Friday, October 30, 2015

Is It Possible to be Humble and Still be a Big Shot?

My late father-in-law, who was a missionary in China for 13 years in the 1940s and 50s, said the Chinese had a saying, “You can smell pride and it is not a pleasant smell.”

On one occasion, I participated in three mission conferences in Dallas, Texas, with many ministry and mission leaders worldwide. It was great to fellowship with God’s people from Kuwait, Bhutan, Egypt, India, Libya, Puerto Rico, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, the US, Canada and the Philippines.

One brother from Asia, who planted a church among his people in Texas, said one of the biggest problems he had in his church planting ministry was pride especially among some who had become leaders.

During the conferences I met with two major ministry leaders, both of whom lead multi-million dollar ministries in Asia. It was so sad because the whole meeting was totally about them, their work, and the success of their ministry. The smell of pride seemed to penetrate the entire time. In our conversation, I mentioned the thoughts of a brother in Asia and was told that his opinion did not hold any weight as he was basically an insignificant nobody.

Previously I asked a leader to meet with me for lunch with his staff and with a shocked look that I would suggest such a thing said, “I’m the Director, I don’t eat with the staff.”

However, there are godly humble leaders! Between Dallas conference sessions, I was also able to visit the home of a missionary friend and leader, the godly statesman, John Richard. He is in his 90's, East Indian, and has served the Lord faithfully in servant leadership worldwide for over 70 years. God has mightily used him, and yet he is so humble, gracious and kind!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Thoughts on Note-Taking During Sermons

by Jared Wilson

Ditching the note-taking preaching ethos both elevates sermons and properly diminishes them. It treats a sermon as proclamation aided by the Spirit, which gives the sermon a supernatural weight. On the other hand, by treating all words in a sermon as expendable to memory, it puts the preacher’s words in the right place compared to the Scripture’s words. It diminishes the impact of a well-turned phrase and magnifies real revelation.

“I have often discouraged the taking of notes while I am preaching. . . . The first and primary object of preaching is not only to give information. It is, as Edwards says, to produce an impression. It is the impression at the time that matters, even more than what you can remember subsequently. . . . While you are writing your notes, you may be missing something of the impact of the Spirit.” — Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors (Edinburgh, 1987), page 360.

Ray Ortlund adds:

Hearing a sermon is not like hearing a lecture. It is your meeting with the living Christ. It is you seeing his glory, so that you can feel it and be changed by it. Let’s pay attention to him and what he means a sermon to be, lest we miss him.  Read more ...

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Biblical Inerrancy & Creation

If you do away with biblical inerrancy and creation, your faith and life rots away at the roots. For example, like buttoning a shirt -- if you start at the bottom and put the button in the wrong hole, nothing improves as you move to the top.

Trust God and believe all His Word. God says it is His word and believe it from the beginning.

"And God created the heavens and the earth ..." Genesis 1:1. If you do away with creation, Adam, Abraham, and the first three chapters of Genesis, nothing improves as you work your way through the Bible as you have destroyed the root. The questions is, can we not trust the simple truths of the Word of God, which He gave us in order to know the truth?

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work," 2 Timothy 3: 16-17.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Crazy Lazy by Alistair Begg [comments by Paul Tautges]

Crazy Lazy is a miniature book (only 40 pages) by Alistair Begg, senior pastor of Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio. I picked it up a few weeks ago when I spent a morning reading and studying in Parkside’s lovely bookstore/cafĂ©. The book is a bite-sized warning against laziness, counsel drawn from the book of Proverbs. The second chapter describes the sluggard’s lifestyle, which Begg sums up in 5 characteristics.

Habitually procrastinating: As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed (Proverbs 26:14). “As he is always hinged to his bed, it is impossible to get this character to start things. He doesn’t like being directly approached….He never actually refuses to do anything. It is not that he comes right out and says, ‘I am not going to do that.’ He just puts it off bit by bit, moment by moment.”

Happy with his excuses: “In fact lazy people are usually masterful at making excuses. When his laziness is disturbed, he becomes incredibly ingenious….The person who doesn’t have a mind to work is never lacking in excuses to secure his idleness….The lazy person then begins to make up absurd excuses. For example, the sluggard says, ‘There is a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming in the streets!’” (Proverbs 26:13).

Hopeless at completing things: “The third thing to notice about him is that this individual is hinged to his bed, utterly hopeless at completing things. He begins to chase the prey, but in the course of his attempt to run after it, laziness overtakes him and he says, ‘You know, I think I will lie down under this tree for just a moment or two.’” Proverbs 26:15 provides a graphic picture of this slacker: The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. Begg quips, “Picture a guy who puts his hand in a bowl of Cheerios and then says, ‘Cheerio!’”

Hungry for fulfilment: “The lazy individual will always be hungering for fulfilment, because, by virtue of his posture, he never experiences fulfilment. His desires are always there somewhere, but he never realizes them; they never materialize….In their fantasy world, individuals like this may succumb to invitations on the television to buy dumb stuff that apparently makes you skinny and fit, because they think that if they pay $19.95 for some plastic bucket and sit in it, they will get an abdominal frame to die for….The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing. This is not because he can’t, but because he won’t.” The sluggard’s craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work (Proverbs 21:25).

Haughty in his opinion of himself: The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who answer discreetly (Proverbs 26:16). The lazy individual “is hearty in his self-appraisal” and somehow thinks work will get done “by osmosis.” He “is a comic, tragic figure—hinged to his bed, habitually procrastinating, happy with his excuses, hopeless at completing things, hungry for fulfillment, and haughty in his opinion of himself.”
Crazy Lazy is a simple, biblical challenge to each and every one of us. In the strength of the Lord, may we show forth diligence in all the works He has planned for us (Eph. 2:10)!