• Books,  Pastoring,  Theology

    Permission to Love One Another

    February’s residency read was The Pastor and Counseling by Jeremy Pierre and Deepak Reju. I think this book is a great introduction to the pastor’s call to really shepherd the flock. It is also a great place to begin thinking about how the call of the pastor has a trajectory of whole body involvement in discipleship, including biblical counseling. Chapter Seven, especially, points the reader to consider how the whole body works together for health of individuals and church alike: A culture of discipleship means that members don’t have to sign up for anything to get permission to love one another. It is a church culture where it is normal…

  • Books,  Theology

    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…

  • Biblical Studies,  Books,  Language,  News,  Theology

    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…

  • Books,  Theology

    How Membership Is The Same Everywhere

    In the final chapter of “Church Membership”, Leeman discusses how locale and context affects church membership. In light of all that is going on in Afghanistan of late, but also the experience of churches in China and some parts of Africa, and increasingly here, this chapter reflecting on what membership looks like under different societal and political forces is helpful. It bears out the flexibility and wisdom Leeman brings, rather than a rigid set of rules. And as discussions of viruses and vaccines continue to dominate our lives, this section hits home: Now, Satan uses different devices in different locations to undermine Christ’s kingdom. A favorite device in the West…

  • Books,  Theology

    On Submitting to the Local Church

    I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of Jonathan Leeman over the last few days, and I’m definitely benefiting from his skill in teaching. I’ve read him writing in a more academic tone, and loved it. Pleasant to find he can write equally well in a style that is more down-to-earth. I’m almost done with Church Membership, in the 9Marks series, and I would definitely recommend it for every Christian. This is a quick and easy read to situate the believer as a citizen of a kingdom and a member of a body, striking at both the structural and the organic nature of the church in the life of…

  • Books,  News

    In The Mail: T4G

    I picked up a short list of books from T4G’s online store a week or so back. I may not have been able to attend, but I think I am well supplied for the moment! I already have the other volume from Murray & Murray, “Reset”, which I haven’t gotten to. I was a little choose-y on the 9Marks series. I chose ones I thought would be more helpful as an elder and helping the body work towards meaningful membership in the near future; and also some I thought would help stretch me in areas I need stretching.