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Someone Anonmously Gave Me A Mercedes Benz 300SL

I preached from Zechariah 1:7-17 last Sunday. One of the applications flowed from the prayer that the Angel of the Lord prayed on behalf of the people: when praying to God, pray for that which He has already promised in His Word. Illustrating that, I mentioned that for some people prayer was motivated by a ‘Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz’ philosophy of asking for what we want instead of what God has indicated He will give. I came back to the Mercedes Benz thing a couple more times during the sermon.
When I got home Sunday night this was waiting on my front door step.

This note was attached.

If I was inclined to the prosperity gospel I’d be tempted to think that if I had more faith God would have given me a full-size one.
I’m not.
I’m thankful for the generosity and encouragement of the people among whom I’ve been called to minister God’s Word.


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Emailing Reformation 21 And Carl Trueman

Yesterday I read an article by Carl Trueman entitled ‘Life Together… Or Maybe Not’, which was posted on the Reformation 21 website. It makes some useful and telling points about pastoral care and the relationship of lead pastors with the congregations they serve, but the framework of the article is based on an anecdote about an experience of someone who is part of a large church led by an un-named, but apparently publicly noted, pastor.
I found this framing material neither necessary or helpful. Also I think it ran counter to this point, made by Trueman himself in a piece that he wrote a couple of weeks ago. To quote:
“The problem is they build grand cases about general types on very limited access to evidence. When particular figures are dismissed as being polemically minded, relentlessly aggressive etc, it is possible that, on occasion, the criticism is true. More often, however, it is built upon reading a few pages of a blog or a book or a magazine; or listening to one lecture or public statement; worse still, it is based on hostile witness of some kind.”
I think the principle translates to this essay. A single incident, without context, becomes a general indictment upon a whole group.

Here’s my email:

Subject: Trueman article: Life Together…

I found Carl Truman’s post Life Together… challenging and helpful.
However, in desiring to share it with others I find myself hindered because
of its beginning anecdote about the situation of a pastor.
I don’t think it adds to the piece, and strikes me as odd in the light of
this sort of statement from Trueman a couple of weeks ago:
The problem is they build grand cases about general types on very limited
access to evidence. When particular figures are dismissed as being
polemically minded, relentlessly aggressive etc, it is possible that, on
occasion, the criticism is true. More often, however, it is built upon
reading a few pages of a blog or a book or a magazine; or listening to one
lecture or public statement; worse still, it is based on hostile witness of
some kind.
I think generalizations about pastors and churches fall under the same sort
of standard.
Thanks for reading this, I have appreciated Trueman’s recent posts on
Luther.

Grace and Peace,
Gary Ware.

Here’s the reply from Reformation 21:

Pastor,
Thank you for your message. Your inquiry is important to us and I have
copied Dr. Trueman and the reformation21 editorial team to at this for us.
They are quite small, thus busy, but really want to serve and really care
about your remarks. Thank you again for your message, thank you for your
prayer and financial support of the ministry, and thank you for trusting the
Alliance for your reformed resources.

Grace, mercy and peace,
Robert Brady * Executive VP * Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

Justin Taylor asks Trueman to expand on the more helpful parts of the article.
Carl Trueman responds, noting, I think, that some of his framework for the article is not germaine to his main emphasis.

The specific incident was not, however, the proof of any case I was trying to make, merely the trigger for the subsequent three reflections: 1. pastors should know their people; 2. real pastoral success should not be equated with increasing distance between pastor and people as the pastor becomes a superstar; and 3. pastors need to have time to listen to their people.


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Small Applauders (via J.D. Greear)

When matters turn to other people’s ministries, do your impressions usually focus on what is positive about their service, or does your attention more naturally fall on the negatives?

J.D. Greear:

I’ve got a friend (who is not “in the ministry”) who uses that phrase to refer to people who find little to applaud in other people’s ministries. A “small applauder” has a very small window for what they consider admirable. They have a small checklist of things they look for and if you don’t hit those… well, your ministry is not really worth much of anything.
I don’t usually like to be around those kind of people. It’s not that I don’t believe in robust dialogue about truth in ministry. And it’s not that I think theologically-sloppy ministry is OK.

Greear then goes on to outline eight considerations that help shape his reaction to the ministries of others. They include:

  • Just because God has not shown someone the same grace He has shown to me (by revealing certain things about doctrine and ministry) does not mean He hasn’t shown them anything worth learning from them… God reveals some things more clearly to one than another, so that we can share with one another out of the grace He has given to each of us. The global church is Christ’s body, and we complete each other. He never gives everything to one member. In other words, He did not give us the graces He gave us so that we could be proud and look down on one another, but so that we could love and serve one another.
  • If we limit our praise and our fellowship to only those people who see things as clearly as we do, our circle will get progressively smaller and smaller and we’ll get  lonelier and lonelier in ministry, which will make us meaner and crabbier than we already are.

Read ‘Small Applauders’ at J.D. Greear’s blog.


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Keep Playing Until The Game Is Over

No sporting knowledge or interest necessary to appreciate this spectacular example of what happens if you stop competing before the game is actually finished.


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Tiny Apartment

I always wonder where I’d keep my books (and action figures) if Margaret and I ended up living in a place like this (or when my children put me in a home somewhere, it’ll just be me though, they’d never put their mother in a home).
If there was some way to digitise all my print material and have a computer and a Kindle or iPad I guess it would sort of work.
Read an article on the IKEA inspired design features of this living space, along with more photos on the Tiny House Blog.


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Best 90 Second Summary Of The 2010 Australian Election That I’ve Seen

Something to amuse everyone here.

HT: Sorrow Into Joy.