Dr. Garry Williams continues his series of posts on ‘The World in the Church’ with an excellent article on the importance of rightly stressing that following Jesus involves being rightly religious.
Changing Hearts audio
The audio for the Biblical Counselling: Changing Hearts 2014 conference is now up over at the BCUK website. There are four talks in total from David Powlison, Winston Smith and Steve Midgley. All of the talks are worth listening to, but I found Steve’s talk, The foundations for relating well, especially relevant to our situation in the UK.
How People Change
For the next few days, How People Change, by Paul Tripp and Tim Lane is available free for Kindle. This is a great read on Biblical Counselling / Care and is well worth picking up for the expense of a few mouse clicks.
“If you would attain to what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are. For where you are pleased with yourself there you have remained. Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing.” – St. Augustine
(Quoted in Community: Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support, B. House)
Hosea 2:2-13 – Leaving Jesus
Augustine on our relationship to God
What am I to you, that you should command me to love you and, if I do not, you should be angry with me and threaten great miseries?
Augustine, Confessions, I.5
Luke 3:1-20 – Repentance starts at home
Parenting is hard for a reason
I like this article by Christina Fox here. I guess many Christian’s if asked why parenting is hard, would answer, “because my kids have sinful hearts.”
That’s true, but Christiana focuses on the fact that parenting is hard because my heart as a parent is also sinful, and my Heavenly Father wants to use my relationship with my children to refine and renew my heart, in order that I follow him as his child more fully.
Porn Free Church
Do you think your church is a porn free zone?
A life-with-porn versus a life-without-porn is a poor choice. If you set it up in these terms then you won’t produce lasting change. We need to set it up (as it truly is) as a choice between life-with-porn versus life-with-God. We need to show how God always offers more than porn.
Tim Chester writes here how finding lasting satisfaction in an awesome God through the good news of a crucified, risen Saviour, is the only means of creating deep rooted heart based change that shows pornography up to be what it really is – a cheap, unsatisfying, imitation. We need to overwhelmed by the fact that Christ is better.
Sadly our churches are often far too respectable for us to face up the the reality of the problem of porn.
The quote above is taken from Tim’s contribution to a book, Porn Free Church: Raising up gospel communities to destroy secret sins, that’s free to download – at least for now, from the CovenantEyes Internet Accountability web site
What shapes my ministry?
Paul Tripp’s new book, Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry, is now available here.
There’s an extract from the book here, which includes the list below of 29 heart issues that shape a pastor’s ministry as much as if not more than knowledge, experience and gifting.
Read the list carefully, it should not only be helpful to pastors but also to people who are committed to praying for their pastor.
- What does he really love?
- What does he despise?
- What are his hopes, dreams, and fears?
- What are the deep desires that fuel and shape the way he does ministry?
- What are the anxieties that have the potential to derail or paralyze him?
- How accurate is his view of himself?
- Is he open to the confrontation, critique, and encouragement of others?
- Is he committed to his own sanctification?
- Is he open about his own temptations, weaknesses, and failures?
- Is he ready to listen to and defer to the wisdom of others?
- Does he see pastoral ministry as a community project?
- Does he have a tender, nurturing heart?
- Is he warm and hospitable, a shepherd and champion to those who are suffering?
- What character qualities would his wife and children use to describe him?
- Does he sit under his own preaching?
- Is his heart broken and his conscience regularly grieved as he looks at himself in the mirror of the Word?
- How robust, consistent, joyful, and vibrant is his devotional life?
- Does his ministry to others flow out of the vibrancy of his devotional communion with the Lord?
- Does he hold himself to high standards, or is he willing to give way to mediocrity?
- Is he sensitive to the experiences and needs of those who ministry alongside of him?
- Is he one who incarnates the love and grace of the Redeemer?
- Does he overlook minor offenses?
- Is he ready and willing to forgive?
- Is he critical and judgmental?
- Is the public pastor a different person from the private husband and dad?
- Does he take care of his physical self?
- Does he numb himself with too much social media or television?
- If he said, “If only I had [ ],” what would fill in the blank?
- How successful has he been in pastoring the congregation that is his family?