Lately, I’ve been reading a number of interesting things, most of which I have not the time to share. However, a couple of the articles seemed compelling enough to re-post with brief comments. Enjoy…
Parenting for the Glory of God
In the following article, Robert Plummer provides an engaging view of parenting from the biblical storyline of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation. He highlights the eternal ramifications of faithful parenting and the need of God’s grace to fulfill this charge. In essence, parenting is a stewardship of young souls who need the realities of the gospel to flood their hearts and transform their lives. Parenting is proclaiming and modeling these realities as a display of Christ’s delegated authority–how children respond to parents will often reflect their response to Christ’s lordship. Therefore, parents should embody the gospel message through a loving relationship built on commitment, instruction, grace, and discipline for the good of their children and the glory of God: “Bring Them Up In the Discipline and Instruction of the Lord”.
Pastoral Singleness for the Glory of God
Steve DeWitt, pastor of Bethel Church in Crown Point, Indiana offers insight into the beauty and difficulty of being single while loving and leading the church. As an unmarried man serving in a pastoral role myself, I found the article particularly beneficial. While DeWitt has long-desired and hopes to be married at some point, there is something sweet and mysterious about having “the bride of Christ” as your only bride in this world. Obviously, that is not said to minimize the profound difficulty of such providence, but to say that God purposes for some to be set aside for that difficult blessing. And, as we know, He always redeems hardships for His glory and our (the church’s) good. That may be hard to stomach for those with unfulfilled relational desires, but we find in both Paul and Jesus a reminder that God’s provision of grace empowers us to joyfully and effectively fulfill whatever He has called us to enjoy and endure. In fact, we are called to a glorious joy and Spirit-given satisfaction in God–even in the midst of singleness–that is riveting, sanctifying, and altogether gracious as a gift from God. As I have been wrestling with fleeting measures of both contentment and unfulfilled desire, I have found great joy in praying for Pastor DeWitt and God’s provision of a wife for him. I have also found great joy in thanking God for my singleness and embracing it until God changes my circumstances or the Great Bridegroom returns. Lately, more than ever, I’ve been longing for the second.
As far as my own circumstance, I have honestly found it intriguing to consider how I should respond were God to bless me with DeWitt’s circumstance–even though such blessing would not seem ideal. In many ways, I’ve thought that being single for as long as DeWitt has been would mean that you grew to desire singleness and understood yourself to be called to that circumstance. That’s not really true in every circumstance–just as those who suffer do not necessarily feel called to suffer except that God’s providence ordains it and they joyfully embrace it, even while hoping for relief. Every good and perfect gift, even those wrapped in disappointment, are more gracious than we deserve and have been perfectly ordained by a loving and gracious God. So, while I currently desire marriage, my greater desire is to embrace the Lord’s will in whatever circumstance He provides. There’s an unusual, Spirit-given excitement that comes simply at the thought of serving Him. The context hardly matters–whether in a lifetime of singleness or a lifetime of marriage, it seems my relationship status grows less and less important all the time. Obviously, my desires have not changed, and yet the importance of them most assuredly has. Obviously, the challenges of singleness can be wearying, and yet the blessings can be rather life-giving. Both circumstances have their unique advantages and disadvantages–and require God’s grace to be faithful in them. As for me, the Lord has been gracious to renew my heart as I entrust it to Him, today, as well as each and every other day. No matter what each one holds, I know that I have been blessed with another opportunity to experience my need of grace and to increasingly reflect the One who gave Himself for me. After all, Christ lives in us and is our Hope of Glory.
You can read Pastor DeWitt’s article here at the Gospel Coalition blog, for a glimpse of his experience as a single man in love with the bride of Christ.
The Spirit of Christ Saving the Nations