Written by J. V. Fesko |
Thursday, August 24, 2023
All too often public prayers are not a genuine venue for offering up our desires and needs before our covenant Lord but a platform for gossip. A good rule of thumb is, if you’re praying for someone, how might your prayer change if they were sitting next to you?
As a pastor I always did my best to encourage my congregation to pray. Prayer is, I believe, one of the lesser-attended subjective means of grace. I suspect that when times get tough people pray, but I often wonder that when times are good do they pray as much? Therefore, I took every opportunity to have people pray. I was really excited when the women of the church wanted to gather on a regular basis for prayer on Saturday mornings, so I certainly encouraged this activity. But I quickly found out that sometimes prayer is really a thin disguise for gossip.
It’s one thing to pour our soul out privately in prayer before our heavenly Father. I can be freest when it’s just me in my “prayer closet.” I can complain, celebrate, wrestle, and lay my soul bare. But the moment that I pray in public, there are certain responsibilities I have. I may think and suspect a lot of things about many people and circumstances, but that is not license for me to voice them publicly, and especially in prayer.
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American Academy of Pediatrics Captured by Gender Ideology; Mainstream Professionals Are Calling Them OutBy Daily Citizen Staff — 12 months ago
The so-called “gender affirming” model puts young people on track to start an often deeply invasive, irreversible, and radical medical and surgical regimen at odds with where biology and their own natural development would have taken them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a 92-year-old, 67,000 member organization, prides itself as the paragon of wisdom on all things good and wise concerning the medical health of our children. But facts say otherwise.
It is no secret that the AAP has been captured by radical leftist politics of late, even to the serious detriment of their professional mission. This is particularly true when it comes to their policy statements and actions on gender ideology. In fact, this organization has been utterly captured and controlled by radical gender activists. Fortunately, its positions are being challenged by some important voices in the medical community.
A major article in the online magazine Quillette details much of the AAP’s troubling and unscientific gender activism, demonstrating how it is contrary to the health of children. The author, Stella O’Malley, a parent and psychotherapist living and working in Ireland, has become deeply critical of the ideological capture taking place in too many professional medical and mental health organizations. She believes too many professional medical organizations are being overrun by gender dogmatists pushing dangerous views of what it means to be male and female at the expense of good science. In her Quillette piece, O’Malley explains the foundations of the AAP’s problematic position on children and gender issues,
And so the AAP continues to endorse an affirmation model whereby “social transition” begins in kindergarten or grade one, with five-year-olds being encouraged to inform adults of their preferred name and pronouns, and to seek entry into bathrooms corresponding to the opposite sex. Children aged between eight and 12 can be given puberty blockers and, following this, in their teen years, cross-sex hormones, followed by possible surgical procedures that alter their appearance, sex characteristics, and reproductive system. The age of consent for cross-sex hormones and surgeries varies depending on the state, but children as young as 13 are sometimes able to get their breasts removed. These steps often lead to the patient becoming permanently sterile and unable to achieve orgasm.
This so-called “gender affirmative” model is what some are selling as health care, essentially setting the patient up as the one making the diagnosis and the medical professional is discouraged from asking tough diagnostic questions to determine if the very young patient might have some other type of co-morbidity driving their gender confusion. This turns the medical profession on its head. That patient tells the doctor what the solution is and the doctor must do the patient’s bidding. Questioning the patient’s self-diagnosis is called “transphobic.”
This is not only bad science for obvious reasons, but also because most young people who report gender dysphoria end up naturally aligning with their natal gender by the time they reach puberty. This fact is well documented in the academic literature. This means the so-called “gender affirming” model puts young people on track to start an often deeply invasive, irreversible, and radical medical and surgical regimen at odds with where biology and their own natural development would have taken them.
By James Smith — 3 months ago
The yoke of Christ is EASY. Compare it with the yoke of Satan, which we wore in our natural state; the yoke of Moses, as worn by the Jews of old; the yoke of superstition, as worn by pagans now. It is easy, because connected with it for every trial, there is assistance; for every temptation, there is support; for every difficulty, there is help; for every sorrow, there is solace; for every trouble, there is tranquility; for every loss, there is unspeakable gain; and for every service, there is a rich and eternal reward!
