Biblical Theology is awesome

One area that I am continually going back to in my sanctification is in the “basics” of my faith in Christ. I am constantly amazed at how many blind spots I have theologically, and to be honest, much of it has to do with my lack of thinking Biblical.

This year I have determined to focus on two doctrines: What is the church and grasping the story line of salvation through both the Old and New Testaments.  So where do I start? 9780851112985

One great place to stick your nose is in Vaughn Roberts book “God’s Big Picture – Tracing the story-line of the bible”  The purpose of the book, Vaughn writes is “to give you an overview of the main storyline of the bible” (hence the title)…enabling “you to get your bearings when you land in any part of it (the bible). By the end of this book you should have the outline of the Bibles story in your mind so that, whichever part you are reading, you should know where you have come from and where you are heading.”  And from what I do know about the bible, when reading it, we are all heading to see the unfolding drama of redemptive history and God’s promise to restore His kingdom through the person and work of Christ.

I hope that this next year, many of the dark places in my mind, might have the light of God’s revelation from Scripture, illuminated with the glory of Christ.  Vaughn concludes his introduction with just that goal for all of us in mind, he writes:

“Four hundred years passed after the completion of the Old Testament before Jesus began his public ministry with the words, ‘The time has come…The Kingdom of God is near (Mark 1:15). The waiting was over; God’s king had come to establish God’s kingdom. His life, teaching, and miracles all proved that he was who he said he was: God himself in human form. He had the power to put everything right again, and he chose a very surprising way of doing it: by dying in weakness on a cross. It was by his death that Jesus dealt with the problem of sin and made it possible (I would have said secured eternally) for human beings to come back into relationship with his Father. The resurrection proved the success if Jesus’ rescue mission on the cross and announced that there is a hope for our world. Those who trust in Christ can look forward to eternal life with him”

Biblical theology unloads the glory of Christ, shinning brightly his majesty.

Pastoral Tool Box

I am a pastoral resident at my local church.  What does that mean?  It means that I am always learning and should be getting the point that I will never graduate from the university of shepherding.  One area that is really becoming clear in this process is the need to have a network of men around me that understand the importance of the shepherds task and are willing to let me glean the stubble from around their fields of experience.

One really good field is Brian Croft’s page “Practical Shepherding.”  Brian entered the ministry many years ago and saw the need to train other men in his church about his role and duties as a pastor.  He branched out of his church, to provide that same kind of attention to men universally by providing us with this site.

If you are a pastor or need some shepherding from a shepherd, I would encourage you to visit at least once a week.

(Click here to view page)

 

Here are other links that have helped me out greatly.

9 Marks

Monergism

Al Mohler

Tim Challies

Don’t shelf John Newton

A few years ago, a good friend of mine, Erik Raymond, gave me a book and made the bold assertion that this was one of the best books that he had read (at that time). I even think he said it would make me a nicer person! I, while interested, put it on the shelf, thinking to pick it up at another time. By God’s providence, I have recently brushed the dust off.
As a staff member at Emmaus Bible Church, we are given and encouraged to pray for all those whoNewton make Emmaus their home. Lately the list is growing and so is my responsibilities, giving me a bit of uneasiness when I sit and try to spend time praying for those assigned to me. Then that’s when God used an old teacher to sit with me, helping me to pray. There was that book, Letters by John Newton; hard back of course.
As I read through his pastoral responses (in letter form) to each person he wrote, I couldn’t help but be moved by the amount of time he spent in showing grace, kindness, compassion, and love for each recipient. I can’t imagine the hours he spent, remembering each detail and concern, as he wrote. He seemed so settled into his chair and sure of hand with his pen, as he shepherded each with the skill that only a sinner saved by grace and called to the ministry could do. Here’s a sample response he wrote to one who questioned their salvation and needed assurance:

“You say, “It never came (conversion) with power and life to my soul that he died for me.’ If you mean, you never had any extraordinary sudden manifestation, something like a vision or a voice from heaven, confirming it to you, I can say the same. But I know he died for sinners; I know I am a sinner. I know He invites them that are ready to perish; I am such a one; I know, upon His own invitation, I have committed myself to Him; and I know that the effects that He has been with me since, otherwise I should have been apostate long ago; and therefore I know that He died for me…I know that I am His child because He teaches me to say, Abba Father. I know that I am His, because He has enabled me to choose him for mine. For such a choice and desire could never taken place in my heart, if He had not placed it there himself. By nature I was too blind to know him, too proud to trust him, too obstinate to serve him, too base-minded to love him…The love I bear Him is but a fain and feeble spark, but it is an emanation from himself: He kindled it, and keeps it alive; and because it is his work, I trust many waters shall not quench it.”

