7 ways to shepherd the terminally ill (Phil A. Newton): I’m writing about caring for terminally ill church members while going through treatment for an incurable non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I’ve been coming to terms with the reality that, apart from divine intervention, my life expectancy may be much shorter than I had anticipated for decades. No doubt, I see terminal illness from a new angle. That, as a gift from the Lord, has helped shape my thoughts on serving the terminally ill. Read more at The Gospel Coalition.https://www.
What lay elders need to know (Bradley Larson): Lay eldership is a high calling, and should be valued as such by both the elders and the congregation. Elders must recall, however, that while the office they hold is important, they’re merely there to do Christ’s bidding. They’re undershepherds—in fact, themselves sheep—who are being led along with the congregation into the lush pasture of God’s grace. Read more at 9 Marks.
Spiritual fruit grows slowly (David Qaoud): As others have pointed out, your growth in the spiritual fruits should not be measured day-by-day, but year-by-year. Consider your growth, for example, with the fruit of patience. Do not ask yourself: “Am I more patient today than I was yesterday?” If you do, you are bound to be frustrated. Instead, ask yourself: “Am I more patient today than I was five years ago?” If you walk with and obey Christ, the answer will be yes. The Holy Spirit is the One who grows these attributes in you; growth is inevitable as you obey him. Read more at Gospel Relevance.
Let’s anticipate the incredible experience of worshiping in heaven with all God’s people (Randy Alcorn): Most people know that we’ll worship God in Heaven. But they don’t grasp how thrilling that will be. Multitudes of God’s people—of every nation, tribe, people, and language—will gather to sing praise to God for His greatness, wisdom, power, grace, and mighty work of redemption (Revelation 5:13-14). Overwhelmed by His magnificence, we will fall on our faces in unrestrained happiness and say, “Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” (Revelation 7:9-12). Read more at Eternal Perspective Ministries.
4 things teens need from your church (Sara Barratt): We’ve heard the statistics, read the articles, even seen it in our own congregations. Teens are evacuating. Statistics claim that 70 percent of teens will stop attending church after graduating from high school. As a teenager who’s grown up in church, I’ve had a front-row seat to this mass exodus. I’m not an expert, researcher, or pastor, but I am in the teenage trenches. There are many reasons for teens to leave the church, from hypocrisy to legalism to peer pressure. Despite these external struggles, I know it doesn’t have to be this way. Because I’m a teenager. And I’m still in the church. Read more at The Gospel Coalition.
Don’t cancel your church services (Darryl Dash): It’s common, and tragic, to devalue corporate worship. Never miss the importance of what happens when God’s people gather to worship. When we gather to sing, we give God the glory that is rightfully his. When we open God’s Word, the Spirit goes to work. When we confess our sins, we find freedom in the grace of the gospel. When we eat the bread and wine, we remember Jesus’ sacrificial death in our place. None of these are optional. They are the means by which God has given us to grow in grace. Read more at DashHouse.
What effective pastors must prioritize (Charles Stone): I’ve been a pastor almost 39 years and I’ve made lots of mistakes. But as I’ve grown wiser, I’ve learned that if I prioritize a few key choices, my life and leadership dramatically improve and my ministry becomes more effective. Here are three key choices I encourage every pastor to prioritize. Read more at CharlesStone.com.
Life in 2019 (Kyle E. Sims): Proverbs 29:27 says, “An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous, but one whose way is straight is an abomination to the wicked.” Jesus said in John 15:18–19, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” How do we overcome this discouraging world that we are finding ourselves in today? Read more at Gentle Reformation.