Best of the Week for November 27
In Best of the Week we link to a handful of the best articles, videos, books, etc. that we have come across in the last week. We hope this will point you to some of the right places and give you gospel-rich tools and thoughts for life and mission.
“Churches rarely celebrate slow, hard-slogging work that’s yet to see fruit. In doing so, we unintentionally create spiritual versions of get-rich-quick testimonials…and in our efforts to quickly mobilize churches in missions, I fear we’re unintentionally undermining the church’s ability to patiently invest for the spiritual long-term. I fear we’re training churches who would’ve brought home William Carey or Adoniram Judson due to their evangelistic inefficiency in the first seven or eight years.”
Most of the work of mission and evangelism is incredibly hard to evaluate with short term measures, whether we see mass conversions or none. The things Jesus praises must be observed over time, and often real fruit takes time to grow. We shouldn’t expect to always see slow growth, and we also should not neglect to celebrate and value “slow, hard-slogging work.”
“We all know we should pray more. The guilt within reminds us. But if we are honest, we neither want to pray more, nor are we really convinced we need to. Why? Perhaps we don’t really understand what prayer is — or we’re prone to forget.”
Here it is: Prayers God will always answer. Now get to praying! Of course it’s not quite that simple, but if there are things we know God will do when we ask, should we not get to asking him to do those things he delights to do?
“Does that mean we over-40 singles are doomed to lives of miserable loneliness? Most definitely not. First of all, we can forget about the statistics because, ultimately, only God determines who marries and who doesn’t. If marriage is God’s plan for us, sooner or later we’re going to get married.”
It’s always easy to speak with objectivity into others’ struggles, ones that are not our own. But the emotional nature of the ones we struggle with make it almost impossible for us to hear and receive the good news of God’s grace in the midst of those struggles. Here is a good gospel encouragement for those with lots of questions about why they’re not married and for those of us who love them deeply.
“When you meet with someone, spend a lot of time listening.”
I have been reading a book recently called Everyday Church, and one of the chapters is on pastoral care. The authors make a great point that pastoral care is not solely the job of pastors any more than sharing the gospel is solely the job of evangelists. Pastorally caring for and leading each other is the job of the entire body of Christ. This article is a helpful piece in that. There’s a lot more (and very practical) to this article than “just listen.” But listening is the biggest part of our job in these kinds of conversations.
“One of the oddest aspects of the sexual revolution is its tendency to present the problem as the solution.”
Culture thinks that doubling and tripling down on the same ideologies will eventually lead to them being right. Unfortunately the consequences of this approach are revealing themselves in escalating ways. And surprisingly to some, Jesus actually told us how to get it right 2,000 years ago, and God the Father thousands of years before that. The premise behind this article will not be new to most of us, but the way it is articulated is very helpful as we process this entire conversation in our homes, our churches, and in the public square.
The Biggest Story is a GREAT kids book about the story of the Bible and the gospel in 10 short chapters. This one is written by the same author to a younger audience, and might make a great gift idea for your little people this Christmas or Advent season.
Have a good week.