Showing posts with label Discipleship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Discipleship. Show all posts

Friday, March 29, 2024

Too Hot to Handle: Five Questions About the Next Generation

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

We’re getting older. We’re not done yet, Lord willing, but more and more I’m realizing that nearly all the really knowledgeable Bible teachers and leaders I knew as a teenager have gone to be with the Lord and even the very average pulpit-fillers of the seventies and eighties have mostly given up their responsibilities to younger men. The missionaries we used to pray for have died on the mission field or come home to retire, and I don’t recognize many of the names I see replacing them. Even the average, decent pew-sitting Christian of my day seems to be getting longer in the tooth and less able to do the things he or she used to do in the local church. Some independent local churches I knew have now hired pastors and others have affiliated themselves with denominations. The local church of today is in many ways less and less recognizable to me.

Tom: To top it off, Immanuel Can, I’m not sure I identify much with the coming generation. They are so different from the young people of my own day. I’m not sure I can picture what the average local church may look like in twenty or thirty years. And yet we have an obligation to those who seek to follow Christ in the days to come. What IS the right strategy to prepare Christian young people to take on the world?

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Messengers and Marketers

The apostle Peter is writing about the letters of the apostle Paul, and he has this to say: “There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.” When something is hard to understand, it can stumble people, becoming an obstacle to faith or discipleship.

Believe it or not, that’s not always a bad thing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Harmonizing the Five Thousand

Yesterday we looked at the only miracle found in all four gospels: the feeding of the 5,000. We noted that the synoptic gospel accounts have many common elements, though each writer has tailored his version of the story to fit his overall purposes in writing about the life of the Lord Jesus.

For example, Matthew emphasizes the relationship between the Lord and John the Baptist, only just executed by Herod: “When Jesus heard this [that John had been executed], he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place.” Mark and Luke emphasize the Lord’s care for his disciples, who had just had their first taste of successful solo ministry: “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while,” he invites them.

We often make choices with multiple purposes in view. The Lord Jesus was no exception.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Denominations and Discernment

Discernment is a difficult quality to teach. Some people have a great deal more of it than others. It’s a quality that seems to me increasingly and depressingly rare.

It’s not hard to think of Christians who have known the Lord for years, yet remain more than a little gullible and sometimes require the protection of family and friends. You probably know some too. They like people. They think the best of everyone. They have a tendency to be so gentle and trusting that they fall for almost every new thing that comes along, provided it is presented with a smile. They mistake niceness for goodness and pleasant talk for the gospel truth.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Too Hot to Handle: Getting Relevant

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

I heard that most young people drop out of church today, either for a short or indefinite time, around age 18-19. I was concerned: after all, if we lose the next generation, what’s going to happen to the church? But then I found this glossy new resource, and it’s really helping me to understand what today’s young adults are going to find relevant by way of spiritual stuff. I’m sharing it with you, Tom, because I know you’ve got young-adult children of your own.

Just in time, eh?

Tom: Uh, thanks, IC, I think. Why is it that some Christians seem to think that being “relevant” actually means “pandering” or “condescending”?

Friday, February 21, 2020

Too Hot to Handle: Five Questions About the Next Generation

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

What Kind of Disciples Are You Making?

God tests men’s faith. Women’s too. It’s what he does.

Why? Because faith is hugely important to him. It might be the most important thing of all. As scripture tells us, “without faith it is impossible to please him.”

Impossible. Not difficult, very difficult or in the 99th percentile of difficulty. Completely impossible. It cannot be done. Faith is critical to any relationship with God.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Unhitched and Unhinged

It is important to grasp that Andy Stanley’s desire for believers to “unhitch” our Christianity from the Old Testament, a plea he articulates in his new book Irresistible, is not limited to how we preach the gospel. Stanley is calling for the comprehensive abandonment of the Hebrew roots of our faith.

This is what makes his idea such a poison pill. Those who swallow it will come to regret it.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Two Swords

Consider this passage in Luke’s gospel for a moment:

“And he said to them, ‘When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?’ They said, ‘Nothing.’ He said to them, ‘But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: “And he was numbered with the transgressors.” For what is written about me has its fulfillment.’ And they said, ‘Look, Lord, here are two swords.’ And he said to them, ‘It is enough.’ ”

Two swords. Hmm. A call for a more militant Christendom, maybe?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Nice Getting to Know You ...

Embarrassing story of father-failure. Brace yourselves.

My youngest son was fired not too long ago. Well, “fired” is a harsh word for something that was actually done with unusual politeness. The Asian manager of the donut store where he’d been working for three weeks let him know at the end of his shift that, “Uh, it was really nice getting to know you, but you don’t need to come back next week.”

Hmm. Okay then.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: Getting Relevant

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Too Hot to Handle: Five Questions About the Next Generation

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

A Hill to Die On

Lately I have begun to suspect that the notorious “mark of the beast” is not a literal number 666 tattooed on one’s forehead or hand, but rather an ideology.

Kidding, of course. I know full well that the social justice grievance mongers currently monopolizing the media with their view of the ideal society are not the fulfillment of New Testament prophecy.

You know the prophecy I mean. It’s made its way into popular culture.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Denominations and Discernment

 The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Abiding in Christ

Christians are divided in their understanding of what Jesus wanted us to do when He charged His followers to ‘abide’ in Him in John 15.

Soon after my conversion I read through a biography of Hudson Taylor; it told of his struggle to understand how this command was to be applied in his life. I read and re-read the story. I went on to read a number of devotional commentaries that dealt with this subject. Many seemed to be telling me to pray more fervently or read the word more diligently. This was good advice, yet the way to enter into this heightened experience of eternal life (that is what I thought it offered) still eluded me; I was trying to apply His words to my need in the 21st century before I understood them in the light of the situation facing His disciples in the 1st century. I saw it as something I had to learn to do, a level of Christian living which I hadn’t experienced yet.

Was abiding some state to which only the super-spiritual attained?