“When someone claims to be your God, you really have two choices, right? You can reject the claim or you can accept it. What you can’t do, at least for very long, is suspend judgment and just see how it plays out. Jesus claimed some amazing things about himself, and also about you… Whatever you wind up thinking about Jesus, the fact remains that he makes strong, even evasive claims about you and your relationship to God. Sure, you can ignore those claims – you can ignore anything if you try hard enough – but when somebody says, ‘You are a rebel against the God who made you, and his sentence against you is death. But I have come to stand in your place, to take that penalty and save you,’ that’s something you probably should pay attention to” (Greg Gilbert, Who Is Jesus?)
- “3 Lessons from the Life of John Bunyan” by Austin T. Duncan (The Master’s Seminary).
- “Be a Boaz in Your Business” by Rachel Starke (The Gospel Coalition). The way Boaz treated Ruth “in the workplace” is a template for men everywhere when it comes to being above reproach.
- “Pastors’ Housing Allowance Tax Break Overturned” by Gene Veith (Cranach: The Blog of Veith). Not encouraged with this news.
- “Two Indispensable Requirements for Pastoral Ministry” by Kevin DeYoung (The Gospel Coalition). Liking your people and liking the Bible you preach to them – you gotta have these or you won’t “do well” in pastoral ministry.
- “Why You May Be Tempted to Neglect Your Church” by Tim Challies.
- “Willow Creek Chooses Co-ed Pastors to Succeed Hybels” by Kate Shellnutt (Christianity Today). As if it couldn’t get any worse at Willow Creek!
One major difference between the flooding in Houston and the Great Flood that took place in Noah’s day centers around the word “rescue.”
As of this morning, thousands have been rescued from the flooded waters in and around Houston. Some were trapped in their homes; others in their cars; others swimming or floating around the city; others on the roof of a building. But people are being rescued, and the videos and stories being told of these rescues are of great encouragement for those of us watching this from a distance.
In Noah’s day, other than his family on the ark, no one was rescued. Noah did not paddle his boat around looking for survivors, because there were no survivors. God’s judgment was thorough on that wicked world.
When I ponder this difference between Noah’s flood and the flood in SE Texas, it compels me to exhort you to think of how you can participate in the ministry of rescuing those that are suffering in SE Texas.
If you know Christ, you have been rescued from sin and you know from first-hand experience what it feels like for someone to save you from a precarious and eternally life-threatening condition. We have an opportunity to do something Noah couldn’t – rescue victims from the flood.
Here are 3 ways you can participate in rescuing others.
- Rescue by praying. Since prayer works (James 5:19) and it is a means of calling upon our Omnipotent Creator who is sovereign and controls the weather and is not limited and loves to save others, why wouldn’t we pray? Most of us cannot travel to Texas but all of us can pray. Pray that God would strengthen the boaters looking for survivors. Pray that God would lead and direct people to safety. Pray that the churches in the Houston area would give their money, resources, and people to further the cause of the Gospel by rescuing as many as they can. Pray regularly for the people of SE Texas (I Thessalonians 5:17).
- Rescue by giving. Many people will ask, “What can I give?” And the answer is, “It depends on who you ask.” Some organizations will ask for money. Others will ask for more tangible items like food, diapers, water bottles, clothes, shoes, etc. And unfortunately, there are enough thieves in our world to see these disasters as opportunities to take advantage of others. Let me recommend one trustworthy organization you can give towards – Bridgepoint Bible Church. The Lead Pastor of this church is David Gundersen – my brother-in-law. 100% of what is given to their relief effort will be used to help members of their congregation who have lost their homes and others in their community who need help with restoring their lives. Go to this link to learn more. If you are a user of Facebook, you can view some of the videos he and others have posted in and around their church, which currently has about 3.5 feet of water in it.
- Rescue by going. I have heard several people in Wichita tell me they want to travel down to the area and just “lend a hand.” To that I say a hearty, “Amen.” If I had the time and ability, this would be my choice. Some of you have “time on your hands.” Some of you have financial resources to make a trip and spend a few days or week assisting the Red Cross or other local churches. If you can, go.
In short, decide how you will participate in the ministry of rescue, and do it well (Colossians 3:23).
Brian Croft is a professor at Southern in Louisville, KY and well-known blogger who focuses on the practical side of ministry. Recently, a video was released re-telling the story of his first 5 years of ministry.
Praise God for His faithfulness – http://practicalshepherding.com/2017/07/02/a-video-testimony-of-brian-crofts-crazy-first-5-years-at-his-church/.
“The Holy Scriptures require a humble reader who shows reverence and fear toward the Word of God and constantly says, ‘Teach me, teach me, teach me!’ The Spirit resists the proud. Though they study and preach Christ purely for a time, nevertheless, God excludes them from the church if they’re proud. Wherefore every proud person is a heretic, if not actually, then potentially. However, it is difficult for a man who has excellent gifts not to be arrogant. Those whom God adorns with great gifts He plunges into the most sever trials in order that they may learn that they’re nothing. … Pride drove the angel out of heaven and spoils many preachers. According it’s humility that’s needed in the study of sacred literature.” (Martin Luther)