Archives For Shepherding

Every Christian will likely encounter this scenario: someone you know and who professes Christ has a major sin in their life exposed. As a result, relationships are harmed, their reputation is destroyed, and their heart is broken. You, as their friend (or pastor or spouse) are left wondering how to respond.

You know that Christians are called to forgive and restore other believers who have their sin exposed, but you also know that this is only true if they are repentant over their sin. For example, the command in Galatians 6:1 to “restore” a fallen believer is paired with an exhortation about the importance of self-examination (vv. 2-4). Or Paul, in 2 Corinthians 7, tell the Corinthians that he stands ready to forgive them, because the exposure of their sin produced godly sorrow as opposed to worldly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:9-11).

So what are you supposed to do? The person in front of you says they are repentant. They say they are sorry about their sin. But is that enough?   Continue Reading…

Discipline is without a doubt one of the hardest things to master. As a young guy in ministry, I’m always looking for advice from men and women who live very disciplined lives. Recently as I was looking through my seminary papers I found a short article written by John Macarthur in response to this question:

Practically speaking, how can a person develop self-discipline in his or her life?

jmHere is John Macarthur’s response,

Here are some things that have helped me through the years:

  • Get yourself organized

Make a schedule, however detailed or general you are comfortable with, and stick to it. Have a to-do list of things you need to accomplish. Using a daily planning book or a personal information manager program on your computer would be helpful. But get organized, even if all you do is jot down appointments and to-do items on a piece of scrap paper. The simple reality is that if you don’t control your time, everything (and everyone) else will.

  • Don’t constantly seek to be entertained

When you have free time, do things that are productive instead of merely entertaining. Read a good book, listen to classical music, take a walk, or have a conversation with someone. In other words, learn to entertain yourself with things that are challenging, stimulating, and creative. Things that are of no value except to entertain you make a very small contribution to your well-being.

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benny-hinn-prayer“But I’m telling you, I saw it! I was there and it really happened.”

Often miracle claims are brought before us. Fairly regularly, I hear of things like local, impromptu, evangelistic, healing events during which individuals were approached at random, prayed over, and healed of some various physical ailment. The claim might be followed by an individual testifying sincerely that it happened or a video documenting the healing miracle as undeniable proof that the pain departed, the crutches dropped, or the oppression lifted. Excitement erupts. God is at work. The Spirit is moving. It’s a God thing. How could it not be?

But is it? How should we respond to these things? After all, well-meaning and sincere professing Christians saw it and documented it, so how could it be denied? Why wouldn’t the Holy Spirit want to do that? And doesn’t that mean that the Spirit wants to use us in such ways?

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defiant-child

learningworksforkids.com

Parenting is no easy task. Charles Spurgeon once said, “He who thinks it easy to bring up a family never had one of his own. A mother who trains her children aright had need be wiser than Solomon, for his son turned out a fool.”

Thankfully, God has not left parents to grope about for advice in their exalted task. Scripture is full of guidance. However, it seems that one of the most commonly-quoted parenting verses is frequently subjected to misunderstanding.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). (ESV, NASB)

The verse is predominantly understood in a few ways.

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PIC BY JENNIFER LOCKRIDGE / CATERS NEWS - A father and daughter playfight looks a lot different when dad is a 400lb killing machine - but luckily for this little lion cub his cheeky nib at fathers tail didnt end in tears. In this hilarious picture little lion cub Lusaka ferociously grabs dads between her teeth - an action which sees her tiny paws lift off the ground. Sadly for Lusaka rather than dad Luke howling in pain like a wounded wildebeest, the king of the jungle seems to pretending not to notice. Despite the pestering Luke eventually gives in and like all good dads decides to join in the mock life-and-death struggle. Like a feline WWF wrestler he pins his mini assassin off-spring to the ground in mock anger. The remarkable record of life with the family of lions was recorded by amateur photographer Jennifer Lockridge, at the National Zoo, in Washington DC. SEE CATERS COPY.

i.dailymail.co.uk Jennifer Lockridge

Today’s post was written, in part, by my wife, Leslie Davis. Due to the nature of the post, a wife’s take on the subject was necessary.

In last week’s parallel post, we looked at 50 ways that husbands might tempt their wives to resent them. Resentment is something that tempts all marriages at one point or another. It’s more common than we might think.

We had several requests (from ladies!) for an article from the other perspective. Today’s post is in response.

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lazy husband

2.bp.blogspot.com

 

I remember my first year of marriage. “Honey, you’re excited to go skiing with me and the guys for the 30th time, right?” Sure. Just like that one guy’s wife was thrilled when he went over-budget to buy her new 36-inch mud tires for his truck for her birthday. Consumed with myself, I thought that marriage would work well if my idea of loving and serving my wife was being fixated on me. But I began to realize that I was tempting my wife to resent me.

