This “blog” is just a brain-dump area. Formal studies that have been worked out, studied out, written up, etc. are in another section (like Topical, Various).
Stuff I wanna look over later:
The Almost Inevitable Ruin Of Every Minister . . . And How To Avoid It
For every twenty men who enter the ministry, by the time those men reach age sixty-five, only one will still be in the ministry.
1 Timothy 4:15-16: Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
Almost everyone knows someone who used to be in the ministry. Almost everyone knows someone who shouldn't be in the ministry. And every minister knows another minister—if not several—he does not want to be like.
But the sad news for ministers is, regardless of your age or education or experience, it is almost inevitable that you will become the kind of minister you do not want to be. So I think it's important to address the subject of: the almost inevitable ruin of every minister . . . and how to avoid it.
The sad reality is, you will become like that. That's you in a few years.
It's almost inevitable for every minister—or you will make progress. There is no middle ground.
The world, the flesh, and the devil outnumber you, and they have you in their sights. …unless you make the kind of spiritual progress that's spoken of in the Pastoral Epistles, you will be hit by enemy fire.
Take pains with the things of God. Be absorbed in the Pastoral Epistles. Pay close attention to your life and to your doctrine. Don't let the ministry keep you from Jesus or keep you from learning.
Think About Death Every Day by Ryan Holiday
In late 1569, a French nobleman named Michel de Montaigne was given up as dead after being flung from a galloping horse.
As his friends carried his limp and bloodied body home, Montaigne watched his own life slip away, like some dancing spirit on the “tip of his lips,” only to have it return at the last possible second.
This sublime and unusual experience marked the moment Montaigne changed his life. Within a few years, he would be one of the most famous writers in Europe. After his accident, Montaigne went on to write volumes of popular essays, serve two terms as mayor, travel internationally as a dignitary, and serve as a confidante of the king.
Some quotes that resonate with me these days (source)…
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re Facebook’s customer, you’re not – you’re the product. Its customers are the advertisers.
You as a Facebook user are not the customer. You are the product they sell.
You’re not Facebook’s customer. You’re Facebook’s product.
You know, Facebook’s free. If something’s free, that means you’re the product.
If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.
To the extent that our personal data has become a product, it’s because we—and our representatives in government—have allowed it to happen… If you aren’t paying for it with money, you’re paying for it in other ways. Whether it’s your time, your privacy, or your intellectual property, you’re giving over to Facebook something of value every time you use it.
The Pastor-Theologian: Valuable and Necessary an article by Derek J. Brown
Pastors of what seems like a long-lost era were doctrinally grounded and biblically saturated, to be sure; but they were also well-read in other important branches of study—literature, economics, politics, philosophy, and science—and were therefore able to apply biblical truth to these areas of inquiry with keen spiritual and intellectual skill, helping their people think theologically about major trends within the church and the greater society.
Most importantly, the pastor was a theologian. Today, however, the pastoral office is no longer viewed in such categories.
…the larger contemporary church has loaded the pastoral role with responsibilities and expectations that hinder if not altogether prohibit the work of theology. The pastor is seen chiefly as a “leader, organization builder, administrator, coach, inspirer, endless problem solver, spiritual pragmatist, and so much more.” For a pastor to consider how he might engage in important doctrinal discussions and cultural issues, pursue some form of theological writing, and make scholarly contributions to the larger Christian academy is to indulge in pointless fantasy
The pastor-theologian, despite what history may tell us, appears to be an ecclesiastical impossibility in our current age.
Greg's Comment: To the extent that local churches refuse to support pastor-teachers with their loyalty and “honor,” we will not have these kinds of men in our pulpits leading us. As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for” and churches today do not value pastor-teachers.
The Palestinian Covenant is the Basis for the New Covenant
Think about this… the Abrahamic covenant (Gen 12, 15, 22, etc.) promised land, seed, and blessing to Abraham and his physical descendants. The Mosaic covenant was made with his seed (descendants) and the promised blessing was to come through that seed in the land as they obeyed and fulfilled their covenant agreement of Exodus 19.8.
Within the context of the Mosaic covenant (the Mosaic Law being the stipulations of the covenant) God made another covenant with Israel: (Deut 29-30) the Palestinian covenant. I find myself describing this as the “life and land” covenant because it set the requirements for LIFE (Dt 30.6, 16, 16, 19) and for that life to be lived in blessing in the LAND (v3, 5, 16, 20).
The overarching condition of participation in the Palestinian covenant (the condition to inherit LIFE and the LAND) was “devotion” (see the previous study on Soteriology: Israel vs. The Church, specifically pages 17-24 in the accompanying PDF).
