Young People’s Greatest Problem Is…

….Pride.

At least, according to Matthew Henry. In his little book, Sober-Mindedness Pressed Upon Young People, Henry says, “I have seen more young people ruined by pride than perhaps by any one lust whatsoever.”

Henry’s book is based upon the text “Exhort the young men to be sober-minded” (Titus 2:6), but in this section he also expounds Romans 12v3:

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”

Henry says that the Greek is literally, “think unto sobriety,” or “think yourself into a sober mind.”

But how do we do that?

Practical as ever, Henry advises:

“Keep up low thoughts of yourselves, of your endowments, both outward and inward; of your attainments and improvements, and all your performances, and all the things you call merits and excellencies.”

Sounds just like Facebook, doesn’t it?

Not.

Henry calls us to make as little of our attainments as most do of their faults, and instead to make much of others’ attainments and little of their faults. He notes how Moses didn’t know that his face shone, and when he realized it, he veiled it.

If Matthew Henry had designed Facebook instead of Mark Zuckerberg, we would be posting status updates on our failings, our faults, and our bad-hair days. And we’d be posting photos of others’ victories, achievements, and successes.

So how about this for a counter-cultural social media strategy:

“Dwell much upon humbling considerations, and those that tend to take down your high opinion of yourselves.” 

But Henry doesn’t end there; he doesn’t see sober-mindedness as an end in itself, but as a means to another wonderful end:

“And keep up a humble sense of your necessary and constant dependence upon Christ and His grace, without which you are nothing, and will soon be worse than nothing.”


Awesome Music, Awesome Words

Glory to the Holy OneFor the last few weeks I’ve been living off Glory to the Holy One, a CD of hymns composed by R C Sproul. If you’re familiar with Dr. Sproul’s theology, you will instantly recognize his spiritual heartbeat in many of these songs. In fact, I think that’s why they come with such power to me, as I’ve been so blessed by R C Sproul’s teaching ministry over many years. When I hear the lyrics, waves of other words he has written and spoken also flood into my soul, filling each line with layer upon layer of rich meaning. It’s a quite unique and wonderful experience!

My favorites are Glory to the Holy OneHighland Hymn, The Secret Place, and Clothed In Righteousness, each of them focused on the primary themes of Dr. Sproul’s long, faithful, and productive ministry – God’s glory, the beatific vision, the holiness of God, and the righteousness of Christ.

Awesome Music
And it’s not just the words that are awesome, the music is some of the finest I’ve ever heard. Those of us privileged to attend the National Conference will never forget the delightful conversation between Dr. Sproul and the award-winning composer, Jeff Lippencott, during which they told the story of how the album was conceived and produced. In fact, I just realized yesterday that the CD has a fascinating track at the end in which Dr Sproul and Jeff talk more about the production effort. Watch the video below to get a glimpse of the beautiful relationship that developed between these two men as they worked on this God-honoring project.

As I listened to Dr. Sproul that night, heard these hymns, and then listened to him preach an unforgettable sermon on his favorite text, Isaiah 6, the next day, it all just seemed to sum up everything I love about this man of God. I’m tempted to say it’s such a fitting capstone. But I hope not, because I earnestly pray that God may yet give him many more years to serve His church and bless His people.

You can listen to sample tracks here, and even listen to the entire album free if you download the Ligonier App.

The Making of Highland Hymn

PS. For my exclusive-psalmody friends, remember some of the staunchest defenders of exclusive psalmody in public worship (e.g. Dr John Kennedy, Dingwall) had no problem listening to hymns outside church worship settings!


Marriage Revaluation Required

Which is the odd one out?

  • Gemstones
  • Christ’s blood
  • Marriage
  • God’s promises

None of them.

They all have one thing in common. The New Testament describes them all with the same Greek adjective τίμιος, usually translated either as “precious” or “honorable.”

  • Precious gemstones (1 Cor. 3:12)
  • Precious blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:19)
  • Honorable marriage (Heb. 11:4)
  • Precious promises of God (2 Pet. 1:4)

God puts marriage in the same league as precious gemstones, the precious promises of God, and the precious blood of Christ.


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Is There A Diversity Dividend?

Is there a diversity dividend? Yes, according to an elite panel of business leaders at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos. In the BBC’s report on the discussion, chief business correspondent Linda Yueh cites the following evidence to support the panelists’ advocacy for diversity:

  • Boards of directors with greater diversity generate more dividends.
  • Numerous studies show that adding women to the labor force increases national output, or gross domestic product.
  • An MIT study found that changing from all-male or all-female workforces to equal numbers of both sexes could raise revenues by around 40 percent.

Walgreens CEO Randy Lewis’s book No Greatness Without Goodness: How a Father’s Love Changed a Company and Sparked a Movement advances this “profit-from-diversity” narrative by demonstrating how Walgreens increased profits and reduced staff turnover by hiring more employees with disabilities and other special needs. As creative companies like Apple and Google have also found, this profit-motive is proving more powerful at building diverse workforces than enforced quotas, threatening legislation, or guilting companies into action.

So why aren’t we using the profit-motive to build more racially diverse churches and to increase racial diversity in our Christian lives?

More Excellent Way

The majority of the post-Ferguson conversation and writing has focused on quotas, legislation, rehashing the past, and guilting people and churches into change. Surely we can build a much more positive case for biblical diversity by demonstrating the future spiritual profit we can enjoy in our lives, families, and churches.

As I describe in my book The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World, after years of inaction, fear, and even prejudice, I only began to pursue more diversity in my life when I began to experience the rich spiritual profit of racial diversity through increased contact with African American Christians. Although there’s something deep within us that says, The more people are like me, and the more people like me I can gather around me, the happier I’ll be, I came to experience the exact opposite. The more I listened, talked, and walked with people of different races, ethnicities, and cultures, the more joy I experienced.

Before I make the profit-motive case for diversity, let me be crystal clear: I’m not talking about moral diversity—the idea that all moralities are equal and valid. Neither am I talking about the kind of multiculturalism that calls us to accept everyone’s beliefs and practices regardless of whether they align with biblical values. I’m talking primarily about racial diversity, but much of what I say will also apply to the kind of cultural and ethnic diversity that does not contradict scriptural standards.

Click on over to The Gospel Coalition Website for the rest of this article, including ten ways in which biblical diversity in the local church produces much more profit than uniformity does.