Five From the Files

For the Weekend of December 18, 2020

Back to the archives again, though I have some great stuff waiting for you on Monday. For those who are not familiar with the “Five from the Files” idea, I have been sharing some articles that I’ve saved that go back a few years. What we read online seems here today and gone tomorrow, and there are some treasures that I’m unearthing in these posts. I hope you will find something helpful.

How is your church organized? How does the way your church is organized reveal what your church is all about? Timmy Brister wrote a good piece on Structuring the Church for Maximum Edification. (2012)

Back in 2012, Russell Moore wrote a really great piece on the humanity of Christ and why it matters. Let this one sink in. (2012)

One of the most difficult issues couples can face is infertility. As a pastor you may find yourself counseling a couple dealing with this. Here are five things they would want you to know. (2012)

Al Mohler writes about “Celebrating Christmas in the Face of Grief and Death” (2012)

Ron Edmondson provide some solid advice on the content of premarital counseling. (2012)

Have a great weekend!

Five From the Files

For the Weekend of December 5, 2020

We’ll return to the archives this week. Here are some great articles.

I believe that in the current climate in which we live that pastors need to rethink the issue of pastoral visits to single women, regardless of their age. Hospital calls are one thing, but going to the home of a woman alone is just not a wise thing. Dave Murray touched on the problem of being accused of sexual misconduct in this article, which should be heeded by anyone in pastoral ministry. (2012)

Author and Pastor Joe Thorn explained the what’s and why’s of worship in his church in this article. (2012)

It’s that time of year some pastors where some pastors struggle. Expectations are that we’re going to deal with Christmas themes, and while giving a whole month may not be the most necessary thing, sometimes it’s hard to come up with ideas. Here’s some help. (2012)

Peter Mead has some helpful tips on preaching the narrative portions of Scripture. (2012)

Burk Parsons shares some encouragement for parents whose children have walked away from the faith or have never trusted Christ in the first place. This is one to save and share as needed.

That’s all until Monday! Have a great Sunday!

Five From the Files

I’m taking a slight detour from the type of articles I’ve posted recently to focus on something that took place over 500 years ago. Too many Christians are ignorant of church history in general and the Reformation in particular. That results not only in loss of heritage, but it prevents us from benefitting from the wisdom of those who have come before us. And while you may disagree, I do believe having a handle on what the Reformers and their offspring taught would keep our churches focused on what God views as important, and spare us from the gimmicky Christianity we find so prevalent in our day.

It may well be that a series on the Solas of the Reformation and a thorough, doctrinal/practical study on Justification by Faith would be the most significant sermon series you’d ever preach. So go for it!

From Credo Magazine: ”How to Teach the Reformation to the Next Generation.”

From For the Church: “What Was Reformed in the Reformation?”

From Ligonier: ”Four Implications of Martin Luther’s Theology.”

From Desiring God: “What Did the Reformation Give Us?”

From Credo Magazine: “Why Pastors Should Engage Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.”

Of course the Reformation is not the only important event in church history. But its themes are so very relevant for the church today. Whet your appetite on the above and start finding out more about this great period and some of the great Christians who stood up for truth in an age when it was very dangerous to do so.

Have a blessed weekend!

Five From the Files

Here are five articles from within the last decade that deserve to be resurrected.

Jeff Brewer contributed this post on the problem of not explaining the “why” behind our preaching applications. (2012)

Membership is important, and interviewing people for membership is not something to be approached casually. Mike McKinley wrote this helpto pastors and elders doing the interviewing. (2012)

Tim Bridges talks about something we all deal with when we preach. Hopefully not every week, but often enough, we have things happen that are distractions. (2012)

David Murray, who write such helpful material, talks about the need for grace in raising teenagers. This is one to share with parents. (2012)

Matt Smethurst reflects on the best sermon he ever heard on Christianity and politics. I link to it because it is distanced from this particular election period yet oh so relevant.

Five From the Files – October 16, 2020

Five from the Files is an attempt to resurrect some very worthwhile blog posts that have probably faded from memory and use. According to a July 25, 2020 article on TechJury, bloggers are responsible for over 4.4 million new posts each day. Not only that, “over 409 million people read more than 20 billion pages on WordPress each month in 2020.”

