From the Word
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:29-32)
“The ability to speak eloquently is not to be confused with having something to say.” (Michael P. Hart)
“If we really knew the love God has for his children, we would hesitate to say a disparaging thing about even one of them.” (Tim Challies)
“The biggest mistake you can make in managing criticism is believing that one person’s opinion is everybody’s opinion.” (Ryan Leak)
“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” (Plato)
“After all is said and done, a lot more is usually said than done.” (Anonymous)
Around the Net
“How about a book on discipleship for people who don’t feel saved each morning until they’ve had at least two cups of coffee? How about a book on following Jesus for the guy or gal sitting there in small group always wondering if it’s safe to say what they’re thinking? For the sake of the cut-ups and the screwups, the tired and the torn-up, the weary and the wounded—how about we demystify discipleship?” Darryl Dash reviews Jared C. Wilson’s The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together.
A recent survey found that nearly half of all evangelicals believe that serious mental illness can be overcome with prayer and Bible study alone. If we discovered that 1:4 of our people had cancer, would we encourage them to blow off their doctor and join a cancer Bible study instead? “For those of us fortunate enough to go to graduate school (seminary), we took the obligatory counseling class. That class did not qualify us to become counselors any more than our obligatory music class qualified us to be worship pastors.”
In a culture devoted to coarseness, sensationalism, and self-affirmation, cable news plays to our worst tendencies. Maybe it’s time for a permanent fast—or at least a diet. “Cable news reinforces the idea that everything is about politics, that everything is life or death, and that we should all devote our attention to the big news story every day. . . . But does a regular rhythm of cable news make us better neighbors? Better moms and dads? Better church members? Are these shows good for our souls? Do they build character and increase our wisdom?”
Contains helpful starter language for prayers centered around nine areas of church life, asking God to show his people how to follow him more faithfully into the future. “The more we come to depend on an all-powerful God to show himself strong through our weakness, the more God will move among his people. Let’s pray as never before for God to expand the witness and influence of his church in this world!”
Rainer writes, “Many churches have become too busy for their own good. They have so many activities, programs, events, and services that they are wearing out their congregations. Here is the irony. Most of the activities in these churches were started with a noble cause to make a difference in the congregation and the community. But the members became so busy they don’t have time to connect with people in a meaningful way. The overcommitted church has become the ineffective church.”
Something to Ponder
Ranking Sin Selectively
“Christians have become fairly good at focusing on the moral failings of others while ignoring their own. We pretend that the worst sin you can commit is sexual. And—don’t get me wrong—sexual sin has serious implications. But so does gossip. And divisiveness. And quarrelling—sins Christians routinely ignore. Mostly because we commit them. I would suggest that just as many congregations have been ruined by gossip, divisiveness, and quarrelling as have been stained by sexual sin. But you’d never know it given the way we talk about sin.
“I’m all for surrendering our sexuality to Christ. But I’m also all for submitting our propensity to gossip, our divisiveness and our quarrelling to Jesus and dealing with that seriously. Imagine what the church might look like if that happened. And we haven’t even touched complaining, gluttony, or envy yet, all things with which Christians routinely self-medicate their pain.
“Maybe if Christians humbly confessed their sins first, the world would be more likely to come to terms with their sins. So here’s an idea. Instead of pretending someone else’s sin is worse than your sin, confess your sin. You’ll be in such a better place if you do that. And so will they. You might actually be able to help them.”
– Carey Nieuwhof
The Glory of Creation
Image Credit: Wsllpaper.com
Into All the World
“God can write straight with crooked pencils.” (Tim Keller)