3 Reasons the Campaign on Planned Parenthood is Winnable – Doug Wilson with reasonable encouragement for the pro-life movement. “Think of it this way — Planned Parenthood is serving as the designated victim. This is not scapegoating, or unjust in any way, because in this case the scapegoat really is guilty.”

Trump Gets Spotlight, But it Might Burn – We can only hope that the more Trump speaks, the more voters will see how outlandishly insane he is. If Trump cared at all about the GOP winning the White House, he would drop out or back off. He doesn’t. He won’t.

News for Democrats…It’s a Baby! – Kristen Powers at USA Today shows how Democrats are on “the wrong side of history” when it comes to Planned Parenthood and abortion.

There is No Pro-Life Case for Planned Parenthood – Ross Douthat does it again. Don’t miss this important piece: “Tell the allegedly “pro-life” institution you support to set down the forceps, put away the vacuum, and then we’ll talk about what kind of family planning programs deserve funding. But don’t bring your worldview’s bloody hands to me and demand my dollars to pay for soap enough to maybe wash a few flecks off.”

Shocking Videos and the Art of Looking Away – Important consideration for those of us denouncing videos of Planned Parenthood, yet ignoring videos of police brutality.

In Zimbabwe, We Don’t Cry for Lions – Whoa. Interesting and important perspective. We in the West can be so blindly arrogant. “Did all those Americans signing petitions understand that lions actually kill people? That all the talk about Cecil being “beloved” or a “local favorite” was media hype? Did Jimmy Kimmel choke up because Cecil was murdered or because he confused him with Simba from ‘The Lion King’?”

Ray Rice on NFL Return – Ray Rice expresses desire to return to the NFL, and hopes a team will give him a chance to “hang them up the right way.”

The Most Meaningless Abortion Statistic Ever – I was directed to this article by Albert Mohler in yesterday’s edition of The Briefing. It was written in 2013, but is very important in light of the Planned Parenthood defense of their actions.

Obama on Killing Humans and Harvesting Organs – He called it an “atrocity” while in Africa discussing the tribal killings of a particular sect of people and the harvesting of their organs for ritualistic purposes. Obama was disgusted by this practice, all the while ignoring an eerily similar situation in his own country. My heart weeps for his blindness. Lewis’ idea of “chronological snobbery” comes to mind with Obama’s simultaneous rejection of tribal killings and support of scientific killings.

If Planned Parenthood Goes, Where Do Women Go? – Answer: many places.

How Not to Pray Against Cultural Decline – Christian historian Thomas Kidd offers advice grounded in colonial America on how to engage the culture with prayer.

Should the Church Divorce from the State in Marriage? – Rick Phillips gives six reasons why the church shouldn’t jump ship just yet.

The Sound of Silence – Kevin DeYoung gives ten compelling reasons why congregational singing may be absent in your church, I love reading DeYoung because he just makes sense.

The Gospel and Porn – Good stuff from Fred Zaspel: “Godliness is not attained by zaps. There is no switch to pull that brings us immediately to perfection — well, not on this side of the grave, that is.”

7 Pieces of Advice for Young Pastors – I don’t love everything Ron Edmonson says or writes, but this is pretty good.

Check out this video that does an adequate job dispelling Planned Parenthood’s 3% abortion myth.

And just in case you missed it, here is the 5th undercover video exposing Planned Parenthood. Please, watch the video. I am afraid many people are coming to solid conclusions about the videos without actually watching them. Watch and share.

We need some standard or rule from outside of us to help us sort out the warring impulses of our interior life. –Tim Keller

Morning Mashup 10/27


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This edition of Morning Mashup is coming to you from the Atlantic Coast. It was hard to finish this post with a view like the one above right in front of me. Is there anything more beautiful than a sunrise at the beach? However, there were some really interesting articles and one really fun compilation of maps that were too good to let pass. So, as I go down to enjoy the sun, beach, and ocean, I’ll let you guys peruse the following links at your own discretion. But as my buddy, John Calvin, says below, I will try not to enjoy the gift of this mini vacation above the Author of all that I see.


The Pope and the Precipice – Ross Douthat, a conservative Catholic, writes on the Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility, the future of the Catholic Church under Pope Francis, and the inevitable action weighing on conservative Catholic shoulders.

On Halloween, Don’t Be that Parent – Dan Darling gives some practical advice to Christian parents on Halloween.

When Dad Doesn’t Disciple the Kids – Jen Wilkin with some encouraging words for the wife of the believing father guilty of spiritual absenteeism who desires both to honor her husband and spiritually equip her children. Sadly, this post is very necessary for many wives and mothers.

Pastor, Why Not Visit Their Workplace? – Greg Forster contends, “[Your congregants] visit you in your workplace regularly. Why not visit them in theirs?”

