Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Shameless Request For Prayer

The Apostle Paul asked for people to pray for him. For instance, Ephesians 6:18-20:
...keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
So, I'm going to ask you to pray for me (and for the other pastors and future pastors you know). Justin Taylor excerpted the following from the biographical message on John Newton (slave trader turned pastor who wrote Amazing Grace) that John Piper delivered at the 2001 Bethlehem Conference for Pastors.

Please pray that I would be a Christian man and pastor who increasingly reflects Christlike toughness and Christlike tenderness: 

"It seems to me that we are always falling off the horse on one side or the other in this matter of being tough and tender—
wimping out on truth when we ought to be lion-hearted, or
wrangling with anger when we ought to be weeping. . . .
Oh how rare are the pastors who speak with a tender heart and have a theological backbone of steel. I dream of such pastors. I would like to be one someday.

A pastor
whose might in the truth is matched by his meekness.
Whose theological acumen is matched by his manifest contrition.
Whose heights of intellect are matched by his depths of humility.
Yes, and the other way around!

A pastor
whose relational warmth is matched by his rigor of study,
whose bent toward mercy is matched by the vigilance of his biblical discernment, and
whose sense of humor is exceeded by the seriousness of his calling.
I dream of great defenders of true doctrine who are mainly known for the delight they have in God and the joy in God that they bring to the people of God—who enter controversy, when necessary, not because they love ideas and arguments, but because they love Christ and the church. . . .

[Acts 15:1-3] is my vision: The great debaters on their way to a life-and-death show down of doctrinal controversy, so thrilled by the mercy and power of God in the gospel, that they are spreading joy everywhere they go.
Oh how many there are today who tell us that controversy only kills joy and ruins the church;
and oh how many others there are who, on their way to the controversy, feel no joy and spread no joy in the preciousness of Christ and his salvation."

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