Category Archives: Guest blog

Dealing with Anonymous Critics


Ministry Matters™ | Articles | Dealing with Anonymous Critics.

A very helpful (as usual) article by Ron Edmonson on something that many of us have to deal with.

Anonymous with Guy Fawkes masks at Scientology...

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest blog

Youth and Gossip


Ministry Matters™ | Articles | Youth and Gossip.

There is a fine line between talking about someone and the sin of gossip. This helpful article helps us to understand when we are crossing that line. And while gossip is clearly not just a youth problem this article was written from that angle.

Gossip t

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest blog

John Stott’s death and spiritual leadership takeaways | THE BROOK NETWORK


John Stott’s death and spiritual leadership takeaways | THE BROOK NETWORK.

Thanks to The Brook Network. Here are also some great tributes to John Stott in Christianity Today and The Gospel Coalition.

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest blog

Norway’s Killer, Christian Fundamentalism, and the Media


Anders Behring

Ed Stetzer shares his concern about the use of “Christian Fundamentalist” to describe Norway’s killer.

 

via Norway’s Killer, Christian Fundamentalism, and the Media.

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest blog

What does your internet trail say about you?


Courtesy of Preaching Today

Anonymity; and the Internet.

In his book The Next Story Tim Challies writes:

“In 2006, America Online made an epic misjudgment. As part of a research project … the company made available to  the public a massive amount of data culled from … the search history of 650,000 users over a three-month period. This totaled some 21 million searches.”

Before AOL released the data, they changed all the user names into anonymous user numbers. But it didn’t take long before those numbers were linked to real names. AOL realized its mistake and withdrew the data, but the search histories had already been copied and uploaded elsewhere on the Internet.

Challies offers the following summary based on AOL’s mistake:

“It was possible to reconstruct a person’s life, at least in part, from what they searched for over a period of time …. What is remarkable about these searches is the way people transition seamlessly from the normal and mundane to the outrageous and perverse …. One user went from searching for preteen pornography to searching for games appropriate for a church youth group. Others, spurned by lovers, sought out ways of exacting revenge, while others grappled with … cheating on their spouses. Our searches are a penetrating window into our hearts.”

Challies concludes with some challenging questions:

“What does your data trail say about you? Would you be willing for your spouse to see it? Your parents? Your pastors?”

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest blog

“Why should I not commit suicide?”


Courtesy of gotquestions.org

Bramley. Oil painting. 1888.

Very sadly, there is a higher percentage of suicides during the Christmas season than any other time of the year. Whether you are contemplating suicide, or know someone who is, or just want to know how to minister to someone who is considering suicide – we hope this article is helpful to you.

Our hearts go out to those who have thoughts of ending their own lives through suicide. If that is you right now, it may speak of many emotions, such as feelings of hopelessness and despair. You may feel like you are in the deepest pit, and you doubt there is any hope of things getting better. No one seems to care or understand where you are coming from. Life just is not worth living…or is it?

If you will take a few moments to consider letting God truly be God in your life right now, He will prove how big He really is, “for nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). Perhaps scars from past hurts have resulted in an overwhelming sense of rejection or abandonment. That may lead to self-pity, anger, bitterness, vengeful thoughts, or unhealthy fears that have caused problems in some of your most important relationships.

Why should you not commit suicide? Friend, no matter how bad things are in your life, there is a God of love who is waiting for you to let Him guide you through your tunnel of despair and out into His marvelous light. He is your sure hope. His name is Jesus.

This Jesus, the sinless Son of God, identifies with you in your time of rejection and humiliation. The prophet Isaiah wrote of Him in Isaiah 53:2-6, describing Him as a man who was “despised and rejected” by everyone. His life was full of sorrow and suffering. But the sorrows He bore were not His own; they were ours. He was pierced, wounded, and crushed, all because of our sin. Because of His suffering, our lives can be redeemed and made whole.

Friend, Jesus Christ endured all this so that you might have all your sins forgiven. Whatever weight of guilt you carry, know that He will forgive you if you humbly receive Him as your Savior. “…Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you…” (Psalm 50:15). Nothing you have ever done is too bad for Jesus to forgive. Some of His choicest servants committed gross sins like murder (Moses), murder and adultery (King David), and physical and emotional abuse (the apostle Paul). Yet they found forgiveness and a new abundant life in the Lord. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Why should you not commit suicide? Friend, God stands ready to repair what is “broken,” namely, the life you have now, the life you want to end by suicide. In Isaiah 61:1-3, the prophet wrote, “The LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor…to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

Come to Jesus, and let Him restore your joy and usefulness as you trust Him to begin a new work in your life. He promises to restore the joy you have lost and give you a new spirit to sustain you. Your broken heart is precious to Him: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:12, 15-17).

Will you accept the Lord as your Savior and Shepherd? He will guide your thoughts and steps—one day at a time—through His Word, the Bible. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you” (Psalm 32:8). “He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure” (Isaiah 33:6). In Christ, you will still have struggles, but you will now have hope. He is “a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you in your hour of decision.

If you desire to trust Jesus Christ as your Savior, speak these words in your heart to God: “God, I need you in my life. Please forgive me for all that I have done. I place my faith in Jesus Christ and believe that He is my Savior. Please cleanse me, heal me, and restore my joy in life. Thank You for Your love for me and for Jesus’ death on my behalf.”

5 Comments

Filed under Guest blog

Guest Blog: Embracing the Ordinary


Church, Maui, Hawaii

by Michael Johnson

Carl Trueman writes in Republocrat:

[The] Lord has blessed the church of today with some remarkably talented individuals who have been used to do remarkable things [e.g. Keller, Piper, and Driscoll]. The danger is that, in focusing on such men, we create unrealistic expectations. The evidence that the church models developed by these men can be transplanted with success elsewhere is highly equivocal; more likely, their success is rooted in God’s using their own remarkable gifts and contexts—the right men in the right place at the right time for something great, if you like. The life of Don Carson’s father, outlined so movingly in his Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor, is more likely to be closer to the norm for most churches and pastors than that of Redeemer in New York (38-39).

In light of Trueman’s observations:

Three Implications for Churches

  1. Listen (attentively and expectantly) primarily to your pastor’s sermons (assuming he’s biblically orthodox).
  2. Listen to extraordinary preachers (unless he’s your pastor) sparingly. Do you normally quote extraordinary preachers in everyday conversation more than your pastor? Doing so often unwittingly feeds into creating unrealistic expectations for your pastor.
  3. Lower your (likely unrealistic) expectations of your pastor. While he may not be (and likely isn’t) extraordinary, he is (for you and your church) likely the right man in the right place at the right time. It’s okay that your pastor is ordinary. (Aren’t most of us rather ordinary, regardless of vocation?) Exercise grace towards him and his gifts—you may just see him begin to flourish.

Three Implications for Pastors

  1. Broaden your diet of your favorite preachers. Ask a trusted individual in your church if you’ve found your voice. (Or do you eerily resemble, in either vocabulary, tone/tenor, or overall posture, your favorite preacher?) You may have to “fast” from some of your favorites for a season to broaden yourself. Let other voices in (again, assuming they’re biblically orthodox), thus eventually finding your own.
  2. Be content being an ordinary pastor and preacher. It’s okay (really it is!) to be ordinary. A brief glimpse of church history is littered with seemingly ordinary people God’s been pleased to use for His glory.
  3. To give you proper perspective (and deep encouragement) as you aspire and cope with your newly embraced “ordinariness,” read Carson’s Memoirs annually.

Any other implications?

4 Comments

Filed under Guest blog