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TWS-4

This weekend, at the Summit, I’m dusting off an old resource and rolling it back out. It’s a little prayer I pray, almost every day, to fortify my mind in the gospel. I call it the gospel prayer.

This isn’t a magical prayer, and it’s certainly not something I claim to have invented. It came about a few years ago as I began to see how central the gospel is to all of Scripture and all of the Christian life. This was my way of applying the gospel to my daily life. As we often say around the Summit, the gospel isn’t just the diving board; it’s the pool itself.

There are four components to the prayer, and all four flow out of our identity in Christ. Because I am in Christ…

1. There is nothing I have done that could make you love me less, and nothing I could do that would make you love me more.

2. You are all I need for everlasting joy.

3. As you have been to me, so I will be to others.

4. As I pray, I’ll do so according to the compassion you’ve shown at the cross and the power you demonstrated through the resurrection.

 

For more, check out this excerpt from Gospel, about Diagnosis vs. Prognosis. Or read Tim Keller’s foreword to the book. Or you can pick up your own copy of Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.

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W4YW-5

Your weekly installment of what we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web.

Articles of the Week

Where Did the Footprints Poem Come from? Justin Taylor. You’ve probably seen it a hundred times—framed in glass, embroidered on a pillow, etched in a tiny keychain. It’s the famous “Footprints” story about Jesus carrying us in our times of difficulty. This story is easy to poke fun at, but as Taylor points out, it’s not necessarily another piece of “evangelical kitsch.” And you may be surprised (as we were) to see what famous preacher, when explaining the nearness of God, used the exact same analogy of Jesus’ footprints.

We Have Been Warned, Rod Dreher. This is fascinating, depressing, disturbing, and exciting all at the same time. If religious liberty continues to fade (and it seems likely that it will), Christian organizations—colleges, parachurch groups, and churches—are going to have to choose whether they will stick to their convictions in the face of increasingly negative consequences. Let’s pray that we would all have the courage to stand for Christ, especially when it costs us.

Am I a Controlling Person? David Murray. As Shakespeare might have said, this way conviction lies. Be warned that reading these diagnostic questions is likely to lead you to the same conclusion I (Chris) came to: I am a controlling person. Question 22 especially was a dagger. There’s hope here, as well. As Murray reminds us, perfect control is a myth. Life may be uncertain, but our God is sure, steadfast, and immovable.

Continue Reading…

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PlumbLines-1

Back in 2007, I sat in a conference filled with ministry leaders, listening to a prominent pastor share some sobering statistics:

  • In the U.S., 1500 pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
  • 50% of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce.
  • 80% of pastors feel unqualified and discouraged in their role.
  • 50% of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could…but they have no other way of making a living.
  • 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
  • Almost 40% of pastors polled said they had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
  • 80% of pastors’ wives feel that their husband is overworked.
  • Over half of pastors’ wives surveyed said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage was the day their husband entered the ministry.

Not long ago, that same pastor—the one who had warned us about pastoral burnout and moral failure—was removed from pastoral leadership. He had abused his pastoral authority, shut out any attempts to hold him accountable, and pursued inappropriate relationships with a couple different women.

I know this man loved Jesus in 2007, and that he loves Jesus today. And I know he sincerely believed what he told us in that conference. But that didn’t prevent him from becoming one of the statistics he dreaded.

Continue Reading…

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