Reblog: Forgiving Fallen Pastors

by John MacArthur

It has always saddened me over the years as I’ve watched church leaders bring reproach on the church of Jesus Christ. What’s perhaps most shocking to me is how frequently Christian leaders sin grossly, then step back into leadership almost as soon as the publicity dies away.

Some time ago I received a recording that disturbed me greatly. It was audio of the recommissioning service for a pastor who had made national news by confessing to an adulterous affair. After little more than a year of “counseling and rehabilitation,” this man was returning to public ministry with his church’s blessing.

It is happening everywhere. Restoration teams—equipped with manuals to instruct the church on how to reinstate its fallen pastor—wait like tow truck drivers on the side of the highway, anticipating the next leadership “accident.” Grace Community Church, where I pastor, has received inquiries wondering if it has written guidelines or a workbook to help in restoring fallen pastors to leadership. Many no doubt expect that a church the size of ours would have a systematic rehabilitation program for sinning leaders.

Gross sin among Christian leaders is a signal that something is seriously wrong within the contemporary church. But an even greater problem is the lowering of standards to accommodate a leader’s sin. That churches are so eager to bring these men back into leadership—and to do so relatively quickly—is a symptom of rottenness to the core.

Christians must not regard leadership in the church lightly. The foremost requirement of a leader is that he “must be above reproach” (1 Timothy 3:2, 10; Titus 1:7). That is a difficult prerequisite, and not everyone can meet it.

Some kinds of sin irreparably shatter a man’s reputation and disqualify him from a ministry of leadership forever—because he can no longer be above reproach. Even Paul, man of God that he was, said he feared such a possibility: “I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

When referring to his body, Paul obviously had sexual immorality in view. In 1 Corinthians 6:18 he describes it as a sin against one’s own body—sexual sin is in its own category. Certainly it disqualifies a man from church leadership, because he permanently forfeits a blameless reputation as a one-woman man (Proverbs 6:33; 1 Timothy 3:2).

Where did we get the idea that a year’s leave of absence can restore integrity to someone who has squandered his reputation and destroyed people’s trust? Certainly not from the Bible. Trust forfeited is not so easily regained. Once a man sacrifices his purity, the ability to lead by example is lost forever. As my friend Chuck Swindoll once commented when referring to the issue—it takes only one pin to burst a balloon.

What about forgiveness? Shouldn’t we be eager to restore our fallen brethren? To fellowship, yes. But not to leadership. It is not an act of love to return a disqualified man to public ministry; it is an act of disobedience.

By all means we should be forgiving. But we cannot erase the consequences of sin. I am not advocating that we “shoot our wounded.” I’m simply saying that we shouldn’t rush them back to the front lines—and we should not put them in charge of other soldiers. The church should do everything possible to minister to those who have sinned and repented. But that does not include restoring the mantle of leadership to a man who has disqualified himself and forfeited his right to lead. Doing so is unbiblical and lowers the standard God has set.

Why is the contemporary church so eager to be tolerant in restoring fallen leaders? I’m certain a major reason is the sin and unbelief that pervade the church. If casual Christians can lower the level of leadership, they will be much more comfortable with their own sin. With lower moral standards for its leaders, the church becomes more tolerant of sin and less tolerant of holiness. The “sinner-friendly” church is intolerable to God. And such a church reveals the precarious status of contemporary Christendom—a reality that should frighten all serious and obedient believers.

Conservative Christians have a strong legacy of battling for doctrinal purity. And that is good. But we are losing the battle for moral purity. Some of the worst defeats have occurred among our most visible leaders. The church cannot lower the standard to accommodate them. We should hold it higher so the church can regain its purity. If we lose here, we have utterly failed, no matter how orthodox our confession of faith. We can’t be salt and light if we compromise the biblical standard of moral purity for our leaders.

In view of this crisis in leadership and morality, what should you do? Pray for your church’s leaders. Keep them accountable. Encourage them. Let them know you are following their godly example. Understand that they are not perfect. But continue nonetheless to call them to the highest standards of godliness and purity. The church must have leaders who are genuinely above reproach. Anything less is an abomination.

Find the original post here.

Reblog: Seven Ways To Pray for Your Prayer Life

From Challies.com

Here are seven ways that you can pray about your prayer life. These are seven items you can add to your prayer list as you consider your own prayer life or another person’s.

1) Pray that your prayers would be the expressions of a humble heart.

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:5-6)

2) Pray that God would remind you that he doesn’t want or need your eloquent prayers.

And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6:7-8)

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. (Romans 8:26)

3) Pray that you would remember what the really important requests are.

Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”
(Matthew 6:9-13)

4) Pray that you would remember biblical examples of answered prayer.

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. … Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. (James 5:13-14, 17-18)

5) Pray that God would give you confidence in his sovereign power.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

6) Pray that God would help you to persevere in your praying.

