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“I know where I’m going.”
I was privileged to know the man who uttered these last words, and I’m not surprised that he died in such a God-honoring way.

When I feel stuck or stumped, I go for a stroll
A tip from Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine, for the next time you experience “preacher’s block.”

Liberalism, Botox, and Lady Folly
“Having caused the life of the Protestant mainlines to wither away, theological liberalism now beckons to, allures, and seduces evangelicals. Though old and wizened, she is always freshly airbrushed, botoxed, and adjusted, appearing young, attractive, and intelligent, the lady folly for the theological mind.”

The Anatomy of Holiness
“When I lose track of what holiness is actually about, I try to scan down the body from head to toe and remember what God desires from me.”

Social Networking 101
Why are social networks so attractive to our kids? Here are five reasons together with the pros and cons of each

Responding to your spouses sexual sin
This is a good series to watch not only for those who are going through this painful process but also for those who minister to such. In fact, it’s a great deterrent for everyone. If the embedded video does not work for you, you can click through and watch the series on Vimeo.  Congratulations, Brad, on your new blog theme. Significantly easier on the eyes!

I met a “celebrity” pastor yesterday

I met a “celebrity” pastor at T4G yesterday.

I can confidently report that he was normal.

In fact, he was more normal than many “normal” pastors I’ve met. He was warm, friendly, engaged in our conversation, didn’t try to get away after the initial pleasantries, and wasn’t continually looking over my shoulder for someone more interesting or important to talk to. And I have to say that most of the well-known pastors and preachers I’ve met have been similar.

The problem is often with those who surround these men. In my experience, it’s often the gatekeepers, the hangers-on, the media, PR & marketing guys, the organizers, the administrators, the “friends,” etc., that create the impression of superiority, aloofness, arrogance, and disinterest in lesser mortals.

I’ve met a good number of them too, and though there are some happy exceptions, I’m afraid that they often give their masters and “friends” a bad name. When no one else is around, they might give you the time of day, but meet them in a crowd and you’re suddenly invisible. Or if you are talking to them in a crowd, you wonder if you have a parrot on your shoulder!

Past too much like the present
Before I was converted, I’m afraid that I was a regular sampler of Glasgow’s nightlife. I used to go to clubs that were attended by the top Scottish soccer players (the equivalent of your ARod, Tom Brady, etc). Because of their large “retinues” you wouldn’t normally get near to talk to them – unless you met in the restroom. I “bumped” into quite a few of them there over the years and usually found them friendly, decent, down-to-earth, etc. Just like the few “celebrity” pastors I’ve met.

But again, it was their retinue, the guys basking in reflected glory, the entourage, the guys that probably could hardly kick a ball, that by their attitudes and actions usually caused the public perception of these “stars” arrogance and superiority.

So, to the celebrity pastors, I would say, you may be the humblest, godliest, and most decent pastor in the world; but if you have bumptious, pretentious, person-respecting staff and (mis)representatives, don’t be surprised if people who don’t know you think that you are just like them. I would prescribe them a daily dose of James 2v1-4 and maybe some regular time at Calvary.

To the entourage, the “friends,” I would say, go pastor a church yourself for a few years (rather than by proxy), and you might then stop to talk to some “ordinary” pastors at the next T4G.

The Word of God reveals the human heart. So do large conferences.

Nine reasons why you may lack assurance

A few weeks ago Dr Joel Beeke preached on assurance and gave five reasons why believers may lack assurance of faith.

Dr Beeke gave five reasons that were specific to our own congregation:

  • False Conceptions of the Character of God
  • Lack of Clarity on Justification by Faith
  • Disobedience and Backsliding 
  • Ignorance of Satisfying Evidences of Grace 
  • Lack of Acknowledging What God has Done

Let me add another four reasons that I’ve come across:

Temperament: Just as people who are confident by nature are much more likely to have spiritual confidence, those who are constitutionally more timid and hesitant than others will usually find it harder to attain to assurance of faith. The confident among us need to be extremely sympathetic to such trembling souls. From what I’ve seen, the little assurance that a naturally fearful person may have can be a greater spiritual triumph than the chest-thumping confidence of the naturally buoyant personality.

Events: When a person passes through a series of difficult providences – loss of health, work, loved ones, etc – it can be devastating to assurance. Again, those of us who are surrounded by multiple evidences of God’s blessing should be very slow to condemn a questioning believer whose providence is screaming from every direction “There is no God!” or at least, “God is not love!”

Father or Pastor: When a person has been brought up by a perfectionist or demanding Father who rarely expressed appreciation or love, their view of God as a loving and assuring Father will be seriously damaged. Similarly, if the preaching we have been exposed to has been angry, impatient, hectoring,  demanding, unsympathetic, frustrated, etc., then we will view God similarly and lack spiritual comfort.

Sovereignty: Sometimes it’s not us or anyone else. It’s simply God. In one of the most pastorally helpful sections of the Westminster Confession of Faith we read:

The most wise, righteous, and gracious God, doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.

For sundry other just and holy ends! You might want to ask Job about that.

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4 Reasons You Should Visit The Ligonier Booth at Ligonier

The hole in our holiness
That’s the name of Kevin DeYoung’s forthcoming book. If you want a taste, then you can read a synopsis from his excellent address at T4G yesterday in Louisville. Here’s Aaron Armstrong’s notes, and here’s Justin Taylor’s.

Broken Homes in the Bible

Work Backwards
Sometimes it makes counseling easier.

Evangelical predicts Mormon difficulties for Romney

The Biggest Announcement
The Martyn Lloyd-Jones recording trust releases all MLJ’s sermons for free.