6 Posts Categorized as about "Current Affairs"

Saying it Well: Touching Others with Your Words

I wrote my new book primarily for you—for speakers in general and preachers in particular. After five decades of honing the craft, I feel that I’m finally ready to put into print much of what now works for me as a preacher and public speaker.

Saying It WellI wanted to communicate everything I’ve learned, but that’s unrealistic. Some things—let’s face it—can’t be put into words on a page; they must come naturally from within. Each of us has an inimitable “style” that is ours and ours alone. But there are some things I mention that might be of value to you; I certainly hope so.

Our own individuality is what makes our message compelling and our delivery unique. Let’s never forget that. From this point on, it’s important that you release yourself from the straitjacket of others’ expectations. Furthermore, you must determine to overcome your fear of not sounding like some other person you admire. You can learn from each of them . . . but don’t waste your time trying to be them—or acting a little like them. That’s phony. The goal, remember, is authenticity. Until you free yourself from that trap, you’ll not find your own voice. I repeat: you are YOU and none other. Never forget that each insight or principle or suggestion—whether from me or another author—must be fitted into YOUR style and YOUR way of expressing yourself when YOU speak or preach.

How I wish someone in my formal education had told me these things! Because no one did, I spent far too much time trying to look like or sound like someone I wasn’t. Thankfully, all that is behind me—and I hope the same is true of you. If not, maybe my book will help to free you to become the preacher God created you to be.

I pray the book is a major encouragement to you and an enhancement of your pulpit ministry.

—Chuck

Pastors and Pornography

Let me ask you a tough question:

Do you struggle with internet pornography?
 
If you do, you're not alone. Many pastors today are caught in porn's deceptive tentacles and they feel there is no way to escape.
 
But there is.
 
I want to recommend an article that we recently published on our Insight for Living Web site. It's Pastor Darrell Brazell's candid story of his addiction—but more importantly—of his freedom from pornography's grasp. You can read his story here.
 
Let me also add that if you want to contact someone in complete confidentiality, you can connect with our pastoral counseling team on our Pastor-to-Pastor line at 972-473-5102 (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. central time). They are well-trained and can offer you some practical steps.

You will also find encouragement and resources on our Men's Purity topical page.
 
If you struggle with porn as a pastor, I know that you want to break free. I'm certain that you want to honor the Lord. Freedom is possible.
 
I urge you to begin right now.

—Chuck

Follow Our 2010 Reformation Video Blog

My fellow pastors,

I’ll be overseas for the next couple of weeks, leading our Insight for Living Reformation Tour. During that time, I won’t be posting my regular pastor’s blog.

However . . . I invite you to follow along with our tour by subscribing below to our Reformation Tour Video Blog. The blog will feature daily video of sites we’re seeing and lessons we’re learning. I believe you will enjoy it! 

www.insight.org/videoblog

Please pray for me as I teach at many of these locations. Pray that God’s Word would take firm root in the hearts of those who travel with us.

                    Gratefully,

                    Chuck

P. S. Although I won't be posting to this blog, I will post regular FaceBook and Twitter updates throughout the trip. If you are interested, you can follow me on FaceBook and Twitter.

A Word about the Emerging Church

When Paul stood on Mars Hill in Athens and proclaimed the grace of God to the lost, he preached to a crowd of skeptics, critics, and those we might call “sophisticated eggheads.” Rather than beginning with the Scriptures, Paul began with the created world in which these unbelievers lived in order to introduce Jesus to them. He began with their spiritual hunger and pointed them to Jesus as the satisfaction for their longings . . . and the payment for their sins. Paul even quoted a well-known pagan poet as a means of building a bridge between the lost and the Lord (see Acts 17:16–33).

A number of ministries have adopted for their churches what I call a “Mars Hill philosophy of ministry.” Modeled after Paul’s message on Mars Hill, their goal is to connect with the unbeliever, or the postmodern, or any person they would call a “seeker.” In recent years the emerging church movement has attempted to “do church” (or be the church) in a new way amidst our postmodern world. Their purpose is “missional living,” that is, to get involved in the world in hopes of transforming it. This style of ministry engages the culture in a “conversation” rather than preaching to people like a prophet. A wide range of theologies and strategies exist within this current movement. Some individuals hold to orthodox beliefs but have adopted very unorthodox ways of communication. I have read of sermons that use language that would make most believers cringe . . . and cover their children’s ears. 

Are we to minister as those in the world? Absolutely. That’s an answer to Jesus’s own prayer for His followers (see John 17:14-16). But let’s be very discerning here. Does this mean we must minister as those of the world? Do we have to adopt postmodern thinking to minister to the postmodern mind? Absolutely not. Such behavior and words are not fitting in the life of a Christian (see Ephesians 5:4). They are obviously, then, not fitting in the context of worship.

Nowhere in the book of Acts or the Epistles do we see a church called to provide a subculture for unbelievers. The lost don’t need to find at church a world that’s like their world. We must relate to the world but not compromise biblical essentials for a church.

I need to make this clear: I don’t intend to erect an “emerging” straw man and then light him on fire. I realize that in the same way our culture unfairly pigeonholes evangelicals, there is a risk of stereotyping the emerging church—or any similar movement. The danger of a broad stroke of analysis is to fail to represent everyone fairly. Or to acknowledge the exceptions.

