Books I’m Reading (8/30/2011)

I'm always reading books. Here are some I'm working on right now: The Beginning and End of Wisdom - Preaching Christ from the First and Last Chapters of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job. Douglas Sean O'Donnell Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me - Ian Morgan Cron Jonathan Edwards, A Life - George Marsden...

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Why Words Matter

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. James 3:1-2 (ESV)  We may be the most talkative generation in history. I have no way of measuring that, really. But consider the ways we can communicate with words: text, Tweets, Facebook posts, Google Plus, email, blog, comments, cell phones. That’s not even counting this really old-fashioned way of communicating called “face to face conversation.” Most of the time we don’t weigh the value of our words. We throw out words like they are disposable. We post things online or text things before we consider the consequences of what we are saying. But we would be wise to consider the words...

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What a Pastor Says

At Gages Lake Bible Church, we’re going through the book of James, in a series we’ve entitled, Authentic Faith. (You can listen/download the sermons here.) James is a section of Scripture that really makes you sit up and listen. And it’s written specifically to Christians in the church. There is no way to dance around it and maybe pass off James words as something not applicable to our culture or something we can ignore because it was written to the Israelites.

We’re going to start chapter three on Sunday, which is a chapter that deals with the tongue. Now most of us have read this chapter and know this chapter and come away feeling very convicted about the work God must do in us through the Spirit. Or we come away thinking that this passage would be great for someone else to hear. You know, that person we know who has a caustic tongue?

But here’s something about James 3 that I didn’t really notice until now. It begins with a very sober warning to Bible teachers. James basically says that the calling to teaching the Word is so sober that few should entertain the idea. He’s not saying, I don’t think, that to be a pastor or Sunday School teacher or small group leader is something we shouldn’t aspire to, but that before you get all excited about teaching and preaching others, consider the consequences.

Then James goes right to the tongue and stays there for the rest of the chapter. Here’s a lesson I think we often miss about this Scripture and one you can only get when you study the entire context. Yes, the passage on the tongue is for every Christian, but it’s especially pertinent for Christian leaders. What we say matters. The words we say when we speak in that pulpit or in that classroom or on that blog or Facebook post or Twitter feed matter. And they matter more because of our position.

The words of Christian leaders matter because people follow Christian leaders. People assume that what they say comes from God, that their quoting of Scripture and their exegesis and application are accurate. This is why we as pastors must be careful to study, to know the Bible, and to only say what the Bible says, nothing more or nothing less. This is so vitally important.

The Ethics of a Church Protest Blog

It's become more and more popular: a group of disgruntled church members set up a website to "protest" the church leadership of a big and established congregation. In the last two years, there have been protest sites set up against prominent megachurches like Bellevue Baptist Church in Tennessee (Adrian Roger's old church), Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (once pastored by the late Dr. James Kennedy and now pastored by Tullian Tchivigian), The Crystal Cathedral (Robert Schuler), and Covenant Life Church (Josh Harris/CJ. Mahaney). I'm sure there are other situations that I'm not aware of. My question is this. Is it biblically ethical to publicly post complaints about your experiences at another church? It may be your "right" as an American, but as a follower of Christ, can you justify putting the dirty laundry of the family of God online for all to consume? I'm not so sure it is. We all know that churches will...

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