Top 10 (or 11) Volumes on the Suffering and Glory of Christ
I’ve added #2, 8 & 11 to my reading list. I can vouch for Nick’s recommendation of the rest. Id also add George Smeaton’s two volumes on the atonement (here and here).
Why not be engulfed in Technology?
Essential reading for every parent.
Elders: The Church’s Lead Disciple-Makers
Challenging and comprehensive summary of eldership.
My Top 10 iPad Apps and how I use them
If you’re into productivity, Michael Hyatt has some tips for you.
The Tragedy of Student Loans
This is not just a tragedy, it’s crazy.
Here’s an explanation of the plan.
And here are the daily Bible Studies gathered into individual Bible books. Further explanation of that here.
May God bless you and your children as you study the Word of life.
I am so thankful that the Lord called me to be a minister rather than an administrator.
I know I shouldn’t, but I tend to grudge every minute I have to spend compiling reports, answering email, filing paper, answering email, writing references, and answering email. Did I mention answering email?
I’d far prefer to be preparing sermons and lectures, writing blogs and books, and shepherding believers and unbelievers.
That’s why I am so, so, so grateful for those God has called to be administrators, especially those I work with at Puritan Seminary. I have huge admiration for their gifts and for their servant hearts. I’m stunned at the enthusiasm with which they go about their jobs, the quality of work they produce, and the extra miles they are always willing to run.
What a blessing for any church or institution to have men and women like this. Most of them have no idea how immensely and immeasurably valuable and vital their work is. But for every minute they spend on administration, that’s one more minute for pastors to spend on ministry (Acts 6:4). Every minute they give to paper is one more minute for pastors to give to people.
One of the greatest services you could do for your pastor is to ask him, “Is there any administration that I could take off your desk? Is there any office work that I could remove from your to-do list.” You’ve no idea how much that might help to improve his sermons and increase his counseling availability.
And if you’ve got one of those weird creatures, a minister who actually loves and seeks out administration, you’ve got to take him by the scruff of the neck and force him to hand over the paper, the files, and the paper clips. There are sermons to write and souls to be evangelized.
Administrators need ministers and ministers need administrators. As pastors already have an “Appreciation Day,” I’d be all for organizing an “Administrator’s Appreciation Day,” except of course that would involve me in administration.
From a prison cell to planting churches
I’ve huge admiration for Mez McConnell who’s laboring to plant churches in some of Scotland’s poorest and toughest housing schemes (projects). Watch his testimony and follow his new blog, 20 Schemes, to keep in touch with this much-needed mission.
When did innovation get so cool?
“If we lose that once reckless, generous, exuberant spirit of invention then we truly are done for. It’s time for ingenuity to stage a comeback.” And to get you started here are the 10 must-read entrepreneur books of 2012
A review of Paul Tautges’s new book of the same name. Few things vex the Christian more than unanswered prayer. Paul Tautges scatters the darkness of our doubts with six reasons for unanswered prayer. He blends biblical teaching with many practical illustrations to challenge and comfort us when the heavens seem as brass. Read this to revive your prayers, to melt the heavens, and to increase your answers.
7 Practical Tips to make More Time for Reading
I’m going to try the audiobook idea. I’ve actually never listened to a book by audio before.
The Tone of Pastoral Leadership
Pastors need five different voices.
In a church of 100 people, 20 people will likely experience an episode of depression at some stage in their life. If you are in a church of that size, there are probably 5-10 people struggling with anxiety or depression right now. But instead of finding comfort and consolation in the preaching of God’s Word, these suffering souls often find themselves battered and bruised by insensitive preaching.
What kind of sermons harm depressed and anxious Christians?
Sermons that over-stress the moral evils of the day. They are anxious enough through hearing the daily news without every church service ramping up the “we’re doomed” rhetoric. A steady diet of gloomy sermons is not going to lift up the head or heart of the cast down.
Sermons that include graphic descriptions of violence. They are deeply traumatized by preachers reciting the gory details of shooting massacres, abortion procedures, persecution of Christians, child murders, etc.
Sermons that extol constant happiness as the only valid and virtuous Christian experience. The deep pain of depression is multiplied when a depressed person is repeatedly told that sadness is a sin.
Sermons that question the faith of anyone who doubts. A lack of assurance is not necessarily a lack of faith. Believers who hang on to God despite feeling no assurance sometimes have the greatest faith.
Sermons that demand, demand, and demand.The depressed person already feels like an inadequate failure. To be regularly berated for not doing this ministry, or failing to engage in that Christian service, only crushes what’s left of their spirit.
Sermons that are too loud for too long. When a preacher pours out high-decibel words with hardly a breath between them for 45 minutes, it’s not just the nerves of the depressed that are frayed.
Sermons that condemn anyone for using meds to treat depression or anxiety. These are often preached by pastors whose medicine cabinets are overflowing with pills and potions for every other condition under the sun!
Sermons that overdo the subjective side of Christian experience. Depressed people need to focus most on the objective facts of Christianity, the historic doctrines of the faith. Facts first and feelings follow. There’s a place for careful self-examination, but remember McCheyne’s rule: “For every look inside, take ten looks to Christ.”
And that really brings me to the best way to preach to the depressed, and that’s to preach Christ. Preach His suffering and sympathizing humanity. Preach His gentle and tender dealings with trembling and timid sinners. Preach His gracious and merciful words. Preach His beautiful meekness. Preach His miracles to demonstrate His power to heal. Preach His finished work on Calvary. Preach His offer of rest to the weary. Preach the power of His resurrection-life. Preach His precious promises: ”A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench.”
Preach Christ! Preach Him winningly and winsomely. Preach Him near and ready to help. Preach Him from the heart to the heart. Preach Him again, and again, and again. Until the day dawn and the shadows flee away.
In what other ways can preachers inadvertently damage the depressed? And how can preachers better minister to them?