Check out

3 Common Truths of Youth Who Do Not Leave the Church
(1) They are converted; (2) They have been equipped not entertained; (3) Their parents preached the Gospel to them

Eleven Reasons Pastors are Not Trusted Today
Thom Rainer looks at why pastors are no longer held in high esteem. You may also want to look at Rebuilding Lost Trust in Pastors.

5 Ways to Pray for Your Church Family
A follow-up to 5 Ways to Pray for Your Pastor.

One of the Church’s Biggest Challenges Today
Jonathan Storment: “One of the by-products of the individualistic society that we have created is that we have carved up the world so many distinctive ways that we no longer have to share life with people who are different from us. This is true racially, economically, intellectually, and generationally. This is the great tragedy of modern American Churches.”

Why Positive Encouragement Works Better than Criticism
By focusing on positive interactions with your employees and encouraging an upbeat emotional state as often as possible, you’ll be more likely to have a happy, productive and efficient team. (Substitute children, colleagues, church members for “employees”; and substitute family, workplace, congregation for “team.”

Sometimes You Just Have to Land the Plane
Marc Cortez urges young people (and not so young) to stop holding back and to take theological stands.

Spiritual Warfare
Click through for special offer price on this new book and here for Tim Challies review.


Top 60 Online Resources on Abortion

To mark the 41st Anniversary of Roe v Wade, here are the best online articles about abortion that I’ve collected over the past few years. May God use them to stir us up to prayer, politics, and practical love.

Babies are Murdered Here [Video]

41 Years of Roe v Wade [Video]

How God Healed me From my Abortion

How to Make a Pro-life Argument

If a Day Could Speak – January 22

Relentlessly Call Abortion What it Really Is

How Pro-Life Are You Really?

WORLD | Actively engaged in the abortion battle | Matt Chandler | Jan. 4, 2014

States passed 205 abortion restrictions in three years. That’s totally unprecedented.

Have We Reached the End of Traditional Religion? – Forward.com

Cultural shift seen in 2013 abortion, death penalty data | News OK

When Abortion Hits Home | Her.meneutics | Christianitytoday.com

How To Have An Abortion – Kevin DeYoung

Inklings of Reality: If you are pro-abortion, watch this…

Protect the Children from Chemical Weapons – Desiring God

Redemption for the Scars – The Gospel Coalition Blog

For Adoption or Against Abortion? – Desiring God

When Is a Royal Baby a Fetus? – Atlantic Mobile

In it to win it? | Steve Deace

Ask RC: Should Christians protest at abortion mills? – R.C. Sproul Jr.

Two shocking new arguments for abortion – Denison Forum on Truth and Culture

A Real Happily-Ever-After for Babies With Down Syndrome | Her.meneutics | Christianitytoday.com

When is a person a person? 3 libertarians debate abortion

My Mother’s Adoption: A Tale of Two Texans | RealClearPolitics

Abortion and the Idol of Self

Gosnell: The Killer Had Help | Via Meadia

A Call for Pro-Life Entrepreneurship | CBMW | The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

He Sows, She Sews: Dear Mr. President

I Was an Abortionist | CBMW | The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

“The darkness shall not overcome it.” | The Works of God

Raped, impregnated 13-year-old keeps baby | LifeSiteNews.com

An Open Letter to My Pro-Choice Neighbor by Keith Mathison | Ligonier Ministries Blog

Abortion Promises Unfulfilled | Public Discourse

“Daddy, What’s Abortion?” | Garrett Kell

40 Years after Roe, 64 questions – Kevin DeYoung

Majority of Americans Support Mandatory ObamaCare Contraception Coverage | LifeWay Research

Cranmer: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have made a foetus

491 Babies Born in Canada & Left to Die (2000-09)

Do Pro-Life Policies Even Matter? – Kevin DeYoung

The Great Tragedy of the 2012 Election | Garrett Kell

Why Your Friends Are ‘Pro-Choice’ (And What to Do About It) – The Gospel Coalition Blog

Answering That Abortion Question | Gentle Reformation

Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation

Do Christians Support Aborting Children Conceived in Rape? – The Gospel Coalition Blog

AlbertMohler.com – The Mourdock Moment: Life, Death, and Li es on the Campaign Trail

10 Questions a Pro-Choice Candidate Is Never Asked by the Media – Trevin Wax

Are Pregnancies Even from Rape a Gift from God? | Christianity Today

Being pro-life doesn’t make me any less of a lefty

The End Of Abortion — Evangelical Outpost

Mother who aborted her baby at 39 weeks sent to prison | News | The Christian Institute

Evangelicals seek a future for thousands of frozen embryos – The Washington Post

Abortion and the Black Woman – The Gospel Coalition Blog

Questions for Our Pro-Abortion Friends, Church Leaders, and Politicians – Kevin DeYoung

MercatorNet: Rape, pregnancy and a woman’s freedom

The Child Isn’t The One That Needs Killing

Should Christians refuse to pay taxes when they are used to finance abortions or other great evils?

