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Posts Tagged ‘Ministry’

I am still trying to figure out what my role is here at Elect Exiles. As many of you know, for the last year and a half I have been writing at Christ and Pop Culture. More recently I have taken on a larger role there as an editor. On a personal note, I think CaPC has benefited my writing tremendously due to being surrounded by an active community of writers and taking on the added challenge of editing. I grew weary of the random nature of my posts here at Elect Exiles and needed a more challenging and creative platform on which to write. CaPC has proved a fertile ground for such endeavors. Even more recently, I have begun writing a monthly column on Christianity, culture, and videogames for Relevant Magazine. This project has been incredibly rewarding as I believe the world of videogames is a pretty massive field that Christians are failing to adequately discuss, criticize, and interact with. These writing and editing endeavors along with being a husband, pastor, and soccer coach, have left me with little to no time to spend here at Elect Exiles.

At one point Elect Exiles was a fairly well read blog–at least in the sense that we had a number of subscribers, a regular rotation of weekly posts, active contributors, significant weekly hits, and the occasional article that blew up and spawned a lively discussion. However, life got busy for our other writers and eventually I was more or less the only active writer with Kevin Schaub posting the ocassional article.

So where does that leave Elect Exiles now? I have often thought about starting an entirely new blog where I write mostly personal things about life, marriage, family, ministry in the local church, and the like–things that don’t require extensive research and/or multiple drafts. However, most blogs die almost overnight it seems and I don’t see the point in starting something new when I have a blog I could resuscitate. Maybe I should let go of EE–it at least had a handful of productive years. And yet I haven’t been able to shut EE down, I feel like I still have something to say here.

For now my intention is to at least post a couple articles a week here. They will likely be personal rather than professional and reflective rather than academic. I know I have made commitments to this blog many times that I have failed to keep, so I am not making any promises but I do want a place to share what is going on in my life, my family, my church, and occasionally expound on my writing endeavors. Google+ may prove to be a better place for such endeavors but for now neither Facebook nor Twitter is sufficient for what I want to do, so I am going to try to pick EE back up.

So that is the tentative plan. Maybe Kevin Schaub will join in too and share his experiences–it was his blog in the beginning. Who knows maybe Tyler Whitman will resurrect his presence here as well–I can only hope so because blogging with Kevin and Tyler was a tremendous privilege. With that said, sometime this week–hopefully tomorrow, I plan to post a reflective piece on the birth of my daughter, Evelyn Jane Dixon, who was born last week and is precious!

I hope what I write here profits you but if not just remember the internet is a really big place ;)

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Oh Preacher, will you not preach God’s Word?  Why do you trust in your gimmicks, your games, and your personality?  Why will you not preach God’s Word.  Let your name be slandered, let your programs fail, but NEVER neglect the ministry of God’s Word.  You may be able to woo many by the cleverness of your programs, but your programs will not transform the heart.

Jeremiah 23:29 Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 1:8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

2 Timothy 1:13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

2 Timothy 4:1 I 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: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 9:16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!  Woe to any man who claims to be a preacher but preaches not the Word of God.  If your ministry is not centered around the preaching of God’s Word and communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is time to reevaluate.

If your ministry is not one of the Word–I will tell you right now, your ministry lacks power.  And if you are not preaching the Word but are experiencing “power” it is not power of the Holy Spirit.  Preacher, why will you not preach God’s Word?

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“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity. For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God” (1 Cor. 7:17-24).

No Little People No Little PlacesIn the words of Francis A. Schaeffer “there are no little people and no little places.” I think what Schaeffer meant by that is very similar to Paul’s point in 1 Cor. 7:17-24 when he says, “only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.”

We live in a culture where bigger is better and climbing up the economic ladder is essential and not optional. The American economy, for better or worse, is very hierarchical. In our economic system there are little people and there are big people and there are people in between. I am afraid sometimes we have a similar situation in our churches. We view pastors as the more mature and holy Christians–especially the famous ones who write books and speak at conferences. This, however doesn’t seem to fit the ethic of the Kingdom of God. Especially when Jesus said things like “whoever wishes to be first must be last and servant of all” (Mark 9:35) and “whoever shall be great among you shall be your servant” (10:44).

Seeking to climb the evangelical ladder is a dangerous ambition. Especially when Paul says, “each one should remain in the condition in which he was called.” I don’t think that means that if you become a Christian as a school teacher you must remain a school teacher for the rest of your life. I think what it means is that our position in the world really doesn’t matter. What matters is that in whatever position I am in, I am pointing to the one who has freed me from sin and death–Jesus Christ the righteous one.

A slave in first century Corinth would have been lowest of the low on the social totem pole. And yet Paul tells slaves who have become Christians “do not be concerned” about your position as a slave. Didn’t Paul care? Didn’t he want slaves to be free from the difficult yoke of slavery? Yes and no. Yes in that he tells them if they can gain their freedom to do so. But Paul is more concerned with teaching slaves to be content in Christ and to realize that all who have come to know Christ are “Slaves of Christ!”

If you want to read more about why the New Testament writers never call for the abolition of slavery read my article on this blog titled Slavery and the New Testament. Again, the New Testament writers were not social revolutionaries but spiritual revolutionaries–they wanted to see people free from sin and enslaved to Christ! The message of Paul to the slaves in Corinth was one of reminder–he reminded them that they had been “bought with a price!”

Whatever place you are in right now matters to God and God wants you to be faithful to display the gospel wherever you are at. Sometimes being in Seminary feels small. I am learning important things but I am not pastoring a church or planting a church overseas, but what I have come to realize is that it doesn’t matter where we are in life so much as that we are obedient to the one who has called us.

I don’t want to think of myself better than Jesus. That is what we are doing when we refuse to serve in whatever position we are in–we are thinking ourselves better than Jesus. For “the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark10:45).

That is why Peter could tell slaves in Asia Minor to obey even “unjust” masters, because Peter was more concerned that slaves in Asia Minor bore consistent witness to the glory of Jesus than that they get out of their difficult social position. A slave was the lowest of the low in Roman culture, but a slave that lives to consistently bear witness to the freedom he has in Christ is precious in the eyes of God. You may feel pretty low in the big scheme of things and that may be a good thing, but remember, there are no little people, there are no little places.

The gospel levels the playing feild. In Christ there is “neither slave nor free . . . all are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). We are all dead in trespasses and sins and every believer has received new life in Christ. If a slave’s witness to Christ matters, so does yours.

Spiritual one-upmanship has no place in the Kingdom of God. Don’t think yourself better than Jesus, do what Jesus did–serve.

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