Saturday, May 10, 2014

All Around the Web - May 10, 2014

Russell Moore - Can We Trade Sexual Morality for Church Growth?
From time to time we hear some telling us that evangelical Christianity must retool our sexual ethic if we're ever going to reach the next generation. Some say that Millennials, particularly, are leaving the church because of our "obsession" with sexual morality. The next generation needs a more flexible ethic, they say, on premarital sex, homosexuality, and so on. We'll either adapt, the line goes, or we'll die.

This argument is hardly new. In the early 20th century, this was precisely the rhetoric used by liberal Protestant Harry Emerson Fosdick and his co-laborers. Fosdick was concerned, he said, for the future of Christianity, and if the church was to have a future we would have to get over our obsession with virginity. By that, Fosdick didn't mean the virginity of single Christians but the virginity of our Lord's mother.

The younger generation wanted to be Christian, the progressives told their contemporaries, but they couldn't accept outmoded ideas of the miraculous, such as the virgin birth of Christ. What the liberals missed is that such miracles didn't become hard to believe with the onset of the modern age. They always had been hard to believe from the beginning.

Joseph's reaction to Mary's announcement of her pregnancy, after all, wasn't, "Well, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas." He assumed that she had been sexually unfaithful. Why? Because he and his contemporaries knew how people get pregnant.

Eric Metaxas - Talkative Faith
Imagine you’re sitting down for coffee with a young Christian. She’s come to you for advice about her dating life—actually it’s about someone she met at an online Christian dating site. She says they’re attending church together, and wants to know if you think he’s the right guy—maybe even marriage material.

But as the conversation goes on, you find out this young couple has actually started sleeping together. Even more troubling, your friend doesn’t seem to see anything wrong with that.

If you haven’t found yourself in this situation before, well, get ready, because you’re likely to in the near future. As Kenny Luck at the Christian Post reports, religious young people are increasingly disassociating their faith in Jesus from His moral commands.

A recent study conducted by ChristianMingle.com, one of the Web’s biggest Christian dating networks, tells the whole story. When asked “Would you have sex before marriage?” sixty-three percent of single Christian respondents answered “yes.”

That means that the majority of self-professed followers of Jesus looking for love on ChristianMingle and many other websites are, as Luck puts it, practical atheists.

“God,” he writes, “has nothing to say to them on that subject of any consequence, or at least anything meaningful enough to dissuade them from following their own course.”

The disconnect here reminds me of a fictional character in John Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress” who also professed faith in Christ but didn’t let it affect his life.

Just before making their fateful layover in Vanity Fair, Christian and Faithful meet a fellow traveler named Talkative. Talkative has a lot of good things to say about Christianity.

But Christian, who was once Talkative’s neighbor, knows better.

Chuck Lawless - 8 Reasons I’d Love to Be a Pastor Again
  1. The pastor’s responsibility carries eternal significance. A quick reading of Hebrews 13:17b makes this point clear: “they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account” (HCSB). Pastors are undershepherds called to care for and lead the flock entrusted to them. The responsibility is huge – but so is the privilege.
  2. A pastor shares all of life with others. The pastor is often one of the first to celebrate a birth. He’s invited to celebrate birthdays, graduations, promotions . . .  and most importantly, Christian conversion. He provides a shoulder in times of difficulty, and he’s there when death occurs. To my knowledge, no one else has this level of opportunity to walk through life with others.
  3. A pastor preaches the Word each week to a particular church family. He gets to help a congregation understand the Word from Genesis to Revelation. Each week, he has opportunity to dig into the Scriptures and then help a local body of Christ understand and apply them well. What a blessing to see eyes light up when a believer learns a new truth from the Word!
  4. The pastor sees the transforming power of the gospel at work. Sometimes, he is one of the few persons who know another person’s sin history – and thus he knows best the power of the gospel. Yes, he has seen tragedy, but he has also seen families restored, wayward children returning, addicts set free, the weak made strong, and the lost redeemed.
  5. A pastor has opportunity to learn from others. The pastor is a teacher, but he also has a congregation who might teach him as well. I love the nations today because a missions leader in my church told me as a young pastor, “If you’re going to be our preacher, you need to be committed to missions.” Another leader introduced me to the importance of small groups. I’m a better man today because church members have taught me through the years.
  6. A pastor’s work touches the world. The pastor preaches the Word and shepherds the sheep – and those sheep share the gospel with their neighbors and the nations. Some give their lives to full-time missionary service, and others serve as short-term volunteers. The gospel flourishes somewhere today because a pastor challenged a church to take seriously the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20).
  7. Pastors do not work alone. God not only calls pastors to the role, but He also empowers them to fulfill their calling through His indwelling Spirit. God then builds His church (Matt. 16:18), giving a pastor members of the Body to walk with him and serve beside him. Pastoral work may be lonely at times, but pastors are never alone.
  8. There is always a better day coming. Undoubtedly, pastors face difficult challenges. Hope, though, is never lost. Pastors who preach faith also have the privilege of marching forward in faith. God still reigns, and He will complete His plan.

Pastor's Today - Why Playing it Safe as a Pastor Is the Riskiest Move You’ll Make
The call to ministry is a call to confrontation and controversy. It’s impossible to read the Bible and come to another conclusion. Moses, Jeremiah, Jesus, Peter, Paul, and John each faced their share of conflict from within the community of God’s people, and from without. From above, they cheer us on in our own races, and we must press on for the joy of whatever cross we have been called to carry, following in our Savior’s track.

With all the opposition we face in ministry, it’s tempting to play it safe. Evasive maneuvers often seem like the best course of action. Mitigate the risk, and live to minister another day.

The irony is that while avoiding church conflict buys you time now, long-term—as I hope to show you—it guarantees failure. And anything that guarantees failure is the opposite of safe. It’s the ultimate risk, because you’re betting you will be the one-in-a-million pastor whose church problems go away all by themselves.

If playing it safe isn’t safe in church anymore, then what is? Risk is. In ministry, risky is the new safe.

Responsible Father - 5 Signs Your Child Is Not Saved
1. She can’t spell out the gospel
2. He can’t explain how the gospel applies to him
3. She has never made a decision for Christ / prayed a prayer of faith
4. He doesn’t feel the weight of his own sin.
5. They show no Fruit of the Spirit.


How to get an egg in a bottle.

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