I wonder if we have this exactly backward. I wonder if the ethic of Christ is not “get a seat at the table with the influential,” but actually “leave the house altogether and share a table with the poor, the outcast, the marginalized.”
We give thanks to the God of heaven because his covenant faithfulness is immutable and endless.
What is the most important “voice” in your life? Who do you listen to most intently? What words have the most influence over choices you make throughout the day?
Does the gospel, with its promise of forgiveness of sins and fellowship with God in a kingdom not of this world, promote the abandonment of this world and the gross neglect of hurting people?
In 1666 the English Puritan Thomas Brooks wrote, “The soul being so precious, and salvation so glorious, it is the highest point of prudence to make preparations for another world.” In our pandemic age, as in every age, it is essential to ask, are we preparing?
In thinking about the new year and what resolutions I want to make, I see God’s grace in the close of one year and the dawn of another. This yearly cycle gives us the opportunity to take inventory of where we stand in relation to our Creator: are we seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Cf., Matthew 6:33)? The New Year is an ideal time for “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead” — to recommit ourselves to “setting our minds on things above” (Philippians 3:13; Colossians 3:1-4).
Preachers in the pulpit are not the attraction. Christ is, his word and worth. Therefore, we make every effort to deflect attention from ourselves while putting it on the Lord. This is a conclusion born out of two biblical realities: the nature of revelation and the preacher’s vocation.
More than mere worldly happiness, pastors long for their churches to be encouraged in Christ. For that is better by far. Indeed, as Psalm 63:3 declares, “the steadfast love of the Lord is better than life.” And the love of God is seen most clearly in the gospel. Therefore, week in and week out, to the gospel we must go.
I propose a new church-growth model: Preach in such a way where you try to offend as many peoples’ sensibilities as possible. The Apostle Paul seems not only content to keep stumbling blocks in his message but scandalize through his bullhorn.