Christian, good friday, theology

A Good Friday Meditation

I’ve always heard the old folks say you don’t plant your garden until Good Friday. So today is planting day. Nature screams life as the trees burst forth in buds. The mornings are still cool, but vibrant green colors dominate the landscape. Forty days ago, it was not so. The firm grip of winter still held creation, but this morning sings a different song.

            The rows are ready to receive the summer fruits: tomatoes, peppers, okra, and squash. Today I will bury corn seeds in dirt as an act of worship, confident that life will soon burst. This holy reenactment draws my mind to other more excellent seeds sown in expectation.

            First, how Joseph of Arimathea planted Eve’s Greater Seed. It was a hasty job, for sure, because of the Sabbath demands. No doubt, the disciples were not prepared. Just five days earlier, had not He entered as King into the King’s city? But now, the Light from Light seemed to be snuffed out. He did not despise the cup of suffering. It pleased the Father to crush him, and He willingly submitted himself to the penalty of sin. He who knew no sin became a sin offering for us. His beaten and broken body was buried on our behalf.

            Second, how believers have followed suit. How many believers have followed their champion in death? How many have watched as their loved ones have been covered in soil and watered the grave with tears? Death’s wintry chill courses through this world and is felt in the bones of every man. Some bury Saints full of years; others meet death young and inexperienced. Some through martyrdom, others through miscarriage. Yet, all in hope. For Christ has been raised, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

            Last, how Christianity is a life of sowing. Every action, word, and deed is sowing seed. We sow in prayer, not seeing immediate growth but looking for an unshakable kingdom with expectation. We sow with kind words to neighbors and meals shared with friends. We sow in Sunday Schools and super markets. The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, small but bursting with potential. It is advancing even today, with seeds sown by kings and paupers, businesswomen and housewives, doctors and custodians. Each week the ordinary means of grace are practiced all across our world. The word is preached; the bread and cup are consumed. We remember seeds planted because unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

            Oh, how we celebrate planting day! For how could he ascend if he does not first descend into death? One day soon, life will be found in a tomb. Death will find that the Son of Man can no longer be held. Christ lives now, and forevermore so confidently we plant our dead knowing that they will one day flower and fruit. Christ has snatched away death’s victory and openly triumphs over the principalities and powers of this world. As Wendell Berry suggests, we “practice resurrection” daily because, as slaves of Christ, we can do no other than to follow the example of our King.

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Christian, Poetry, theology, Uncategorized

The Mississippi and the Thames

The Mississippi and the Thames,

If they should meet, would they be friends?

With winding banks and muddy shore

Both bubbling with hidden lore,

With tributaries making strong

Sweet Thames run soft and hear my song.

The Gathering of Waters stood

“I feel the bottom; it is good.”

Euphrates’s Sons have traveled long

Now rest and sing with happy throng.

Lead on the men of Adam’s core

To gracious gifts laid up in store.

When they shall meet they will be friends,

The Mississippi and the Thames.

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Christian, grief, theology, Uncategorized

Theology and Grief

Carl F. H. Henry once quipped that “Our century has served theological skim milk to both churchmen and churchgoers; to the masses outside, non-milk, non-nutritious substitutes.” Nevertheless, Henry felt the winds of evangelical theological renewal. This theological renewal, sowed by evangelicals of yesteryear, is now being reaped in our Baptist seminaries and churches. But theology for theology’s sake is never the end goal. We confess that God created humanity as more than brains on sticks. We are not merely rational creatures; therefore, theology should never be merely academic. Instead, God intends theology to be a mercy that comforts his people in times of need. In my struggle with grief, the doctrine of the ascension has been particularly comforting.

A few months ago, I returned home one evening from work as usual. My two kids greeted Daddy at the door, and after hugging them and sorting some mail, I went to my office to return some books I had used that day. Something on my desk caught my attention – a bright pink positive pregnancy test. My wife and I were ecstatic. We shared the good news with our children, who could not have been more excited. Knox, our five-year-old, was so excited that he surprised us all by announcing the news prematurely to our church a few weeks later! With the news out, we were full of joy with the gift the Lord had given us.

But a couple weeks ago, our joy turned to fear. My wife woke up one morning with signs of a miscarriage. I, the eternal optimist, assured her that there was no cause for concern, but to be safe, we would go to the hospital. After a brief examination by the doctor, he told us the news. “I’m afraid you’re experiencing a miscarriage.” Thus began our journey into grief.