As followers of Christ, we are blessed to have some outstanding blogs to read. But blog posts are kind of like a stack of slides (if you remember the old days of the slide projector) – once they pass your eyes, they may be quickly forgotten.

Here are five older posts that are worth reading. I’ve listed the publication date in parentheses after the post.

The subject of Halloween is always going to be controversial. I’m not a fan of the horror and mayhem stuff that churches used to do (with a “gospel presentation” at the end). But I’m also not a fan of being a curmudgeon. This article expresses what I believe. You are free to disagree. (2013). 6 years before this, Justin Taylor quoted an article from Tim Challies on the same subject. Taylor’s article is here. Sadly, Tim’s is no longer available. (2007)

Here’s a helpful article on “Saturating Your Sermon With Application Without Sacrificing Doctrine and Exegesis.” (2012)

In 2012 Trevin Wax and Jonathan Leeman teamed up for a discussion on preaching and application. (2012)

Here’s one more article on sermon application. It was not my intent to focus on this topic, but it certainly is worth looking at.

Just a note before I adios for the weekend. I have often advocated the use of Evernote to save digital content. However, with their latest and greatest update, the simplicity with which the program worked has been massacred. A number of long-time users are apparently not happy. So if you haven’t updated yet I’d advise that you wait. If you are looking for an alternative, I’ll try to point to something else if Evernote ends up being unhelpful going forward. I wouldn’t say it was broken, but the shiny new interface is no friend.

Five From the Files

You may note that I’ve taken the “Friday” off the title of these posts. I’m going to commit to getting them done on the weekend. Friday is my day off and for some reason I end up forgetting or just not wanting to be on the computer.

These “From the Files” articles come from my Evernote archive, but Evernote came out with a whiz-bang update that is as buggy as an old stump. So until I figure out how to actually scroll through articles or migrate to another note service, we may be putting this part of the blog on hiatus.

However, I would like to share a selection of articles from Peter Mead, whose blog Biblical Preaching, is one to which I refer often. Dr. Mead posted a series of five articles back in 2012 on preaching the Epistles, and for new and growing preachers they are must reading. So take look at this link and benefit from his wisdom. And by all means save stuff to Evernote. They’ll fix what they broke before long.

Five From the Files Friday

I should call this “Six From the Sack” or something. I’ve had little success getting this done on Fridays.

The purpose of Five from the Files is to give attention to blog posts or articles that were written as far back as a decade ago. Unlike books that sit on our shelves, these articles blow past us and seem to be gone. Here are five articles to help with your life and ministry, with the year of publication following each one.

Pastoral Theology: Some Recommendations Kevin DeYoung provides a list of helpful books in twelve different categories. No doubt this list could be revised with books written in the last few years, but this will point you to some solid stuff relating to pastoral ministry. (2012)

10 Reasons to Under-Program Your Church Jared Wilson write this back when he was a pastor. His stuff is always worth reading and you’ll find I link to him frequently on Mondays and Fridays (2010)

Some Thoughts on Preaching the Minor Prophets Dr. James Hamilton (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) shares some ideas on working through the minor prophets in your preaching. I guess that description was somewhat unnecessary given the title of the article . . . (2012)

Making Sense of Scripture’s “Inconsistency” Tim Keller is always helpful on topics like this. Somewhere along the line someone (maybe even you) is going to have questions about perceived inconsistencies in the Bible. Here’s one to mark and share. (2012)

How ‘Let Go and Let God’ Almost Ruined J.I. Packer’s Spiritual Life I had a phone call from a proponent of what has come to be known as Exchanged Life theology, Keswick theology, or the Deeper Christian Life. He wanted to make me aware of materials by a particular author he was representing, and I had to tell him that while I wasn’t questioning his client’s relationship with God, I do feel that the theology expressed in his books is not helpful. I’ve personally be exposed to this teaching, and again, while I call those who hold it brothers and sisters, I believe it is based on some very shaky ground. Justin Taylor wrote this article. (2012)

That’s all for me. I’ll have links to recently printed articles on Monday. Have a great weekend.

