“How, then, is true brotherly service performed in the Christian community?” German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer asks this very practical question near the outset of the fourth chapter in his relevant and helpful book Life Together. In an attempt to flesh out the ways Christians are to serve one another in the church, Bonoeffer begins with a ministry that many of us are prone to overlook – the ministry of listening.
“The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to his Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them.
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I am not a father. I do not have children. My wife and I would love to have children, but God has not permitted that for us in our first 9 years of marriage. Now because I am not a dad, my usual reaction to all books and sermons and being a dad or raising kids is one of checking out. “I am not in that stage of life,” I tell myself. “Therefore, I will move on to other things.” Like I said, this is my usual reaction ….. until a few weeks ago when my pastor preached a sermon on “What Every Dad Must Do” from Psalm 145.… Continue reading
Humans are weird. And most of us realize the added mix of total depravity explains some of our weirdness. Sin even affects believers and causes us to partake in irrational behaviors. One peculiar action we do is our inaction because someone else does it wrong. I’ve engaged many people who balk at the encouragement to love others because worldly people, some associated with that other political party, encourage the world to love others. The world has its own definition of love including characteristics like: lust, self-love, condone everyone else’s desires, don’t tell someone she is wrong, and of course tolerance (which ironically went away after the last presidential election).… Continue reading
A few months ago I visited a wonderful church in America’s heartland. I had been asked to assist their music ministry and consult on what it means to have a Pastor over Worship. It was encouraging to share in what was going on at their church and I was sharpened by their great questions. Of course, coming from hot and dry California, it was especially rejuvenating to be surrounded by endless fields and beautiful, big blue skies, but there was joy greater in serving and worshipping with this Church, even though I had only known them for a few days. While I came to serve them, they encouraged my soul and reminded me of the sweet fellowship we have in our bonds of Christ.… Continue reading
A few weeks ago I was blessed to be able to take in a major league baseball game in the most beautiful ballpark in America, Pittsburgh’s PNC Park. It has become somewhat of a tradition over the past few years for one of the men in the church and I to make the 3 ½ hour trip to Pittsburgh to take in a day game. So when the year’s schedule comes out I look at the season’s weekday day games and we pick one for the trip. When you are picking a baseball game to travel to one day from April to September in March, there is always a risk because there are variables, most notably the weather.… Continue reading