I might be young, but I've learned a few things...
I'm 26 years old. I may not know a lot, and time and again I realize how much I have to learn to reach my full potential as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But I have learned some things along the way.
Another blogger recently asked for insight on how he should approach writing a blog on a sensitive issue. He was wary and somewhat afraid of speaking on it, particularly because he felt a bit unqualified to speak with authority on the subject.
I resonated with his fears. Perhaps you do as well.
As Christians who are in constant state of growth and maturity, our views on things and the fullness of our understanding regarding many topics will continue to be honed by God. Yet we should not be afraid to preach with confidence and boldness that which has been impressed on our hearts. We can only offer what we have been given, and no matter how old you are in your faith, you should give what you've got.
Here's the advice I gave to this blogger, and it's advice I now give to you...
- The Word of God will never return void. What you write, as long as it is from Scripture and you include the actual verses for others to study on their own, will always have an impact. It is God who works through his Word, and he is faithful to change lives through the reading of it.
- We will never, ever be 100% correct in most of what we say or write about regarding the Word, unless it is a core belief (Jesus is the Son of God, the Bible is the authoritative Word of God, salvation is only found through Jesus, etc.). We are sinners, and our understanding will never me complete. Whenever we expound upon what is embedded in the Word, we run the risk of eisegesis. However, this does not excuse us from bringing what we believe is true to those who need it. God is bigger than us, and I have seen God use the poorest of theology in sermons to bring sinners to their knees in repentance. Remember, God always works in spite of us, not because of us. He has a history and future to unfold, and we are but a small portion of it.
- We will have to give an account for every word we speak. But we must also remember that there is grace, and we are works in progress. We can only bring to others what we have learned at this point in our lives. New Christians, scarcely theologically trained, are often extremely effective and outspoken evangelists. They might not know the answers, they might even be wrong on some crucial points, but the fact remains that they are faithful with the little they have been given, and they are stoked to share it. Be faithful to what you believe God is laying on your heart, and share it. Years from now, if you realize you were wrong, write another blog about that. :)
I hope you found this helpful. Looking back over my history of sanctification and growth, I've noticed my opinions change on some important things. But the fact remains that God is gracious, faithful, forgiving, and kind. We should preach the Gospel and truth with boldness, knowing it is Him who works in us to live and to do (Phil. 2:13).
When you read these things, what is your initial response? Are you emboldened? Encouraged? Do you still have questions? I'd love to talk with you, so leave a comment and let's start a conversation!
| || |
It's Been Debated...
I just posted a blog yesterday about fatherhood, and I casually mentioned that I was celebrating my first Father's Day this year. My wife is 23 weeks pregnant, due October 12. We just got verification that our child is indeed a boy (which I'm very excited about) this week.
However, not everyone who read that blog was convinced that I am legitimately able to celebrate Father's Day this year. Some say I have to wait until he's actually born and celebrate next year for the first time.
So What's Right?
The push back on my celebration of Father's Day was all in good fun, and certainly not malicious. Yet, it got me thinking. Should I celebrate it or not? As I thought more about it, I realized that my belief about legitimately celebrating Father's Day this year stems from my Scripturally-informed understanding of the status of unborn children. Here are some Bible-based reasons I'll be celebrating Father's Day this year...
- God speaks of unborn children as being real humans who he has real plans for, long before they are born (Genesis 25:22-23)
- Scripture describes our forming in the womb as an intentional, personal act of God in the life of actual people whose days have been numbered before they ever existed (Psalm 139:13-16)
- God can choose us, set us apart for his purposes, and intimately know us as people while we are unborn (Isaiah 49:1; Jeremiah 1:5)
- It is possible for God to fill us with the Holy Spirit, even while in the womb (Luke 1:15)
Although I have not held him, I have beheld the life of my son. I have seen him kick, somersault, and itch his little face. I have seen life in the secret places where God is knitting together the physical body of my little boy.
I am a father. Born or unborn, the life within the womb of my wife is a real person whose days have been numbered by the Most High. And I shall celebrate the new reality in my life that I am now a father, with all the responsibilities that accompany that title.
| |Did you celebrate Father's Day or Mother's Day before your children were born? Why or why not? Leave a comment below and let's talk about it.Please help support this blog by subscribing to it and sharing it on your favorite social networks using the buttons provided below!
There are a lot of things we know for sure in Scripture. God has given us the clarity (or, if you prefer fancy theology talk: perspicuity) of His Word to tell us many things that are incredibly important. Yet there are lots are things that God does not tell us much about either, or things that we are only allowed a peak into rather than the whole story.
"How big should congregations be? What form of church government does the Bible command? How exactly do you know when it is time for grace and when it is time for church discipline? When will the world end? What will unbelievers experience in hell? What will heaven look like? How mature in your faith should you be before you are a pastor? Do babies who die go to heaven?"
These are all great questions, and doubtlessly you and I could probably take an educated stab at many of them and come up with some pretty coherent arguments. But we must not confuse strong or highly educated opinions with Scriptural FACT.
Like it or not, God has decided that some things will remain a mystery, at least until we enter heaven's gates. R.C. Sproul has a very nice quote that summarizes this whole discussion. He says, "I find it is always dangerous to shout where God has whispered."
Amen, brother R.C. Amen.
I have to admit, I've been on the fighting, graceless end of these debates before. I've been the proud and haughty jerk who throws down the gauntlet on my brothers and sisters in Christ and chooses to divide over God's whispers rather than His shouts. The deity, person and work of Jesus Christ that alone remains my only hope? I'll divide over that. Salvation by faith and not by works? That's division-worthy. The Trinity? Yeah, we can't have brotherly Christian fellowship if you don't believe in Him.
But whether or not someone is an Arminian or Calvinist, believes churches should have traditional organ music or contemporary worship, believes differently about the nature of the millennium, likes the KJV or the ESV, etc...
I won't divide over those. Some will. And that's wrong. Just plain wrong.
A word of encouragement: Before you divide, ask yourself, "Would Christ divide over this? Is this central and absolutely essential to the Christian faith? And am I humble enough to admit I might be wrong?"
Question: What are some other things that you have seen become divisive issues in churches that have resulted in church splits or division between believers?