Check out

Book Recommendation: The Broken Hearted Evangelist
Brian Croft says of this book: “Every pastor and Christian for that matter, needs to put down their ’10 easy steps on how to do evangelism’ book, pick up Jeremy’s book, and simply pray for a broken heart.”

Here’s my own endorsement of the book: “I’ll be adding Jeremy’s book to my ‘once-a-year’ pile, as I need to regularly hear his warm-hearted and heart-warming plea for broken-hearted evangelism – and act upon it.”

Balanced ministry preparation
“You take care of the depth of your ministry and God will take care of the breadth of your ministry.”

Church-planting for dummies
Seems very wise to me.

Is Social Media actually making us less connected?
In a recent TED talk, MIT professor Sherry Turkle argued that “technology is taking us places we don’t want to go.”

Who will you thank in heaven?
“Someone from India or North Korea may come up to us and thank us that they are in heaven because we prayed God would save people in their country. Someone from the Philippines may thank us for praying for the advance of the gospel there, because God answered and sent a preacher to them.”

Your desk job makes you fat, sick and dead
If this infographic doesn’t make you want a stand up desk, then I guess nothing will.

“Courageous” wins San Antonio Christian Film Festival
As Doug Phillips says, this is a rare God-glorifying acceptance speech for a film awards ceremony


Children’s Bible Reading Plan (68)

Sorry for missing last week’s plan. Didn’t realize so many people were using it! I remember I used to put hours of work into producing a monthly congregational newsletter with articles and news. Then one month, due to pressure of work, I decided to give it a break. I was ready for a deafening clamor of “We want our newsletter!” But only one person ever enquired about it! Humbling. Needless to say I didn’t resume it.

But anyway, as far as the Children’s Bible Reading plan is concerned, normal service has been resumed.

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.

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

The first 6 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in pdf.

And here’s an explanation of the plan.


Learning to be a power listener

That headline probably didn’t appeal to you that much did it?

Power speaker – yes!

Power listener? Eh, someone else can do that.

Bernie Ferrari (author of Power Listening) lists 6 archetypes of bad listening.

  1. The Opinionater: Three sentences into your address he says, “Look, let me tell how I see it…”
  2. The Grouch: He may not have the right answer but he knows yours is definitely wrong.
  3. The Preambler: More or less gets the answer he wants by the way he introduces his questions.
  4. The Preseverator: (I didn’t understand this one)
  5. The Answer Man: Eager to please, has the answer before anyone even knows what the question is.
  6. The Pretender: Think I know a few pastors like this!

Ferrari (wouldn’t you love a name like that?) gives helpful and entertaining exegesis here. As he says, we probably all fall into all of these archetypes at times given the right (wrong?) circumstances.

Any more you can think of?

But let’s end on a positive note with three presidential examples from Paul Johnson, to inspire us:

George Washington listened all his life because he loved to learn and because he had no overwhelming desire to speak, unlike most of those in public life. One passion a leader should forgo, if possible, is a love affair with his own voice…Washington, happily, liked the sound of his own silence…When I was writing my book George Washington, I failed to come across any occasion when he had deliberately concealed the truth from anyone who had a right to know it.

Calvin Coolidge…was aptly called “Silent Cal.” He listened courteously to all his visitors but would not be drawn out. He said: “Nine-tenths of a President’s callers at the White House want something they ought not to have. If you keep dead still they will run down in three or four minutes.” So Coolidge would remain mute. Slight twitches of his facial muscles spoke for him. He was described as “an eloquent listener.” When he did speak, however, it was the truth.

Considering all he had to do and say, Abraham Lincoln spoke amazingly little. As he put it, “I am very little inclined on any occasion to say anything unless I hope to produce some good by it.” His Gettysburg Address is a classic instance — there is none better in history — of using as few words as possible (261, to be precise) while conveying a powerful message.


Check out

Glory veiled and unveiled
Here’s an interview with my NT colleague, Dr Gerald Bilkes, about his superb new book on Christ’s parables.