Point People to Christ – San Francisco Giants executive, Bobby Evans, says, “You want your life to point people to Christ.”

Forgotten Providence – After recently teaching this doctrine, I can wholeheartedly agree with the concerns of this writer when she says, “We seem to have moved past needing to talk about God’s providence—we’re quite sophisticated these days.”

ERLC Conference – The 2014 ERLC Conference begins today. It features excellent speakers on many important topics, some absolutely crucial for the church and Southern Baptist life. If you have time, check it out via livestream.

25 Maps that Describe America – This is a really cool compilation of maps that describe America in different ways. Have fun with this one!

For nothing is more preposterous than to enjoy the very remarkable gifts that attest the divine nature within us, yet to overlook the Author who gives them to us at our asking. –John Calvin

Morning Mashup 10/22


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In this edition, I have provided a true “mashup.” This is because there is quite a bit of randomness floating around on the web today. Below is everything from tips for better sleep, responding to the unjust subpoenas in Houston, the conversion of an epic theologian, millennials and marriage, reasons you may be neglecting your church, some uncomfortable questions, and much more.


 70 Years Ago Today – On October 22, 1944, J.I. Packer, one of the most influential and important theologians of the 20th century, became a Christian.

Is the Bible Too Complicated for Those Who Struggle to Read? – In ministering to children, I ask and am asked this question often. I found this answer to be helpful.

A Line Has Been Crossed – Eric Metaxas along with the ERLC are calling American pastors to send Bibles and sermons to the Houston Mayor’s office. This is an effort to show that trampling on religious liberty will not be tolerated by the American people. In the words of Metaxas, “If we don’t act on this, we can’t complain when we lose further liberties and eventually we aren’t able to act at all. This is our chance. Whatever voice and liberties we have now, we must use.”

What Millennials Misunderstand About Marriage – Aaron Earls: “Millennials, perhaps more than any other generation, grew up with the reality of broken homes and divorced parents. But in their efforts to avoid those mistakes, they often go in the wrong direction and end up in the same situation.”

Why You May Be Tempted to Neglect Your Church – Tim Challies writes there are two primary reasons you may neglect your church: (1) You forget what you bring, and (2) You forget what you need.

How Should Pastors Deal with Politics in the Pulpit? – Drs. David Prince and Russell Moore discuss how to properly deal with controversial issues and politics in the pulpit.

C.S. Lewis, Public Intellectual – Thomas Kidd of Baylor University reviews Alister McGrath’s biography of C.S. Lewis: “McGrath’s book is a judicious and accessible treatment of Lewis’s remarkable but controversial career.”

The Kingdom of Christ as the Theological Center of Scripture – David Prince: “The theme of the kingdom of God is a good starting point for thinking about the theological center of Scripture. Nevertheless, more can be said for clarity.”

How Can You Really Reach Millennials? – I read a lot about reaching millennials. Most that I read is superficial at best. This is one of the best articles I have read on the subject.

22 Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep – Okay, this list is not too shabby.

Some Uncomfortable Questions – Kevin DeYoung: “Have mercy on stupid and sinful people. You and I will be one of them soon enough.”

Grateful joy is a motive that will lead to much more endurance in obedience than fearful compliance. –Tim Keller

Morning Mashup 08/29


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The Continuing Menace of Anti-Semitism – Michael Gerson of The Washington Post writes, “In fact, anti-Jewish attitudes remain deep and consistent, and the memory of the Holocaust is fading.”

Please Say More than Six Words to Your Kids About Sports or Any Performance – I love when David Prince writes on sports. I grew up playing three sports, and I can attest from experience that Prince’s counsel for what to say to kids before and after performance is spot on!

Losing Your Voice – Clint Archer gives four ways pastors can lose their pulpits.

Mas Hill Pastors’ Letter on Mark Driscoll – Things are falling apart in Seattle. I have been deeply saddened by Mark Driscoll’s fall and I pray for repentance and restoration. But as for now, Paul Tripp admits something (as quoted in the letter) startling and frightening: “This is without a doubt, the most abusive, coercive ministry culture I’ve ever been involved with.”

An Impatience with Biblical Exegesis – Wesley Hill: “Although it may seem futile, the effort to trace out the meaning of the Bible and talk about Scripture with others isn’t a vain exercise.”

Marriage and Mating Rites – Karen Swallow Prior: “If marriage is a sacrament, then the way in which practices that lead to marriage function as liturgies deserves attention.”

Christians Are Terrible: You Should Know This Going In – Derek Rishmawy: “One of the major premises of the Christian faith is that humans are so flawed, so broken, so rebellious, and so unable to redeem themselves that the eternal Son had to incarnate himself, live, die, and rise again in order to fix them.”