Amid this heartache, I have found solace in the person and work of Jesus, particularly in his ascension. This may seem like a strange doctrine to cling to during a time of loss, but the implications of Christ’s ascension have been a balm to my weary soul. The Heidelberg Catechism gives three advantages to Christ’s ascension. First, the ascension reminds believers that Christ “is our advocate in the presence of his Father in heaven.” As I wrestle with the pain of grief, I am reminded that I have an advocate before the Father in heaven. God grants Job’s plea to every believer. Our Elder Brother goes in between and intercedes for us. He is the great High Priest who ushers us into the throne room of mercy. Not only does Christ advocate on my behalf, but I am confident that my unborn child has an advocate in heaven as well.

One of the most significant sources of my grief is that I could not father my unborn child in the ways that I can father my other children. I would have loved to comfort and encourage this child and be the trellis that allowed her to grow into maturity, but this would never be. Nevertheless, Christ’s ascension reminds me that his interceding love for my child is far greater than I can imagine. By his faithfulness, my child is safe in the arms of God.

Second, the Heidelberg Catechism states “that we have our flesh in heaven as a sure pledge that he, as the head, will also take up to himself, us, his members.” Christ’s ascension reminds us that he reigns forever as our conquering King. The God-man took upon himself human flesh, conquered death, and now reigns at God’s right hand. This is good news indeed. It reminds me that death, that great enemy, is defeated. Christ’s human flesh in heaven acts as a pledge to believers that one day we too will live in the presence of our God. It’s a reminder that though my child cannot come back to me, I can go one day to her. My federal head is in heaven, and one day he will call me to join Him. On that day, not only will I be able to dwell with my God, but I will meet my child. He has given me grace upon grace! It is as John Donne once wrote, Christ is the “strong ram, which hast battered heaven for me, Mild lamb, which with thy blood, hast marked the path; Bright torch, which shin’st, that I the way may see, Oh, with thine own blood quench thine own just wrath.”

The third advantage of the ascension the catechism gives is that in the ascension, Christ “sends us his Spirit as an earnest, by whose power we “seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, and not things on earth.” It is this earnest, the Holy Spirit, that comforts my weary soul. It is the Holy Spirit that restores my heart and gives me hope. It is the Holy Spirit that lifts my head to things above. Amid this time of grief, the Holy Spirit, the one who proceeds from both the Father and the Son – fully God – dwells within me. He is a constant reminder that the Trinitarian God is for me and with me.

This doctrine of the ascension is the one that the Holy Spirit uses to tune my heart to sing the words of the old hymn:

“Who is this that comes in glory,

Trumpets sound with jubilee?

Lord of battles, God of armies,

He has gained the victory.

He who on the cross did suffer,

He who from the grave arose,

He has conquered sin and Satan,

He by death has beat his foes.

You have raised our human nature

On the clouds to God’s right hand;

There we’ll sit in heav’nly places,

There with you in glory stand.

Jesus reigns, adored by angels,

Man with God in on the throne;

Mighty Lord in your ascension

We by faith behold our own.”

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Christian, Society

Books to Pass the Time

This week a dear former church member and friend of mine is having a surgery that will put her up for a few weeks. And since there is no better way to pass the time than to read she asked me for my recommended reading list.

The wonderful thing about books is that they come in all different shapes and sizes. There’s bound to be a book out there that appeals to every one. I’ve complied a list of some of my favorite books that I have read the past few years that should be accessible to all.

In no particular order here are my recommendations:

Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund

This wonderful little book is a balm for the weary soul. Ortlund seeks to reveal the true heart of Christ for his people and encourages people to bask in the love of their Savior.

The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson

Andrew Peterson (better known as a Christian singer/song writer) has written one of the best modern young adult series I’ve ever read. From the first page in On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness until the last page of the final book The Warden and the Wolf King, the reader will be hooked.

A Loving Life by Paul Miller

Paul Miller is becoming one of my favorite Christian writers. This little book is an exposition of the book of Ruth. Miller shows how Ruth exhibits the heart of Christ and encourages believers to follow Him in living the loving life.

The Consistent Christian by William Secker (Free copy available at www.chapellibrary.org)

This book was written in the 1660s, but is as applicable today as it was then. Secker offers readers helpful instructions on practical Christian living that can encourage and edify us today.

Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton

Chesterton’s Orthodoxy is filled with wit and wonder. A wonderful writer, Chesterton provides a winsome apologetic for the Christian faith that has stood the test of time.

Bill Wallace of China by Jesse Fletcher

This missionary biography helps to shine light on a Baptist hero: Bill Wallace. Dr. Wallace hails from the great state of Tennessee, and like a good volunteer, gave his life to make the name of Christ known in the land of China.

Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley

Christopher Morley is the book-lovers writer. In his two novels Parnassus on Wheels and The Haunted Bookshop he introduces Robert Mifflin, a book shop owner who’s spirit and energy is infectious and admirable. I was able a few years ago to find a five volume set of Morley’s works on Ebay and I would have parted with much more than the 25 dollars I spent to get it. I still sometimes pity and pray for the man who sold them to me. He knew not what he gave up.

Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton

Back to Chesterton. Father Brown is a crime-solving catholic priest. The mysteries are as intriguing as Father Brown is lovable. These works are great for Fall reading.

Let Justice Roll Down by John Perkins

John Perkins has dedicated his life to the gospel. His memoirs of growing up in Jim Crow Mississippi and being found by the Lord is not always easy to read, but it is worth the discomfort. Perkins shows that the gospel is not only the power of God for salvation, but also reconciliation as well.

On the Incarnation by Athanasius of Alexandria

As we approach Christmas time, I can’t think of a better work for believers to read on the person and work of Jesus. Athanasius was an early church father that helps us today understand what Christ did by becoming a man and dwelling among us. Plus, the best edition has an introduction by C.S. Lewis that is worth more than its weight in gold.

Richard II by William Shakespeare

“For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground And tell sad stories of the death of kings.” Shakespeare’s Henriads are phenomenal. Don’t let the archaic language deter you from reading this tale of kings. Being with Richard II and follow it chronologically through Richard III. You’ll be glad you did.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

If Kings and bloodshed aren’t your cup of tea, try reading the tales of Mole, Rat, Badger, and Toad. Grahame’s animal friends are simply heart-warming. This one’s a classic for a reason.

How to Grow: Applying the Gospel to All of Your Life by Darrly Dash

Darrly Dash’s book on growing as a believer is a fantastic resource for personal Christian growth. Dash’s book is fertilizer for the Christian life. His principles for applying the gospel to all of life are both practical and profound.

Thank you, Mrs. Sherry, for the encouragement to put this list together. Get well soon!

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Christian

Dear Midway Family

In one of his many parables, Jesus describes the kingdom of God as the pearl of great price, hidden among many other pearls, and a treasure buried in a common field. Both items, the pearl and the treasure, are worth selling all of your possessions to acquire. This hiddeness of the kingdom speaks to Jesus’ delight to use the common in the world to shame the wise. It is the reason the Eternal King would be born in a humble feeding trough and not Herod’s grand palace.

I remember the first time I laid eyes on this little white church settled in a bend of the road in the middle of Mississippi. It was a warm spring day and the thought that this might become our first home filled my bride-to-be and I with a fearful hope. The search committee waited outside to greet us with a hopeful kindness that we might just be their next pastor and pastor’s wife.

For six and a half years, my family has grown here, planted in the fertile soil of the spiritual foundation of this church. This church has given me a foretaste of heaven; a fellowship of the saints in communion with their great Savior. Your love of God and his Word is evident and contagious. Your spirit is sweet and your friendship powerful. It is because of this that I, with great difficulty, tenure my resignation.

The Book of Proverbs states, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (Prov. 16:9). Of the many things Midway has taught me, this one stands out: God is as wise as he is good. He determined to bring me to you as your pastor and this was nothing short of his marvelous grace upon me and my family. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for praying for me. Thank you for being a beautiful picture of the Kingdom: seemingly small, but eternally big.

Let me conclude with sharing a few stats of our time together. Since I have been here we have had:

  • 19 people join our church
  • Baptized 5
  • We will have ordained 4
  • Our offering increased by 9,995 dollars
  • We had our largest Lottie Moon Offering in ten years
  • We had our largest Annie Armstrong Offering in ten years
  • We’ve taken 10 mission trips
  • Our Montana trip has doubled in size
  • Our D-Now attendance has double in size
  • We built one house
  • And you have given me six of the best years of my life.

Thank you.

