Jesus and Mark’s Gospel Prologue

Three new posts up at our pastor’s blog concerning the person and work of Jesus in Mark’s prologue and the first two sermon outlines (Mk 1.1-8, 1.9-15). Go here.

11 Reasons Why Working With Kids Is Not Second Rate Ministry, by Brent Osterberg

Sadly, children’s ministry in the local church can often be seen as second rate ministry, not much more than crowd control and waiting out the clock. This can be seen on the occasions when members looking to move on to bigger and better things will see children’s church or AWANA as merely something to cut their teeth on. Or when the church leadership, in a desperate attempt just to fill the volunteer gaps, will try and make children’s ministry as burden-less and non-committal as possible. Then, of course, there are those who take a shift with the kiddos just because they feel like they have to do something to serve.

Truth be told, I’ve thought all these things at one time or another over the years. Only now that my wife and I have kids of our own have I realized the crucial role that children’s ministry plays in the lives of the kids it serves, their families, and the church.

So then, in the hopes that more Christians and churches will begin cherishing this ministry and investing in it more copiously, here are 11 reasons why children’s ministry is not second rate ministry:

Go here for his 11 insightful reasons.

Where And How Do We Draw The Line, by Kevin DeYoung

1. Establish the essentials of the faith.
2. Listen to the communion of the saints.
3. Distinguish between landing theology and launching theology.
4. Distinguish between the explicit teaching of Scripture and the application of scriptural principles.
5. Distinguish between church existence and church health.
6. Avoid foolish controversies.
7. Allow for areas of disagreement, especially regarding “conversion baggage.”

Go here for his explanations of each.

What If I Had Stayed In The Workforce?, by Luma Simms

Ok, so I have posted many things recently on the value and goodness of motherhood.  Simms, in one sense, cuts against me in that she goes the next step, a balancing one, and refocuses our attention on ultimate value.  There is value in biblical motherhood, but biblical motherhood is not the place that the mother ought to be finding her value.  I get it!  So on the one hand, I do not rescind the articles that I have posted that have been written by others concerned with the devaluing of motherhood.  I think what they have said is good to read and apply.  But almost everything nowadays is written as a counter-response or balance or improvement upon what has been previously written or, in some cases, disregarded.  This is where I think Simms’ article is important.  She does not by any stretch of the imagination devalue what has been written, what has been a hot-topic in our evangelical culture, namely, the value of women, the role of mother, and the various beauties of that role in the Bible.  What she does is give balance, and help us to understand that if one’s value is located in the degree to which one mothers biblically, value is still located in the self and will rise and fall with the self.  She helpfully reminds us, and particularly women, that their value is not ultimately in how good they mother, but in the union with Jesus Christ.

Go here for her helpful article.

100 Quotes From You On Sanctification, posted by Jonathan Parnell

I love quotes.  I especially love good, edifying quotes.  And I really love good, edifying quotes dealing with Bible knowledge and the Christian life.  So go here for 100 quotes on sanctification gathered by Desiring God in lieu of their upcoming National Conference.

On the Nature of Divine Election

Patrick Schreiner has a put together a good synopsis of the arguments put forward by Brian Abasciano (corporate emphasis/conditional election) and Tom Schreiner (individual emphasis/unconditional election) here.

He includes the two opposing articles (Abasciano’s article is a response to Schreiner’s work some ten years before, and Schreiner’s article is a response to Abasciano’s response).  I want to highly suggest you reading them both.  They will stretch your mind, and that is good.  And depending upon what side of the debate you are on at present, I would encourage you to a cool frame and tempered, teachable disposition in reading the article that exegetes and argues contrary to your position.  As Piper has said, “it is more important to learn what they are saying than to hear what you want to hear” (paraphrase).

I will tell you, also, that after reading them both, I still land somewhat predictably and unhesitatingly with Schreiner’s position.  I won’t bother you with my own thoughts beyond that.  Just read the articles and we can talk later.  And, p.s., I don’t think this is a peripheral issue!

5 Resolutions For A Christian Communicator, by Daniel Darling

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the calling of a Christian communicator. This could be your duties as a writer, whither blogs or books or articles. Or it could be your task as a preacher or teacher, whither in small group, pulpit ministry, or classroom.

To communicate the truth of the good news of the gospel, in any form, is a high privilege and a sober calling. I’m always mindful of James 3, which outlines the seriousness of the calling and the negative and positive effect of the words we craft.

Go here for the list.