Don’t just share the gospel (Elliot Clark): Being faithfully present in your neighborhood doesn’t equal biblical evangelism. Polite spiritual conversations at work or around the dinner table also don’t mean you’ve evangelized anyone. You must announce good news. Read more at The Gospel Coalition.
5 ways to move from prayer to proclamation in evangelism (Chuck Lawless): 56 percent of Protestant churchgoers pray at least weekly for opportunities to tell others about Jesus. . . . At the same time, though, less than half (45%) of the respondents say they’ve shared with someone how to become a Christian in the last six months. Apparently, some of the folks stop their evangelism with their praying for opportunities. Thus, here are some ways to move from praying to proclaiming. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.
The bottomless search for approval (J.D. Greear): St. Augustine said that before they sinned, Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed because they were clothed in God’s love and acceptance. One of the first effects of sin after the fall was a sense of shame over their nakedness. They had always been naked, but without God’s approval, now they felt naked. That’s a picture of the human race: We feel exposed, unacceptable, and ashamed. Our whole lives are spent as a quest to re-clothe ourselves. We’re always looking for what sets us apart and makes us “right.” We’re always looking for something to validate us, something to prove that we’ve earned our place in this world. But apart from Christ, whatever we turn to for our justification becomes a snare. Read more at JDGreear.com.
7 prayers my pastoral hero prays every day (Chuck Lawless): Tom Elliff is the most prayerful man I know, and he’s one of my pastoral heroes. He’s served as a pastor, missionary, denominational leader, and president of the International Mission Board. Because he is such a praying man, I’ve asked him to share the prayers he prays for himself every day. I hope they will challenge you as he speaks to us. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.
Leading faithfully is more important than being right (Dave Harvey): Sure, I signed on for suffering. But I never imagined ministry would look like this. The person I poured so much time into has vanished. The relative I thought would always have my back is gone. The fellow pastor who preached about relationships abandoned our church for a better-paying ministry job. How should I interpret unexpected departures? How do I handle the spontaneous separations from our congregation, the inexplicable goodbyes from people we love, or the leader who goes rogue and leaves a trail of confusion? Read more at The Gospel Coalition.
Things that make sermons difficult to listen to (Tim Challies): I am closing in on my forty-third birthday and have been a churchgoer all my life. A bit of simple math shows that I’ve probably listened to somewhere around 4,000 sermons over the course of my life (which undoubtedly means I should have far more knowledge of the Bible than I do and should be far holier than I am!). I’ve also preached a few sermons of my own over the past 10 or 15 years. Recently, and largely for my own purposes, I found myself thinking about some of the elements that can make a sermon difficult to listen to. Having jotted them down, I thought I’d share them with you. Read more at Challies.
30 minutes or less: Why less is sometimes more (Colin Adams): Although not opposed to longer sermons, the author suggests that sometimes less is more. If that is the case, how can we shorten a sermon and still accomplish our goals? Read more at Unashamed Workman.
4 ways bad biblical theology warps sermons (Samuel Emadi): In my first year of seminary, for example, I became so enamored with biblical theology and how the story “fits together” that I lost sight of the moral demands the story places on us all—an error that spilled over into the way I taught Scripture to others. Over time, bad biblical theology will undercut a congregation’s health—warping the message of Scripture and stunting a church’s growth in the knowledge of God. All of us—not just preachers—should beware of bad biblical theology. But what exactly does bad biblical theology look like in sermons?Read more at The Gospel Coalition.
Instagram, Twitter and the longing for approval (Russell Moore): The problem with social media is not with the technology but with us. We ignore the Judgment Seat of Christ before which we will all stand; this does not lead us to freedom, but to finding little judgment seats all around us, all the time, to tell us either: “Well done, good and faithful servant,” or “Depart from me, you worker of iniquity.” This approval, even when found, is hardly the same thing as a Father who really knows you for who you are, and who loves you anyway. This cyber-belonging, even when achieved, cannot come close to the reality of One who “shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). What does it matter if you’re “liked,” if you are loved? What does it matter if you are retweeted, if you can be reborn? Read more at RussellMoore.com.
When Christians should fight about words (Joe Carter): When we enter in the public square, Christians are supposed to think and act in a manner that distinguishes us from the world. Yet too often when we engage in arguments about terminology we do so on the same grounds as unbelievers. How should we fight about language as Christians? And more specifically, if we are trying to recast the way the world thinks (or at least not be shaped by the world’s misguided thinking) how do we determine when we should keep certain words and when should we abandon them? Read more at The Gospel Coalition.