Faith Beyond Circumstances!! Please Pray for This Brother in Christ & His Family!!

This morning, I got the following e-mail from a “prayer chain” that I am a part of.  The e-mail said:

Please begin praying for this dear sister in Christ- Carol Poston.  Carol is the wife of the pastor of Rainbow Community Church in Fallbrook, CA. (about a half hour north of Escondido).  One minute she’s the healthy wife of a pastor, the mother of 5 beautiful daughters… next minute attacked by bacterial meningitis to her brain.  To read about this tragic situation and the unwavering faith of her husband, go to: http://carolposton.blogspot.com/.

I immediately went to the blog to read more about this.  I was shocked and amazed.  I was shocked because of the gravity of the situation.  I was amazed by the strength and courage with which Craig (the pastor/husband) is handling this fragile situation.  This afternoon, another pastor friend and I prayed for Craig and his family and committed them to the Lord.

For me as a husband, father and also as a pastor, my heart goes out to my brother in Christ, Craig.  I was greatly touched by something from his most recent blog post.  This is what he wrote:

“I do not yet have emotional energy to read Scripture to Carol but still can only cry to the Lord, Please Have Mercy!  Those are the only words I can find to say to God.  But I trust Him.  God will be glorified through this whole horrible tragedy.”

What faith!  Faith beyond circumstances!  Faith in spite of circumstances!  Craig is so candid as to admit his weaknesses.  He is emotionally weak and yet spiritually strong at the same time.  This is because he is resting in the Lord and in His sovereign purposes.  I really can’t say much more about this, except to say that it moved me, challenged me and encouraged me in at least the following two ways: 1.  to pray for this brother in Christ (whom I have never met before), but mysteriously enough, I feel a special connection to him.  I will pray for him, his wife and kids.  I will pray for his congregation – it must be hard for the congregation to see their pastor, his wife and kids suffer so much, 2.  to exult in the sovereignty of God which Craig I am sure understands and is resting on.

If you are reading this, would you please take a moment to pray for Craig, Carol, their kids and congregation?  Thank you – may the Lord richly bless you through Jesus Christ!

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).  “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:26).

NEEDED! DEAD OR ALIVE: FAITHFUL PREACHERS!!

As a minister of the gospel, there is no subject that interests me more than the preaching.  I am not just interested in a “fanciful” manner, but I am captivated by this subject because it sums up God’s call upon my life this side of heaven.  But it’s not just preaching in general that interests me.  Rather it is Christ who is to be the Grand Theme and Subject of all faithful preaching!  I am not only called to preach.  I am called to “preach Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23).  “…We do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord…” 2 Cor. 4:5).  All true preaching is Christ-centered, and all Christ-centered preaching is true preaching.  There are no two ways about it!  Those who are committed to the faithful exposition of Scripture will necessarily preach Christ because all of the Scriptures testify about Him (Luke 24:25-27,44-48; John 5:39).

Sadly, there is a dearth of preaching in our day.  Many are the pulpits which have been severely afflicted and inflicted by this terminal disease.  We do not lack “preachers” capable of giving interesting talks, moral advice or motivational speeches.  There are plenty of those around – everywhere you turn!  But faithful, Christ-centered preachers!  Oh, no!  Those are scarce!  Only a few of them are still standing!  I think the sign below needs to be hang on just about every church door today.

William Still in his book entitled, The Work of The Pastor writes:  “…If the hope of the world is Christ, it is Christ in all the Scriptures, and that hope can only be fulfilled by men pouring out the riches of Christ’s saving grace upon the Lord’s people through the Scriptures” (p. 93)

Why then is there such a dearth of faithful, Christ-centered preaching in our day?  Well, that’s a very good question.  Many reasons can be given as to why this is the case.  But one thing is for certain, there has been a great lost of confidence in Scriptures among both preachers and hearers as Alistair Begg points out in his book, Preaching for God’s Glory (pages 18-19):

The absence of expository preaching is directly related to an erosion of confidence in the authority of and sufficiency of Scripture.  At the beginning of the nineteenth the battle lines were drawn against the forces of liberalism.  Liberals were challenging the miraculous, questioning the divine, and opposing the historicity of the New Testament documents.  Evangelicals weathered that storm, and empty liberal churches testify to the futility of the liberal quest for a demythologized Christ.  But today the battle is more subtle.  The Scriptures are neglected and debased and are used only as a springboard for all kinds of “talks” that are far removed from genuine biblical exposition…There is little, if any, sense of either the preacher or the congregation bowing under the majestic authority of God’s written Word.

I couldn’t agree more!  Let me end this post by asking you to do three things in light of what I have shared here:

First, pray with me that the Lord will raise up a new generation of preachers who will not be afraid or ashamed to preach the “whole counsel of God” and point people to the Lord Jesus Christ in every sermon.

Secondly, pray for your pastors that by God’s grace and the working of God’s Holy Spirit they may be kept faithful and true to their calling. In my view, that is the best way to keep your ministers accountable before God and their congregations.

Secondly, pray for me also that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel…that I may proclaim it clearly and boldly, as I should (see Ephesians 6:19-20; Colossians 4:3-4).  Thank you!

For more on this, please click on this link:  Contending for the Faith in America.

I also recommend the following additional resources:

Essays:  Is Christ-Centered Preaching a Biblical Mandate? by Fred A. Malone;  A Listener’s Guide to the Pulpit by Todd Wilken; Preaching Christ, by Charles McIlvaine (1799-1873)

Books:  Preaching Christ in All Scripture, by Edmund Clowney; Him We Proclaim, by Dennis Johnson, Christ-Centered Preaching, by Bryan Chapell