Links For The Church (7/19)

Jesus Owns Your Phone: How Christ Frees Us from Screen Slavery

Our phones have changed the way we interact with the world. Often we allow them to control us. Phones are not immoral in and of themselves, and in this post, Dan Crabtree shares how we can honor Jesus with our phones.

You Will Fail Sometimes. Don’t Quit.

“Every day is a new opportunity to examine ourselves, to put on the armor that God has mercifully provided, to rely on His perfect strength, to do battle against our own lying hearts.”

Finding Hope When You’ve Made Mistakes with Your Children

Rebekah Matt shares helpful passages of Scripture that are particularly encouraging to parents. Her words are not just for times of encouragement, but times where parents haven’t been perfect.

Single in a Church of Families

This helpful post speaks to and about those who are single in the church. Ryan Griffith walks through Old and New Testament portrayals of singleness and provides encouragement for those who find themselves single in churches where there are mostly families.



Links For The Church (7/12)

Christians Create In Response To Creation

What is the purpose of our creativity? How can the Christian reflect God’s creativity? In this helpful post, Adam Nesmith answers both of these questions.

Does Your Prayer Life Need to Change?

Forrest McPhail provides encouragement for the Christian who is struggling with prayer.

On the Longing to be Seen, Heard, and Known

“The good and faithful actions that you accomplish quietly, without affirmation or praise from others, are the very things that God sees, hears, and knows about you.”

Christians Need More Intergenerational Friendships

Joe Carter shares practical encouragement for church members to seek out those who are older or younger than them and why this is beneficial for the body.



Links For The Church (6/28)

The Power of Reviling and the Response of the Gospel

“Just like the power of physical punishment and death is broken when Christ promises us a new body, the power of reviling is broken when Christ promises us a new name.”

He Has Not Failed Me Yet: Lessons From Long Suffering

Vaneetha Rendall Risner asks four questions to see whether or not the Lord fails us in our suffering.

Are Christian Parents Too Protective of Their Children?

Christain parents have good motivations for protecting and caring for their children. Michael Kruger helps parents think through if their help is actually hurting.

Preachers Gotta Preach

“We must be preachers before we are political pundits, bloggers, tweeters, book reviewers, controversialist, or social commentators.” – Kevin DeYoung

Margin and Wonder 

It is common for us to fill every nook and cranny of our lives with things we need to do or goals we want to accomplish. This post encourages us to pause.

“There must come a time where we must cast off our longings for the world’s acceptance and realize that the only place of true embrace is in Christ alone.”



Links For The Church (6/21)

What Can We Learn About Prayer From The Life Of Jesus?

In this helpful post, Dion Steinhauer reflects on three aspects of Jesus’ prayer life, including his intentionality and commitment to God’s will.

The Word That Never Fades

“The culmination of days and months and years spent treasuring Christ was producing for them an eternal weight of glory.” – Glenna Marshall

How Social Media Can Impede Our Witness: The Disconnect of the Digital Life

Social media can is often understood as a separate part of the world that is not “real life.” Jason Thacker analyzes this idea and provides two ways for us to consider how social media shapes us.

What Are You Looking For?

Barbara Harper writes about the length of eternity and how we live in reality now.

 



Links For The Church (6/7)

When Repetition is a Good Thing

Blake Long writes about repetition in worship and helps us consider the benefits of hearing truth repeated.

Chasing Rest

“The soul of gentle waters trusts God moment-by-moment in contentment, and remains calm through absolute submission to God, who is wisdom and authority and perfect power.”

What Does Ongoing Sin Say About Me?

In this post, Scott Hubbard discusses sin that we hold to tightly. He provides diagnostic questions for believers who are struggling with returning to sin.

Going Beyond Clouds That Hide The View

This reflection by Sylvia Schroeder about a view during her vacation encourages us to trust God’s heart and will, even when we can’t see all he’s doing.

 

 



Links For The Church (5/24)

Be A Good Christian

The church has the potential to be known for many things. In this post, Christians are encouraged to honor Christ in all they do and pursue a godly reputation.

In Praise of Deep, Slow Study

Glenna Marshall writes about taking Bible study slowly and what benefits and blessings can be found therein.

Are You Looking High Enough?

We love connecting with others in our interests and likes. What about our connection with Jesus? Sylvia Shroeder encourages us to look higher than this earth for our deepest connections.

The World’s Hatred is not a Guarantee that You are Following Jesus

Keith Mathison writes on sins of the tongue and how the world’s hatred of us might be more about bad behavior or unhelpful speech than our obedience to Jesus.

If You Feel Weary in Prayer

“In the same way we depend on Christ for our salvation, we rely on his sustaining grace each and every day, to provide us the strength to persevere.”



Links For The Church (5/17)

Post the Strongest Soldiers at the Weakest Gate

Tim Challies writes about the battle against sin and encourages us to prepare for battle where we know we are tempted the most.

Come Home, Weary Wanderer

Do you feel as though you have wandered from the path of obedience? Daniel Seabaugh provides us with reminders on how to return to the way of life.

