I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, & is withered; & men gather them, & cast them into the fire, and they are burned. -John 15:5-6
This morning in worship, if a mother is there alone w/her children and the children are a handful, help her. As unobtrusively as possible. The church should be filled with single mothers today, but they’ll not come back if they’re shamed. The church can help w/out shaming them if She wills to do so.
There’s another way to help with this problem, and that’s to keep single mothers away from us and their children away from our children. On the other hand, ¼ of children in US today live without fathers… #goodshepherd
THE CONTRITE HEART.—Isaiah lvii.15.
The Lord will happiness divine
On contrite hearts bestow;
Then tell me, gracious God, is mine
A contrite heart or no?
I hear, but seem to hear in vain,
Insensible as steel;
If aught is felt, ‘tis only pain
To find I cannot feel.
I sometimes think myself inclined
To love thee, if I could;
But often feel another mind,
Averse to all that’s good.
My best desires are faint and few,
I fain would strive for more:
But when I cry, “My strength renew,”
Seem weaker than before.
Thy saints are comforted, I know,
And love thy house of prayer;
I therefore go where others go,
But find no comfort there.
O make this heart rejoice or ache;
Decide this doubt for me;
And if it be not broken, break,
And heal it if it be.
-Olney Hymns (Newton & Cowper)
Son Joseph just sent this by Lewis:
The letter and spirit of scripture, and of all Christianity, forbid us to suppose that life in the New Creation will be a sexual life; and this reduces our imagination to the withering alternative either of bodies which are hardly recognisable as human bodies at all or else of a perpetual fast. As regards the fast, I think our present outlook might be like that of a small boy who, on being told that the sexual act was the highest bodily pleasure should immediately ask whether you ate chocolates at the same time.
On receiving the answer ‘No,’ he might regard absence of chocolates as the chief characteristic of sexuality. In vain would you tell him that the reason why lovers in their carnal raptures don’t bother about chocolates is that they have something better to think of. The boy knows chocolate: he does not know the positive thing that excludes it. We are in the same position. We know the sexual life; we do not know, except in glimpses, the other thing which, in Heaven, will leave no room for it. Hence where fullness awaits us we anticipate fasting. In denying that sexual life, as we now under- stand it, makes any part of the final beatitude, it is not of course necessary to suppose that the distinction of sexes will disappear. What is no longer needed for biological purposes may be expected to survive for splendour.
Sexuality is the instrument both of virginity and of conjugal virtue; neither men nor women will be asked to throw away weapons they have used victoriously. It is the beaten and the fugitives who throw away their swords. The conquerors sheathe theirs and retain them. ‘Trans-sexual’ would be a better word than ‘sexless’ for the heavenly life. (Miracles)
The good shepherd’s currency is vulnerability. His pastoral care doesn’t begin until he knows he is exposed and could be rejected. If your sheep can’t hurt you, you don’t love them. #goodshepherd
If a Christian leader is prominent and looked to and read by many, he was desperate to be prominent and looked to and read by many. Such men are driven by deep-seated feelings of inadequacy which fuels their pride. They spend their lives packaging their message and cultivating friendships they leverage so they will be seen by men. More and more men. Don’t be the simpleton who feeds them. #goodshepherd
When nobody is evil, but only those very bad ideologies; and when holistic, ontological disquisitions are my forte—not yours Warhorn Blog Posts | Why Christians should leave proclaiming the Gospel to their heroes
An example of how to put this into practice
At the church I worship in, I am involved heavily in the prayer ministry team - the lay people who ‘loiter with intent’ after a service in order to pray with people who come up asking for it. More than once, I have told the clergy at church that if they want to see people coming forward for prayer, “… the best thing you can do is to go up to receive prayer yourselves, and for the rest of us to see that you are being prayed for by the rank-and-file”.
One guy thought my post warning the sheep away from Christian celebrities was funny. He didn’t say why. He simply pushed his laughter button.
When I posted a comment asking him to explain his laughter, he responded: “to say that if a pastor has a wide-reaching ministry that means he was driven by deep-seated feelings of inadequacy seems, to me, laughable”
Note that I didn’t mention “a pastor” in the original post. I spoke of “Christian leaders” and there’s a significant difference. A Christian leader may be a pastor, but often is not. Even those who preach in some church usually have almost nothing to do with caring for their flock. I could list names, but anyone still reading this warning knows the sort of celebrities I’m referring to.
One of the best ways of knowing the character of these men is to see if they spend time alone with sin-sick, discouraged, broken-hearted sheep, caring for them personally, as the Apostle Paul did. The men I warned against bare no slightest resemblance to the Apostle Paul who described his own helpfulness as a shepherd as never stopping warning the sheep, doing so house to house, day and night, with tears. If there’s a simpleton who thinks this sort of pastoral care is typical of the celebrity Christian leaders I was warning against, I move on to those with ears to hear. Love,
One way to think about famous Christian leaders today is to ask whether we are surrounding ourselves with teachers who scratch us where we itch? If Scripture’s warning is true, it’s likely our celebrities have perfected their scratching technique, and that we pay them well for it. #goodshepherd
Only posted this on FB:
By the way, yesterday Pastors Jody Killingsworth and David Curell came over to our house and spent time helping Mary Lee and me bear up under some personal burdens, praying for us and giving wise and tender counsel. I’m very thankful for Jody and the other pastors and elders of Trinity Reformed Church who, with their wives, love and care for their flock. The Lord provides.
Surely it’s only a slight delay, but thank God for this slight delay. Meanwhile, Anglicans of Wales & Scotland as well as Presbyterian Church of Scotland have approved this abomination. #falseshepherd Church of England bishops refuse to back gay marriage - BBC News
Been saying for years Tim Keller’s worst influence has been his running the table on reformed homiletics. Everyone wants to be like Tim, and thus it was that reformed preaching died. https://theaquilareport.com/false-teaching-among-the-prominent-non-confessional-reformed-from-lordship-salvation-to-todays-christianity-and-culture-in-the-pca/
Audio of “All Scripture is God-breathed” (1st in a series) Warhorn Blog Posts | All Scripture is God-breathed (1)
“Special rights?” What they’re really afraid of is SCOTUS removing gags placed over the mouths of Christians and the censorship of Scripture and Scripture’s God in American workplace. IOW, 1st Amendment rights. Supreme Court could turn every workplace into a religious battleground in Groff v. DeJoy - Vox
Responding to China’s 1,000,000 population decline this past year: Peter Kalmus, a climate scientist at NASA, argued population decline shouldn’t be viewed “as a terrible thing,” pointing instead to “exponentially accelerating global heating and biodiversity loss.” Misanthrope
Churches/deacons/home fellowship groups: check out this announcement yesterday of the Welcome Corps which will allow groups of five people to sponsor refugees, personally. Launch of the Welcome Corps – Private Sponsorship of Refugees - United States Department of State
The men I warned against bare no slightest resemblance to the Apostle Paul who described his own helpfulness as a shepherd as never stopping warning the sheep, doing so house to house, day and night, with tears. If there’s a simpleton who thinks this sort of pastoral care is typical of the celebrity Christian leaders I was warning against, I move on to those with ears to hear.
What I’ve seen, more than once, is when senior pastors are in a position to hire a second-in-charge - and then does so with the express intention of that man being hired to do the pastoral work, so that the senior pastor can get on with teaching and administration.
More positively, from the church I’m in now: the Rector hired someone to be responsible for pastoring, but then decided six months down the track that he far preferred being a pastor to being an administrator. So he and his second-in-charge swapped roles, so that the now-former Rector could concentrate on, well, being a shepherd - much closer to his heart.