Courtesy: Tim Challies, challies.com
Mightn’t it be true that sometimes God lowers our standard of living to raise the standard of our giving!?
This meme is one where I feel very ambivalent (see original at end of this post). I normally like Tim Challies‘ illustrated quotes. And I understand Alcorn is a solid evangelical. And I know nothing of the context of this thought Challies has featured from Alcorn’s works. [* see below for update.] No doubt he says much that’s good. (more…)
This month, our church’s sign board reads…
Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
Grace is God’s mercy – especially when we don’t deserve it! My first memory verse says,
If the Bible’s all-time favourite passages were ranked, I suspect this verse would make the top three. From t-shirts to sandwich boards to The Simpsons, “John 3:16” has appeared almost everywhere. That John 3:16 is famous seems beyond doubt. Whether the awesome implications of this passage are appreciated, however, is perhaps harder to gauge. (more…)
We are a society that wants more. More money, more gadgets, more food, more fun. But strangely, wanting more often leaves us feeling dissatisfied. We finally get the thing we longed for, and yet all too soon it is broken, or the batteries have run down or it isn’t as good as we hoped. (more…)
Because ministers are the recipients of congregational giving they are hesitant to raise the issue of money. It is a hesitancy felt by both the congregation and the clergy.
Some ministers are concerned about church budget and press the issue too often and too hard. Others feel the apparent self-interest of raising the issue and so avoid it altogether. Some congregations are never taught about giving and others feel bombarded about money every time they come to church.
However, this tension confuses the subject of our giving with the object of our giving—or the gift of giving with the recipient of the gift. It confuses the questions of why, what and how we give with the issue of where best to direct our giving. It is the confusion of the long-term principle of gracious giving with the short-term immediate need for financial assistance. (more…)
In the first leg of our journey through Jeremiah we focused on the man and his preaching of judgement. We will now do a bit of touring through the middle chapters, but most of our time will be spent on just half a verse—a promise:
Here then are some suggestions for principles which might help us think through how we might ‘contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints’ in a way which builds genuine fellowship rather than destroys it.
It’s all excellent. For example,
Recognise that those who disagree with you on this particular theological point are people for whom Christ died. They are inestimably precious in his sight. They must not be regarded or treated as mere theological canon fodder. Even when you are convinced they are seriously in error they must be treated with respect and gentleness.
… it’s one of those stories where all manner of addled thinking comes to the surface from everyone on the spectrum of lifestyle blogging—from the secular liberals and conservatives to the panoply of Christian bloggers in the weird polygon of ideas bounded by points produced by mixing the adjectives “conservative,” “liberal,” “radical,” “progressive,” “traditional,” “biblical,” and “missional,” with the proper noun “Christian.”
Since you have made your confession about your situation, let me confess mine: I have never really been a good man at all. I could make a list here of all the times I have failed you, and your mother, and your siblings, and my employer, and the elders at church, and so on — but I’ll bet you can make that list also. You may remember some things I have forgotten, and I’ll simply stipulate to the entire exercise. I want you to know that I know I am not a good man, and I come to this problem we now face as a man who, at the end of the day, can’t advise you from the moral high ground.
I can only advise you, my son, as a man who has spent his life utterly at the mercy of Jesus Christ.
Turk only really gets going in the second half of the post, so stick with it, because it’s got a twist in the end.
A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s turtles all the way down!” (Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time (2nd ed.; London: BCA, 1998), p. 1.)
All Christians should be like that little old lady. Not, of course, that we should insist on cosmic turtles. But there’s something that Christians should insist on, constantly, in every situation, to ourselves, and to everyone we see. It’s God’s grace. All the way down. (more…)
Lent was trending on Twitter in my part of the world yesterday. Here’s a sample from the people I follow…
First the funny…
I’ve been feeling pretty guilty recently. What have I been feeling guilty about? I’m a mum, so you shouldn’t have to ask! Like so many mothers, I feel guilty because I’m not doing enough for my family. I’ve been trying to juggle too many things, and I’m worried I’m neglecting my children. (Actually, I don’t think I am when I’m thinking logically; if anything’s neglected, it’s only the dust balls. But guilt doesn’t think logically.) (more…)
My youngest son went into hospital the other day for minor surgery. I spent the morning not quite being able to sit still, in spite of knowing that this sort of thing happens to hundreds of children around the world every day. As it turned out, everything went smoothly. He got his own television set to watch, and was given a lemonade iceblock, so all was right with the world. (more…)