God required repentance, faith, submission, and obedience; those are all summed up in one word: devotion.
The Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language defines devotion as “profound dedication, consecration; earnest attachment to a cause, person, etc.” It gives as synonyms “zeal” and “ardor.” And at the very end of the definition in this unabridged dictionary are these words: “See love.” Love God with ALL your heart, soul, mind, and strength!
Well… with that in mind…
Isn't it interesting that in Romans 10, the chapter that deals with “Israel's Present” and salvation in the Church Age, Paul quotes Deuteronomy 30.11-14, a key passage in the Palestinian covenant?
11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach.
Romans 10 is “Israel's Present” because it lays out how they (as well as we, the Gentiles) can be SAVED – how we get LIFE during the present dispensation. How is that? By FAITH (devotion), just like in the Palestinian covenant.
The Palestinian covenant is the door to the New Covenant. The LIFE promised by the Palestinian covenant is the REGENERATION and NEW/ETERNAL LIFE provided for in the New Covenant, ratified by the death and resurrection of Christ.
“BUT…!” you say: “The Palestinian covenant required that the Jews KEEP the COMMANDMENTS of the LAW (Dt. 30.10, 16). Yep. But THEY get the whole salami (the whole Palestinian covenant and the whole New Covenant). We Christians don't. We just get a slice of the salami: the spiritual blessings provided in the New Covenant (all of them, but just the spiritual ones: Eph 1.3). So, our requirements are a SLICE of the Palestinian salami, not the whole thing: DEVOTION is required of us, yes. But that devotion is defined as repentance (Dt. 30.2, 8, 10) and faith (Dt. 30.20); no works on our part–no obedience to the Law.
We are NOT required to submit to and obey the Law because we are not Jews and the covenants were not made with us (Eph 2.12). God is giving us a slice of the New Covenant because the Jews rejected it and He wants to use us to make them jealous (Rom 10.19; 11.11, 14). Therefore, He hearkens back to the Palestinian covenant (the door to the New Covenant: LIFE) and uses THAT to establish OUR requirements to participate in the New Covenant. He only requires repentance and faith for our “devotion,” not submission and obedience to the Law, because we don't get ALL the New Covenant (so we don't get ALL the requirements). Plus, he wants to make Israel jealous (to make them want what we have).
My Point: the Palestinian covenant forms the basis for participation in the New Covenant, for Jews and Gentiles. Paul's quotation of the Palestinian covenant in Romans 10, a key chapter with regard to salvation in the Church Age, makes the connection.
And I don't know why, but I just think that's cool. Like two puzzle pieces just falling in place…
My Disclaimer: I'm still chewing on all this. It forms part of a larger study I'm working on that ties together the dispesnations and the coventants under the Kingdom theme of the Bible. It's a work in progress.
Derek Brown posted an article about praying for your pastor. He made some comments in the article I thought were very insightful… because they are true:
…few Christians really know what pastoral ministry entails.
For some, the quip, 'A pastor only works one day a week” may seem pretty close to the truth.
Others view pastoral ministry as a helping profession (akin to professional counseling, but easier) where the pastor’s 35-40 hour workweek consists mainly of coffee-shop chats, a few staff meetings, and a little light reading and Bible study. Good stuff, but none of it too difficult.
…some Christians think of their pastors more as CEOs whose main job is to manage and expand the programs and overall influence of the corporation rather than shepherds who have been called to feed and protect sheep.
Marketing, management, motivation, and resource acquisition are seen as the pastor’s primary responsibilities rather than preaching, teaching, praying, and training other leaders.
And then he goes on to lend credence to these views because of pastors themselves today:
…many people have such a truncated view of the pastoral ministry (a view that is, sadly, perpetuated by some lazy and incompetent pastors)…
The problem with churches today is that they are filled with people trying to build a relationship with God without knowing who God is and what He is like (i.e., the character and attributes of God).
Doctrine (Bible teaching and Bible knowledge) is essential. And remember: in order to teach doctrine, you have to have truth, and that means you must have an infallible Bible.
And what church has that (an infallible Bible) today? Very few. Most churches have pastors who correct the Scripture far more than they learn it, teach it, and live it. So, because they do not have a trustworthy Bible, they do anything and everything they can to make you feel like you have a relationship with God.
We've traded knowing God (through Scripture) for feeling God (through experience and entertainment).
For me…? Well… I want Scripture because I want to know God.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. [John 17.3]
If you'd like to read more on this topic, these two articles might interest you:
Doctrine matters, friends. Heterodoxy (bad doctrine) leads to heteropraxy (bad living). Orthodoxy (good doctrine) leads to orthopraxy (good living).