Even the strongest marriages can be tempted with resentment at times. It’s normal. It’s normal because marriage is challenging. It’s normal because we want what we want. It’s normal because it takes time to learn about each other. It’s normal because we are sinful creatures.

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no

humbs.dreamstime.com

Oftentimes problems with the fruit on a tree are not because of problems with the fruit on the tree. Below the soil’s surface, there is usually a sickness present. Things like fungus, poor nutrient content in the soil, insufficient watering, and pests can plague the roots and subsequently damage the tree. So goes the root, so goes the fruit. Neglect the root, neglect the fruit.

Imagine an orchardist who addressed sickly trees by only addressing the fruit. He approaches the sickly lemon tree, puts up his ladder, and inspects the lemons. Some of the lemons are flaccid, some shrunken, and others cracked open and rotten. Then, imagine, that he breaks out a syringe with store-bought lemon juice and injects the emaciated lemons to fill them out a bit. To repair the sickly, split lemons, he breaks out some band-aids and closes up those holes. Finally, he notices some fruitless branches. So, he breaks out his duct-tape and tapes some nice-looking, store-bought lemons to the branches. He steps back and notices that, for the moment, the tree looks fruitful. For the moment.

Often in our lives, we approach personal change and sanctification like that orchardist.

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bury

shtfplan.com

Every movement and organization has their sayings. They can be helpful when they are accurate and memorable. But they can also be destructive when they are inaccurate and memorable. Such sayings float around a bit in Christendom.

Thus, it behooves us to evaluate things we say against Scripture so that we accurately represent the faith. Oftentimes newer or mis-shepherded Christians will latch onto sayings, get swept down the stream of error, and cause others to do the same.

Here are a few such Christian sayings that ought to be buried.

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April 27, 2016

Love & Bragging

by Eric Davis
INDIO, CA - APRIL 13: DJ Moby performs onstage during day 2 of the 2013 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 13, 2013 in Indio, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Coachella)

popsugar-assets.com

It was early on in our church planting endeavors. Our sapling church was hardly standing. Many had come and even more had gone. It was a painful time for me. But not always for righteous reasons. I ached that the sapling was so small, numerically. I sorrowed over so few staying. Church-planting and ministry friends would ask the dreaded question: “So how is the church plant going?” “Uh, fine. Sort of.” Which lead into the next, more-dreaded question: “How many people are attending now?” “Uh, well, at one point we had, like, 50ish.”

As I look back on those days, I have to ask myself, “Why were those such dreaded questions?” For me, there was really one reason: I wanted to brag. I craved crowing over numbers and ministry results. I wanted to boast in “what the Lord was doing” and “how humbled I was that the Lord had brought so many.” But I didn’t want to boast in the Lord. I wanted a triple-digit number to brag about to our supporters. I wanted to boast in me. I wanted the spotlight.

“Love does not brag” (1 Corinthians 13:4). Among other things, the Corinthians were boasting about the supposed supernatural spiritual experiences that they were having, hence Paul’s correction. “Brag.” The word has the idea of self-glorification, boasting, and a superficial self-applauder. It speaks of someone who vaunts, displays, and praises self.

Why is love antithetical to bragging? Bragging is an expression of self-worship (over and above God) and self-love (over and above others). All love and glory is channelled to self.

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HDR_BrokenFence-800x300It was a few months after surgery and the bills started arriving. Thirty thousand for this, forty for that. My medical bills were racking up. Thankfully, the co-op to which I belong (and my godly wife) had a handle on things and were coming through in the clutch. But there was one reimbursement that was absent, and it was a big one. A check from a co-op member in the sum of about $20,000 was supposed to come in to pay the hospital, but it was late. One month. Then two. I lost my cool on more than on occasion. “Where is that check?!” “Who is this person keeping us hanging like that?” “What is their problem? Don’t they know that we have six-figure bills here?”

Then my wife got the letter. Along with the check was an apology from the individual. “I am so sorry that this is late. I have cancer and am going through rounds of chemotherapy right now, and, because of that, have been experiencing memory loss.”

Bronson Caves in Griffith Park.

I wanted to crawl into a cave and never return. The Holy Spirit necessarily and lovingly crushed me with conviction. The judgmental spirit. The speed with which I assumed the worst. It was sinful. And it’s something I have struggled with far too often.

“Love…believes all things” (1 Cor. 13:4, 7). Love believes the best about one another.

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