Worthwhile: April 26, 2019

The week after Easter can be something special. Coming off of Spring Break for the kiddos and ministry movement back to normal after special services and feasts. So here we are with warmer temps and an eye for summer, which will come faster than we know.

Before the weekend hits with its refreshing and rest, read up. A journal worth checking out and a prayer for those graduating from seminary.


Themelios is the Gospel Coalition’s “international, evangelical, peer-reviewed theological journal that expounds and defends the historic Christian faith.”

And this month’s issue deals with some of the conversation around the continuation of the gifts of the Spirit. With pieces from Andrew Wilson and Tom Schreiner it should be a helpful look at the issue.

It is on my reading list and I thought it should be on yours as well. Download it here.


Five years ago today I graduated from Western Seminary with a Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies. It was quite the journey and the time in seminary was tremendously valuable.

The most meaningful portion of the ceremony was the prayer by Todd Miles for the graduates. Later he published the same prayer as a blog post and it is worth praying again.

So Father, we ask for them that they would always remember the gospel, for it is the gospel that actually dedicates, it is the gospel that consecrates them to service, it is the gospel that has called them, it is the gospel that has saved them, it is the gospel that continues to empower them. Father, may they never, ever forget that.


We ask that you would give them wisdom — wisdom to follow you, discerning hearts to understand the difference between those thoughts that go contrary to the Word of God, and those that have been taken captive in obedience to your Son. We pray, Father, that you would give each of them an attentiveness to your Spirit, that they would depend upon His enablement, His empowerment every day and in every way.

Todd Miles

Read the whole prayer here.


Have a great weekend and remember that Jesus loves you and has carried all your burdens. Give them to him.

Transitions

This weekend I will graduate from Western Seminary. It has been a four-year, thirty plus thousand dollar experience. I have been a full-time student on campus and have been a full-time pastor doing classes part-time off campus. I have made great friendships. I have learned to read the Bible rightly. I have dreaded tests and felt the relief of the end of a semester. And it all has been enriching and worthwhile.

Graduation brings a season to an end. That is life, isn’t it. Transitions. The close of one adventure and the anticipation of the next one. I love how God uses transitions to draw us closer to him and to trust him. Because while many transitions are fun or beneficial from our perspective, not all of them are. At times it can feel quite chaotic and we feel like a boat tossed about on rough water. But we have an anchor for our souls, an anchor for life. We know the One that holds the chaos in his hand.

Who knows what the next adventure will be. I know that without paper deadlines and required reading I will spend more time wrestling my kids and challenging my wife to sprint races (she thinks she is so fast…) I know that I will keep preaching Jesus and nothing else in our young adult ministry. I know I will pray for and help equip other pastors and leaders. And I will trust in the maker of transitions.

Preaching Class

For the final writing project of my summer Preaching class we had to write a letter as if we had just arrived at a church as senior pastor to inform the elders how we approached preaching. I won’t give you the whole ten page paper but I will give you a flavor with the conclusion.

“Preaching the gospel of Jesus is what sets Christianity apart from any other religion. The truth of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross and victory over sin and death must be at the center of the church and we accomplish this through consistent preaching of God’s word.

“As we read scripture we see that proclamation is the primary form of communication as God speaks directly and verbally, through the voices of the prophets, by Christ at the incarnation and among the church through apostles and believers in Jesus. While culture changes over time the proclaimed word is still significant and we must be a church known for its clear gospel preaching, fervently proclaiming the reality of a creator God, the rebellion of sin, the redemption of Christ and the restoration in him to a world without hope and to believers in need of reminding.

“The character of our preaching then reflects that of Christ’s as it challenges assumptions within the church, makes use of all the scripture to tell of Jesus, motivates for belief and response and equips our congregation to become proclaimers of the true gospel. We must use this model as we formulate our sermons and the proclamation of the gospel in our church. Human effort in study and preparation are important but we must also be about prayer and petition for empowerment to preach well and live in response to the gospel.

“The ideas I have presented here are by no means an exhaustive account of Biblical interaction with proclamation or the art of preaching but I do hope that we can recognize together the vital role preaching must play in our church. No program or attractional environment will do more to draw people to Christ than the understandable and honest presentation of the gospel. As your pastor I commit to you that I will work diligently to preach of Christ through the totality of scripture asking the Holy Spirit to challenge my heart in the preparation and the heart of the church in the presentation. There is no greater joy than proclaiming the gospel and I am humbled that I get to do just that at this church and along side dedicated and godly elders.

“Let us determine to be a church preaching distinctly Christian sermons at the center of our gatherings. In the proclamation of God’s word he is glorified and we learnt to rely more and more on the gospel. As we do this I trust that we grow deep roots and learn to be a people of the gospel in our city reflecting Christ as we go.”

End of the Semester

I can’t believe the end of my first semester in Seminary is already here. After Friday’s class I will actually have some credits under my belt and be perhaps one eighth of the way through my MDiv! I would expect to not hear much from me this week – at least until I get through one final on Wednesday. I appreciate your prayers and all your support over these last several months.