The Unbearable Wrongness of Roe « Public Discourse

The Tide is Turning : Kingdom People

Emily’s Voice’s videos on Vimeo

Apologetics for the Next Generation – The Gospel Coalition Blog

Case For Life – Only One Issue


7 Tips On Teaching and Preaching the Old Testament

“Do you have any tips on things that might be helpful in teaching through the Old Testament, or potential pitfalls?”

That’s the question I was recently asked via email and I’ve posted the full answer at The Christward Collective. Bullet points below:

  1. Focus on the Original Message
  2. Learn Old Testament History, Geography, and Culture
  3. Develop the skill of summarizing and modernizing
  4. Vary Your Genres
  5. Ask Two Questions
  6. Balance Moral Lessons and Christocentric Interpretation
  7. Remember that Old Testament Believers were Believers

Read the rest here.


Worldview

Three Myths About the World’s Poor
Bill and Melinda Gates call foreign aid a phenomenal investment that’s transforming the world and tackle three myths that perpetuate the false idea that everything is getting worse.

MYTH ONE: Poor countries are doomed to stay poor.
They’re really not. Incomes and other measures of human welfare are rising almost everywhere—including Africa.

MYTH TWO: Foreign aid is a big waste.
Actually, it is a phenomenal investment. Foreign aid doesn’t just save lives; it also lays the groundwork for lasting, long-term economic progress.

MYTH THREE: Saving lives leads to overpopulation.
Anxiety about the size of the world population has a dangerous tendency to override concern for the human beings who make up that population. When more children survive, parents decide to have smaller families. This pattern of falling death rates followed by falling birthrates applies for the vast majority of the world.

85 Richest People Own As Much as Bottom Half of the Population
Meanwhile at the opposite end of the scale, a new report says that “the 85 richest people on earth have the same amount of wealth as the bottom half of the population.”

We’re going to hear a lot about income inequality over the next two years – looks like the Democrats are going to run on this – so we might as well know the facts:

  • The richest 1% of the population owns about 46% of global wealth.
  • The richest 1% had $110 trillion in wealth — 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the population
  • That bottom half of the population owned about $1.7 trillion, or about 0.7% of the world’s wealth (the same amount as owned by the 85 richest people).
  • The percentage of income held by the richest 1% in the U.S. has grown by nearly 150% since 1980.
  • The top 1% in the USA has received 95% of wealth created since 2009, while the bottom 90% of Americans have become poorer.

Does all this really matter? Well, according to the World Economic Forum, “widening income inequality was the risk most likely to cause serious damage in the next decade,” and “President Obama recently called the expanding gap between rich and poor a bigger threat to the U.S. economy than the budget deficit.”

Personally, I believe the greater danger comes from the envy and anger that politicians will stir up by using these figures not to help the poor but simply to win votes.

MTV Reduces Teen Pregnancy
Not a headline you’d expect to read is it? TV has been rightly blamed over the years for increasing promiscuity and teen pregnancy. But if it’s so influential, why not turn it to good? That’s what seems to have happened (unintentionally) in areas where MTV’s 16 And Pregnant has been broadcast.

The authors found that the show “led to more searches and tweets regarding birth control and abortion, and ultimately led to a 5.7 percent reduction in teen births in the 18 months following its introduction. This accounts for around one-third of the overall decline in teen births in the United States during that period.”

5.7% may not sound like a lot but it means thousands of fewer teen births per year. The teen birth rate in the U.S. decreased 25 percent between 2007 and 2011, and the preliminary data for 2012 shows that teen births are at a record low.

The Second Machine Age
Despite widespread talk of worldwide economic stagnation due to demographics, globalization, and a slowdown in technological innovation, two professors from MIT have come forward to claim that “the global economy is on the cusp of a dramatic growth spurt driven by smart machines that finally take full advantage of advances in computer processing, artificial intelligence, networked communication and the digitization of just about everything.”

Their optimism springs from the idea of exponential growth — in the computing power of machines, in the amount of digital information that is being created and in the number of relatively cheap devices that are continually talking to each other.

To illustrate the point, Brynjolfsson and McAfee cite the example of Instagram and Kodak. Instagram is a simple app that has allowed more than 130 million people to share some 16 billion photos. Within 15 months of its founding, Instagram was sold to Facebook — a company with 1 billion users — for $1 billion. It was only a few months later that Kodak, the Instagram of its day, declared bankruptcy. The authors use this little vignette to illustrate two points. The first is to point out that the market value of Facebook/Instagram is now several times the value of Eastman Kodak at its peak, creating, by their calculation, seven billionaires, each of whom has a net worth 10 times greater than George Eastman ever had. Such is the “bounty” of the second machine age.


Check out

Welcome to Seminary: Now What?
Al Mohler has five challenges for seminary students.

The Beauty of the Impassible God
Demanding but important article.

