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The Most Popular and Fastest Growing Bible Translation Isn’t What You Think It Is
When Americans reach for their Bibles, more than half of them pick up a King James Version (KJV), according to a new study advised by respected historian Mark Noll.

John Piper: 12 Features of the New Calvinism
Tim Challies summarizes John Piper’s recent lecture on the subject.

Extraordinary Help for Gospel Productivity
And here’s another great article from Tim Challies on 8 Ways To Get More Done This Week.

Christians, We Are Repenters
Trevin Wax: “I pray that in the West, we will be like our Romanian brothers and sisters: dissatisfied with the idea of being Christian in name only, and passionate about living as “repenters” who have tasted the goodness and grace of God and can never be the same again.”

God Is With You In Depression
Author Randy Alcorn is no foreigner to depression. He has journeyed through dark seasons — once for four months on end — and offers this word of hope to the Christian: “God is there with you in the depression.”

Dear Future Mom
“Im expecting a baby. I’ve discovered he has Down syndrome. “I’m scared; what kind of life will my child have?” Here’s the video reply from Down syndrome kids and adults.

Depression in the African-American Community: Timika’s Story

Timika has probably been depressed for many years. Only recently, however, did she recognize it and begin to seek spiritual, psychological, and physical help. A nurse educator, she now recognizes the opportunity she has to prevent her students suffering in the same way.

This film also looks at the unique challenges faced by the African American Community in dealing with mental health issues. Thabiti Anyabwile brings a unique pastoral expertise and Helen Brent speaks with the wisdom of decades spent working as a mental health nurse in the inner city. Sadly (for us), this lovely Christian lady passed away just a few months ago, but we rejoice with hope that she has gone to enjoy eternal light, life, and love.

Study Guide Questions for Timika’s Story (Word/PDF)

For other films in the Christians Get Depressed Too series, click here.

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8 Ways to Spot Emotionally Healthy Pastors and Staff
Especially #4, #5, and #6.

The Christian’s Pursuit of God-Given Joy
Mike Riccardi: It is our “bounden duty,” as Spurgeon said, to pursue our joy. How is that possible? How are we supposed to obey the command to rejoice in the Lord always if true Christian joy is a gift of God?

Single v Married Pastors
Steve DeWitt speaks of the benefits and drawbacks on both sides of the fence.

Nine Practical Pointers for Plodders
Jon Bloom describes my life: “Purpose to be a plodder. A plodder keeps moving. A plodder perseveres. A plodder presses on. A plodder knows the disappointment of unrealized ideals, feels the fear of failure and exposed deficiencies, and the ambiguity of too many demands, options, and tasks. But a plodder isn’t immobilized by them. He or she presses on in the faith that God will supply the needed strength (1 Peter 4:11), wisdom (James 1:5), and direction (Proverbs 3:6).”

False Dilemmas In Gospel Ministry
Jeffrey Waddington untangles some false dilemmas.

The 7 Commandments of Choosing a Church
If you’re reading this because you don’t like your church and you want to know how to shop for a better church and you thought, based on the title of this post, that you might get some good ideas for how to find a better church… prepare to be disappointed.  That’s not what this article is about.

Gary and Peggy
In 2001, Gary and Peggy Ifft lived in Bloomington, IL. They had normal jobs, a normal home, a normal life. Then God called them out of the normal and into His mission.

Children’s Daily Bible Reading Plan

Here’s 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 year of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf. And this is the second year in Word and pdf.

The first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Here’s an explanation of the plan.

And here are the daily Bible Studies gathered into individual Bible books with Genesis and Matthew now complete (explanatory note).

Old Testament

New Testament

10 Types of Church Leader

Why I was asked to give a conference address on “Positive Leadership,” it got me thinking about how many different kinds of pastoral leadership I’d come across in my ministry.

Mr. Passive never takes a step forwards. Like a snooker ball, he just waits to be hit by the next event. If he can maintain the status quo or manage a congregation’s gradual decline, he’s quite happy.

If Mr. Passive is a snooker ball, Mr. Dictator is the snooker cue. He’s always pushing his way around, pushing others out of his way, and aggressively pushing his own agenda with little thought about the knock-on effects for others. Sometimes he pushes so hard that he rips the cloth and ends the game for himself and everyone else too.

Mr. Crisis is neither too passive nor too aggressive. He doesn’t try to avoid difficulties like Mr. Passive and he doesn’t create difficulties like Mr. Dictator. But he loves difficulties when they come. Not so active in normal times, he thrives in a crisis, especially when the spotlight is on him.  He’ll lead through the Red Sea, but he’s not so keen on the wilderness bit.

Mr. Inconsistent can clear the table sometimes and hardly hit a ball at other times. You just don’t know what to expect on any given Sunday. He’s up, and then he’s down. Sometimes his sermons soar, and sometimes they sink. Happy and encouraged one day, miserable and depressed the next. Determined to stay for the rest of his life, threatening to resign the next day. Completely unpredictable and unreliable.

Every leader has fears – he’d be foolish not to – but Mr. Fearful is characterized by fear, overwhelmed with fear, never gets past fear, is dominated by fear, and makes decisions based on fear.  But, just like the animals, his people can smell his fear, especially in his preaching. Most have stopped following him, and some have started intimidating him.

When people think of Mr. Pessimist, a little passport picture of him pops out of their mental files and displays a glum sad, hopeless, and depressed expression. A dark cloud hovers above him and rains whenever there’s a hint of sunlight in his life or ministry. Growth in other churches is suspect. A cheerful Christian is a shallow Christian. Sin and judgment are his themes and shall be till he dies – which always seems to be just round the corner.

Mr. Boastful knows how to make other preachers feel really bad, and seems to enjoy doing so. He’s an expert with statistics and always seems to have his latest church attendance, Sunday school figures, baptisms, conference invites, etc., at the tip of his fingers. When people visit his church, it never seems to be quite as big or as lively as he claims, but then you can’t lie with the stats, can you?

Mr. Academic has read every book you’ve every read and twice as much again. He can quote early church fathers, reformers, puritans, and modern church leaders as if he knew then all personally. Calls himself a “Pastor-scholar” but there’s little of the former and much more of the latter. Argues that the best way to pastor his flock is to spend 40 hours on each sermon. The sheep just don’t know how lucky they are.

You’ve probably already met Mr. Sociable. Everyone else has. He loves socializing and plans a lot of it every week: lots of visits for lots of hours. And he especially welcomes unplanned visitors and calls. People are far more important that studying the passage in Greek or simplifying that complex paragraph towards the end of the sermon. He’s greatly loved in the community, but those who have to listen to him every week are growing less enamored.

Paper, emails, reports, committees, church law, and bureaucratic procedures are Mr. Administrator’s favorite companions.  Given the choice between ministry and administration, the latter always seems more urgent, if not important. I mean people can wait, but this report is due next week. Rather than squeezing in paperwork between sermons and visitation, sermon prep and pastoral visitation are squeezed into ever-smaller gaps between the vital office work.

As a Pastor myself, I recognize all of these people almost every time I look in the mirror. Yes, I have been all of these people at one time or other, and sometimes all in the one day!

Yet, for all of our faults, the Lord still uses “earthen vessels,” that the treasure of His grace might shine all the more beautifully in us and through us (2 Cor. 4:7).

At the end of every day I bring my multiple sinful personalities to the cross and appeal once again for forgiveness, looking to the Christ who died for my sins, and for the sins of every Christian pastor. The more I preach and pastor people, the more I value Jesus’s atoning work, and the more I marvel at His perfect life and ministry over 33 years.

Whoever else we follow, let’s make sure we follow Him above all. Because He promised, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19).