Leaders Who Know How To Follow

It can be difficult when you desire to lead, but the opportunity keeps being shut down. “Let us seek to be and to raise up leaders who know how to follow, who know how to wait, and how to defer to other wise believers.”

Mothering at the End of Me

Liz Wann shares the struggles that come through motherhood when circumstances are especially difficult. She points mothers to the truth that God can provide true rest.



Links For The Church (5/9)

How Not to Help a Sufferer

Gavin Ortlund provides four ways that we can hurt others more than we help them. When suffering occurs, we must to seek to love those in pain.

The Wait of All Waits

“Yet this longing—this deep groan from within—what if it’s meant to direct our worship and devotion toward the only One who deserves it?”

Take the Plunge

In this post, Kristin Pichura writes about going deep in friendships and knowing one another better. She uses helpful imagery to share how we might perceive growing together.

We Must Learn the Skills to Resist Sexual Temptation

Randy Alcorn contrasts two stories of men who walked through sexual temptation.



Links For The Church (5/3)

Aging Doesn’t Make You Faithful. Jesus Does.

“The mere passage of time doesn’t make you spiritually mature. Walking with Jesus as you age produces faithfulness in your life. Jesus makes you faithful.” – Glenna Marshall

Alistair Begg: ‘Welcome to Exile. It’s Going to Be OK.’

We are in a changing world and we do not belong to this place. Alistair Begg encourages us where to put our hope and how to remain steady in this world.

Where Lies Love’s Greatest Desire?

There are a plethora of ways to give. In this helpful article, we learn how to love through giving to one another.

If We Don’t Love, We Won’t Last

“Nothing is more morally beautiful, profoundly meaningful, and joy-producing in the human experience than love.”



Pastor, You Probably Need To Quit

Editor’s Note: The weekend can be an incredibly distressing time for many pastors to enter into. The desire to spend quality time with family while juggling the pressures of an unfinished sermon can be an exhausting reality. What many pastors need are not more tips on how to prepare better sermons as much as some encouragement to better prepare their hearts to preach the sermon they have. Join Ronnie Martin every Friday for The Preachers Corner, where he offers some words of comfort and stories of hope to help preachers enter the weekend encouraged by the gentle and lowly heart of Jesus. 


Not a great year for pastors. 

I don’t have stats, but it doesn’t take hard data for us to imagine the level at which pastoral job boards and search organizations have been bombarded this year with overwhelming inquiries from frazzled pastors looking to get out and get on to something new. If that’s you, let me begin by saying two things: 

It’s ok, friend. 

Jesus understands completely. 

So, here’s a word: Pastor, you probably need to quit. But before you quit your current ministry (and you might just need to do that, by the way), there might be some other things you should try quitting first. 

  1. Quit saying “I know the last year has been hard, BUT…”. It’s probably better to say, “The last year has been hard, period.” You are on the back end of a bitter year and it’s understandable that your desire is to stop the bleeding and move on to some healing. But don’t miss this unprecedented place that God has lovingly and sovereignly placed you in. I wonder what He’ll do? You should pause long enough to let yourself wonder that, too. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him (James 1:12). 
  1. Quit being so productive. I get it. There’s a mad scramble to get things back to the way things were. People have left, budgets have diminished, and the questions of what to do and where to go are nagging at you endlessly. But maybe instead of working so hard to get your church out of the valley it’s in, you should see if there’s something God wants you to notice that’s only visible when you’re in a valley. Don’t miss something glorious that God in His grace has slowed you down this last year to see. But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41,42).
  2. Quit being so hard on yourself. It’s a sad thing to have less compassion on yourself than Jesus does. When He looks at you, He sees His beloved. He sees His faithful undershepherd. He doesn’t expect you to accomplish what only He can accomplish. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust (Ps. 103:14). Allow yourself to be known and remembered by God in this complex moment of your pastoral life.
  3. Quit thinking you’re the only one. We can so easily slide into self-pity during seasons of exhaustion. We can forget that what we’re experiencing is not unusual for a pastor…or a Christian. Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you (1 Pet. 4:12). It’s that irritable sense of surprise that can keep us disgruntled, and worse yet, disenchanted, which leads to cynicism. Pray that God would open you up to the plight of other pastors right now, because they may be thinking they’re the only ones.
  4. Quit looking at everybody else. Pastors are all over the map right now in how they’re processing Covid, getting Sunday gatherings back in place, and finding how to best serve their people as vaccination numbers increase and restrictions are being lifted. To begin comparing your pace and your methods with other churches in different contexts than yours is probably not a healthy direction for your mind. Who you are and where you are is unique, so look to God to do something uniquely merciful and compassionate in the context of your life, church, and community as the coming days unfold. Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us (Ps. 123:2).

I could likely go on and on, but I wonder how your perspective might change if you took some time to reflect on these five points (so we’re clear, not those five points) and pray how God might help relieve you of some of the stress and anxiety they have brought upon you? It may be that God is using Covid to transition you to another ministry. It could also be that God is using Covid to tether you to the ministry you’re already in, but with much more depth of heart, renewal of mind, and restoration of soul.