God Bless,

Ryan Reed

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Uncategorized

He Was Kind and He Spoke to me About Jesus

As a six-year-old boy, I squirmed nervously in a big brown leather chair. I had never met privately with our pastor before and I did not know what to expect. Just a few weeks before something different had happened to me. I had heard the story of Jesus and my life would never be the same. Now as I sat in this foreign office, before the only pastor that I had ever known, I felt scared, but he was kind and he spoke to me about Jesus. Just a few weeks later, I stood, dressed in all white, chest deep in warm water as this pastor baptized me in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He proclaimed that I was dead to my sins and raised me to walk in newness of life. Life and death met in those baptismal waters and life emerged victorious again.

I heard today that this pastor, my pastor, Bro. Max Walker, passed away. To my knowledge Bro. Max never wrote a best-selling book. He never served as a widely known denominational leader. He was never what one would call a mega-church pastor, but although I did not know him well, he remains for me a mentor in the ministry for several reasons. First, I admire Bro. Max because he was an ordinary, faithful pastor. From the time that I was six until the time that he retired from First Baptist Selmer he faithfully preached the word of God and shepherded the flock that God had entrusted to him. He will always be the pastor that baptized my mother and my brothers. He visited the sick, he prayed for his people, and he cared for the widows. When the unthinkable happened and our church building burned to the ground, he was a calming force that reminded us that the church was more than a building. And when, by God’s grace, we stood together again years later in a new building, he dedicated the church to be used for God’s glory. Second, he followed the example of his Savior and said, “Let the little children come to me.” Not only did he make time to talk to me about Jesus, but also I remember several times after my salvation that Bro. Max graciously answered my childlike questions. He was approachable and kind. Although he was an educated man, his sermons were not lofty. Not only did he introduce me to Jesus, but he also introduced me to Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong. He helped me to become a Christian and laid the foundation for me to appreciate being a Baptist. Finally, Bro. Max truly loved and was loved by his church. I have always been told that people do not care much what you say until they know how much you care. This must have been true with Bro. Max. My family has always spoken of him with great respect and love.

Certainly, there are others that knew him far better than I did, but the impact he has had on my life and ministry is one that I would not trade for the world. It has been twenty years since I rose out of those baptismal waters and the grace of God towards me is more evident than ever. For when Bro. Max lifted me up to walk in newness of life he pronounced a truth that has made an indelible mark on me. He called me brother and welcomed me into the family of God. I am eternally grateful for his ministry, but more so I am thankful that he introduced me to my Savior. Last night, Bro. Max entered into his eternal reward, and what a reward it must be.

 

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Christian, Uncategorized

Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer – Luke 11:2-4

Father – The sheer fact that believers can approach the Holy of holies by the name Father distinguishes our God from every other idol. Father – not merely Master; Father – not merely Lord. What foreign love is this that we should be called the sons of God? God has come close.

Hallowed be your name – How often do I treat your name with contempt? Hallow your name in my life. Hallow your name in my family and in my church. You are not an idol made by human hands. You are the Holy One – make me holy.

Your Kingdom Come – Destroy the strongholds of sin and Satan. This is my Father’s world, may your kingdom come quickly. May my actions line up with your kingdom prerogatives. May I herald your kingdom message.

Give us each day our daily bread – You are the source of the bread of Life. God, I need the nourishment of daily bread. I need Christ’s body broken for me. I need manna in the wilderness. Destroy my taste for substitutes. You who would not withhold your kingdom from us, how much more would you shower us with physical and spiritual nourishment?

And forgive us our sins – You and you alone can make a sinner clean. Do not remove your Spirit from us. Inspect the darkest corners of my heart. Expose my idols and remove their varnish. Their beauty is false; tear them down.

For we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us – Your mercy has washed over your saints. Your Spirit becomes a fountain of living water that flows through us towards our fellow man. Make me willing to forgive – for I have been forgiven much. Remove roots of bitterness. Help me to show mercy as you have shown mercy to me.

And lead us not into temptation. – Remind me that your adversary truly hates me, my family, and my church. Bind him, thwart his evil plans – keep me from idols that cannot save. Keep me from trusting in my own strength. Keep me from becoming lazy. Remind me that You have not given me a spirit of fear but one of power, love, and of self-control.

Amen.