I’m certain that not all of those who number themselves among the “tribe” of the emerging church favor liberal theology with no belief in absolutes or traditional, orthodox convictions. However, my concern is for those churches in any movement that, in an attempt to connect with the culture, actually embrace a compromise of biblical truth. Paul had the same concern as he wrote with urgency to Timothy:

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. (2 Timothy 4:1–2)

It’s worth noticing that this exhortation is not addressed to the hearer; it’s for the speaker. The one who is to obey this command is the one proclaiming the message. That’s you. That’s me. That’s every elder who teaches. That’s all who are called to stand and deliver. It is to be the commitment of every church.

Let me urge you who are considering adopting the emerging church philosophy, or the “seeker church” strategies, to take a good look at what you are trying to do—and why. Be sure to look at it biblically. Be certain you can support any change you plan to implement from the Scriptures. Don’t look to Mars Hill in Acts 17 while ignoring the essentials of Acts 2:42. Instead of searching for justification in the Bible, search and pray for direction from the biblical text. When you find it . . . follow it.

I would say the same thing to any church—including my own.

—Chuck

The Church’s Need to Look in the Mirror

In late 2007, Pastor Bill Hybels and the leadership team of the Willow Creek Community Church shared the startling results of a study they conducted of their own church—as well as other so-called “seeker churches.”

The results, Hybels said, were “the greatest wake-up call of my adult life.” Among other findings, they discovered that their ministry to “seekers” was very effective for introducing Christ to those who were new to church. No big surprise.

But they had not been as successful in fulfilling their mission statement to turn “irreligious people into fully devoted followers of Christ.” That is, they had not been as strong in developing the spiritual lives of those who had trusted Christ. As a result of a conversation Hybels had with his executive pastor, Greg Hawkins, they realized:

We should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become self-feeders. . . . We should have taught people how to read their Bible between services, how to do the spiritual practices. . . . What’s happening to these people [is that] the older they get, the more they’re expecting the church to feed them, when, in fact, the more mature a Christian becomes, a Christian should become more of a self-feeder. . . . We’re going to up the level of responsibility we put on the people themselves so that they can grow even if the church doesn’t meet all their needs.”1

I admire Bill for his vulnerability and candor. I applaud any church that takes spiritual growth seriously enough to evaluate its effectiveness and to modify its methods of discipleship to the biblical model. Would that all churches would periodically take a long look into the mirror of God’s Word!

In fact, if evaluation is not done on a regular basis, erosion will occur. It can happen anywhere. I know that for a fact.

—Chuck


1 Quote taken from videos accessed at Reveal.

Thanks for Sovereign Grace

Today marks the 234th birthday of the United States Marine Corps—November 10, 1775. It’s a day I always pause, look back, and call to mind some of the great memories of days gone by. Ah, those were the days . . .

As my buddies and I always screamed in unison before the 10th of November ended:

ONE for the Corps . . .

TWO for the Corps . . .

THREE for the Corps . . .

HOO-RAH for the Corps!

Exactly fifty-one years ago tonight, I was in my full dress-blues uniform, brass and medals shining, shoes spit-polished, playing first-chair clarinet in the 60-piece, Third Division Band for Major General David Shoup, our base commander—and Medal of Honor recipient. We played into the night for the annual Marine Corp Birthday Ball at Headquarters’ Company, Camp Courtney, on the American-held island of Okinawa. What a celebration!

That was November 10, 1958. And, believe it or not, even though the final large battle of WWII had been fought (on that very island) and the Japanese had surrendered over 13 years earlier, we were STILL digging Japanese soldiers out of dark caves and deep bunkers located on that island. They stumbled into the sunlight emaciated and bearded, uniforms torn and tattered, boots rotting on their feet. They had no idea the war had ended … and they were still clinging to their rusty rifles, still existing in hiding and living on stolen rice and rodents and roots.

I was a 24-year-old Marine. I had been a husband for a little over three years. And I was living 8,000 miles away from Cynthia, ultimately, for 16 long months.

Ah . . . those were the days; I thought they’d never end! The following April, 1959, I mustered out of the Corps with an honorable discharge (followed by six years on active reserve) . . . in June of ’59 I applied as an incoming student at Dallas Theological Seminary. In July ’59 I was accepted (on probation my first year!), and in August ’59 we moved to Dallas where later that month I began as a first-year student with a Marine Corps flat-top. (Cynthia got a job as secretary to a vice-president at Preston State Bank.) The following summer I hired in as the lawn boy for Dallas Seminary, where I had the privilege of beautifying the grounds for the school I loved. And since the seminary’s president, Dr. John F. Walvoord, loved blooming, colorful flowers, I planted lots of ’em . . . everywhere! It was through his and my early-morning conversations during the summer of 1960 that he actually learned my name. Ah . . . now THOSE were the days!

Thanks for traveling with me along this brief, nostalgic journey through the past. Every November the 10th I pause to give God thanks for His hand on every detail of my life—His hand of SOVEREIGN grace.

—Chuck