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Surely God is in this place

Parked automobiles lined the road in all directions! Around five hundred people packed into the Meeting House and adjoining buildings! They had assembled with love and kindness to express their sympathy and care. A grieving godly family was there to welcome and receive comfort and prayers from sorrowing friends – the pervading sense was one of calm hope, trusting peace and confident joy – at what was for all, I think, an unexpected funeral service.

After a number of tributes from close family and their young minister, a call to worship was given and the precentor stood to lead. As his arms undulated gently, and his sweet voice rebounded from rafters, a grave and glad sweet melody united loving hearts. Ministers and members stood in earnest to seek, and call on, God. A close friend, and minister, then read the Holy Scriptures, his cadences marked by affection, reverence, gravity and warmth. Again a Psalm was sung that summed up God’s servant’s life! Fruitful, full, well-planted, full of sap: all the self-evident outcome in God’s oaks rooted in His House by grace.

The ministers stood in the midst! Surrounding the man of God was a sea of solemn worshipers – here hearts were […]

Browse Worthy: Abuse in the Church

The Apostle Peter said, “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17) As our culture awakens to the problem of sexual abuse, surely the church will be held to even greater account by her Lord. Signs of his judgment have already been seen, as recent years have shown one evangelical leader after another falling because of these sins. As you read the following articles, pray that the Lord would purify and revive His church.

 

My Larry Nassar Testimony Went Viral. But There’s More to the Gospel Than Forgiveness. | Morgan Lee Interview of Rachael Denhollander

After her powerful, Christ-honoring testimony in a courtroom (you can see it here) regarding the sexual abuse she endured as a gymnast by doctor Larry Nassar, who was accused and convicted of abusing scores of girls and women, Rachael Denhollander spoke to Christianity Today of the problem of abuse and its cover-up in the church. Clearly as a lawyer, advocate for the hurting, and lover of Christ and His church, Rachael is determined to see the church exercise justice as well as mercy […]

The Benefits of Listening to the Elderly

A few weeks ago I was driving in the car with an elderly gentleman, recently widowed, as my traveling companion. He’s a lovely, Christian neighbor who never looks at a computer. So he will not read this article. Yet what follows I would not mind at all if he knew. Unknowingly that day, he was teaching me much more than he realized.

For as we spent time in the car, you can imagine quite easily what transpired. He told stories about his life, his family, his work, and the community. Yes, because we have been friends for a number of years, many of these stories I had already heard. Some of them I have even heard numerous times before. And one or two of them were even repeated during the same car trip.

That day got my pastoral wheels turning. Why might the Lord, in his grace, cause the aged to repeat themselves as they do? What is the Lord showing us through it? Rather than rolling our eyes or thinking “Here goes Grandma again,” what can be gained from these times? Here are five brief thoughts for you to consider.

Listening to the elderly reminds them of their legacy in our lives. Typically […]

The Antidote to Our Political Addiction

Americans—including American Christians—are a bunch of political addicts.

Every time our phone buzzes with a news or Twitter alert, we get high on excitement or outrage.

Even the Russians realized they could mess with the 2016 U.S. election by posting fake news all over Facebook and watching millions of Americans trip out in angry paroxysms.

But there is an antidote. It was brilliantly presented in a recent speech from, of all people, a rabbi from Britain’s House of Lords.

“Freedom requires not just a state, but also and even more importantly a society,” Lord Jonathan Sacks told the American Enterprise Institute in October. “A society built of strong covenantal institutions, of marriages, families, congregations, communities, charities, and voluntary associations.”

 

Sacks drew a useful distinction between a social contract—which emphasizes the rights citizens cede to government in exchange for certain protections—and a social covenant, which like a marriage isn’t about rights but about mutual commitment and identity.

“The social contract creates a state but the social covenant creates a society,” Sacks said. “In America,” he added, “the social contract is still there, but the social covenant is being lost.”

Sacks’ speech—filled with humor—is worth watching or reading in full.

It’s also worth quoting at length:

 

“And because half […]

The Gospel is Not Paralysed

The following article is a guest post by Sarmishta “Shammi” Venkatesh. This article is a follow-up to yesterday’s post “Two Broken Hearts, One Love.”

