Can we have a break from homosexuality?

Can we have a voluntary moratorium on writing or speaking about homosexuality in Christian circles. It doesn’t have to be forever, but if we could have just a few weeks or even months without it being written about or preached upon, we would all be the better for it.

I think I was 14 or 15 before I heard of homosexuality (it wasn’t exactly a trending topic in Glasgow city schools!). I was maybe late teens before I heard it mentioned, quite obliquely, in a sermon. That kind of ignorance or denial is probably not healthy today. However, I sometimes wish for these days again rather than the other extreme where we cannot get away from it. The media shove it in our faces every day already. Do Christians need to be similarly obsessed?

Of course the subject needs to be addressed from time to time, especially when the militant gay rights movement is such a force in our society. However, it would be so good if we could get through a week now and again without having to soil our minds with it.

A clever devil
The devil is not stupid. He knows that the more people talk about homosexuality, the more it is normalized and becomes just another part of “ordinary” sinful society. The more we talk and write about it, the less shocking and the more “whatever” it becomes.

I imagine most homosexuals are delighted with the way Christians are helping to normalize conversations and discussions about this sin, especially without regard for the ages, innocence, and vulnerability of those who are present. I’ve lost count of the number of times Christian adults have talked about homosexuality in front of my little girls. It makes me so angry, because I want them to hear about healthy and beautiful sexual relations, long before being exposed to the most perverse and twisted – and I want them to hear it from me.

The Apostle Paul said of the unfruitful works of darkness, “For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret” (Eph. 5:12). If that verse doesn’t apply to some extent to this evil, I don’t know what it does cover.

Lost innocence
The devil also knows that by exposing younger and younger children to the vocabulary and idea of homosexuality, that precious innocence is lost and curiosity is dangerously aroused. There are appropriate ages to introduce these things to children, and we should respect parents discretion on this. Can we not find euphemistic ways of talking about some sins, protecting young innocent minds among us, while the rest of us know what’s being talked about?

We’re going to have to fight some fearful battles on this front in the coming years. Homosexuals will not rest with the acceptance of gay marriage. They want to eliminate all criticism and disapproval of their sin, and they will not stop until they are not only tolerated or accepted but approved by all. However, do we really need to constantly fill the blogosphere, Christian magazines, Christian schools, our pulpits, and our family dinner tables with this?

I feel I’ve failed in this area too, and therefore I’ve now resolved to neither talk nor write about this subject more than is absolutely necessary, and always in appropriate forums and ways.

Why don’t you join me?

Christian bloggers, writers, editors, teachers, and preachers, can I appeal to you? Please give us a break from mentioning homosexuality. Even for a month. Give us something positive and wholesome to think about. Give us Jesus.

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Obama could show leadership on the state of black families
“Speaking honestly about the state of the black family is politically explosive, even when done with the best of intentions. But if there is one person in America with the moral and political standing to have a transformative and beneficial impact on that conversation, it’s Barack Obama, a dedicated father and the most successful black man in American history.”

The Psalms in the Christian life
Joel Miller has a great short piece on the Psalms: “It is in the use of the Psalter, in fact, that modern Christians worship most like their faithful forebears, those earliest followers of Christ. Says Underhill, “there are few parts of our ordinary public worship which can more surely claim an unbroken descent from the practices of the Apostolic Church.”

Download November’s Tabletalk for free
You don’t need to be a subscriber. You just need an iPad.

Overcome Procrastination
Steven Pressfield’s top 12 tips.

Jury-rigged mobile office
Doing a bit more than texting and driving, I suspect.

What’s life like for someone with autism or Asperger’s?

Sensory Overload (Interacting with Autism Project) from Miguel Jiron on Vimeo.

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.

8 reasons I’ve started a new Tumblr Blog

Seven reasons I’ve started a new Tumblr micro-blog:

  • It’s one central place where I can keep edifying quotes and other nuggets I come across in the course of my daily ministry.
  • It’s a place I can return to and prayerfully meditate on some of the things I’ve learned in the course of my spiritual pilgrimage.
  • It reminds me of people I’ve met and should be praying for.
  • It prevents my main blog – and your RSS and email subscriptions to HeadHeartHand (!) – being clogged up with too many mini-posts.
  • It enables others to benefit from some of the things God is teaching me.
  • It allows me to auto-post material greater than 140 characters to Twitter via a headline and link.
  • It directs readers to good books and other helpful resources.
  • It’s not Facebook!

You can find A Disciple’s Diary here.

