Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs
Concise Theology is well worth the read. In short bursts of two to three pages each (usually), J.I. Packer proceeds to lay out historic Christian beliefs for his readers. While I would have loved to see just a bit more at times, overall, I thought the pacing and breakdown was excellent. Packer is pastoral, caring for the body of Christ, and passionate, reveling in the glories of Christ, the work of the Spirit and the majesty of the Father. Even when I either disagreed or would have stated something slightly differently, I found him to demonstrate humility and patience, no easy task when your intent is to be concise. The…
Election: A Pastoral Doctrine
Continuing this morning in Concise Theology, I offer the following: The doctrine of election, like every truth about God, involves mystery and sometimes stirs controversy. But in Scripture it is a pastoral doctrine, brought in to help Christians see how great is the grace that saves them, and to move them to humility, confidence, joy, praise, faithfulness, and holiness in response. It is the family secret of the children of God. We do not know who else he has chosen among those who do not yet believe, nor why it was his good pleasure to choose us in particular. What we do know is, first, that had we not been…
The All-Sufficient Savior: He is risen!
What an awesome way to end the brief look at the concept of mediation, and a great reflection for an Easter morning. Doesn't hurt that my local church has been in John 5-6 for the last month, seeing Jesus proclaim his all-sufficiency in salvation, fleshing out the glory given him by the Father.
To Love Those To Whom We Preach
I am absolutely loving the 40th Anniversary edition of Preaching and Preachers, by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. His writing is passionate, clear, and helpful for anyone considering or engaged in the task of preaching. That’s not to say I wouldn’t quibble here and there – his comments on lay preaching (pp.113ff), for example – but overall, I’ve definitely benefited from considering the task of preaching and pastoring through this shepherd’s eyes. As he begins to deal with the act of preaching, and what sort of character and attitudes should go into it, I was particularly struck by “urgency”. This is an area where I can certainly grow, allowing the message to both…
On Pastoring – Guard The Bank
Lately, I’ve been reading On Pastoring by H.B. Charles, Jr. a few minutes each day. It has short, powerful and incisive chapters that are perfect for quick reads while waiting for other things to complete. In any case, the following from yesterday caught my attention: A new pastor began his ministry with the key leaders of the church board. The church board members introduced themselves and told the new pastor about their area of ministry. Each department leader proceeded to tell him what was expected of him, stressing the importance of their department, and making it clear that the kingdom of heaven was at hand only if the pastor devoted…
A Little Bit of Written Dari
This afternoon I completed lessons one and two in Beginner’s Dari (Hippocrene’s Beginner Series). I had to stop after lesson 2, as my hand was cramping up. There is a learning curve, and the group of letters jeem, che, he and khe were causing me a bit of difficulty to execute with any sort of similarity to their printed beauty. Then again, I think my green Sarasa pen does add a certain je ne sais quoi to the study of Dari. Lesson one covered only one letter, aleph. Lesson two, as you can see above, covered two groups of similar looking letters. The first set was be, pe, te and…
Back From The Mountains – Ezekiel Edition
Coming back from Banner Elk, NC this evening, I found the textbooks for my next class on my doorstep. Starting in April I am taking Hebrew Exegesis of Ezekiel at SBTS. It will be a continuation of the study in Hebrew I have done since last fall. Unfortunately, “on my doorstep” means it encountered some of today’s rain. Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia was unscathed, wrapped in a layer of thin but protective plastic. Ezekiel was not so fortunate, and has a number of splotches of water damage, mostly confined to the back cover. This post has been rather difficult, as my computer is giving me issues, stemming from a battery failure…
In The Mail – First Books of 2022
My church is soon to begin a residency program with a pretty awesome reading list. While I may have had a hand in selecting titles, that doesn’t mean I have read and/or possess all of said titles. Never one to shirk from book-acquisition, these came in the mail today: Looking forward to getting into “Only a Prayer Meeting” first!
Sabbatical Progress – Week 2
Continuing what I began last week, I wanted to give you a little taste of what sabbatical has involved this week. Still a bunch of reading, but other stuff, too! God has been speaking through it all, answering prayers for wisdom and understanding, while at the same time challenging me in areas that I haven’t fully considered or in some ways hadn’t dared to consider. I’ve continued to keep ahead with my Hebrew work. I’m really enjoying Hebrew! The approach taken by the author (the professor) is quite engaging. The workbook is really helpful for cementing ideas after doing the memory work. I continue to make daily progress on 6…
Sabbatical Progress – Week 1
So, today was the first Sunday of my September sabbatical. It’s been a restful time so far, and that time has also been put to some good use! Thought I’d stop a moment each Sunday and consider the week. Primarily, this is a help to me, helping me remember what God is doing. So, for starters, there has been a bunch of prayer. Prayer for my local church, prayer for my wife and kids, prayer for direction. Especially, I’ve been in prayer asking God to raise up leaders and servants, and to provide opportunities for purposeful discipleship. I actually jump-started my sabbatical finishing one of my first reading goals. The…