Bill Cosby and Victoria Osteen – Bill Cosby reacts to Victoria Osteen. Watch all the way to the end.

13 Marketing Terms You Might Be Falling For – Barnabas Piper gives the down-low on marketing tricks.

Six Things Every Freshman Needs to Know – Sammy Rhodes: “If I could write a letter to every incoming freshman who doesn’t want to waste their college, I would want to say six things to them before they move to campus. It applies to their anxious parents, too.”

Because the gospel is endlessly rich, it can handle the burden of being the one “main thing” of a church. –Timothy Keller

Morning Mashup 08/06


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Might as Well Call Jesus the ‘Daughter of God’ – Jared Wilson: “The progressive evangeliwhatchamacalits seem to think they can mess with the revelation of the nature of our relational God without messing with the revelation of the nature of his Son.”

Caring for the Anxious Pastor-in-Waiting – Dave Harvey gives poignant and comforting counsel to men who have surrendered to the ministry, but are waiting for ministry opportunities. This article eased my own soul.

8 Ways the Enemy Attacks Churches – Chuck Lawless: “I have studied spiritual warfare for more than twenty years. During most of that time, I’ve also worked as a church consultant. I’ve learned these two worlds often collide: churches fail to recognize the schemes of a real enemy, and they have no plan to respond. Here are some of the primary ways I’ve seen the enemy attack churches:”

Iraq’s Christians Need Our Help – Clearly, Iraqi Christians need help. Here are ways they need it most.

Christian Family of Eight Murdered Next to Open Bible in Iraq – They would not convert, so they were killed next to their open Bible. Come, Lord Jesus.

Cultural Disintegration and the Revival of a Moral Imagination – Joe Rigney: “[W]e must always endeavor to winsomely wage culture war, to fight as those whose feet are firmly planted on a Rock that is unshaken by Gallup polls, HHS mandates, or Supreme Court decisions.”

Cultural Engagement – Russell Moore: “Knowing Andy Griffith episodes or Coldplay lyrics might be important avenues for talking about kingdom matters, but let’s not kid ourselves. We connect with sinners in the same way Christians always have: by telling an awfully freakish-sounding story about a man who was dead, and isn’t anymore, but whom we’ll all meet face-to-face in judgment.”

Can One Believe in Jesus But Not Believe in Adam? – Contrary to the theological liberal trend and the growing number of so-called conservative theologians, the answer is still “No.” Check out pastor Andrew Dyer’s brief thoughts on the vitality of a historical Adam.

6 Tips for Small Group Discussion – Matt Capps: “Leading a meaningful conversation that engages the hearts and minds of people takes practice. But healthy discussion can be the difference between people going to a group and growing through a group. A life-changing discussion has the following characteristics.”

What Gathered Worship Should Look Like – Ligon Duncan: “Worship is not evangelism, but our worship services should always have the free offer of the Gospel in mind, and if we are God-centered and Bible-directed we will be evangelistic.”

The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see. –Winston Churchill

Morning Mashup 06/13


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David Prince on Andy Stanley – Andy Stanley took to Twitter to bash Southern Baptists for wasting time praying for revival when they should be “getting busy.” Pastor David Prince tactfully responds to this erroneous and Godless notion.

Pastors Aren’t Born But Formed – Derek Rishmawy: “In what follows I’d like to highlight three lessons on mentorship for both younger and older pastors drawn from Calvin’s early years.”

Reflections on the SBC 2014 Pastor’s Conference – Garrett Kell’s takeaways from the SBC Pastor’s Conference in Baltimore.

10 Personalities That Have No Place in Christian Marriage – Jason Helopoulos: “As a pastor, who has counseled many couples, and as a veteran of sixteen years of marriage, I have found that these ten personalities have no place in Christian marriage.”

When Sin Looks Delicious – Posts like these remind me why I love to read Tim Challies. He writes, “Do you ever have those days where you just want to sin? Sin looks delicious while righteousness looks distasteful. Sin looks satisfying and holiness looks frustrating. You wake up in the morning with a desire to do what you know you should not desire to do. Your heart echoes with what God said to Cain: ‘Sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you.’ And your desire is for it. What do you do on a day like that?”

The End of Reformed Evangelical OT Scholars…Once More – Michael Bird: “As far as I can tell, the WTS board seems to have an allergy to the notion of a “christotelic” hermeneutic where Jesus is reckoned by the NT authors to be the goal of the OT itself, but in some cases such an observation can only be seen  retrospectively, from the Easter side of things.”

A sermon without Christ! As well talk of a loaf of bread without any flour in it. How can it feed the soul?” – Charles Spurgeon