You cannot know God without knowing the Bible.
The Poser Church: Stupid & Unappealing
The Real Reason Young People Are Leaving The Church
The Church has hoped to use bad rock music, a casual atmosphere, pop culture references, and a general spirit of irreverence and worldliness as a means to entice the next generation into the pews. It has exploited all of the worst and most transitory aspects of youth, and all it has done is alienate the very people it deformed itself to attract.
Young people can spot a poser from 1,000 miles away. “Cool” Christianity is a poser Christianity, and the pose is not fooling anyone.
Christianity will never be cool and shouldn't try. Cool things are by definition trendy, which is to say they follow the whims of the world.
The Church should be dictating to the culture instead of letting the culture dictate to it (the rock music, sleek architecture, and pastors with long greezy hair, man buns, and skinny jeans).
The modern church has gorged itself on temporal, forgettable, fashionable things. And it has never been less relevant in America or more unappealing.
Maybe it would be better to connect another way. Young people are energetic, eager, radical, revolutionary, idealistic, desperate for a cause to join and a battle to fight. It just so happens that Christianity is radical and revolutionary. It holds the keys to the highest ideals a man can strive towards. It is a cause.
So rather than the church contorting itself to seem trendy and stupid and shallow — which only insults the very people it is supposed to convert — maybe it should simply be what it is and present the truth, nothing less.
If I hear this one more time, I think I'm gonna scream. So, please hear me out… If there ever were a day and age when we really needed to learn that heterodoxy will lead (and very quickly!) to heteropraxy, it's today! And, obviously, orthodoxy will lead us to orthopraxy.
Thesis: The doctrine of the rapture of the Church at the end of the Church Age is not “the great escape”!
It's not the great doctrine of, “Just hold out and it will all be over soon!” That is the heteropraxy that comes from the heterodoxy that teaches the rapture is your “get-out-of-the-mess-you-made free” ticket.
The imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ for His Church is commonly called the “rapture” (based on the Latin word rapiemur [first-person plural future passive indicative of rapiō], meaning to snatch and carry off suddenly) and is referred to in 1Thessalonians 4.17, where Paul said Christians would be “caught up” to meet the Lord and be with Him forever.
Can that event be a comfort to us? Sure! 1Thessalonians 4.18 says it can be. No one is saying it couldn't be or shouldn't be a comfort.
What I'm saying here is that the rapture of the Church at the end of our Age is much more than that and it needs to be taught in its full context so we don't get this “bunker mentality” of “just hold out!” How wrong could you be! Just look at the Commission given the disciples! Ours is not a bunker mentality! It never was and never will be!
Our Dispensational Stewardship: We are called and commissioned be and make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
That's our stewardship and responsibility under our current dispensation. The Church, as a whole, has failed (2Tim 4.3-4; just like every other steward in every other dispensation) and the Lord will return to remove the unfaithful steward (the Church), and take that steward to judgment (the Judgment Seat of Christ). That event is called the rapture: the Church is snatched out of her stewardship and carted off the Judgment Seat of Christ where each and every one of us will give an account for all our works, whether they be good or bad.
But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. [Romans 14.10]
Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. [1Corinthians 3.13-15]
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord [orthodoxy], we persuade men [orthopraxy]; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. [2Corinthians 5.10-11]
If you are living right (being and making disciples, like Paul and the Thessalonian church; 1Thes 1.5-10), then the rapture will be a comfort to you because you know (!) you will glorify Christ with the works you put before Him (you will put on display His grace manifest through your willing, submissive, obedient service in the mission).
If you're not living right (if you, like most church goers today, could not care less about intentionally, aggressively, and sacrificially being a disciple and making disciples)… well… best o' luck to you.
And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: for I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. [Luke 19.13-24]
Folks, the rapture is simply the Lord Jesus Christ coming back to remove an unfaithful steward from her stewarship and take her to judgement. That's the orthodoxy. The orthopraxy is this…
That ought to motivate you to be faithful in BEING a disciple! For example…
The orthodoxy of the rapture (your ticket to the Judgment Seat of Christ) ought to also motivate you to stop dinkin' around in your social club of a church and get busy in the mission God gave us! We are to MAKE disciples intentionally, aggressively, sacrificially!
We are not called to some bunker, to hunker down and just hold on until Jesus comes to pull us out of this mess! That's crap! (Oh, sorry… that was a modern, contextualized translation of the word “heterodoxy”…)
God gave you a stewardship (a responsibility): BE AND MAKE DISCIPLES! You don't live out that stewardship faithfully in a bunker. There's more to Christianity than hiding.
And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. [1 John 2:28]
Learn your Bible. Do what it says.