I hope that you reach the end of your life and can say with Joshua, “I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed” (Josh 23:14).
Now Joshua was old and advanced in years, and the LORD said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to possess… Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance to the nine tribes and half the tribe of Manasseh”
Joshua 13:1, 7
Can you imagine promises so certain? The Israelites had wandered in the wilderness for 40 years because of their unbelief. God had promised them a land, and they refused to believe Him. Fast-forward and Joshua has brought them in and they have begun the conquest of Canaan. They had defeated king after king, but there was still work to be done. Joshua is too old to continue with the Israelites, so what is he to do? “…divide this land for an inheritance…”
Can you imagine promises so certain? Divide up the land. What land? The land you haven’t conquered yet, but the land that was promised.
You Might also like
By Michael Kelley — 2 years ago
Our words are like water. Water is the stuff of life, but water is also incredibly destructive. Just like water, our words are incredibly powerful to either destroy, or to build up, especially to those we claim to love. When we are dealing with something that powerful, we would be very wise to be careful.
There have been two different occasions this week when my wife and I have had to remind each other to watch what we say. In each occasion, we were asking each other for wisdom on how to respond to a particular situation, and we repeated the same phrase in response to one another:
“Don’t say anything you will have to apologize for later.”
I think there’s wisdom in that. And surely that’s a pretty good reason on its own to be careful with your words. It’s because there is no edit button on our conversations. Words are the bell that can’t be unrung. You can try and walk things back, you can try and explain yourself, you can even try to justify the words you said, but in the end, it’s just there. That comment. That remark. That tone. It’s there. Always. And you don’t want to be embarrassed later by what you said in the moment.
But there are other reasons beyond avoiding embarrassment to watch what we say. Deeper reasons. And perhaps even more important ones. Here are three of them:
1. Because our words reflect our hearts.
A friend recently told me that what’s down in the well comes up in the bucket. When we find ourselves spouting off in anger or gossip or slander it’s not because we were just caught up in the moment; it’s because that’s what’s down in our hearts.
By Brad Isbell — 9 months ago
Wittingly or unwittingly, this alternative practice creates a new quasi-office or serves as a sort of “ecclesial disobedience” protest against the existing BCO provisions. The effect of not ordaining deacons (if allowed) will, in effect, change the meaning and undermine the authority of the BCO by ignoring or contravening it rather than using the difficult and slow (but honest) constitutional process.
Dozens of congregations of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) communicate to the church and to the world that ordination is not essential to the holding of church office or to bearing the titles thereof. The two-office polity of the PCA is simple and clear; its on-the-ground manifestation is too often confused and confusing.
The confusion is apparent in at least two ways. First, dozens of PCA churches list, portray, or refer to women as deacons (not the sexed, informal term deaconess) or as members of the diaconate (see one church’s explanation above). The problem here is that every reference in the denomination’s Book of Church Order (BCO) to deacons refers to the ordained office, and ordained office in the PCA is limited to men. Furthermore, the diaconate is only mentioned in conjunction with the session of ordained elders. Saying there are unordained members of the diaconate (deacons) would seem to imply that there could be unordained members of the session (elders), and that could never be. Or could it?
At least one church in the PCA has a female “pastor” (see image below). Or we could also put it like this: One PCA church “has” a female pastor, since you can’t actually have an impossibility — pastors are ordained and no one in the PCA ordains women. But, apparently, a PCA church can assign the title of pastor to someone who is not and cannot be a pastor.
Ordination matters, according to the church in every age and to the PCA’s Form of Government (Part I of the BCO). Focusing on ordination reminds us that the issue is not ultimately about the sex of the officeholder. And ordination is an inescapable factor in Presbyterian polity. In the instance of the female “pastor” cited above, the fact that she is called a “Pastor to Women” is quite beside the point. The use of “Pastor” (whether of youth, music, administration, or outreach) is inappropriate for any unordained person. Non-ecclesial titles like “Director” or “Coordinator” have typically been used by PCA churches for unordained staff, whether male or female. Curiously, the “Pastor to Women” was referred to as “Director” several years ago, but now is called “Pastor.”
Titles seem to matter even more in these credentialistic days. They obviously matter to the givers of the titles and to those who receive them. Otherwise, why go to all the trouble? But does the actual meaning and definition of the title matter in an ecclesial-denominational context? Postmodern deconstruction questions the meaning of words (and titles are words) but also the meaning and understanding of texts — even of a text so dry and technical as the BCO. Postmodern deconstruction tries to find the meaning behind the glossary definition or might dwell on what a word or phrase should or could mean using critical methods.
 The PCA Book of Church Order may be viewed and downloaded here.
 In noting that the PCA office of deacon is limited to men, we do not denigrate other denominations (e.g., the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church [ARP] or the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America [RPCNA]) that explicitly allow and make provisions for females in the office of deacon.
 This folder contains links and screenshots concerning the PCA church that gives the title of pastor to a female. This folder gives a small sampling of the range of iterations of diaconates in the PCA. The data is from freely accessible public websites. No attempt has been made to contact the churches for explanations of these practices. It is assumed that the public-facing websites, videos, and documents of local churches express their actual practices and convictions. No offenses are alleged: it is for presbyteries and the PCA General Assembly to determine if churches are deviating from denominational standards of polity.
By Persis Lorenti — 1 year ago
When we come before God, what bragging rights do we have? The person with the highest IQ in the world and the infant born yesterday are on a level playing field compared to what God knows. But this is more than acknowledging the distance between Creator and creation. We do not have to rely on our intelligence and abilities to save or give us significance. We do not have to know all there is to know because we are known and belong to a God who does.
Adam and Eve were tempted to believe, “You will be like God,” and that lie has been deceiving us ever since. We may not self-identify as deities demanding sacrifices and overt worship, but we may fall for subtler versions. One variation combines ideas that are very common today:
I have no limits.
I am sufficient on my own.
My worth depends on achieving the above.
Motivational merchandise tells us, “Wish it. Dream it. Do it!,” which sounds remarkably like the prosperity gospel. But wishes and dreams require resources that can run out. Aspirations demand skill and talent that may never be ours. We live in time and space with bodies and minds that are finite.
We have also inherited the cultural myth of the self-made man or woman. A rags-to-riches tale of success where it is possible to make it on our own without owing anything to anyone else. This teaches us that dependence is weakness and a source of shame. But total self-sufficiency is physically impossible for human beings. A baby is born helpless. Aging can return us to a needy condition. And regardless of age, what do we have that we have not received?
God is the only being sufficient in himself. God is omniscient, knowing all things because he is their creator and source. We were meant to live in happy dependence upon him for every aspect of our lives – material and immaterial. Therefore, it should be no surprise that falling for the lie of no limits and no dependence is exhausting. Just look at the different sectors of society where people of all ages are experiencing burn out because of the pressure to live up to impossible ideals. We cannot do it all. We cannot know it all.