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“When the culturally dominant pictures of God have come to be simplistic, it becomes hard to arouse much excitement about the news of divine incarnation . . .”

William C. Placher, The Domestication of Transcendence

 

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There was no joy in the headlines I read this morning. After a wonderful Father’s Day weekend with family and friends, I awoke, scanned my phone, and read these words on Tim Challies’s blog:

Tullian Tchividjian Resigns – Here is very sad news from Florida: ‘Popular pastor and author Tullian Tchividjian has resigned as senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church,’ citing ‘ongoing marital issues’ and ‘an inappropriate relationship.’”

I scanned the linked article, then went to Twitter where I read several tweets and followed more links. There was no joy, only heaviness as one article noted:

“Pastor Tullian Tchividjian becomes the fourth Florida megachurch pastor in recent years to resign after admitting to having an affair.”

YTpWfjhrMy grief was not for the ministry of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. God will sustain His people, Christ alone builds His church. I commend the elders of this great body of believers for taking appropriate action to preserve and protect the testimony of Christ within this church body.

My grief was not for the testimony of Tullian Tchivdjian. God will preserve the one who has a heart committed to Him. Through the failures, troubles and triumphs of life, God’s grace will sustain the one who trusts in Him. In the middle of darkness, even by our own extinguishing of the light, God will shine forth His brightness.

My grief was for the man Tullian, for his wife Kim, for their children. I grieve for the very real struggle that lies ahead. As Tullian has well recognized; he is embarking on a journey through the valley of the shadow of death. The enemy of our souls, the enemy of the Church will try to do everything in his power to destroy this man, to demolish his family, to shatter his testimony, to proclaim Tullian’s many errors as he fought to proclaim God’s grace (and who of us hasn’t erred in our struggle to live holy and to live in liberty).

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 12.42.14 PMI grieve because this valley is not a beautiful place. Yet, I rejoice, because this is the place where the psalmist can cry out, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4, ESV)! Tullian, in this place of despair, you are going to discover the depth of God’s grace! In this valley of desolation, you are going to discover God’s 911 (Psalm 91:1)! As I readily shared, this is my prayer for you:

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Though you may never see my tweet, the God I serve will hear my prayer on your behalf. He will give you a place of rest in the darkness of the valley. He will shelter you in the middle of desolation. He will comfort you, as you ponder the immensity of personal sin. He will satisfy you as you drink from the depth of His grace!

Reading Tullian:

One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World

Jesus + Nothing = Everything

Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us

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Recently, I subscribed to Foreign Policy magazine, and today I received my first issue entitled, A World Disrupted. As I scanned the opening pages, my eyes were drawn to Letter From the Editors: Disruption But Not Despair. It began:

Un bien pour un mal, goes the French phrase–a blessing in disguise, or good that comes cloaked in bad. This year, when morning headlines proclaimed doom and disaster day after day, it began to feel routine to hope, fiercely, for just that: a grace that would emerge from the evil and destruction afflicting the world (3).

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“God has never, in the history of mankind, allowed his name to go long offended.”

~ David Wilkerson

 

 

 

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ColumbiaStahrArtworkThis is a guest post by my wife, Virginia Taylor. Some thoughts to consider as we prepare to vote on Tuesday. A little background information may also prove helpful. Libertas (Liberty) was an ancient Roman goddess. In the history of the United States this idea of Liberty as a woman was continued, and even personified in the form of Columbia, a historical and poetic name for the United States of America. This historical iconography is found on many of our government buildings, as Lady Freedom on top of the U.S. Capitol, and the famous Statue of Liberty in New York. It is this history that forms the basis for the following post.

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We must be taught that we sin. That is, we must be transformed by the vision of a God who is righteous and just, who judges us on the basis of something more significant than merely what feels right for us.

~ Stanley Hauerwas and William H. Willimon

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God doesn’t do anything to us… He doesn’t have to. We’re too busy doing it to each other.

~ Charles de Lint, The Onion Girl

 

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SERIES OVERVIEW

I was once a pastor. I hope you can find some wisdom in my journey. This is the second installment in a four-part series.

INTRODUCTION

For many Christian churches, October is considered “Pastor Appreciation Month.” As someone who served in pastoral ministry for a number of years, I thought it might be helpful to share my storyIf you haven’t read it already, you can find the first part of my story in the post Why I Was Once a Pastor

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