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It takes courage and raw physicality to keep the lights on for the rest of us
Wish lots of young people would read this: “In a world that seems increasingly dominated by politicians, pundits, community organizers, professors, lawyers, marketing managers and others who mostly specialize in the production of words, there is often little understanding of what it takes to produce an essential product or service that we frequently take for granted.”

Giving Thanks for C S Lewis
Yesterday was not only Thanksgiving Day, it was also the 49th anniversary of C. S. Lewis’ death.  Joel Miller’s piece relates some touching dIetails of the last days of Lewis’ life.

The unbearable lightness of being Shannon
RC Sproul Jr. continues to edify through his rare God-glorifying transparency.

Leaders tell the truth
An extract from Al Mohler’s new book on Leadership, together with two short videos which pack a lot in to a few minutes.

A lot of pastors love crowds and hate people
Didn’t think I’d be linking to Rick Warren, but this is really too good and too sadly true to bypass.

This is priceless

Foolish Resistance and Invincible Grace

One of the churches I regularly preach in has been doing a series on The Doctrines of Grace, otherwise known as the Five Points of Calvinism. On Sunday evening I preached on the fourth point, Irresistable Grace. As beginning preachers have told me how helpful it is to see how other preachers write out sermon notes, I’ve made the fuller notes available here, and you can find the one page summary notes here.

I used to go straight to a one page summary when preparing, but more recently I’ve found it helpful to write out in full and then summarize. The fuller notes make me think things out more clearly in advance, and they also help my old memory when I maybe have to preach that sermon again at a later date and the summary notes are indecipherable even to me!

In one part of the sermon we considered the differences and the similarities in the way the Father draws sinners to Christ by the Holy Spirit.

Differences in the Father’s Drawing

1. Different ages: The Holy Spirit works on young hearts and old hearts. However, the majority are younger as their hearts and wills have not grown so hard and so skillful in resisting the Spirit.

2. Different time periods: Sometimes the drawing can take place in a few minutes; sometimes it can be over many years.

3. Different forces: The Holy Spirit is sometimes “violent” (e.g. Saul of Tarsus), but often gentle (e.g. Lydia).

4. Different expectations: Sometimes we are not surprised by who the Spirit draws to Christ. They have looked promising for many years and we have been almost waiting for them. At other times, the Holy Spirit picks out the least predictable and most unexpected.

5. Different means: The Holy Spirit may use a sermon, a Scripture reading, a tract, a book, a witness, even an argument to draw sinners to Christ.

Similarities in the Father’s Drawing

1. The Holy Spirit uses the Word: This is not some kind of mystical mid-air experience. There’s a mystery to it all right, but it’s always rooted in the Scriptures. It’s not just some fizz of feelings or emotional manipulation.

2. The Holy Spirit works through the mind: This is a rational experience. The Holy Spirit persuades and reasons with the sinner using the Scriptures. He explains his situation, exposes his need, exhibits him the solution, outlines what he has to do, encourages him with promises, beats excuses, and overcomes obstacles. “And they shall all be taught by God. Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.” (John 6:45)

3. The Holy Spirit changes the will’s direction by changing its passions: As the reasons and arguments pile up, the will begins to change from South to North; it is turned 180 degrees and re-directed. It was going against God by going away from God. But now it is going towards God with love and happy expectation.

You cannot experience the Holy Spirit without emotion. Although He works through the mind upon the will, it is not an emotionless experience. There can often be deep and powerful emotions as the sinner’s mind, will, and heart are changed. There is usually a painful sorrow as the sinner looks back at his past resistance. There is joy over the grace extended and the forgiveness enjoyed.

4. The Holy Spirit draws to Jesus: The Holy Spirit directs the sinner’s attention to Jesus Christ in particular. It is not a general theism that is spoken of here. The Father draws to Jesus. We come to Christ. We see a beauty in Him we never saw before. We develop a fascination, even an obsession, with Him. We are more than attracted to Christ: we are impelled. And when we come, he receives. He has never cast our or driven away any sinner drawn to Him by the Holy Spirit (John 6:37).

5.  The Holy Spirit always wins: Although there is a general, or common, work of the Holy Spirit that is successfully resisted, when the Holy Spirit sets out to save, He saves. He has never been defeated. A big fat zero is in His losses column. “All that the Father gives me will come to me” (John 6:37). We’re not talking possibility or probability but certainty. And we are not talking just of coming but of staying…forever.

As the Shorter Catechism (31) put it: “Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.”