Finding A Future With Teaching

Some of the best council that I’ve heard for figuring out your gifting is this: It is done in community. The church will either affirm or deny your giftedness in the things you attempt. Ray Orlund Jr. shares his experience in an interview:

2. In a paragraph, how did you discover your gifts in preaching?

How does one discover gifts in any area? It just appears, as experience allows and in the fullness of God’s time. My own preaching started with complete ineptitude, graduated over time to struggle, and by now has advanced to varying degrees of effectiveness and ineffectiveness. My progress seems directly related to growing theological discovery of God’s glory in the gospel, through dissatisfaction with myself as a preacher, through the joy of seeing God use me, and through the assurance that at any time God can rend the heavens and come down in revival power.

(via Between Two Worlds)

John Piper began teaching 7th grade Sunday school, and then 9th graders, and then he helped out with a Greek class. Throughout this process, he was affirmed by those who were learning from him that he was gifted in teaching. Experience in community will lead us to our gifts.

I did not expect to be confronted with the idea of going into the pastorate.

I was talking with a dear brother after church one Saturday and the conversation turned to the future. He is doing the TBI program and asked if I had considered going through it. He affirmed in me some traits that would benefit someone in the pastorate.

The qualifications of an elder can be found in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 (though I’d say read the whole book and not just a chapter). One of them is to be able to teach. Thinking on Pastor John’s example, I think the next step for me would be trying to teach! I am praying about teaching Sunday School at BBC with the kids I’ve been with for the last two years (coincidentally, they’ll be in 7th grade next year).

While I don’t know if I am gifted in this area, I certainly love it. Being able to explain something in an understandable way brings me so much joy. And that may be enough to meet the biblical qualifications for an elder (there are other ways that I don’t, but that’s another discussion).

If I were to pursue the pastorate, I feel it would be necessary to go through seminary. However, the one that I am most familiar with (TBI) requires a year of Greek before enrollment. This means that I have some time to think and pray about any decision that would be made. Providentially, God placed me in the TBI Essentials course, which will meet that requirement by the end of next year. Praise God for His sovereignty!

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Guide me Lord!

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Sometimes I Wish I Was Funny

Everybody knows someone who is stinkin’ hilarious. I know a lot of those folks, and I love to laugh with them. Sometimes though, I start to get jealous. Why am I not a funny guy?

I am one of the worst story tellers ever. I mean it, I am downright bad. I can occasionally build some momentum in the telling of a tale, but the climax ends up being a cliff of disappointment that we all stumble over as you think I’m getting to the good part. Surprise! There is no good part. I got you excited for nothing.

Sometimes I try to make my stories as bad as possible, hopefully redeeming them with the different kind of funny that makes you laugh at how bad something is. Does that work? I hope so.

The reason I bring up stories is because they are a pivotal part of someones hilarity. The ability to effectively capture attention in an enjoyable way is just one step away from being the funniest person in the room. Once you have an audience, it’s easy to get on a roll and keep cranking out the laughs. Plus, stories are a great place to drop in all those witty comments that crack everybody up. Seriously, I think about some of those for days.

Another way to be funny is to get that one person who will laugh at anything (like me) to be your friend. Then when you’re talking with them and they burst out giggling, everyone else will stop what they’re doing and think to themselves “oh man, that guy must be the funniest person ever, look at how he’s making his friend laugh! I should totally listen to their conversation instead having my own.” That’s when I mess it up with one of my lame stories, but I know you’re better at story telling than me. Keep up the good work!

Typing Races

[…]
(2:51:43 PM) Andrew: it took me about three times as long to type with just two fingers
(2:51:45 PM) Andrew: yikes
(2:52:04 PM) Andrew: 11 vs 48?
(2:52:08 PM) Scott: 11?
(2:52:19 PM) Scott: mark
(2:52:26 PM) Scott: it took me about three times as long to type with just two fingers
(2:52:30 PM) Scott: 7
(2:52:30 PM) Andrew: 7
(2:53:01 PM) Scott: this is so dorky
(2:53:04 PM) Andrew: lol
(2:53:14 PM) Andrew: enjoy life
(2:53:16 PM) Andrew: dorky is okay
(2:53:18 PM) Scott: haha
(2:53:21 PM) Scott: i want to blog about this

For the record, Andrew is the one who types with two fingers. I type like you’re supposed to. 🙂

Gratitude For Singleness

Happy Singles Awareness Day!

Now most people associate February 14 with Valentines Day, but single folk know what I’m talking about. Today is the day that we get reminded of our relationship status. That’s right, I’m talking about Singles Awareness Day (or we could just call it SAD)! So happy SAD!