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily.” (Luke 18:1-8)

Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:9-11)

Reblog: Young Men- Is this You?

young man walkingYoung Men — Is This You?
by Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Need” is a strong word. But I use it intentionally and I use it passionately. Yes, I use it urgently. Our culture desperately needs men. Not boys! We have plenty of boys. The church needs men, real men, godly men, holy men, biblical men. As a minister of the gospel, as a student of Scripture, as a biblical counselor, and as a man after God’s own heart, I will list 8 traits that should characterize men. So — young men: is this you?

Young men — you need…

1) Truth — Jesus described Himself as being “the Truth.” God is the God of truth and truthfulness. You are made by Him and designed to emulate Him. Speak truth in your heart and have no fear of what you’ll say. Fill your mind and heart with truthful things and flee from deceptive, hidden, devious, manipulative ways. Young men, at all costs, be men of truth!

2) Integrity — The biblical concept of integrity speaks of wholeness, blamelessness. That is, to live a life of integrity demands a person who refuses double-mindedness and double-living. What you say you’ll do, do it at all costs. Be faithful, true to your word, and honest in all things.

3) Gentleness — The boldest and manliest person to ever walk this world was God in human flesh. And this Lord Jesus Christ was full of gentleness. Be strong! Be courageous! Be self-controlled and be sober-minded. Control your heart, mind, words, and actions. Be gentle!

4) Convictions — Be willing to die for things! These are your convictions. Men hold opinions but convictions hold the man. Believe God, His Word, the gospel and in the eternality of the soul, and live and die for Him. Shape your convictions by Scripture and stand up for them.

5) Perseverance — When life thrashes you against the rocks remember one thing: when suffering comes it comes because God wants you there. God grows His people as they endure hardships. Don’t despise the clouds that God brings. The Sun of Righteousness grows you in it.

6) Punctuality — Young men have this tragic reputation of being late (and lazy). And shamefully, it’s often true. Manhood demands responsibility. Rise early. Prepare your body and heart. Warm your soul with Christ each day. Leave early. Arrive early. Pray, prepare, be punctual. To arrive 5 minutes early is to arrive on time. Remember that.

7) Submission — Never be to prideful to submit. Godly men submit. Christ Himself — God come in the flesh — submitted Himself constantly and perfectly to the will of His Father. Submit to your parents. Submit to your authorities. Submit to the police. Submit to your church shepherd-elders. Find joy in obeying Christ in worshipful submission.

8) Discipline — Own your body. Don’t be mastered by it. You need to discipline yourself. No one wins a gold metal by coasting. No one wins the race with laziness. Discipline your soul, your mind, your body. Engage daily with Christ. Pray humbly before Him. Speak much of Him. Ponder His beauties. Discipline yourself, O man.

read the original post here.

Re You Tube: Brene Brown: The Anatomy of Trust

Brene%20Brown%20Quote%20about%20Trust

What does it mean to trust someone? What does it mean to trust yourself? Brené Brown breaks down her world renowned research into a jar of marbles…yes, a jar of marbles. Brené Brown’s SuperSoul Session takes you step by step through the acronym B.R.A.V.I.N.G, revealing the anatomy of trust and why it all starts with the small, everyday moments you might be missing.

Find this 24 minute video here.

PAQA Quilt Show

Jamie and I attended a small but wonderful quilt show yesterday here in Central Phoenix. Here a few of the highlights:

IMG_1486

This one I voted for “viewer favorite.” I’ve always like basket patterns and the embroidered fence, gate and flowers were very well done. Although browns are not my colors I thought the color choices were well put together.

IMG_1379

A close up of the embroidery.

IMG_1378

And the basket and embroidery.

IMG_1485

This was Jamie’s favorite. She always loves the things that sparkle.

IMG_1483

IMG_1408

Here’s a landscape quilt that Jamie and I really enjoyed. This is something I would love to learn to create.

IMG_1396

This one is very interesting with the black and white background and the colorful dots.

IMG_1401

IMG_1406

This was a fun pixel train quilt.

IMG_1480

I enjoyed the colors of this Yo-Yo Quilt. It takes dedication to hand stitch something like this. (I just learned how to make yo-yos a couple of months ago)

IMG_1422

Here’s another basket with florals. I really enjoyed this one too.

IMG_1424

IMG_1454

Nice job ladies of the PAQA. We enjoyed your art and creativity very much.

Reblog: 5 Leadership Questions Podcast

From LifeWay Leadership

so more betterIn this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast Todd Adkins and Barnabas Piper talk with Tim Challies, a popular blogger, author, and book reviewer. Tim began got into blogging when the medium was young and quickly gained a significant following He was initially best known for his prolific and in-depth book reviews, and as time wen ton began blogging on theology and life. His passion is connecting theology with practical living and he does it well in his various books too. Tim recently released a book called Do More Better on productivity and has one coming out this spring called Visual Theology that seeks to offer visual understanding and cues for complex theology.

Get the link to the 33 minute podcast here.