Resting in the God Who Loves Me

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I fidget. I consider it more a vice than a virtue. As soon as I wake up my mind revs up its engines with all the tasks on my to-do list. Some nights I cannot get my mind to shut off. Quiet and stillness make me feel guilty; after all, there’s always something productive that I could do, and I won’t get those precious seconds back. So instead of resting in the stillness and quiet, I fidget.

I don’t really know, then, why I said yes to an invitation for my wife, Annie, and me to attend the Rhythms of Rest retreat at Lake Junaluska for a few days with several other Southeastern faculty/staff couples. Perhaps it was the fact that we had moved to Wake Forest just a few months before, and I was weeks into my first semester of teaching. We were understandably tired and needed the rest. However, “rest” in the retreat’s title did not necessarily mean “sleep.” Our leader, Pastor Larry Trotter of North Wake Church, explained that this would be a time to retreat in solitude with our Lord. We would rest in communion with him. We would have several hours of solitude with the Lord, followed by several hours as a couple alone with him, and concluding with several hours in a group sharing our testimonies of what we did and learned in those preceding hours. …Read More.

What Does the Peace on the Korean Peninsula Mean for the Great Commission?

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If you are like me, you have been stunned and elated by the news that the leaders of South and North Korea have signed declarations of peace and have stepped across the DMZ to shake hands. This truce ends one of the most protracted and most public civil wars in recent history. The signatures and handshakes are indeed significant steps. We can hope that this ends the military build-up and even the loss of life that has resulted from this war.

I am sure there are hundreds of details that need to be worked out. There are questions about travel restrictions, economic ties, and human rights. However, one question we need to ask is, What does peace on the Korean Peninsula mean for the Great Commission? …Read More.

#IAmGoing Weekend Reading

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Seminarian, Plug into a Church: Jeff Robinson interviews Danny Akin

Before I knew Danny Akin as a seminary president, I knew him as a seminary administrator, preaching professor, longtime pastor, and fellow Georgia Bulldogs fan. In his preaching classes at Southern Seminary, I sat riveted to his “war stories” from years of experience in the trenches of local church ministry. Years later, while serving in my first pastorate, I recalled some of his stories—and the Lord used them as a valuable reminder that the rough waters I was encountering were nothing strange to local church ministry.

Since 2004, Akin has served as president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He is also a TGC Council member and, in addition to having authored many books, Akin contributed a chapter (“How to Shepherd My Wife”) to 15 Things Seminary Couldn’t Teach Me (Crossway), a new book I edited with Collin Hansen.

Among the things we discussed in this interview is the important intersection between formal seminary training and learning how to minister in the local church. …Read More.

3 Reasons the SBC is a Missionary Organization: Scott Hildreth

What is the Southern Baptist Convention?

Recently the SBC has been in the news in some unfavorable ways. Some are asking about the purpose and future of our convention. What will the future of our convention be? Do we have a voice in our society? In full transparency, I have sympathy with much of the concern and frustration aimed at Southern Baptists. We must do better on race, on our complementarian positions, on our politics stances, and our overall Christian witness. I think many are trying to do better, my hope is that we will. 

As I think about the role and purpose of the SBC, I am more than a little concerned that we may be losing our way. We are large and influential. We have a voice worth hearing. Our leaders are quoted and highlighted in different public places. 

If we are not careful, we will forget that at our most basic, the Southern Baptist Convention is a missionary sending organization. …Read More.

4 Myths about Responding to Spousal Abuse: Bruce Ashford, J. D. Greear, Brad Hambrick

Ashley was scared. Things had been bad for a while. She hadn’t felt safe at home for some time, but now her kids were getting old enough to understand what was happening. She didn’t feel safe confiding in friends. Her world was small because it was easier to keep things hidden with fewer eyes aware of her home life.

She went to the one place she felt safe, her church, to speak with her pastor. Still, she wasn’t sure if she was doing the right thing. She trusted her church and appreciated her pastor, but she had always managed the situation by keeping information hidden. Talking to anyone went against her every instinct. But she couldn’t stay silent any more. …Read More.

How to Be an Evangelistic Church Plant: Alvin Reid

One of the highlights of my first trip to Greece came when I read aloud the account in Acts 17 where Paul first came to Thessalonica. I read it at the very place Paul entered the city, where his hearers proclaimed, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here too” (Acts 17:6 HCSB).

Some time later Paul wrote his first epistle addressed to the Thessalonians. After his initial greeting, here’s the first thing Paul said: “Our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake” (1 Thess. 1:5 ESV).

Paul helps us see how to plant a church that’s intentionally and continually evangelistic. He observed how the gospel first came there, and not only in word. Although the gospel was proclaimed, the message did not stand alone. It came in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and with much conviction. In addition, those who brought the gospel lived in such a way they “proved” the gospel by their lives. …Read More.

Economic Stimulus in the Emoji Age (Part 1)

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How can the humanities stimulate the economy in the age of emojis, AI, and memes? How do the humanities (or the “liberal arts”) inform and enlighten faith, work, and economics? To many, the humanities seem to be a waste of money, disastrously racking up student debt. Do students need only STEM skills for a technical society where the humanities don’t help? How can the humanities help us blend faith with economic activity? I contend that the humanities are one weird trick for advancing communications, social order and integration, and economic prosperity. People flourish by providing value for others. Christianity best incubates the humanities in a worldview environment that engenders practical work values and a productive economy. God created us such that we must intensely rely on each other in every aspect of life, especially work and economics. We must serve each other in integrity, and Christianity instills an inherent wholesomeness in doing so. …Read More.

4 Bible Passages to Break the Sacred-Secular Divide

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Do you believe that Sunday is more important than Monday through Saturday? Do you think the only work worth doing happens in a church or ministry setting? Do you see a sharp divide in your life between the things you do for God and the things you do everywhere else? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may suffer from a pervasive problem called the sacred-secular divide. …Read More.