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Adoption is risky. As someone who evaded this possibility for several years, I know how it feels. After losing our two children in the womb, I became somewhat withdrawn from children in general. Sure, I taught middle school children Sabbath school. Sure, I baby-sat for several of my friends. But that was all on the Lord’s insistence to heal me. Not once was I able to attach myself to any of these children whom I taught of shared life with. That would mean tearing open my womb again. Seeing the blood spill. The grief would be too much to handle. Adoption was a scary thing for me. How would I be able to bond emotionally with someone whom I have not birthed? How can I love when my womb is still bleeding?

When Venky and I applied to the central adoption agency in India, I had to trust my husband’s lead. Trust my Lord’s sovereignty in closing all other doors. Lean on His Fatherly provisions. If I had to mother a child, I had to receive […]

Wanting to Silence those who Show us up?

Introduction

I’m planning to preach tomorrow on the murder by Cain of Abel. Time is pressing on so I’ll try to be fairly brief.

Text

John brings out Cain’s main motive for his murderous act, in 1 John 3.12:

“We should not be like Cain who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s were righteous!”

The word ‘RIGHTEOUS’ shows us that the deeds of Abel conformed to the standard God set, whereas, in comparison, in the case of Cain, they fell woefully far short.

The problem with Cain’s offering?

The problem with the gift was neither that it was cereal, nor just a token expression (this common popular interpretation is probably a part but not the heart of the matter), nor even because there was no blood (blood, of course, was required for without death of a sacrificial victim there is no pardon or acceptance – Moses is teaching Israel, in Genesis, during their wilderness wanderings, so mention of gifts, lambs and fat parts assumes some kind of knowledge of the Old Testament sacrificial system): have there not been many false religions in history that offered blood of sacrificial victims […]

Husbands, Be Good Managers

1 Timothy 3:4-5 says of those called to the office of ruling elder in the church, “He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” (ESV).  There are many qualities listed by Paul in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 that are requisite for a man who would be an elder.  Many of those qualities can be summarized under the heading of “spiritual maturity.”  An elder is to be able to teach (or be teachable) as well as one who is dignified and respected in the community.  In addition, he should have an interest in ministry to people in the context of the church (1 Peter 5).  The thread that holds it all together is having a mature and lively faith in Christ.  One of the clearest signs that a man has the proper temperament, wisdom, and faith is how he operates in his home if he has a family.

Paul says that he must manage his own household well.  The word translated “manage” can also be translated “rule” as it is rendered in the Authorized […]

Why do you read about heaven to people dying with cancer?

Not presumably because you were taught to do that in your pastoral theology class! Nor because that’s what you saw an elder doing when one of your relatives was sick! Nor because you just like saying comforting things to other Christian people!

The far better reason to do it is because it is the means of grace that God has appointed for Christian people to be strengthened in their trials, particularly in deeply distressing times of suffering and sickness. When we minister in this way, with careful thought and prayer, from a heart full of gentleness, kindness and love, great blessing often flows to both reader and receiver.

Of course there are many other things people do to make things a little easier for a loved one or friend in their dark hours of need. You can show them kindness by purchasing a thoughtful card or writing a letter or buying them a present. You can try to cheer them up by saying perhaps you will be cured (which experience and medicine indicate may be a little falsely optimistic at best). You can share some humorous comments which may engender a wry smile or elevate their mood temporarily – but inappropriate humor […]

Child-like Maturity and Childish Adulthood

What does it mean to have a child-like faith?  And how in the midst of their stormy youth are we adults to guide little ones away from childishness and toward the child-like maturity which Jesus commends as the only way to receive his kingdom?  We could begin by shoring up our understanding of “child-like” vs. “childish.”  Often without realizing it, and always to kids’ detriment, we adults tend to get those categories confused.   

3GT Episode 57: Dads, Daughters, & Dating

The young fathers with young daughters want to get ready! So they ask the old guy for advice, since he has one married, one dating, and one he’s trying to keep from thinking about it. Many topics then arise: loving mom, daddy dates, listening, listening some more, dating rules, talking to interested young men, and guarding hearts. And in the process, the old guy learns who John Cusack is and which 3GTer looks like him!

Listen to 3DT once again – Three Dads Theologizing!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/3gt-episode-57.mp3

Download

You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!