Let Newton minister to you in your desire to be more effective at praying for others. He has been a great teacher these past few months for me.

 

Comforting those who suffer

Recently a great brother and pastor, Evan Welcher, lost his wife to a long battle she endured with grace with cancer.  While I have never met Evan, I do follow him on my instagram account where most posts you would see him serving his wonderful “Resplendent Bride” as he so many times called her.  I pray for Evan during this time of great lose and thought that I’d share with you a good article he wrote about comforting those who suffer.  Please read and comment if you find the time on his article as an encouragement to him.

http://gcdiscipleship.com/8-ways-comfort-suffering/

(click on link)

Some things never gather dust

Every time that I watch this video, I start to fist pump in the air.  Even though the movie “Luther” is a few years old, it still has an impact on me.  Like then, we are to stand in our confession of Sola Scriptura, and Solus Christus for our faith and salvation.

A Seminary for the church. A Church that has a Seminary.

The relationship between the Christian Seminary and the church has an important function in the training of men who desire to enter full or part time pastoral ministry. Within the Southern Baptist Convention, men who desire to attend Seminary or are identified as men who could benefit from it, may be entrusted to the Seminaries for further and deeper theological training. This is a trusted stewardship between the church and her formalized preparatory institutions; the Seminary. It is and continues to be a trust that is given and should be expected. That this man would be able to mature in his love of Christ, His church, and his role in helping others to demonstrate the same.

Midwestern Seminary recently hired Dr Jason Allen to serve as her 5th president and I couldn’t imagine a better man for the job. Why am I so certain? While attending a Midwestern Seminary luncheon here in Omaha, I had the privilege of receiving a collection of essays written by Dr Allen called “For the Church.” These essays were written so as to inform Midwestern on his understanding of this unique relationship between the church and the seminary. In his candidacy interview, he submitted these essays (in book form) and as it was told, the board had determined that this was the man for the job!

For the ChurchI like the board of trustee’s found these articles to be extremely encouraging and a reliably guide to the future success of Midwestern Seminary.

How can Dr. Allen be so confident in putting forth his vision of the success of this Seminary? Oddly enough, he doesn’t. That is, he has placed the success not in the Seminary’s ability to navigate the culture or to recognize trends, but in its faithfulness to the institution that will never end, the church! If a seminary is to last through the centuries, it must not attempt to rise above the church, pressing it’s values on it, but must place itself under it, being a servant of it. This agenda doesn’t just take a man with good vision, but a man with courage. And everyone must be on the same team. Dr Allen writes, “The fulcrum of doctrinal accountability for a seminary is its confessional statement, but it is only as meaningful as the integrity of the one signing it, and only as helpful as the courage and care of those charged with enforcing it.  This oversight begins with the seminary’s administration, but it encompasses the churches that own the seminary.”  If the church is called to be faithful, so then are the seminaries that exist to train men for faithful ministry in all it’s capacities. This means exercising accountability when needed. Maybe Dr Albert Mohler had that talk with Dr Allen before he left? If you’re going to be faithful to Christ, it’s not going to be without a fight. A fight within the school, the denomination, and from the world itself. The leader of this Seminary must have the courage and care to enforce the standard.

Like most endeavors that start of strong, only time will tell how faithful this Seminary will be to it’s great vision.  Time will either tell, or we will tell whether it just took a little time, and like many seminaries, this too is just like many others who now serve to be burden to Christ and His church.  With Dr. Allen’s appointment, I think we will be pleasantly surprised.

Dr. Allen was elected by the Midwestern Board of Trustees as the seminary’s fifth president on Oct. 15, 2012, becoming the youngest seminary president in the Southern Baptist Convention, and one of the youngest presidents in American higher education. He came with a renewed vision for the school, focusing its mission and vision on a seminary’s sacred calling to serve the local church. – See more at: http://www.mbts.edu/about/leadership-team/#sthash.XRC429Ia.dpuf

 

Dr. Allen was elected by the Midwestern Board of Trustees as the seminary’s fifth president on Oct. 15, 2012, becoming the youngest seminary president in the Southern Baptist Convention, and one of the youngest presidents in American higher education. He came with a renewed vision for the school, focusing its mission and vision on a seminary’s sacred calling to serve the local church. – See more at: http://www.mbts.edu/about/leadership-team/#sthash.XRC429Ia.dpuf

When the Gospel comes to town

Emmaus Bible Church logoHow are we to respond when God allows suffering and afflictions in your life? God has left a testimony of His grace for you to examine.  They are the footprints of His coming to you in your salvation.  Listen now to hear about the 3 Gospel footprints that are to induce an attitude of joy amidst affliction.

Listen here:

http://emmausbiblechurch.org/sermons/sermon/2014-04-13/when-the-gospel-comes-to-town