Five From the Files Friday

And again it’s Saturday. But you forgive me, don’t you. Again the point of linking to these five articles is simple: unlike a book that stays on our shaves for future reference, blog posts come and go and often are never accessed again. And that’s a shame because there’s been some really great stuff written over the last decade.

So here we go with 5 from the past:

Jonathan Leeman wrote about the long-term effects of pragmatism in the local church. I believe the article was written in 2011, updated in 2014. But surprisingly (sarcasm) it still speaks to today.

I think I preached one Mother’s Day sermon during the years I was the preaching pastor. I began to get some pushback about even mentioning it, and to be honest, that bothered me at first. But then I began to think more sensibly. Russell Moore talks about at least one reason not to make Mother’s Day into a big deal. (2012)

Trevin Wax asks and answers well the question “Is it Biblical to Ask Jesus into Your Heart?” (2012)

Churches often wait until a need arises to hire additional staff. In some cases budgetary concerns make that the only option. But there’s a better way. (2012)

Eric Raymond answers an important question in his article How Do You Train Future Elders?

I hope you find something above that helps you in your ministry.

Let me leave you by pointing to the work of a friend who may be of help to you:

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Five From the Files Friday

Except it’s Saturday. I finished my fourth week back in pastoral work and it’s been a blast so far. I work with some great people. Well, not really, but in case they read this blog I have to say that. HA HA. At some point I’ll write a post about being back in ministry, but that has to wait for a bit.

Here are five articles from my Evernote archives, with the year they were first published in parentheses. Since blog posts pass by our attention and tend to fade into obscurity pretty fast, I thought it might be helpful to resurrect some helpful posts I’ve encountered along the way.

How to Run an Elders’ Meeting In many churches the senior pastor leads Elder meetings. This can be a bit intimidating if you’re a young guy, but here’s an article that will help you. (2012)

Gospel-Centered Parenting Parenting could be hardest thing you and your people will ever do. There are no guarantees, but there are good approaches to parenting and those that are not so good. Here’s help to share with fellow-strugglers. (2012)

What Happens to Children Who Die? Any pastor, regardless of age, may struggle with answering this question. Tim Challies added to the discussion several years ago in an article that’s worth clipping and saving. (2012)

How to Help a Depressed Spouse David Murray, who has contributed so much to our being better able to understand anxiety and depression in a compassionately Biblical way, provides another sharable resource.

Teaching Kids the Gospel There are so many ways churches get it wrong, but it’s so important to get it right. It’s imperative that your children’s workers and parents need to know how to teach the Gospel to kids without leaving parts out or reducing it to the point of heresy.

Have a great weekend!

Five From the Files Friday

Here are five articles from my Evernote archives, with the year they were first published in parentheses. Since blog posts pass by our attention and tend to fade into obscurity pretty fast, I thought it might be helpful to resurrect some helpful posts I’ve encountered along the way.

Last week I linked to an article about being a post-programming church. Here’s a followup giving some strategies for doing this by Bobby Jamieson. (2012)

One of the things younger guys have to decide is how they will respond to requests from people outside the church to do weddings. I’ll write about this at some point, but my policy ended up being I would only do weddings for people who were part of our church. But even with that policy, you’re going to have people who profess Christ who want to marry someone who isn’t a believer. By that time an article like this may be too late. But maybe it won’t, and maybe you’ll find someone dating an unbeliever and be able to talk to them before they make a mistake. Kathy Keller, Tim Keller’s wife. Wrote this piece. (2012)

Jonathan Leeman wrote a helpful article on a proper understanding of conversion and its relationship to pastoral work. (2012)

Here’a an article to share on the great themes of the Old Testament prophets. If you’re doing a Bible survey or preaching from the prophetic books, this might be worth reading. (2012)

I hope you never have to deal with younger family that just lost its father or mother, but tragedies strike Christians too. Brian Croft wrote an article that give some good counsel if you’re ever in that position. (2012)

I hope you have a great weekend!

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