I just began reading Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream by David Platt. Needless to say it is extremely good and as Russell Moore said in his endorsement of the book it is definitely a book that you want to put down because it is so convicting.
Here's an especially challenging excerpt from Chapter One:
And this is where we need to pause. Because we are starting to redefine Christianity. We are giving in to the dangerous temptation to take the Jesus of the Bible and twist him into a version of Jesus we are more comfortable with.A nice, middle-class, American Jesus. A Jesus who doesn't mind materialism and who would never call us to give away everything we have. A Jesus who would not expect us to forsake our closest relationships so that he receives all our affection. A Jesus who is fine with nominal devotion that does not infringe on our comforts, because, after all, he loves us just the way we are. A Jesus who wants us to be balanced, who wants us to avoid dangerous extremes, and who, for that matter, wants us to avoid danger altogether. A Jesus who brings us comfort and prosperity as we live out our Christian spin on the American dream.But do you and I realize what we are doing at this point? We are molding Jesus into our image. He is beginning to look a lot like us because, after all, that is whom we are most comfortable with. And the danger now is that when we gather in our church buildings to sing and lift up our hands in worship, we may not actually be worshiping the Jesus of the Bible. Instead we may be worshiping ourselves.
Looking forward to reading this one day when I can afford to buy books again: Work of the Pastor by William Still.
Thabiti Anyabwile shared these quotes from the book, which peeked my interest:
It is to feed the sheep on [biblical] truth that men are called to churches and congregations, whatever they may think they are called to do. If you think that you are called to keep a largely worldly organisation, miscalled a church, going, with infinitesimal doses of innocuous sub-Christian drugs or stimulants, then the only help I can give you is to advise you to give up the hope of the ministry and go and be a street scavenger; a far healthier and more godly job, keeping the streets tidy, than cluttering the church with a lot of worldly claptrap in the delusion that you are doing a job for God. The pastor is called to feed the sheep, even if the sheep do not want to be fed. He is certainly not to become an entertainer of goats. Let goats entertain goats, and let them do it out in goatland. You will certainly not turn goats into sheep by pandering to their goatishness. Do we really believe that the Word of God, by His Spirit, changes, as well as maddens men? If we do, to be evangelists and pastors, feeders of sheep, we must be men of the Word of God...God has caused you to become pastor to some souls here who are as valuable to Him as any in the world–your quiet persistence will be a sign that you believe God has a purpose of grace for this people, and that this purpose of grace will be promoted, not by gimmicks, or stunts, or newe ideas, but by the Word of God released in preaching by prayer.
In Kevin DeYoung's latest post Requisite Tools he lists five tools that a pastor must possess.
- A Pastor Must Be Able to Teach
- A Pastor Must Be Able to Relate to People
- A Pastor Must Be Able to Lead
- A Pastor Must Stay Relatively Organized or Surround Himself With Those Who Can Do This For Him.
- A Pastor Must Pray
On number five, DeYoung writes,
If this tool gets rusty, no one will know. At least not at first. It is impossible to survive as a pastor without the other four skills. But, sadly, it is easy to survive, even thrive, without this one. But the pastor that can thrive without prayer is not the pastor I want, nor the pastor I want to be. We can accomplish a lot on our own, but the stuff that really matters requires prayer because it requires God. A man who does not pray should not preach.