May 1, 2007
Here’s a quote from Steve Lawson regarding men of conviction that I found challenging and encouraging:
Strong men always proclaim a strong message. They do not read the polls and check the surveys before they give their opinions. In fact, they do not even have opinions–they have convictions. They bleed convictions. They are strong men anchored in the strong Word of God, and, as such, they bring a message with gravitas and punch. When they stand to speak, they actually have something to say–and they say it, whether anyone listens or not. When they sit to write, they do not skirt the issues–they tackle them. When they address the times in which they live, they do not tickle ears–they box them. They do not have one message for one group and a different message for a different group. Whenever they go and whomever they address, they have only one message–God’s message. That is what makes them strong men. They speak God’s Word, or they do not speak at all.
Source: Steven Lawson, Foundations of Grace, Vol. 1, p.103
April 11, 2007
Here is a link to an article dealing with this question: click here. The post doesn’t offer a specific age, but presents some important things to consider.
Personally, I lean towards encouraging those younger than 12 to wait. I don’t have a direct scripture for this, but like the post above, think too many kids below 12 have not fully formed their own convictions. They typically don’t understand the meaning and symbolism of baptism and membership in the church.
Pastorally, I will baptize those younger than 12 if they ask themselves, their parents are supportive and think they are giving good evidence of belief, and they can articulate their faith and the Biblical meaning of baptism. I recognize this is subjective, but my goal is not to withhold baptism to a genuine believer or to administer baptism to an unbeliever.
April 2, 2007
Here is a quote from Charles Simeon that encouraged me:
It was painful indeed to see the church, with the exception of the aisles, almost forsaken; but I thought that if God would only give a double blessing to the congregation that did attend, there would on the whole be as much good done as if the congregation were doubled and the blessing limited to only half the amount. This comforted me many, many times, when, without such a reflection, I should have sunk under my burden.
I found it in the following biographical sermon by John Piper: Brothers, we must not mind a little suffering.
March 22, 2007
Bill Ascol offers this helpful definition and call to evangelical courage in Dear Timothy:
By evangelical courage I mean that unconditional commitment to minister the gospel with compassion, regardless of the consequences and no matter the cost. (p.137)
He does an excellent job explaining why we need this type of courage to minister to the various type of people God entrusts to our care. Pastors must courageously fight the temptation to become impatient with the immature; to give up on the wounded; to refuse to seek and restore the erring and wandering; to focus only on the maturing.
Pray that God will bless your church with a courageous pastor.
March 21, 2007
A minister who is not a man of piety and prayer, whatever his other talents may be, cannot be called a servant of God, but rather a servant of Satan, chosen by him for the same reason that he chose the serpent of old because he was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. What a monster, oh God, must that minister of religion be, that dispenser of the ordinances of the gospel, that intercessor between God and His people, that reconciler of man to his Maker, if he sees himself not as a man of prayer. (Dear Timothy, p.105)
May God raise up a mighty generation of pastors who are known as men of prayer.
March 16, 2007
In his chapter in Dear Timothy, “Love Your Family” Tedd Tripp calls men to be spiritual leaders. While referring to Deuteronomy 6:2 Tripp notes:
“Moses is giving men a long-term vision. His focus is not survival or even getting through the week. The callings of spiritual leadership are so that you and your son and your son’s son may know and fear the Lord (verse 2). This three-generation vision will help you resist the temptations to fall into the expediencies of the moment. As fathers, we have bigger concerns than the moment–we are concerned with where our grandchildren will be fifty years from now.” (p.55)
Men, what are you doing right now to ensure that your descendants know and fear the Lord? If you are single or newly married without kids are you immersing yourself in the Bible and building a biblical worldview? Are you getting to know other godly fathers and learning from them? Fathers, are you spending time with your kids instructing them in the ways of God? Grandfathers, are you passing on your experiences of God’s faithfulness. We all have a role to play. Let’s work hard to pass the baton from generation to generation that God might be known and glorified.
March 14, 2007
I am continuing my journey through Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry edited by Tom Ascol. Today I was reading Tom Ascol’s chapter, “Establish Priorities.”
The chapter is structured around one basic question, “What, in order of priority, has God called you to be?” While he is aiming this question at pastors, it is appropriate for every Christian to consider and answer. So, “what in order of priority, has God called you to be?”
Here are Tom Ascol’s answers to help prime your thinking. They can be easily modified to your situation.
- A sincere, devoted follower of Jesus Christ. (Don’t take this for granted!)
- A husband. (“As a husband, it is my responsibility and privilege to reassure my wife that she is more important to me than any other human relationship that I have.” p.29)
- A father. (Don’t neglect your family for the sake of your ministry or your job)
- A pastor. (For those not called to ministry, insert your vocation here)
- A helper. (We need to serve others outside our immediate family and church)
Personally, I find Tom Ascol’s question and answer regarding priorities to be insightful, helpful and convicting. I don’t think they should be reordered: God, family, job, servant seems to be a very biblical balance. I pray that God will grant me and all of you the grace to set right priorities and live them out to the glory of God.
P.S. You can find an article which seems to cover the same material as the chapter in the book here.