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Christian, Uncategorized

Four Prayers for My Church

Today is the widely recognized National Day of Prayer and although most people think about praying for our nation, I want to share with you four prayers I have for my church. Midway Baptist Church is the epitome of an established Southern Baptist Church. Our church is 140 years old and God has blessed us historically, but we understand that we have no promise of longevity in the future. As a pastor, I do not simply desire that our church will continue to operate. Instead, my desire is that our church will impact the kingdom of God. I do not want to be involved with passive maintenance. Instead, I want to lead our church in active obedience. So here are four prayers for my church today:

  • My first prayer is that my church would continue to grow in their love for the scriptures. I want my people to desire and devour the Word of God. These are the “wonderful words of life” but I am afraid that many of us are living in a constant state of spiritual starvation. My desire is that my congregation would become spiritually fat because they continually feast upon the riches of God’s Word. I pray that they would wake up meditating upon God’s new mercies. I pray that we would eagerly desire to sing, study, hear, memorize, speak, and live the word. I pray that they would not be satisfied with low-fat sermons and bible studies. No sugar substitutes; no low calories. I want us to desire the pure, unadulterated, powerful word of God.

 

  • My second prayer is that my church would desire to share the gospel every day, first with themselves, then second with their neighbor. I pray that my church would understand that the person and work of Christ on our behalf is our only hope in life and in death. I pray that my people will understand that the gospel comes all the way down. It comes to the lowly and the humbled. It is for the losers and the worriers. The gospel is for capital “S” Sinners. I pray that the gospel would penetrate the heart of our church so much that it overflows naturally into our daily conversations. I pray that we would gossip the gospel. The time is short and the harvest is plentiful. I pray to the Lord of the harvest that He would raise up workers from our church and send them into our community to reap what He has sown.

 

  • My third prayer for my church today is that God would help them to draw a clear line between their vocation and the gospel. I pray that He would help them to understand that “a Christian is an utterly free man, lord of all, subject to none.” And simultaneously that “a Christian is an utterly dutiful man, servant of all, subject to all.” I want our church to understand how God expects them to use their God-ordained job for His glory. Whether they are in the home, at work, at the farm, I want our people to understand what it means to do all things to the glory of God. This can only be done well if our people understand that their first job as believers is to love God supremely. Often we use our jobs as excuses for why we cannot serve God, but one day we will be ashamed of the years we spent prioritizes anything over Christ. Our jobs are not meant to be a distraction; they are meant to be a tool in which we serve God well.

 

  • My fourth prayer for my church today is that God would raise up young men to lead our church faithfully. The Lord has blessed our church with godly leaders that love him. I cannot thank the Lord enough for the godly deacons that serve Midway Baptist Church alongside me. They have all blessed my family and me tremendously, but there is one problem. All of our deacons are older in age. Our youngest deacon is in his mid-sixties. They have served faithfully, but they cannot serve forever! My desire is that God would begin raising up younger men to lead our church faithfully. It will not be long before the baton will be passed; I pray that God would provide our church with spiritually mature, faithful men who are not afraid of the challenge and the responsibility that leading a church entails.

 

These four prayers cannot summarize all of my prayers for the church that I dearly love. My greatest desire for my church is that God would transform lives and make us useful for his Kingdom. I pray that we would be busy sharing the gospel, serving our community, and strengthening the saints all for the glory of God. What are some of your prayers for your church?

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Christian, Uncategorized

J.I. Packer on Liberty

An Excerpt from J.I. Packer’s Concise Theology:

The New Testament sees salvation in Christ as liberation and the Christian life as one of liberty- Christ has freed us for freedom. Christ’s liberating action is not a matter of socio-politico-economic improvement, as is sometimes suggested today, but relates to the following three points:

First, Christians have been set free from the law as a system of salvation. Being justified by faith in Christ, they are no longer under God’s law, but under his grace. This means that their standing with God rests wholly on the fact that they have been accepted and adopted in Christ. It does not, nor ever will it, depend on what they do; it will never be imperiled by what they fail to do. They live, and as long as they are in this world will live, not by being perfect, but by being forgiven.

All natural religion, then, is negated, for the natural instinct of fallen man, as expressed in every form of religion that the world has ever devised, is to suppose that one gains and keeps a right relationship with ultimate reality (whether conceived as a personal God or in other terms) by disciplines of law observation, right ritual, and asceticism. This is how the world’s faiths prescribe the establishing of one’s own righteousness- the very thing Paul saw unbelieving Jews trying to do. Paul’s experience had taught him that this is a hopeless enterprise. No human performance is ever good enough, for there are always wrong desires in the heart, along with a lack of right ones, regardless of how correct one’s outward motions are, and it is at the heart that God looks first.