I’ve been celebrating SAD for about 4 years now, and it has been good! I remember one particular year, during my sophomore year of college. I was living in the dorms and had written this little note on my whiteboard:

“Scott would like to apologize to all the ladies out there, he will not be your Valentine”

My sister read this and got a little creative. For the rest of the night, I got about 12 phone calls from everyone who happened to be at this house a bunch of girls lived at called “the quad”. The one that really made me laugh was Carrie. She calls at about 11:45pm and, sounding completely serious, asks me to pray about it. I think I’ll remember that night for the rest of my life. Thanks girls!

But seriously, I really appreciate being single. It sucks at times, but only when you are viewing things from the wrong perspective. I’ve been studying 1 Corinthians 7 lately and have been very convicted:

32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

Am I anxious about the things of the Lord? This passage assumes that we are, and speaks to how being married distracts us from Him. I’ve been thinking about this all day, and it has really got me excited. I want to be anxious for the things of the Lord! I want my singleness to be something the Lord works out of! And I want other singles to be similarly burdened!

I’m so grateful we have scripture to teach and guide us! I’m praying that I am faithful to the Word.

Links!

So while I still want to generate my own ideas and content, I can’t help but share with you (you 12 people) some of the great stuff that I’ve found:

The last line of this made me laugh so much! Progress happens!

I love how Adrian nails some of the issues dealing with discipleship.

These two posts by Tim Challies got me pumped up about discipleship too.

Meditations
on an embarrassing game show helped to change my perspective. It helped for me to imagine my motivations if I was on the show.

A succinct but powerful quote on dealing with heresy.

It is so necessary to hear good biblical perspective on relationships!

A dear brother was honest about his hypocrisy. It is good to confess and repent!

Some thoughts on a Coldplay interview really convicted me.

CJ Mahaney interviewed John Piper on his blog. I’ll end with a few gems:

What single piece of counsel (or constructive criticism) has most improved your preaching?

Don’t preach in a way that a Muslim would approve. Preach a divine crucified Christ.

[….]

What single bit of counsel has made the most significant difference in your effective use of time?

A great tree will fall with many small chops. Pray for daily grace to keep chopping.

Indulgences Are Wrong

Apparently, indulgences are making a come back. I have issue with this. In the article, indulgences are described as follows:

In exchange for certain prayers, devotions or pilgrimages in special years, a Catholic can receive an indulgence, which reduces or erases that punishment instantly, with no formal ceremony or sacrament.

Now, I’m no expert in the Bible, but I have read a little. Take Romans 6:5-11 for instance:

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self [1] was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free [2] from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

It is by Christ’s crucifixion as how we are absolved from our sin. In fact, it relies entirely on His work, and not at all on ours. We can see that even more clearly in Hebrews 10:

8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ [2] had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

[emphasis mine]

Clearly there is nothing that we can do! Nothing! Jesus’ one sacrifice was all that was needed to atone for our sin.

Here’s another quote:

In recent months, dioceses around the world have been offering Catholics a spiritual benefit that fell out of favor decades ago — the indulgence, a sort of amnesty from punishment in the afterlife — and reminding them of the church’s clout in mitigating the wages of sin.

Where is the evidence for this in the Bible? Why would anyone think the church has any power to atone for sin? Isn’t the church made up of sinners? How can sinners reconcile others to God? Isn’t that why Jesus came?

Answers: it isn’t, they shouldn’t, yes, they can’t, and yes (praise the Lord!).

Justin Taylor has a good explanation of what indulgences are and how they work. In the end though, he agrees with me:

When it’s all said and done, the whole idea of indulgences comes down to the idea that Christians must undergo a process of temporal punishment before they are allowed to go to heaven. But Scripture doesn’t teach that. Rather, the punishment process was completely absorbed for us by Christ on the cross. We may receive discipline from our Father, but we will never again receive any form of punishment. Scripture no where hints that those who are united to Christ are in two categories and locations: those undergoing purificatory punishment in Purgatory and those in their heavenly home. All who die in Christ go to be with the Lord. Thanks be to God who clothes us with his righteousness and took all of our punishment.

I thank God for the Bible.

Leading A 6th Grade Small Group

Pastor Bud sent out a letter to all the youth small group leaders a while back and included the following questions:

What is the first thing that comes to mind regarding heart preparation as a small group leader? What is the first thing that comes to mind regarding practical issues of small group leading?

My answer:

37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

May I continue to grow in love for God and those kids.