The Transracial Implications of the Gospel
“When a black man sits next to a white woman who is next to a rich man sitting beside a poor man; when an educated white woman fellowships with a poor, uneducated immigrant; when a clean-shaven, well-dressed man sits beside a facial-pierced, tattooed girl in grunge clothes; when the fellowship of the saints cannot be attributed in any way to natural inclinations—only then will the world see that we truly love each other—and that ours is a supernatural love.”

Avoiding Burnout
Burnout is “the extinction of motivation or incentive, especially where one’s devotion to a cause or relationship fails to produce the desired results.”

Confessions of a Reluctant Servant
Christian Fox: “Servanthood is uncomfortable. It requires putting your own needs aside for someone else. It’s humbling, thankless, and hard. Not only is it hard, but the act of serving can also inconvenience and interrupt our own purposes and plans.”

Alone Yet Not Alone
I never knew Joni Tada Eareckson was a singer, SUCH a singer, and now Oscar nominated for Best Original Song.


10 Benefits of Being a Seminary Professor

Yesterday, I listed 21 reasons why you don’t want to become a seminary professor. My aim was not to tell you how bad a job I have (I love my job), but to show the excellence of pastoral ministry and how much young men lose when they try to get behind a lectern when they’ve hardly been behind a pulpit.

Tom commented that in the interests of balance, I should also give the pros of being a seminary professor. I couldn’t find 21, but what I lack in quantity, I hope I make up for in quality!

1. You will get to study and teach theology as your job! Your daily work is to prayerfully study the Scriptures and the best Christian books. Lots of people would pay to do that. And you can go deeper in your subject than most pastors who have to move on to a new batch of sermons every week. It’s especially enjoyable to teach what you are passionate about – for me, that’s Christ in the Old Testament, holistic biblical counseling, and servant-leadership.

2. You will be mentally and spiritually developed. You can sometimes wing it in a sermon. You can never wing it in a lecture – not with a class full of sharp and eager students who can smell an under-prepared lecture a mile away. Iron sharpens iron, forcing you to study hard, think hard, and write hard.

3. You will be enriched and sanctified by students from multiple nations and cultures. It’s such a blessing to have students and even pastors from all over the world in the same classroom. You realize how little you know, how little you have experienced, how little a view of God you have had. It’s so exciting to see the men God is equipping and calling to go out into all the world with the Gospel.

4. You will work with gifted and godly colleagues. The ministry is often a lonely life. There’s much more collegiality at a seminary with helpful fellow-professors just a few steps of your office. It’s so humbling to see how others’ intellectual and spiritual gifts so infinitely transcend your own.

5. You will see hopeless preachers turned into powerful preachers. In my first few years at Puritan Seminary, I frequently heard students preach their first “practice sermon” and immediately concluded, “Well this guy’s never going to fly. In fact, he won’t even get out of the hangar.” Three years later God has transformed him into a clearly called and equipped preacher of the Gospel. Being proven wrong like this is one of the greatest joys of seminary life.

6. You will be sent lots and lots of books. A publisher recently sent me five separate copies of one book. No wonder they were soon boasting of a re-print! But seriously, hardly a day goes by without someone sending you a book to review, to endorse, or to add to your library. And speaking of libraries, you will have access to thousands (in my case 70,000) of the best Christian books just a few steps away from your office.

7. You will be asked to write books. It’s usually very difficult for a pastor to get a book published. It becomes much easier when you are a professor, partly because the perceived expertise makes it more likely that people will buy your books. In fact, you will eventually have to turn down many good writing opportunities in order to focus on where you believe God has especially called you to write.

8. You will multiply your spiritual influence. A pastor can do a lot of good in his congregation. But if you train pastors, you can do a lot of good in a lot of congregations. From time to time you do hear of your teaching being passed on to bless different congregations.

9. You will  meet lots of neat people. Puritan Seminary is regularly blessed with the teaching and fellowship of the best reformed teachers in the world. It’s  such a privilege to get to meet these men, watch them close up, and simply listen to their wisdom at the lectern and round the dinner table. I also love meeting our donors, men and women from all walks of life, yet all sharing a passionate commitment to investing in the next generation of Gospel ministers.

10. You will gain a bigger view of God’s kingdom. When you’re a pastor you really have to focus almost all your attention on your own congregation. As a professor you get to go to lots of different churches and countries, over time this gives you a much bigger sense of God’s work in diverse peoples and places around the world.

Fair and balanced?
Many, many blessings, but I don’t want to take away from the main thrust of yesterday’s post, which is that younger men should count the cost of the great losses involved in side-stepping pastoral ministry or viewing it merely as a brief stepping-stone to so-called “higher things.”

Pastoral ministry is the “highest thing.” The professor’s position is subservient, it is a calling to serve God’s messengers, to lay down one’s life (and ego) in the great cause of preparing pastors for the awesome work of Gospel ministry.