Here’s an essay I wrote for The Gospel Coalition on the value of small-town/rural ministry and the importance of developing a theological vision for it. I’ve been formed deeply by ten years of pastoring Pepperell Christian Fellowship. This essay is the fruit of a decade of small-town ministry among a people I dearly love. You can read the TGC article here.
I’m a big fan of Gordon-Conwell professor and former Senior Pastor of Park Street Church, Gordon Hugenberger (I took every class I could from him in seminary, and was his teaching assistant). Here’s a classic Hugenberger talk, in which he brings fresh biblical insight to the discussion of the imputed righteousness of Christ. This is stirring and worshipful. Hugenberger reminds us that if we’re in Christ, we don’t need to climb a ladder to God – we start each day at the top of the ladder already.
The upcoming Life on Mission Conference in Weston and Sudbury on March 16-17, 2018 looks valuable. It’s organized by my friend Brandon Levering. This year the theme is “The Gospel & Sexuality: Faithful and Compassionate Witness,” and the speakers are Christopher Yuan and Rachel Gilson.
Here’s some further information from their website: “Few subjects dominate the cultural landscape in America as thoroughly as sexuality and gender. From entertainment to politics to education, LGBTQ+ concerns have captured the hearts and minds of the public. Most of us have friends, neighbors, colleagues, classmates, or family members who identify as gay (perhaps we too are same-sex attracted). So pervasive is the acceptance and celebration of homosexuality and transgenderism, that any disagreement or hesitancy is often dismissed as bigotry, homophobia, and hate. And so when it comes to sharing the gospel of Christ with other people in our lives, a biblical sexual ethic now feels like a liability. Being on the ‘wrong side’ of this one issue threatens to discredit our views on any issue, not least the gospel. In fact, it is now virtually impossible to discuss Jesus with someone without the topic of gender or homosexuality finding its way into the conversation—often with undesirable results. So what does gospel ministry look like in this new world? How do we love our gay neighbors? How do we hold fast to Scripture and hold out the gospel message without being a jerk? How do we maintain a faithful and compassionate witness as we seek to reach our friends and family for Christ? Join Christopher Yuan and Rachel Gilson as they share from Scripture and out of their own stories of redemption to help us cultivate a faithful and compassionate gospel witness in our day.”
For further information and to register, click here.
I wish every single person I know could take a few minutes to read through the article/transcript I’m going to link to below, and then watch the 18-minute video at the bottom of the article. The article and the talk are by Eric Brown, who recently gave a talk about his daughter Pearl, who was born with severe developmental issues, is now 5-1/2 years old, and may not live much longer. Through tears, Eric Brown exalts the sovereign goodness of God. This weeping, courageous father will strengthen your faith in a big God who does all things well, including knitting together little Pearl Brown in her mother’s womb.
Read the article and watch the video of Eric Brown’s talk here.
Here’s a really helpful article from Trevin Wax of the The Gospel Coalition, about the spiritual practices that are common to children who wind up flourishing spiritually as Christian adults. It’s based on a new LifeWay research study. How important and valuable can you get?!
There are many great take-aways in the article, including some surprises. Here’s one important finding: ‘The biggest factor was Bible reading. Children who regularly read the Bible while they were growing up were more likely to have a vibrant spiritual life once they became adults.’
Parents of young children, please read this article!