“Due process is just, and it’s indispensable to the pursuit of justice. It is the answer to the question at the start of this newsletter—in the most fraught of claims and the most vicious of crimes—What if we loved them both? What if both accused and accuser were of equal worth?” - David French
"If a person despises me for defending life, filing lawsuits to protect the First Amendment, or deploying abroad to play my own very small part in battling vicious terrorists, then so be it. That’s what some on the Left have done. Some on the new right, however, seem to despise me for not mocking my opponents, not insulting them, and not treating them as less-than-human." - David French
"The Bible calls us to both truth and love—not some squishy love that refuses to name error, but also not some truth that is harsh and brutal....This love is gentle and forbearing (because God is gentle and forbearing). This love is willing to move slowly and to rejoice at small gains (because God is willing to move slowly and to rejoice at small gains). It doesn’t give up easily, doesn’t have unrealistic expectations, and doesn’t assume ill motives." - Challies
"We are called to find common ground where it genuinely exists, improve our own arguments, and win over persuadable Americans by answering hostility with magnanimity, understanding, good humor, and love. We cannot do that while hiding in our narrow ideological foxholes." - National Review
Editor’s note: This article is part of Dean’s Pathways to Preaching series, aimed at young men considering pastoral ministry. I believe there’s plenty here also for “not-young” men, already in ministry, perhaps as a reminder (2 Pet. 3:1).
With any vocation, a set of skills is necessary to do your work. Is this true for pastors too? Doesn’t God enable a pastor to do his work? Yes, He does. He makes you able to do what you could not do in your own knowledge and strength. But there is a human side to pastoral work as well. A pastor grows in his understanding of how to do pastoral work and in his skill at performing the work.
My focus here is not so much how to preach, how to share the Gospel, how to perform a wedding, etc. Of course you need to learn those too. What I’m talking about here are finer points of conducting yourself in your pastoral responsibilities. One of these areas is people skills.
Some people skills can be learned, but …
I was talking with a neighbor couple recently about my work. I explained to them I am equipping a new generation of pastors. The sweet, elderly lady said, “Oh, they need to love people!” She’s right.
Reposted from The Cripplegate.
Insurance companies amaze me. One little speeding ticket or a minor fender-bender, and everything changes. Your monthly payment sky-rockets. They no longer trust you. Simply for doing the human thing of making a mistake, you henceforth are placed on insurance detention. They not only record the minor mishap, but your previously good relationship with them goes sour from merely one mistake. One little blunder results in a tarnished relationship.
Too often we can be the same way in our relationships with one another. Someone commits a few small sins against us and look out; like the graceless insurance company, the relationship gutters. We place them on our spiritual detention list for relational prosecution. We are no longer trusting, but suspecting. We are no longer caring, but gossiping. We are no longer inviting, but ignoring. We are no longer loving, but judging. And we are sinning.
Love … does not take into account a wrong suffered. (1 Cor. 13:5)
In the Greek, there is one word translated, “take into account.” It describes someone who keeps a mental record of events for the sake of some future action (Louw & Nida, 1:345). The word also was used in ancient Greek as an accounting term; the act of keeping track of debts and expenses. The idea, then, is that love does not act like a meticulous accountant who precisely records and holds onto every wrong-doing of others. Love does not cling to its hurt feelings.
I get frustrated when people flip-flop about the meaning of words in the midst of a conversation. This is not usually intentional; we may not even notice. I label these words as “slippery.” They take on multiple meanings or auras in our society, and their definitions are particularly subjective or floating.
For example, when I speak of our church, I am talking about the people, our church family. If I say, “I think we have a wonderful church,” I mean, “We have a wonderful group of people who participate in church life.” But the average person on the street—and many Christians—think I am talking about our church building. Others, who advocate a secular society, define church as “religion,” as in “separation of church and state.”
This confusion intensifies when we talk about emotionally charged words, like “passion,” “worship,” or even “faith.” One particularly slippery word is “love,” the focus of this article.