Raising Preachers of the Gospel

When I met these two girls about four years ago, I knew two things:

  1. They are thieves. They love to take your heart and never give it back.
  2. They love the Bible.

If you know me, I have many kids. But none of my kids had that spark, that interest… that proclivity that these two girls had in the word of God.

From the moment, I met them I knew that I would give them every ounce of theological and doctrinal training, every note, every book, every podcast, every video that I had not just simply to raise preachers and pastors—although that is a small part of it.

I would train them up so that they would know that we can and do worship God through our intellect. Some people worship God in song or being in the midst of nature. I want them to know it is way more than okay to worship God with fully engaging your mind as well as your heart.

To see them thrive and grow in their thinking and engaging with God and others over the last few years has been a complete joy for me.

Praise God and amen.

Featured image courtesy of Mae Burke Photography.

Here’s My Dilemma

In His righteous judgment, God has determined that the just penalty for sin is death and without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. Now, sin has been committed by man and therefore only man can atone for that sin.

But here’s my dilemma: I can’t atone for my sin. I can’t.

I cannot satisfy God’s righteous requirement.

My disobedience condemns me before a Righteous God.

And…I’m captive to sin! It is humanly impossible for me to free myself from sin.

A divine rescue… is necessary. I need a Savior!

I need a Savior.

– CJ Mahaney

The Ridiculous, Foolish Power of Christ Crucified

1 Corinthians 1:20-24 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

The Desires of the New Heart Given to Me By God

2 Timothy 3:14-4:5 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

A Pastor’s Promise

Having been made an overseer by the Lord Jesus Christ,
affirmed as such by His Church,
and enabled solely by His grace,

I commit to live in a manner worthy of His calling,
loving Him with all my heart, soul and mind,
always on guard for myself that I maintain a testimony that is above reproach;

I commit to preach His Word,
standing ready in season and out of season,
never shrinking to declare to you the whole counsel of God,
reproving, rebuking, and exhorting with great patience and instruction;

I commit to shepherd His flock,
whom Christ purchased with His own blood,
exercising oversight with humility, leading by example,
and equipping His saints for the work of the ministry;

I commit to be found faithful as His steward,
looking to Christ alone for both judgment and praise,
that in all things He might have the preeminence;

And by His grace,
I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls
because He, the Chief Shepherd, spent Himself for me.
To Christ alone be the glory.

AMEN

 – Tim White, A Pastor’s Promise

ht: 9 Marks

Why Should I Live?

I have lived my life boiled down to one simple quote: Nicolaus Zinzendorf’s ‘Preach the gospel, die, and be forgotten’ as to shine light on the meaning of 1 Corinthians 2:2 in my life. All of my studies and all of my toiling and to a much larger, unavoidable influence, the way that I love and live my life, are all wrapped in up that one little quote. It is a quote that I have mediated much on and it is a now philosophy I cannot let go. I am shaken to the core by it.

Often I ask myself, ‘What else am I suppose to do? Not preach the gospel? Not die? Not be forgotten?‘ To which I always answer myself, ‘Impossible!’.

Then I run into this quote:

My question—that which at the age of fifty brought me to the verge of suicide—was the simplest of questions, lying in the soul of every man… a question without an answer to which one cannot live. It was: “What will come of what I am doing today or tomorrow? What will come of my whole life? Why should I live, why wish for anything, or do anything?” It can also be expressed thus: Is there any meaning in my life that the inevitable death awaiting me does not destroy?

– Leo Tolstoy, A Confession, as quoted in The Reason for God by Tim Keller.

If I allow it, I could be haunted by Tolstoy. Let me think about when I am fifty—less than 13 years from now. Dying and be forgotten out of my control. But preaching the gospel? Let me mediate on the distinct possibility of never getting to preach, week in and week out. Let me dwell on the fact that I will never get to preach even just once. Let me think about never getting to teach and thus, never getting the opportunity to present the gospel of Christ.

It would be weird to go 13 more years and not be there. However, the sheer fact is that I have nothing else I can do. That is all I want to do. Day in and day out. Just do that.

So what if I don’t. Ah, but I have. A few times. God was so good to me and so loving to others that I got to do a little. And I will remember those times fondly. And I will look forward to the day when we won’t have to proclaim the gospel because I will be joyously satisfied seeing my Lord and God face-to-face.

The question might get asked, ‘How will you feel 13 years from now?’ To which I have to confidently answer: it won’t matter how I feel because I will have the Spirit of God dwelling in my heart and in my soul. He will always be with me from now until eternity no matter I how I feel, think, or do. My hope is not in my life, success of my marriage, the raising of my kids, or the success of my career but my hope is in perfect Christ alone. Because I hope in Him, I have hope for my life and loves.

Is it enough? Absolutely.

The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper, A Thought

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:2-5

You know something? I don’t have to preach like anybody else I have ever heard.

I get to make much of God when I proclaim His Word. I get to lift Christ on high and know nothing except him crucified. I get to be totally and utterly dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit.

What a joy it is to preach the passage at hand. What a relief it is that I don’t have to mention the verse once in the sermon, then go on my own diatribe and spit out my own opinions. What heart-filled gladness that I can see the magnificence of God exalted and in falling so short, I would my very best to explain to others what I am seeing.

But oh, how naïve of me: to be called to preach but only preached just a few sermons. Every single little opportunity savored, gracious and humbled to get that one shot to preach the gospel of God—well, that is maybe your one and only shot. You may not be asked back. You might be barred from preaching there ever again. You might not make it back to preach again next Sunday.

But you get another try at it. God’s grace abounds and you get one more chance to love, serve, and feed His flock. You get to swallow your pride and open your heart and mind and let His Spirit work through you.

So, what are you going to do with that one shot?

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; 2 Timothy 4:1-2a