Welcome to another edition of “Links I Like,” a weekly roundup of news, stories, and other randomness that’s impacted me in the last week. I hope you find these as encouraging and enlightening as I did. Enjoy!
Dear Parents: You’re Already Choosing Your Child’s Religion
It’s nothing new, but becoming a parent is the most sobering thing that can happen to you. The fact that a life is utterly dependent on you brings a seriousness and responsibility to the table unlike anything else. What’s more, as Chad elaborates, the religion this child is dependent upon you too. There’s never a moment when you aren’t preaching to your child — every second is one in which the gospel can be infused to teach and inform. In ways that I did not expect, I’m learning more about the gospel and myself when I stare into the eyes of my baby girl. And, in that way, she becomes the preacher and I become the lay-person. “Children learn about confession and absolution most vividly when their parents admit they’ve messed up, they need forgiveness, that they too live by grace alone.” Thank you, Chad, for writing this. continue reading→
The Prodigal Baptist
I greatly appreciate my friend Obbie Todd’s heart for ministry. Besides being an excellent thinker and writer, Obbie’s passion for pastoral ministry shines through in piece he publishes. Even here, as he testifies to the rocky road that has led him to remain a Baptist. The truth of the matter is, that regardless what God carries you through, His divine purpose will be carried out. And that looks different for everyone, which is why I can heartily embrace my Lutheran and Presbyterian brothers and sisters. But I’m glad for Obbie, whose sincerity for the Savior and the Scriptures informed and ignites his passion to see other lives rescued. continue reading→
The Benefits of Reading the Creeds Together
I am very excited for the launch of The Center for Baptist Renewal that Brandon Smith announced earlier this week. As a Baptist, the mission to revive and renew interest in the practices and perspectives of the historic faith is timely and appreciated. I especially enjoyed this piece by Matthew Emerson on the benefits of creeds. I would say that the majority of Baptist churches today are not creedal or confessional churches. They don’t practice reciting creeds as a congregation, most likely, as Matthew notes, for fear of being “too Catholic.” But creeds aren’t strictly a Catholic practice. They’re not a fence to keep people caged in, they’re a defense against the wrongful, harmful doctrines that sweep across Christendom like passing fads. In short, the creeds keep us focused. Great work, here. continue reading→
Promise or Performance
The great reformer Martin Luther is quoted as saying, “The distinction between law and gospel is the highest art in Christendom.” By the same logic, then, an inaccurate distinction of both will lead to all kinds of errors. The erroneous kind of this art happens all the time. We put law where gospel should be, and vice versa. We put provisions and provisos where Christ simply says, “Come unto me.” We bastardize the gospel with religious fine print. And in so doing, we lose the gospel altogether. Such is the scene in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. The former gospel had been lost in the wake of an anti-gospel that had risen up and muddied the waters. This is a great, gospel-saturated reminder from Paul Dunk. continue reading→
Sickness: A Chance to Glorify God
For many, the fall and winter months means family, filled schedules, and food. For many others, it means sickness. Some people are taken by illness almost like clock-work, year after year. This used to be me. I struggled with asthma as a teenager and my active schedule tended to cause my immune system to become as weak as water. I’d get sick nearly every November/December. Frustrating, certainly. For many, I’m sure, it’s more than disheartening — maybe even depressing. But, as Mitch says so well, even this “sickness is always a reminder of our deepest need and the fact that our deepest need has been met.” Jesus is our Healer, the Great Physician. “We are given illness and healing of the body to show off Jesus’ ability to save the soul.” Great post, here, from my friend Mitch Miller. continue reading→
How Will You Be Remembered?
It’s truly amazing to read blogs and see how God is working in others in similar ways that He’s working on you. Ever since the birth of my daughter Lydia, there’s been an overwhelming sense of “legacy” that has filled my thoughts. What kind of legacy do I want to leave my daughter? What do I want to be known for? What does leaving a legacy shaped by the gospel even mean? It’s that I’m reading Michael Horton’s Ordinary and that my sister is working through similar thoughts. If you haven’t yet, go read her latest post and give her blog a follow. continue reading→
Pray for Your Pastor
Because I grew up in it, I know: ministry takes its toll sometimes. The hardships of life in ministry often come because of the ministry itself — that is, because you’re a broken person helping other people cope with their brokenness, more brokenness often ensues. It’s for this very fact that the chief thing one can do for their minister is often the first thing that’s forgotten: prayer. Do you pray for your pastor? I hope you, I pray you do. There’s nothing more necessary for the spiritual health of the church than for its members to pray for their pastor. Good words, here, from Joe Thorn. continue reading→
Nothing Worse Than a Disney World Christian
A cliché that’s reiterated often when enduring times of deep, personal heartache and grief is, “It’s always darkest just before the dawn.” We say this in hopes that it’ll reinvigorate our hope and purpose. Oftentimes it doesn’t though. We say it without meaning it, at least not wholeheartedly. But the fact is, those who believe in the gospel can say this an mean it. The light of the world dawned when the sun went dark. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). Times might be previous for you right now, but God has never left you. Whatever might be broken or falling apart for you, God specializes in putting the broken bits back together. continue reading→
Quietness vs. Prominence
Perhaps the greatest thing I’m learning right now is the quietness of the soul — learning to rest my mind and forsake whatever earthly ambition may cloud my vision from the truly important matters. I pray that I can say along with the psalmist, “I have calmed and quieted my soul” (Ps. 131:2). Regardless of what I “dream” to do, I pray I would learn to be content with what God has designed and destined me to do. To be content and quiet in faith and fortitude for the gospel. I so appreciated this short reflection from Ray Ortlund. continue reading→
The Screensaver of Your Mind
Speaking from experience, it’s no stretch to say that most young men struggle with their thought life. It’s the one place they feel they can go and retain a sense of privacy. But even there, one isn’t free from the Spirit’s presence. We would all — but young men and ministers especially — benefit from an examination and re-calibration of our thought life. I really appreciated this post from Warren Peel via Gentle Reformation. The illustration of your thought life as your mental screensaver was well-done. continue reading→
Acquittal by the Attorney’s Blood
Christ Hold Fast has published another piece of mine. This one delves into the truth of Christ as our great attorney, the One who takes our place of banishment and condemnation. continue reading→
2CELLOS – Now We Are Free
2CELLOS is one of my favorite classical crossover groups. The cello duet has covered numerous hit songs and cues from pop/rock favorites to cinema classics. Their latest cover of Hans Zimmer’s “Now We Are Free,” from 2000’s Gladiator, is easily one of their best. I even liked the cheesy Gladiator homage. Great cover.
Song of the Week
“Lonely” by Yoe Mase.