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Archive for the ‘Pastoral Ministry’ Category

The 9 Marks Newsletter for Sept-Oct 2010 was recently posted on the internet.  This issue is entitled “Hell: Remembering the Awful Reality” and it is a clear, biblical reminder of the existence and purpose of hell.  Although hell is an unpopular topic today (even among conservative Christians), it is a reality which we must never forget.  Our belief in the eternal judgment of God provides much of the impetus in our evangelism and worship (i.e. shouldn’t we rejoice that we have been saved from the everlasting wrath of God by the work of Jesus?)

Following is the introduction to this issue, written by Jonathan Leeman:

“Wisdom so often in life prescribes moderation. It‘s wise to eat with moderation, to speak with moderation, to feel with moderation, some would even say to believe with moderation.

But there‘s absolutely nothing moderate about the doctrine of hell. It‘s extreme in every way. It‘s an extreme idea for the mind. It‘s an extreme confrontation for the heart. And it blows against all the rules of social etiquette.

Embracing the reality of hell means setting aside moderation. It means admitting that our sin is dark and heinous to the point of eternal damnation; that the white light of God‘s character and glory justly destroys those who have fallen short of his glory; and that that our non-Christians friends have nothing greater to fear. That‘s tough to do when you have moderate views of your sin, your friend‘s sin, and of God‘s glory.

Embracing the reality of hell also means going against the fallen cultural structures and belief systems of this world, all of which conspire together with our own hearts to repeat the serpent‘s promise of a moderate outcome, “You will surely not die.”

As hard as it is to stare at the doctrine of hell, surely it must be salubrious to our faith to do so from time to time. It forces us to once again reckon with who God is and who we are.”

It is worth your time to read this newsletter.  (I was particularly encouraged, convicted and edified by Dr. Sinclair Ferguson’s article entitled “What Then Shall We Preach on Hell?”)  You can find the newsletter available for online reading or downloading here http://www.9marks.org/ejournal/hell-remembering-awful-reality.

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I have listened to this excerpt from Matt Chandler on several occasions recently and have found it to be particularly insightful regarding misconceptions of the gospel which are common in the church today.  It is not too long and it is certainly worth your time to watch.

Praise God that He loved us while we were yet sinners!!!

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I read an excellent post today by Jason Helopoulos regarding good and bad reasons for leaving a church.  It is an excellent, short answer to this very common problem.  The whole article is worth reading (you can find it here http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2010/07/23/good-reasons-for-moving-on/), but here are the bullet points:

His list of good reasons for leaving a church:

1) Providential moving.

2) Church planting.

3) Purity is lost.

4) I am a hindrance in the church.

Here is his list of possible reasons for leaving a church:

1) Spouse will attend a different church with me (read the post.)

2) Special needs.

3) Special gifts needed elsewhere.

Here is his list of bad reasons to leave a church:

1) Children’s ministry is better there.

2) Buzz.

3) The youth group is better there.

4) My church has changed.

5) New pastor.

6) “I’m not being ministered to…”

7) Music

8) Virtually anything else…

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Kevin DeYoung is one of my favorite bloggers right now.  He is a bright guy with an awful lot to say.  Recently, he posted a series of articles on Dealing with Disappointment in the Church which were excellent.  He approaches this issue from the perspective of both the pastor and members of the congregation.  These are well-thought out and insightful posts… certainly reading.  You can find Part 1 here http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2010/04/07/dealing-with-disappointment-in-the-church-1/, Part 2 here http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2010/04/08/dealing-with-disappointment-in-the-church-2/ and Part 3 here http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2010/04/09/dealing-with-disappointment-in-the-church-3/.

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I came across this blog post today by Tim Keller and I thought it was very thought provoking.  In summary, he suggests five things which the church needs to take seriously in order to engage the world in which we live:

1) The local church has to support culture-making.

2) The local church needs a renewal of apologetics.

3) There need to be greater variety of church models.

4) The church must develop a better theology of suffering.

5) We need a critical mass of churches in the biggest cities of the world.

A couple of these will require greater reflection on my part… but, all in all, I think he has a point.  Read the post for yourself (found here http://theresurgence.com/handle_the_big_issues.)

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I have greatly enjoyed reading Kevin DeYoung’s blog recently.  He is very insightful and his posts are often encouraging and convicting (not an easy thing to do…)

Today a read a post he wrote on how all people… in all places… need good, gospel centered pastors and churches.  It is worth reading.  You can find it here http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2010/03/09/they-need-good-pastors-and-good-churches-everywhere/

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Dr. Albert Mohler recently posted a brief article commenting on the disappearance of the Bible in preaching today.  You can find it here http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/02/19/falling-on-deaf-ears-why-so-many-churches-hear-so-little-of-the-bible/.

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