Monthly Archives: June 2007
“It certainly is the part of a Christian man to ascend higher than merely to seek and secure the salvation of his own soul. There is no man imbued with true piety, who will not consider as insipid that long and labored exhortation to zeal for heavenly life, a zeal which keeps a man devoted entirely to himself, and does not, even by one expression, arouse him to sanctify the name of God.”
- John Calvin in his reply to Cardinal Sadoleto
Top 10 ways to tell if you’re taking this blogging thing a little too seriously
Comparing Baptist confessions from the past two hundred years, it appears Man is getting better.
Tim Challies defines “hyper-Calvinism”
Michael Spencer likes the Prayer List
Scot McKnight offers some resources for showing Christian hospitality
Interview with Mark Dever on “What is a Healthy Church?”
Top Post this Week at Kingdom People: On Reading Widely
“If you’re going to be a leader, you have to be a reader!” I must have heard that phrase a dozen times during my stay in Colorado at Summit Ministries after just graduating high school. Eight years later, I’m even more convinced that the statement is true.
But what kind of reading? And how should a leader sift through the great number of books available?
I’m assuming that the readers of this blog are already convinced of the necessity for reading. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t be reading this. So, let me preface my thoughts on reading widely by saying that wide reading presumes much reading. You can’t read widely if you don’t read a lot! Set a goal. Make it happen. Turn off the TV and read! 50 books a year. 100 books a year. (If you’re Albert Mohler, 300 books a year.)
So with that out of the way, here are some tips on reading widely.
1. Read Old Books Too
Don’t succumb to the temptation to read only the current bestsellers. They may tell you some important things about our culture, but they rarely help you look at the culture “from the outside” and critique it correctly. C.S. Lewis is famous for encouraging the reading of “old books,” at least 1 out of every 3, so that the reader can see the perspective of other generations. I try to read classic books of Christianity – books that have stood the test of time. I want to learn from the great theologians and pastors …
David Stark’s book Christ-Based Leadership: Applying the Bible and Today’s Best Leadership Models to Become an Effective Leader (2005, Bethany House, Minneapolis) contains important questions that church leaders would do well to ask themselves. Each chapter is a question: “What is the truth of your ambition?” “Who is Lord of your leadership?” “What is your definition of success?” “Do you play to strengths so people can do their best?”
Stark combines biblical insights with current teaching on leadership and encourages us to be Christ-centered leaders. If you wish you had more time to read all the current books on leadership philosophy, then you will enjoy this book. Stark does a good job of drawing from a wide variety of leadership sources, and he has even included many graphs and charts from other books. The book’s brevity (under 200 pages) keeps the reader moving and hits the highlights of current leadership philosophy.
Stark uses Scripture in every chapter; sometimes he quotes entire narratives. Unfortunately, the discerning reader will see that much of the Scriptural content is plugged in to bolster the argument from current leadership strategies. It’s not that the material is unbiblical; it’s that the leadership focus is not biblically derived. Stark’s greatest insights come from the other books on leadership, and then he finds Scripture that back them up. Contrast this book to Henry Blackaby’s Spiritual Leadership.
I do not want to give the impression that there is nothing of substance in this book. Surely there is! This book is well …
“Truly, truly I say to you, you are seeking Me,
not because you saw signs,
but because you ate your fill of the loaves.”
- Jesus, to the crowd that had followed Him (John 6:26)
Jesus claimed that His miraculous feeding of five thousand people showed more than just His compassion. It was a sign! Just as God had provided manna from heaven for the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, now Jesus was also providing the Jews with the physical nourishment they needed.
The feeding of the five thousand signified that one greater than Moses and had arrived! Jesus used the symbolic action to show that the kingdom of God was more than just a heaven-based existence; it was also a present earth-shaking reality. The feeding revealed God’s loving provision for His people, especially through His Son.
Unfortunately, the people didn’t get it. The next day, they searched all over for Jesus hoping to obtain another meal. Jesus saw through their hypocrisy, and instead of explaining yesterday’s miracle and what it had represented, He exposed their real motivations for searching for Him: they wanted to have their bellies filled again! The people had seen the sign, but missed its significance. Physically, they had been fed; spiritually, they hadn’t grasped the bigger picture. Forget the Bread of Life – Jesus Himself! They wanted more food!
Today, we often fail to see the greater meaning behind the small wonders and answers to prayer we experience. Instead of seeing the signs for what they …
O Lord, we ask that you would strengthen us with your Holy Spirit, that we may faithfully fulfill our vocation without fraud or deceit; and that we may seek to follow your holy order, rather than satisfy our greedy emotions or desire to gain.And if it pleases you, O Lord, to prosper our labor, give us a mind also to help those in need.
And knowing that all good things come from you, give us humility before our neighbors.
Do not let us lift ourselves up above those who have not received so generous a portion.
And if it pleases you to try and grow us by greater poverty and need than we would desire, grant us grace to know that you will nourish us continually through your generous love.
“It is the preaching of Christ that converts, not the preaching of conversion.”
- Michael Horton, White Horse Inn’s “Christless Christianity” episode
The last couple of weeks have been busy. Corina and I spent 4 days in San Antonio at the Southern Baptist Convention, and I have spent all this week in Louisville for a 10-hour-a-day J-term on leadership.
The neat thing about these two weeks has been getting to meet some of you… my readers and fellow bloggers. Several times in San Antonio, I met people who, after hearing my name, said, “I read your blog!” This week in Louisville, I’ve met some more readers, including some fellow bloggers like Andy Atkins, Brandon Rogers, Chip Crush, Owen Strachan, and Reid Moneghan.
Meeting people in person that you have come across online is a neat experience. For me, it has been humbling. Humbling to know that nearly 300 people a day take the time to visit my site and read what I post. Humbling to know how little I deserve someone’s time. Humbling to know how early-on I am in ministry and how much I have to learn, and yet people are gracious enough to accompany me on the journey and disagree with me when I’m in error. Humbling to know that in a few years, I will probably be embarrassed by some of the immature ramblings or unripe theology on my blog today, warts that – because I’m still growing – I can’t see yet.
So… as I head back to Tennessee this weekend to celebrate my 26th birthday …
Pray for Landon Meece.
Charlie Wallace interviews Frank Page, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention
Kirk Cameron pleads with Southern Baptist pastors to preach the gospel
Danny Akin on the current state of the Southern Baptist Convention
J.I. Packer learns from Luther
Michael Spencer lays out his understanding of the Baptist view of the Lord’s Supper in these two well-developed posts: Confessional Resources on the Lord’s Supper and Discerning the Fullness of Christ in the Lord’s Supper
Top Post this Week at Kingdom People: John Piper on the Prosperity Gospel