The “yoke” symbolizes subjection and obedience. The yoke of Jesus includes the subjection of the understanding to His teaching. We must receive the kingdom of God as little children. All that He says, we must believe; and all that He commands, we must do.
The yoke of Jesus includes the subjection of the conscience to His authority. He must be sole Lord of conscience. As cleansed by His blood, enlightened by His truth, and sanctified by His Spirit, the conscience must bow to Him, be zealous for Him, and maintain His honor.
The yoke of Jesus includes the subjection of the will to His pleasure. We must prefer His will to our own, and make His pleasure ours. The yoke of Jesus includes the subjection of the heart to His love. His love must inflame, regulate, and elevate the heart. He must become the object of its highest, warmest love. Love to Him must rule our thoughts, words, and actions.
The yoke of Jesus includes the subjection of our abilities to His service. For Him, the duties of life must be performed.
By John Sarver — 9 months ago
The biblical pattern for church ministry moves from the pulpit to the people, from the gathering to the scattering.1 Never the other way around. All other ministries should be subservient to and ordered around the church’s main gathering. It’s intended to be the roaring river that gives life and direction to all the other discipling tributaries of the church. The order is never reversed.
Regardless of how your church states its mission—”living and proclaiming God’s truth in the world” or “spreading a passion for God’s supremacy among the nations”—every biblical church exists to make disciples, that is, gospel-believing, Spirit-indwelt, Word-obeying, Kingdom-advancing followers of Jesus Christ. This goal can be stated in different ways and with different emphases. It can be cute or curt. The bottom line is churches make disciples.
Okay … but how does a church do this? How does your church do this?
A thought experiment might help us here. Let’s say someone is converted through a relationship with a member of your church. What do you do next? Do you put them through a class for new Christians? Rush to place them in a community group? Maybe you’ve read The Trellis and the Vine (ah, that’s where I remember this illustration) and you enlist that member to begin discipling them.
All that’s wonderful. Now let me ask a follow-up question: what does your church’s weekly corporate worship gathering have to do with that baby believer’s discipleship? Further still, what’s the relationship between that newly formed discipling relationship and the Sunday service? More to the point, does your church make disciples when it gathers or only when its members scatter?
If you do a quick Google search, or thumb through your favorite publisher’s most recent catalog, or pick up the latest popular book on discipleship, you’ll find a consistent theme: real discipling work happens either through well-constructed programs or organic personal ministry.
I don’t intend to disparage programs or discipling. A culture of discipling—where members do deliberate spiritual good to one another out of a sense of loving obligation—is necessary for a church to be healthy. Programs can help toward that end.
But I am concerned that many pastors unwittingly overlook the core discipleship program the New Testament prescribes: the corporate worship gathering. It’s more fundamental to Christian growth than any program. Yes, it’s even more fundamental than any personal ministry of the Word that ought to resound throughout the week. The Sunday gathering is the primary discipler of a local congregation. Why? Because of what it proclaims and the pattern it sets.
Proclamation: The Gathering Disciples
When saints gather on Sundays, they do so to worship, yes, and to grow. And God grows his people through the Word—his world-creating, life-maintaining, saint-sanctifying Word (John 1:3-4; Heb. 1:1; John 17:17; 2 Tim. 3:16). It’s no surprise, then, that Scripture regulates the service around itself. In the gathering, we should read and preach Holy Scripture (1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:1–3), we should sing its truths (Col. 3:16), we should pray its hopes (Eph. 6:18), and we should visualize its message through the sacraments (1 Cor. 11:26; 10:21).
A Sunday morning gathering isn’t a production. It’s not marked by pageantry or sophistry. No. Saints gather every Lord’s Day trusting their pastors have planned a service that delivers up their most important meal of the week.
In other words, the corporate worship gathering disciples the saints because it proclaims God’s Word which in turn teaches for growth and trains for ministry.