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A Culture of Encouragement

Pastoral burnout is a difficult issue to address – partially because it combines the hard data of how many pastors leave the vocation on a regular basis with the “soft data” (is that a thing?) with issues less easy to measure, like feelings and encouragement and relationship dynamics. I appreciated the recent Mortification of Spin podcast and would recommend it to your listening. 

I’d like to add one thought to this discussion, something based on my own experience. (This was long enough ago that I think I can share it without offending anyone or causing any of my church family to fear for my current sanity.) Several years ago I went through a period characterized by loneliness and discouragement.

Marriage Tweets

My lovely wife and I recently celebrated our seventeenth anniversary. As a way to honor the occasion and make some spiritual use of it, I tweeted out #17thoughtsonmarriage over the course of a couple weeks. In the hope that they may be helpful or spark some conversation, I’ve pasted them here.

 

1 – Genesis 3:15 isn’t the first gospel message. Genesis 2:24 is. Ask Paul (Eph. 5:32). #17thoughtsonmarriage

— Jared Olivetti (@irpcpastor) August 7, 2016

Follow Up from “With Love, Your Single Daughter”

The following post is another article written by Rachel Dinkledine, who wrote a popular post a few weeks ago called With Love, Your Single Daughter. Rachel works as a registered nurse in the Indianapolis area.

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Dear Reader,

Many of you have liked and shared the article I wrote a few weeks ago.  Some of you have thanked me for being vulnerable enough to share an open letter to my parents.  Others have questioned the wisdom of a mid-20-something grieving the loss of her ability to give her parents grandchildren.  I appreciate your thoughts, but the letter wasn’t really about my parents or me.

This fictional letter was based on the experiences of older single women who have shared their stories with me.  In a way, the letter is about the woman who sits in front of you at church.  However, it’s really about you.  Could someone thank you for helping them live out God-honoring singleness?

The letter’s subliminal message is this: Regardless of your age or marital status, you need a biblical theology of singleness.

So I ask–how is your theology of singleness doing?  What would you say if someone asked you: What is the meaning of Christian singleness?  If marriage tells the […]

Male Models

No, not the kind that appear on the cover of GQ. 

In this day of gender confusion, political correctness, and spineless faith, we need male models. Men who exemplify true masculinity. Here I speak not of the overblown sort of a powerful sports figure or movie icon, but the strong, steady walk of a man who fears God, loves his family, and serves Christ’s church. We need to be able to point to them and tell the young men around us, “That’s what being a man is all about.”

Men like Herb, who for nearly three decades has been faithfully teaching junior high students, as he enjoys working with the young people under his charge. When he’s not teaching, during the summers this father of two daughters and five sons has had them up on ladders re-roofing and painting homes so his children could learn the value of work and obtaining useful skills. He also has employed other young people during their times of need, including two of my sons during a summer when one was supporting a new wife and the other needed the companionship his sons provided after a recent move. He and his wife Patty have had college students live with them for […]

Browse Worthy: Being Dad

After a full summer schedule, we are enjoying family vacation before we head back into the busyness of fall. As I work this week on reconnecting with my children, these videos recently viewed provide good reminders of the importance of being Dad.

Though my children were perhaps not quite so persistent, it’s good to remember sweet scenes like this one when they were younger when you are with family.

Often Dad has to be there to save the day, as this compilation shows. Of course, many times what dads are saving their kids from is their own father’s antics, as this compilation also shows!

With all of the Olympic moments of glory witnessed these past few weeks, this emotional scene provided by Derek Redmond and his father from the 1992 games remind dads of the importance of being there during painful times.

The son below has a father suffering from Alzheimer’s, yet when the father sings it is like he is back for a few minutes. Watching the son’s joy as his dad croons gives me hope. Perhaps one day my children, who are pretty regularly asking me NOT to sing around the house, will change their ways (though my kids would quickly add that at […]

With Love, Your Single Daughter

The following post is a guest article written by Rachel Dinkledine, a young woman I have had the pleasure of watching grow up since the day I took her brothers to see her at the hospital the day she was born. Rachel works as a registered nurse in the Indianapolis area.

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There are more than enough “Why Singles are Marginalized in the Church” articles floating around cyberspace.  My aim is not to add to their number.  By God’s grace, there are also many pastoral and theologically-sound resources on singleness.  My aim is not to improve upon these (I don’t think I can!).  So what is this article all about?  

Whether you are single or married, your theology of singleness will profoundly influence the life of the church. Instead of writing a five-point essay defending this statement, I submit to you a letter, a letter inspired from the experiences of many godly single women, from 20-somethings to 70-somethings.*  While the letter is written to parents, most aspects can be profitably read as addressed to a congregation from a single sister.  May the Lord use this to propel you to develop and live out a biblical theology of singleness.  

Dear […]

A Wedding in the Woods

Only the Lord could take one day of heart-breaking tragedy, combine it with another day of anticipated joy, and transform it into a time of overflowing grace and beauty.

The day of tragic sorrow occurred less than three months ago when we too abruptly lost Jon, the husband of my wife’s sister. The day of expected joy was Saturday, when his daughter, Kimby, was married.

As Kimby and her groom Andre had desired, and Jon and Jennifer had agreed, the wedding took place in the wooded setting of their home. The day was a gorgeous one, with low humidity and the late afternoon sun shining yet shaded by the tall pines overhead, a breeze gently rustling through them. Large tables with round built-on seats, ones that Jon had secured months in advance for this occasion, were set on the various levels of the deck and yard.  Each one was simply yet elegantly decorated with wood slab chargers (Jon’s idea) holding brightly colored cloth napkins; rich bouquets of a variety of orange and peach colored roses and ranunculuses filled the centers of the tables. The sand volleyball court, the scene of innumerable outdoor games, now served as the sanctuary, with tons of fine sand hauled in by Jon’s friends offering a […]

A Catechism for the Very Youngest

Many of our readers are familiar with the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which B.B. Warfield notes is definitely worth learning, but definitely not very easy. Many families use the shorter catechism as a regular part of their devotions, family worship and theological training of children. Others are also familiar with the First Catechism – a form of the shorter catechism designed for younger children.

When our children were very young (able to speak a few words, but certainly not sentences), I found even the First Catechism to be a little unwieldy for them. And so we began to put together a short catechism for very young children.

Behold Your Mother

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. John 19:26-27

During his crucifixion Jesus spoke these words to his mother and to the Apostle John. Have you ever read this portion of the Scripture and thought “what in the world is going on here?” The redemptive nature of the things that are said from the cross are clearly seen, but “behold your mother?”

Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.
Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
I thirst.
It is finished.
Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

Why does Jesus tell John that Mary is now his mother and then tell Mary that John is now her son?