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6 Changes in 6 Years of Blogging
Trevin Wax reviews 6 years of blogging.

How to bottle pastoral encouragement
What do you think of Erik’s third suggestion? “In order to help myself to be cognizant of God’s continued work of grace in his church I have created a label in my Gmail account entitled ‘Pastoral Encouragement’. This label functions like a folder in many other in box systems. It is a drawer, if you will, where I can keep these snapshots of gracious encouragement.”

I’m not much of a reader”
Hope I’ll have the courage to say something like this, the next time I hear this phrase.

Bono’s Humbling Realizations about Aid, Capitalism, and Nerds
“He said it had been ‘a humbling thing for me’ to realize the importance of capitalism and entrepreneurialism in philanthropy, particularly as someone who ‘got into this as a righteous anger activist with all the cliches.’”

Should I stay or should I go?
John Van Eyk uses Matthew Henry to help pastors decide whether to accept a call to a new congregation.

Embracing the thorn that bleeds you dry
Stephen Altrogge writes a beautifully and brutally transparent post about his struggle with anxiety (which is NOT worry!)

Is this the most sexist verse in the Bible?

I’ve preached quite a few sermons from Ecclesiastes 7. But I’ve always felt a little awkward when reading verse 28 in the pulpit:

One man among a thousand I have found,
But a woman among all these I have not found.

In the context it looks as if Solomon’s search for wisdom turned up a wise man now and again, but never a wise woman! It’s not exactly New-York-Times-speak, is it! Is Solomon a closet Republican conducting a “war on women?”

I’ve never found a commentary that either deals with the difficulty or solves it to my satisfaction. Until last Saturday, when I was preparing a sermon on Ecclesiastes 7:29, and I came across this in the ESV study Bible:

The term “found” here means “figured out, comprehended by study.” The Preacher is admitting that he is unable to “figure out” the vast majority of people he encounters, whether male or female; even his successes in understanding his own sex are extremely unimpressive (only “one man among a thousand”).

This explanation fits the Hebrew, the grammar, the immediate context, and the wider context of the whole Bible which honors women and elevates them above the cultural and societal norms of biblical times.

So, no, it’s not the most sexist verse in the Bible. If anything, you’d expect a man to have a much higher “figure out” rate among his own gender. But his stats are hardly impressive, are they.

The Bible reveals God’s saving love for women; it’s sin that’s sexist and wars against all women…and all men.

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36 Purposes of God in our suffering
Paul Tautges summarizes an appendix from one of Joni’s books.

Seminary Graduates: Blessing or Curse?
Tim Gombis on how to move from seminary to ministry. (HT: BibleX)

How God uses disability
If you are in the Hamilton, Ontario area, you have the opportunity to support a wonderful ministry and hear Kara Dedert speak. If she can speak half as well as she can write, you’ll be in for a treat.

How to break through your creative blocks
Marc Cortez helps us to pick between two seemingly contradictory solutions.

The parenting opportunity of election day
“Our reaction to the election returns will speak volumes to our children about our understanding of submission and sovereignty. Have you thought about what your words and actions will teach your child when the votes have been counted?”

How the church fails businesspeople

What would I do if I was falsely accused of sexual immorality?

I had an eerie sense of déjà vu as I watched the Dinesh D’Souza scandal unfold last week.  I’ve seen a number of men be accused of sexual immorality – politicians, businessmen, pastors – and almost always their first reaction is not only to deny the accusations, but to attack the accusers as jealous, small-minded, and part of a wider conspiracy or vendetta against them (e.g. Bill Clinton, Dominique Strauss, etc).

Obviously we have to resist the temptation to assume the worst of people, especially of powerful men. False accusers do exist. However, it does raise the question if this is the way those who really are victims of false accusation would or should react?

Or to make it more personal, what if I was wrongly accused of sexual immorality? What would I do? How would I hope I’d react?

First of all, I go to fairly extreme lengths to ensure that I am never in a situation where such an allegation could arise, or if it did it could easily be disproved due to the presence of other witnesses, etc.

Second, I would humble myself before God, as I would view such an accusation as divine chastening. I would prayerfully look for why God saw fit to allow such painful allegations to arise in my life. Even if not guilty, there is a humiliating shame involved. I would pray for much grace for my wife and family as such accusations would impact them as much as me.

Third, I hope I’d try to reach out to the accuser(s) in love and mercy seeking to understand why she/he is making such an allegation. I hope I would not denigrate her/him or seek to destroy her/his character. She/he is a precious soul with a great need for salvation, and so are those who may be supporting her/him.

Fourth, I’d ask my pastor/elders/employer to initiate a full and open investigation of the accusations. I’d want them to treat it seriously rather than dismiss it with “We know you’d never do that.” I would not want to be treated with any special favor or shortcuts.

Fifth, I’d seriously consider stepping aside from public Gospel duties while the investigation is completed. I imagine it would feel very strange and inappropriate to be proclaiming God’s truth while under such a dark cloud.

Sixth, I’d seek solace in the sufferings of Christ, trying to enter into the fellowship of his sufferings, who was falsely accused throughout his life.

Seventh, I’d pray for vindication, asking God to clear my name through due process. I hope I would not resort to threats, manipulation, or other political machinations to secure my reputation or innocence.

Eighth, I hope I’d be willing to submit to God’s providence even if it was not possible to clear my name, even if it meant the end of my ministry. That’s easy to say when it’s not happening, but I hope I would be thankful for the years God did grant me to proclaim His Word, and accept that now it’s over and God will advance His work and His kingdom without me.

Lastly, even if false accusations ended my ministry, Joseph’s and King David’s stories encourage me to hope that in time God would yet vindicate me and return me to even greater future usefulness in His Kingdom.

It reminds us all to pray more earnestly than ever before, “Lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil.”

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My year of biblical womanhood
Really enjoyed this from Kim Shay.

Extroverts and introverts need each other 
Great video summary of Susan Cain’s The Power of Quiet

The joy of spiritual fellowship
Funny and challenging extract from Thabiti’s recent book The Life of God in the Soul of the Church 

The struggles and hopes of a disabled Dad
Dave Furman: “Ten years ago I never would have dreamed that I would have a physical disability. But God knew the beautiful design he had for me and for the spread of his gospel would involve taking away the strength of my hands.”

Avoiding legalism in our Sabbath keeping
Iain Campbell: “The question for us then becomes – how can we ensure that our Sabbath-keeping is like that of Jesus, and not like that of the Pharisees? How can we avoid being legalistic and Pharisaic in our Sabbath observance?”

New Opportunities at Mukhanyo College (South Africa)
I’ve seen Mukhanyo College in action and continue to be excited about its impact on numerous African countries. The College is now inviting applicants for three positions: Academic Dean, Senior Lecturer, and Assistant to the Principal.

Children’s Bible Reading Plan

This week’s morning and evening reading plan in Word and pdf.

This week’s single reading plan for morning or evening in Word and pdf.

If you want to start at the beginning, this is the first 12 months of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

And here’s the first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

And here’s an explanation of the plan.