Resources to check out:
* Loads of carol recordings for carol services are HERE.
* Forget Bible in a Year, here is Spurgeon in 10 Years.
* Logos has as its free book of the month Phil Ryken’s Preaching the Word Commentary on Exodus plus loads of great deals on others in the series..
* Watch The Roots of Jazz Christmas Special.
* Searching for Christmas by J. D. Greear is The Good Book Company’s free ebook this month.
* Chris Green has a new book out on kindle – @CHURCH – is online, off-limits?
* A fun spoken word video from Dai Woolridge.
* If you love Andrew Peterson’s Is He Worthy? here’s a version of it to check out.
* Encouraging to hear about this new church plant in Brighton.
* Jeff Purswell’s helpful bibliography for the Sovereign Grace Pastors College.
* A new app to encourage you to spend more time in God’s Word: Redeeming Time.
* Jeffrey Watt’s new book on the Genevan Consistory is free to download.
* Webinar 2 Dan Steel did on why church plants don’t work. Check it out HERE.
* A confession of sin written by Geoff Thomas.
* Andrew Roycroft’s Advent Poem, Bethlehem. Year Zero.
Some things to reflect on:
* Sinclair Ferguson on evangelism: “There’s not a lot in the New Testament on how to do it. There is a lot in the New Testament on how to be it.”
* Rachel Welcher encourages members of a church to be members of a church: “Rather than asking yourself, “Why has no one in the church reached out to me?” try asking, “Who can I reach out to?” The pastor is not the Church. The elders are not the Church. Your small group leader is not the Church. We are a body with many members. All needed. And it hurts the Church when arms refuse to move like arms or ears refuse to listen – pointing at other parts of the Body, wondering why they aren’t sufficient to make the whole Body move and work properly. The Body limps along at this pace. It gets sick. Weary. Christian, the Church needs you. Every single one of you. We are a Body with many members, and we need one another. Check in on your pastors and church leaders, too. They are bone-tired. Soul-tired. Made of dust, just like you.”
* Glen Scrivener writes about one reason for fatigue amongst church leaders this year after reading ‘Creativity Inc’ by Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull. In addition to the usual 2020 stresses and on top of the steep learning curve navigating lockdown ministry and meeting online, there is this: “Pastors have felt a shift from ‘feeding the sheep’ to ‘feeding the beast.’ They’ve gone from a tangible sense, pre-lockdown, of helping their flock and now shifted to an understandable (though unhelpful) sense that they’re ‘producing content’. All content producers feel dread about ‘feeding the beast.’ Just today I remembered a blog post from 2008 entitled “Feeding the Monster.” Doing anything regularly sets up expectations — expectations that can feel overwhelming, especially when you can’t see the tangible benefits. Check out the myriad YouTubers crying on camera because they feel overwhelmed by the need to upload 3 times a week (or else be ignored by the almighty algorithm). ‘Feeding the beast’ happens most when the distance between you and your audience is greatest. The best creativity (and the best ministry) happens from the overflow of a heart inspired and happy to help. It goes toxic when you feel drained by a process sucking you dry. Pastors have gone from feeding sheep on a Sunday, when you can see ‘the end user’, to creating content for a production deadline (cos you need the sermon in the can by Thursday latest). What’s the answer? Partly it’s remembering: I’m not teaching the Bible, I’m teaching *my people* the Bible. I’m not speaking to camera. I’m speaking to *my people* (via camera). I’m not hitting deadlines, I’m serving the saints. It’s not the beast I’m feeding, it’s the flock.”
* Craig Carter makes an interesting comment about application in preaching: “More manipulation of the text occurs at the app. stage than any other stage. The app. should arise organically & not be forced. The HS must supply it & sometimes he waits until halfway through the preaching of the sermon. We must be very careful & docile (submissive) in this area.”
* This comment from Jonathan Thomas, “I love reading older stuff. But it does make you wonder how far we have moved from the early church….especially the emphasis of the Didache.”
* An encouraging word from Ricky Alcantar: “The 2020 pandemic has directly undercut so much of what makes the local church healthy. It has removed the face to face interaction that helps us during times of turmoil and controversy and out of the church. It has kept many at home and isolated without the life-giving and soul-stirring air of friendship and fellowship. It has shrivelled some of our ability to pursue mission, service, and the lost in relationship (while creating other opportunities). It has turned the church’s focus away from primary issues to tertiary ones of intense practical controversy. The church has endured blow after blow in 2020. So if your local church still stands at the end of 2020 it is grace. It is miraculous. It is glorious. It is Jesus the Chief Shepherd holding together what could easily splinter apart. He. Will. Build. His. Church.”
* David French writing about the crisis of Christian celebrity: “I’ve known a number of Christian public figures who haven’t fallen … They’ve typically shared two common convictions. 1) They don’t trust their virtue. 2) They don’t believe they earned their fame.”