Snippets from the interweb (8th August 2021)

Shepherding is a two way street

‘In the local church, the sheep, God’s people, have an important role to play in a pastor’s shepherding work. I think about this not only from the perspective of serving as a pastor, but more importantly, as a church member who is blessed to have great pastors who shepherd me. According to Scripture, we can either make it easier for our pastors to carry out their God given responsibility to shepherd our souls, or we can make it harder for them.’

Why pastors would do well to stay in our lane

‘I’m convinced that we do great damage to our ministries when we fail to stay in our lane. For one, we can end up losing credibility in the important things because we were wrong on lesser things. Secondly, we can do actual harm to others by giving poor advice in areas we shouldn’t be advising in. Lastly, we are shaking hands with an ideology that will inevitably cut our own legs out from under us.’

How I accidentally stumbled across  – and then fell in love with – the ordinary means of grace

‘I’d grown up in church. I’d read Christian books and led Christian Bible studies. I could explain how trusting in Jesus changes everything, and I could have probably articulated the teleological argument for the existence of God. I’d raised my hands in worship; I’d wept at my own sins and the sins of my friends. I loved Jesus. But I’d never heard anything like this. Because this plain-looking preacher with his well-worn Bible and his kind-of-pointless stool just stood there, explaining and applying Genesis 6 to all who would listen. And I listened, transfixed.’

Don’t feel sorry for or fear for your kids; raise them up to walk in faith

This is a helpful reminder about the sovereignty of God and the people he has for his plans. It is also helps to remember that the world is neither as good as it always was nor as bad as it always was. In every age there will be better things and worse things.

Ask the forbidden question in Bible study

I would argue the ‘forbidden question’ is vital for preachers to ask (and answer) too. A lot of boring sermons and seemingly valueless studies can trace their genesis back to forbidding, pr just ignoring, this question. Much of the lack of growth in our people might be traced back to this same issue as well.

We cannot be faultless (but can still be blameless)

Tim Challies: ‘While we cannot live faultlessly in this world, we may live blamelessly. Even the best deeds we do cannot be faultless when we ourselves are so very imperfect and when this world is so firmly arrayed against us. Yet we may still remain blameless before the Lord, even in light of our many imperfections.’

From the archive: Why we sacrifice for some and not for others

‘Our idea of sacrifice seems to go so far and no further. What is more, some of the sacrifices we make are often extensions of stuff that we either value or enjoy already such that – though the average person may think ‘what a sacrifice’ – to us, it isn’t really any such thing.’