Here are some encouraging articles I have read this week. I hope you find them helpful...
"Don’t believe this is a problem today? Try setting aside time in the middle of your day to pray or call other believers at your workplace to pray with you at the same time once a week. Watch how the tyranny of work makes that fifteen or thirty minutes feel burdensome, unnecessary, or inefficient. We build and build, fold and fold, work and work, without any sense of who’s in charge or what’s really happening. We quietly, even routinely, build our personal Babel, each task just another block in our own Jenga tower.
John Piper says, “When we don’t want to stop working and pray, we are drunk with American productivity.” He based that thought on 1 Peter 4:7: “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers” (1 Peter 4:7). For the sake of our prayers, we must be sober — that is, not drunk. When we postpone, avoid, or put off prayer, we’re inebriated with a sense of our own strength, gifts, and output. “I don’t have time to pray today.” To the sober, this is insanity."
"Yet too often it feels as if many whites refuse to imagine what it feels like to be the minority or to love the minority. White church’s church planting strategies sometimes reflect this refusal. While it is wonderful that many white churches seek to put young black men in leadership, many forgo sending that young black man back into a black church context. Beware of the temptation young black brothers have to leave the black church—where they must pay their dues—for a white church that will rush them to prominence. It sometimes feels as if some white churches consider black churches and black church practices to be unsound—or at least as not as biblically faithful—as a matter of course; I feel this way when white evangelical leaders make offhand comments about the apparent lack of Reformed theology in black churches. But countless black churches have believed and honored a Big God for a long, long time now. And countless black churches need their young men to stay within them.
But some white people hold the institution of the black church in contempt. They accuse its supporters of “dividing the body of Christ!” They don’t realize that when blacks speak of the black church, we’re not just talking about a sociological but a supernatural phenomenon—a bunch of black folk faithfully worshipping God. Some white folk, who decry the black church’s existence, don’t realize that their grandpas, who wouldn’t let blacks worship with their white folk, created the black church."
"Guilt is a young mother’s habitual shadow. It has a nasty way of soaking through many of her efforts at nurturing, serving and loving others. “Am I doing enough for my children? For others? What do they think of me? What does God think of me?”
As a young mother everyone wants something from you—your family, your church, your boss, your neighbor. And most likely, you give way more than you ever thought you could. But along the way guilt nibbles at your soul, eating away your inner peace and joy. And it often lingers through the years, even after your children are grown and gone.
Dear young mother, don’t waste your guilt!"
"In talking with others leading or participating in MCs, one thing has become apparent—trying to meaningfully incorporate children into the life of a community on mission is relatively new territory. I’ve seen the church build momentum with this in large corporate gatherings, which is a beautiful evidence of grace upon the church. However, the church must shift focus and begin building similar systems and rhythms for the children in our groups. For most missional communities, the extent that children participate is coming with their parents, usually destroying the host’s home, enjoying unlimited lasagna and cookies, watching a movie, and then leaving at the end of the night. For children under 3, that’s not bad. We want them to enjoy their time. That doesn’t mean they can’t digest basic ideas, songs, and stories about Jesus, but we shouldn’t drowned toddlers under 3 with theology."
"At some point, we have all witnessed the devastation of an affair. On the one hand, it is shocking just how much can be destroyed by the act of one person sharing sexual intimacy with another. But on the other hand, it is not shocking at all when we consider how much meaning God has packed into marriage and into the sexual relationship within marriage.
One of the great misconceptions about affairs is that they begin with sex. Affairs do not begin with sex. Falling into bed with a man who is not your husband or a woman who is not your wife is never a sudden, unplanned event. Instead, it is a culminating decision in a long list of terrible, self-centered decisions.
Some time ago Denny Burk and I spoke at a conference, and Denny told us about the 6 “e’s” that Tommy Nelson uses to describe the “ease” with which people fall into extra-marital affairs. I have shared them before but thought it might be helpful to share them again. I believe any married man or woman can benefit by occasionally considering them. Consider it one more means to fulfill 1 Timothy 4:16: “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching.”"