Why expostory preaching is the power for pastoral ministry
Michael Milton gives eight reasons.

How to lose friends and alienate Twitter followers
Five social media mistakes.  #1 particularly bugs me.

Young Pastor, Old Member
How should old members relate to young pastors?

A prayer for (and in) Congress
If you had the opportunity to pray with our political leaders, what would you pray? Here’s what Adam McHugh (author of Introverted Church) prayed in the House of Representatives this week.

Reflections on 10 years of ministry
My Pastor gave a wonderful chapel address which I’d love every pastor to hear. Little slow to get going, but the last 30 mins are priceless.

 


What is truth?


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“What is truth?”

Pontius Pilate’s not the only one who asked that question. I’m sure we’ve all asked it from time to time. It’s certainly a very common question today. And the answers vary hugely.

Many answer, “Science is truth.” They say that the only truth there is is truth that science can prove. The only truth there is is truth that can be empirically verified – it can be seen, touched, heard – it can be demonstrated to be true by scientific experiments.

Others say, “There is no truth.” It doesn’t exist. We can have opinions, feelings, strong sentiments, but there are no such things as “truths.”

More commonly, people say, “It’s impossible to know what’s true.” They are not denying the existence of truth only the possibility of discovering it and knowing it for sure. It may be out there but who’s to say what’s true for sure?

“What’s true for you may not be true for me,” is another response. The idea is that we can all have our own truth, but we must not force it on to others or try to change other’s truths. Truth depends on the person, the place, the time, the situation.

“Everything is truth!” Sounds so ridiculous, but it’s an increasingly popular view. You can have 100 philosophies or 100 religions all saying completely different and contradictory things, and yet these people will say that it’s all true! These are just different roads to the ultimate truth. We certainly mustn’t ever say that something is false!

Or what about “My lie is truth.” OK, no one ever actually says that. But if you think of all the false religions and cults in the world, that’s effectively what their advocates are saying. They are holding on to a lie and yet they are proclaiming, “This is the truth.”

So what is truth? The Bible is the truth. Or, as the Westminster Shorter Catechism 2 says:

The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.

What does this answer tell us about the Bible?

First, it tells us that this is Divine Truth

“THE WORD OF GOD which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments… “God has the Truth and He’s made it known in the Bible.

Second, it is Directive Truth.

“The Word of God…is the only rule to DIRECT US.” This is not advice. God’s saying “This is truth. Believe it. Follow it.”

Third it is Delightful Truth

It “directs us how we may GLORIFY AND ENJOY HIM.” There’s delight for God there (we glorify Him), and there’s delight for us too (we enjoy Him).

Fourth, it is Dependable Truth

The next Catechism answer, number 3, states: “The Scriptures principally teach what man is to BELIEVE concerning God…” We are to believe what God has revealed. We are to trust it, depend upon it, lean our whole lives upon it.

And fifth, it is Demanding Truth

“…and what DUTY God requires of man.” The Bible is very practical. It’s not just about what we are to believe but also about what we are to do. God expects us to respond to His Word with faith and obedience.

Thanks again to my son Angus who is filming and editing this series. The previous films on the Westminster Shorter Catechism are:
Introduction: A Summary not a Substitute
Q1: Why am I here?


Check out

Is it right for a Christian to take anti-depressants?
Careful and courageous answer from Dr Moore.

10 encouraging items about the purchase of this new building
Really enjoyed this, and all the exciting memories it evoked of the time my last congregation put up a new Church building.

Email Zero: Imagining life without email
Very, very tempting!

7 Things the church expects from the seminary
What would you add, change?

Hazardous Journeys
Some really beautiful videography here.

Tullian: The Gospel is Jesus
Really enjoyed the Christ-centered answer Tullian Tchividjian gave in the first couple of minutes of this video. Too often we talk of the Gospel as an “it” when it’s really a “He.”