The Monday before T4G started, Russell Moore hosted a panel discussion on Christ-Centered Theology and Ministry. The participants were: Carl Trueman, Jefferson Bethke, J. D. Greear, Josh Harris, Russell Moore, Matt Pinson.
A wide range of views were represented and helpful discussions took place about the dangers of being gospel-centered, religion vs Jesus, Calvinism, Arminianism, baptism, and multi-site churches. I would highly recommend you listen or watch. Listen to it here. Watch it here.
Powerful thoughts by Paul Tripp today on ministry. It’s not just what pastors need, but what all of us need. What Every Pastor Must Hear and Confess
I recently finished Thabiti Anyabwile’s new book, Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons. I particularly appreciated his comments on 1 Timothy 4:10 (we have our hope set on the living God).
We pastors face constant temptation to do pastoral ministry in our own strength and wisdom. We are invited on so many occasions to be men of strength and spiritual courage that we begin to believe that such strength and courage are matters of self-exertion. We may imagine ourselves mustering enough willpower to push our way to any goal.
But this brief phrase from Paul’s letter confronts every pastor with the question, Where have we put our hope?
Sometimes we place hope in our study and preparation. Sometimes we place our hope in books read and the convincing arguments they contain. Other times we place hope in relationships, in the affection we share with others in the body. Or we place hope in our articulate expression, clever counsel, and good sermons. Our hope soars when things go well, when people seem pleased with our performance.
All of these hopes are deadly temptations! All of them fade, weaken, and disappoint.
Crossway recently took the 14 Gospel Coalition booklets and put them into one volume in, The Gospel as Center: Renewing Our Faith and Reforming Our Ministry Practices. We have carried these booklets on our church Resource Table and have they have been quite helpful. If you don’t have the booklets or the book, you can download 10 of them for free below.
- The Holy Spirit by Kevin DeYoung
- The Plan by Colin S. Smith
- Justification by Philip Ryken
- Creation by Andrew M. Davis
- The Kingdom of God by Stephen Um
- Gospel-Centered Ministry by D.A. Carson and Tim Keller
- Christ’s Redemption by Sandy Wilson
- The Church: God’s New People by Tim Savage
- Baptism and the Lord’s Supper by Ligon Duncan and Thabiti Anyabwile
- The Restoration of All Things by Sam Storms
Also, Eric Shumacher gives a couple of good suggestions of how to use them in discipleship. Read here.
In case you aren’t familiar with the Elephant Room you can check it out here. If you are familiar with it, then you know the recent swirl that has taken place with the invitation of T.D. Jakes. Below are three helpful reflections that I benefited from.
Grace and Truth Beyond the Elephant Room, by Trevin Wax
Truth, Debate, Unity, and The Elephant Room, by Joe Thorn
The Elephant in the Room, by Voddie Baucham
Seven Thoughts on the Elephant Room and T.D. Jakes, by Kevin DeYoung
11 Things I’m Thinking in the Wake of Recent Events, by Thabiti Anyabwile
Carson and Keller on Jakes and the Elephant Room, by Don Carson & Tim Keller
If you don’t have a copy of The Valley of Vision, you need to get one. It is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions. I have found great encouragement in this little book. In particular, I love the prayers of Service and Ministry. Reading these prayers remind me that the things I am tempted with as a pastor and the struggles I face are no different from other pastors who have come before me. Here is one that blessed me today.
O my Lord,
Let not my ministry be approved only by men,
or merely win the esteem and affections
But do the work of grace in their hearts,
call in thy elect,
seal and edify the regenerate ones,
and command eternal blessings on their souls.
Save me from self-opinion and self-seeking;
Water the hearts of those who hear thy Word,
that seed sown in weakness may be raised
Cause me and those that hear me
to behold thee here in the light of special faith,
and hereafter in the blaze of endless glory;
Make my every sermon a means of grace to myself,
and help me to experience the power
of thy dying love,
for thy blood is balm,
thy presence bliss,
thy smile heaven,
thy cross the place where truth
and mercy meet.
Look upon the doubts and discouragements
of my ministry
and keep me from self-importance;
I beg pardon for my many sins, omissions,
as a man, as a minister;
Command thy blessing on my weak,
and on the message of salvation given;
Stay with thy people,
and may thy presence be their portion
when I preach to others let not my words
be merely elegant and masterly,
my reasoning polished and refined,
my performance powerless and tasteless,
but may I exalt thee and humble sinners.
O Lord of power and grace,
all hearts are in thy hands,
all events at thy disposal,
Set the seal of thy almighty will
upon my ministry.
I really appreciate the 9Marks ministry. Where I have really benefited from them is how to put “flesh on the bones” so to speak. Scripture clearly gives us the theology and direction for ministry, but at times pastors need encouragement in connecting the dots and thinking practically about certain situations. Recently I found two posts by 9Marks that were especially applicable.