All the law can do is arouse, expose, and condemn the sin that permeates our moral makeup, and so make us aware of its reality, depth, and guilt. So the futility of treating the law as a covenant of works, and seeking righteousness by it, becomes plain, as does the misery of not knowing what else to do. This is the bondage to the law from which Christ sets us free.

Second, Christians have been set free from sin’s domination. They have been supernaturally regenerated and made alive to God through union with Christ in his death and risen life, and this means that the deepest desire of their heart now is to serve God by practicing righteousness. Sin’s domination involved not only constant acts of disobedience, but also a constant lack of zeal for law-keeping, rising sometimes to positive resentment and hatred toward the law. Now, however, being changed in heart, motivated by gratitude for acceptance through free grace, and energized by the Holy Spirit, they “serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way the same way. Its third fault is lovelessness in that its self-advancing purpose squeezes humble kindness and creative compassion out of the heart.

In the New Testament, we meet both Pharisaic and Judaizing legalism. The Pharisees thought that their status as children of Abraham made God’s pleasure in them possible, and that their formalized daily law-keeping, down to minutest details, would make it actual. The Judaizers viewed Gentile evangelism as a form of proselytizing for Judaism; they believed that the Gentile believer in Christ must go on to become a Jew by circumcision and observance of the festal calendar and ritual law, and that thus he would gain increased favor with God. Jesus attacked the Pharisees; Paul, the Judaizers.

The Pharisees were formalists, focusing entirely on the externals of action, disregarding motives and purposes, and reducing life to mechanical rule-keeping. They thought themselves faithful law-keepers although (a) they majored in minors, neglecting what matters most; (b) their casuistry negated the law’s spirit and aim; (c) they treated traditions of practice as part of God’s authoritative law, thus binding consciences where God had left them free; (d) they were hypocrites at heart, angling for man’s approval all the time. Jesus was very sharp with them on these points.

In Galatians, Paul condemns the Judaizers’ “Christ-plus” message as obscuring and indeed denying the all-sufficiency of the grace revealed in Jesus. In Colossians, he conducts a similar polemic against a similar “Christ-plus” formula for “fullness”. Any “plus” that requires us to take action in order to add to what Christ has given us is a reversion to legalism and, in truth, an insult to Christ.

So far, then, from enriching our relationship with God, as it seeks to do, legalism in all its forms does the opposite. It puts that relationship in jeopardy and, by stopping us focusing on Christ, it starves our souls while feeding our pride. Legalistic religion in all its forms should be avoided like the plague.

A copy of this book can be purchased here:

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Christian, Uncategorized

“Pray About Everything” A Review

The discipline of prayer is often one of the most neglected spiritual disciplines of our time. I often find in my own life I have so much to pray about and yet, I pray so little. As a pastor, this is concerning to me, but what becomes more concerning, is when I realize that the seeds planted in the pulpit are reaped in the pew. Paul Tautges seeks to reverse this trend by setting forth this short work that encourages individuals, specifically pastors, to cultivate a profound sense of God-dependency within their lives and within their congregations.

In “Pray About Everything”, Paul Tautges presents a firm theological foundation for prayer that is both readable and enjoyable. This book is written in two parts with a practical set of appendices that help to wrap everything up. In Part 1, Tautges seeks to define and ground the command to pray within the biblical and historical tradition. Tautges shows that the early church understood prayer to be a lifestyle of God-dependency. He also examines how Paul’s commands to the church at Thessalonica reveals a powerful level of dependence on God in every aspect of life. In Part 2, Tautges presents seven brief meditations for prayer meetings. These meditations are instructional and devotional. They include instructions on what it means to pray in Jesus’ name, praying for unbelievers, praying for government leaders, and various other practical beliefs about prayer.

In these two parts, Tautges presents a wealth of biblical knowledge on prayer that is perfect for beginners and those more advanced in the discipline of prayer. Tautges brings together the profound and the simple in an extremely helpful and attainable manner. In every chapter, Tautges shows his heart for churches to let go of self-dependency and grasp the life-giving God-dependency found in the gospel. As a pastor, I would recommend this book to anyone struggling to cultivate a consistent and meaningful prayer life, and I intend on using it with my own congregation.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Shepherd Press in exchange for an online review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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